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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.

Pi.

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 't :-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 be tray'd

Do feel the treason sharply, yet the traitor

Stands in worse case of woe.

Makes covardly.

And thou, Posthumus, thou that didst set up
My disobedience 'gainst the king my father,
And make me put into coatempt 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 disedged by her
That now thou tirest 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.

Pi.

O gracious lady.

Since I received command to do this business,
I have not slept one wink.

Imo.

Do't, and to bed then.

Pi. I'll wake mine eyeballs blind first. Imo. Wherefore then Didst undertake it? Why hast thou abused So many miles with a pretence? 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, The elected deer before thee?

Pi.

But to win time

Feedest or preyest on.

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.

Pi.

I thought you would not back again.

Imo.

Bringing me here to kill me.

Pi.

Then, madam,

Most like,

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 abused:

Some villain, ay, and singular in his art,

Hath done you both this cursed injury.

Imo. Some Roman courtezan.

No, on my life.

Pi.
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.

Imo.

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?

Pi.

If you 'li 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

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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.

There's livers out of Britain.

Pr'ythee, think

Pi.
I am most glad
You think of other place. The ambassador,
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, to 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.
O, for such means!
Though peril to my modesty, not death on 't,
I would adventure.

Pi.

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 its pretty self) into a waggish courage;
Ready in gibes, quick-answer'd, saucy, and

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