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

Iach. Upon a time,-unhappy was the clock
That struck the hour !—it was in Rome,-accursed
The mansion where !—'twas at a feast,—0, 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 swellid 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-

I stand on fire :
Come to the matter.

All too soon I shall,
Unless thou wouldst grieve quickly. This Post-

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.

170 180

164. straight-pight, erect. 172. hint, occasion. 165. condition, mind and

178. unspeaking sots, fools character.

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. WhereuponMethinks, I see him nowPost.

(Advancing] Ay, so thou dost,

200 210

200. simular, plausibly 208.' the forfeit, the fine paid feigned.

for breach of a bond' or con203. averring, confirming. tract.

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, hearPost. Shall's have a play of this ?

Thou scorn


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There lie thy part. [Striking her: she falls. Pis.

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

Does the world go round?
Post. How come these staggers on me?

Wake, my mistress ! Cym. If this be so, the gods do mean to strike


221. she herself, i.e. virtue. the analogy of let us. It is

225. Be villany less than found six times in Shakespeare. 'twas, let villany be a term for less Can us,' 'may us,' in older heinous acts, those truly vile tak- Cockney English (Pegge, ing their name from Posthumus. Dickens). Jespersen. Engelske 228. Shall's, shall we ; from Casus, $ 130.

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To death with mortal joy.

How fares my mistress?
Imo. O, get thee from my sight;
Thou gavest me poison : dangerous fellow, hence !
Breathe not where princes are.

The tune of Imogen !
Pis. Lady,
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 confessid,
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.'

What's this, Cornelius?
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
Do their due functions. Have you ta'en of it?

Imo. Most like I did, for I was dead.

My boys,
There was our error.

This is, sure, Fidele.
Imo. Why did you throw your wedded lady
from you?

250. temper, mix.

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flesh, my


Think that you are upon a rock; and now
Throw me again.

[Embracing him. Post.

Hang there like fruit, my soul,
Till the tree die !
How now, my

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

[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.

My tears that fall
Prove holy water on thee! Imogen,
Thy mother's dead.

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. Lord

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


So klammert sich der Schiffer end. shipwreck'd sailor.' Cf. the close of Goethe's Tasso :

271. long of her, by her doing.

lich noch Am Felsen fest.

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