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Cymbeline Scenes

Scene 3

Britain. An antechamber adjoining Imogen’s apartment in Cymbeline’s palace.

(Cloten; First Lord; Second Lord; Singer; Musicians; Cymbeline; Queen; Messenger; Helen; Imogen; Pisanio)

Cloten has his musicians serenade Imogen. Cymbeline is informed that ambassadors from Rome have arrived. Imogen comes forth and scorns Cloten as a fool. She tells Pisanio to search for her lost bracelet. Cloten mutters at Imogen’s remark that her husband’s “meanest garment” is dearer to her than Cloten. (158 lines)

Enter Cloten and Lords.

1. LORD.

Your lordship is the most patient man in loss, the most coldest that ever turn’d up ace.


It would make any man cold to lose.

1. LORD.

But not every man patient after the noble temper of your lordship. You are most hot and furious when you win.


Winning will put any man into courage. If I could get this foolish Imogen, I should have gold enough. It’s almost morning, is’t not?

1. LORD.

Day, my lord.


I would this music would come. I am advis’d to give her music a’ mornings; they say it will penetrate.

Enter Musicians.

Come on, tune. If you can penetrate her with your fingering, so; we’ll try with tongue too. If none will do, let her remain; but I’ll never give o’er. First, a very excellent good conceited thing; after, a wonderful sweet air, with admirable rich words to it—and then let her consider.



Hark, hark, the lark at heaven’s gate sings,

And Phoebus gins arise,

His steeds to water at those springs

On chalic’d flow’rs that lies;

And winking Mary-buds begin to ope

their golden eyes;

With every thing that pretty is, my lady sweet, arise:

Arise, arise!


So, get you gone. If this penetrate, I will consider your music the better; if it do not, it is a vice in her ears, which horsehairs and calves’-guts, nor the voice of unpav’d eunuch to boot, can never amend.

Exeunt Musicians.

Enter Cymbeline and Queen.

2. LORD.

Here comes the King.


I am glad I was up so late, for that’s the reason I was up so early. He cannot choose but take this service I have done fatherly.—Good morrow to your Majesty, and to my gracious mother!


Attend you here the door of our stern daughter?

Will she not forth?


I have assail’d her with musics, but she vouchsafes no notice.


The exile of her minion is too new,

She hath not yet forgot him. Some more time

Must wear the print of his remembrance on’t,

And then she’s yours.


You are most bound to th’ King,

Who lets go by no vantages that may

Prefer you to his daughter. Frame yourself

To orderly solicits, and be friended

With aptness of the season; make denials

Increase your services; so seem as if

You were inspir’d to do those duties which

You tender to her; that you in all obey her,

Save when command to your dismission tends,

And therein you are senseless.


Senseless? Not so.

Enter a Messenger.


So like you, sir, ambassadors from Rome;

The one is Caius Lucius.


A worthy fellow,

Albeit he comes on angry purpose now;

But that’s no fault of his. We must receive him

According to the honor of his sender,

And towards himself, his goodness forespent on us,

We must extend our notice. Our dear son,

When you have given good morning to your mistress,

Attend the Queen and us; we shall have need

T’ employ you towards this Roman. Come, our queen.

Exeunt all but Cloten.


If she be up, I’ll speak with her; if not,

Let her lie still and dream.


By your leave ho!

I know her women are about her; what

If I do line one of their hands? ’Tis gold

Which buys admittance (oft it doth), yea, and makes

Diana’s rangers false themselves, yield up

Their deer to th’ stand o’ th’ stealer; and ’tis gold

Which makes the true man kill’d and saves the thief;

Nay, sometime hangs both thief and true man. What

Can it not do, and undo? I will make

One of her women lawyer to me, for

I yet not understand the case myself.

By your leave.


Enter Helen.


Who’s there that knocks?


A gentleman.


No more?


Yes, and a gentlewoman’s son.


That’s more

Than some, whose tailors are as dear as yours,

Can justly boast of. What’s your lordship’s pleasure?


Your lady’s person. Is she ready?



To keep her chamber.


There is gold for you,

Sell me your good report.


How, my good name? Or to report of you

What I shall think is good?—The Princess.

Enter Imogen.


Good morrow, fairest: sister, your sweet hand.

Exit Helen.


Good morrow, sir. You lay out too much pains

For purchasing but trouble. The thanks I give

Is telling you that I am poor of thanks,

And scarce can spare them.


Still I swear I love you.


If you but said so, ’twere as deep with me.

If you swear still, your recompense is still

That I regard it not.


This is no answer.


But that you shall not say I yield being silent,

I would not speak. I pray you spare me. Faith,

I shall unfold equal discourtesy

To your best kindness; one of your great knowing

Should learn, being taught, forbearance.


To leave you in your madness, ’twere my sin;

I will not.


Fools are not mad folks.


Do you call me fool?


As I am mad, I do.

If you’ll be patient, I’ll no more be mad;

That cures us both. I am much sorry, sir,

You put me to forget a lady’s manners

By being so verbal; and learn now, for all,

That I, which know my heart, do here pronounce

By th’ very truth of it, I care not for you,

And am so near the lack of charity

To accuse myself I hate you; which I had rather

You felt than make’t my boast.


You sin against

Obedience, which you owe your father. For

The contract you pretend with that base wretch,

One bred of alms and foster’d with cold dishes,

With scraps o’ th’ court, it is no contract, none;

And though it be allowed in meaner parties

(Yet who than he more mean?) to knit their souls

(On whom there is no more dependency

But brats and beggary) in self-figur’d knot,

Yet you are curb’d from that enlargement by

The consequence o’ th’ crown, and must not foil

The precious note of it with a base slave,

A hilding for a livery, a squire’s cloth,

A pantler—not so eminent.


Profane fellow!

Wert thou the son of Jupiter, and no more

But what thou art besides, thou wert too base

To be his groom. Thou wert dignified enough,

Even to the point of envy, if ’twere made

Comparative for your virtues, to be styl’d

The under-hangman of his kingdom, and hated

For being preferr’d so well.


The south-fog rot him!


He never can meet more mischance than come

To be but nam’d of thee. His mean’st garment

That ever hath but clipt his body, is dearer

In my respect than all the hairs above thee,

Were they all made such men. How now, Pisanio?

Enter Pisanio.


“His garments”? Now the devil—


To Dorothy my woman hie thee presently.


“His garment”?


I am sprited with a fool,

Frighted, and ang’red worse. Go bid my woman

Search for a jewel that too casually

Hath left mine arm. It was thy master’s. Shrew me

If I would lose it for a revenue

Of any king’s in Europe! I do think

I saw’t this morning; confident I am,

Last night ’twas on mine arm; I kiss’d it:

I hope it be not gone to tell my lord

That I kiss aught but he.


’Twill not be lost.


I hope so; go and search.

Exit Pisanio.


You have abus’d me.

“His meanest garment”?


Ay, I said so, sir;

If you will make’t an action, call witness to’t.


I will inform your father.


Your mother too.

She’s my good lady, and will conceive, I hope,

But the worst of me. So I leave you, sir,

To th’ worst of discontent.



I’ll be reveng’d.

“His mean’st garment”? Well.



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