Come, stand thou by our side
Cymbeline, to Imogen
Come, stand thou by our side.
Make thy demand aloud. (To Iachimo.) Sir, step you forth.
Give answer to this boy, and do it freely,
Or by our greatness and the grace of it,
Which is our honor, bitter torture shall
Winnow the truth from falsehood.—On. Speak to him.
Does the world go round?
Imogen, as Fidele, pointing to Iachimo’s hand
My boon is that this gentleman may render
Of whom he had this ring.
What’s that to him?
That diamond upon your finger, say
How came it yours.
Thou ’lt torture me to leave unspoken that
Which to be spoke would torture thee.
I am glad to be constrained to utter that
Which torments me to conceal. By villainy
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?
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.
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.
Upon a time—unhappy was the clock
That struck the hour!—it was in Rome—accursed
The mansion where!—’twas 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.
Come to the matter.
All too soon I shall,
Unless thou wouldst grieve quickly. This Posthumus,
Most like a noble lord in love and one
That had a royal lover, took his hint,
And, not dispraising whom we praised—therein
He was as calm as virtue—he began
His mistress’ picture; which by his tongue being made
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 th’ purpose.
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 honored finger, to attain
In suit the place of ’s bed and win this ring
By hers and mine adultery. He, true knight,
No lesser of her honor 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 ’s 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 villainous. Being thus quenched
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—
Posthumus, coming forward
Ay, so thou dost,
Italian fiend.—Ay 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 th’ abhorrèd things o’ th’ Earth amend
By being worse than they. I am Posthumus,
That killed thy daughter—villainlike, 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’ th’ street to bay me. Every villain
Be called Posthumus Leonatus, and
Be villainy less than ’twas. O Imogen!
My queen, my life, my wife! O Imogen,
Imogen, running to Posthumus
Peace, my lord!
Shall ’s have a play of this? Thou scornful page,
There lie thy part.
He pushes her away; she falls.
O, gentlemen, help!—
Mine and your mistress! O my lord Posthumus,
You ne’er killed Imogen till now! Help, help!
Mine honored lady—
Does the world go round?