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Cymbeline Scenes

Scene 1

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.



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