Act III, Scene 4
The country near Milford-Haven.
- Enter Pisanio and Imogen.
Imogen1 - 18
- Thou toldst me, when we came from horse, the place
- Was near at hand. Ne’er long’d my mother so
- To see me first, as I have now. Pisanio! Man!
- Where is Posthumus? What is in thy mind
- That makes thee stare thus? Wherefore breaks that sigh
- From th’ inward of thee? One but painted thus
- Would be interpreted a thing perplex’d
- Beyond self-explication. Put thyself
- Into a havior of less fear, ere wildness
- Vanquish my staider senses. What’s the matter?
- Why tender’st thou that paper to me with
- A look untender? If’t be summer news,
- Smile to’t before; if winterly, thou need’st
- But keep that count’nance still. My husband’s hand!
- That drug-damn’d Italy hath outcraftied him,
- And he’s at some hard point. Speak, man, thy tongue
- May take off some extremity, which to read
- Would be even mortal to me.
Pisanio19 - 21
- Please you read,
- And you shall find me, wretched man, a thing
- The most disdain’d of fortune.
Imogen22 - 31
- “Thy mistress, Pisanio, hath play’d the strumpet in my bed;
- the testimonies whereof lies bleeding in me. I speak not out
- of weak surmises, but from proof as strong as my grief and
- as certain as I expect my revenge. That part thou, Pisanio,
- must act for me, if thy faith be not tainted with the breach
- of hers. Let thine own hands take away her life. I shall
- give thee opportunity at Milford-Haven. She hath my letter
- for the purpose; where, if thou fear to strike and to make
- me certain it is done, thou art the pander to her dishonor
- and equally to me disloyal.”
Pisanio32 - 39
- What shall I need to draw my sword, the paper
- Hath cut her throat already! No, ’tis slander,
- Whose edge is sharper than the sword, whose tongue
- Outvenoms all the worms of Nile, whose breath
- Rides on the posting winds and doth belie
- All corners of the world. Kings, queens, and states,
- Maids, matrons, nay, the secrets of the grave
- This viperous slander enters. What cheer, madam?
Imogen40 - 44
- False to his bed? What is it to be false?
- To lie in watch there, and to think on him?
- To weep ’twixt clock and clock? If sleep charge nature,
- To break it with a fearful dream of him,
- And cry myself awake? That’s false to ’s bed? Is it?
- Alas, good lady!
Imogen46 - 57
- I false? Thy conscience witness! Jachimo,
- Thou didst accuse him of incontinency;
- Thou then look’dst like a villain; now methinks
- Thy favor’s good enough. Some jay of Italy
- (Whose mother was her painting) hath betray’d him.
- Poor I am stale, a garment out of fashion,
- And for I am richer than to hang by th’ walls,
- I must be ripp’d. To pieces with me! O!
- Men’s vows are women’s traitors. All good seeming,
- By thy revolt, O husband, shall be thought
- Put on for villainy; not born where’t grows,
- But worn a bait for ladies.
- Good madam, hear me.
Imogen59 - 74
- True honest men being heard, like false Aeneas,
- Were in his time thought false; and Sinon’s weeping
- Did scandal many a holy tear, took pity
- From most true wretchedness. So thou, Posthumus,
- Wilt lay the leaven on all proper men;
- Goodly and gallant shall be false and perjur’d
- From thy great fail.—Come, fellow, be thou honest,
- Do thou thy master’s bidding. When thou seest him,
- A little witness my obedience. Look
- I draw the sword myself, take it, and hit
- The innocent mansion of my love, my heart.
- Fear not, ’tis empty of all things but grief.
- Thy master is not there, who was indeed
- The riches of it. Do his bidding, strike.
- Thou mayst be valiant in a better cause,
- But now thou seem’st a coward.
Pisanio75 - 76
- Hence, vile instrument!
- Thou shalt not damn my hand.
Imogen77 - 101
- Why, I must die;
- And if I do not by thy hand, thou art
- No servant of thy master’s. Against self-slaughter
- There is a prohibition so divine
- That cravens my weak hand. Come, here’s my heart:
- Something’s afore’t. Soft, soft, we’ll no defense,
- Obedient as the scabbard. What is here?
- The scriptures of the loyal Leonatus,
- All turn’d to heresy? Away, away,
- Corrupters of my faith! You shall no more
- Be stomachers to my heart. Thus may poor fools
- Believe false teachers. Though those that are betray’d
- Do feel the treason sharply, yet the traitor
- Stands in worse case of woe. And thou, Posthumus,
- That didst set up my disobedience ’gainst the King
- My father, and make me put into contempt the suits
- Of princely fellows, shalt hereafter find
- It is no act of common passage, but
- A strain of rareness; and I grieve myself
- To think, when thou shalt be disedg’d by her
- That now thou tirest on, how thy memory
- Will then be pang’d by me. Prithee dispatch,
- The lamb entreats the butcher. Where’s thy knife?
- Thou art too slow to do thy master’s bidding
- When I desire it too.
Pisanio102 - 104
- O gracious lady!
- Since I receiv’d command to do this business
- I have not slept one wink.
- Do’t, and to bed then.
- I’ll wake mine eyeballs out first.
Imogen107 - 115
- Wherefore then
- Didst undertake it? Why hast thou abus’d
- So many miles with a pretense? This place?
- Mine action? And thine own? Our horses’ labor?
- The time inviting thee? The perturb’d court
- For my being absent? Whereunto I never
- Purpose return. Why hast thou gone so far,
- To be unbent when thou hast ta’en thy stand,
- Th’ elected deer before thee?
Pisanio116 - 119
- But to win time
- To lose so bad employment, in the which
- I have consider’d of a course. Good lady,
- Hear me with patience.
Imogen120 - 123
- Talk thy tongue weary, speak.
- I have heard I am a strumpet, and mine ear,
- Therein false struck, can take no greater wound,
- Nor tent to bottom that. But speak.
Pisanio124 - 125
- Then, madam,
- I thought you would not back again.
Imogen126 - 127
- Most like,
- Bringing me here to kill me.
Pisanio128 - 133
- Not so, neither;
- But if I were as wise as honest, then
- My purpose would prove well. It cannot be
- But that my master is abus’d. Some villain,
- Ay, and singular in his art, hath done you both
- This cursed injury.
- Some Roman courtezan?
Pisanio135 - 139
- No, on my life.
- I’ll give but notice you are dead, and send him
- Some bloody sign of it; for ’tis commanded
- I should do so. You shall be miss’d at court,
- And that will well confirm it.
Imogen140 - 143
- Why, good fellow,
- What shall I do the while? Where bide? How live?
- Or in my life what comfort, when I am
- Dead to my husband?
- If you’ll back to th’ court—
Imogen145 - 148
- No court, no father, nor no more ado
- With that harsh, noble, simple nothing,
- That Cloten, whose love-suit hath been to me
- As fearful as a siege.
Pisanio149 - 150
- If not at court,
- Then not in Britain must you bide.
Imogen151 - 156
- Where then?
- Hath Britain all the sun that shines? Day? Night?
- Are they not but in Britain? I’ th’ world’s volume
- Our Britain seems as of it, but not in’t;
- In a great pool a swan’s nest. Prithee think
- There’s livers out of Britain.
Pisanio157 - 168
- I am most glad
- You think of other place. Th’ ambassador,
- Lucius the Roman, comes to Milford-Haven
- Tomorrow. Now, if you could wear a mind
- Dark as your fortune is, and but disguise
- That which, t’ appear itself, must not yet be
- But by self-danger, you should tread a course
- Pretty and full of view; yea, happily, near
- The residence of Posthumus; so nigh, at least,
- That though his actions were not visible, yet
- Report should render him hourly to your ear
- As truly as he moves.
Imogen169 - 171
- O, for such means,
- Though peril to my modesty, not death on’t,
- I would adventure.
Pisanio172 - 184
- Well then, here’s the point:
- You must forget to be a woman; change
- Command into obedience; fear and niceness
- (The handmaids of all women, or more truly
- Woman it pretty self) into a waggish courage,
- Ready in gibes, quick-answer’d, saucy, and
- As quarrellous as the weasel; nay, you must
- Forget that rarest treasure of your cheek,
- Exposing it (but O, the harder heart!
- Alack, no remedy!) to the greedy touch
- Of common-kissing Titan, and forget
- Your laborsome and dainty trims, wherein
- You made great Juno angry.
Imogen185 - 187
- Nay, be brief:
- I see into thy end, and am almost
- A man already.
Pisanio188 - 200
- First, make yourself but like one.
- Forethinking this, I have already fit
- (’Tis in my cloak-bag) doublet, hat, hose, all
- That answer to them. Would you in their serving
- (And with what imitation you can borrow
- From youth of such a season) ’fore noble Lucius
- Present yourself, desire his service, tell him
- Wherein you’re happy, which will make him know,
- If that his head have ear in music, doubtless
- With joy he will embrace you; for he’s honorable,
- And doubling that, most holy. Your means abroad—
- You have me, rich, and I will never fail
- Beginning nor supplyment.
Imogen201 - 206
- Thou art all the comfort
- The gods will diet me with. Prithee away,
- There’s more to be consider’d; but we’ll even
- All that good time will give us. This attempt
- I am soldier to, and will abide it with
- A prince’s courage. Away, I prithee.
Pisanio207 - 215
- Well, madam, we must take a short farewell,
- Lest being miss’d, I be suspected of
- Your carriage from the court. My noble mistress,
- Here is a box, I had it from the Queen,
- What’s in’t is precious. If you are sick at sea,
- Or stomach-qualm’d at land, a dram of this
- Will drive away distemper. To some shade,
- And fit you to your manhood. May the gods
- Direct you to the best!
- Amen! I thank thee.
- Exeunt severally.