Women's Monologues in Shakespeare's

Cymbeline

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Queen
Verse
Cymbeline
Weeps she still, sayst thou? Dost thou think in time

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Weeps she still, sayst thou? Dost thou think in time
She will not quench, and let instructions enter
Where folly now possesses? Do thou work:
When thou shalt bring me word she loves my son,
I'll tell thee on the instant thou art then
As great as is thy master; greater, for
His fortunes all lie speechless, and his name
Is at last gasp; return he cannot, nor
Continue where he is; to shift his being
Is to exchange one misery with another,
And every day that comes comes to decay
A day's work in him. What shalt thou expect,
To be depender on a thing that leans,
Who cannot be new built, nor has no friends,
So much as but to prop him?
[The QUEEN drops the box; PISANIO takes it up.]
Thou tak'st up Thou know'st not what; but take it for thy labour:
It is a thing I made, which hath the king
Five times redeem'd from death; I do not know
What is more cordial: nay, I prithee, take it;
It is an earnest of a further good
That I mean to thee. Tell thy mistress how
The case stands with her; do 't as from thyself.
Think what a chance thou changest on, but think
Thou hast thy mistress still, to boot, my son,
Who shall take notice of thee. I'll move the king
To any shape of thy preferment such
As thou'lt desire; and then myself, I chiefly,
That set thee on to this desert, am bound
To load thy merit richly. Call my women;
Think on my words. [Exit PISANIO.]
A sly and constant knave,
Not to be shak'd; the agent for his master,
And the remembrancer of her to hold
The hand-fast to her lord. I have given him that
Which, if he take, shall quite unpeople her
Of leigers for her sweet, and which she after,
Except she bend her humour, shall be assur'd
To taste of too'
[Re-Enter PISANIO and Ladies']
So, so;'well done, well done.
The violets, cowslips, and the prime-roses
Bear to my closet. Fare thee well, Pisanio:
Think on my words.
I v 57
Imogen
Verse
Cymbeline
I did not take my leave of him, but had

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I did not take my leave of him, but had
Most pretty things to say; ere I could tell him
How I would think on him at certain hours
Such thoughts and such, or I could make him swear
The shes of Italy should not betray
Mine interest and his honour, or have charg'd him,
At the sixth hour of morn, at noon, at midnight,
To encounter me with orisons, for then
I am in heaven for him; or ere I could
Give him that parting kiss which I had set
Betwixt two charming words, comes in my father,
And like the tyrannous breathing of the north
Shakes all our buds from growing.
I iii 33
Imogen
Verse
Cymbeline
Away! I do condemn mine ears that have

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Away! I do condemn mine ears that have
So long attended thee. If thou wert honourable,
Thou wouldst have told this tale for virtue, not
For such an end thou seek'st; as base as strange.
Thou wrong'st a gentleman, who is as far
From thy report as thou from honour, and
Solicit'st here a lady that disdains
Thee and the devil alike. What ho, Pisanio!
The king my father shall be made acquainted
Of thy assault; if he shall think it fit,
A saucy stranger in his court to mart
As in a Romish stew and to expound
His beastly mind to us, he hath a court
He little cares for and a daughter who
He not respects at all.
I vi 165
Queen
Verse
Cymbeline
That opportunity Which then they had to take from 's, to resume

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That opportunity,
Which then they had to take from 's, to resume,
We have again. Remember, sir, my liege,
The kings your ancestors, together with
The natural bravery of your isle, which stands
As Neptune's park, ribbed and paled in
With rocks unscaleable and roaring waters,
With sands, that will not bear your enemies. boats,
But suck them up to the topmast. A kind of conquest
Caesar's made here, but made not here his brag
Of 'came, and saw, and overcame:' with shame--
The first that ever touch'd him--he was carried
From off our coast, twice beaten; and his shipping--
Poor ignorant baubles!--on our terrible seas,
Like egg-shells mov'd upon their surges, crack'd
As easily 'gainst our rocks: for joy whereof
The fam'd Cassibelan, who was once at point--
O giglot fortune!--to master Caesar's sword,
Made Lud's town with rejoicing-fires bright,
And Britons strut with courage.
III i 19
Imogen
Verse
Cymbeline
Who? thy lord? that is my lord, Leonatus!

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Who? thy lord? that is my lord, Leonatus.
O! learn'd indeed were that astronomer
That knew the stars as I his characters;
He'd lay the future open. You good gods,
Let what is here contain'd relish of love,
Of my lord's health, of his content, yet not
That we two are asunder; let that grieve him,--
Some griefs are med'cinable; that is one of them,
For it doth physic love,--of his content,
All but in that! Good wax, thy leave. Bless'd be
You bees that make these locks of counsel! Lovers
And men in dangerous bonds pray not alike;
Though forfeiters you cast in prison, yet
You clasp young Cupid's tables. Good news, gods!

Justice, and your father's wrath, should he take me in his dominion, could not be so cruel to me, as you, O the dearest of creatures, would not even renew me with your eyes. Take notice that I am in Cambria, at Milford-Haven; what your own love will out of this advise you, follow. So, he wishes you all happiness, that remains loyal to his vow, and your, increasing in love, LEONATUS POSTHUMUS.

O! for a horse with wings! Hear'st thou, Pisanio?
He is at Milford-Haven; read, and tell me
How far 'tis thither. If one of mean affairs
May plod it in a week, why may not I
Glide thither in a day? Then, true Pisanio,--
Who long'st, like me, to see thy lord; who long'st,--
O! let me 'bate,--but not like me; yet long'st,
But in a fainter kind:--O! not like me,
For mine's beyond beyond; say, and speak thick;--
Love's counsellor should fill the bores of hearing,
To the smothering of the sense,--how far it is
To this same blessed Milford; and, by the way,
Tell me how Wales was made so happy as
T' inherit such a haven; but, first of all,
How we may steal from hence, and, for the gap
That we shall make in time, from our hencegoing
And our return, to excuse; but first, how get hence.
Why should excuse be born or ere begot?
We'll talk of that hereafter. Prithee, speak,
How many score of miles may we well ride
'Twixt hour and hour?

III ii 29
Imogen
Verse
Cymbeline
Thou told'st me, when we came from horse, the place

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Thou told'st me, when we came from horse, the place
Was near at hand: ne'er long'd my mother so
To see me first, as I have now. Pisanio! man!
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 't be summer news,
Smile to 't before; if winterly, thou need'st
But keep that count'nance 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.
III iv 1
Imogen
Verse
Cymbeline
I false! Thy conscience witness! Iachimo,

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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 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
48 Put on for villany; not born where 't grows,
But worn a bait for ladies.
Pisanio - Good madam, hear me.
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.
Thou mayst be valiant in a better cause,
But now thou seem'st a coward.
III iv 39
Imogen
Verse
Cymbeline
Why, I must die; And if I do not by thy hand, thou art

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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, Posthumus, thou 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 tir'st on, how thy memory
Will then be pang'd by me. Prithee, dispatch;
The lamb entreats the butcher; where's thy knife?
Thou art too slow to do thy master's bidding,
When I desire it too.
III iv 70
Imogen
Verse
Cymbeline
I see a man's life is a tedious one

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I see a man's life is a tedious one;
I have tir'd myself, and for two nights together
Have made the ground my bed; I should be sick
But that my resolution helps me. Milford,
When from the mountain-top Pisanio show'd thee,
Thou wast within a ken. O Jove! I think
Foundations fly the wretched; such, I mean,
Where they should be reliev'd. Two beggars told me
I could not miss my way; will poor folks lie,
That have afflictions on them, knowing 'tis
A punishment or trial? Yes; no wonder,
When rich ones scarce tell true. To lapse in fulness
Is sorer than to lie for need, and falsehood
Is worse in kings than beggars. My dear lord!
Thou art one o' the false ones. Now I think on thee,
My hunger's gone, but even before I was
At point to sink for food. But what is this?
Here is a path to 't; 'tis some savage hold;
I were best not call, I dare not call, yet famine,
Ere clean it o'erthrow nature, makes it valiant.
Plenty and peace breeds cowards, hardness ever
Of hardiness is mother. Ho! Who's here?
If any thing that's civil, speak; if savage,
Take or lend. Ho! No answer? Then I'll enter.
Best draw my sword; and if mine enemy
But fear the sword like me, he'll scarcely look on 't.
Such a foe, good heavens!
III vi 1
Imogen
Verse
Cymbeline
Yes, sir, to Milford-Haven; which is the way?

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Yes, sir, to Milford-Haven; which is the way?
I thank you. By yond bush? Pray, how far thither?
'Ods pittikins! can it be six mile yet?
I have gone all night: Faith, I'll lie down and sleep.
[Seeing the body of CLOTEN.]
But, soft! no bed-fellow! O gods and goddesses!
These flowers are like the pleasures of the world;
This bloody man, the care on 't. I hope I dream;
For so I thought I was a cave-keeper,
And cook to honest creatures; but 'tis not so, 'Twas but a bolt of nothing, shot at nothing,
Which the brain makes of fumes. Our very eyes
Are sometimes like our judgments, blind. Good faith,
I tremble still with fear; but if there be
Yet left in heaven as small a drop of pity
As a wren's eye, fear'd gods, a part of it!
The dream's here still; even when I wake, it is
Without me, as within me; not imagin'd, felt.
A headless man! The garments of Posthumus!
I know the shape of 's leg, this is his hand,
His foot Mercurial, his Martial thigh,
The brawns of Hercules, but his Jovial face.
Murder in heaven? How! 'Tis gone. Pisanio,
All curses madded Hecuba gave the Greeks,
And mine to boot, be darted on thee! Thou,
Conspir'd with that irregulous devil, Cloten,
Hast here cut off my lord. To write and read
Be henceforth treacherous! Damn'd Pisanio
Hath with his forged letters, damn'd Pisanio,
From this most bravest vessel of the world
Struck the main-top! O Posthumus! alas!
Where is thy head? where's that? Ay me! where's that?
Pisanio might have kill'd thee at the heart,
And left this head on. How should this be? Pisanio?
'Tis he and Cloten; malice and lucre in them
Have laid this woe here. O! 'tis pregnant, pregnant!
The drug he gave me, which he said was precious
And cordial to me, have I not found it
Murderous to the senses? That confirms it home;
This is Pisanio's deed, and Cloten's: O!
Give colour to my pale cheek with thy blood,
That we the horrider may seem to those
Which chance to find us. O! my lord, my lord.
[Falls on the body.]
IV ii 363
Cymbeline
Verse
Cymbeline
O rare instinct! When shall I hear all through? This fierce abridgment

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O rare instinct!
When shall I hear all through? This fierce abridgment
Hath to it circumstantial branches, which
Distinction should be rich in. Where? how liv'd you?
And when came you to serve our Roman captive?
How parted with your brothers? how first met them?
Why fled you from the court, and whither? These,
And your three motives to the battle, with
I know not how much more, should be demanded,
And all the other by-dependances,
From chance to chance, but nor the time nor place
Will serve our long inter'gatories. See,
Posthumus anchors upon Imogen,
And she, like harmless lightning, throws her eye
On him, her brothers, me, her master, hitting
Each object with a joy: the counterchange
Is severally in all. Let's quit this ground,
And smoke the temple with our sacrifices.
V v 460

 


 

 

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