Rome. Philario’s house.
(Posthumus; Philario; Jachimo)
Philario and Posthumus discuss the bet and the political situation, which they think will soon lead to war between Rome and Britain. Jachimo returns at once to report success in seducing Imogen. Posthumus refuses to believe the story until Jachimo shows him the bracelet. Posthumus gives Jachimo Imogen’s ring. (193 lines)
Enter Posthumus and Philario.
Fear it not, sir. I would I were so sure
To win the King as I am bold her honor
Will remain hers.
What means do you make to him?
Not any; but abide the change of time,
Quake in the present winter’s state, and wish
That warmer days would come. In these fear’d hopes
I barely gratify your love; they failing,
I must die much your debtor.
Your very goodness and your company
O’erpays all I can do. By this, your king
Hath heard of great Augustus. Caius Lucius
Will do ’s commission throughly. And I think
He’ll grant the tribute, send th’ arrearages,
Or look upon our Romans, whose remembrance
Is yet fresh in their grief.
I do believe
(Statist though I am none, nor like to be)
That this will prove a war; and you shall hear
The legion now in Gallia sooner landed
In our not-fearing Britain than have tidings
Of any penny tribute paid. Our countrymen
Are men more order’d than when Julius Caesar
Smil’d at their lack of skill, but found their courage
Worthy his frowning at. Their discipline
(Now wing-led with their courages) will make known
To their approvers they are people such
That mend upon the world.
The swiftest harts have posted you by land,
And winds of all the corners kiss’d your sails,
To make your vessel nimble.
I hope the briefness of your answer made
The speediness of your return.
Is one of the fairest that I have look’d upon.
And therewithal the best, or let her beauty
Look thorough a casement to allure false hearts,
And be false with them.
Here are letters for you.
Their tenure good, I trust.
’Tis very like.
Was Caius Lucius in the Britain court
When you were there?
He was expected then,
But not approach’d.
All is well yet.
Sparkles this stone as it was wont, or is’t not
Too dull for your good wearing?
If I have lost it,
I should have lost the worth of it in gold.
I’ll make a journey twice as far, t’ enjoy
A second night of such sweet shortness which
Was mine in Britain, for the ring is won.
The stone’s too hard to come by.
Not a whit,
Your lady being so easy.
Make not, sir,
Your loss your sport. I hope you know that we
Must not continue friends.
Good sir, we must,
If you keep covenant. Had I not brought
The knowledge of your mistress home, I grant
We were to question farther; but I now
Profess myself the winner of her honor,
Together with your ring; and not the wronger
Of her or you, having proceeded but
By both your wills.
If you can make’t apparent
That you have tasted her in bed, my hand
And ring is yours; if not, the foul opinion
You had of her pure honor gains or loses
Your sword or mine, or masterless leave both
To who shall find them.
Sir, my circumstances,
Being so near the truth as I will make them,
Must first induce you to believe; whose strength
I will confirm with oath, which I doubt not
You’ll give me leave to spare when you shall find
You need it not.
First, her bedchamber
(Where I confess I slept not, but profess
Had that was well worth watching), it was hang’d
With tapestry of silk and silver; the story
Proud Cleopatra, when she met her Roman,
And Cydnus swell’d above the banks, or for
The press of boats or pride. A piece of work
So bravely done, so rich, that it did strive
In workmanship and value, which I wonder’d
Could be so rarely and exactly wrought,
Since the true life on’t was—
This is true;
And this you might have heard of here, by me,
Or by some other.
Must justify my knowledge.
So they must,
Or do your honor injury.
Is south the chamber, and the chimney-piece
Chaste Dian bathing. Never saw I figures
So likely to report themselves. The cutter
Was as another Nature, dumb; outwent her,
Motion and breath left out.
This is a thing
Which you might from relation likewise reap,
Being, as it is, much spoke of.
The roof o’ th’ chamber
With golden cherubins is fretted. Her andirons
(I had forgot them) were two winking Cupids
Of silver, each on one foot standing, nicely
Depending on their brands.
This is her honor!
Let it be granted you have seen all this (and praise
Be given to your remembrance), the description
Of what is in her chamber nothing saves
The wager you have laid.
Then if you can
Showing the bracelet.
Be pale, I beg but leave to air this jewel. See!
And now ’tis up again. It must be married
To that your diamond, I’ll keep them.
Once more let me behold it. Is it that
Which I left with her?
Sir (I thank her), that.
She stripp’d it from her arm. I see her yet:
Her pretty action did outsell her gift,
And yet enrich’d it too. She gave it me, and said
She priz’d it once.
May be she pluck’d it off
To send it me.
She writes so to you? Doth she?
O no, no, no, ’tis true. Here, take this too,
Gives the ring.
It is a basilisk unto mine eye,
Kills me to look on’t. Let there be no honor
Where there is beauty; truth, where semblance; love,
Where there’s another man. The vows of women
Of no more bondage be to where they are made
Than they are to their virtues, which is nothing.
O, above measure false!
Have patience, sir,
And take your ring again, ’tis not yet won.
It may be probable she lost it; or
Who knows if one her women, being corrupted,
Hath stol’n it from her?
And so I hope he came by’t. Back my ring!
Render to me some corporal sign about her,
More evident than this; for this was stol’n.
By Jupiter, I had it from her arm.
Hark you, he swears; by Jupiter he swears.
’Tis true—nay, keep the ring—’tis true. I am sure
She would not lose it. Her attendants are
All sworn and honorable. They induc’d to steal it?
And by a stranger? No, he hath enjoye’d her.
The cognizance of her incontinency
Is this. She hath bought the name of whore thus dearly.
There, take thy hire, and all the fiends of hell
Divide themselves between you!
Sir, be patient.
This is not strong enough to be believ’d
Of one persuaded well of.
Never talk on’t:
She hath been colted by him.
If you seek
For further satisfying, under her breast
(Worthy her pressing) lies a mole, right proud
Of that most delicate lodging. By my life,
I kiss’d it, and it gave me present hunger
To feed again, though full. You do remember
This stain upon her?
Ay, and it doth confirm
Another stain, as big as hell can hold,
Were there no more but it.
Will you hear more?
Spare your arithmetic, never count the turns.
Once, and a million!
I’ll be sworn.
If you will swear you have not done’t, you lie,
And I will kill thee if thou dost deny
Thou’st made me cuckold.
I’ll deny nothing.
O that I had her here, to tear her limb-meal!
I will go there and do’t, i’ th’ court, before
Her father. I’ll do something—
The government of patience! You have won.
Let’s follow him, and pervert the present wrath
He hath against himself.
With all my heart.