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Cymbeline: Act 5, Scene 4

Cymbeline
Act 5, Scene 4

Britain. A prison.

  1. Enter Posthumus and two Jailers.

First Jailer

2 - 3
  1. You shall not now be stol’n, you have locks upon you;
  2. So graze, as you find pasture.

Second Jailer

4
  1.                                Ay, or a stomach.
  1. Exeunt Jailers.

Posthumus

6 - 32
  1. Most welcome, bondage! For thou art a way,
  2. I think, to liberty; yet am I better
  3. Than one that’s sick o’ th’ gout, since he had rather
  4. Groan so in perpetuity than be cur’d
  5. By th’ sure physician, death, who is the key
  6. T’ unbar these locks. My conscience, thou art fetter’d
  7. More than my shanks and wrists. You good gods, give me
  8. The penitent instrument to pick that bolt,
  9. Then free forever! Is’t enough I am sorry?
  10. So children temporal fathers do appease;
  11. Gods are more full of mercy. Must I repent,
  12. I cannot do it better than in gyves,
  13. Desir’d more than constrain’d. To satisfy,
  14. If of my freedom ’tis the main part, take
  15. No stricter render of me than my all.
  16. I know you are more clement than vild men,
  17. Who of their broken debtors take a third,
  18. A sixt, a tenth, letting them thrive again
  19. On their abatement. That’s not my desire.
  20. For Imogen’s dear life take mine, and though
  21. ’Tis not so dear, yet ’tis a life; you coin’d it.
  22. ’Tween man and man they weigh not every stamp;
  23. Though light, take pieces for the figure’s sake;
  24. You rather, mine being yours; and so, great pow’rs,
  25. If you will take this audit, take this life,
  26. And cancel these cold bonds. O Imogen,
  27. I’ll speak to thee in silence.
  1. Sleeps.
  1. Solemn music.
  1. Enter (as in an apparition) Sicilius Leonatus, father to
  2. Posthumus, an old man, attired like a warrior; leading in
  3. his hand an ancient Matron, his wife and mother to
  4. Posthumus, with music before them.
  1. Then, after other music, follows the two young Leonati,
  2. brothers to Posthumus, with wounds as they died in the wars.
  3. They circle Posthumus round as he lies sleeping.

Sicilius

42 - 54
  1. No more, thou Thunder-master, show
  2. Thy spite on mortal flies:
  3. With Mars fall out, with Juno chide,
  4. That thy adulteries
  5. Rates and revenges.
  6. Hath my poor boy done aught but well,
  7. Whose face I never saw?
  8. I died whilst in the womb he stay’d
  9. Attending nature’s law;
  10. Whose father then (as men report
  11. Thou orphans’ father art)
  12. Thou shouldst have been, and shielded him
  13. From this earth-vexing smart.

Matron

55 - 59
  1. Lucina lent not me her aid,
  2. But took me in my throes,
  3. That from me was Posthumus ripp’d,
  4. Came crying ’mongst his foes,
  5. A thing of pity!

Sicilius

60 - 63
  1. Great nature, like his ancestry,
  2. Moulded the stuff so fair,
  3. That he deserv’d the praise o’ th’ world,
  4. As great Sicilius’ heir.

Apparition of First Brother

64 - 69
  1. When once he was mature for man,
  2. In Britain where was he
  3. That could stand up his parallel,
  4. Or fruitful object be
  5. In eye of Imogen, that best
  6. Could deem his dignity?

Matron

70 - 74
  1. With marriage wherefore was he mock’d,
  2. To be exil’d, and thrown
  3. From Leonati seat, and cast
  4. From her his dearest one,
  5. Sweet Imogen?

Sicilius

75 - 80
  1. Why did you suffer Jachimo,
  2. Slight thing of Italy,
  3. To taint his nobler heart and brain
  4. With needless jealousy,
  5. And to become the geck and scorn
  6. O’ th’ other’s villainy?

Apparition of Second Brother

81 - 86
  1. For this from stiller seats we came,
  2. Our parents and us twain,
  3. That striking in our country’s cause
  4. Fell bravely and were slain,
  5. Our fealty and Tenantius’ right
  6. With honor to maintain.

Apparition of First Brother

87 - 92
  1. Like hardiment Posthumus hath
  2. To Cymbeline perform’d.
  3. Then, Jupiter, thou king of gods,
  4. Why hast thou thus adjourn’d
  5. The graces for his merits due,
  6. Being all to dolors turn’d?

Sicilius

93 - 96
  1. Thy crystal window ope; look out;
  2. No longer exercise
  3. Upon a valiant race thy harsh
  4. And potent injuries.

Matron

97 - 98
  1. Since, Jupiter, our son is good,
  2. Take off his miseries.

Sicilius

99 - 102
  1. Peep through thy marble mansion, help,
  2. Or we poor ghosts will cry
  3. To th’ shining synod of the rest
  4. Against thy deity.

Brothers

103 - 104
  1. Help, Jupiter, or we appeal,
  2. And from thy justice fly.
  1. Jupiter descends in thunder and lightning, sitting upon an
  2. eagle: he throws a thunderbolt. The Ghosts fall on their
  3. knees.

Jupiter

108 - 129
  1. No more, you petty spirits of region low,
  2. Offend our hearing; hush! How dare you ghosts
  3. Accuse the Thunderer, whose bolt, you know,
  4. Sky-planted, batters all rebelling coasts?
  5. Poor shadows of Elysium, hence, and rest
  6. Upon your never-withering banks of flow’rs.
  7. Be not with mortal accidents oppress’d,
  8. No care of yours it is, you know ’tis ours.
  9. Whom best I love, I cross; to make my gift,
  10. The more delay’d, delighted. Be content,
  11. Your low-laid son our godhead will uplift.
  12. His comforts thrive, his trials well are spent.
  13. Our Jovial star reign’d at his birth, and in
  14. Our temple was he married. Rise, and fade.
  15. He shall be lord of Lady Imogen,
  16. And happier much by his affliction made.
  17. This tablet lay upon his breast, wherein
  18. Our pleasure his full fortune doth confine,
  19. Jupiter drops a tablet.
  20. And so away! No farther with your din
  21. Express impatience, lest you stir up mine.
  22. Mount, eagle, to my palace crystalline.
  1. Ascends.

Sicilius

131 - 136
  1. He came in thunder, his celestial breath
  2. Was sulfurous to smell; the holy eagle
  3. Stoop’d, as to foot us. His ascension is
  4. More sweet than our blest fields. His royal bird
  5. Prunes the immortal wing, and cloys his beak,
  6. As when his god is pleas’d.

All Ghosts

137
  1.                             Thanks, Jupiter!

Sicilius

138 - 140
  1. The marble pavement closes, he is enter’d
  2. His radiant roof. Away, and, to be blest,
  3. Let us with care perform his great behest.
  1. The Ghosts vanish after placing the tablet on Posthumus’
  2. breast.

Posthumus

143 - 172
  1. Waking.
  2. Sleep, thou hast been a grandsire and begot
  3. A father to me; and thou hast created
  4. A mother and two brothers. But (O scorn!)
  5. Gone! They went hence so soon as they were born.
  6. And so I am awake. Poor wretches that depend
  7. On greatness’ favor dream as I have done,
  8. Wake, and find nothing. But, alas, I swerve.
  9. Many dream not to find, neither deserve,
  10. And yet are steep’d in favors; so am I,
  11. That have this golden chance and know not why.
  12. What fairies haunt this ground? A book? O rare one,
  13. Be not, as is our fangled world, a garment
  14. Nobler than that it covers! Let thy effects
  15. So follow, to be most unlike our courtiers,
  16. As good as promise!
  17. Reads.
  18. When as a lion’s whelp shall, to himself unknown, without
  19. seeking find, and be embrac’d by a piece of tender air; and
  20. when from a stately cedar shall be lopp’d branches, which,
  21. being dead many years, shall after revive, be jointed to the
  22. old stock, and freshly grow; then shall Posthumus end his
  23. miseries, Britain be fortunate and nourish in peace and
  24. plenty.”
  25. ’Tis still a dream, or else such stuff as madmen
  26. Tongue and brain not; either both or nothing,
  27. Or senseless speaking, or a speaking such
  28. As sense cannot untie. Be what it is,
  29. The action of my life is like it, which
  30. I’ll keep, if but for sympathy.
  1. Enter First Jailer.

First Jailer

174
  1. Come, sir, are you ready for death?

Posthumus

175
  1. Overroasted rather; ready long ago.

First Jailer

176 - 177
  1. Hanging is the word, sir. If you be ready for that, you are
  2. well cook’d.

Posthumus

178 - 179
  1. So if I prove a good repast to the spectators, the dish pays
  2. the shot.

First Jailer

180 - 192
  1. A heavy reckoning for you, sir. But the comfort is, you
  2. shall be call’d to no more payments, fear no more
  3. tavern-bills, which are often the sadness of parting, as the
  4. procuring of mirth. You come in faint for want of meat,
  5. depart reeling with too much drink; sorry that you have paid
  6. too much, and sorry that you are paid too much; purse and
  7. brain both empty; the brain the heavier for being too light,
  8. the purse too light, being drawn of heaviness. O, of this
  9. contradiction you shall now be quit. O, the charity of a
  10. penny cord! It sums up thousands in a trice. You have no
  11. true debitor and creditor but it: of what’s past, is, and to
  12. come, the discharge. Your neck, sir, is pen, book, and
  13. counters; so the acquittance follows.

Posthumus

193
  1. I am merrier to die than thou art to live.

First Jailer

194 - 197
  1. Indeed, sir, he that sleeps feels not the toothache; but a
  2. man that were to sleep your sleep, and a hangman to help him
  3. to bed, I think he would change places with his officer;
  4. for, look you, sir, you know not which way you shall go.

Posthumus

198
  1. Yes indeed do I, fellow.

First Jailer

199 - 204
  1. Your death has eyes in’ s head then; I have not seen him so
  2. pictur’d. You must either be directed by some that take upon
  3. them to know, or to take upon yourself that which I am sure
  4. you do not know, or jump the after-inquiry on your own
  5. peril; and how you shall speed in your journey’s end, I
  6. think you’ll never return to tell one.

Posthumus

205 - 206
  1. I tell thee, fellow, there are none want eyes to direct them
  2. the way I am going, but such as wink and will not use them.

First Jailer

207 - 209
  1. What an infinite mock is this, that a man should have the
  2. best use of eyes to see the way of blindness! I am sure
  3. hanging’s the way of winking.
  1. Enter a Messenger.

Messenger

211
  1. Knock off his manacles, bring your prisoner to the King.

Posthumus

212
  1. Thou bring’st good news, I am call’d to be made free.

First Jailer

213
  1. I’ll be hang’d then.

Posthumus

214 - 215
  1. Thou shalt be then freer than a jailer; no bolts for the
  2. dead.
  1. Exeunt Posthumus and Messenger.

First Jailer

217 - 224
  1. Unless a man would marry a gallows and beget young gibbets,
  2. I never saw one so prone. Yet, on my conscience, there are
  3. verier knaves desire to live, for all he be a Roman; and
  4. there be some of them too that die against their wills. So
  5. should I, if I were one. I would we were all of one mind,
  6. and one mind good. O, there were desolation of jailers and
  7. gallowses! I speak against my present profit, but my wish
  8. hath a preferment in’t.
  1. Exit.
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