Britain. The Roman camp.
Posthumus, having believed Pisanio’s news of Imogen’s death, is distraught. He resolves to die in battle, and removes his Roman clothes to fight on the British side. (33 lines)
Enter Posthumus alone with a bloody handkerchief.
Yea, bloody cloth, I’ll keep thee, for I wish’d
Thou shouldst be color’d thus. You married ones,
If each of you should take this course, how many
Must murder wives much better than themselves
For wrying but a little! O Pisanio,
Every good servant does not all commands;
No bond, but to do just ones. Gods, if you
Should have ta’en vengeance on my faults, I never
Had liv’d to put on this; so had you saved
The noble Imogen to repent, and struck
Me, wretch, more worth your vengeance. But alack,
You snatch some hence for little faults; that’s love,
To have them fall no more: you some permit
To second ills with ills, each elder worse,
And make them dread it, to the doers’ thrift.
But Imogen is your own, do your best wills,
And make me blest to obey. I am brought hither
Among th’ Italian gentry, and to fight
Against my lady’s kingdom. ’Tis enough
That, Britain, I have kill’d thy mistress; peace,
I’ll give no wound to thee. Therefore, good heavens,
Hear patiently my purpose: I’ll disrobe me
Of these Italian weeds and suit myself
As does a Britain peasant; so I’ll fight
Against the part I come with; so I’ll die
For thee, O Imogen, even for whom my life
Is every breath a death; and thus, unknown,
Pitied nor hated, to the face of peril
Myself I’ll dedicate. Let me make men know
More valor in me than my habits show.
Gods, put the strength o’ th’ Leonati in me!
To shame the guise o’ th’ world, I will begin
The fashion: less without and more within.