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SCENE IV.-Near Milford-Haven.


Imo. Thou told'st me, when we came from horse, the place

Was near at hand :---Ne'er long'd my mother so

---Pisanio! Man!

To see me first, as I have now :---]

Where is Posthumus? What is in thy mind,

That makes thee stare thus? Wherefore breaks that sigh
From the inward of thee? One, but painted thus,
Would be interpreted a thing perplex'd
Beyond self-explication: Put thyself
Into a haviour 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 it be summer news,
Smile to't before: if winterly, thou need'st

But keep that countenance still.---My husband's hand!
That drug-damn'd Italy hath out-craftied 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.

Pis. Please you, read;

And you shall find me, wretched man, a thing
The most disdain'd of fortune.

Imo. [Reads.] Thy mistress, Pisanio, hath played the strumpet in my bed; the testimonies whereof lie bleeding in me. I speak not out of weak surmises; 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 opportunities 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 pandar to her dishonour, and equally to me disloyal.

Pis. 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 ?
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 incontineney;

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 hang by the 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.

Pis. 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, Posthúmus,
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 see'st 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 may'st be valiant in a better cause;
But now thou seem'st a coward.

Pis. 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 betray'd

Do feel the treason sharply, yet the traitor
Stands in worse case of woe.

And thou Posthúmus, thou that did'st 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 tir'st 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.

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,
The 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.

Pis. Not so, neither:

But if I were as wise as honest, then

well. It cannot be,

My purpose would prove well.

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.

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?

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?

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