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Cymbeline - Act 2, scene 4
Last updated: Fri, Jul 31, 2015
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Navigate this workCymbeline - Act 2, scene 4
Act 2, scene 4
Iachimo returns to Rome with his proofs of Imogen’s unfaithfulness: descriptions of her bedroom and of private marks on her body, and, most damaging, the bracelet that Posthumus had given her. Posthumus, enraged with jealousy, relinquishes his diamond ring to Iachimo and swears to take revenge on Imogen.Enter Posthumus and Philario.
1137 Fear it not, sir. I would I were so sure
1138 To win the King as I am bold her honor
1139 Will remain hers.
PHILARIO 1140 What means do you make to him?
1141 5 Not any, but abide the change of time,
1142 Quake in the present winter’s state, and wish
1143 That warmer days would come. In these feared
1145 I barely gratify your love; they failing,
1146 10 I must die much your debtor.
1147 Your very goodness and your company
1148 O’erpays all I can do. By this, your king
1149 Hath heard of great Augustus. Caius Lucius
1150 Will do ’s commission throughly. And I think
1151 15 He’ll grant the tribute, send th’ arrearages,
1152 Or look upon our Romans, whose remembrance
1153 Is yet fresh in their grief.
POSTHUMUS 1154 I do believe,
1155 Statist though I am none nor like to be,
1156 20 That this will prove a war; and you shall hear
1157 The legion now in Gallia sooner landed
1158 In our not-fearing Britain than have tidings
1159 Of any penny tribute paid. Our countrymen
1160 Are men more ordered than when Julius Caesar
1161 25 Smiled at their lack of skill but found their courage
1162 Worthy his frowning at. Their discipline,
1163 Now ⌜wingèd⌝ with their courages, will make known
1164 To their approvers they are people such
1165 That mend upon the world.
PHILARIO 1166 30 See, Iachimo!
1167 The swiftest harts have posted you by land,
1168 And winds of all the corners kissed your sails
1169 To make your vessel nimble.
PHILARIO 1170 Welcome, sir.
1171 35 I hope the briefness of your answer made
1172 The speediness of your return.
IACHIMO 1173 Your lady
1174 Is one of the fairest that I have looked upon.
1175 And therewithal the best, or let her beauty
1176 40 Look thorough a casement to allure false hearts
1177 And be false with them.
p. 87IACHIMO, ⌜handing him a paper⌝ 1178 Here are letters for you.
1179 Their tenor good, I trust.
IACHIMO 1180 ’Tis very like.
⌜Posthumus reads the letter.⌝
1181 45 Was Caius Lucius in the Briton court
1182 When you were there?
1183 He was expected then, but not approached.
POSTHUMUS 1184 All is well yet.
1185 Sparkles this stone as it was wont, or is ’t not
1186 50 Too dull for your good wearing?
⌜He indicates his ring.⌝
IACHIMO 1187 If I have lost it,
1188 I should have lost the worth of it in gold.
1189 I’ll make a journey twice as far t’ enjoy
1190 A second night of such sweet shortness which
1191 55 Was mine in Britain, for the ring is won.
1192 The stone’s too hard to come by.
IACHIMO 1193 Not a whit,
1194 Your lady being so easy.
POSTHUMUS 1195 Make ⌜not,⌝ sir,
1196 60 Your loss your sport. I hope you know that we
1197 Must not continue friends.
IACHIMO 1198 Good sir, we must,
1199 If you keep covenant. Had I not brought
1200 The knowledge of your mistress home, I grant
1201 65 We were to question farther; but I now
1202 Profess myself the winner of her honor,
1203 Together with your ring, and not the wronger
1204 Of her or you, having proceeded but
1205 By both your wills.
POSTHUMUS 1206 70 If you can make ’t apparent
1207 That ⌜you⌝ have tasted her in bed, my hand
p. 891208 And ring is yours. If not, the foul opinion
1209 You had of her pure honor gains or loses
1210 Your sword or mine, or masterless leave both
1211 75 To who shall find them.
IACHIMO 1212 Sir, my circumstances,
1213 Being so near the truth as I will make them,
1214 Must first induce you to believe; whose strength
1215 I will confirm with oath, which I doubt not
1216 80 You’ll give me leave to spare when you shall find
1217 You need it not.
POSTHUMUS 1218 Proceed.
IACHIMO 1219 First, her bedchamber—
1220 Where I confess I slept not, but profess
1221 85 Had that was well worth watching—it was hanged
1222 With tapestry of silk and silver, the story
1223 Proud Cleopatra when she met her Roman
1224 And Cydnus swelled above the banks, or for
1225 The press of boats or pride. A piece of work
1226 90 So bravely done, so rich, that it did strive
1227 In workmanship and value, which I wondered
1228 Could be so rarely and exactly wrought
1229 Since the true life on ’t was—
POSTHUMUS 1230 This is true,
1231 95 And this you might have heard of here, by me
1232 Or by some other.
IACHIMO 1233 More particulars
1234 Must justify my knowledge.
POSTHUMUS 1235 So they must,
1236 100 Or do your honor injury.
IACHIMO 1237 The chimney
1238 Is south the chamber, and the chimney-piece
1239 Chaste Dian bathing. Never saw I figures
1240 So likely to report themselves; the cutter
1241 105 Was as another Nature, dumb, outwent her,
1242 Motion and breath left out.
p. 91POSTHUMUS 1243 This is a thing
1244 Which you might from relation likewise reap,
1245 Being, as it is, much spoke of.
IACHIMO 1246 110 The roof o’ th’ chamber
1247 With golden cherubins is fretted. Her andirons—
1248 I had forgot them—were two winking Cupids
1249 Of silver, each on one foot standing, nicely
1250 Depending on their brands.
POSTHUMUS 1251 115 This is her honor?
1252 Let it be granted you have seen all this—and praise
1253 Be given to your remembrance—the description
1254 Of what is in her chamber nothing saves
1255 The wager you have laid.
IACHIMO 1256 120 Then if you can
1257 Be pale, I beg but leave to air this jewel. See—
⌜He shows the bracelet.⌝
1258 And now ’tis up again. It must be married
1259 To that your diamond. I’ll keep them.
POSTHUMUS 1260 Jove!
1261 125 Once more let me behold it. Is it that
1262 Which I left with her?
IACHIMO 1263 Sir, I thank her, that.
1264 She stripped it from her arm. I see her yet.
1265 Her pretty action did outsell her gift
1266 130 And yet enriched it too. She gave it me
1267 And said she prized it once.
POSTHUMUS 1268 Maybe she plucked it off
1269 To send it me.
IACHIMO 1270 She writes so to you, doth she?
1271 135 O, no, no, no, ’tis true. Here, take this too.
⌜He gives Iachimo the ring.⌝
1272 It is a basilisk unto mine eye,
1273 Kills me to look on ’t. Let there be no honor
1274 Where there is beauty, truth where semblance, love
1275 Where there’s another man. The vows of women
p. 931276 140 Of no more bondage be to where they are made
1277 Than they are to their virtues, which is nothing.
1278 O, above measure false!
PHILARIO 1279 Have patience, sir,
1280 And take your ring again. ’Tis not yet won.
1281 145 It may be probable she lost it; or
1282 Who knows if one her women, being corrupted,
1283 Hath stol’n it from her.
POSTHUMUS 1284 Very true,
1285 And so I hope he came by ’t.—Back, my ring!
⌜He takes back the ring.⌝
1286 150 Render to me some corporal sign about her
1287 More evident than this, for this was stol’n.
1288 By Jupiter, I had it from her arm.
1289 Hark you, he swears! By Jupiter he swears.
1290 ’Tis true—nay, keep the ring—’tis true.
⌜He holds out the ring.⌝
1291 155 I am sure
1292 She would not lose it. Her attendants are
1293 All sworn and honorable. They induced to steal it?
1294 And by a stranger? No, he hath enjoyed her.
1295 The cognizance of her incontinency
1296 160 Is this. She hath bought the name of whore thus
1298 There, take thy hire, and all the fiends of hell
1299 Divide themselves between you!
⌜He gives the ring to Iachimo.⌝
PHILARIO 1300 Sir, be patient.
1301 165 This is not strong enough to be believed
1302 Of one persuaded well of.
POSTHUMUS 1303 Never talk on ’t.
1304 She hath been colted by him.
IACHIMO 1305 If you seek
1306 170 For further satisfying, under her breast,
p. 951307 Worthy ⌜the⌝ pressing, lies a mole, right proud
1308 Of that most delicate lodging. By my life,
1309 I kissed it, and it gave me present hunger
1310 To feed again, though full. You do remember
1311 175 This stain upon her?
POSTHUMUS 1312 Ay, and it doth confirm
1313 Another stain as big as hell can hold,
1314 Were there no more but it.
IACHIMO 1315 Will you hear more?
POSTHUMUS 1316 180Spare your arithmetic;
1317 Never count the turns. Once, and a million!
IACHIMO 1318 I’ll be sworn—
POSTHUMUS 1319 No swearing.
1320 If you will swear you have not done ’t, you lie,
1321 185 And I will kill thee if thou dost deny
1322 Thou ’st made me cuckold.
IACHIMO 1323 I’ll deny nothing.
1324 O, that I had her here, to tear her limb-meal!
1325 I will go there and do ’t i’ th’ court, before
1326 190 Her father. I’ll do something.He exits.
PHILARIO 1327 Quite beside
1328 The government of patience. You have won.
1329 Let’s follow him and pervert the present wrath
1330 He hath against himself.
IACHIMO 1331 195 With all my heart.