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.
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.
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?
Day, my lord.
I would this music would come. I am advis’d to give her music a’ mornings; they say it will penetrate.
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:
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.
Enter Cymbeline and Queen.
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.
Who’s there that knocks?
Yes, and a gentlewoman’s son.
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.
Good morrow, fairest: sister, your sweet hand.
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.
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?
“His garments”? Now the devil—
To Dorothy my woman hie thee presently.
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.
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.