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Cymbeline Scenes

Scene 3

Britain. A room in Cymbeline’s palace.

(Imogen; Pisanio; Helen)

Pisanio describes Posthumus’s departure to Imogen. She is distraught that they were separated by Cymbeline before she could finish saying her farewell properly. (48 lines)

Enter Imogen and Pisanio.


I would thou grew’st unto the shores o’ th’ haven,

And questionedst every sail. If he should write

And I not have it, ’twere a paper lost

As offer’d mercy is. What was the last

That he spake to thee?


It was his queen, his queen!


Then wav’d his handkerchief?


And kiss’d it, madam.


Senseless linen, happier therein than I!

And that was all?


No, madam; for so long

As he could make me with this eye or ear

Distinguish him from others, he did keep

The deck, with glove or hat or handkerchief

Still waving, as the fits and stirs of ’s mind

Could best express how slow his soul sail’d on,

How swift his ship.


Thou shouldst have made him

As little as a crow, or less, ere left

To after-eye him.


Madam, so I did.


I would have broke mine eye-strings, crack’d them, but

To look upon him, till the diminution

Of space had pointed him sharp as my needle;

Nay, followed him till he had melted from

The smallness of a gnat to air, and then

Have turn’d mine eye and wept. But, good Pisanio,

When shall we hear from him?


Be assur’d, madam,

With his next vantage.


I did not take my leave of him, but had

Most pretty things to say. Ere I could tell him

How I would think on him at certain hours

Such thoughts and such; or I could make him swear

The shes of Italy should not betray

Mine interest and his honor; or have charg’d him,

At the sixth hour of morn, at noon, at midnight,

T’ encounter me with orisons, for then

I am in heaven for him; or ere I could

Give him that parting kiss which I had set

Betwixt two charming words, comes in my father,

And like the tyrannous breathing of the north

Shakes all our buds from growing.

Enter Helen.


The Queen, madam,

Desires your Highness’ company.


Those things I bid you do, get them dispatch’d,

I will attend the Queen.


Madam, I shall.



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