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A father cruel and a stepdame false

A father cruel and a stepdame false,
A foolish suitor to a wedded lady
That hath her husband banished. O, that husband,
My supreme crown of grief and those repeated
Vexations of it! Had I been thief-stol’n,
As my two brothers, happy; but most miserable
Is the desire that’s glorious. Blessed be those,
How mean soe’er, that have their honest wills,
Which seasons comfort. Who may this be? Fie!
 Enter Pisanio and Iachimo.
Madam, a noble gentleman of Rome
Comes from my lord with letters.

Boldness be my friend.
Arm me, audacity, from head to foot

Change you, madam?
The worthy Leonatus is in safety
And greets your Highness dearly.
He gives her a letter.
Thanks, good sir.
You’re kindly welcome.
Iachimo, aside 
All of her that is out of door, most rich!
If she be furnished with a mind so rare,
She is alone th’ Arabian bird, and I
Have lost the wager. Boldness be my friend.
Arm me, audacity, from head to foot,
Or like the Parthian I shall flying fight—
Rather, directly fly.
Imogen reads:
He is one of the noblest note, to whose

kindnesses I am most infinitely tied. Reflect upon
him accordingly as you value your trust.
So far I read aloud.
But even the very middle of my heart
Is warmed by th’ rest and takes it thankfully.—
You are as welcome, worthy sir, as I
Have words to bid you, and shall find it so
In all that I can do.
Thanks, fairest lady.—
What, are men mad? Hath nature given them eyes
To see this vaulted arch and the rich crop
Of sea and land, which can distinguish ’twixt
The fiery orbs above and the twinned stones
Upon the numbered beach, and can we not
Partition make with spectacles so precious
’Twixt fair and foul?
What makes your admiration?
It cannot be i’ th’ eye, for apes and monkeys
’Twixt two such shes would chatter this way and
Contemn with mows the other; nor i’ th’ judgment,
For idiots in this case of favor would
Be wisely definite; nor i’ th’ appetite—
Sluttery to such neat excellence opposed
Should make desire vomit emptiness,
Not so allured to feed.
What is the matter, trow?
The cloyèd will,
That satiate yet unsatisfied desire, that tub
Both filled and running, ravening first the lamb,
Longs after for the garbage.
What, dear sir,
Thus raps you? Are you well?
Thanks, madam, well.
(To Pisanio.) Beseech you, sir,
Desire my man’s abode where I did leave him.
He’s strange and peevish.
I was going, sir,
To give him welcome.He exits.
Continues well my lord? His health, beseech you?
Well, madam.
Is he disposed to mirth? I hope he is.
Exceeding pleasant. None a stranger there
So merry and so gamesome. He is called
The Briton Reveler.
When he was here
He did incline to sadness, and ofttimes
Not knowing why.
I never saw him sad.
There is a Frenchman his companion, one
An eminent monsieur that, it seems, much loves
A Gallian girl at home. He furnaces
The thick sighs from him, whiles the jolly Briton—
Your lord, I mean—laughs from ’s free lungs, cries “O,
Can my sides hold to think that man who knows
By history, report, or his own proof
What woman is, yea, what she cannot choose
But must be, will ’s free hours languish for
Assurèd bondage?”
Will my lord say so?
Ay, madam, with his eyes in flood with laughter.
It is a recreation to be by
And hear him mock the Frenchman. But heavens know
Some men are much to blame.
Not he, I hope.
Not he—but yet heaven’s bounty towards him might
Be used more thankfully. In himself ’tis much;
In you, which I account his, beyond all talents.
Whilst I am bound to wonder, I am bound
To pity too.
What do you pity, sir?
Two creatures heartily.
Am I one, sir?
You look on me. What wrack discern you in me
Deserves your pity?
Lamentable! What,
To hide me from the radiant sun and solace
I’ th’ dungeon by a snuff?
I pray you, sir,
Deliver with more openness your answers
To my demands. Why do you pity me?
That others do—
I was about to say, enjoy your—but
It is an office of the gods to venge it,
Not mine to speak on ’t.

Act 1
Scene 6
Line 1

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