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Cymbeline - Act 1, scene 4
Last updated: Fri, Jul 31, 2015
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Navigate this workCymbeline - Act 1, scene 4
Act 1, scene 4
Posthumus arrives in Rome, where an Italian gentleman, Iachimo, maneuvers him into placing a bet on Imogen’s chastity. Posthumus bets the diamond ring given him by Imogen that Iachimo cannot seduce her.Enter Philario, Iachimo, a Frenchman, a Dutchman,
and a Spaniard.
IACHIMO 0312 Believe it, sir, I have seen him in Britain. He
0313 was then of a crescent note, expected to prove so
0314 worthy as since he hath been allowed the name of.
0315 But I could then have looked on him without the
0316 5 help of admiration, though the catalogue of his
0317 endowments had been tabled by his side and I to
0318 peruse him by items.
PHILARIO 0319 You speak of him when he was less furnished
0320 than now he is with that which makes him
0321 10 both without and within.
FRENCHMAN 0322 I have seen him in France. We had very
0323 many there could behold the sun with as firm eyes
0324 as he.
IACHIMO 0325 This matter of marrying his king’s daughter,
0326 15 wherein he must be weighed rather by her value
p. 290327 than his own, words him, I doubt not, a great deal
0328 from the matter.
FRENCHMAN 0329 And then his banishment.
IACHIMO 0330 Ay, and the approbation of those that weep
0331 20 this lamentable divorce under her colors are wonderfully
0332 to extend him, be it but to fortify her judgment,
0333 which else an easy battery might lay flat for
0334 taking a beggar without less quality.—But how
0335 comes it he is to sojourn with you? How creeps
0336 25 acquaintance?
PHILARIO 0337 His father and I were soldiers together, to
0338 whom I have been often bound for no less than my
0340 Here comes the Briton. Let him be so entertained
0341 30 amongst you as suits, with gentlemen of your knowing,
0342 to a stranger of his quality.—I beseech you all,
0343 be better known to this gentleman, whom I commend
0344 to you as a noble friend of mine. How worthy
0345 he is I will leave to appear hereafter rather
0346 35 than story him in his own hearing.
FRENCHMAN, ⌜to Posthumus⌝ 0347 Sir, we have known together
0348 in Orleans.
POSTHUMUS 0349 Since when I have been debtor to you for
0350 courtesies which I will be ever to pay and yet pay
0351 40 still.
FRENCHMAN 0352 Sir, you o’errate my poor kindness. I was
0353 glad I did atone my countryman and you. It had
0354 been pity you should have been put together with
0355 so mortal a purpose as then each bore, upon importance
0356 45 of so slight and trivial a nature.
POSTHUMUS 0357 By your pardon, sir, I was then a young
0358 traveler, rather shunned to go even with what I
0359 heard than in my every action to be guided by others’
0360 experiences. But upon my mended judgment—
p. 310361 50 if I offend ⌜not⌝ to say it is mended—my
0362 quarrel was not altogether slight.
FRENCHMAN 0363 Faith, yes, to be put to the arbitrament of
0364 swords, and by such two that would by all likelihood
0365 have confounded one the other or have fall’n
0366 55 both.
IACHIMO 0367 Can we with manners ask what was the
FRENCHMAN 0369 Safely, I think. ’Twas a contention in public,
0370 which may without contradiction suffer the report.
0371 60 It was much like an argument that fell out
0372 last night, where each of us fell in praise of our
0373 country mistresses, this gentleman at that time
0374 vouching—and upon warrant of bloody affirmation—
0375 his to be more fair, virtuous, wise, chaste,
0376 65 constant, qualified, and less attemptable than any
0377 the rarest of our ladies in France.
IACHIMO 0378 That lady is not now living, or this gentleman’s
0379 opinion by this worn out.
POSTHUMUS 0380 She holds her virtue still, and I my mind.
IACHIMO 0381 70You must not so far prefer her ’fore ours of
POSTHUMUS 0383 Being so far provoked as I was in France,
0384 I would abate her nothing, though I profess myself
0385 her adorer, not her friend.
IACHIMO 0386 75As fair and as good—a kind of hand-in-hand
0387 comparison—had been something too fair and too
0388 good for any lady in Britain. If she went before
0389 others I have seen, as that diamond of yours outlusters
0390 many I have beheld, I could not ⌜but⌝
0391 80 believe she excelled many. But I have not seen the
0392 most precious diamond that is, nor you the lady.
POSTHUMUS 0393 I praised her as I rated her. So do I my
IACHIMO 0395 What do you esteem it at?
POSTHUMUS 0396 85More than the world enjoys.
p. 33IACHIMO 0397 Either your unparagoned mistress is dead, or
0398 she’s outprized by a trifle.
POSTHUMUS 0399 You are mistaken. The one may be sold or
0400 given, or if there were wealth enough for the ⌜purchase⌝
0401 90 or merit for the gift. The other is not a thing
0402 for sale, and only the gift of the gods.
IACHIMO 0403 Which the gods have given you?
POSTHUMUS 0404 Which, by their graces, I will keep.
IACHIMO 0405 You may wear her in title yours, but you
0406 95 know strange fowl light upon neighboring ponds.
0407 Your ring may be stolen too. So your brace of unprizable
0408 estimations, the one is but frail and the
0409 other casual. A cunning thief or a that-way-accomplished
0410 courtier would hazard the winning both of
0411 100 first and last.
POSTHUMUS 0412 Your Italy contains none so accomplished
0413 a courtier to convince the honor of my mistress, if
0414 in the holding or loss of that, you term her frail. I
0415 do nothing doubt you have store of thieves;
0416 105 notwithstanding, I fear not my ring.
PHILARIO 0417 Let us leave here, gentlemen.
POSTHUMUS 0418 Sir, with all my heart. This worthy signior,
0419 I thank him, makes no stranger of me. We are
0420 familiar at first.
IACHIMO 0421 110With five times so much conversation I
0422 should get ground of your fair mistress, make her
0423 go back even to the yielding, had I admittance and
0424 opportunity to friend.
POSTHUMUS 0425 No, no.
IACHIMO 0426 115I dare thereupon pawn the moiety of my
0427 estate to your ring, which in my opinion o’ervalues
0428 it something. But I make my wager rather against
0429 your confidence than her reputation, and, to bar
0430 your offense herein too, I durst attempt it against
0431 120 any lady in the world.
POSTHUMUS 0432 You are a great deal abused in too bold a
p. 350433 persuasion, and I doubt not you sustain what
0434 you’re worthy of by your attempt.
IACHIMO 0435 What’s that?
POSTHUMUS 0436 125A repulse—though your attempt, as you
0437 call it, deserve more: a punishment, too.
PHILARIO 0438 Gentlemen, enough of this. It came in too
0439 suddenly. Let it die as it was born, and, I pray you,
0440 be better acquainted.
IACHIMO 0441 130Would I had put my estate and my neighbor’s
0442 on th’ approbation of what I have spoke.
POSTHUMUS 0443 What lady would you choose to assail?
IACHIMO 0444 Yours, whom in constancy you think stands
0445 so safe. I will lay you ten ⌜thousand⌝ ducats to your
0446 135 ring that, commend me to the court where your
0447 lady is, with no more advantage than the opportunity
0448 of a second conference, and I will bring from
0449 thence that honor of hers which you imagine so
POSTHUMUS 0451 140I will wage against your gold, gold to it.
0452 My ring I hold dear as my finger; ’tis part of it.
IACHIMO 0453 You are a friend, and therein the wiser. If you
0454 buy ladies’ flesh at a million a dram, you cannot
0455 preserve it from tainting. But I see you have some
0456 145 religion in you, that you fear.
POSTHUMUS 0457 This is but a custom in your tongue. You
0458 bear a graver purpose, I hope.
IACHIMO 0459 I am the master of my speeches and would
0460 undergo what’s spoken, I swear.
POSTHUMUS 0461 150Will you? I shall but lend my diamond till
0462 your return. Let there be covenants drawn between
0463 ’s. My mistress exceeds in goodness the hugeness
0464 of your unworthy thinking. I dare you to this
0465 match. Here’s my ring.
PHILARIO 0466 155I will have it no lay.
IACHIMO 0467 By the gods, it is one!—If I bring you no sufficient
0468 testimony that I have enjoyed the dearest
p. 370469 bodily part of your mistress, my ten thousand
0470 ducats are yours; so is your diamond too. If I come
0471 160 off and leave her in such honor as you have trust
0472 in, she your jewel, this your jewel, and my gold are
0473 yours, provided I have your commendation for my
0474 more free entertainment.
POSTHUMUS 0475 I embrace these conditions. Let us have
0476 165 articles betwixt us. Only thus far you shall answer:
0477 if you make your voyage upon her and give me directly
0478 to understand you have prevailed, I am no
0479 further your enemy; she is not worth our debate. If
0480 she remain unseduced, you not making it appear
0481 170 otherwise, for your ill opinion and th’ assault you
0482 have made to her chastity, you shall answer me
0483 with your sword.
IACHIMO 0484 Your hand; a covenant.(⌜They shake hands.⌝)
0485 We will have these things set down by lawful counsel,
0486 175 and straight away for Britain, lest the bargain
0487 should catch cold and starve. I will fetch my gold
0488 and have our two wagers recorded.
POSTHUMUS 0489 Agreed.⌜Iachimo and Posthumus exit.⌝
FRENCHMAN 0490 Will this hold, think you?
PHILARIO 0491 180Signior Iachimo will not from it. Pray, let us
0492 follow ’em.