Cymbeline - Act 3, scene 5
Last updated: Fri, Jul 31, 2015
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Act 3, scene 5
When Imogen’s absence from court is discovered, Cloten forces Pisanio to tell him where she is. Pisanio shows him the letter instructing Imogen to go to Milford Haven to meet Posthumus. Cloten demands that Pisanio provide him with Posthumus’s clothing, so that, dressed in Posthumus’s garments, he may take revenge on Imogen by killing Posthumus, raping Imogen, and then dragging her back to court.Enter Cymbeline, Queen, Cloten, Lucius, Lords, ⌜and
1884 Thus far, and so farewell.
LUCIUS 1885 Thanks, royal sir.
1886 My emperor hath wrote I must from hence,
1887 And am right sorry that I must report you
1888 5 My master’s enemy.
CYMBELINE 1889 Our subjects, sir,
1890 Will not endure his yoke, and for ourself
1891 To show less sovereignty than they must needs
1892 Appear unkinglike.
LUCIUS 1893 10 So, sir. I desire of you
1894 A conduct overland to Milford Haven.—
1895 Madam, all joy befall your Grace—and you.
CYMBELINE, ⌜to Lords⌝
1896 My lords, you are appointed for that office.
1897 The due of honor in no point omit.—
1898 15 So, farewell, noble Lucius.
LUCIUS, ⌜to Cloten⌝ 1899 Your hand, my lord.
1900 Receive it friendly, but from this time forth
1901 I wear it as your enemy.
LUCIUS 1902 Sir, the event
1903 20 Is yet to name the winner. Fare you well.
1904 Leave not the worthy Lucius, good my lords,
1905 Till he have crossed the Severn. Happiness!
Exit Lucius ⌜and Lords.⌝
1906 He goes hence frowning, but it honors us
1907 That we have given him cause.
CLOTEN 1908 25 ’Tis all the better.
1909 Your valiant Britons have their wishes in it.
1910 Lucius hath wrote already to the Emperor
1911 How it goes here. It fits us therefore ripely
1912 Our chariots and our horsemen be in readiness.
1913 30 The powers that he already hath in Gallia
1914 Will soon be drawn to head, from whence he moves
1915 His war for Britain.
QUEEN 1916 ’Tis not sleepy business,
1917 But must be looked to speedily and strongly.
1918 35 Our expectation that it would be thus
1919 Hath made us forward. But, my gentle queen,
1920 Where is our daughter? She hath not appeared
1921 Before the Roman, nor to us hath tendered
1922 The duty of the day. She ⌜looks⌝ us like
1923 40 A thing more made of malice than of duty.
1924 We have noted it.—Call her before us, for
1925 We have been too slight in sufferance.
⌜An Attendant exits.⌝
QUEEN 1926 Royal sir,
1927 Since the exile of Posthumus, most retired
1928 45 Hath her life been, the cure whereof, my lord,
1929 ’Tis time must do. Beseech your Majesty,
1930 Forbear sharp speeches to her. She’s a lady
1931 So tender of rebukes that words are ⌜strokes⌝
1932 And strokes death to her.
1934 Can her contempt be answered?
⌜ATTENDANT⌝ 1935 Please you, sir,
1936 Her chambers are all locked, and there’s no answer
1937 That will be given to th’ ⌜loud’st⌝ noise we make.
1938 55 My lord, when last I went to visit her,
1939 She prayed me to excuse her keeping close;
1940 Whereto constrained by her infirmity,
1941 She should that duty leave unpaid to you
1942 Which daily she was bound to proffer. This
1943 60 She wished me to make known, but our great court
1944 Made me to blame in memory.
CYMBELINE 1945 Her doors locked?
1946 Not seen of late? Grant, heavens, that which I
1947 Fear prove false!He exits ⌜with Attendant.⌝
QUEEN 1948 65 Son, I say, follow the King.
1949 That man of hers, Pisanio, her old servant
1950 I have not seen these two days.
QUEEN 1951 Go, look after.
1952 ⌜Aside.⌝ Pisanio, thou that stand’st so for Posthumus—
1953 70 He hath a drug of mine. I pray his absence
1954 Proceed by swallowing that, for he believes
1955 It is a thing most precious. But for her,
1956 Where is she gone? Haply despair hath seized her,
1957 Or, winged with fervor of her love, she’s flown
1958 75 To her desired Posthumus. Gone she is
1959 To death or to dishonor, and my end
1960 Can make good use of either. She being down,
1961 I have the placing of the British crown.
1962 How now, my son?
CLOTEN 1963 80 ’Tis certain she is fled.
1965 Dare come about him.
QUEEN, ⌜aside⌝ 1966 All the better. May
1967 This night forestall him of the coming day!
Queen exits, ⌜with Attendants.⌝
1968 85 I love and hate her, for she’s fair and royal,
1969 And that she hath all courtly parts more exquisite
1970 Than lady, ladies, woman. From every one
1971 The best she hath, and she, of all compounded,
1972 Outsells them all. I love her therefore, but
1973 90 Disdaining me and throwing favors on
1974 The low Posthumus slanders so her judgment
1975 That what’s else rare is choked. And in that point
1976 I will conclude to hate her, nay, indeed,
1977 To be revenged upon her. For, when fools
1978 95 Shall—
1979 Who is here? What, are you packing, sirrah?
1980 Come hither. Ah, you precious pander! Villain,
1981 Where is thy lady? In a word, or else
1982 Thou art straightway with the fiends.
⌜He draws his sword.⌝
PISANIO 1983 100 O, good my lord—
1984 Where is thy lady? Or, by Jupiter—
1985 I will not ask again. Close villain,
1986 I’ll have this secret from thy heart or rip
1987 Thy heart to find it. Is she with Posthumus,
1988 105 From whose so many weights of baseness cannot
1989 A dram of worth be drawn?
PISANIO 1990 Alas, my lord,
1991 How can she be with him? When was she missed?
1992 He is in Rome.
CLOTEN 1993 110 Where is she, sir? Come nearer.
1995 What is become of her.
1996 O, my all-worthy lord!
CLOTEN 1997 All-worthy villain!
1998 115 Discover where thy mistress is at once,
1999 At the next word. No more of “worthy lord”!
2000 Speak, or thy silence on the instant is
2001 Thy condemnation and thy death.
PISANIO 2002 Then, sir,
2003 120 This paper is the history of my knowledge
2004 Touching her flight.⌜He gives Cloten a paper.⌝
CLOTEN 2005 Let’s see ’t. I will pursue her
2006 Even to Augustus’ throne.
PISANIO, ⌜aside⌝ 2007 Or this or perish.
2008 125 She’s far enough, and what he learns by this
2009 May prove his travail, not her danger.
CLOTEN 2010 Humh!
2011 I’ll write to my lord she’s dead. O Imogen,
2012 Safe mayst thou wander, safe return again!
CLOTEN 2013 130Sirrah, is this letter true?
PISANIO 2014 Sir, as I think.
CLOTEN 2015 It is Posthumus’ hand, I know ’t. Sirrah, if
2016 thou wouldst not be a villain, but do me true service,
2017 undergo those employments wherein I should
2018 135 have cause to use thee with a serious industry—
2019 that is, what villainy soe’er I bid thee do to perform
2020 it directly and truly—I would think thee an honest
2021 man. Thou shouldst neither want my means for thy
2022 relief nor my voice for thy preferment.
PISANIO 2023 140Well, my good lord.
CLOTEN 2024 Wilt thou serve me? For since patiently and
2025 constantly thou hast stuck to the bare fortune of
2026 that beggar Posthumus, thou canst not in the
2027 course of gratitude but be a diligent follower of
2028 145 mine. Wilt thou serve me?
CLOTEN 2030 Give me thy hand. Here’s my purse. ⌜Gives
him money.⌝ 2031 Hast any of thy late master’s garments
2032 in thy possession?
PISANIO 2033 150I have, my lord, at my lodging the same suit he
2034 wore when he took leave of my lady and mistress.
CLOTEN 2035 The first service thou dost me, fetch that suit
2036 hither. Let it be thy first service. Go.
PISANIO 2037 I shall, my lord.He exits.
CLOTEN 2038 155Meet thee at Milford Haven!—I forgot to ask
2039 him one thing; I’ll remember ’t anon. Even there,
2040 thou villain Posthumus, will I kill thee. I would
2041 these garments were come. She said upon a time—
2042 the bitterness of it I now belch from my heart—
2043 160 that she held the very garment of Posthumus in
2044 more respect than my noble and natural person,
2045 together with the adornment of my qualities. With
2046 that suit upon my back will I ravish her. First, kill
2047 him, and in her eyes. There shall she see my valor,
2048 165 which will then be a torment to her contempt.
2049 He on the ground, my speech of insultment
2050 ended on his dead body, and when my lust hath
2051 dined—which, as I say, to vex her I will execute
2052 in the clothes that she so praised—to the court
2053 170 I’ll knock her back, foot her home again. She hath
2054 despised me rejoicingly, and I’ll be merry in my
Enter Pisanio ⌜with the clothes.⌝
2056 Be those the garments?
PISANIO 2057 Ay, my noble lord.
CLOTEN 2058 175How long is ’t since she went to Milford Haven?
PISANIO 2059 She can scarce be there yet.
CLOTEN 2060 Bring this apparel to my chamber; that is the
2061 second thing that I have commanded thee. The
2062 third is that thou wilt be a voluntary mute to my
2064 tender itself to thee. My revenge is now at Milford.
2065 Would I had wings to follow it! Come, and be true.
2066 Thou bidd’st me to my loss, for true to thee
2067 Were to prove false, which I will never be,
2068 185 To him that is most true. To Milford go,
2069 And find not her whom thou pursuest. Flow, flow,
2070 You heavenly blessings, on her. This fool’s speed
2071 Be crossed with slowness. Labor be his meed.