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I had rather thou shouldst live while nature will
Than die ere I hear more: strive, man, and speak.

Tach. Upon a time,-unhappy was the clock
That struck the hour!—it was in Rome,-accursed
The mansion where !-'twas at a feast,—O, would
Our viands had been poison'd, or at least
Those which I heaved to head!—the good Post-

What should I say? he was too good to be
Where ill men were; and was the best of all
Amongst the rarest of good ones,-sitting sadly,
Hearing us praise our loves of Italy

For beauty that made barren the swell'd boast
Of him that best could speak, for feature, laming
The shrine of Venus, or straight-pight Minerva,
Postures beyond brief nature, for condition,
A shop of all the qualities that man

Loves woman for, besides that hook of wiving,
Fairness which strikes the eye—

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Most like a noble lord in love and one

That had a royal lover, took his hint;

And, not dispraising whom we praised,-therein

He was as calm as virtue—he began

His mistress' picture; which by his tongue being


And then a mind put in 't, either our brags

Were crack'd of kitchen-trulls, or his description

Proved us unspeaking sots.

164. straight-pight, erect. condition, mind and

165. character.

172. hint, occasion.



178. unspeaking sots, fools unable to express ourselves.


Nay, nay, to the purpose.

Iach. Your daughter's chastity-there it begins.
He spake of her, as Dian had hot dreams,
And she alone were cold: whereat I, wretch,
Made scruple of his praise; and wager'd with him
Pieces of gold 'gainst this which then he wore
Upon his honour'd finger, to attain

In suit the place of's bed and win this ring
By hers and mine adultery. He, true knight,
No lesser of her honour confident

Than I did truly find her, stakes this ring;
And would so, had it been a carbuncle
Of Phoebus' wheel, and might so safely, had it
Been all the worth of 's car. Away to Britain
Post I in this design: well may you, sir,
Remember me at court; where I was taught
Of your chaste daughter the wide difference
'Twixt amorous and villanous. Being thus quench'd
Of hope, not longing, mine Italian brain
'Gan in your duller Britain operate
Most vilely; for my vantage, excellent:
And, to be brief, my practice so prevail'd,
That I return'd with simular proof enough
To make the noble Leonatus mad,
By wounding his belief in her renown
With tokens thus, and thus; averring notes
Of chamber-hanging, pictures, this her bracelet,—
O cunning, how I got it !-nay, some marks
Of secret on her person, that he could not
But think her bond of chastity quite crack'd,
I having ta'en the forfeit. Whereupon-
Methinks, I see him now—

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208. the forfeit, the fine paid for breach of a 'bond' or contract.

Italian fiend!

Ay me, most credulous fool,

Egregious murderer, thief, any thing

That's due to all the villains past, in being,

To come! O, give me cord, or knife, or poison,
Some upright justicer! Thou, king, send out
For torturers ingenious: it is I

That all the abhorred things o' the earth amend
By being worse than they. I am Posthumus,
That kill'd thy daughter :-villain-like, I lie-
That caused a lesser villain than myself,
A sacrilegious thief, to do 't: the temple
Of virtue was she; yea, and she herself.
Spit, and throw stones, cast mire upon me, set
The dogs o' the street to bay me: every villain
Be call'd Posthumus Leonatus; and
Be villany less than 'twas! O Imogen !
My queen, my life, my wife! O Imogen,
Imogen, Imogen !


Peace, my lord; hear, hear-
Post. Shall's have a play of this?
Thou scorn-



ful page,

There lie thy part.

[Striking her: she falls.


O, gentlemen, help!

Mine and your mistress ! O, my lord Posthumus !
You ne'er kill'd Imogen till now. Help, help!

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Cym. If this be so, the gods do mean to strike


221. she herself, i.e. virtue. 225. Be villany less than 'twas, let villany be a term for less heinous acts, those truly vile taking their name from Posthumus.

228. Shall's, shall we; from


the analogy of let us. It is found six times in Shakespeare. 'Can us,' 'may us,' in older Cockney English (Pegge, Dickens). Jespersen. Engelske Casus, § 130.

How fares my mistress ?

To death with mortal joy.


Imo. O, get thee from my sight;

Thou gavest me poison: dangerous fellow, hence!
Breathe not where princes are.


Pis. Lady,

The tune of Imogen !

The gods throw stones of sulphur on me, if
That box I gave you was not thought by me
A precious thing: I had it from the queen.
Cym. New matter still?



It poison'd me.

O gods!

I left out one thing which the queen confess'd, Which must approve thee honest: 'If Pisanio Have' said she 'given his mistress that confection Which I gave him for cordial, she is served

As I would serve a rat.'

Cor. The queen, sir, very oft importuned me
To temper poisons for her, still pretending
The satisfaction of her knowledge only
In killing creatures vile, as cats and dogs,
Of no esteem: I, dreading that her purpose
Was of more danger, did compound for her
A certain stuff, which, being ta'en, would cease
The present power of life, but in short time
All offices of nature should again

What 's this, Cornelius ?

Do their due functions. Have you ta'en of it?
Imo. Most like I did, for I was dead.

There was our error.


My boys,

This is, sure, Fidele.

Imo. Why did you throw your wedded lady




from you?

250. temper, mix.

Think that you are upon a rock; and now

Throw me again.


Till the tree die!


[Embracing him.

Hang there like fruit, my soul,

What, makest thou me a dullard in this act?
Wilt thou not speak to me?


How now, my flesh, my child!

[Kneeling] Your blessing, sir.

Bel. [To Guiderius and Arviragus] Though you did love this youth, I blame ye not;

You had a motive for 't.


Prove holy water on thee!

Thy mother's dead.


My tears that fall

I am sorry for 't, my lord..

Cym. O, she was naught; and long of her it was That we meet here so strangely: but her son

Is gone, we know not how nor where.


My lord,

Now fear is from me, I'll speak troth.


Upon my lady's missing, came to me


With his sword drawn; foam'd at the mouth, and


If I discover'd not which way she was gone,

It was my instant death. By accident,

I had a feigned letter of my master's


Then in my pocket; which directed him


To seek her on the mountains near to Milford;

Where, in a frenzy, in my master's garments,
Which he enforced from me, away he posts
With unchaste purpose and with oath to violate
My lady's honour: what became of him

262. upon a rock, i.e. as a shipwreck'd sailor.' Cf. the close of Goethe's Tasso :—

So klammert sich der Schiffer end

lich noch Am Felsen fest.

271. long of her, by her doing.

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