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Post. I tell thee, fellow, there are none want eyes to direct them the way I am going, but such as wink, and will not use them.
Gaol. What an infinite mock is this, that a man should have the best use of eyes, to see the way of blindness! I am sure, banging's the way of winking.
Mess. Knock off his manacles; bring your prisoner to the king.
Post. Thou bringest good news ;-I am called to be made free.
Gaol. I'll be hanged then.
Post. Thou shalt be then freer than a gaoler; no bolts for the dead.
[Ereunt Posthumus and Messenger. Gaol. Unless a man would marry a gallows, and beget young gibbets, I never saw one so prone*. Yet, on my conscience, there are verier knaves de. sire to live, for all he be a Roman: and there be some of them too, that die against their wills; so should I if I were one. I would we were all of one mind, and one mind good; 0, there were desolation of
olers, and gallowses ! I speak against my present profit; but my wish hath a preferment in't.
Enter Cymbeline, Belarius, Guiderius, Arviragus,
Pisanio, Lords, Officers, and Attendants.
Cym. Stand by my side, you whom the gods have
Preservers of my throne. Woe is my heart,
That the poor soldier, that so richly fought,
Whose rags sham'd gilded arms, whose naked breast
Stepp'd before targe* of proof, cannot be found:
He shall be happy that can find him, if
Our grace can make him so.
I never saw
Such noble fury in so poor a thing; i
Such precious deeds in one that promis'd nought
But beggary and poor looks.
No tidings of him?
Pis. He hath been search'd among the dead and
But no trace of him.
To my grief, I am
The heir of his reward; which I will add
To you, the liver, heart, and brain of Britain,
[To Belarius, Guiderius, and Arviragus.
By whom, I grant, she lives ; 'Tis now the time
To ask of whence you are:-report it.
In Cambria are we born, and gentlemen:
Further to boast, were neither true nor modest,
Unless I add, we are honest.
Bow your knees:
Arise, my knights o'the battle: I create you
Companions to our person, and will fit you
With dignities becoming your estates.
Enter Cornelius and Ladies.
There's business in these faces :—Why so sadly
Greet you our victory? you look like Romans,
And not o'the court of Britain.
Hail, great king!
To sour your happiness, I must report
The queen is dead.
Whom worse than a physician
Would this report become? But I consider,
By medicine life may be prolong'd, yet death
Will seize the doctor too,-How ended she?
Cor. With horror, madly dying, like her life;
Which, being cruel to the world, concluded
Most cruel to herself. What she confess'd,
I will report, so please you: These her women
Can trip me, if I err; who, with wet cheeks,
Were present when she finish’d.
Cor. First, she confess'd she never lov'd you; only
Affected greatness got by you, not you :
Married your royalty, was wife to your place;
Abhorr'd your person.
She alone knew this:
And, but she spoke it dying, I would not
Believe her lips in opening it. Proceed.
Cor. Your daughter, whom she bore in hand to
With such integrity, she did confess
Was as a scorpion to her sight; whose life,
But that her flight prevented it, she had
Ta'en off by poison.
O most delicate fiend!
Who is't can read a woman? Is there more?
Cor. More, sir, and worse. She did confess, she
had For you a mortal mineral; which, being took,
Should by the minute feed on life, and, ling'ring,
By inches waste you: In which time she purpos'd,
By watching, weeping, tendance, kissing, to
O'ercome you with her show: yes, and in time
(When she had fitted you with her craft), to work
Her son into the adoption of the crown.
But failing of her end by his strange absence,
Grew shameless desperate; open'd, io despite
Of heaven and men, her purposes; repented
The evils she hatch'd were not effected; so,
Heard you all this, her women? Lady. We did so, please your highness.
Were not in fault, for she was beautiful ;
Mine ears, that heard her flattery; nor my heart,
That thought her like her seeming; it had been vi.
To have mistrusted her: yet, O my daughter!
That it was folly in me, thou may'st say,
And prove it in thy feeling. Heaven mend all!
Enter Lucius, Iachimo, the Soothsayer, and other
Roman Prisoners, guarded; Posthumus behind, and Imogen.
Thou com'st not, Caius, now for tribute; that
The Britons have raz'd out, though with the loss
Of many a bold one; whose kivsmen have made suit,
That their good souls may be appeas'd with slaughter
of you their captives, which ourself have granted;
So, think of your estate.
Luc. Consider, sir, the chance of war: the day
Was yours by accident; had it gone with us,
We should not, when the blood was cool, have
threaten'd Our prisoners with the sword. But since the gods, Will have it thus, that nothing but our lives May be call'd ransome, let it come : sufficeth,
A Roman with a Roman's heart can suffer:
Augustus lives to think on't: And so much
For my peculiar care. This one thing only
I will entreat; My boy, a Briton born,
Let him be ransom'd: never inaster had
A page so kind, so duteous, diligent,
So tender over his occasions, true,
So feat*, so nurse-like: let his virtue join
With my request, which, I'll make bold, your highness
Cannot deny; he hath done no Briton harm,
Though he have serv'd a Roman: save him, sir,
And spare no blood beside.
I have surely seen him:
His favourt is familiar to me.-
Boy, thou hast look'd thyself into iny grace,
And art mine own.-I know not why, nor wherefore,
To say, live, boy: ne'er thank thy master; live:
And ask of Cymbeline what boon thou wilt,
Fitting my bounty, and thy state, I'll give it;
Yea, though thou do demand a prisoner, *
The noblest ta'en.
I humbly thank your highness.
Luc. I do not bid thee beg my life, good lad;
And yet, I know, thou wilt.
No, no: alack,
There's other work in hand; I see a thing,
Bitter to me as death: your life, good master,
Must shuffle for itself.
The boy disdains ine,
He leaves me, scorus me: Briefly die their joys,
That place them on the truth of girls and boys.
Why stands he so perplex'd?
What would'st thou, boy? I love thee more and more; think more and more What's best to ask. Know'st him thou look'st on?
speak, Wilt have him live? Is he thy kin? thy friend?