Act III, Scene 2
Britain. A room in Cymbeline’s palace.
- Enter Pisanio reading of a letter.
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- How? Of adultery? Wherefore write you not
- What monsters her accuse? Leonatus!
- O master, what a strange infection
- Is fall’n into thy ear! What false Italian
- (As poisonous tongu’d as handed) hath prevail’d
- On thy too ready hearing? Disloyal? No.
- She’s punish’d for her truth, and undergoes,
- More goddess-like than wife-like, such assaults
- As would take in some virtue. O my master,
- Thy mind to her is now as low as were
- Thy fortunes. How? That I should murder her,
- Upon the love and truth and vows which I
- Have made to thy command? I, her? Her blood?
- If it be so to do good service, never
- Let me be counted serviceable. How look I
- That I should seem to lack humanity
- So much as this fact comes to?
- “Do’t; the letter
- That I have sent her, by her own command
- Shall give thee opportunity.”
- O damn’d paper,
- Black as the ink that’s on thee! Senseless bauble,
- Art thou a feodary for this act, and look’st
- So virgin-like without? Lo here she comes.
- Enter Imogen.
- I am ignorant in what I am commanded.
- How now, Pisanio?
- Madam, here is a letter from my lord.
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- Who, thy lord? That is my lord Leonatus?
- O, learn’d indeed were that astronomer
- That knew the stars as I his characters;
- He’ld lay the future open. You good gods,
- Let what is here contain’d relish of love,
- Of my lord’s health, of his content—yet not
- That we two are asunder; let that grieve him:
- Some griefs are med’cinable, that is one of them,
- For it doth physic love—of his content,
- All but in that! Good wax, thy leave. Blest be
- You bees that make these locks of counsel! Lovers
- And men in dangerous bonds pray not alike;
- Though forfeiters you cast in prison, yet
- You clasp young Cupid’s tables. Good news, gods!
- “Justice, and your father’s wrath, should he take me in his
- dominion, could not be so cruel to me as you, O the dearest
- of creatures, would even renew me with your eyes. Take
- notice that I am in Cambria, at Milford-Haven; what your own
- love will out of this advise you, follow. So he wishes you
- all happiness, that remains loyal to his vow, and your
- increasing in love.
- Leonatus Posthumus.”
- O for a horse with wings! Hear’st thou, Pisanio?
- He is at Milford-Haven. Read, and tell me
- How far ’tis thither. If one of mean affairs
- May plod it in a week, why may not I
- Glide thither in a day? Then, true Pisanio,
- Who long’st like me to see thy lord; who long’st
- (O let me bate!)—but not like me—yet long’st,
- But in a fainter kind—O, not like me,
- For mine’s beyond beyond—say, and speak thick
- (Love’s counsellor should fill the bores of hearing,
- To th’ smothering of the sense), how far it is
- To this same blessed Milford. And by th’ way
- Tell me how Wales was made so happy as
- T’ inherit such a haven. But first of all,
- How we may steal from hence; and for the gap
- That we shall make in time, from our hence-going
- And our return, to excuse. But first, how get hence.
- Why should excuse be born or ere begot?
- We’ll talk of that hereafter. Prithee speak,
- How many score of miles may we well rid
- ’Twixt hour and hour?
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- One score ’twixt sun and sun,
- Madam, ’s enough for you—and too much too.
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- Why, one that rode to ’s execution, man,
- Could never go so slow. I have heard of riding wagers,
- Where horses have been nimbler than the sands
- That run i’ th’ clock’s behalf. But this is fool’ry.
- Go, bid my woman feign a sickness, say
- She’ll home to her father; and provide me presently
- A riding-suit, no costlier than would fit
- A franklin’s huswife.
- Madam, you’re best consider.
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- I see before me, man; nor here, nor here,
- Nor what ensues, but have a fog in them
- That I cannot look through. Away, I prithee,
- Do as I bid thee. There’s no more to say:
- Accessible is none but Milford way.