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Cymbeline - Act 1, scene 6
Last updated: Fri, Jul 31, 2015
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Navigate this workCymbeline - Act 1, scene 6
Act 1, scene 6
Iachimo arrives in Britain and begins his attempt to seduce Imogen by telling her that Posthumus is betraying her with prostitutes. She turns on Iachimo in fury when he advises her to take revenge on Posthumus by becoming Iachimo’s lover. Iachimo then claims he slandered Posthumus only to test her. She forgives the slander and agrees to keep in her bedroom that night Iachimo’s trunk that he says is filled with jewels and precious ornaments.Enter Imogen alone.
0593 A father cruel and a stepdame false,
0594 A foolish suitor to a wedded lady
0595 That hath her husband banished. O, that husband,
0596 My supreme crown of grief and those repeated
0597 5 Vexations of it! Had I been thief-stol’n,
0598 As my two brothers, happy; but most miserable
0599 Is the ⌜desire⌝ that’s glorious. Blessed be those,
0600 How mean soe’er, that have their honest wills,
0601 Which seasons comfort. Who may this be? Fie!
Enter Pisanio and Iachimo.
0602 10 Madam, a noble gentleman of Rome
0603 Comes from my lord with letters.
IACHIMO 0604 Change you,
0606 The worthy Leonatus is in safety
0607 15 And greets your Highness dearly.
⌜He gives her a letter.⌝
IMOGEN 0608 Thanks, good sir.
0609 You’re kindly welcome.
0610 All of her that is out of door, most rich!
0611 If she be furnished with a mind so rare,
0612 20 She is alone th’ Arabian bird, and I
0613 Have lost the wager. Boldness be my friend.
0614 Arm me, audacity, from head to foot,
0615 Or like the Parthian I shall flying fight—
0616 Rather, directly fly.
IMOGEN reads: 0617 25He is one of the noblest note, to whose
0618 kindnesses I am most infinitely tied. Reflect upon
0619 him accordingly as you value your trust.
p. 470621 So far I read aloud.
0622 30 But even the very middle of my heart
0623 Is warmed by th’ rest and ⌜takes⌝ it thankfully.—
0624 You are as welcome, worthy sir, as I
0625 Have words to bid you, and shall find it so
0626 In all that I can do.
IACHIMO 0627 35 Thanks, fairest lady.—
0628 What, are men mad? Hath nature given them eyes
0629 To see this vaulted arch and the rich crop
0630 Of sea and land, which can distinguish ’twixt
0631 The fiery orbs above and the twinned stones
0632 40 Upon the numbered beach, and can we not
0633 Partition make with spectacles so precious
0634 ’Twixt fair and foul?
IMOGEN 0635 What makes your admiration?
0636 It cannot be i’ th’ eye, for apes and monkeys
0637 45 ’Twixt two such shes would chatter this way and
0638 Contemn with mows the other; nor i’ th’ judgment,
0639 For idiots in this case of favor would
0640 Be wisely definite; nor i’ th’ appetite—
0641 Sluttery to such neat excellence opposed
0642 50 Should make desire vomit emptiness,
0643 Not so allured to feed.
0644 What is the matter, trow?
IACHIMO 0645 The cloyèd will,
0646 That satiate yet unsatisfied desire, that tub
0647 55 Both filled and running, ravening first the lamb,
0648 Longs after for the garbage.
IMOGEN 0649 What, dear sir,
0650 Thus raps you? Are you well?
IACHIMO 0651 Thanks, madam, well.
0652 60 (⌜To Pisanio.⌝) Beseech you, sir,
0653 Desire my man’s abode where I did leave him.
0654 He’s strange and peevish.
p. 49PISANIO 0655 I was going, sir,
0656 To give him welcome.He exits.
0657 65 Continues well my lord? His health, beseech you?
IACHIMO 0658 Well, madam.
0659 Is he disposed to mirth? I hope he is.
0660 Exceeding pleasant. None a stranger there
0661 So merry and so gamesome. He is called
0662 70 The Briton Reveler.
IMOGEN 0663 When he was here
0664 He did incline to sadness, and ofttimes
0665 Not knowing why.
IACHIMO 0666 I never saw him sad.
0667 75 There is a Frenchman his companion, one
0668 An eminent monsieur that, it seems, much loves
0669 A Gallian girl at home. He furnaces
0670 The thick sighs from him, whiles the jolly Briton—
0671 Your lord, I mean—laughs from ’s free lungs, cries “O,
0672 80 Can my sides hold to think that man who knows
0673 By history, report, or his own proof
0674 What woman is, yea, what she cannot choose
0675 But must be, will ’s free hours languish for
0676 Assurèd bondage?”
IMOGEN 0677 85 Will my lord say so?
0678 Ay, madam, with his eyes in flood with laughter.
0679 It is a recreation to be by
0680 And hear him mock the Frenchman. But heavens
0682 90 Some men are much to blame.
IMOGEN 0683 Not he, I hope.
0684 Not he—but yet heaven’s bounty towards him might
0685 Be used more thankfully. In himself ’tis much;
p. 510686 In you, which I account his, beyond all talents.
0687 95 Whilst I am bound to wonder, I am bound
0688 To pity too.
IMOGEN 0689 What do you pity, sir?
0690 Two creatures heartily.
IMOGEN 0691 Am I one, sir?
0692 100 You look on me. What wrack discern you in me
0693 Deserves your pity?
IACHIMO 0694 Lamentable! What,
0695 To hide me from the radiant sun and solace
0696 I’ th’ dungeon by a snuff?
IMOGEN 0697 105 I pray you, sir,
0698 Deliver with more openness your answers
0699 To my demands. Why do you pity me?
IACHIMO 0700 That others do—
0701 I was about to say, enjoy your—but
0702 110 It is an office of the gods to venge it,
0703 Not mine to speak on ’t.
IMOGEN 0704 You do seem to know
0705 Something of me or what concerns me. Pray you,
0706 Since doubting things go ill often hurts more
0707 115 Than to be sure they do—for certainties
0708 Either are past remedies, or, timely knowing,
0709 The remedy then born—discover to me
0710 What both you spur and stop.
IACHIMO 0711 Had I this cheek
0712 120 To bathe my lips upon; this hand, whose touch,
0713 Whose every touch, would force the feeler’s soul
0714 To th’ oath of loyalty; this object which
0715 Takes prisoner the wild motion of mine eye,
0716 ⌜Fixing⌝ it only here; should I, damned then,
0717 125 Slaver with lips as common as the stairs
0718 That mount the Capitol, join gripes with hands
0719 Made hard with hourly falsehood—falsehood as
0720 With labor; then by-peeping in an eye
p. 530721 Base and ⌜illustrous⌝ as the smoky light
0722 130 That’s fed with stinking tallow; it were fit
0723 That all the plagues of hell should at one time
0724 Encounter such revolt.
IMOGEN 0725 My lord, I fear,
0726 Has forgot Britain.
IACHIMO 0727 135 And himself. Not I,
0728 Inclined to this intelligence, pronounce
0729 The beggary of his change, but ’tis your graces
0730 That from my mutest conscience to my tongue
0731 Charms this report out.
IMOGEN 0732 140 Let me hear no more.
0733 O dearest soul, your cause doth strike my heart
0734 With pity that doth make me sick. A lady
0735 So fair, and fastened to an empery
0736 Would make the great’st king double, to be partnered
0737 145 With tomboys hired with that self exhibition
0738 Which your own coffers yield, with diseased ventures
0739 That play with all infirmities for gold
0740 Which rottenness can lend nature; such boiled stuff
0741 As well might poison poison. Be revenged,
0742 150 Or she that bore you was no queen, and you
0743 Recoil from your great stock.
IMOGEN 0744 Revenged?
0745 How should I be revenged? If this be true—
0746 As I have such a heart that both mine ears
0747 155 Must not in haste abuse—if it be true,
0748 How should I be revenged?
IACHIMO 0749 Should he make me
0750 Live like Diana’s priest betwixt cold sheets,
0751 Whiles he is vaulting variable ramps,
0752 160 In your despite, upon your purse? Revenge it.
0753 I dedicate myself to your sweet pleasure,
0754 More noble than that runagate to your bed,
p. 550755 And will continue fast to your affection,
0756 Still close as sure.
IMOGEN 0757 165 What ho, Pisanio!
0758 Let me my service tender on your lips.
0759 Away! I do condemn mine ears that have
0760 So long attended thee. If thou wert honorable,
0761 Thou wouldst have told this tale for virtue, not
0762 170 For such an end thou seek’st, as base as strange.
0763 Thou wrong’st a gentleman who is as far
0764 From thy report as thou from honor, and
0765 Solicits here a lady that disdains
0766 Thee and the devil alike.—What ho, Pisanio!—
0767 175 The King my father shall be made acquainted
0768 Of thy assault. If he shall think it fit
0769 A saucy stranger in his court to mart
0770 As in a Romish stew and to expound
0771 His beastly mind to us, he hath a court
0772 180 He little cares for and a daughter who
0773 He not respects at all.—What ho, Pisanio!
0774 O happy Leonatus! I may say
0775 The credit that thy lady hath of thee
0776 Deserves thy trust, and thy most perfect goodness
0777 185 Her assured credit.—Blessèd live you long,
0778 A lady to the worthiest sir that ever
0779 Country called his; and you his mistress, only
0780 For the most worthiest fit. Give me your pardon.
0781 I have spoke this to know if your affiance
0782 190 Were deeply rooted, and shall make your lord
0783 That which he is, new o’er; and he is one
0784 The truest mannered, such a holy witch
0785 That he enchants societies into him.
0786 Half all ⌜men’s⌝ hearts are his.
IMOGEN 0787 195 You make amends.
0788 He sits ’mongst men like a ⌜descended⌝ god.
0789 He hath a kind of honor sets him off
0790 More than a mortal seeming. Be not angry,
0791 Most mighty princess, that I have adventured
0792 200 To try your taking of a false report, which hath
0793 Honored with confirmation your great judgment
0794 In the election of a sir so rare,
0795 Which you know cannot err. The love I bear him
0796 Made me to fan you thus, but the gods made you,
0797 205 Unlike all others, chaffless. Pray, your pardon.
0798 All’s well, sir. Take my power i’ th’ court for yours.
0799 My humble thanks. I had almost forgot
0800 T’ entreat your Grace but in a small request,
0801 And yet of moment too, for it concerns.
0802 210 Your lord, myself, and other noble friends
0803 Are partners in the business.
IMOGEN 0804 Pray, what is ’t?
0805 Some dozen Romans of us and your lord—
0806 The best feather of our wing—have mingled sums
0807 215 To buy a present for the Emperor;
0808 Which I, the factor for the rest, have done
0809 In France. ’Tis plate of rare device and jewels
0810 Of rich and exquisite form, their values great.
0811 And I am something curious, being strange,
0812 220 To have them in safe stowage. May it please you
0813 To take them in protection?
IMOGEN 0814 Willingly;
0815 And pawn mine honor for their safety. Since
0816 My lord hath interest in them, I will keep them
0817 225 In my bedchamber.
IACHIMO 0818 They are in a trunk
0819 Attended by my men. I will make bold
p. 590820 To send them to you, only for this night.
0821 I must aboard tomorrow.
IMOGEN 0822 230 O no, no.
0823 Yes, I beseech, or I shall short my word
0824 By length’ning my return. From Gallia
0825 I crossed the seas on purpose and on promise
0826 To see your Grace.
IMOGEN 0827 235 I thank you for your pains.
0828 But not away tomorrow.
IACHIMO 0829 O, I must, madam.
0830 Therefore I shall beseech you, if you please
0831 To greet your lord with writing, do ’t tonight.
0832 240 I have outstood my time, which is material
0833 To th’ tender of our present.
IMOGEN 0834 I will write.
0835 Send your trunk to me; it shall safe be kept
0836 And truly yielded you. You’re very welcome.