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Cymbeline Scenes

Scene 4

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.

Enter Jachimo.


See! Jachimo!


The swiftest harts have posted you by land,

And winds of all the corners kiss’d your sails,

To make your vessel nimble.


Welcome, sir.


I hope the briefness of your answer made

The speediness of your return.


Your lady

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.


More particulars

Must justify my knowledge.


So they must,

Or do your honor injury.


The chimney

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?


Very true,

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.


No swearing:

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—



Quite besides

The government of patience! You have won.

Let’s follow him, and pervert the present wrath

He hath against himself.


With all my heart.



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