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O most delicate fiend!

Who is 't can read a woman?-Is there more?
Cor. More, sir, and worse. She did confess
she had

For you a mortal mineral; which, being took,
Should by the minute feed on life, and lingering,
By inches waste you: in which time she purposed,
By watching, weeping, tendance, kissing, to
O'ercome you with her show: yes, and in time
(When she had fitted you with her craft) to work
Her son into the adoption of the crown.
But failing of her end by his strange absence,
Grew shameless-desperate; opened, in despite
Of heaven and men, her purposes; repented
The evils she hatched were not effected; so,
Despairing, died.


Heard you all this, her women? Lady. We did, so please your highness. Cym.

Mine eyes

Were not in fault, for she was beautiful;
Mine ears, that heard her flattery; nor my heart,
That thought her like her seeming: it had been


To have mistrusted her: yet, O my daughter!
That it was folly in me, thou mayst say,
And prove it in thy feeling. Heaven mend all!

Enter LUCIUS, IACHIMO, the Soothsayer, and other Roman prisoners, guarded: POSTHUMUS behind, and IMOGEN.

Thou com'st not, Caius, now for tribute; that The Britons have razed out, though with the loss Of many a bold one; whose kinsmen have made suit That their good souls may be appeased with


Of you their captives, which ourself have granted: So think of your estate.

Luc. Consider, sir, the chance of war: the day Was yours by accident; had it gone with us, We should not, when the blood was cool, have threatened

Our prisoners with the sword. But since the gods
Will have it thus, that nothing but our lives
May be called ransom, let it come: sufficeth,
A Roman with a Roman's heart can suffer:
Augustus lives to think on 't: and so much
For my peculiar care. This one thing only
I will entreat my boy, a Briton born,
Let him be ransomed: never master had
A page so kind, so duteous, diligent,
So tender over his occasions, true,
So feat, so nurse-like: let his virtue join
With my request, which, I'll make bold, your

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I have surely seen him;

His favour is familiar to me.-
Boy, thou hast looked thyself into my grace,
And art mine own. I know not why nor wherefore
To say live, boy: ne'er thank thy master; live:
And ask of Cymbeline what boon thou wilt,
Fitting my bounty and thy state, I'll give it;
Yea, though thou do demand a prisoner,
The noblest ta'en.

Imo. I humbly thank your highness. Luc. I do not bid thee beg my life, good lad; And yet I know thou wilt.

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Ay, with all my heart, And lend my best attention. What's thy name? Imo. Fidele, sir.

Cym. Thou art, my good youth, my page;
I'll be thy master: walk with me; speak freely.
[CYMBELINE and IMOGEN converse apart.
Bel. Is not this boy revived from death?
One sand another

Not more resembles that sweet rosy lad
Who died, and was Fidele. What think you?
Gui. The same dead thing alive.

Bel. Peace, peace! see further; he eyes us not;

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[CYMBELINE and IMOGEN come forward Come, stand thou by our side; Make thy demand aloud. -Sir [to IACHIMO], step you forth;

Give answer to this boy, and do it freely;

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Torments me to conceal. By villany

I got this ring: 'twas Leonatus' jewel;

Whom thou didst banish; and (which more may grieve thee,

As it doth me) a nobler sir ne'er lived
"Twixt sky and ground. Wilt thou hear more,
my lord?

Cym. All that belongs to this.

That paragon, thy daughter,

For whom my heart drops blood, and my false spirits Quail to remember,-Give me leave; I faint. Cym. My daughter! what of her? Renew thy strength:

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!)-'t was at a feast (O 'would Our viands had been poisoned! or, at least, Those which I heaved to head!)—the good Posthumus

(What should I say? he was too good to be
Where ill men were; and was the best of all
Amongst the rar'st of good ones), sitting sadly,
Hearing us praise our loves of Italy

For beauty that made barren the swelled 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:


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And then a mind put in 't, either our brags Were cracked of kitchen trulls, or his description Proved us unspeaking sots.


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 wagered with him Pieces of gold, 'gainst this, which then he wore Upon his honoured finger, to attain

In suit the place of his 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 his 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

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 prevailed,
That I returned 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 cracked,
I having ta'en the forfeit. Whereupon,—
Methinks I see him now,-

Ay, so thou dost,

[Coming forward.
Italian fiend!-Ah me, most credulous fool,
Egregious murderer, thief, anything
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 killed 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 called Posthumus Leonatus; and
Be villany less than 't was!-O Imogen!
My queen, my life, my wife! O Imogen
Imogen, Imogen!

Imo. Peace, my lord; hear, hear!

Post. Shall's have a play of this? Thou scornful page,

There lie thy part.

Which must approve thee honest: "If Pisanio
Have," said she, "given his mistress that confection
[Striking her: she falls. Which I gave him for cordial, she is served
As I would serve a rat."

O, gentlemen, help

Mine and your mistress, O, my lord Posthumus!
You ne'er killed Imogen till now.-Help, help!

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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.
Bel. My boys,

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First pay me for the nursing of thy sons;
And let it be confiscate all, so soon

As I have received it.

Cym. Nursing of my sons?

Bel. I am too blunt and saucy: here's my knee:

Ere I arise, I will prefer my sons;

Then spare not the old father. Mighty sir,
These two young gentlemen, that call me father,
And think they are my sons, are none of mine;
They are the issue of your loins, my liege,
And blood of your begetting.


How! my issue?

Bel. So sure as you your father's. I, old Morgan, Am that Belarius whom you sometime banished: Your pleasure was my mere offence, my punish


Itself, and all my treason; that I suffered,
Was all the harm I did. These gentle princes
(For such and so they are), these twenty years
Have I trained up: those arts they have as I
Could put into them; my breeding was, sir, as
Your highness knows. Their nurse, Euriphile,
Whom for the theft I wedded, stole these children
Upon my banishment: I moved her to 't;
Having received the punishment before
For that which I did then: beaten for loyalty
Excited me to treason: their dear loss,
The more of you 't was felt, the more it shaped
Unto my end of stealing them. But, gracious sir,
Here are your sons again: and I must lose
Two of the sweet'st companions in the world.
The benediction of these covering heavens

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A mother to the birth of three?
Rejoiced deliverance more !-Blessed may you be,
That, after this strange starting from your orbs,
You may reign in them now!-O Imogen,
Thou hast lost by this a kingdom.


No, my lord;

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But now my heavy conscience sinks my knee,
As then your force did. Take that life, 'beseech you,
Which I so often owe: but your ring first;
And here the bracelet of the truest princess

I have got two worlds by 't.-O, my gentle That ever swore her faith.

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As you did mean indeed to be our brother;
Joyed are we that you are.

Post. Your servant, princes.-Good my lord of

Call forth your soothsayer. As I slept, methought
Great Jupiter, upon his eagle back,
Appeared to me, with other sprightly shows
Of mine own kindred: when I waked, I found
This label on my bosom; whose containing
Is so from sense in hardness, that I can
Make no collection of it: let him shew
His skill in the construction.

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"When as a lion's whelp shall, to himself unknown, without seeking, find, and be embraced by a

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