William Shakespeare: Cymbeline, Act III, Scene II

Updated September 23, 2019 | Infoplease Staff

Scene II

Another room in the palace

Enter Pisanio, with a letter


How? of adultery? Wherefore write you not What monster's her accuser? Leonatus, O master! what a strange infection Is fall'n into thy ear! What false Italian, As poisonous-tongued as handed, hath prevail'd On thy too ready hearing? Disloyal! No: She's punish'd for her truth, and undergoes, More goddess-like than wife-like, such assaults As would take in some virtue. O my master! Thy mind to her is now as low as were Thy fortunes. How! that I should murder her? Upon the love and truth and vows which I Have made to thy command? I, her? her blood? If it be so to do good service, never Let me be counted serviceable. How look I, That I should seem to lack humanity so much as this fact comes to? [Reading] 'Do't: the letter that I have sent her, by her own command Shall give thee opportunity.' O damn'd paper! Black as the ink that's on thee! Senseless bauble, Art thou a feodary for this act, and look'st So virgin-like without? Lo, here she comes.


I am ignorant in what I am commanded.

Enter Imogen


How now, Pisanio!


Madam, here is a letter from my lord.


Who? thy lord? that is my lord, Leonatus!
O, learn'd indeed were that astronomer
That knew the stars as I his characters;
He'ld 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. Blest 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 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,— 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 To 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 hence-going And our return, to excuse: but first, how get hence: Why should excuse be born or e'er begot? We'll talk of that hereafter. Prithee, speak, How many score of miles may we well ride 'Twixt hour and hour?


One score 'twixt sun and sun,
Madam, 's enough for you:


and too much too.


Why, one that rode to's execution, man,
Could never go so slow: I have heard of riding wagers,
Where horses have been nimbler than the sands
That run i' the clock's behalf. But this is foolery:
Go bid my woman feign a sickness; say
She'll home to her father: and provide me presently
A riding-suit, no costlier than would fit
A franklin's housewife.


Madam, you're best consider.


I see before me, man: nor here, nor here,
Nor what ensues, but have a fog in them,
That I cannot look through. Away, I prithee;
Do as I bid thee: there's no more to say,
Accessible is none but Milford way.


Sources +