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Maids, matrons, nay, the secrets of the grave
This viperous slander enters.—What cheer, madam?

Imo. 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 his bed :
Is it?

Pis. Alas, good lady!

Imo. I false? Thy conscience witness. - Iachimo, Thou didst accuse him of incontinency; Thou then look’dst like a villain; now, methinks, Thy favour'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 bang by the walls, I must be ripp'd :-to pieces with me!-0! Men's vows are women's traitors. All good seeming, By thy revolt, О husband ! shall be thought Put on for villany; not born where't grows, But worn a bait for ladies.

Good madam, hear me. Imo. True honest men being heard, like false Æneas, 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.

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Pis.

Thou may'st be valiant in a better cause,
But now thou seem'st a coward.

Hence, vile instrument !
Thou shalt not damn my hand.
Imo.

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't8:—Soft, soft! we'll no defence; 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 tirist on', how thy memory Will then be pang’d by me.—Pr’ythee, despatch : The lamb entreats the butcher: where's thy knife ? Thou art too slow to do thy master's bidding, When I desire it too.

8 Something's AFORE'T :] The old printer, not understanding what was meant, misprinted these words “Something's a-foot,” an error continued in the later folios, and corrected by Rowe.

9 Of princely Fellows,] “ Princely fellows” means the equals of Imogen, who sought her hand in marriage. 1- when thou shalt be diseDG’d by her

That now thou tir'st on,] To “disedge” is, of course, to take off the edge of appetite : to“ tire on” is to feed on, or peck at ravenously, as a bird of prey. See Vol. iii. p. 465 ; Vol. v. p. 238 ; and Vol. vi. p. 551.

Pis.

O gracious lady!
Since I receiv'd command to do this business,
I have not slept one wink.
Imo.

Do't, and to bed, then.
Pis. I'll wake mine eye-balls blind first?.
Imo.

Wherefore, then,
Didst undertake it? Why hast thou abus'd
So many miles with a pretence? this place?
Mine action, and thine own? our horses' labour?
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?
Pis.

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.
Imo.

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.
Pis.

Then, madam, I thought you would not back again. Imo.

Most like,
Bringing me here to kill me.

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.

Imo. Some Roman courtezan.
Pis.

No, on my life.

Pis.

? I'll wake mine eye-balls blind first.) We adopt the received reading here: in all the old copies “blind” is omitted in this line, and that, or some other equivalent monosyllable, seems necessary for the sense and metre.

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.
Іто.

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 ?
Pis.

If you'll back to the court,Imo. 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. Pis.

If not at court, Then not in Britain must you bide. Imo.

Where then?
Hath Britain all the sun that shines? Day, night,
Are they not but in Britain ? I' the world's volume
Our Britain seems as of it, but not in it;
In a great pool, a swan's nest: pr’ythee, think
There's livers out of Britain.

I am most glad
You think of other place. Th'embassador,
Lucius the Roman, comes to Milford-Haven
To-morrow: 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, haply, 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.
Imo.

0, for such means !
Though peril to my modesty, not death on't,
I would adventure.
Pis.

Well then, here's the point.

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You must forget to be a woman; change
Command into obedience; fear, and niceness,
(The bandmaids of all women, or more truly,
Woman it pretty self) into a waggish courage :
Ready in gibes, quick-answer'd, saucy, and
As quarrelous as the weasel : nay, you must
Forget that rarest treasure of your cheek,
Exposing it (but, 0, the harder heart!
Alack, no remedy!) to the greedy touch
Of common-kissing Titan; and forget
Your laboursome and dainty trims, wherein
You made great Juno angry.
Imo.

Nay, be brief:
I see into thy end, and am almost
A man already

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 are happy, (which you will make him

know?, If that his head have ear in music) doubtless, With joy he will embrace you; for he's honourable, And, doubling that, most holy. Your means abroad, You bave me, rich; and I will never fail Beginning nor supplyment. Imo.

Thou art all the comfort The gods will diet me with. Pr’ythee, away: There's more to be consider'd, but we'll even All that good time will give us. This attempt I'm soldier to, and will abide it with

3 – (which you will make him know,) In the original it stands " which will make him know," you having perhaps accidentally dropped out. All the folios are alike in this respect.

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