chronosynclastic aposiopesis...

The Plays of William Shakspeare

All is well, that Ends well

Dramatis Personae

BERTRAM, Count of Rousillon
LAFEU, an old lord
PAROLLES, a follower of Bertram
TWO FRENCH LORDS, serving with Bertram

STEWARD, Servant to the Countess of Rousillon
LAVACHE, a clown and Servant to the Countess of Rousillon
A PAGE, Servant to the Countess of Rousillon

COUNTESS OF ROUSILLON, mother to Bertram
HELENA, a gentlewoman protected by the Countess
DIANA, daughter to the Widow

VIOLENTA, neighbour and friend to the Widow
MARIANA, neighbour and friend to the Widow

Lords, Officers, Soldiers, etc., French and Florentine

Rousillon; Paris; Florence; Marseilles

Rousillon. The COUNT'S palace


COUNTESS. In delivering my son from me, I bury a second husband.
BERTRAM. And I in going, madam, weep o'er my father's death anew;
but I must attend his Majesty's command, to whom I am now in
ward, evermore in subjection.
LAFEU. You shall find of the King a husband, madam; you, sir, a
father. He that so generally is at all times good must of
necessity hold his virtue to you, whose worthiness would stir it
up where it wanted, rather than lack it where there is such
COUNTESS. What hope is there of his Majesty's amendment?
LAFEU. He hath abandon'd his physicians, madam; under whose
practices he hath persecuted time with hope, and finds no other
advantage in the process but only the losing of hope by time.
COUNTESS. This young gentlewoman had a father- O, that 'had,' how
sad a passage 'tis!-whose skill was almost as great as his
honesty; had it stretch'd so far, would have made nature
immortal, and death should have play for lack of work. Would, for
the King's sake, he were living! I think it would be the death of
the King's disease.
LAFEU. How call'd you the man you speak of, madam?
COUNTESS. He was famous, sir, in his profession, and it was his
great right to be so- Gerard de Narbon.
LAFEU. He was excellent indeed, madam; the King very lately spoke
of him admiringly and mourningly; he was skilful enough to have
liv'd still, if knowledge could be set up against mortality.
BERTRAM. What is it, my good lord, the King languishes of?
LAFEU. A fistula, my lord.
BERTRAM. I heard not of it before.
LAFEU. I would it were not notorious. Was this gentlewoman the
daughter of Gerard de Narbon?
COUNTESS. His sole child, my lord, and bequeathed to my
overlooking. I have those hopes of her good that her education
promises; her dispositions she inherits, which makes fair gifts
fairer; for where an unclean mind carries virtuous qualities,
there commendations go with pity-they are virtues and traitors
too. In her they are the better for their simpleness; she derives
her honesty, and achieves her goodness.
LAFEU. Your commendations, madam, get from her tears.
COUNTESS. 'Tis the best brine a maiden can season her praise in.
The remembrance of her father never approaches her heart but the
tyranny of her sorrows takes all livelihood from her cheek. No
more of this, Helena; go to, no more, lest it be rather thought
you affect a sorrow than to have-
HELENA. I do affect a sorrow indeed, but I have it too.
LAFEU. Moderate lamentation is the right of the dead: excessive
grief the enemy to the living.
COUNTESS. If the living be enemy to the grief, the excess makes it
soon mortal.
BERTRAM. Madam, I desire your holy wishes.
LAFEU. How understand we that?
COUNTESS. Be thou blest, Bertram, and succeed thy father
In manners, as in shape! Thy blood and virtue
Contend for empire in thee, and thy goodness
Share with thy birthright! Love all, trust a few,
Do wrong to none; be able for thine enemy
Rather in power than use, and keep thy friend
Under thy own life's key; be check'd for silence,
But never tax'd for speech. What heaven more will,
That thee may furnish, and my prayers pluck down,
Fall on thy head! Farewell. My lord,
'Tis an unseason'd courtier; good my lord,
Advise him.
LAFEU. He cannot want the best
That shall attend his love.
COUNTESS. Heaven bless him! Farewell, Bertram. Exit
BERTRAM. The best wishes that can be forg'd in your thoughts be
servants to you! [To HELENA] Be comfortable to my mother, your
mistress, and make much of her.
LAFEU. Farewell, pretty lady; you must hold the credit of your
father. Exeunt BERTRAM and LAFEU
HELENA. O, were that all! I think not on my father;
And these great tears grace his remembrance more
Than those I shed for him. What was he like?
I have forgot him; my imagination
Carries no favour in't but Bertram's.
I am undone; there is no living, none,
If Bertram be away. 'Twere all one
That I should love a bright particular star
And think to wed it, he is so above me.
In his bright radiance and collateral light
Must I be comforted, not in his sphere.
Th' ambition in my love thus plagues itself:
The hind that would be mated by the lion
Must die for love. 'Twas pretty, though a plague,
To see him every hour; to sit and draw
His arched brows, his hawking eye, his curls,
In our heart's table-heart too capable
Of every line and trick of his sweet favour.
But now he's gone, and my idolatrous fancy
Must sanctify his relics. Who comes here?


[Aside] One that goes with him. I love him for his sake;
And yet I know him a notorious liar,
Think him a great way fool, solely a coward;
Yet these fix'd evils sit so fit in him
That they take place when virtue's steely bones
Looks bleak i' th' cold wind; withal, full oft we see
Cold wisdom waiting on superfluous folly.
PAROLLES. Save you, fair queen!
HELENA. And you, monarch!
HELENA. And no.
PAROLLES. Are you meditating on virginity?
HELENA. Ay. You have some stain of soldier in you; let me ask you a
question. Man is enemy to virginity; how may we barricado it
against him?
PAROLLES. Keep him out.
HELENA. But he assails; and our virginity, though valiant in the
defence, yet is weak. Unfold to us some warlike resistance.
PAROLLES. There is none. Man, setting down before you, will
undermine you and blow you up.
HELENA. Bless our poor virginity from underminers and blowers-up!
Is there no military policy how virgins might blow up men?
PAROLLES. Virginity being blown down, man will quicklier be blown
up; marry, in blowing him down again, with the breach yourselves
made, you lose your city. It is not politic in the commonwealth
of nature to preserve virginity. Loss of virginity is rational
increase; and there was never virgin got till virginity was first
lost. That you were made of is metal to make virgins. Virginity
by being once lost may be ten times found; by being ever kept, it
is ever lost. 'Tis too cold a companion; away with't.
HELENA. I will stand for 't a little, though therefore I die a
PAROLLES. There's little can be said in 't; 'tis against the rule
of nature. To speak on the part of virginity is to accuse your
mothers; which is most infallible disobedience. He that hangs
himself is a virgin; virginity murders itself, and should be
buried in highways, out of all sanctified limit, as a desperate
offendress against nature. Virginity breeds mites, much like a
cheese; consumes itself to the very paring, and so dies with
feeding his own stomach. Besides, virginity is peevish, proud,
idle, made of self-love, which is the most inhibited sin in the
canon. Keep it not; you cannot choose but lose by't. Out with't.
Within ten year it will make itself ten, which is a goodly
increase; and the principal itself not much the worse. Away
HELENA. How might one do, sir, to lose it to her own liking?
PAROLLES. Let me see. Marry, ill to like him that ne'er it likes.
'Tis a commodity will lose the gloss with lying; the longer kept,
the less worth. Off with't while 'tis vendible; answer the time
of request. Virginity, like an old courtier, wears her cap out of
fashion, richly suited but unsuitable; just like the brooch and
the toothpick, which wear not now. Your date is better in your
pie and your porridge than in your cheek. And your virginity,
your old virginity, is like one of our French wither'd pears: it
looks ill, it eats drily; marry, 'tis a wither'd pear; it was
formerly better; marry, yet 'tis a wither'd pear. Will you
anything with it?
HELENA. Not my virginity yet.
There shall your master have a thousand loves,
A mother, and a mistress, and a friend,
A phoenix, captain, and an enemy,
A guide, a goddess, and a sovereign,
A counsellor, a traitress, and a dear;
His humble ambition, proud humility,
His jarring concord, and his discord dulcet,
His faith, his sweet disaster; with a world
Of pretty, fond, adoptious christendoms
That blinking Cupid gossips. Now shall he-
I know not what he shall. God send him well!
The court's a learning-place, and he is one-
PAROLLES. What one, i' faith?
HELENA. That I wish well. 'Tis pity-
PAROLLES. What's pity?
HELENA. That wishing well had not a body in't
Which might be felt; that we, the poorer born,
Whose baser stars do shut us up in wishes,
Might with effects of them follow our friends
And show what we alone must think, which never
Returns us thanks.

Enter PAGE

PAGE. Monsieur Parolles, my lord calls for you. Exit PAGE
PAROLLES. Little Helen, farewell; if I can remember thee, I will
think of thee at court.
HELENA. Monsieur Parolles, you were born under a charitable star.
PAROLLES. Under Mars, I.
HELENA. I especially think, under Mars.
PAROLLES. Why under Man?
HELENA. The wars hath so kept you under that you must needs be born
under Mars.
PAROLLES. When he was predominant.
HELENA. When he was retrograde, I think, rather.
PAROLLES. Why think you so?
HELENA. You go so much backward when you fight.
PAROLLES. That's for advantage.
HELENA. So is running away, when fear proposes the safety: but the
composition that your valour and fear makes in you is a virtue of
a good wing, and I like the wear well.
PAROLLES. I am so full of business I cannot answer thee acutely. I
will return perfect courtier; in the which my instruction shall
serve to naturalize thee, so thou wilt be capable of a courtier's
counsel, and understand what advice shall thrust upon thee; else
thou diest in thine unthankfulness, and thine ignorance makes
thee away. Farewell. When thou hast leisure, say thy prayers;
when thou hast none, remember thy friends. Get thee a good
husband and use him as he uses thee. So, farewell.
HELENA. Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie,
Which we ascribe to heaven. The fated sky
Gives us free scope; only doth backward pull
Our slow designs when we ourselves are dull.
What power is it which mounts my love so high,
That makes me see, and cannot feed mine eye?
The mightiest space in fortune nature brings
To join like likes, and kiss like native things.
Impossible be strange attempts to those
That weigh their pains in sense, and do suppose
What hath been cannot be. Who ever strove
To show her merit that did miss her love?
The King's disease-my project may deceive me,
But my intents are fix'd, and will not leave me. Exit

Paris. The KING'S palace

Flourish of cornets. Enter the KING OF FRANCE, with letters,
and divers ATTENDANTS

KING. The Florentines and Senoys are by th' ears;
Have fought with equal fortune, and continue
A braving war.
FIRST LORD. So 'tis reported, sir.
KING. Nay, 'tis most credible. We here receive it,
A certainty, vouch'd from our cousin Austria,
With caution, that the Florentine will move us
For speedy aid; wherein our dearest friend
Prejudicates the business, and would seem
To have us make denial.
FIRST LORD. His love and wisdom,
Approv'd so to your Majesty, may plead
For amplest credence.
KING. He hath arm'd our answer,
And Florence is denied before he comes;
Yet, for our gentlemen that mean to see
The Tuscan service, freely have they leave
To stand on either part.
SECOND LORD. It well may serve
A nursery to our gentry, who are sick
For breathing and exploit.
KING. What's he comes here?


FIRST LORD. It is the Count Rousillon, my good lord,
Young Bertram.
KING. Youth, thou bear'st thy father's face;
Frank nature, rather curious than in haste,
Hath well compos'd thee. Thy father's moral parts
Mayst thou inherit too! Welcome to Paris.
BERTRAM. My thanks and duty are your Majesty's.
KING. I would I had that corporal soundness now,
As when thy father and myself in friendship
First tried our soldiership. He did look far
Into the service of the time, and was
Discipled of the bravest. He lasted long;
But on us both did haggish age steal on,
And wore us out of act. It much repairs me
To talk of your good father. In his youth
He had the wit which I can well observe
To-day in our young lords; but they may jest
Till their own scorn return to them unnoted
Ere they can hide their levity in honour.
So like a courtier, contempt nor bitterness
Were in his pride or sharpness; if they were,
His equal had awak'd them; and his honour,
Clock to itself, knew the true minute when
Exception bid him speak, and at this time
His tongue obey'd his hand. Who were below him
He us'd as creatures of another place;
And bow'd his eminent top to their low ranks,
Making them proud of his humility
In their poor praise he humbled. Such a man
Might be a copy to these younger times;
Which, followed well, would demonstrate them now
But goers backward.
BERTRAM. His good remembrance, sir,
Lies richer in your thoughts than on his tomb;
So in approof lives not his epitaph
As in your royal speech.
KING. Would I were with him! He would always say-
Methinks I hear him now; his plausive words
He scatter'd not in ears, but grafted them
To grow there, and to bear- 'Let me not live'-
This his good melancholy oft began,
On the catastrophe and heel of pastime,
When it was out-'Let me not live' quoth he
'After my flame lacks oil, to be the snuff
Of younger spirits, whose apprehensive senses
All but new things disdain; whose judgments are
Mere fathers of their garments; whose constancies
Expire before their fashions.' This he wish'd.
I, after him, do after him wish too,
Since I nor wax nor honey can bring home,
I quickly were dissolved from my hive,
To give some labourers room.
SECOND LORD. You're loved, sir;
They that least lend it you shall lack you first.
KING. I fill a place, I know't. How long is't, Count,
Since the physician at your father's died?
He was much fam'd.
BERTRAM. Some six months since, my lord.
KING. If he were living, I would try him yet-
Lend me an arm-the rest have worn me out
With several applications. Nature and sickness
Debate it at their leisure. Welcome, Count;
My son's no dearer.
BERTRAM. Thank your Majesty. Exeunt [Flourish]

Rousillon. The COUNT'S palace


COUNTESS. I will now hear; what say you of this gentlewoman?
STEWARD. Madam, the care I have had to even your content I wish
might be found in the calendar of my past endeavours; for then we
wound our modesty, and make foul the clearness of our deservings,
when of ourselves we publish them.
COUNTESS. What does this knave here? Get you gone, sirrah. The
complaints I have heard of you I do not all believe; 'tis my
slowness that I do not, for I know you lack not folly to commit
them and have ability enough to make such knaveries yours.
CLOWN. 'Tis not unknown to you, madam, I am a poor fellow.
COUNTESS. Well, sir.
CLOWN. No, madam, 'tis not so well that I am poor, though many of
the rich are damn'd; but if I may have your ladyship's good will
to go to the world, Isbel the woman and I will do as we may.
COUNTESS. Wilt thou needs be a beggar?
CLOWN. I do beg your good will in this case.
COUNTESS. In what case?
CLOWN. In Isbel's case and mine own. Service is no heritage; and I
think I shall never have the blessing of God till I have issue o'
my body; for they say bames are blessings.
COUNTESS. Tell me thy reason why thou wilt marry.
CLOWN. My poor body, madam, requires it. I am driven on by the
flesh; and he must needs go that the devil drives.
COUNTESS. Is this all your worship's reason?
CLOWN. Faith, madam, I have other holy reasons, such as they are.
COUNTESS. May the world know them?
CLOWN. I have been, madam, a wicked creature, as you and all flesh
and blood are; and, indeed, I do marry that I may repent.
COUNTESS. Thy marriage, sooner than thy wickedness.
CLOWN. I am out o' friends, madam, and I hope to have friends for
my wife's sake.
COUNTESS. Such friends are thine enemies, knave.
CLOWN. Y'are shallow, madam-in great friends; for the knaves come
to do that for me which I am aweary of. He that ears my land
spares my team, and gives me leave to in the crop. If I be his
cuckold, he's my drudge. He that comforts my wife is the
cherisher of my flesh and blood; he that cherishes my flesh and
blood loves my flesh and blood; he that loves my flesh and blood
is my friend; ergo, he that kisses my wife is my friend. If men
could be contented to be what they are, there were no fear in
marriage; for young Charbon the puritan and old Poysam the
papist, howsome'er their hearts are sever'd in religion, their
heads are both one; they may jowl horns together like any deer
i' th' herd.
COUNTESS. Wilt thou ever be a foul-mouth'd and calumnious knave?
CLOWN. A prophet I, madam; and I speak the truth the next way:

For I the ballad will repeat,
Which men full true shall find:
Your marriage comes by destiny,
Your cuckoo sings by kind.

COUNTESS. Get you gone, sir; I'll talk with you more anon.
STEWARD. May it please you, madam, that he bid Helen come to you.
Of her I am to speak.
COUNTESS. Sirrah, tell my gentlewoman I would speak with her; Helen
I mean.
CLOWN. [Sings]

'Was this fair face the cause' quoth she
'Why the Grecians sacked Troy?
Fond done, done fond,
Was this King Priam's joy?'
With that she sighed as she stood,
With that she sighed as she stood,
And gave this sentence then:
'Among nine bad if one be good,
Among nine bad if one be good,
There's yet one good in ten.'

COUNTESS. What, one good in ten? You corrupt the song, sirrah.
CLOWN. One good woman in ten, madam, which is a purifying o' th'
song. Would God would serve the world so all the year! We'd find
no fault with the tithe-woman, if I were the parson. One in ten,
quoth 'a! An we might have a good woman born before every blazing
star, or at an earthquake, 'twould mend the lottery well: a man
may draw his heart out ere 'a pluck one.
COUNTESS. You'll be gone, sir knave, and do as I command you.
CLOWN. That man should be at woman's command, and yet no hurt done!
Though honesty be no puritan, yet it will do no hurt; it will
wear the surplice of humility over the black gown of a big heart.
I am going, forsooth. The business is for Helen to come hither.
COUNTESS. Well, now.
STEWARD. I know, madam, you love your gentlewoman entirely.
COUNTESS. Faith I do. Her father bequeath'd her to me; and she
herself, without other advantage, may lawfully make title to as
much love as she finds. There is more owing her than is paid; and
more shall be paid her than she'll demand.
STEWARD. Madam, I was very late more near her than I think she
wish'd me. Alone she was, and did communicate to herself her own
words to her own ears; she thought, I dare vow for her, they
touch'd not any stranger sense. Her matter was, she loved your
son. Fortune, she said, was no goddess, that had put such
difference betwixt their two estates; Love no god, that would not
extend his might only where qualities were level; Diana no queen
of virgins, that would suffer her poor knight surpris'd without
rescue in the first assault, or ransom afterward. This she
deliver'd in the most bitter touch of sorrow that e'er I heard
virgin exclaim in; which I held my duty speedily to acquaint you
withal; sithence, in the loss that may happen, it concerns you
something to know it.
COUNTESS. YOU have discharg'd this honestly; keep it to yourself.
Many likelihoods inform'd me of this before, which hung so
tott'ring in the balance that I could neither believe nor
misdoubt. Pray you leave me. Stall this in your bosom; and I
thank you for your honest care. I will speak with you further
anon. Exit STEWARD


Even so it was with me when I was young.
If ever we are nature's, these are ours; this thorn
Doth to our rose of youth rightly belong;
Our blood to us, this to our blood is born.
It is the show and seal of nature's truth,
Where love's strong passion is impress'd in youth.
By our remembrances of days foregone,
Such were our faults, or then we thought them none.
Her eye is sick on't; I observe her now.
HELENA. What is your pleasure, madam?
COUNTESS. You know, Helen,
I am a mother to you.
HELENA. Mine honourable mistress.
COUNTESS. Nay, a mother.
Why not a mother? When I said 'a mother,'
Methought you saw a serpent. What's in 'mother'
That you start at it? I say I am your mother,
And put you in the catalogue of those
That were enwombed mine. 'Tis often seen
Adoption strives with nature, and choice breeds
A native slip to us from foreign seeds.
You ne'er oppress'd me with a mother's groan,
Yet I express to you a mother's care.
God's mercy, maiden! does it curd thy blood
To say I am thy mother? What's the matter,
That this distempered messenger of wet,
The many-colour'd Iris, rounds thine eye?
Why, that you are my daughter?
HELENA. That I am not.
COUNTESS. I say I am your mother.
HELENA. Pardon, madam.
The Count Rousillon cannot be my brother:
I am from humble, he from honoured name;
No note upon my parents, his all noble.
My master, my dear lord he is; and I
His servant live, and will his vassal die.
He must not be my brother.
COUNTESS. Nor I your mother?
HELENA. You are my mother, madam; would you were-
So that my lord your son were not my brother-
Indeed my mother! Or were you both our mothers,
I care no more for than I do for heaven,
So I were not his sister. Can't no other,
But, I your daughter, he must be my brother?
COUNTESS. Yes, Helen, you might be my daughter-in-law.
God shield you mean it not! 'daughter' and 'mother'
So strive upon your pulse. What! pale again?
My fear hath catch'd your fondness. Now I see
The myst'ry of your loneliness, and find
Your salt tears' head. Now to all sense 'tis gross
You love my son; invention is asham'd,
Against the proclamation of thy passion,
To say thou dost not. Therefore tell me true;
But tell me then, 'tis so; for, look, thy cheeks
Confess it, th' one to th' other; and thine eyes
See it so grossly shown in thy behaviours
That in their kind they speak it; only sin
And hellish obstinacy tie thy tongue,
That truth should be suspected. Speak, is't so?
If it be so, you have wound a goodly clew;
If it be not, forswear't; howe'er, I charge thee,
As heaven shall work in me for thine avail,
To tell me truly.
HELENA. Good madam, pardon me.
COUNTESS. Do you love my son?
HELENA. Your pardon, noble mistress.
COUNTESS. Love you my son?
HELENA. Do not you love him, madam?
COUNTESS. Go not about; my love hath in't a bond
Whereof the world takes note. Come, come, disclose
The state of your affection; for your passions
Have to the full appeach'd.
HELENA. Then I confess,
Here on my knee, before high heaven and you,
That before you, and next unto high heaven,
I love your son.
My friends were poor, but honest; so's my love.
Be not offended, for it hurts not him
That he is lov'd of me; I follow him not
By any token of presumptuous suit,
Nor would I have him till I do deserve him;
Yet never know how that desert should be.
I know I love in vain, strive against hope;
Yet in this captious and intenible sieve
I still pour in the waters of my love,
And lack not to lose still. Thus, Indian-like,
Religious in mine error, I adore
The sun that looks upon his worshipper
But knows of him no more. My dearest madam,
Let not your hate encounter with my love,
For loving where you do; but if yourself,
Whose aged honour cites a virtuous youth,
Did ever in so true a flame of liking
Wish chastely and love dearly that your Dian
Was both herself and Love; O, then, give pity
To her whose state is such that cannot choose
But lend and give where she is sure to lose;
That seeks not to find that her search implies,
But, riddle-like, lives sweetly where she dies!
COUNTESS. Had you not lately an intent-speak truly-
To go to Paris?
HELENA. Madam, I had.
COUNTESS. Wherefore? Tell true.
HELENA. I will tell truth; by grace itself I swear.
You know my father left me some prescriptions
Of rare and prov'd effects, such as his reading
And manifest experience had collected
For general sovereignty; and that he will'd me
In heedfull'st reservation to bestow them,
As notes whose faculties inclusive were
More than they were in note. Amongst the rest
There is a remedy, approv'd, set down,
To cure the desperate languishings whereof
The King is render'd lost.
COUNTESS. This was your motive
For Paris, was it? Speak.
HELENA. My lord your son made me to think of this,
Else Paris, and the medicine, and the King,
Had from the conversation of my thoughts
Haply been absent then.
COUNTESS. But think you, Helen,
If you should tender your supposed aid,
He would receive it? He and his physicians
Are of a mind: he, that they cannot help him;
They, that they cannot help. How shall they credit
A poor unlearned virgin, when the schools,
Embowell'd of their doctrine, have let off
The danger to itself?
HELENA. There's something in't
More than my father's skill, which was the great'st
Of his profession, that his good receipt
Shall for my legacy be sanctified
By th' luckiest stars in heaven; and, would your honour
But give me leave to try success, I'd venture
The well-lost life of mine on his Grace's cure.
By such a day and hour.
COUNTESS. Dost thou believe't?
HELENA. Ay, madam, knowingly.
COUNTESS. Why, Helen, thou shalt have my leave and love,
Means and attendants, and my loving greetings
To those of mine in court. I'll stay at home,
And pray God's blessing into thy attempt.
Be gone to-morrow; and be sure of this,
What I can help thee to thou shalt not miss. Exeunt

Paris. The KING'S palace

Flourish of cornets. Enter the KING with divers young LORDS taking leave
for the Florentine war; BERTRAM and PAROLLES; ATTENDANTS

KING. Farewell, young lords; these war-like principles
Do not throw from you. And you, my lords, farewell;
Share the advice betwixt you; if both gain all,
The gift doth stretch itself as 'tis receiv'd,
And is enough for both.
FIRST LORD. 'Tis our hope, sir,
After well-ent'red soldiers, to return
And find your Grace in health.
KING. No, no, it cannot be; and yet my heart
Will not confess he owes the malady
That doth my life besiege. Farewell, young lords;
Whether I live or die, be you the sons
Of worthy Frenchmen; let higher Italy-
Those bated that inherit but the fall
Of the last monarchy-see that you come
Not to woo honour, but to wed it; when
The bravest questant shrinks, find what you seek,
That fame may cry you aloud. I say farewell.
SECOND LORD. Health, at your bidding, serve your Majesty!
KING. Those girls of Italy, take heed of them;
They say our French lack language to deny,
If they demand; beware of being captives
Before you serve.
BOTH. Our hearts receive your warnings.
KING. Farewell. [To ATTENDANTS] Come hither to me.
The KING retires attended
FIRST LORD. O my sweet lord, that you will stay behind us!
PAROLLES. 'Tis not his fault, the spark.
SECOND LORD. O, 'tis brave wars!
PAROLLES. Most admirable! I have seen those wars.
BERTRAM. I am commanded here and kept a coil with
'Too young' and next year' and "Tis too early.'
PAROLLES. An thy mind stand to 't, boy, steal away bravely.
BERTRAM. I shall stay here the forehorse to a smock,
Creaking my shoes on the plain masonry,
Till honour be bought up, and no sword worn
But one to dance with. By heaven, I'll steal away.
FIRST LORD. There's honour in the theft.
PAROLLES. Commit it, Count.
SECOND LORD. I am your accessary; and so farewell.
BERTRAM. I grow to you, and our parting is a tortur'd body.
FIRST LORD. Farewell, Captain.
SECOND LORD. Sweet Monsieur Parolles!
PAROLLES. Noble heroes, my sword and yours are kin. Good sparks and
lustrous, a word, good metals: you shall find in the regiment of
the Spinii one Captain Spurio, with his cicatrice, an emblem of
war, here on his sinister cheek; it was this very sword
entrench'd it. Say to him I live; and observe his reports for me.
FIRST LORD. We shall, noble Captain.
PAROLLES. Mars dote on you for his novices! Exeunt LORDS
What will ye do?

Re-enter the KING

BERTRAM. Stay; the King!
PAROLLES. Use a more spacious ceremony to the noble lords; you have
restrain'd yourself within the list of too cold an adieu. Be more
expressive to them; for they wear themselves in the cap of the
time; there do muster true gait; eat, speak, and move, under the
influence of the most receiv'd star; and though the devil lead
the measure, such are to be followed. After them, and take a more
dilated farewell.
BERTRAM. And I will do so.
PAROLLES. Worthy fellows; and like to prove most sinewy sword-men.


LAFEU. [Kneeling] Pardon, my lord, for me and for my tidings.
KING. I'll fee thee to stand up.
LAFEU. Then here's a man stands that has brought his pardon.
I would you had kneel'd, my lord, to ask me mercy;
And that at my bidding you could so stand up.
KING. I would I had; so I had broke thy pate,
And ask'd thee mercy for't.
LAFEU. Good faith, across!
But, my good lord, 'tis thus: will you be cur'd
Of your infirmity?
LAFEU. O, will you eat
No grapes, my royal fox? Yes, but you will
My noble grapes, an if my royal fox
Could reach them: I have seen a medicine
That's able to breathe life into a stone,
Quicken a rock, and make you dance canary
With spritely fire and motion; whose simple touch
Is powerful to araise King Pepin, nay,
To give great Charlemain a pen in's hand
And write to her a love-line.
KING. What her is this?
LAFEU. Why, Doctor She! My lord, there's one arriv'd,
If you will see her. Now, by my faith and honour,
If seriously I may convey my thoughts
In this my light deliverance, I have spoke
With one that in her sex, her years, profession,
Wisdom, and constancy, hath amaz'd me more
Than I dare blame my weakness. Will you see her,
For that is her demand, and know her business?
That done, laugh well at me.
KING. Now, good Lafeu,
Bring in the admiration, that we with the
May spend our wonder too, or take off thine
By wond'ring how thou took'st it.
LAFEU. Nay, I'll fit you,
And not be all day neither. Exit LAFEU
KING. Thus he his special nothing ever prologues.

Re-enter LAFEU with HELENA

LAFEU. Nay, come your ways.
KING. This haste hath wings indeed.
LAFEU. Nay, come your ways;
This is his Majesty; say your mind to him.
A traitor you do look like; but such traitors
His Majesty seldom fears. I am Cressid's uncle,
That dare leave two together. Fare you well. Exit
KING. Now, fair one, does your business follow us?
HELENA. Ay, my good lord.
Gerard de Narbon was my father,
In what he did profess, well found.
KING. I knew him.
HELENA. The rather will I spare my praises towards him;
Knowing him is enough. On's bed of death
Many receipts he gave me; chiefly one,
Which, as the dearest issue of his practice,
And of his old experience th' only darling,
He bade me store up as a triple eye,
Safer than mine own two, more dear. I have so:
And, hearing your high Majesty is touch'd
With that malignant cause wherein the honour
Of my dear father's gift stands chief in power,
I come to tender it, and my appliance,
With all bound humbleness.
KING. We thank you, maiden;
But may not be so credulous of cure,
When our most learned doctors leave us, and
The congregated college have concluded
That labouring art can never ransom nature
From her inaidable estate-I say we must not
So stain our judgment, or corrupt our hope,
To prostitute our past-cure malady
To empirics; or to dissever so
Our great self and our credit to esteem
A senseless help, when help past sense we deem.
HELENA. My duty then shall pay me for my pains.
I will no more enforce mine office on you;
Humbly entreating from your royal thoughts
A modest one to bear me back again.
KING. I cannot give thee less, to be call'd grateful.
Thou thought'st to help me; and such thanks I give
As one near death to those that wish him live.
But what at full I know, thou know'st no part;
I knowing all my peril, thou no art.
HELENA. What I can do can do no hurt to try,
Since you set up your rest 'gainst remedy.
He that of greatest works is finisher
Oft does them by the weakest minister.
So holy writ in babes hath judgment shown,
When judges have been babes. Great floods have flown
From simple sources, and great seas have dried
When miracles have by the greatest been denied.
Oft expectation fails, and most oft there
Where most it promises; and oft it hits
Where hope is coldest, and despair most fits.
KING. I must not hear thee. Fare thee well, kind maid;
Thy pains, not us'd, must by thyself be paid;
Proffers not took reap thanks for their reward.
HELENA. Inspired merit so by breath is barr'd.
It is not so with Him that all things knows,
As 'tis with us that square our guess by shows;
But most it is presumption in us when
The help of heaven we count the act of men.
Dear sir, to my endeavours give consent;
Of heaven, not me, make an experiment.
I am not an impostor, that proclaim
Myself against the level of mine aim;
But know I think, and think I know most sure,
My art is not past power nor you past cure.
KING. Art thou so confident? Within what space
Hop'st thou my cure?
HELENA. The greatest Grace lending grace.
Ere twice the horses of the sun shall bring
Their fiery torcher his diurnal ring,
Ere twice in murk and occidental damp
Moist Hesperus hath quench'd his sleepy lamp,
Or four and twenty times the pilot's glass
Hath told the thievish minutes how they pass,
What is infirm from your sound parts shall fly,
Health shall live free, and sickness freely die.
KING. Upon thy certainty and confidence
What dar'st thou venture?
HELENA. Tax of impudence,
A strumpet's boldness, a divulged shame,
Traduc'd by odious ballads; my maiden's name
Sear'd otherwise; ne worse of worst-extended
With vilest torture let my life be ended.
KING. Methinks in thee some blessed spirit doth speak
His powerful sound within an organ weak;
And what impossibility would slay
In common sense, sense saves another way.
Thy life is dear; for all that life can rate
Worth name of life in thee hath estimate:
Youth, beauty, wisdom, courage, all
That happiness and prime can happy call.
Thou this to hazard needs must intimate
Skill infinite or monstrous desperate.
Sweet practiser, thy physic I will try,
That ministers thine own death if I die.
HELENA. If I break time, or flinch in property
Of what I spoke, unpitied let me die;
And well deserv'd. Not helping, death's my fee;
But, if I help, what do you promise me?
KING. Make thy demand.
HELENA. But will you make it even?
KING. Ay, by my sceptre and my hopes of heaven.
HELENA. Then shalt thou give me with thy kingly hand
What husband in thy power I will command.
Exempted be from me the arrogance
To choose from forth the royal blood of France,
My low and humble name to propagate
With any branch or image of thy state;
But such a one, thy vassal, whom I know
Is free for me to ask, thee to bestow.
KING. Here is my hand; the premises observ'd,
Thy will by my performance shall be serv'd.
So make the choice of thy own time, for I,
Thy resolv'd patient, on thee still rely.
More should I question thee, and more I must,
Though more to know could not be more to trust,
From whence thou cam'st, how tended on. But rest
Unquestion'd welcome and undoubted blest.
Give me some help here, ho! If thou proceed
As high as word, my deed shall match thy deed.
[Flourish. Exeunt]

Rousillon. The COUNT'S palace


COUNTESS. Come on, sir; I shall now put you to the height of your
CLOWN. I will show myself highly fed and lowly taught. I know my
business is but to the court.
COUNTESS. To the court! Why, what place make you special, when you
put off that with such contempt? But to the court!
CLOWN. Truly, madam, if God have lent a man any manners, he may
easily put it off at court. He that cannot make a leg, put off's
cap, kiss his hand, and say nothing, has neither leg, hands, lip,
nor cap; and indeed such a fellow, to say precisely, were not for
the court; but for me, I have an answer will serve all men.
COUNTESS. Marry, that's a bountiful answer that fits all questions.
CLOWN. It is like a barber's chair, that fits all buttocks-the pin
buttock, the quatch buttock, the brawn buttock, or any buttock.
COUNTESS. Will your answer serve fit to all questions?
CLOWN. As fit as ten groats is for the hand of an attorney, as your
French crown for your taffety punk, as Tib's rush for Tom's
forefinger, as a pancake for Shrove Tuesday, a morris for Mayday,
as the nail to his hole, the cuckold to his horn, as a scolding
quean to a wrangling knave, as the nun's lip to the friar's
mouth; nay, as the pudding to his skin.
COUNTESS. Have you, I, say, an answer of such fitness for all
CLOWN. From below your duke to beneath your constable, it will fit
any question.
COUNTESS. It must be an answer of most monstrous size that must fit
all demands.
CLOWN. But a trifle neither, in good faith, if the learned should
speak truth of it. Here it is, and all that belongs to't. Ask me
if I am a courtier: it shall do you no harm to learn.
COUNTESS. To be young again, if we could, I will be a fool in
question, hoping to be the wiser by your answer. I pray you, sir,
are you a courtier?
CLOWN. O Lord, sir!-There's a simple putting off. More, more, a
hundred of them.
COUNTESS. Sir, I am a poor friend of yours, that loves you.
CLOWN. O Lord, sir!-Thick, thick; spare not me.
COUNTESS. I think, sir, you can eat none of this homely meat.
CLOWN. O Lord, sir!-Nay, put me to't, I warrant you.
COUNTESS. You were lately whipp'd, sir, as I think.
CLOWN. O Lord, sir!-Spare not me.
COUNTESS. Do you cry 'O Lord, sir!' at your whipping, and 'spare
not me'? Indeed your 'O Lord, sir!' is very sequent to your
whipping. You would answer very well to a whipping, if you were
but bound to't.
CLOWN. I ne'er had worse luck in my life in my 'O Lord, sir!' I see
thing's may serve long, but not serve ever.
COUNTESS. I play the noble housewife with the time,
To entertain it so merrily with a fool.
CLOWN. O Lord, sir!-Why, there't serves well again.
COUNTESS. An end, sir! To your business: give Helen this,
And urge her to a present answer back;
Commend me to my kinsmen and my son. This is not much.
CLOWN. Not much commendation to them?
COUNTESS. Not much employment for you. You understand me?
CLOWN. Most fruitfully; I am there before my legs.
COUNTESS. Haste you again. Exeunt

Paris. The KING'S palace


LAFEU. They say miracles are past; and we have our philosophical
persons to make modern and familiar things supernatural and
causeless. Hence is it that we make trifles of terrors,
ensconcing ourselves into seeming knowledge when we should submit
ourselves to an unknown fear.
PAROLLES. Why, 'tis the rarest argument of wonder that hath shot
out in our latter times.
BERTRAM. And so 'tis.
LAFEU. To be relinquish'd of the artists-
PAROLLES. So I say-both of Galen and Paracelsus.
LAFEU. Of all the learned and authentic fellows-
PAROLLES. Right; so I say.
LAFEU. That gave him out incurable-
PAROLLES. Why, there 'tis; so say I too.
LAFEU. Not to be help'd-
PAROLLES. Right; as 'twere a man assur'd of a-
LAFEU. Uncertain life and sure death.
PAROLLES. Just; you say well; so would I have said.
LAFEU. I may truly say it is a novelty to the world.
PAROLLES. It is indeed. If you will have it in showing, you shall
read it in what-do-ye-call't here.
LAFEU. [Reading the ballad title] 'A Showing of a Heavenly
Effect in an Earthly Actor.'
PAROLLES. That's it; I would have said the very same.
LAFEU. Why, your dolphin is not lustier. 'Fore me, I speak in
PAROLLES. Nay, 'tis strange, 'tis very strange; that is the brief
and the tedious of it; and he's of a most facinerious spirit that
will not acknowledge it to be the-
LAFEU. Very hand of heaven.
PAROLLES. Ay; so I say.
LAFEU. In a most weak-
PAROLLES. And debile minister, great power, great transcendence;
which should, indeed, give us a further use to be made than alone
the recov'ry of the King, as to be-
LAFEU. Generally thankful.


PAROLLES. I would have said it; you say well. Here comes the King.
LAFEU. Lustig, as the Dutchman says. I'll like a maid the better,
whilst I have a tooth in my head. Why, he's able to lead her a
PAROLLES. Mort du vinaigre! Is not this Helen?
LAFEU. 'Fore God, I think so.
KING. Go, call before me all the lords in court.
Sit, my preserver, by thy patient's side;
And with this healthful hand, whose banish'd sense
Thou has repeal'd, a second time receive
The confirmation of my promis'd gift,
Which but attends thy naming.

Enter three or four LORDS

Fair maid, send forth thine eye. This youthful parcel
Of noble bachelors stand at my bestowing,
O'er whom both sovereign power and father's voice
I have to use. Thy frank election make;
Thou hast power to choose, and they none to forsake.
HELENA. To each of you one fair and virtuous mistress
Fall, when love please. Marry, to each but one!
LAFEU. I'd give bay Curtal and his furniture
My mouth no more were broken than these boys',
And writ as little beard.
KING. Peruse them well.
Not one of those but had a noble father.
HELENA. Gentlemen,
Heaven hath through me restor'd the King to health.
ALL. We understand it, and thank heaven for you.
HELENA. I am a simple maid, and therein wealthiest
That I protest I simply am a maid.
Please it your Majesty, I have done already.
The blushes in my cheeks thus whisper me:
'We blush that thou shouldst choose; but, be refused,
Let the white death sit on thy cheek for ever,
We'll ne'er come there again.'
KING. Make choice and see:
Who shuns thy love shuns all his love in me.
HELENA. Now, Dian, from thy altar do I fly,
And to imperial Love, that god most high,
Do my sighs stream. Sir, will you hear my suit?
FIRST LORD. And grant it.
HELENA. Thanks, sir; all the rest is mute.
LAFEU. I had rather be in this choice than throw ames-ace for my
HELENA. The honour, sir, that flames in your fair eyes,
Before I speak, too threat'ningly replies.
Love make your fortunes twenty times above
Her that so wishes, and her humble love!
SECOND LORD. No better, if you please.
HELENA. My wish receive,
Which great Love grant; and so I take my leave.
LAFEU. Do all they deny her? An they were sons of mine I'd have
them whipt; or I would send them to th' Turk to make eunuchs of.
HELENA. Be not afraid that I your hand should take;
I'll never do you wrong for your own sake.
Blessing upon your vows; and in your bed
Find fairer fortune, if you ever wed!
LAFEU. These boys are boys of ice; they'll none have her.
Sure, they are bastards to the English; the French ne'er got 'em.
HELENA. You are too young, too happy, and too good,
To make yourself a son out of my blood.
FOURTH LORD. Fair one, I think not so.
LAFEU. There's one grape yet; I am sure thy father drunk wine-but
if thou be'st not an ass, I am a youth of fourteen; I have known
thee already.
HELENA. [To BERTRAM] I dare not say I take you; but I give
Me and my service, ever whilst I live,
Into your guiding power. This is the man.
KING. Why, then, young Bertram, take her; she's thy wife.
BERTRAM. My wife, my liege! I shall beseech your Highness,
In such a business give me leave to use
The help of mine own eyes.
KING. Know'st thou not, Bertram,
What she has done for me?
BERTRAM. Yes, my good lord;
But never hope to know why I should marry her.
KING. Thou know'st she has rais'd me from my sickly bed.
BERTRAM. But follows it, my lord, to bring me down
Must answer for your raising? I know her well:
She had her breeding at my father's charge.
A poor physician's daughter my wife! Disdain
Rather corrupt me ever!
KING. 'Tis only title thou disdain'st in her, the which
I can build up. Strange is it that our bloods,
Of colour, weight, and heat, pour'd all together,
Would quite confound distinction, yet stand off
In differences so mighty. If she be
All that is virtuous-save what thou dislik'st,
A poor physician's daughter-thou dislik'st
Of virtue for the name; but do not so.
From lowest place when virtuous things proceed,
The place is dignified by the doer's deed;
Where great additions swell's, and virtue none,
It is a dropsied honour. Good alone
Is good without a name. Vileness is so:
The property by what it is should go,
Not by the title. She is young, wise, fair;
In these to nature she's immediate heir;
And these breed honour. That is honour's scorn
Which challenges itself as honour's born
And is not like the sire. Honours thrive
When rather from our acts we them derive
Than our fore-goers. The mere word's a slave,
Debauch'd on every tomb, on every grave
A lying trophy; and as oft is dumb
Where dust and damn'd oblivion is the tomb
Of honour'd bones indeed. What should be said?
If thou canst like this creature as a maid,
I can create the rest. Virtue and she
Is her own dower; honour and wealth from me.
BERTRAM. I cannot love her, nor will strive to do 't.
KING. Thou wrong'st thyself, if thou shouldst strive to choose.
HELENA. That you are well restor'd, my lord, I'm glad.
Let the rest go.
KING. My honour's at the stake; which to defeat,
I must produce my power. Here, take her hand,
Proud scornful boy, unworthy this good gift,
That dost in vile misprision shackle up
My love and her desert; that canst not dream
We, poising us in her defective scale,
Shall weigh thee to the beam; that wilt not know
It is in us to plant thine honour where
We please to have it grow. Check thy contempt;
Obey our will, which travails in thy good;
Believe not thy disdain, but presently
Do thine own fortunes that obedient right
Which both thy duty owes and our power claims;
Or I will throw thee from my care for ever
Into the staggers and the careless lapse
Of youth and ignorance; both my revenge and hate
Loosing upon thee in the name of justice,
Without all terms of pity. Speak; thine answer.
BERTRAM. Pardon, my gracious lord; for I submit
My fancy to your eyes. When I consider
What great creation and what dole of honour
Flies where you bid it, I find that she which late
Was in my nobler thoughts most base is now
The praised of the King; who, so ennobled,
Is as 'twere born so.
KING. Take her by the hand,
And tell her she is thine; to whom I promise
A counterpoise, if not to thy estate
A balance more replete.
BERTRAM. I take her hand.
KING. Good fortune and the favour of the King
Smile upon this contract; whose ceremony
Shall seem expedient on the now-born brief,
And be perform'd to-night. The solemn feast
Shall more attend upon the coming space,
Expecting absent friends. As thou lov'st her,
Thy love's to me religious; else, does err.
Exeunt all but LAFEU and PAROLLES who stay behind,
commenting of this wedding
LAFEU. Do you hear, monsieur? A word with you.
PAROLLES. Your pleasure, sir?
LAFEU. Your lord and master did well to make his recantation.
PAROLLES. Recantation! My Lord! my master!
LAFEU. Ay; is it not a language I speak?
PAROLLES. A most harsh one, and not to be understood without bloody
succeeding. My master!
LAFEU. Are you companion to the Count Rousillon?
PAROLLES. To any count; to all counts; to what is man.
LAFEU. To what is count's man: count's master is of another style.
PAROLLES. You are too old, sir; let it satisfy you, you are too
LAFEU. I must tell thee, sirrah, I write man; to which title age
cannot bring thee.
PAROLLES. What I dare too well do, I dare not do.
LAFEU. I did think thee, for two ordinaries, to be a pretty wise
fellow; thou didst make tolerable vent of thy travel; it might
pass. Yet the scarfs and the bannerets about thee did manifoldly
dissuade me from believing thee a vessel of too great a burden. I
have now found thee; when I lose thee again I care not; yet art
thou good for nothing but taking up; and that thou'rt scarce
PAROLLES. Hadst thou not the privilege of antiquity upon thee-
LAFEU. Do not plunge thyself too far in anger, lest thou hasten thy
trial; which if-Lord have mercy on thee for a hen! So, my good
window of lattice, fare thee well; thy casement I need not open,
for I look through thee. Give me thy hand.
PAROLLES. My lord, you give me most egregious indignity.
LAFEU. Ay, with all my heart; and thou art worthy of it.
PAROLLES. I have not, my lord, deserv'd it.
LAFEU. Yes, good faith, ev'ry dram of it; and I will not bate thee
a scruple.
PAROLLES. Well, I shall be wiser.
LAFEU. Ev'n as soon as thou canst, for thou hast to pull at a smack
o' th' contrary. If ever thou be'st bound in thy scarf and
beaten, thou shalt find what it is to be proud of thy bondage. I
have a desire to hold my acquaintance with thee, or rather my
knowledge, that I may say in the default 'He is a man I know.'
PAROLLES. My lord, you do me most insupportable vexation.
LAFEU. I would it were hell pains for thy sake, and my poor doing
eternal; for doing I am past, as I will by thee, in what motion
age will give me leave. Exit
PAROLLES. Well, thou hast a son shall take this disgrace off me:
scurvy, old, filthy, scurvy lord! Well, I must be patient; there
is no fettering of authority. I'll beat him, by my life, if I can
meet him with any convenience, an he were double and double a
lord. I'll have no more pity of his age than I would have of-
I'll beat him, and if I could but meet him again.

Re-enter LAFEU

LAFEU. Sirrah, your lord and master's married; there's news for
you; you have a new mistress.
PAROLLES. I most unfeignedly beseech your lordship to make some
reservation of your wrongs. He is my good lord: whom I serve
above is my master.
LAFEU. Who? God?
PAROLLES. Ay, sir.
LAFEU. The devil it is that's thy master. Why dost thou garter up
thy arms o' this fashion? Dost make hose of thy sleeves? Do other
servants so? Thou wert best set thy lower part where thy nose
stands. By mine honour, if I were but two hours younger, I'd beat
thee. Methink'st thou art a general offence, and every man should
beat thee. I think thou wast created for men to breathe
themselves upon thee.
PAROLLES. This is hard and undeserved measure, my lord.
LAFEU. Go to, sir; you were beaten in Italy for picking a kernel
out of a pomegranate; you are a vagabond, and no true traveller;
you are more saucy with lords and honourable personages than the
commission of your birth and virtue gives you heraldry. You are
not worth another word, else I'd call you knave. I leave you.


PAROLLES. Good, very, good, it is so then. Good, very good; let it
be conceal'd awhile.
BERTRAM. Undone, and forfeited to cares for ever!
PAROLLES. What's the matter, sweetheart?
BERTRAM. Although before the solemn priest I have sworn,
I will not bed her.
PAROLLES. What, what, sweetheart?
BERTRAM. O my Parolles, they have married me!
I'll to the Tuscan wars, and never bed her.
PAROLLES. France is a dog-hole, and it no more merits
The tread of a man's foot. To th' wars!
BERTRAM. There's letters from my mother; what th' import is I know
not yet.
PAROLLES. Ay, that would be known. To th' wars, my boy, to th'
He wears his honour in a box unseen
That hugs his kicky-wicky here at home,
Spending his manly marrow in her arms,
Which should sustain the bound and high curvet
Of Mars's fiery steed. To other regions!
France is a stable; we that dwell in't jades;
Therefore, to th' war!
BERTRAM. It shall be so; I'll send her to my house,
Acquaint my mother with my hate to her,
And wherefore I am fled; write to the King
That which I durst not speak. His present gift
Shall furnish me to those Italian fields
Where noble fellows strike. War is no strife
To the dark house and the detested wife.
PAROLLES. Will this capriccio hold in thee, art sure?
BERTRAM. Go with me to my chamber and advise me.
I'll send her straight away. To-morrow
I'll to the wars, she to her single sorrow.
PAROLLES. Why, these balls bound; there's noise in it. 'Tis hard:
A young man married is a man that's marr'd.
Therefore away, and leave her bravely; go.
The King has done you wrong; but, hush, 'tis so. Exeunt

Paris. The KING'S palace


HELENA. My mother greets me kindly; is she well?
CLOWN. She is not well, but yet she has her health; she's very
merry, but yet she is not well. But thanks be given, she's very
well, and wants nothing i' th' world; but yet she is not well.
HELENA. If she be very well, what does she ail that she's not very
CLOWN. Truly, she's very well indeed, but for two things.
HELENA. What two things?
CLOWN. One, that she's not in heaven, whither God send her quickly!
The other, that she's in earth, from whence God send her quickly!


PAROLLES. Bless you, my fortunate lady!
HELENA. I hope, sir, I have your good will to have mine own good
PAROLLES. You had my prayers to lead them on; and to keep them on,
have them still. O, my knave, how does my old lady?
CLOWN. So that you had her wrinkles and I her money, I would she
did as you say.
PAROLLES. Why, I say nothing.
CLOWN. Marry, you are the wiser man; for many a man's tongue shakes
out his master's undoing. To say nothing, to do nothing, to know
nothing, and to have nothing, is to be a great part of your
title, which is within a very little of nothing.
PAROLLES. Away! th'art a knave.
CLOWN. You should have said, sir, 'Before a knave th'art a knave';
that's 'Before me th'art a knave.' This had been truth, sir.
PAROLLES. Go to, thou art a witty fool; I have found thee.
CLOWN. Did you find me in yourself, sir, or were you taught to find
me? The search, sir, was profitable; and much fool may you find
in you, even to the world's pleasure and the increase of
PAROLLES. A good knave, i' faith, and well fed.
Madam, my lord will go away to-night:
A very serious business calls on him.
The great prerogative and rite of love,
Which, as your due, time claims, he does acknowledge;
But puts it off to a compell'd restraint;
Whose want, and whose delay, is strew'd with sweets,
Which they distil now in the curbed time,
To make the coming hour o'erflow with joy
And pleasure drown the brim.
HELENA. What's his else?
PAROLLES. That you will take your instant leave o' th' King,
And make this haste as your own good proceeding,
Strength'ned with what apology you think
May make it probable need.
HELENA. What more commands he?
PAROLLES. That, having this obtain'd, you presently
Attend his further pleasure.
HELENA. In everything I wait upon his will.
PAROLLES. I shall report it so.
HELENA. I pray you. Exit PAROLLES
Come, sirrah. Exeunt

Paris. The KING'S palace


LAFEU. But I hope your lordship thinks not him a soldier.
BERTRAM. Yes, my lord, and of very valiant approof.
LAFEU. You have it from his own deliverance.
BERTRAM. And by other warranted testimony.
LAFEU. Then my dial goes not true; I took this lark for a bunting.
BERTRAM. I do assure you, my lord, he is very great in knowledge,
and accordingly valiant.
LAFEU. I have then sinn'd against his experience and transgress'd
against his valour; and my state that way is dangerous, since I
cannot yet find in my heart to repent. Here he comes; I pray you
make us friends; I will pursue the amity


PAROLLES. [To BERTRAM] These things shall be done, sir.
LAFEU. Pray you, sir, who's his tailor?
LAFEU. O, I know him well. Ay, sir; he, sir, 's a good workman, a
very good tailor.
BERTRAM. [Aside to PAROLLES] Is she gone to the King?
BERTRAM. Will she away to-night?
PAROLLES. As you'll have her.
BERTRAM. I have writ my letters, casketed my treasure,
Given order for our horses; and to-night,
When I should take possession of the bride,
End ere I do begin.
LAFEU. A good traveller is something at the latter end of a dinner;
but one that lies three-thirds and uses a known truth to pass a
thousand nothings with, should be once heard and thrice beaten.
God save you, Captain.
BERTRAM. Is there any unkindness between my lord and you, monsieur?
PAROLLES. I know not how I have deserved to run into my lord's
LAFEU. You have made shift to run into 't, boots and spurs and all,
like him that leapt into the custard; and out of it you'll run
again, rather than suffer question for your residence.
BERTRAM. It may be you have mistaken him, my lord.
LAFEU. And shall do so ever, though I took him at's prayers.
Fare you well, my lord; and believe this of me: there can be no
kernal in this light nut; the soul of this man is his clothes;
trust him not in matter of heavy consequence; I have kept of them
tame, and know their natures. Farewell, monsieur; I have spoken
better of you than you have or will to deserve at my hand; but we
must do good against evil. Exit
PAROLLES. An idle lord, I swear.
BERTRAM. I think so.
PAROLLES. Why, do you not know him?
BERTRAM. Yes, I do know him well; and common speech
Gives him a worthy pass. Here comes my clog.


HELENA. I have, sir, as I was commanded from you,
Spoke with the King, and have procur'd his leave
For present parting; only he desires
Some private speech with you.
BERTRAM. I shall obey his will.
You must not marvel, Helen, at my course,
Which holds not colour with the time, nor does
The ministration and required office
On my particular. Prepar'd I was not
For such a business; therefore am I found
So much unsettled. This drives me to entreat you
That presently you take your way for home,
And rather muse than ask why I entreat you;
For my respects are better than they seem,
And my appointments have in them a need
Greater than shows itself at the first view
To you that know them not. This to my mother.
[Giving a letter]
'Twill be two days ere I shall see you; so
I leave you to your wisdom.
HELENA. Sir, I can nothing say
But that I am your most obedient servant.
BERTRAM. Come, come, no more of that.
HELENA. And ever shall
With true observance seek to eke out that
Wherein toward me my homely stars have fail'd
To equal my great fortune.
BERTRAM. Let that go.
My haste is very great. Farewell; hie home.
HELENA. Pray, sir, your pardon.
BERTRAM. Well, what would you say?
HELENA. I am not worthy of the wealth I owe,
Nor dare I say 'tis mine, and yet it is;
But, like a timorous thief, most fain would steal
What law does vouch mine own.
BERTRAM. What would you have?
HELENA. Something; and scarce so much; nothing, indeed.
I would not tell you what I would, my lord.
Faith, yes:
Strangers and foes do sunder and not kiss.
BERTRAM. I pray you, stay not, but in haste to horse.
HELENA. I shall not break your bidding, good my lord.
BERTRAM. Where are my other men, monsieur?
Farewell! Exit HELENA
Go thou toward home, where I will never come
Whilst I can shake my sword or hear the drum.
Away, and for our flight.
PAROLLES. Bravely, coragio! Exeunt

Florence. The DUKE's palace

Flourish. Enter the DUKE OF FLORENCE, attended; two

DUKE. So that, from point to point, now have you hear
The fundamental reasons of this war;
Whose great decision hath much blood let forth
And more thirsts after.
FIRST LORD. Holy seems the quarrel
Upon your Grace's part; black and fearful
On the opposer.
DUKE. Therefore we marvel much our cousin France
Would in so just a business shut his bosom
Against our borrowing prayers.
SECOND LORD. Good my lord,
The reasons of our state I cannot yield,
But like a common and an outward man
That the great figure of a council frames
By self-unable motion; therefore dare not
Say what I think of it, since I have found
Myself in my incertain grounds to fail
As often as I guess'd.
DUKE. Be it his pleasure.
FIRST LORD. But I am sure the younger of our nature,
That surfeit on their ease, will day by day
Come here for physic.
DUKE. Welcome shall they be
And all the honours that can fly from us
Shall on them settle. You know your places well;
When better fall, for your avails they fell.
To-morrow to th' field. Flourish. Exeunt

Rousillon. The COUNT'S palace


COUNTESS. It hath happen'd all as I would have had it, save that he
comes not along with her.
CLOWN. By my troth, I take my young lord to be a very melancholy
COUNTESS. By what observance, I pray you?
CLOWN. Why, he will look upon his boot and sing; mend the ruff and
sing; ask questions and sing; pick his teeth and sing. I know a
man that had this trick of melancholy sold a goodly manor for a
COUNTESS. Let me see what he writes, and when he means to come.
[Opening a letter]
CLOWN. I have no mind to Isbel since I was at court. Our old ling
and our Isbels o' th' country are nothing like your old ling and
your Isbels o' th' court. The brains of my Cupid's knock'd out;
and I begin to love, as an old man loves money, with no stomach.
COUNTESS. What have we here?
CLOWN. E'en that you have there. Exit
COUNTESS. [Reads] 'I have sent you a daughter-in-law; she hath
recovered the King and undone me. I have wedded her, not bedded
her; and sworn to make the "not" eternal. You shall hear I am run
away; know it before the report come. If there be breadth enough
in the world, I will hold a long distance. My duty to you.
Your unfortunate son,
This is not well, rash and unbridled boy,
To fly the favours of so good a king,
To pluck his indignation on thy head
By the misprizing of a maid too virtuous
For the contempt of empire.

Re-enter CLOWN

CLOWN. O madam, yonder is heavy news within between two soldiers
and my young lady.
COUNTESS. What is the -matter?
CLOWN. Nay, there is some comfort in the news, some comfort; your
son will not be kill'd so soon as I thought he would.
COUNTESS. Why should he be kill'd?
CLOWN. So say I, madam, if he run away, as I hear he does the
danger is in standing to 't; that's the loss of men, though it be
the getting of children. Here they come will tell you more. For my
part, I only hear your son was run away. Exit


SECOND GENTLEMAN. Save you, good madam.
HELENA. Madam, my lord is gone, for ever gone.
FIRST GENTLEMAN. Do not say so.
COUNTESS. Think upon patience. Pray you, gentlemen-
I have felt so many quirks of joy and grief
That the first face of neither, on the start,
Can woman me unto 't. Where is my son, I pray you?
FIRST GENTLEMAN. Madam, he's gone to serve the Duke of Florence.
We met him thitherward; for thence we came,
And, after some dispatch in hand at court,
Thither we bend again.
HELENA. Look on this letter, madam; here's my passport.
[Reads] 'When thou canst get the ring upon my finger, which
never shall come off, and show me a child begotten of thy body
that I am father to, then call me husband; but in such a "then" I
write a "never."
This is a dreadful sentence.
COUNTESS. Brought you this letter, gentlemen?
And for the contents' sake are sorry for our pains.
COUNTESS. I prithee, lady, have a better cheer;
If thou engrossest all the griefs are thine,
Thou robb'st me of a moiety. He was my son;
But I do wash his name out of my blood,
And thou art all my child. Towards Florence is he?
COUNTESS. And to be a soldier?
FIRST GENTLEMAN. Such is his noble purpose; and, believe 't,
The Duke will lay upon him all the honour
That good convenience claims.
COUNTESS. Return you thither?
SECOND GENTLEMAN. Ay, madam, with the swiftest wing of speed.
HELENA. [Reads] 'Till I have no wife, I have nothing in France.'
'Tis bitter.
COUNTESS. Find you that there?
HELENA. Ay, madam.
SECOND GENTLEMAN. 'Tis but the boldness of his hand haply, which
his heart was not consenting to.
COUNTESS. Nothing in France until he have no wife!
There's nothing here that is too good for him
But only she; and she deserves a lord
That twenty such rude boys might tend upon,
And call her hourly mistress. Who was with him?
SECOND GENTLEMAN. A servant only, and a gentleman
Which I have sometime known.
COUNTESS. Parolles, was it not?
SECOND GENTLEMAN. Ay, my good lady, he.
COUNTESS. A very tainted fellow, and full of wickedness.
My son corrupts a well-derived nature
With his inducement.
SECOND GENTLEMAN. Indeed, good lady,
The fellow has a deal of that too much
Which holds him much to have.
COUNTESS. Y'are welcome, gentlemen.
I will entreat you, when you see my son,
To tell him that his sword can never win
The honour that he loses. More I'll entreat you
Written to bear along.
FIRST GENTLEMAN. We serve you, madam,
In that and all your worthiest affairs.
COUNTESS. Not so, but as we change our courtesies.
Will you draw near? Exeunt COUNTESS and GENTLEMEN
HELENA. 'Till I have no wife, I have nothing in France.'
Nothing in France until he has no wife!
Thou shalt have none, Rousillon, none in France
Then hast thou all again. Poor lord! is't
That chase thee from thy country, and expose
Those tender limbs of thine to the event
Of the non-sparing war? And is it I
That drive thee from the sportive court, where thou
Wast shot at with fair eyes, to be the mark
Of smoky muskets? O you leaden messengers,
That ride upon the violent speed of fire,
Fly with false aim; move the still-piecing air,
That sings with piercing; do not touch my lord.
Whoever shoots at him, I set him there;
Whoever charges on his forward breast,
I am the caitiff that do hold him to't;
And though I kill him not, I am the cause
His death was so effected. Better 'twere
I met the ravin lion when he roar'd
With sharp constraint of hunger; better 'twere
That all the miseries which nature owes
Were mine at once. No; come thou home, Rousillon,
Whence honour but of danger wins a scar,
As oft it loses all. I will be gone.
My being here it is that holds thee hence.
Shall I stay here to do 't? No, no, although
The air of paradise did fan the house,
And angels offic'd all. I will be gone,
That pitiful rumour may report my flight
To consolate thine ear. Come, night; end, day.
For with the dark, poor thief, I'll steal away. Exit

Florence. Before the DUKE's palace

drum and trumpets

DUKE. The General of our Horse thou art; and we,
Great in our hope, lay our best love and credence
Upon thy promising fortune.
BERTRAM. Sir, it is
A charge too heavy for my strength; but yet
We'll strive to bear it for your worthy sake
To th' extreme edge of hazard.
DUKE. Then go thou forth;
And Fortune play upon thy prosperous helm,
As thy auspicious mistress!
BERTRAM. This very day,
Great Mars, I put myself into thy file;
Make me but like my thoughts, and I shall prove
A lover of thy drum, hater of love. Exeunt

Rousillon. The COUNT'S palace


COUNTESS. Alas! and would you take the letter of her?
Might you not know she would do as she has done
By sending me a letter? Read it again.
STEWARD. [Reads] 'I am Saint Jaques' pilgrim, thither gone.
Ambitious love hath so in me offended
That barefoot plod I the cold ground upon,
With sainted vow my faults to have amended.
Write, write, that from the bloody course of war
My dearest master, your dear son, may hie.
Bless him at home in peace, whilst I from far
His name with zealous fervour sanctify.
His taken labours bid him me forgive;
I, his despiteful Juno, sent him forth
From courtly friends, with camping foes to live,
Where death and danger dogs the heels of worth.
He is too good and fair for death and me;
Whom I myself embrace to set him free.'
COUNTESS. Ah, what sharp stings are in her mildest words!
Rinaldo, you did never lack advice so much
As letting her pass so; had I spoke with her,
I could have well diverted her intents,
Which thus she hath prevented.
STEWARD. Pardon me, madam;
If I had given you this at over-night,
She might have been o'er ta'en; and yet she writes
Pursuit would be but vain.
COUNTESS. What angel shall
Bless this unworthy husband? He cannot thrive,
Unless her prayers, whom heaven delights to hear
And loves to grant, reprieve him from the wrath
Of greatest justice. Write, write, Rinaldo,
To this unworthy husband of his wife;
Let every word weigh heavy of her worth
That he does weigh too light. My greatest grief,
Though little he do feel it, set down sharply.
Dispatch the most convenient messenger.
When haply he shall hear that she is gone
He will return; and hope I may that she,
Hearing so much, will speed her foot again,
Led hither by pure love. Which of them both
Is dearest to me I have no skill in sense
To make distinction. Provide this messenger.
My heart is heavy, and mine age is weak;
Grief would have tears, and sorrow bids me speak. Exeunt


Without the walls of Florence
A tucket afar off. Enter an old WIDOW OF FLORENCE, her daughter DIANA,

WIDOW. Nay, come; for if they do approach the city we shall lose
all the sight.
DIANA. They say the French count has done most honourable service.
WIDOW. It is reported that he has taken their great'st commander;
and that with his own hand he slew the Duke's brother. [Tucket]
We have lost our labour; they are gone a contrary way. Hark! you
may know by their trumpets.
MARIANA. Come, let's return again, and suffice ourselves with the
report of it. Well, Diana, take heed of this French earl; the
honour of a maid is her name, and no legacy is so rich as
WIDOW. I have told my neighbour how you have been solicited by a
gentleman his companion.
MARIANA. I know that knave, hang him! one Parolles; a filthy
officer he is in those suggestions for the young earl. Beware of
them, Diana: their promises, enticements, oaths, tokens, and all
these engines of lust, are not the things they go under; many a
maid hath been seduced by them; and the misery is, example, that
so terrible shows in the wreck of maidenhood, cannot for all that
dissuade succession, but that they are limed with the twigs that
threatens them. I hope I need not to advise you further; but I
hope your own grace will keep you where you are, though there
were no further danger known but the modesty which is so lost.
DIANA. You shall not need to fear me.

Enter HELENA in the dress of a pilgrim

WIDOW. I hope so. Look, here comes a pilgrim. I know she will lie
at my house: thither they send one another. I'll question her.
God save you, pilgrim! Whither are bound?
HELENA. To Saint Jaques le Grand.
Where do the palmers lodge, I do beseech you?
WIDOW. At the Saint Francis here, beside the port.
HELENA. Is this the way?
[A march afar]
WIDOW. Ay, marry, is't. Hark you! They come this way.
If you will tarry, holy pilgrim,
But till the troops come by,
I will conduct you where you shall be lodg'd;
The rather for I think I know your hostess
As ample as myself.
HELENA. Is it yourself?
WIDOW. If you shall please so, pilgrim.
HELENA. I thank you, and will stay upon your leisure.
WIDOW. You came, I think, from France?
HELENA. I did so.
WIDOW. Here you shall see a countryman of yours
That has done worthy service.
HELENA. His name, I pray you.
DIANA. The Count Rousillon. Know you such a one?
HELENA. But by the ear, that hears most nobly of him;
His face I know not.
DIANA. What some'er he is,
He's bravely taken here. He stole from France,
As 'tis reported, for the King had married him
Against his liking. Think you it is so?
HELENA. Ay, surely, mere the truth; I know his lady.
DIANA. There is a gentleman that serves the Count
Reports but coarsely of her.
HELENA. What's his name?
DIANA. Monsieur Parolles.
HELENA. O, I believe with him,
In argument of praise, or to the worth
Of the great Count himself, she is too mean
To have her name repeated; all her deserving
Is a reserved honesty, and that
I have not heard examin'd.
DIANA. Alas, poor lady!
'Tis a hard bondage to become the wife
Of a detesting lord.
WIDOW. I sweet, good creature, wheresoe'er she is
Her heart weighs sadly. This young maid might do her
A shrewd turn, if she pleas'd.
HELENA. How do you mean?
May be the amorous Count solicits her
In the unlawful purpose.
WIDOW. He does, indeed;
And brokes with all that can in such a suit
Corrupt the tender honour of a maid;
But she is arm'd for him, and keeps her guard
In honestest defence.

Enter, with drum and colours, BERTRAM, PAROLLES, and the
whole ARMY

MARIANA. The gods forbid else!
WIDOW. So, now they come.
That is Antonio, the Duke's eldest son;
That, Escalus.
HELENA. Which is the Frenchman?
That with the plume; 'tis a most gallant fellow.
I would he lov'd his wife; if he were honester
He were much goodlier. Is't not a handsome gentleman?
HELENA. I like him well.
DIANA. 'Tis pity he is not honest. Yond's that same knave
That leads him to these places; were I his lady
I would poison that vile rascal.
HELENA. Which is he?
DIANA. That jack-an-apes with scarfs. Why is he melancholy?
HELENA. Perchance he's hurt i' th' battle.
PAROLLES. Lose our drum! well.
MARIANA. He's shrewdly vex'd at something.
Look, he has spied us.
WIDOW. Marry, hang you!
MARIANA. And your courtesy, for a ring-carrier!
WIDOW. The troop is past. Come, pilgrim, I will bring you
Where you shall host. Of enjoin'd penitents
There's four or five, to great Saint Jaques bound,
Already at my house.
HELENA. I humbly thank you.
Please it this matron and this gentle maid
To eat with us to-night; the charge and thanking
Shall be for me, and, to requite you further,
I will bestow some precepts of this virgin,
Worthy the note.
BOTH. We'll take your offer kindly. Exeunt

Camp before Florence

Enter BERTRAM, and the two FRENCH LORDS

SECOND LORD. Nay, good my lord, put him to't; let him have his way.
FIRST LORD. If your lordship find him not a hiding, hold me no more
in your respect.
SECOND LORD. On my life, my lord, a bubble.
BERTRAM. Do you think I am so far deceived in him?
SECOND LORD. Believe it, my lord, in mine own direct knowledge,
without any malice, but to speak of him as my kinsman, he's a
most notable coward, an infinite and endless liar, an hourly
promise-breaker, the owner of no one good quality worthy your
lordship's entertainment.
FIRST LORD. It were fit you knew him; lest, reposing too far in his
virtue, which he hath not, he might at some great and trusty
business in a main danger fail you.
BERTRAM. I would I knew in what particular action to try him.
FIRST LORD. None better than to let him fetch off his drum, which
you hear him so confidently undertake to do.
SECOND LORD. I with a troop of Florentines will suddenly surprise
him; such I will have whom I am sure he knows not from the enemy.
We will bind and hoodwink him so that he shall suppose no other
but that he is carried into the leaguer of the adversaries when
we bring him to our own tents. Be but your lordship present at
his examination; if he do not, for the promise of his life and in
the highest compulsion of base fear, offer to betray you and
deliver all the intelligence in his power against you, and that
with the divine forfeit of his soul upon oath, never trust my
judgment in anything.
FIRST LORD. O, for the love of laughter, let him fetch his drum; he
says he has a stratagem for't. When your lordship sees the bottom
of his success in't, and to what metal this counterfeit lump of
ore will be melted, if you give him not John Drum's
entertainment, your inclining cannot be removed. Here he comes.


SECOND LORD. O, for the love of laughter, hinder not the honour of
his design; let him fetch off his drum in any hand.
BERTRAM. How now, monsieur! This drum sticks sorely in your
FIRST LORD. A pox on 't; let it go; 'tis but a drum.
PAROLLES. But a drum! Is't but a drum? A drum so lost! There was
excellent command: to charge in with our horse upon our own
wings, and to rend our own soldiers!
FIRST LORD. That was not to be blam'd in the command of the
service; it was a disaster of war that Caesar himself could not
have prevented, if he had been there to command.
BERTRAM. Well, we cannot greatly condemn our success.
Some dishonour we had in the loss of that drum; but it is not to
be recovered.
PAROLLES. It might have been recovered.
BERTRAM. It might, but it is not now.
PAROLLES. It is to be recovered. But that the merit of service is
seldom attributed to the true and exact performer, I would have
that drum or another, or 'hic jacet.'
BERTRAM. Why, if you have a stomach, to't, monsieur. If you think
your mystery in stratagem can bring this instrument of honour
again into his native quarter, be magnanimous in the enterprise,
and go on; I will grace the attempt for a worthy exploit. If you
speed well in it, the Duke shall both speak of it and extend to
you what further becomes his greatness, even to the utmost
syllable of our worthiness.
PAROLLES. By the hand of a soldier, I will undertake it.
BERTRAM. But you must not now slumber in it.
PAROLLES. I'll about it this evening; and I will presently pen
down my dilemmas, encourage myself in my certainty, put myself
into my mortal preparation; and by midnight look to hear further
from me.
BERTRAM. May I be bold to acquaint his Grace you are gone about it?
PAROLLES. I know not what the success will be, my lord, but the
attempt I vow.
BERTRAM. I know th' art valiant; and, to the of thy soldiership,
will subscribe for thee. Farewell.
PAROLLES. I love not many words. Exit
SECOND LORD. No more than a fish loves water. Is not this a strange
fellow, my lord, that so confidently seems to undertake this
business, which he knows is not to be done; damns himself to do,
and dares better be damn'd than to do 't.
FIRST LORD. You do not know him, my lord, as we do. Certain it is
that he will steal himself into a man's favour, and for a week
escape a great deal of discoveries; but when you find him out,
you have him ever after.
BERTRAM. Why, do you think he will make no deed at all of this that
so seriously he does address himself unto?
SECOND LORD. None in the world; but return with an invention, and
clap upon you two or three probable lies. But we have almost
emboss'd him. You shall see his fall to-night; for indeed he is
not for your lordship's respect.
FIRST LORD. We'll make you some sport with the fox ere we case him.
He was first smok'd by the old Lord Lafeu. When his disguise and
he is parted, tell me what a sprat you shall find him; which you
shall see this very night.
SECOND LORD. I must go look my twigs; he shall be caught.
BERTRAM. Your brother, he shall go along with me.
SECOND LORD. As't please your lordship. I'll leave you. Exit
BERTRAM. Now will I lead you to the house, and show you
The lass I spoke of.
FIRST LORD. But you say she's honest.
BERTRAM. That's all the fault. I spoke with her but once,
And found her wondrous cold; but I sent to her,
By this same coxcomb that we have i' th' wind,
Tokens and letters which she did re-send;
And this is all I have done. She's a fair creature;
Will you go see her?
FIRST LORD. With all my heart, my lord. Exeunt

Florence. The WIDOW'S house


HELENA. If you misdoubt me that I am not she,
I know not how I shall assure you further
But I shall lose the grounds I work upon.
WIDOW. Though my estate be fall'n, I was well born,
Nothing acquainted with these businesses;
And would not put my reputation now
In any staining act.
HELENA. Nor would I wish you.
FIRST give me trust the Count he is my husband,
And what to your sworn counsel I have spoken
Is so from word to word; and then you cannot,
By the good aid that I of you shall borrow,
Err in bestowing it.
WIDOW. I should believe you;
For you have show'd me that which well approves
Y'are great in fortune.
HELENA. Take this purse of gold,
And let me buy your friendly help thus far,
Which I will over-pay and pay again
When I have found it. The Count he woos your daughter
Lays down his wanton siege before her beauty,
Resolv'd to carry her. Let her in fine consent,
As we'll direct her how 'tis best to bear it.
Now his important blood will nought deny
That she'll demand. A ring the County wears
That downward hath succeeded in his house
From son to son some four or five descents
Since the first father wore it. This ring he holds
In most rich choice; yet, in his idle fire,
To buy his will, it would not seem too dear,
Howe'er repented after.
WIDOW. Now I see
The bottom of your purpose.
HELENA. You see it lawful then. It is no more
But that your daughter, ere she seems as won,
Desires this ring; appoints him an encounter;
In fine, delivers me to fill the time,
Herself most chastely absent. After this,
To marry her, I'll add three thousand crowns
To what is pass'd already.
WIDOW. I have yielded.
Instruct my daughter how she shall persever,
That time and place with this deceit so lawful
May prove coherent. Every night he comes
With musics of all sorts, and songs compos'd
To her unworthiness. It nothing steads us
To chide him from our eaves, for he persists
As if his life lay on 't.
HELENA. Why then to-night
Let us assay our plot; which, if it speed,
Is wicked meaning in a lawful deed,
And lawful meaning in a lawful act;
Where both not sin, and yet a sinful fact.
But let's about it. Exeunt

Without the Florentine camp

Enter SECOND FRENCH LORD with five or six other SOLDIERS in ambush

SECOND LORD. He can come no other way but by this hedge-corner.
When you sally upon him, speak what terrible language you will;
though you understand it not yourselves, no matter; for we must
not seem to understand him, unless some one among us, whom we
must produce for an interpreter.
FIRST SOLDIER. Good captain, let me be th' interpreter.
SECOND LORD. Art not acquainted with him? Knows he not thy voice?
FIRST SOLDIER. No, sir, I warrant you.
SECOND LORD. But what linsey-woolsey has thou to speak to us again?
FIRST SOLDIER. E'en such as you speak to me.
SECOND LORD. He must think us some band of strangers i' th'
adversary's entertainment. Now he hath a smack of all
neighbouring languages, therefore we must every one be a man of
his own fancy; not to know what we speak one to another, so we
seem to know, is to know straight our purpose: choughs' language,
gabble enough, and good enough. As for you, interpreter, you must
seem very politic. But couch, ho! here he comes; to beguile two
hours in a sleep, and then to return and swear the lies he forges.


PAROLLES. Ten o'clock. Within these three hours 'twill be time
enough to go home. What shall I say I have done? It must be a
very plausive invention that carries it. They begin to smoke me;
and disgraces have of late knock'd to often at my door. I find my
tongue is too foolhardy; but my heart hath the fear of Mars
before it, and of his creatures, not daring the reports of my
SECOND LORD. This is the first truth that e'er thine own tongue was
guilty of.
PAROLLES. What the devil should move me to undertake the recovery
of this drum, being not ignorant of the impossibility, and
knowing I had no such purpose? I must give myself some hurts, and
say I got them in exploit. Yet slight ones will not carry it.
They will say 'Came you off with so little?' And great ones I
dare not give. Wherefore, what's the instance? Tongue, I must put
you into a butterwoman's mouth, and buy myself another of
Bajazet's mule, if you prattle me into these perils.
SECOND LORD. Is it possible he should know what he is, and be that
he is?
PAROLLES. I would the cutting of my garments would serve the turn,
or the breaking of my Spanish sword.
SECOND LORD. We cannot afford you so.
PAROLLES. Or the baring of my beard; and to say it was in
SECOND LORD. 'Twould not do.
PAROLLES. Or to drown my clothes, and say I was stripp'd.
SECOND LORD. Hardly serve.
PAROLLES. Though I swore I leap'd from the window of the citadel-
SECOND LORD. How deep?
PAROLLES. Thirty fathom.
SECOND LORD. Three great oaths would scarce make that be believed.
PAROLLES. I would I had any drum of the enemy's; I would swear I
recover'd it.
SECOND LORD. You shall hear one anon. [Alarum within]
PAROLLES. A drum now of the enemy's!
SECOND LORD. Throca movousus, cargo, cargo, cargo.
ALL. Cargo, cargo, cargo, villianda par corbo, cargo.
PAROLLES. O, ransom, ransom! Do not hide mine eyes.
[They blindfold him]
FIRST SOLDIER. Boskos thromuldo boskos.
PAROLLES. I know you are the Muskos' regiment,
And I shall lose my life for want of language.
If there be here German, or Dane, Low Dutch,
Italian, or French, let him speak to me;
I'll discover that which shall undo the Florentine.
FIRST SOLDIER. Boskos vauvado. I understand thee, and can speak thy
tongue. Kerely-bonto, sir, betake thee to thy faith, for
seventeen poniards are at thy bosom.
FIRST SOLDIER. O, pray, pray, pray! Manka revania dulche.
SECOND LORD. Oscorbidulchos volivorco.
FIRST SOLDIER. The General is content to spare thee yet;
And, hoodwink'd as thou art, will lead thee on
To gather from thee. Haply thou mayst inform
Something to save thy life.
PAROLLES. O, let me live,
And all the secrets of our camp I'll show,
Their force, their purposes. Nay, I'll speak that
Which you will wonder at.
FIRST SOLDIER. But wilt thou faithfully?
PAROLLES. If I do not, damn me.
FIRST SOLDIER. Acordo linta.
Come on; thou art granted space.
Exit, PAROLLES guarded. A short alarum within
SECOND LORD. Go, tell the Count Rousillon and my brother
We have caught the woodcock, and will keep him muffled
Till we do hear from them.
SECOND SOLDIER. Captain, I will.
SECOND LORD. 'A will betray us all unto ourselves-
Inform on that.
SECOND SOLDIER. So I will, sir.
SECOND LORD. Till then I'll keep him dark and safely lock'd.

Florence. The WIDOW'S house


BERTRAM. They told me that your name was Fontibell.
DIANA. No, my good lord, Diana.
BERTRAM. Titled goddess;
And worth it, with addition! But, fair soul,
In your fine frame hath love no quality?
If the quick fire of youth light not your mind,
You are no maiden, but a monument;
When you are dead, you should be such a one
As you are now, for you are cold and stern;
And now you should be as your mother was
When your sweet self was got.
DIANA. She then was honest.
BERTRAM. So should you be.
My mother did but duty; such, my lord,
As you owe to your wife.
BERTRAM. No more o'that!
I prithee do not strive against my vows.
I was compell'd to her; but I love the
By love's own sweet constraint, and will for ever
Do thee all rights of service.
DIANA. Ay, so you serve us
Till we serve you; but when you have our roses
You barely leave our thorns to prick ourselves,
And mock us with our bareness.
BERTRAM. How have I sworn!
DIANA. 'Tis not the many oaths that makes the truth,
But the plain single vow that is vow'd true.
What is not holy, that we swear not by,
But take the High'st to witness. Then, pray you, tell me:
If I should swear by Jove's great attributes
I lov'd you dearly, would you believe my oaths
When I did love you ill? This has no holding,
To swear by him whom I protest to love
That I will work against him. Therefore your oaths
Are words and poor conditions, but unseal'd-
At least in my opinion.
BERTRAM. Change it, change it;
Be not so holy-cruel. Love is holy;
And my integrity ne'er knew the crafts
That you do charge men with. Stand no more off,
But give thyself unto my sick desires,
Who then recovers. Say thou art mine, and ever
My love as it begins shall so persever.
DIANA. I see that men make ropes in such a scarre
That we'll forsake ourselves. Give me that ring.
BERTRAM. I'll lend it thee, my dear, but have no power
To give it from me.
DIANA. Will you not, my lord?
BERTRAM. It is an honour 'longing to our house,
Bequeathed down from many ancestors;
Which were the greatest obloquy i' th' world
In me to lose.
DIANA. Mine honour's such a ring:
My chastity's the jewel of our house,
Bequeathed down from many ancestors;
Which were the greatest obloquy i' th' world
In me to lose. Thus your own proper wisdom
Brings in the champion Honour on my part
Against your vain assault.
BERTRAM. Here, take my ring;
My house, mine honour, yea, my life, be thine,
And I'll be bid by thee.
DIANA. When midnight comes, knock at my chamber window;
I'll order take my mother shall not hear.
Now will I charge you in the band of truth,
When you have conquer'd my yet maiden bed,
Remain there but an hour, nor speak to me:
My reasons are most strong; and you shall know them
When back again this ring shall be deliver'd.
And on your finger in the night I'll put
Another ring, that what in time proceeds
May token to the future our past deeds.
Adieu till then; then fail not. You have won
A wife of me, though there my hope be done.
BERTRAM. A heaven on earth I have won by wooing thee.
DIANA. For which live long to thank both heaven and me!
You may so in the end.
My mother told me just how he would woo,
As if she sat in's heart; she says all men
Have the like oaths. He had sworn to marry me
When his wife's dead; therefore I'll lie with him
When I am buried. Since Frenchmen are so braid,
Marry that will, I live and die a maid.
Only, in this disguise, I think't no sin
To cozen him that would unjustly win. Exit

The Florentine camp

Enter the two FRENCH LORDS, and two or three SOLDIERS

SECOND LORD. You have not given him his mother's letter?
FIRST LORD. I have deliv'red it an hour since. There is something
in't that stings his nature; for on the reading it he chang'd
almost into another man.
SECOND LORD. He has much worthy blame laid upon him for shaking off
so good a wife and so sweet a lady.
FIRST LORD. Especially he hath incurred the everlasting displeasure
of the King, who had even tun'd his bounty to sing happiness to
him. I will tell you a thing, but you shall let it dwell darkly
with you.
SECOND LORD. When you have spoken it, 'tis dead, and I am the grave
of it.
FIRST LORD. He hath perverted a young gentlewoman here in Florence,
of a most chaste renown; and this night he fleshes his will in
the spoil of her honour. He hath given her his monumental ring,
and thinks himself made in the unchaste composition.
SECOND LORD. Now, God delay our rebellion! As we are ourselves,
what things are we!
FIRST LORD. Merely our own traitors. And as in the common course of
all treasons we still see them reveal themselves till they attain
to their abhorr'd ends; so he that in this action contrives
against his own nobility, in his proper stream, o'erflows
SECOND LORD. Is it not meant damnable in us to be trumpeters of our
unlawful intents? We shall not then have his company to-night?
FIRST LORD. Not till after midnight; for he is dieted to his hour.
SECOND LORD. That approaches apace. I would gladly have him see his
company anatomiz'd, that he might take a measure of his own
judgments, wherein so curiously he had set this counterfeit.
FIRST LORD. We will not meddle with him till he come; for his
presence must be the whip of the other.
SECOND LORD. In the meantime, what hear you of these wars?
FIRST LORD. I hear there is an overture of peace.
SECOND LORD. Nay, I assure you, a peace concluded.
FIRST LORD. What will Count Rousillon do then? Will he travel
higher, or return again into France?
SECOND LORD. I perceive, by this demand, you are not altogether
of his counsel.
FIRST LORD. Let it be forbid, sir! So should I be a great deal
of his act.
SECOND LORD. Sir, his wife, some two months since, fled from his
house. Her pretence is a pilgrimage to Saint Jaques le Grand;
which holy undertaking with most austere sanctimony she
accomplish'd; and, there residing, the tenderness of her nature
became as a prey to her grief; in fine, made a groan of her last
breath, and now she sings in heaven.
FIRST LORD. How is this justified?
SECOND LORD. The stronger part of it by her own letters, which
makes her story true even to the point of her death. Her death
itself, which could not be her office to say is come, was
faithfully confirm'd by the rector of the place.
FIRST LORD. Hath the Count all this intelligence?
SECOND LORD. Ay, and the particular confirmations, point from
point, to the full arming of the verity.
FIRST LORD. I am heartily sorry that he'll be glad of this.
SECOND LORD. How mightily sometimes we make us comforts of our
FIRST LORD. And how mightily some other times we drown our gain in
tears! The great dignity that his valour hath here acquir'd for
him shall at home be encount'red with a shame as ample.
SECOND LORD. The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and ill
together. Our virtues would be proud if our faults whipt them
not; and our crimes would despair if they were not cherish'd by
our virtues.


How now? Where's your master?
SERVANT. He met the Duke in the street, sir; of whom he hath taken
a solemn leave. His lordship will next morning for France. The
Duke hath offered him letters of commendations to the King.
SECOND LORD. They shall be no more than needful there, if they were
more than they can commend.
FIRST LORD. They cannot be too sweet for the King's tartness.
Here's his lordship now.


How now, my lord, is't not after midnight?
BERTRAM. I have to-night dispatch'd sixteen businesses, a month's
length apiece; by an abstract of success: I have congied with the
Duke, done my adieu with his nearest; buried a wife, mourn'd for
her; writ to my lady mother I am returning; entertain'd my
convoy; and between these main parcels of dispatch effected many
nicer needs. The last was the greatest, but that I have not ended
SECOND LORD. If the business be of any difficulty and this morning
your departure hence, it requires haste of your lordship.
BERTRAM. I mean the business is not ended, as fearing to hear of it
hereafter. But shall we have this dialogue between the Fool and
the Soldier? Come, bring forth this counterfeit module has
deceiv'd me like a double-meaning prophesier.
SECOND LORD. Bring him forth. [Exeunt SOLDIERS] Has sat i' th'
stocks all night, poor gallant knave.
BERTRAM. No matter; his heels have deserv'd it, in usurping his
spurs so long. How does he carry himself?
SECOND LORD. I have told your lordship already the stocks carry
him. But to answer you as you would be understood: he weeps like
a wench that had shed her milk; he hath confess'd himself to
Morgan, whom he supposes to be a friar, from the time of his
remembrance to this very instant disaster of his setting i' th'
stocks. And what think you he hath confess'd?
BERTRAM. Nothing of me, has 'a?
SECOND LORD. His confession is taken, and it shall be read to his
face; if your lordship be in't, as I believe you are, you must
have the patience to hear it.

Enter PAROLLES guarded, and
FIRST SOLDIER as interpreter

BERTRAM. A plague upon him! muffled! He can say nothing of me.
SECOND LORD. Hush, hush! Hoodman comes. Portotartarossa.
FIRST SOLDIER. He calls for the tortures. What will you say without
PAROLLES. I will confess what I know without constraint; if ye
pinch me like a pasty, I can say no more.
FIRST SOLDIER. Bosko chimurcho.
SECOND LORD. Boblibindo chicurmurco.
FIRST SOLDIER. YOU are a merciful general. Our General bids you
answer to what I shall ask you out of a note.
PAROLLES. And truly, as I hope to live.
FIRST SOLDIER. 'First demand of him how many horse the Duke is
strong.' What say you to that?
PAROLLES. Five or six thousand; but very weak and unserviceable.
The troops are all scattered, and the commanders very poor
rogues, upon my reputation and credit, and as I hope to live.
FIRST SOLDIER. Shall I set down your answer so?
PAROLLES. Do; I'll take the sacrament on 't, how and which way you
BERTRAM. All's one to him. What a past-saving slave is this!
SECOND LORD. Y'are deceiv'd, my lord; this is Monsieur Parolles,
the gallant militarist-that was his own phrase-that had the whole
theoric of war in the knot of his scarf, and the practice in the
chape of his dagger.
FIRST LORD. I will never trust a man again for keeping his sword
clean; nor believe he can have everything in him by wearing his
apparel neatly.
FIRST SOLDIER. Well, that's set down.
PAROLLES. 'Five or six thousand horse' I said-I will say true- 'or
thereabouts' set down, for I'll speak truth.
SECOND LORD. He's very near the truth in this.
BERTRAM. But I con him no thanks for't in the nature he delivers it.
PAROLLES. 'Poor rogues' I pray you say.
FIRST SOLDIER. Well, that's set down.
PAROLLES. I humbly thank you, sir. A truth's a truth-the rogues are
marvellous poor.
FIRST SOLDIER. 'Demand of him of what strength they are a-foot.'
What say you to that?
PAROLLES. By my troth, sir, if I were to live this present hour, I
will tell true. Let me see: Spurio, a hundred and fifty;
Sebastian, so many; Corambus, so many; Jaques, so many; Guiltian,
Cosmo, Lodowick, and Gratii, two hundred fifty each; mine own
company, Chitopher, Vaumond, Bentii, two hundred fifty each; so
that the muster-file, rotten and sound, upon my life, amounts not
to fifteen thousand poll; half of the which dare not shake the
snow from off their cassocks lest they shake themselves to
BERTRAM. What shall be done to him?
SECOND LORD. Nothing, but let him have thanks. Demand of him my
condition, and what credit I have with the Duke.
FIRST SOLDIER. Well, that's set down. 'You shall demand of him
whether one Captain Dumain be i' th' camp, a Frenchman; what his
reputation is with the Duke, what his valour, honesty, expertness
in wars; or whether he thinks it were not possible, with
well-weighing sums of gold, to corrupt him to a revolt.' What say
you to this? What do you know of it?
PAROLLES. I beseech you, let me answer to the particular of the
inter'gatories. Demand them singly.
FIRST SOLDIER. Do you know this Captain Dumain?
PAROLLES. I know him: 'a was a botcher's prentice in Paris, from
whence he was whipt for getting the shrieve's fool with child-a
dumb innocent that could not say him nay.
BERTRAM. Nay, by your leave, hold your hands; though I know his
brains are forfeit to the next tile that falls.
FIRST SOLDIER. Well, is this captain in the Duke of Florence's
PAROLLES. Upon my knowledge, he is, and lousy.
SECOND LORD. Nay, look not so upon me; we shall hear of your
lordship anon.
FIRST SOLDIER. What is his reputation with the Duke?
PAROLLES. The Duke knows him for no other but a poor officer of
mine; and writ to me this other day to turn him out o' th' band.
I think I have his letter in my pocket.
FIRST SOLDIER. Marry, we'll search.
PAROLLES. In good sadness, I do not know; either it is there or it
is upon a file with the Duke's other letters in my tent.
FIRST SOLDIER. Here 'tis; here's a paper. Shall I read it to you?
PAROLLES. I do not know if it be it or no.
BERTRAM. Our interpreter does it well.
SECOND LORD. Excellently.
FIRST SOLDIER. [Reads] 'Dian, the Count's a fool, and full of
PAROLLES. That is not the Duke's letter, sir; that is an
advertisement to a proper maid in Florence, one Diana, to take
heed of the allurement of one Count Rousillon, a foolish idle
boy, but for all that very ruttish. I pray you, sir, put it up
FIRST SOLDIER. Nay, I'll read it first by your favour.
PAROLLES. My meaning in't, I protest, was very honest in the behalf
of the maid; for I knew the young Count to be a dangerous and
lascivious boy, who is a whale to virginity, and devours up all
the fry it finds.
BERTRAM. Damnable both-sides rogue!
'When he swears oaths, bid him drop gold, and take it;
After he scores, he never pays the score.
Half won is match well made; match, and well make it;
He ne'er pays after-debts, take it before.
And say a soldier, Dian, told thee this:
Men are to mell with, boys are not to kiss;
For count of this, the Count's a fool, I know it,
Who pays before, but not when he does owe it.
Thine, as he vow'd to thee in thine ear,
BERTRAM. He shall be whipt through the army with this rhyme in's
FIRST LORD. This is your devoted friend, sir, the manifold
linguist, and the amnipotent soldier.
BERTRAM. I could endure anything before but a cat, and now he's a
cat to me.
FIRST SOLDIER. I perceive, sir, by our General's looks we shall be
fain to hang you.
PAROLLES. My life, sir, in any case! Not that I am afraid to die,
but that, my offences being many, I would repent out the
remainder of nature. Let me live, sir, in a dungeon, i' th'
stocks, or anywhere, so I may live.
FIRST SOLDIER. We'll see what may be done, so you confess freely;
therefore, once more to this Captain Dumain: you have answer'd to
his reputation with the Duke, and to his valour; what is his
PAROLLES. He will steal, sir, an egg out of a cloister; for rapes
and ravishments he parallels Nessus. He professes not keeping of
oaths; in breaking 'em he is stronger than Hercules. He will lie,
sir, with such volubility that you would think truth were a fool.
Drunkenness is his best virtue, for he will be swine-drunk; and
in his sleep he does little harm, save to his bedclothes about
him; but they know his conditions and lay him in straw. I have
but little more to say, sir, of his honesty. He has everything
that an honest man should not have; what an honest man should
have he has nothing.
SECOND LORD. I begin to love him for this.
BERTRAM. For this description of thine honesty? A pox upon him! For
me, he's more and more a cat.
FIRST SOLDIER. What say you to his expertness in war?
PAROLLES. Faith, sir, has led the drum before the English
tragedians-to belie him I will not-and more of his soldier-ship
I know not, except in that country he had the honour to be the
officer at a place there called Mile-end to instruct for the
doubling of files-I would do the man what honour I can-but of
this I am not certain.
SECOND LORD. He hath out-villain'd villainy so far that the rarity
redeems him.
BERTRAM. A pox on him! he's a cat still.
FIRST SOLDIER. His qualities being at this poor price, I need not
to ask you if gold will corrupt him to revolt.
PAROLLES. Sir, for a cardecue he will sell the fee-simple of his
salvation, the inheritance of it; and cut th' entail from all
remainders and a perpetual succession for it perpetually.
FIRST SOLDIER. What's his brother, the other Captain Dumain?
FIRST LORD. Why does he ask him of me?
PAROLLES. E'en a crow o' th' same nest; not altogether so great as
the first in goodness, but greater a great deal in evil. He
excels his brother for a coward; yet his brother is reputed one
of the best that is. In a retreat he outruns any lackey: marry,
in coming on he has the cramp.
FIRST SOLDIER. If your life be saved, will you undertake to betray
the Florentine?
PAROLLES. Ay, and the Captain of his Horse, Count Rousillon.
FIRST SOLDIER. I'll whisper with the General, and know his
PAROLLES. [Aside] I'll no more drumming. A plague of all drums!
Only to seem to deserve well, and to beguile the supposition of
that lascivious young boy the Count, have I run into this danger.
Yet who would have suspected an ambush where I was taken?
FIRST SOLDIER. There is no remedy, sir, but you must die.
The General says you that have so traitorously discover'd the
secrets of your army, and made such pestiferous reports of men
very nobly held, can serve the world for no honest use; therefore
you must die. Come, headsman, of with his head.
PAROLLES. O Lord, sir, let me live, or let me see my death!
FIRST SOLDIER. That shall you, and take your leave of all your
friends. [Unmuffling him] So look about you; know you any here?
BERTRAM. Good morrow, noble Captain.
FIRST LORD. God bless you, Captain Parolles.
SECOND LORD. God save you, noble Captain.
FIRST LORD. Captain, what greeting will you to my Lord Lafeu? I am
for France.
SECOND LORD. Good Captain, will you give me a copy of the sonnet
you writ to Diana in behalf of the Count Rousillon? An I were not
a very coward I'd compel it of you; but fare you well.
FIRST SOLDIER. You are undone, Captain, all but your scarf; that
has a knot on 't yet.
PAROLLES. Who cannot be crush'd with a plot?
FIRST SOLDIER. If you could find out a country where but women were
that had received so much shame, you might begin an impudent
nation. Fare ye well, sir; I am for France too; we shall speak of
you there. Exit with SOLDIERS
PAROLLES. Yet am I thankful. If my heart were great,
'Twould burst at this. Captain I'll be no more;
But I will eat, and drink, and sleep as soft
As captain shall. Simply the thing I am
Shall make me live. Who knows himself a braggart,
Let him fear this; for it will come to pass
That every braggart shall be found an ass.
Rust, sword; cool, blushes; and, Parolles, live
Safest in shame. Being fool'd, by fool'ry thrive.
There's place and means for every man alive.
I'll after them. Exit

The WIDOW'S house


HELENA. That you may well perceive I have not wrong'd you!
One of the greatest in the Christian world
Shall be my surety; fore whose throne 'tis needful,
Ere I can perfect mine intents, to kneel.
Time was I did him a desired office,
Dear almost as his life; which gratitude
Through flinty Tartar's bosom would peep forth,
And answer 'Thanks.' I duly am inform'd
His Grace is at Marseilles, to which place
We have convenient convoy. You must know
I am supposed dead. The army breaking,
My husband hies him home; where, heaven aiding,
And by the leave of my good lord the King,
We'll be before our welcome.
WIDOW. Gentle madam,
You never had a servant to whose trust
Your business was more welcome.
HELENA. Nor you, mistress,
Ever a friend whose thoughts more truly labour
To recompense your love. Doubt not but heaven
Hath brought me up to be your daughter's dower,
As it hath fated her to be my motive
And helper to a husband. But, O strange men!
That can such sweet use make of what they hate,
When saucy trusting of the cozen'd thoughts
Defiles the pitchy night. So lust doth play
With what it loathes, for that which is away.
But more of this hereafter. You, Diana,
Under my poor instructions yet must suffer
Something in my behalf.
DIANA. Let death and honesty
Go with your impositions, I am yours
Upon your will to suffer.
HELENA. Yet, I pray you:
But with the word the time will bring on summer,
When briers shall have leaves as well as thorns
And be as sweet as sharp. We must away;
Our waggon is prepar'd, and time revives us.
All's Well that Ends Well. Still the fine's the crown.
Whate'er the course, the end is the renown. Exeunt

Rousillon. The COUNT'S palace


LAFEU. No, no, no, son was misled with a snipt-taffeta fellow
there, whose villainous saffron would have made all the unbak'd
and doughy youth of a nation in his colour. Your daughter-in-law
had been alive at this hour, and your son here at home, more
advanc'd by the King than by that red-tail'd humble-bee I speak
COUNTESS. I would I had not known him. It was the death of the most
virtuous gentlewoman that ever nature had praise for creating. If
she had partaken of my flesh, and cost me the dearest groans of a
mother. I could not have owed her a more rooted love.
LAFEU. 'Twas a good lady, 'twas a good lady. We may pick a thousand
sallets ere we light on such another herb.
CLOWN. Indeed, sir, she was the sweet-marjoram of the sallet, or,
rather, the herb of grace.
LAFEU. They are not sallet-herbs, you knave; they are nose-herbs.
CLOWN. I am no great Nebuchadnezzar, sir; I have not much skill in
LAFEU. Whether dost thou profess thyself-a knave or a fool?
CLOWN. A fool, sir, at a woman's service, and a knave at a man's.
LAFEU. Your distinction?
CLOWN. I would cozen the man of his wife, and do his service.
LAFEU. So you were a knave at his service, indeed.
CLOWN. And I would give his wife my bauble, sir, to do her service.
LAFEU. I will subscribe for thee; thou art both knave and fool.
CLOWN. At your service.
LAFEU. No, no, no.
CLOWN. Why, sir, if I cannot serve you, I can serve as great a
prince as you are.
LAFEU. Who's that? A Frenchman?
CLOWN. Faith, sir, 'a has an English name; but his fisnomy is more
hotter in France than there.
LAFEU. What prince is that?
CLOWN. The Black Prince, sir; alias, the Prince of Darkness; alias,
the devil.
LAFEU. Hold thee, there's my purse. I give thee not this to suggest
thee from thy master thou talk'st of; serve him still.
CLOWN. I am a woodland fellow, sir, that always loved a great fire;
and the master I speak of ever keeps a good fire. But, sure, he
is the prince of the world; let his nobility remain in's court. I
am for the house with the narrow gate, which I take to be too
little for pomp to enter. Some that humble themselves may; but
the many will be too chill and tender: and they'll be for the
flow'ry way that leads to the broad gate and the great fire.
LAFEU. Go thy ways, I begin to be aweary of thee; and I tell thee
so before, because I would not fall out with thee. Go thy ways;
let my horses be well look'd to, without any tricks.
CLOWN. If I put any tricks upon 'em, sir, they shall be jades'
tricks, which are their own right by the law of nature.
LAFEU. A shrewd knave, and an unhappy.
COUNTESS. So 'a is. My lord that's gone made himself much sport
out of him. By his authority he remains here, which he thinks is
a patent for his sauciness; and indeed he has no pace, but runs
where he will.
LAFEU. I like him well; 'tis not amiss. And I was about to tell
you, since I heard of the good lady's death, and that my lord
your son was upon his return home, I moved the King my master to
speak in the behalf of my daughter; which, in the minority of
them both, his Majesty out of a self-gracious remembrance did
first propose. His Highness hath promis'd me to do it; and, to
stop up the displeasure he hath conceived against your son, there
is no fitter matter. How does your ladyship like it?
COUNTESS. With very much content, my lord; and I wish it happily
LAFEU. His Highness comes post from Marseilles, of as able body as
when he number'd thirty; 'a will be here to-morrow, or I am
deceiv'd by him that in such intelligence hath seldom fail'd.
COUNTESS. It rejoices me that I hope I shall see him ere I die.
I have letters that my son will be here to-night. I shall beseech
your lordship to remain with me tal they meet together.
LAFEU. Madam, I was thinking with what manners I might safely be
COUNTESS. You need but plead your honourable privilege.
LAFEU. Lady, of that I have made a bold charter; but, I thank my
God, it holds yet.

Re-enter CLOWN

CLOWN. O madam, yonder's my lord your son with a patch of velvet
on's face; whether there be a scar under 't or no, the velvet
knows; but 'tis a goodly patch of velvet. His left cheek is a
cheek of two pile and a half, but his right cheek is worn bare.
LAFEU. A scar nobly got, or a noble scar, is a good liv'ry of
honour; so belike is that.
CLOWN. But it is your carbonado'd face.
LAFEU. Let us go see your son, I pray you;
I long to talk with the young noble soldier.
CLOWN. Faith, there's a dozen of 'em, with delicate fine hats, and
most courteous feathers, which bow the head and nod at every man.

Marseilles. A street


HELENA. But this exceeding posting day and night
Must wear your spirits low; we cannot help it.
But since you have made the days and nights as one,
To wear your gentle limbs in my affairs,
Be bold you do so grow in my requital
As nothing can unroot you.


In happy time!
This man may help me to his Majesty's ear,
If he would spend his power. God save you, sir.
HELENA. Sir, I have seen you in the court of France.
GENTLEMAN. I have been sometimes there.
HELENA. I do presume, sir, that you are not fall'n
From the report that goes upon your goodness;
And therefore, goaded with most sharp occasions,
Which lay nice manners by, I put you to
The use of your own virtues, for the which
I shall continue thankful.
GENTLEMAN. What's your will?
HELENA. That it will please you
To give this poor petition to the King;
And aid me with that store of power you have
To come into his presence.
GENTLEMAN. The King's not here.
HELENA. Not here, sir?
GENTLEMAN. Not indeed.
He hence remov'd last night, and with more haste
Than is his use.
WIDOW. Lord, how we lose our pains!
HELENA. All's Well That Ends Well yet,
Though time seem so adverse and means unfit.
I do beseech you, whither is he gone?
GENTLEMAN. Marry, as I take it, to Rousillon;
Whither I am going.
HELENA. I do beseech you, sir,
Since you are like to see the King before me,
Commend the paper to his gracious hand;
Which I presume shall render you no blame,
But rather make you thank your pains for it.
I will come after you with what good speed
Our means will make us means.
GENTLEMAN. This I'll do for you.
HELENA. And you shall find yourself to be well thank'd,
Whate'er falls more. We must to horse again;
Go, go, provide. Exeunt

Rousillon. The inner court of the COUNT'S palace


PAROLLES. Good Monsieur Lavache, give my Lord Lafeu this letter. I
have ere now, sir, been better known to you, when I have held
familiarity with fresher clothes; but I am now, sir, muddied in
Fortune's mood, and smell somewhat strong of her strong
CLOWN. Truly, Fortune's displeasure is but sluttish, if it smell
so strongly as thou speak'st of. I will henceforth eat no fish
of Fortune's butt'ring. Prithee, allow the wind.
PAROLLES. Nay, you need not to stop your nose, sir; I spake but by
a metaphor.
CLOWN. Indeed, sir, if your metaphor stink, I will stop my nose; or
against any man's metaphor. Prithee, get thee further.
PAROLLES. Pray you, sir, deliver me this paper.
CLOWN. Foh! prithee stand away. A paper from Fortune's close-stool
to give to a nobleman! Look here he comes himself.


Here is a pur of Fortune's, sir, or of Fortune's cat, but not
a musk-cat, that has fall'n into the unclean fishpond of her
displeasure, and, as he says, is muddied withal. Pray you, sir,
use the carp as you may; for he looks like a poor, decayed,
ingenious, foolish, rascally knave. I do pity his distress
in my similes of comfort, and leave him to your lordship.
PAROLLES. My lord, I am a man whom Fortune hath cruelly scratch'd.
LAFEU. And what would you have me to do? 'Tis too late to pare her
nails now. Wherein have you played the knave with Fortune, that
she should scratch you, who of herself is a good lady and would
not have knaves thrive long under her? There's a cardecue for
you. Let the justices make you and Fortune friends; I am for
other business.
PAROLLES. I beseech your honour to hear me one single word.
LAFEU. You beg a single penny more; come, you shall ha't; save your
PAROLLES. My name, my good lord, is Parolles.
LAFEU. You beg more than word then. Cox my passion! give me your
hand. How does your drum?
PAROLLES. O my good lord, you were the first that found me.
LAFEU. Was I, in sooth? And I was the first that lost thee.
PAROLLES. It lies in you, my lord, to bring me in some grace, for
you did bring me out.
LAFEU. Out upon thee, knave! Dost thou put upon me at once both the
office of God and the devil? One brings the in grace, and the
other brings thee out. [Trumpets sound] The King's coming; I
know by his trumpets. Sirrah, inquire further after me; I had
talk of you last night. Though you are a fool and a knave, you
shall eat. Go to; follow.
PAROLLES. I praise God for you. Exeunt

Rousillon. The COUNT'S palace


KING. We lost a jewel of her, and our esteem
Was made much poorer by it; but your son,
As mad in folly, lack'd the sense to know
Her estimation home.
COUNTESS. 'Tis past, my liege;
And I beseech your Majesty to make it
Natural rebellion, done i' th' blaze of youth,
When oil and fire, too strong for reason's force,
O'erbears it and burns on.
KING. My honour'd lady,
I have forgiven and forgotten all;
Though my revenges were high bent upon him
And watch'd the time to shoot.
LAFEU. This I must say-
But first, I beg my pardon: the young lord
Did to his Majesty, his mother, and his lady,
Offence of mighty note; but to himself
The greatest wrong of all. He lost a wife
Whose beauty did astonish the survey
Of richest eyes; whose words all ears took captive;
Whose dear perfection hearts that scorn'd to serve
Humbly call'd mistress.
KING. Praising what is lost
Makes the remembrance dear. Well, call him hither;
We are reconcil'd, and the first view shall kill
All repetition. Let him not ask our pardon;
The nature of his great offence is dead,
And deeper than oblivion do we bury
Th' incensing relics of it; let him approach,
A stranger, no offender; and inform him
So 'tis our will he should.
GENTLEMAN. I shall, my liege. Exit GENTLEMAN
KING. What says he to your daughter? Have you spoke?
LAFEU. All that he is hath reference to your Highness.
KING. Then shall we have a match. I have letters sent me
That sets him high in fame.


LAFEU. He looks well on 't.
KING. I am not a day of season,
For thou mayst see a sunshine and a hail
In me at once. But to the brightest beams
Distracted clouds give way; so stand thou forth;
The time is fair again.
BERTRAM. My high-repented blames,
Dear sovereign, pardon to me.
KING. All is whole;
Not one word more of the consumed time.
Let's take the instant by the forward top;
For we are old, and on our quick'st decrees
Th' inaudible and noiseless foot of Time
Steals ere we can effect them. You remember
The daughter of this lord?
BERTRAM. Admiringly, my liege. At first
I stuck my choice upon her, ere my heart
Durst make too bold herald of my tongue;
Where the impression of mine eye infixing,
Contempt his scornful perspective did lend me,
Which warp'd the line of every other favour,
Scorn'd a fair colour or express'd it stol'n,
Extended or contracted all proportions
To a most hideous object. Thence it came
That she whom all men prais'd, and whom myself,
Since I have lost, have lov'd, was in mine eye
The dust that did offend it.
KING. Well excus'd.
That thou didst love her, strikes some scores away
From the great compt; but love that comes too late,
Like a remorseful pardon slowly carried,
To the great sender turns a sour offence,
Crying 'That's good that's gone.' Our rash faults
Make trivial price of serious things we have,
Not knowing them until we know their grave.
Oft our displeasures, to ourselves unjust,
Destroy our friends, and after weep their dust;
Our own love waking cries to see what's done,
While shameful hate sleeps out the afternoon.
Be this sweet Helen's knell. And now forget her.
Send forth your amorous token for fair Maudlin.
The main consents are had; and here we'll stay
To see our widower's second marriage-day.
COUNTESS. Which better than the first, O dear heaven, bless!
Or, ere they meet, in me, O nature, cesse!
LAFEU. Come on, my son, in whom my house's name
Must be digested; give a favour from you,
To sparkle in the spirits of my daughter,
That she may quickly come.
[BERTRAM gives a ring]
By my old beard,
And ev'ry hair that's on 't, Helen, that's dead,
Was a sweet creature; such a ring as this,
The last that e'er I took her leave at court,
I saw upon her finger.
BERTRAM. Hers it was not.
KING. Now, pray you, let me see it; for mine eye,
While I was speaking, oft was fasten'd to't.
This ring was mine; and when I gave it Helen
I bade her, if her fortunes ever stood
Necessitied to help, that by this token
I would relieve her. Had you that craft to reave her
Of what should stead her most?
BERTRAM. My gracious sovereign,
Howe'er it pleases you to take it so,
The ring was never hers.
COUNTESS. Son, on my life,
I have seen her wear it; and she reckon'd it
At her life's rate.
LAFEU. I am sure I saw her wear it.
BERTRAM. You are deceiv'd, my lord; she never saw it.
In Florence was it from a casement thrown me,
Wrapp'd in a paper, which contain'd the name
Of her that threw it. Noble she was, and thought
I stood engag'd; but when I had subscrib'd
To mine own fortune, and inform'd her fully
I could not answer in that course of honour
As she had made the overture, she ceas'd,
In heavy satisfaction, and would never
Receive the ring again.
KING. Plutus himself,
That knows the tinct and multiplying med'cine,
Hath not in nature's mystery more science
Than I have in this ring. 'Twas mine, 'twas Helen's,
Whoever gave it you. Then, if you know
That you are well acquainted with yourself,
Confess 'twas hers, and by what rough enforcement
You got it from her. She call'd the saints to surety
That she would never put it from her finger
Unless she gave it to yourself in bed-
Where you have never come- or sent it us
Upon her great disaster.
BERTRAM. She never saw it.
KING. Thou speak'st it falsely, as I love mine honour;
And mak'st conjectural fears to come into me
Which I would fain shut out. If it should prove
That thou art so inhuman- 'twill not prove so.
And yet I know not- thou didst hate her deadly,
And she is dead; which nothing, but to close
Her eyes myself, could win me to believe
More than to see this ring. Take him away.
My fore-past proofs, howe'er the matter fall,
Shall tax my fears of little vanity,
Having vainly fear'd too little. Away with him.
We'll sift this matter further.
BERTRAM. If you shall prove
This ring was ever hers, you shall as easy
Prove that I husbanded her bed in Florence,
Where she yet never was. Exit, guarded
KING. I am wrapp'd in dismal thinkings.


GENTLEMAN. Gracious sovereign,
Whether I have been to blame or no, I know not:
Here's a petition from a Florentine,
Who hath, for four or five removes, come short
To tender it herself. I undertook it,
Vanquish'd thereto by the fair grace and speech
Of the poor suppliant, who by this, I know,
Is here attending; her business looks in her
With an importing visage; and she told me
In a sweet verbal brief it did concern
Your Highness with herself.
KING. [Reads the letter] 'Upon his many protestations to marry me
when his wife was dead, I blush to say it, he won me. Now is the
Count Rousillon a widower; his vows are forfeited to me, and my
honour's paid to him. He stole from Florence, taking no leave,
and I follow him to his country for justice. Grant it me, O King!
in you it best lies; otherwise a seducer flourishes, and a poor
maid is undone.
LAFEU. I will buy me a son-in-law in a fair, and toll for this.
I'll none of him.
KING. The heavens have thought well on thee, Lafeu,
To bring forth this discov'ry. Seek these suitors.
Go speedily, and bring again the Count.
I am afeard the life of Helen, lady,
Was foully snatch'd.
COUNTESS. Now, justice on the doers!

Enter BERTRAM, guarded

KING. I wonder, sir, sith wives are monsters to you.
And that you fly them as you swear them lordship,
Yet you desire to marry.
What woman's that?
DIANA. I am, my lord, a wretched Florentine,
Derived from the ancient Capilet.
My suit, as I do understand, you know,
And therefore know how far I may be pitied.
WIDOW. I am her mother, sir, whose age and honour
Both suffer under this complaint we bring,
And both shall cease, without your remedy.
KING. Come hither, Count; do you know these women?
BERTRAM. My lord, I neither can nor will deny
But that I know them. Do they charge me further?
DIANA. Why do you look so strange upon your wife?
BERTRAM. She's none of mine, my lord.
DIANA. If you shall marry,
You give away this hand, and that is mine;
You give away heaven's vows, and those are mine;
You give away myself, which is known mine;
For I by vow am so embodied yours
That she which marries you must marry me,
Either both or none.
LAFEU. [To BERTRAM] Your reputation comes too short for
my daughter; you are no husband for her.
BERTRAM. My lord, this is a fond and desp'rate creature
Whom sometime I have laugh'd with. Let your Highness
Lay a more noble thought upon mine honour
Than for to think that I would sink it here.
KING. Sir, for my thoughts, you have them ill to friend
Till your deeds gain them. Fairer prove your honour
Than in my thought it lies!
DIANA. Good my lord,
Ask him upon his oath if he does think
He had not my virginity.
KING. What say'st thou to her?
BERTRAM. She's impudent, my lord,
And was a common gamester to the camp.
DIANA. He does me wrong, my lord; if I were so
He might have bought me at a common price.
Do not believe him. o, behold this ring,
Whose high respect and rich validity
Did lack a parallel; yet, for all that,
He gave it to a commoner o' th' camp,
If I be one.
COUNTESS. He blushes, and 'tis it.
Of six preceding ancestors, that gem
Conferr'd by testament to th' sequent issue,
Hath it been ow'd and worn. This is his wife:
That ring's a thousand proofs.
KING. Methought you said
You saw one here in court could witness it.
DIANA. I did, my lord, but loath am to produce
So bad an instrument; his name's Parolles.
LAFEU. I saw the man to-day, if man he be.
KING. Find him, and bring him hither. Exit an ATTENDANT
BERTRAM. What of him?
He's quoted for a most perfidious slave,
With all the spots o' th' world tax'd and debauch'd,
Whose nature sickens but to speak a truth.
Am I or that or this for what he'll utter
That will speak anything?
KING. She hath that ring of yours.
BERTRAM. I think she has. Certain it is I lik'd her,
And boarded her i' th' wanton way of youth.
She knew her distance, and did angle for me,
Madding my eagerness with her restraint,
As all impediments in fancy's course
Are motives of more fancy; and, in fine,
Her infinite cunning with her modern grace
Subdu'd me to her rate. She got the ring;
And I had that which any inferior might
At market-price have bought.
DIANA. I must be patient.
You that have turn'd off a first so noble wife
May justly diet me. I pray you yet-
Since you lack virtue, I will lose a husband-
Send for your ring, I will return it home,
And give me mine again.
BERTRAM. I have it not.
KING. What ring was yours, I pray you?
DIANA. Sir, much like
The same upon your finger.
KING. Know you this ring? This ring was his of late.
DIANA. And this was it I gave him, being abed.
KING. The story, then, goes false you threw it him
Out of a casement.
DIANA. I have spoke the truth.


BERTRAM. My lord, I do confess the ring was hers.
KING. You boggle shrewdly; every feather starts you.
Is this the man you speak of?
DIANA. Ay, my lord.
KING. Tell me, sirrah-but tell me true I charge you,
Not fearing the displeasure of your master,
Which, on your just proceeding, I'll keep off-
By him and by this woman here what know you?
PAROLLES. So please your Majesty, my master hath been an honourable
gentleman; tricks he hath had in him, which gentlemen have.
KING. Come, come, to th' purpose. Did he love this woman?
PAROLLES. Faith, sir, he did love her; but how?
KING. How, I pray you?
PAROLLES. He did love her, sir, as a gentleman loves a woman.
KING. How is that?
PAROLLES. He lov'd her, sir, and lov'd her not.
KING. As thou art a knave and no knave.
What an equivocal companion is this!
PAROLLES. I am a poor man, and at your Majesty's command.
LAFEU. He's a good drum, my lord, but a naughty orator.
DIANA. Do you know he promis'd me marriage?
PAROLLES. Faith, I know more than I'll speak.
KING. But wilt thou not speak all thou know'st?
PAROLLES. Yes, so please your Majesty. I did go between them, as I
said; but more than that, he loved her-for indeed he was mad for
her, and talk'd of Satan, and of Limbo, and of Furies, and I know
not what. Yet I was in that credit with them at that time that I
knew of their going to bed; and of other motions, as promising
her marriage, and things which would derive me ill will to speak
of; therefore I will not speak what I know.
KING. Thou hast spoken all already, unless thou canst say they are
married; but thou art too fine in thy evidence; therefore stand
This ring, you say, was yours?
DIANA. Ay, my good lord.
KING. Where did you buy it? Or who gave it you?
DIANA. It was not given me, nor I did not buy it.
KING. Who lent it you?
DIANA. It was not lent me neither.
KING. Where did you find it then?
DIANA. I found it not.
KING. If it were yours by none of all these ways,
How could you give it him?
DIANA. I never gave it him.
LAFEU. This woman's an easy glove, my lord; she goes of and on at
KING. This ring was mine, I gave it his first wife.
DIANA. It might be yours or hers, for aught I know.
KING. Take her away, I do not like her now;
To prison with her. And away with him.
Unless thou tell'st me where thou hadst this ring,
Thou diest within this hour.
DIANA. I'll never tell you.
KING. Take her away.
DIANA. I'll put in bail, my liege.
KING. I think thee now some common customer.
DIANA. By Jove, if ever I knew man, 'twas you.
KING. Wherefore hast thou accus'd him all this while?
DIANA. Because he's guilty, and he is not guilty.
He knows I am no maid, and he'll swear to't:
I'll swear I am a maid, and he knows not.
Great King, I am no strumpet, by my life;
I am either maid, or else this old man's wife.
[Pointing to LAFEU]
KING. She does abuse our ears; to prison with her.
DIANA. Good mother, fetch my bail. Stay, royal sir;
The jeweller that owes the ring is sent for,
And he shall surety me. But for this lord
Who hath abus'd me as he knows himself,
Though yet he never harm'd me, here I quit him.
He knows himself my bed he hath defil'd;
And at that time he got his wife with child.
Dead though she be, she feels her young one kick;
So there's my riddle: one that's dead is quick-
And now behold the meaning.

Re-enter WIDOW with HELENA

KING. Is there no exorcist
Beguiles the truer office of mine eyes?
Is't real that I see?
HELENA. No, my good lord;
'Tis but the shadow of a wife you see,
The name and not the thing.
BERTRAM. Both, both; o, pardon!
HELENA. O, my good lord, when I was like this maid,
I found you wondrous kind. There is your ring,
And, look you, here's your letter. This it says:
'When from my finger you can get this ring,
And are by me with child,' etc. This is done.
Will you be mine now you are doubly won?
BERTRAM. If she, my liege, can make me know this clearly,
I'll love her dearly, ever, ever dearly.
HELENA. If it appear not plain, and prove untrue,
Deadly divorce step between me and you!
O my dear mother, do I see you living?
LAFEU. Mine eyes smell onions; I shall weep anon. [To PAROLLES]
Good Tom Drum, lend me a handkercher. So, I
thank thee. Wait on me home, I'll make sport with thee;
let thy curtsies alone, they are scurvy ones.
KING. Let us from point to point this story know,
To make the even truth in pleasure flow.
[To DIANA] If thou beest yet a fresh uncropped flower,
Choose thou thy husband, and I'll pay thy dower;
For I can guess that by thy honest aid
Thou kept'st a wife herself, thyself a maid.-
Of that and all the progress, more and less,
Resolvedly more leisure shall express.
All yet seems well; and if it end so meet,
The bitter past, more welcome is the sweet. [Flourish]


KING. The King's a beggar, now the play is done.
All is well ended if this suit be won,
That you express content; which we will pay
With strife to please you, day exceeding day.
Ours be your patience then, and yours our parts;
Your gentle hands lend us, and take our hearts.
Exeunt omnes

The End.

Anthony and Cleopater

Dramatis Personae

MARK ANTONY, Triumvirs
DOMITIUS ENOBARBUS, friend to Antony
EROS, " " "
SCARUS, " " "
PHILO, " " "
MAECENAS, friend to Caesar
AGRIPPA, " " "
THYREUS, " " "
GALLUS, " " "
MENAS, friend to Pompey
VARRIUS, " " "
TAURUS, Lieutenant-General to Caesar
CANIDIUS, Lieutenant-General to Antony
SILIUS, an Officer in Ventidius's army
EUPHRONIUS, an Ambassador from Antony to Caesar
ALEXAS, attendant on Cleopatra
MARDIAN, " " "

CLEOPATRA, Queen of Egypt
OCTAVIA, sister to Caesar and wife to Antony
CHARMIAN, lady attending on Cleopatra
IRAS, " " " "

Officers, Soldiers, Messengers, and Attendants

The Roman Empire

Alexandria. CLEOPATRA'S palace


PHILO. Nay, but this dotage of our general's
O'erflows the measure. Those his goodly eyes,
That o'er the files and musters of the war
Have glow'd like plated Mars, now bend, now turn,
The office and devotion of their view
Upon a tawny front. His captain's heart,
Which in the scuffles of great fights hath burst
The buckles on his breast, reneges all temper,
And is become the bellows and the fan
To cool a gipsy's lust.

Flourish. Enter ANTONY, CLEOPATRA, her LADIES, the train,
with eunuchs fanning her

Look where they come!
Take but good note, and you shall see in him
The triple pillar of the world transform'd
Into a strumpet's fool. Behold and see.
CLEOPATRA. If it be love indeed, tell me how much.
ANTONY. There's beggary in the love that can be reckon'd.
CLEOPATRA. I'll set a bourn how far to be belov'd.
ANTONY. Then must thou needs find out new heaven, new earth.


MESSENGER. News, my good lord, from Rome.
ANTONY. Grates me the sum.
CLEOPATRA. Nay, hear them, Antony.
Fulvia perchance is angry; or who knows
If the scarce-bearded Caesar have not sent
His pow'rful mandate to you: 'Do this or this;
Take in that kingdom and enfranchise that;
Perform't, or else we damn thee.'
ANTONY. How, my love?
CLEOPATRA. Perchance? Nay, and most like,
You must not stay here longer; your dismission
Is come from Caesar; therefore hear it, Antony.
Where's Fulvia's process? Caesar's I would say? Both?
Call in the messengers. As I am Egypt's Queen,
Thou blushest, Antony, and that blood of thine
Is Caesar's homager. Else so thy cheek pays shame
When shrill-tongu'd Fulvia scolds. The messengers!
ANTONY. Let Rome in Tiber melt, and the wide arch
Of the rang'd empire fall! Here is my space.
Kingdoms are clay; our dungy earth alike
Feeds beast as man. The nobleness of life
Is to do thus [emhracing], when such a mutual pair
And such a twain can do't, in which I bind,
On pain of punishment, the world to weet
We stand up peerless.
CLEOPATRA. Excellent falsehood!
Why did he marry Fulvia, and not love her?
I'll seem the fool I am not. Antony
Will be himself.
ANTONY. But stirr'd by Cleopatra.
Now for the love of Love and her soft hours,
Let's not confound the time with conference harsh;
There's not a minute of our lives should stretch
Without some pleasure now. What sport to-night?
CLEOPATRA. Hear the ambassadors.
ANTONY. Fie, wrangling queen!
Whom everything becomes- to chide, to laugh,
To weep; whose every passion fully strives
To make itself in thee fair and admir'd.
No messenger but thine, and all alone
To-night we'll wander through the streets and note
The qualities of people. Come, my queen;
Last night you did desire it. Speak not to us.
Exeunt ANTONY and CLEOPATRA, with the train
DEMETRIUS. Is Caesar with Antonius priz'd so slight?
PHILO. Sir, sometimes when he is not Antony,
He comes too short of that great property
Which still should go with Antony.
DEMETRIUS. I am full sorry
That he approves the common liar, who
Thus speaks of him at Rome; but I will hope
Of better deeds to-morrow. Rest you happy! Exeunt

Alexandria. CLEOPATRA'S palace


CHARMIAN. Lord Alexas, sweet Alexas, most anything Alexas, almost
most absolute Alexas, where's the soothsayer that you prais'd so
to th' Queen? O that I knew this husband, which you say must
charge his horns with garlands!
ALEXAS. Soothsayer!
SOOTHSAYER. Your will?
CHARMIAN. Is this the man? Is't you, sir, that know things?
SOOTHSAYER. In nature's infinite book of secrecy
A little I can read.
ALEXAS. Show him your hand.


ENOBARBUS. Bring in the banquet quickly; wine enough
Cleopatra's health to drink.
CHARMIAN. Good, sir, give me good fortune.
SOOTHSAYER. I make not, but foresee.
CHARMIAN. Pray, then, foresee me one.
SOOTHSAYER. You shall be yet far fairer than you are.
CHARMIAN. He means in flesh.
IRAS. No, you shall paint when you are old.
CHARMIAN. Wrinkles forbid!
ALEXAS. Vex not his prescience; be attentive.
SOOTHSAYER. You shall be more beloving than beloved.
CHARMIAN. I had rather heat my liver with drinking.
ALEXAS. Nay, hear him.
CHARMIAN. Good now, some excellent fortune! Let me be married to
three kings in a forenoon, and widow them all. Let me have a
child at fifty, to whom Herod of Jewry may do homage. Find me to
marry me with Octavius Caesar, and companion me with my mistress.
SOOTHSAYER. You shall outlive the lady whom you serve.
CHARMIAN. O, excellent! I love long life better than figs.
SOOTHSAYER. You have seen and prov'd a fairer former fortune
Than that which is to approach.
CHARMIAN. Then belike my children shall have no names.
Prithee, how many boys and wenches must I have?
SOOTHSAYER. If every of your wishes had a womb,
And fertile every wish, a million.
CHARMIAN. Out, fool! I forgive thee for a witch.
ALEXAS. You think none but your sheets are privy to your wishes.
CHARMIAN. Nay, come, tell Iras hers.
ALEXAS. We'll know all our fortunes.
ENOBARBUS. Mine, and most of our fortunes, to-night, shall be-
drunk to bed.
IRAS. There's a palm presages chastity, if nothing else.
CHARMIAN. E'en as the o'erflowing Nilus presageth famine.
IRAS. Go, you wild bedfellow, you cannot soothsay.
CHARMIAN. Nay, if an oily palm be not a fruitful prognostication, I
cannot scratch mine ear. Prithee, tell her but worky-day fortune.
SOOTHSAYER. Your fortunes are alike.
IRAS. But how, but how? Give me particulars.
SOOTHSAYER. I have said.
IRAS. Am I not an inch of fortune better than she?
CHARMIAN. Well, if you were but an inch of fortune better than I,
where would you choose it?
IRAS. Not in my husband's nose.
CHARMIAN. Our worser thoughts heavens mend! Alexas- come, his
fortune, his fortune! O, let him marry a woman that cannot go,
sweet Isis, I beseech thee! And let her die too, and give him a
worse! And let worse follow worse, till the worst of all follow
him laughing to his grave, fiftyfold a cuckold! Good Isis, hear
me this prayer, though thou deny me a matter of more weight; good
Isis, I beseech thee!
IRAS. Amen. Dear goddess, hear that prayer of the people! For, as
it is a heartbreaking to see a handsome man loose-wiv'd, so it is
a deadly sorrow to behold a foul knave uncuckolded. Therefore,
dear Isis, keep decorum, and fortune him accordingly!
ALEXAS. Lo now, if it lay in their hands to make me a cuckold, they
would make themselves whores but they'ld do't!


ENOBARBUS. Hush! Here comes Antony.
CHARMIAN. Not he; the Queen.
CLEOPATRA. Saw you my lord?
ENOBARBUS. No, lady.
CLEOPATRA. Was he not here?
CHARMIAN. No, madam.
CLEOPATRA. He was dispos'd to mirth; but on the sudden
A Roman thought hath struck him. Enobarbus!
CLEOPATRA. Seek him, and bring him hither. Where's Alexas?
ALEXAS. Here, at your service. My lord approaches.

Enter ANTONY, with a MESSENGER and attendants

CLEOPATRA. We will not look upon him. Go with us.
Exeunt CLEOPATRA, ENOBARBUS, and the rest
MESSENGER. Fulvia thy wife first came into the field.
ANTONY. Against my brother Lucius?
But soon that war had end, and the time's state
Made friends of them, jointing their force 'gainst Caesar,
Whose better issue in the war from Italy
Upon the first encounter drave them.
ANTONY. Well, what worst?
MESSENGER. The nature of bad news infects the teller.
ANTONY. When it concerns the fool or coward. On!
Things that are past are done with me. 'Tis thus:
Who tells me true, though in his tale lie death,
I hear him as he flatter'd.
MESSENGER. Labienus-
This is stiff news- hath with his Parthian force
Extended Asia from Euphrates,
His conquering banner shook from Syria
To Lydia and to Ionia,
ANTONY. Antony, thou wouldst say.
MESSENGER. O, my lord!
ANTONY. Speak to me home; mince not the general tongue;
Name Cleopatra as she is call'd in Rome.
Rail thou in Fulvia's phrase, and taunt my faults
With such full licence as both truth and malice
Have power to utter. O, then we bring forth weeds
When our quick minds lie still, and our ills told us
Is as our earing. Fare thee well awhile.
MESSENGER. At your noble pleasure. Exit
ANTONY. From Sicyon, ho, the news! Speak there!
FIRST ATTENDANT. The man from Sicyon- is there such an one?
SECOND ATTENDANT. He stays upon your will.
ANTONY. Let him appear.
These strong Egyptian fetters I must break,
Or lose myself in dotage.

Enter another MESSENGER with a letter

What are you?
SECOND MESSENGER. Fulvia thy wife is dead.
ANTONY. Where died she?
Her length of sickness, with what else more serious
Importeth thee to know, this bears. [Gives the letter]
ANTONY. Forbear me. Exit MESSENGER
There's a great spirit gone! Thus did I desire it.
What our contempts doth often hurl from us
We wish it ours again; the present pleasure,
By revolution low'ring, does become
The opposite of itself. She's good, being gone;
The hand could pluck her back that shov'd her on.
I must from this enchanting queen break off.
Ten thousand harms, more than the ills I know,
My idleness doth hatch. How now, Enobarbus!


ENOBARBUS. What's your pleasure, sir?
ANTONY. I must with haste from hence.
ENOBARBUS. Why, then we kill all our women. We see how mortal an
unkindness is to them; if they suffer our departure, death's the
ANTONY. I must be gone.
ENOBARBUS. Under a compelling occasion, let women die. It were pity
to cast them away for nothing, though between them and a great
cause they should be esteemed nothing. Cleopatra, catching but
the least noise of this, dies instantly; I have seen her die
twenty times upon far poorer moment. I do think there is mettle
in death, which commits some loving act upon her, she hath such a
celerity in dying.
ANTONY. She is cunning past man's thought.
ENOBARBUS. Alack, sir, no! Her passions are made of nothing but the
finest part of pure love. We cannot call her winds and waters
sighs and tears; they are greater storms and tempests than
almanacs can report. This cannot be cunning in her; if it be, she
makes a show'r of rain as well as Jove.
ANTONY. Would I had never seen her!
ENOBARBUS. O Sir, you had then left unseen a wonderful piece of
work, which not to have been blest withal would have discredited
your travel.
ANTONY. Fulvia is dead.
ANTONY. Fulvia is dead.
ENOBARBUS. Why, sir, give the gods a thankful sacrifice. When it
pleaseth their deities to take the wife of a man from him, it
shows to man the tailors of the earth; comforting therein that
when old robes are worn out there are members to make new. If
there were no more women but Fulvia, then had you indeed a cut,
and the case to be lamented. This grief is crown'd with
consolation: your old smock brings forth a new petticoat; and
indeed the tears live in an onion that should water this sorrow.
ANTONY. The business she hath broached in the state
Cannot endure my absence.
ENOBARBUS. And the business you have broach'd here cannot be
without you; especially that of Cleopatra's, which wholly depends
on your abode.
ANTONY. No more light answers. Let our officers
Have notice what we purpose. I shall break
The cause of our expedience to the Queen,
And get her leave to part. For not alone
The death of Fulvia, with more urgent touches,
Do strongly speak to us; but the letters to
Of many our contriving friends in Rome
Petition us at home. Sextus Pompeius
Hath given the dare to Caesar, and commands
The empire of the sea; our slippery people,
Whose love is never link'd to the deserver
Till his deserts are past, begin to throw
Pompey the Great and all his dignities
Upon his son; who, high in name and power,
Higher than both in blood and life, stands up
For the main soldier; whose quality, going on,
The sides o' th' world may danger. Much is breeding
Which, like the courser's hair, hath yet but life
And not a serpent's poison. Say our pleasure,
To such whose place is under us, requires
Our quick remove from hence.
ENOBARBUS. I shall do't. Exeunt

Alexandria. CLEOPATRA'S palace


CLEOPATRA. Where is he?
CHARMIAN. I did not see him since.
CLEOPATRA. See where he is, who's with him, what he does.
I did not send you. If you find him sad,
Say I am dancing; if in mirth, report
That I am sudden sick. Quick, and return. Exit ALEXAS
CHARMIAN. Madam, methinks, if you did love him dearly,
You do not hold the method to enforce
The like from him.
CLEOPATRA. What should I do I do not?
CHARMIAN. In each thing give him way; cross him in nothing.
CLEOPATRA. Thou teachest like a fool- the way to lose him.
CHARMIAN. Tempt him not so too far; I wish, forbear;
In time we hate that which we often fear.


But here comes Antony.
CLEOPATRA. I am sick and sullen.
ANTONY. I am sorry to give breathing to my purpose-
CLEOPATRA. Help me away, dear Charmian; I shall fall.
It cannot be thus long; the sides of nature
Will not sustain it.
ANTONY. Now, my dearest queen-
CLEOPATRA. Pray you, stand farther from me.
ANTONY. What's the matter?
CLEOPATRA. I know by that same eye there's some good news.
What says the married woman? You may go.
Would she had never given you leave to come!
Let her not say 'tis I that keep you here-
I have no power upon you; hers you are.
ANTONY. The gods best know-
CLEOPATRA. O, never was there queen
So mightily betray'd! Yet at the first
I saw the treasons planted.
ANTONY. Cleopatra-
CLEOPATRA. Why should I think you can be mine and true,
Though you in swearing shake the throned gods,
Who have been false to Fulvia? Riotous madness,
To be entangled with those mouth-made vows,
Which break themselves in swearing!
ANTONY. Most sweet queen-
CLEOPATRA. Nay, pray you seek no colour for your going,
But bid farewell, and go. When you sued staying,
Then was the time for words. No going then!
Eternity was in our lips and eyes,
Bliss in our brows' bent, none our parts so poor
But was a race of heaven. They are so still,
Or thou, the greatest soldier of the world,
Art turn'd the greatest liar.
ANTONY. How now, lady!
CLEOPATRA. I would I had thy inches. Thou shouldst know
There were a heart in Egypt.
ANTONY. Hear me, queen:
The strong necessity of time commands
Our services awhile; but my full heart
Remains in use with you. Our Italy
Shines o'er with civil swords: Sextus Pompeius
Makes his approaches to the port of Rome;
Equality of two domestic powers
Breed scrupulous faction; the hated, grown to strength,
Are newly grown to love. The condemn'd Pompey,
Rich in his father's honour, creeps apace
Into the hearts of such as have not thrived
Upon the present state, whose numbers threaten;
And quietness, grown sick of rest, would purge
By any desperate change. My more particular,
And that which most with you should safe my going,
Is Fulvia's death.
CLEOPATRA. Though age from folly could not give me freedom,
It does from childishness. Can Fulvia die?
ANTONY. She's dead, my Queen.
Look here, and at thy sovereign leisure read
The garboils she awak'd. At the last, best.
See when and where she died.
CLEOPATRA. O most false love!
Where be the sacred vials thou shouldst fill
With sorrowful water? Now I see, I see,
In Fulvia's death how mine receiv'd shall be.
ANTONY. Quarrel no more, but be prepar'd to know
The purposes I bear; which are, or cease,
As you shall give th' advice. By the fire
That quickens Nilus' slime, I go from hence
Thy soldier, servant, making peace or war
As thou affects.
CLEOPATRA. Cut my lace, Charmian, come!
But let it be; I am quickly ill and well-
So Antony loves.
ANTONY. My precious queen, forbear,
And give true evidence to his love, which stands
An honourable trial.
CLEOPATRA. So Fulvia told me.
I prithee turn aside and weep for her;
Then bid adieu to me, and say the tears
Belong to Egypt. Good now, play one scene
Of excellent dissembling, and let it look
Like perfect honour.
ANTONY. You'll heat my blood; no more.
CLEOPATRA. You can do better yet; but this is meetly.
ANTONY. Now, by my sword-
CLEOPATRA. And target. Still he mends;
But this is not the best. Look, prithee, Charmian,
How this Herculean Roman does become
The carriage of his chafe.
ANTONY. I'll leave you, lady.
CLEOPATRA. Courteous lord, one word.
Sir, you and I must part- but that's not it.
Sir, you and I have lov'd- but there's not it.
That you know well. Something it is I would-
O, my oblivion is a very Antony,
And I am all forgotten!
ANTONY. But that your royalty
Holds idleness your subject, I should take you
For idleness itself.
CLEOPATRA. 'Tis sweating labour
To bear such idleness so near the heart
As Cleopatra this. But, sir, forgive me;
Since my becomings kill me when they do not
Eye well to you. Your honour calls you hence;
Therefore be deaf to my unpitied folly,
And all the gods go with you! Upon your sword
Sit laurel victory, and smooth success
Be strew'd before your feet!
ANTONY. Let us go. Come.
Our separation so abides and flies
That thou, residing here, goes yet with me,
And I, hence fleeting, here remain with thee.
Away! Exeunt

Rome. CAESAR'S house

Enter OCTAVIUS CAESAR, reading a letter; LEPIDUS, and their train

CAESAR. You may see, Lepidus, and henceforth know,
It is not Caesar's natural vice to hate
Our great competitor. From Alexandria
This is the news: he fishes, drinks, and wastes
The lamps of night in revel; is not more manlike
Than Cleopatra, nor the queen of Ptolemy
More womanly than he; hardly gave audience, or
Vouchsaf'd to think he had partners. You shall find there
A man who is the abstract of all faults
That all men follow.
LEPIDUS. I must not think there are
Evils enow to darken all his goodness.
His faults, in him, seem as the spots of heaven,
More fiery by night's blackness; hereditary
Rather than purchas'd; what he cannot change
Than what he chooses.
CAESAR. You are too indulgent. Let's grant it is not
Amiss to tumble on the bed of Ptolemy,
To give a kingdom for a mirth, to sit
And keep the turn of tippling with a slave,
To reel the streets at noon, and stand the buffet
With knaves that smell of sweat. Say this becomes him-
As his composure must be rare indeed
Whom these things cannot blemish- yet must Antony
No way excuse his foils when we do bear
So great weight in his lightness. If he fill'd
His vacancy with his voluptuousness,
Full surfeits and the dryness of his bones
Call on him for't! But to confound such time
That drums him from his sport and speaks as loud
As his own state and ours- 'tis to be chid
As we rate boys who, being mature in knowledge,
Pawn their experience to their present pleasure,
And so rebel to judgment.


LEPIDUS. Here's more news.
MESSENGER. Thy biddings have been done; and every hour,
Most noble Caesar, shalt thou have report
How 'tis abroad. Pompey is strong at sea,
And it appears he is belov'd of those
That only have fear'd Caesar. To the ports
The discontents repair, and men's reports
Give him much wrong'd.
CAESAR. I should have known no less.
It hath been taught us from the primal state
That he which is was wish'd until he were;
And the ebb'd man, ne'er lov'd till ne'er worth love,
Comes dear'd by being lack'd. This common body,
Like to a vagabond flag upon the stream,
Goes to and back, lackeying the varying tide,
To rot itself with motion.
MESSENGER. Caesar, I bring thee word
Menecrates and Menas, famous pirates,
Make the sea serve them, which they ear and wound
With keels of every kind. Many hot inroads
They make in Italy; the borders maritime
Lack blood to think on't, and flush youth revolt.
No vessel can peep forth but 'tis as soon
Taken as seen; for Pompey's name strikes more
Than could his war resisted.
CAESAR. Antony,
Leave thy lascivious wassails. When thou once
Was beaten from Modena, where thou slew'st
Hirtius and Pansa, consuls, at thy heel
Did famine follow; whom thou fought'st against,
Though daintily brought up, with patience more
Than savages could suffer. Thou didst drink
The stale of horses and the gilded puddle
Which beasts would cough at. Thy palate then did deign
The roughest berry on the rudest hedge;
Yea, like the stag when snow the pasture sheets,
The barks of trees thou brows'd. On the Alps
It is reported thou didst eat strange flesh,
Which some did die to look on. And all this-
It wounds thine honour that I speak it now-
Was borne so like a soldier that thy cheek
So much as lank'd not.
LEPIDUS. 'Tis pity of him.
CAESAR. Let his shames quickly
Drive him to Rome. 'Tis time we twain
Did show ourselves i' th' field; and to that end
Assemble we immediate council. Pompey
Thrives in our idleness.
LEPIDUS. To-morrow, Caesar,
I shall be furnish'd to inform you rightly
Both what by sea and land I can be able
To front this present time.
CAESAR. Till which encounter
It is my business too. Farewell.
LEPIDUS. Farewell, my lord. What you shall know meantime
Of stirs abroad, I shall beseech you, sir,
To let me be partaker.
CAESAR. Doubt not, sir;
I knew it for my bond. Exeunt

Alexandria. CLEOPATRA'S palace


CLEOPATRA. Charmian!
Give me to drink mandragora.
CHARMIAN. Why, madam?
CLEOPATRA. That I might sleep out this great gap of time
My Antony is away.
CHARMIAN. You think of him too much.
CLEOPATRA. O, 'tis treason!
CHARMIAN. Madam, I trust, not so.
CLEOPATRA. Thou, eunuch Mardian!
MARDIAN. What's your Highness' pleasure?
CLEOPATRA. Not now to hear thee sing; I take no pleasure
In aught an eunuch has. 'Tis well for thee
That, being unseminar'd, thy freer thoughts
May not fly forth of Egypt. Hast thou affections?
MARDIAN. Yes, gracious madam.
MARDIAN. Not in deed, madam; for I can do nothing
But what indeed is honest to be done.
Yet have I fierce affections, and think
What Venus did with Mars.
CLEOPATRA. O Charmian,
Where think'st thou he is now? Stands he or sits he?
Or does he walk? or is he on his horse?
O happy horse, to bear the weight of Antony!
Do bravely, horse; for wot'st thou whom thou mov'st?
The demi-Atlas of this earth, the arm
And burgonet of men. He's speaking now,
Or murmuring 'Where's my serpent of old Nile?'
For so he calls me. Now I feed myself
With most delicious poison. Think on me,
That am with Phoebus' amorous pinches black,
And wrinkled deep in time? Broad-fronted Caesar,
When thou wast here above the ground, I was
A morsel for a monarch; and great Pompey
Would stand and make his eyes grow in my brow;
There would he anchor his aspect and die
With looking on his life.


ALEXAS. Sovereign of Egypt, hail!
CLEOPATRA. How much unlike art thou Mark Antony!
Yet, coming from him, that great med'cine hath
With his tinct gilded thee.
How goes it with my brave Mark Antony?
ALEXAS. Last thing he did, dear Queen,
He kiss'd- the last of many doubled kisses-
This orient pearl. His speech sticks in my heart.
CLEOPATRA. Mine ear must pluck it thence.
ALEXAS. 'Good friend,' quoth he
'Say the firm Roman to great Egypt sends
This treasure of an oyster; at whose foot,
To mend the petty present, I will piece
Her opulent throne with kingdoms. All the East,
Say thou, shall call her mistress.' So he nodded,
And soberly did mount an arm-gaunt steed,
Who neigh'd so high that what I would have spoke
Was beastly dumb'd by him.
CLEOPATRA. What, was he sad or merry?
ALEXAS. Like to the time o' th' year between the extremes
Of hot and cold; he was nor sad nor merry.
CLEOPATRA. O well-divided disposition! Note him,
Note him, good Charmian; 'tis the man; but note him!
He was not sad, for he would shine on those
That make their looks by his; he was not merry,
Which seem'd to tell them his remembrance lay
In Egypt with his joy; but between both.
O heavenly mingle! Be'st thou sad or merry,
The violence of either thee becomes,
So does it no man else. Met'st thou my posts?
ALEXAS. Ay, madam, twenty several messengers.
Why do you send so thick?
CLEOPATRA. Who's born that day
When I forget to send to Antony
Shall die a beggar. Ink and paper, Charmian.
Welcome, my good Alexas. Did I, Charmian,
Ever love Caesar so?
CHARMIAN. O that brave Caesar!
CLEOPATRA. Be chok'd with such another emphasis!
Say 'the brave Antony.'
CHARMIAN. The valiant Caesar!
CLEOPATRA. By Isis, I will give thee bloody teeth
If thou with Caesar paragon again
My man of men.
CHARMIAN. By your most gracious pardon,
I sing but after you.
CLEOPATRA. My salad days,
When I was green in judgment, cold in blood,
To say as I said then. But come, away!
Get me ink and paper.
He shall have every day a several greeting,
Or I'll unpeople Egypt. Exeunt

Messina. POMPEY'S house

Enter POMPEY, MENECRATES, and MENAS, in warlike manner

POMPEY. If the great gods be just, they shall assist
The deeds of justest men.
MENECRATES. Know, worthy Pompey,
That what they do delay they not deny.
POMPEY. Whiles we are suitors to their throne, decays
The thing we sue for.
MENECRATES. We, ignorant of ourselves,
Beg often our own harms, which the wise pow'rs
Deny us for our good; so find we profit
By losing of our prayers.
POMPEY. I shall do well.
The people love me, and the sea is mine;
My powers are crescent, and my auguring hope
Says it will come to th' full. Mark Antony
In Egypt sits at dinner, and will make
No wars without doors. Caesar gets money where
He loses hearts. Lepidus flatters both,
Of both is flatter'd; but he neither loves,
Nor either cares for him.
MENAS. Caesar and Lepidus
Are in the field. A mighty strength they carry.
POMPEY. Where have you this? 'Tis false.
MENAS. From Silvius, sir.
POMPEY. He dreams. I know they are in Rome together,
Looking for Antony. But all the charms of love,
Salt Cleopatra, soften thy wan'd lip!
Let witchcraft join with beauty, lust with both;
Tie up the libertine in a field of feasts,
Keep his brain fuming. Epicurean cooks
Sharpen with cloyless sauce his appetite,
That sleep and feeding may prorogue his honour
Even till a Lethe'd dullness-


How now, Varrius!
VARRIUS. This is most certain that I shall deliver:
Mark Antony is every hour in Rome
Expected. Since he went from Egypt 'tis
A space for farther travel.
POMPEY. I could have given less matter
A better ear. Menas, I did not think
This amorous surfeiter would have donn'd his helm
For such a petty war; his soldiership
Is twice the other twain. But let us rear
The higher our opinion, that our stirring
Can from the lap of Egypt's widow pluck
The ne'er-lust-wearied Antony.
MENAS. I cannot hope
Caesar and Antony shall well greet together.
His wife that's dead did trespasses to Caesar;
His brother warr'd upon him; although, I think,
Not mov'd by Antony.
POMPEY. I know not, Menas,
How lesser enmities may give way to greater.
Were't not that we stand up against them all,
'Twere pregnant they should square between themselves;
For they have entertained cause enough
To draw their swords. But how the fear of us
May cement their divisions, and bind up
The petty difference we yet not know.
Be't as our gods will have't! It only stands
Our lives upon to use our strongest hands.
Come, Menas. Exeunt

Rome. The house of LEPIDUS


LEPIDUS. Good Enobarbus, 'tis a worthy deed,
And shall become you well, to entreat your captain
To soft and gentle speech.
ENOBARBUS. I shall entreat him
To answer like himself. If Caesar move him,
Let Antony look over Caesar's head
And speak as loud as Mars. By Jupiter,
Were I the wearer of Antonius' beard,
I would not shave't to-day.
LEPIDUS. 'Tis not a time
For private stomaching.
ENOBARBUS. Every time
Serves for the matter that is then born in't.
LEPIDUS. But small to greater matters must give way.
ENOBARBUS. Not if the small come first.
LEPIDUS. Your speech is passion;
But pray you stir no embers up. Here comes
The noble Antony.


ENOBARBUS. And yonder, Caesar.


ANTONY. If we compose well here, to Parthia.
Hark, Ventidius.
CAESAR. I do not know, Maecenas. Ask Agrippa.
LEPIDUS. Noble friends,
That which combin'd us was most great, and let not
A leaner action rend us. What's amiss,
May it be gently heard. When we debate
Our trivial difference loud, we do commit
Murder in healing wounds. Then, noble partners,
The rather for I earnestly beseech,
Touch you the sourest points with sweetest terms,
Nor curstness grow to th' matter.
ANTONY. 'Tis spoken well.
Were we before our arinies, and to fight,
I should do thus. [Flourish]
CAESAR. Welcome to Rome.
ANTONY. Thank you.
ANTONY. Sit, sir.
CAESAR. Nay, then. [They sit]
ANTONY. I learn you take things ill which are not so,
Or being, concern you not.
CAESAR. I must be laugh'd at
If, or for nothing or a little,
Should say myself offended, and with you
Chiefly i' the world; more laugh'd at that I should
Once name you derogately when to sound your name
It not concern'd me.
ANTONY. My being in Egypt, Caesar,
What was't to you?
CAESAR. No more than my residing here at Rome
Might be to you in Egypt. Yet, if you there
Did practise on my state, your being in Egypt
Might be my question.
ANTONY. How intend you- practis'd?
CAESAR. You may be pleas'd to catch at mine intent
By what did here befall me. Your wife and brother
Made wars upon me, and their contestation
Was theme for you; you were the word of war.
ANTONY. You do mistake your business; my brother never
Did urge me in his act. I did inquire it,
And have my learning from some true reports
That drew their swords with you. Did he not rather
Discredit my authority with yours,
And make the wars alike against my stomach,
Having alike your cause? Of this my letters
Before did satisfy you. If you'll patch a quarrel,
As matter whole you have not to make it with,
It must not be with this.
CAESAR. You praise yourself
By laying defects of judgment to me; but
You patch'd up your excuses.
ANTONY. Not so, not so;
I know you could not lack, I am certain on't,
Very necessity of this thought, that I,
Your partner in the cause 'gainst which he fought,
Could not with graceful eyes attend those wars
Which fronted mine own peace. As for my wife,
I would you had her spirit in such another!
The third o' th' world is yours, which with a snaffle
You may pace easy, but not such a wife.
ENOBARBUS. Would we had all such wives, that the men might go to
wars with the women!
ANTONY. So much uncurbable, her garboils, Caesar,
Made out of her impatience- which not wanted
Shrewdness of policy too- I grieving grant
Did you too much disquiet. For that you must
But say I could not help it.
CAESAR. I wrote to you
When rioting in Alexandria; you
Did pocket up my letters, and with taunts
Did gibe my missive out of audience.
He fell upon me ere admitted. Then
Three kings I had newly feasted, and did want
Of what I was i' th' morning; but next day
I told him of myself, which was as much
As to have ask'd him pardon. Let this fellow
Be nothing of our strife; if we contend,
Out of our question wipe him.
CAESAR. You have broken
The article of your oath, which you shall never
Have tongue to charge me with.
LEPIDUS. Soft, Caesar!
Lepidus, let him speak.
The honour is sacred which he talks on now,
Supposing that I lack'd it. But on, Caesar:
The article of my oath-
CAESAR. To lend me arms and aid when I requir'd them,
The which you both denied.
ANTONY. Neglected, rather;
And then when poisoned hours had bound me up
From mine own knowledge. As nearly as I may,
I'll play the penitent to you; but mine honesty
Shall not make poor my greatness, nor my power
Work without it. Truth is, that Fulvia,
To have me out of Egypt, made wars here;
For which myself, the ignorant motive, do
So far ask pardon as befits mine honour
To stoop in such a case.
LEPIDUS. 'Tis noble spoken.
MAECENAS. If it might please you to enforce no further
The griefs between ye- to forget them quite
Were to remember that the present need
Speaks to atone you.
LEPIDUS. Worthily spoken, Maecenas.
ENOBARBUS. Or, if you borrow one another's love for the instant,
you may, when you hear no more words of Pompey, return it again.
You shall have time to wrangle in when you have nothing else to
ANTONY. Thou art a soldier only. Speak no more.
ENOBARBUS. That truth should be silent I had almost forgot.
ANTONY. You wrong this presence; therefore speak no more.
ENOBARBUS. Go to, then- your considerate stone!
CAESAR. I do not much dislike the matter, but
The manner of his speech; for't cannot be
We shall remain in friendship, our conditions
So diff'ring in their acts. Yet if I knew
What hoop should hold us stanch, from edge to edge
O' th' world, I would pursue it.
AGRIPPA. Give me leave, Caesar.
CAESAR. Speak, Agrippa.
AGRIPPA. Thou hast a sister by the mother's side,
Admir'd Octavia. Great Mark Antony
Is now a widower.
CAESAR. Say not so, Agrippa.
If Cleopatra heard you, your reproof
Were well deserv'd of rashness.
ANTONY. I am not married, Caesar. Let me hear
Agrippa further speak.
AGRIPPA. To hold you in perpetual amity,
To make you brothers, and to knit your hearts
With an unslipping knot, take Antony
Octavia to his wife; whose beauty claims
No worse a husband than the best of men;
Whose virtue and whose general graces speak
That which none else can utter. By this marriage
All little jealousies, which now seem great,
And all great fears, which now import their dangers,
Would then be nothing. Truths would be tales,
Where now half tales be truths. Her love to both
Would each to other, and all loves to both,
Draw after her. Pardon what I have spoke;
For 'tis a studied, not a present thought,
By duty ruminated.
ANTONY. Will Caesar speak?
CAESAR. Not till he hears how Antony is touch'd
With what is spoke already.
ANTONY. What power is in Agrippa,
If I would say 'Agrippa, be it so,'
To make this good?
CAESAR. The power of Caesar, and
His power unto Octavia.
ANTONY. May I never
To this good purpose, that so fairly shows,
Dream of impediment! Let me have thy hand.
Further this act of grace; and from this hour
The heart of brothers govern in our loves
And sway our great designs!
CAESAR. There is my hand.
A sister I bequeath you, whom no brother
Did ever love so dearly. Let her live
To join our kingdoms and our hearts; and never
Fly off our loves again!
LEPIDUS. Happily, amen!
ANTONY. I did not think to draw my sword 'gainst Pompey;
For he hath laid strange courtesies and great
Of late upon me. I must thank him only,
Lest my remembrance suffer ill report;
At heel of that, defy him.
LEPIDUS. Time calls upon's.
Of us must Pompey presently be sought,
Or else he seeks out us.
ANTONY. Where lies he?
CAESAR. About the Mount Misenum.
ANTONY. What is his strength by land?
CAESAR. Great and increasing; but by sea
He is an absolute master.
ANTONY. So is the fame.
Would we had spoke together! Haste we for it.
Yet, ere we put ourselves in arms, dispatch we
The business we have talk'd of.
CAESAR. With most gladness;
And do invite you to my sister's view,
Whither straight I'll lead you.
ANTONY. Let us, Lepidus,
Not lack your company.
LEPIDUS. Noble Antony,
Not sickness should detain me. [Flourish]
MAECENAS. Welcome from Egypt, sir.
ENOBARBUS. Half the heart of Caesar, worthy Maecenas! My honourable
friend, Agrippa!
AGRIPPA. Good Enobarbus!
MAECENAS. We have cause to be glad that matters are so well
digested. You stay'd well by't in Egypt.
ENOBARBUS. Ay, sir; we did sleep day out of countenance and made
the night light with drinking.
MAECENAS. Eight wild boars roasted whole at a breakfast, and but
twelve persons there. Is this true?
ENOBARBUS. This was but as a fly by an eagle. We had much more
monstrous matter of feast, which worthily deserved noting.
MAECENAS. She's a most triumphant lady, if report be square to her.
ENOBARBUS. When she first met Mark Antony she purs'd up his heart,
upon the river of Cydnus.
AGRIPPA. There she appear'd indeed! Or my reporter devis'd well for
ENOBARBUS. I will tell you.
The barge she sat in, like a burnish'd throne,
Burn'd on the water. The poop was beaten gold;
Purple the sails, and so perfumed that
The winds were love-sick with them; the oars were silver,
Which to the tune of flutes kept stroke, and made
The water which they beat to follow faster,
As amorous of their strokes. For her own person,
It beggar'd all description. She did lie
In her pavilion, cloth-of-gold, of tissue,
O'erpicturing that Venus where we see
The fancy out-work nature. On each side her
Stood pretty dimpled boys, like smiling Cupids,
With divers-colour'd fans, whose wind did seem
To glow the delicate cheeks which they did cool,
And what they undid did.
AGRIPPA. O, rare for Antony!
ENOBARBUS. Her gentlewomen, like the Nereides,
So many mermaids, tended her i' th' eyes,
And made their bends adornings. At the helm
A seeming mermaid steers. The silken tackle
Swell with the touches of those flower-soft hands
That yarely frame the office. From the barge
A strange invisible perfume hits the sense
Of the adjacent wharfs. The city cast
Her people out upon her; and Antony,
Enthron'd i' th' market-place, did sit alone,
Whistling to th' air; which, but for vacancy,
Had gone to gaze on Cleopatra too,
And made a gap in nature.
AGRIPPA. Rare Egyptian!
ENOBARBUS. Upon her landing, Antony sent to her,
Invited her to supper. She replied
It should be better he became her guest;
Which she entreated. Our courteous Antony,
Whom ne'er the word of 'No' woman heard speak,
Being barber'd ten times o'er, goes to the feast,
And for his ordinary pays his heart
For what his eyes eat only.
AGRIPPA. Royal wench!
She made great Caesar lay his sword to bed.
He ploughed her, and she cropp'd.
ENOBARBUS. I saw her once
Hop forty paces through the public street;
And, having lost her breath, she spoke, and panted,
That she did make defect perfection,
And, breathless, pow'r breathe forth.
MAECENAS. Now Antony must leave her utterly.
ENOBARBUS. Never! He will not.
Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale
Her infinite variety. Other women cloy
The appetites they feed, but she makes hungry
Where most she satisfies; for vilest things
Become themselves in her, that the holy priests
Bless her when she is riggish.
MAECENAS. If beauty, wisdom, modesty, can settle
The heart of Antony, Octavia is
A blessed lottery to him.
AGRIPPA. Let us go.
Good Enobarbus, make yourself my guest
Whilst you abide here.
ENOBARBUS. Humbly, sir, I thank you. Exeunt

Rome. CAESAR'S house

Enter ANTONY, CAESAR, OCTAVIA between them

ANTONY. The world and my great office will sometimes
Divide me from your bosom.
OCTAVIA. All which time
Before the gods my knee shall bow my prayers
To them for you.
ANTONY. Good night, sir. My Octavia,
Read not my blemishes in the world's report.
I have not kept my square; but that to come
Shall all be done by th' rule. Good night, dear lady.
OCTAVIA. Good night, sir.
CAESAR. Good night. Exeunt CAESAR and OCTAVIA


ANTONY. Now, sirrah, you do wish yourself in Egypt?
SOOTHSAYER. Would I had never come from thence, nor you thither!
ANTONY. If you can- your reason.
SOOTHSAYER. I see it in my motion, have it not in my tongue; but
yet hie you to Egypt again.
ANTONY. Say to me,
Whose fortunes shall rise higher, Caesar's or mine?
Therefore, O Antony, stay not by his side.
Thy daemon, that thy spirit which keeps thee, is
Noble, courageous, high, unmatchable,
Where Caesar's is not; but near him thy angel
Becomes a fear, as being o'erpow'r'd. Therefore
Make space enough between you.
ANTONY. Speak this no more.
SOOTHSAYER. To none but thee; no more but when to thee.
If thou dost play with him at any game,
Thou art sure to lose; and of that natural luck
He beats thee 'gainst the odds. Thy lustre thickens
When he shines by. I say again, thy spirit
Is all afraid to govern thee near him;
But, he away, 'tis noble.
ANTONY. Get thee gone.
Say to Ventidius I would speak with him.
He shall to Parthia.- Be it art or hap,
He hath spoken true. The very dice obey him;
And in our sports my better cunning faints
Under his chance. If we draw lots, he speeds;
His cocks do win the battle still of mine,
When it is all to nought, and his quails ever
Beat mine, inhoop'd, at odds. I will to Egypt;
And though I make this marriage for my peace,
I' th' East my pleasure lies.


O, come, Ventidius,
You must to Parthia. Your commission's ready;
Follow me and receive't. Exeunt

Rome. A street


LEPIDUS. Trouble yourselves no further. Pray you hasten
Your generals after.
AGRIPPA. Sir, Mark Antony
Will e'en but kiss Octavia, and we'll follow.
LEPIDUS. Till I shall see you in your soldier's dress,
Which will become you both, farewell.
MAECENAS. We shall,
As I conceive the journey, be at th' Mount
Before you, Lepidus.
LEPIDUS. Your way is shorter;
My purposes do draw me much about.
You'll win two days upon me.
BOTH. Sir, good success!
LEPIDUS. Farewell. Exeunt

Alexandria. CLEOPATRA'S palace


CLEOPATRA. Give me some music- music, moody food
Of us that trade in love.
ALL. The music, ho!

Enter MARDIAN the eunuch

CLEOPATRA. Let it alone! Let's to billiards. Come, Charmian.
CHARMIAN. My arm is sore; best play with Mardian.
CLEOPATRA. As well a woman with an eunuch play'd
As with a woman. Come, you'll play with me, sir?
MARDIAN. As well as I can, madam.
CLEOPATRA. And when good will is show'd, though't come too short,
The actor may plead pardon. I'll none now.
Give me mine angle- we'll to th' river. There,
My music playing far off, I will betray
Tawny-finn'd fishes; my bended hook shall pierce
Their slimy jaws; and as I draw them up
I'll think them every one an Antony,
And say 'Ah ha! Y'are caught.'
CHARMIAN. 'Twas merry when
You wager'd on your angling; when your diver
Did hang a salt fish on his hook, which he
With fervency drew up.
CLEOPATRA. That time? O times
I laughed him out of patience; and that night
I laugh'd him into patience; and next morn,
Ere the ninth hour, I drunk him to his bed,
Then put my tires and mantles on him, whilst
I wore his sword Philippan.


O! from Italy?
Ram thou thy fruitful tidings in mine ears,
That long time have been barren.
MESSENGER. Madam, madam-
CLEOPATRA. Antony's dead! If thou say so, villain,
Thou kill'st thy mistress; but well and free,
If thou so yield him, there is gold, and here
My bluest veins to kiss- a hand that kings
Have lipp'd, and trembled kissing.
MESSENGER. First, madam, he is well.
CLEOPATRA. Why, there's more gold.
But, sirrah, mark, we use
To say the dead are well. Bring it to that,
The gold I give thee will I melt and pour
Down thy ill-uttering throat.
MESSENGER. Good madam, hear me.
CLEOPATRA. Well, go to, I will.
But there's no goodness in thy face. If Antony
Be free and healthful- why so tart a favour
To trumpet such good tidings? If not well,
Thou shouldst come like a Fury crown'd with snakes,
Not like a formal man.
MESSENGER. Will't please you hear me?
CLEOPATRA. I have a mind to strike thee ere thou speak'st.
Yet, if thou say Antony lives, is well,
Or friends with Caesar, or not captive to him,
I'll set thee in a shower of gold, and hail
Rich pearls upon thee.
MESSENGER. Madam, he's well.
CLEOPATRA. Well said.
MESSENGER. And friends with Caesar.
CLEOPATRA. Th'art an honest man.
MESSENGER. Caesar and he are greater friends than ever.
CLEOPATRA. Make thee a fortune from me.
MESSENGER. But yet, madam-
CLEOPATRA. I do not like 'but yet.' It does allay
The good precedence; fie upon 'but yet'!
'But yet' is as a gaoler to bring forth
Some monstrous malefactor. Prithee, friend,
Pour out the pack of matter to mine ear,
The good and bad together. He's friends with Caesar;
In state of health, thou say'st; and, thou say'st, free.
MESSENGER. Free, madam! No; I made no such report.
He's bound unto Octavia.
CLEOPATRA. For what good turn?
MESSENGER. For the best turn i' th' bed.
CLEOPATRA. I am pale, Charmian.
MESSENGER. Madam, he's married to Octavia.
CLEOPATRA. The most infectious pestilence upon thee!
[Strikes him down]
MESSENGER. Good madam, patience.
CLEOPATRA. What say you? Hence, [Strikes him]
Horrible villain! or I'll spurn thine eyes
Like balls before me; I'll unhair thy head;
[She hales him up and down]
Thou shalt be whipp'd with wire and stew'd in brine,
Smarting in ling'ring pickle.
MESSENGER. Gracious madam,
I that do bring the news made not the match.
CLEOPATRA. Say 'tis not so, a province I will give thee,
And make thy fortunes proud. The blow thou hadst
Shall make thy peace for moving me to rage;
And I will boot thee with what gift beside
Thy modesty can beg.
MESSENGER. He's married, madam.
CLEOPATRA. Rogue, thou hast liv'd too long. [Draws a knife]
MESSENGER. Nay, then I'll run.
What mean you, madam? I have made no fault. Exit
CHARMIAN. Good madam, keep yourself within yourself:
The man is innocent.
CLEOPATRA. Some innocents scape not the thunderbolt.
Melt Egypt into Nile! and kindly creatures
Turn all to serpents! Call the slave again.
Though I am mad, I will not bite him. Call!
CHARMIAN. He is afear'd to come.
CLEOPATRA. I will not hurt him.
These hands do lack nobility, that they strike
A meaner than myself; since I myself
Have given myself the cause.

Enter the MESSENGER again

Come hither, sir.
Though it be honest, it is never good
To bring bad news. Give to a gracious message
An host of tongues; but let ill tidings tell
Themselves when they be felt.
MESSENGER. I have done my duty.
CLEOPATRA. Is he married?
I cannot hate thee worser than I do
If thou again say 'Yes.'
MESSENGER. He's married, madam.
CLEOPATRA. The gods confound thee! Dost thou hold there still?
MESSENGER. Should I lie, madam?
CLEOPATRA. O, I would thou didst,
So half my Egypt were submerg'd and made
A cistern for scal'd snakes! Go, get thee hence.
Hadst thou Narcissus in thy face, to me
Thou wouldst appear most ugly. He is married?
MESSENGER. I crave your Highness' pardon.
CLEOPATRA. He is married?
MESSENGER. Take no offence that I would not offend you;
To punish me for what you make me do
Seems much unequal. He's married to Octavia.
CLEOPATRA. O, that his fault should make a knave of thee
That art not what th'art sure of! Get thee hence.
The merchandise which thou hast brought from Rome
Are all too dear for me. Lie they upon thy hand,
And be undone by 'em! Exit MESSENGER
CHARMIAN. Good your Highness, patience.
CLEOPATRA. In praising Antony I have disprais'd Caesar.
CHARMIAN. Many times, madam.
CLEOPATRA. I am paid for't now. Lead me from hence,
I faint. O Iras, Charmian! 'Tis no matter.
Go to the fellow, good Alexas; bid him
Report the feature of Octavia, her years,
Her inclination; let him not leave out
The colour of her hair. Bring me word quickly.
Let him for ever go- let him not, Charmian-
Though he be painted one way like a Gorgon,
The other way's a Mars. [To MARDIAN]
Bid you Alexas
Bring me word how tall she is.- Pity me, Charmian,
But do not speak to me. Lead me to my chamber. Exeunt

Near Misenum

Flourish. Enter POMPEY and MENAS at one door, with drum and trumpet;
with soldiers marching

POMPEY. Your hostages I have, so have you mine;
And we shall talk before we fight.
CAESAR. Most meet
That first we come to words; and therefore have we
Our written purposes before us sent;
Which if thou hast considered, let us know
If 'twill tie up thy discontented sword
And carry back to Sicily much tall youth
That else must perish here.
POMPEY. To you all three,
The senators alone of this great world,
Chief factors for the gods: I do not know
Wherefore my father should revengers want,
Having a son and friends, since Julius Caesar,
Who at Philippi the good Brutus ghosted,
There saw you labouring for him. What was't
That mov'd pale Cassius to conspire? and what
Made the all-honour'd honest Roman, Brutus,
With the arm'd rest, courtiers of beauteous freedom,
To drench the Capitol, but that they would
Have one man but a man? And that is it
Hath made me rig my navy, at whose burden
The anger'd ocean foams; with which I meant
To scourge th' ingratitude that despiteful Rome
Cast on my noble father.
CAESAR. Take your time.
ANTONY. Thou canst not fear us, Pompey, with thy sails;
We'll speak with thee at sea; at land thou know'st
How much we do o'er-count thee.
POMPEY. At land, indeed,
Thou dost o'er-count me of my father's house.
But since the cuckoo builds not for himself,
Remain in't as thou mayst.
LEPIDUS. Be pleas'd to tell us-
For this is from the present- how you take
The offers we have sent you.
CAESAR. There's the point.
ANTONY. Which do not be entreated to, but weigh
What it is worth embrac'd.
CAESAR. And what may follow,
To try a larger fortune.
POMPEY. You have made me offer
Of Sicily, Sardinia; and I must
Rid all the sea of pirates; then to send
Measures of wheat to Rome; this 'greed upon,
To part with unhack'd edges and bear back
Our targes undinted.
ALL. That's our offer.
POMPEY. Know, then,
I came before you here a man prepar'd
To take this offer; but Mark Antony
Put me to some impatience. Though I lose
The praise of it by telling, you must know,
When Caesar and your brother were at blows,
Your mother came to Sicily and did find
Her welcome friendly.
ANTONY. I have heard it, Pompey,
And am well studied for a liberal thanks
Which I do owe you.
POMPEY. Let me have your hand.
I did not think, sir, to have met you here.
ANTONY. The beds i' th' East are soft; and thanks to you,
That call'd me timelier than my purpose hither;
For I have gained by't.
CAESAR. Since I saw you last
There is a change upon you.
POMPEY. Well, I know not
What counts harsh fortune casts upon my face;
But in my bosom shall she never come
To make my heart her vassal.
LEPIDUS. Well met here.
POMPEY. I hope so, Lepidus. Thus we are agreed.
I crave our composition may be written,
And seal'd between us.
CAESAR. That's the next to do.
POMPEY. We'll feast each other ere we part, and let's
Draw lots who shall begin.
ANTONY. That will I, Pompey.
POMPEY. No, Antony, take the lot;
But, first or last, your fine Egyptian cookery
Shall have the fame. I have heard that Julius Caesar
Grew fat with feasting there.
ANTONY. You have heard much.
POMPEY. I have fair meanings, sir.
ANTONY. And fair words to them.
POMPEY. Then so much have I heard;
And I have heard Apollodorus carried-
ENOBARBUS. No more of that! He did so.
POMPEY. What, I pray you?
ENOBARBUS. A certain queen to Caesar in a mattress.
POMPEY. I know thee now. How far'st thou, soldier?
And well am like to do, for I perceive
Four feasts are toward.
POMPEY. Let me shake thy hand.
I never hated thee; I have seen thee fight,
When I have envied thy behaviour.
I never lov'd you much; but I ha' prais'd ye
When you have well deserv'd ten times as much
As I have said you did.
POMPEY. Enjoy thy plainness;
It nothing ill becomes thee.
Aboard my galley I invite you all.
Will you lead, lords?
ALL. Show's the way, sir.
POMPEY. Come. Exeunt all but ENOBARBUS and MENAS
MENAS. [Aside] Thy father, Pompey, would ne'er have made this
treaty.- You and I have known, sir.
ENOBARBUS. At sea, I think.
MENAS. We have, sir.
ENOBARBUS. You have done well by water.
MENAS. And you by land.
ENOBARBUS. I Will praise any man that will praise me; though it
cannot be denied what I have done by land.
MENAS. Nor what I have done by water.
ENOBARBUS. Yes, something you can deny for your own safety: you
have been a great thief by sea.
MENAS. And you by land.
ENOBARBUS. There I deny my land service. But give me your hand,
Menas; if our eyes had authority, here they might take two
thieves kissing.
MENAS. All men's faces are true, whatsome'er their hands are.
ENOBARBUS. But there is never a fair woman has a true face.
MENAS. No slander: they steal hearts.
ENOBARBUS. We came hither to fight with you.
MENAS. For my part, I am sorry it is turn'd to a drinking.
Pompey doth this day laugh away his fortune.
ENOBARBUS. If he do, sure he cannot weep't back again.
MENAS. Y'have said, sir. We look'd not for Mark Antony here. Pray
you, is he married to Cleopatra?
ENOBARBUS. Caesar' sister is call'd Octavia.
MENAS. True, sir; she was the wife of Caius Marcellus.
ENOBARBUS. But she is now the wife of Marcus Antonius.
MENAS. Pray ye, sir?
ENOBARBUS. 'Tis true.
MENAS. Then is Caesar and he for ever knit together.
ENOBARBUS. If I were bound to divine of this unity, I would not
prophesy so.
MENAS. I think the policy of that purpose made more in the marriage
than the love of the parties.
ENOBARBUS. I think so too. But you shall find the band that seems
to tie their friendship together will be the very strangler of
their amity: Octavia is of a holy, cold, and still conversation.
MENAS. Who would not have his wife so?
ENOBARBUS. Not he that himself is not so; which is Mark Antony. He
will to his Egyptian dish again; then shall the sighs of Octavia
blow the fire up in Caesar, and, as I said before, that which is
the strength of their amity shall prove the immediate author of
their variance. Antony will use his affection where it is; he
married but his occasion here.
MENAS. And thus it may be. Come, sir, will you aboard? I have a
health for you.
ENOBARBUS. I shall take it, sir. We have us'd our throats in Egypt.
MENAS. Come, let's away. Exeunt

On board POMPEY'S galley, off Misenum

Music plays. Enter two or three SERVANTS with a banquet

FIRST SERVANT. Here they'll be, man. Some o' their plants are
ill-rooted already; the least wind i' th' world will blow them
SECOND SERVANT. Lepidus is high-colour'd.
FIRST SERVANT. They have made him drink alms-drink.
SECOND SERVANT. As they pinch one another by the disposition, he
cries out 'No more!'; reconciles them to his entreaty and himself
to th' drink.
FIRST SERVANT. But it raises the greater war between him and his
SECOND SERVANT. Why, this it is to have a name in great men's
fellowship. I had as lief have a reed that will do me no service
as a partizan I could not heave.
FIRST SERVANT. To be call'd into a huge sphere, and not to be seen
to move in't, are the holes where eyes should be, which pitifully
disaster the cheeks.

A sennet sounded. Enter CAESAR, ANTONY, LEPIDUS,
with other CAPTAINS

ANTONY. [To CAESAR] Thus do they, sir: they take the flow o' th'
By certain scales i' th' pyramid; they know
By th' height, the lowness, or the mean, if dearth
Or foison follow. The higher Nilus swells
The more it promises; as it ebbs, the seedsman
Upon the slime and ooze scatters his grain,
And shortly comes to harvest.
LEPIDUS. Y'have strange serpents there.
ANTONY. Ay, Lepidus.
LEPIDUS. Your serpent of Egypt is bred now of your mud by the
operation of your sun; so is your crocodile.
ANTONY. They are so.
POMPEY. Sit- and some wine! A health to Lepidus!
LEPIDUS. I am not so well as I should be, but I'll ne'er out.
ENOBARBUS. Not till you have slept. I fear me you'll be in till
LEPIDUS. Nay, certainly, I have heard the Ptolemies' pyramises are
very goodly things. Without contradiction I have heard that.
MENAS. [Aside to POMPEY] Pompey, a word.
POMPEY. [Aside to MENAS] Say in mine ear; what is't?
MENAS. [Aside to POMPEY] Forsake thy seat, I do beseech thee,
And hear me speak a word.
POMPEY. [ Whispers in's ear ] Forbear me till anon-
This wine for Lepidus!
LEPIDUS. What manner o' thing is your crocodile?
ANTONY. It is shap'd, sir, like itself, and it is as broad as it
hath breadth; it is just so high as it is, and moves with it own
organs. It lives by that which nourisheth it, and the elements
once out of it, it transmigrates.
LEPIDUS. What colour is it of?
ANTONY. Of it own colour too.
LEPIDUS. 'Tis a strange serpent.
ANTONY. 'Tis so. And the tears of it are wet.
CAESAR. Will this description satisfy him?
ANTONY. With the health that Pompey gives him, else he is a very
POMPEY. [Aside to MENAS] Go, hang, sir, hang! Tell me of that!
Do as I bid you.- Where's this cup I call'd for?
MENAS. [Aside to POMPEY] If for the sake of merit thou wilt hear
Rise from thy stool.
POMPEY. [Aside to MENAS] I think th'art mad. [Rises and walks
aside] The matter?
MENAS. I have ever held my cap off to thy fortunes.
POMPEY. Thou hast serv'd me with much faith. What's else to say?-
Be jolly, lords.
ANTONY. These quicksands, Lepidus,
Keep off them, for you sink.
MENAS. Wilt thou be lord of all the world?
POMPEY. What say'st thou?
MENAS. Wilt thou be lord of the whole world? That's twice.
POMPEY. How should that be?
MENAS. But entertain it,
And though you think me poor, I am the man
Will give thee all the world.
POMPEY. Hast thou drunk well?
MENAS. No, Pompey, I have kept me from the cup.
Thou art, if thou dar'st be, the earthly Jove;
Whate'er the ocean pales or sky inclips
Is thine, if thou wilt ha't.
POMPEY. Show me which way.
MENAS. These three world-sharers, these competitors,
Are in thy vessel. Let me cut the cable;
And when we are put off, fall to their throats.
All there is thine.
POMPEY. Ah, this thou shouldst have done,
And not have spoke on't. In me 'tis villainy:
In thee't had been good service. Thou must know
'Tis not my profit that does lead mine honour:
Mine honour, it. Repent that e'er thy tongue
Hath so betray'd thine act. Being done unknown,
I should have found it afterwards well done,
But must condemn it now. Desist, and drink.
MENAS. [Aside] For this,
I'll never follow thy pall'd fortunes more.
Who seeks, and will not take when once 'tis offer'd,
Shall never find it more.
POMPEY. This health to Lepidus!
ANTONY. Bear him ashore. I'll pledge it for him, Pompey.
ENOBARBUS. Here's to thee, Menas!
MENAS. Enobarbus, welcome!
POMPEY. Fill till the cup be hid.
ENOBARBUS. There's a strong fellow, Menas.
[Pointing to the servant who carries off LEPIDUS]
ENOBARBUS. 'A bears the third part of the world, man; see'st not?
MENAS. The third part, then, is drunk. Would it were all,
That it might go on wheels!
ENOBARBUS. Drink thou; increase the reels.
MENAS. Come.
POMPEY. This is not yet an Alexandrian feast.
ANTONY. It ripens towards it. Strike the vessels, ho!
Here's to Caesar!
CAESAR. I could well forbear't.
It's monstrous labour when I wash my brain
And it grows fouler.
ANTONY. Be a child o' th' time.
CAESAR. Possess it, I'll make answer.
But I had rather fast from all four days
Than drink so much in one.
ENOBARBUS. [To ANTONY] Ha, my brave emperor!
Shall we dance now the Egyptian Bacchanals
And celebrate our drink?
POMPEY. Let's ha't, good soldier.
ANTONY. Come, let's all take hands,
Till that the conquering wine hath steep'd our sense
In soft and delicate Lethe.
ENOBARBUS. All take hands.
Make battery to our ears with the loud music,
The while I'll place you; then the boy shall sing;
The holding every man shall bear as loud
As his strong sides can volley.
[Music plays. ENOBARBUS places them hand in hand]

Come, thou monarch of the vine,
Plumpy Bacchus with pink eyne!
In thy fats our cares be drown'd,
With thy grapes our hairs be crown'd.
Cup us till the world go round,
Cup us till the world go round!

CAESAR. What would you more? Pompey, good night. Good brother,
Let me request you off; our graver business
Frowns at this levity. Gentle lords, let's part;
You see we have burnt our cheeks. Strong Enobarb
Is weaker than the wine, and mine own tongue
Splits what it speaks. The wild disguise hath almost
Antick'd us all. What needs more words? Good night.
Good Antony, your hand.
POMPEY. I'll try you on the shore.
ANTONY. And shall, sir. Give's your hand.
POMPEY. O Antony,
You have my father's house- but what? We are friends.
Come, down into the boat.
ENOBARBUS. Take heed you fall not.
Exeunt all but ENOBARBUS and MENAS
Menas, I'll not on shore.
MENAS. No, to my cabin.
These drums! these trumpets, flutes! what!
Let Neptune hear we bid a loud farewell
To these great fellows. Sound and be hang'd, sound out!
[Sound a flourish, with drums]
ENOBARBUS. Hoo! says 'a. There's my cap.
MENAS. Hoo! Noble Captain, come. Exeunt
A plain in Syria

Enter VENTIDIUS, as it were in triumph, with SILIUS
and other Romans, OFFICERS and soldiers; the dead body
of PACORUS borne before him

VENTIDIUS. Now, darting Parthia, art thou struck, and now
Pleas'd fortune does of Marcus Crassus' death
Make me revenger. Bear the King's son's body
Before our army. Thy Pacorus, Orodes,
Pays this for Marcus Crassus.
SILIUS. Noble Ventidius,
Whilst yet with Parthian blood thy sword is warm
The fugitive Parthians follow; spur through Media,
Mesopotamia, and the shelters whither
The routed fly. So thy grand captain, Antony,
Shall set thee on triumphant chariots and
Put garlands on thy head.
VENTIDIUS. O Silius, Silius,
I have done enough. A lower place, note well,
May make too great an act; for learn this, Silius:
Better to leave undone than by our deed
Acquire too high a fame when him we serve's away.
Caesar and Antony have ever won
More in their officer, than person. Sossius,
One of my place in Syria, his lieutenant,
For quick accumulation of renown,
Which he achiev'd by th' minute, lost his favour.
Who does i' th' wars more than his captain can
Becomes his captain's captain; and ambition,
The soldier's virtue, rather makes choice of loss
Than gain which darkens him.
I could do more to do Antonius good,
But 'twould offend him; and in his offence
Should my performance perish.
SILIUS. Thou hast, Ventidius, that
Without the which a soldier and his sword
Grants scarce distinction. Thou wilt write to Antony?
VENTIDIUS. I'll humbly signify what in his name,
That magical word of war, we have effected;
How, with his banners, and his well-paid ranks,
The ne'er-yet-beaten horse of Parthia
We have jaded out o' th' field.
SILIUS. Where is he now?
VENTIDIUS. He purposeth to Athens; whither, with what haste
The weight we must convey with's will permit,
We shall appear before him.- On, there; pass along.

SCENE II. Rome. CAESAR'S house

Enter AGRIPPA at one door, ENOBARBUS at another

AGRIPPA. What, are the brothers parted?
ENOBARBUS. They have dispatch'd with Pompey; he is gone;
The other three are sealing. Octavia weeps
To part from Rome; Caesar is sad; and Lepidus,
Since Pompey's feast, as Menas says, is troubled
With the green sickness.
AGRIPPA. 'Tis a noble Lepidus.
ENOBARBUS. A very fine one. O, how he loves Caesar!
AGRIPPA. Nay, but how dearly he adores Mark Antony!
ENOBARBUS. Caesar? Why he's the Jupiter of men.
AGRIPPA. What's Antony? The god of Jupiter.
ENOBARBUS. Spake you of Caesar? How! the nonpareil!
AGRIPPA. O, Antony! O thou Arabian bird!
ENOBARBUS. Would you praise Caesar, say 'Caesar'- go no further.
AGRIPPA. Indeed, he plied them both with excellent praises.
ENOBARBUS. But he loves Caesar best. Yet he loves Antony.
Hoo! hearts, tongues, figures, scribes, bards, poets, cannot
Think, speak, cast, write, sing, number- hoo!-
His love to Antony. But as for Caesar,
Kneel down, kneel down, and wonder.
AGRIPPA. Both he loves.
ENOBARBUS. They are his shards, and he their beetle. [Trumpets
within] So-
This is to horse. Adieu, noble Agrippa.
AGRIPPA. Good fortune, worthy soldier, and farewell.


ANTONY. No further, sir.
CAESAR. You take from me a great part of myself;
Use me well in't. Sister, prove such a wife
As my thoughts make thee, and as my farthest band
Shall pass on thy approof. Most noble Antony,
Let not the piece of virtue which is set
Betwixt us as the cement of our love
To keep it builded be the ram to batter
The fortress of it; for better might we
Have lov'd without this mean, if on both parts
This be not cherish'd.
ANTONY. Make me not offended
In your distrust.
CAESAR. I have said.
ANTONY. You shall not find,
Though you be therein curious, the least cause
For what you seem to fear. So the gods keep you,
And make the hearts of Romans serve your ends!
We will here part.
CAESAR. Farewell, my dearest sister, fare thee well.
The elements be kind to thee and make
Thy spirits all of comfort! Fare thee well.
OCTAVIA. My noble brother!
ANTONY. The April's in her eyes. It is love's spring,
And these the showers to bring it on. Be cheerful.
OCTAVIA. Sir, look well to my husband's house; and-
CAESAR. What, Octavia?
OCTAVIA. I'll tell you in your ear.
ANTONY. Her tongue will not obey her heart, nor can
Her heart inform her tongue- the swan's down feather,
That stands upon the swell at the full of tide,
And neither way inclines.
ENOBARBUS. [Aside to AGRIPPA] Will Caesar weep?
AGRIPPA. [Aside to ENOBARBUS] He has a cloud in's face.
ENOBARBUS. [Aside to AGRIPPA] He were the worse for that, were he a
So is he, being a man.
AGRIPPA. [Aside to ENOBARBUS] Why, Enobarbus,
When Antony found Julius Caesar dead,
He cried almost to roaring; and he wept
When at Philippi he found Brutus slain.
ENOBARBUS. [Aside to AGRIPPA] That year, indeed, he was troubled
with a rheum;
What willingly he did confound he wail'd,
Believe't- till I weep too.
CAESAR. No, sweet Octavia,
You shall hear from me still; the time shall not
Out-go my thinking on you.
ANTONY. Come, sir, come;
I'll wrestle with you in my strength of love.
Look, here I have you; thus I let you go,
And give you to the gods.
CAESAR. Adieu; be happy!
LEPIDUS. Let all the number of the stars give light
To thy fair way!
CAESAR. Farewell, farewell! [Kisses OCTAVIA]
ANTONY. Farewell! Trumpets sound. Exeunt

Alexandria. CLEOPATRA'S palace


CLEOPATRA. Where is the fellow?
ALEXAS. Half afeard to come.
CLEOPATRA. Go to, go to.

Enter the MESSENGER as before

Come hither, sir.
ALEXAS. Good Majesty,
Herod of Jewry dare not look upon you
But when you are well pleas'd.
CLEOPATRA. That Herod's head
I'll have. But how, when Antony is gone,
Through whom I might command it? Come thou near.
MESSENGER. Most gracious Majesty!
CLEOPATRA. Didst thou behold Octavia?
MESSENGER. Ay, dread Queen.
MESSENGER. Madam, in Rome
I look'd her in the face, and saw her led
Between her brother and Mark Antony.
CLEOPATRA. Is she as tall as me?
MESSENGER. She is not, madam.
CLEOPATRA. Didst hear her speak? Is she shrill-tongu'd or low?
MESSENGER. Madam, I heard her speak: she is low-voic'd.
CLEOPATRA. That's not so good. He cannot like her long.
CHARMIAN. Like her? O Isis! 'tis impossible.
CLEOPATRA. I think so, Charmian. Dull of tongue and dwarfish!
What majesty is in her gait? Remember,
If e'er thou look'dst on majesty.
MESSENGER. She creeps.
Her motion and her station are as one;
She shows a body rather than a life,
A statue than a breather.
CLEOPATRA. Is this certain?
MESSENGER. Or I have no observance.
CHARMIAN. Three in Egypt
Cannot make better note.
CLEOPATRA. He's very knowing;
I do perceive't. There's nothing in her yet.
The fellow has good judgment.
CHARMIAN. Excellent.
CLEOPATRA. Guess at her years, I prithee.
She was a widow.
CLEOPATRA. Widow? Charmian, hark!
MESSENGER. And I do think she's thirty.
CLEOPATRA. Bear'st thou her face in mind? Is't long or round?
MESSENGER. Round even to faultiness.
CLEOPATRA. For the most part, too, they are foolish that are so.
Her hair, what colour?
MESSENGER. Brown, madam; and her forehead
As low as she would wish it.
CLEOPATRA. There's gold for thee.
Thou must not take my former sharpness ill.
I will employ thee back again; I find thee
Most fit for business. Go make thee ready;
Our letters are prepar'd. Exeunt MESSENGER
CHARMIAN. A proper man.
CLEOPATRA. Indeed, he is so. I repent me much
That so I harried him. Why, methinks, by him,
This creature's no such thing.
CHARMIAN. Nothing, madam.
CLEOPATRA. The man hath seen some majesty, and should know.
CHARMIAN. Hath he seen majesty? Isis else defend,
And serving you so long!
CLEOPATRA. I have one thing more to ask him yet, good Charmian.
But 'tis no matter; thou shalt bring him to me
Where I will write. All may be well enough.
CHARMIAN. I warrant you, madam. Exeunt

Athens. ANTONY'S house


ANTONY. Nay, nay, Octavia, not only that-
That were excusable, that and thousands more
Of semblable import- but he hath wag'd
New wars 'gainst Pompey; made his will, and read it
To public ear;
Spoke scandy of me; when perforce he could not
But pay me terms of honour, cold and sickly
He vented them, most narrow measure lent me;
When the best hint was given him, he not took't,
Or did it from his teeth.
OCTAVIA. O my good lord,
Believe not all; or if you must believe,
Stomach not all. A more unhappy lady,
If this division chance, ne'er stood between,
Praying for both parts.
The good gods will mock me presently
When I shall pray 'O, bless my lord and husband!'
Undo that prayer by crying out as loud
'O, bless my brother!' Husband win, win brother,
Prays, and destroys the prayer; no mid-way
'Twixt these extremes at all.
ANTONY. Gentle Octavia,
Let your best love draw to that point which seeks
Best to preserve it. If I lose mine honour,
I lose myself; better I were not yours
Than yours so branchless. But, as you requested,
Yourself shall go between's. The meantime, lady,
I'll raise the preparation of a war
Shall stain your brother. Make your soonest haste;
So your desires are yours.
OCTAVIA. Thanks to my lord.
The Jove of power make me, most weak, most weak,
Your reconciler! Wars 'twixt you twain would be
As if the world should cleave, and that slain men
Should solder up the rift.
ANTONY. When it appears to you where this begins,
Turn your displeasure that way, for our faults
Can never be so equal that your love
Can equally move with them. Provide your going;
Choose your own company, and command what cost
Your heart has mind to. Exeunt

Athens. ANTONY'S house

Enter ENOBARBUS and EROS, meeting

ENOBARBUS. How now, friend Eros!
EROS. There's strange news come, sir.
ENOBARBUS. What, man?
EROS. Caesar and Lepidus have made wars upon Pompey.
ENOBARBUS. This is old. What is the success?
EROS. Caesar, having made use of him in the wars 'gainst Pompey,
presently denied him rivality, would not let him partake in the
glory of the action; and not resting here, accuses him of letters
he had formerly wrote to Pompey; upon his own appeal, seizes him.
So the poor third is up, till death enlarge his confine.
ENOBARBUS. Then, world, thou hast a pair of chaps- no more;
And throw between them all the food thou hast,
They'll grind the one the other. Where's Antony?
EROS. He's walking in the garden- thus, and spurns
The rush that lies before him; cries 'Fool Lepidus!'
And threats the throat of that his officer
That murd'red Pompey.
ENOBARBUS. Our great navy's rigg'd.
EROS. For Italy and Caesar. More, Domitius:
My lord desires you presently; my news
I might have told hereafter.
ENOBARBUS. 'Twill be naught;
But let it be. Bring me to Antony.
EROS. Come, sir. Exeunt

Rome. CAESAR'S house


CAESAR. Contemning Rome, he has done all this and more
In Alexandria. Here's the manner of't:
I' th' market-place, on a tribunal silver'd,
Cleopatra and himself in chairs of gold
Were publicly enthron'd; at the feet sat
Caesarion, whom they call my father's son,
And all the unlawful issue that their lust
Since then hath made between them. Unto her
He gave the stablishment of Egypt; made her
Of lower Syria, Cyprus, Lydia,
Absolute queen.
MAECENAS. This in the public eye?
CAESAR. I' th' common show-place, where they exercise.
His sons he there proclaim'd the kings of kings:
Great Media, Parthia, and Armenia,
He gave to Alexander; to Ptolemy he assign'd
Syria, Cilicia, and Phoenicia. She
In th' habiliments of the goddess Isis
That day appear'd; and oft before gave audience,
As 'tis reported, so.
MAECENAS. Let Rome be thus
AGRIPPA. Who, queasy with his insolence
Already, will their good thoughts call from him.
CAESAR. The people knows it, and have now receiv'd
His accusations.
AGRIPPA. Who does he accuse?
CAESAR. Caesar; and that, having in Sicily
Sextus Pompeius spoil'd, we had not rated him
His part o' th' isle. Then does he say he lent me
Some shipping, unrestor'd. Lastly, he frets
That Lepidus of the triumvirate
Should be depos'd; and, being, that we detain
All his revenue.
AGRIPPA. Sir, this should be answer'd.
CAESAR. 'Tis done already, and messenger gone.
I have told him Lepidus was grown too cruel,
That he his high authority abus'd,
And did deserve his change. For what I have conquer'd
I grant him part; but then, in his Armenia
And other of his conquer'd kingdoms,
Demand the like.
MAECENAS. He'll never yield to that.
CAESAR. Nor must not then be yielded to in this.

Enter OCTAVIA, with her train

OCTAVIA. Hail, Caesar, and my lord! hail, most dear Caesar!
CAESAR. That ever I should call thee cast-away!
OCTAVIA. You have not call'd me so, nor have you cause.
CAESAR. Why have you stol'n upon us thus? You come not
Like Caesar's sister. The wife of Antony
Should have an army for an usher, and
The neighs of horse to tell of her approach
Long ere she did appear. The trees by th' way
Should have borne men, and expectation fainted,
Longing for what it had not. Nay, the dust
Should have ascended to the roof of heaven,
Rais'd by your populous troops. But you are come
A market-maid to Rome, and have prevented
The ostentation of our love, which left unshown
Is often left unlov'd. We should have met you
By sea and land, supplying every stage
With an augmented greeting.
OCTAVIA. Good my lord,
To come thus was I not constrain'd, but did it
On my free will. My lord, Mark Antony,
Hearing that you prepar'd for war, acquainted
My grieved ear withal; whereon I begg'd
His pardon for return.
CAESAR. Which soon he granted,
Being an obstruct 'tween his lust and him.
OCTAVIA. Do not say so, my lord.
CAESAR. I have eyes upon him,
And his affairs come to me on the wind.
Where is he now?
OCTAVIA. My lord, in Athens.
CAESAR. No, my most wronged sister: Cleopatra
Hath nodded him to her. He hath given his empire
Up to a whore, who now are levying
The kings o' th' earth for war. He hath assembled
Bocchus, the king of Libya; Archelaus
Of Cappadocia; Philadelphos, king
Of Paphlagonia; the Thracian king, Adallas;
King Manchus of Arabia; King of Pont;
Herod of Jewry; Mithridates, king
Of Comagene; Polemon and Amyntas,
The kings of Mede and Lycaonia, with
More larger list of sceptres.
OCTAVIA. Ay me most wretched,
That have my heart parted betwixt two friends,
That does afflict each other!
CAESAR. Welcome hither.
Your letters did withhold our breaking forth,
Till we perceiv'd both how you were wrong led
And we in negligent danger. Cheer your heart;
Be you not troubled with the time, which drives
O'er your content these strong necessities,
But let determin'd things to destiny
Hold unbewail'd their way. Welcome to Rome;
Nothing more dear to me. You are abus'd
Beyond the mark of thought, and the high gods,
To do you justice, make their ministers
Of us and those that love you. Best of comfort,
And ever welcome to us.
AGRIPPA. Welcome, lady.
MAECENAS. Welcome, dear madam.
Each heart in Rome does love and pity you;
Only th' adulterous Antony, most large
In his abominations, turns you off,
And gives his potent regiment to a trull
That noises it against us.
OCTAVIA. Is it so, sir?
CAESAR. Most certain. Sister, welcome. Pray you
Be ever known to patience. My dear'st sister! Exeunt

ANTONY'S camp near Actium


CLEOPATRA. I will be even with thee, doubt it not.
ENOBARBUS. But why, why,
CLEOPATRA. Thou hast forspoke my being in these wars,
And say'st it is not fit.
ENOBARBUS. Well, is it, is it?
CLEOPATRA. Is't not denounc'd against us? Why should not we
Be there in person?
ENOBARBUS. [Aside] Well, I could reply:
If we should serve with horse and mares together
The horse were merely lost; the mares would bear
A soldier and his horse.
CLEOPATRA. What is't you say?
ENOBARBUS. Your presence needs must puzzle Antony;
Take from his heart, take from his brain, from's time,
What should not then be spar'd. He is already
Traduc'd for levity; and 'tis said in Rome
That Photinus an eunuch and your maids
Manage this war.
CLEOPATRA. Sink Rome, and their tongues rot
That speak against us! A charge we bear i' th' war,
And, as the president of my kingdom, will
Appear there for a man. Speak not against it;
I will not stay behind.


ENOBARBUS. Nay, I have done.
Here comes the Emperor.
ANTONY. Is it not strange, Canidius,
That from Tarentum and Brundusium
He could so quickly cut the Ionian sea,
And take in Toryne?- You have heard on't, sweet?
CLEOPATRA. Celerity is never more admir'd
Than by the negligent.
ANTONY. A good rebuke,
Which might have well becom'd the best of men
To taunt at slackness. Canidius, we
Will fight with him by sea.
CLEOPATRA. By sea! What else?
CANIDIUS. Why will my lord do so?
ANTONY. For that he dares us to't.
ENOBARBUS. So hath my lord dar'd him to single fight.
CANIDIUS. Ay, and to wage this battle at Pharsalia,
Where Caesar fought with Pompey. But these offers,
Which serve not for his vantage, he shakes off;
And so should you.
ENOBARBUS. Your ships are not well mann'd;
Your mariners are muleteers, reapers, people
Ingross'd by swift impress. In Caesar's fleet
Are those that often have 'gainst Pompey fought;
Their ships are yare; yours heavy. No disgrace
Shall fall you for refusing him at sea,
Being prepar'd for land.
ANTONY. By sea, by sea.
ENOBARBUS. Most worthy sir, you therein throw away
The absolute soldiership you have by land;
Distract your army, which doth most consist
Of war-mark'd footmen; leave unexecuted
Your own renowned knowledge; quite forgo
The way which promises assurance; and
Give up yourself merely to chance and hazard
From firm security.
ANTONY. I'll fight at sea.
CLEOPATRA. I have sixty sails, Caesar none better.
ANTONY. Our overplus of shipping will we burn,
And, with the rest full-mann'd, from th' head of Actium
Beat th' approaching Caesar. But if we fail,
We then can do't at land.


Thy business?
MESSENGER. The news is true, my lord: he is descried;
Caesar has taken Toryne.
ANTONY. Can he be there in person? 'Tis impossible-
Strange that his power should be. Canidius,
Our nineteen legions thou shalt hold by land,
And our twelve thousand horse. We'll to our ship.
Away, my Thetis!


How now, worthy soldier?
SOLDIER. O noble Emperor, do not fight by sea;
Trust not to rotten planks. Do you misdoubt
This sword and these my wounds? Let th' Egyptians
And the Phoenicians go a-ducking; we
Have us'd to conquer standing on the earth
And fighting foot to foot.
ANTONY. Well, well- away.
SOLDIER. By Hercules, I think I am i' th' right.
CANIDIUS. Soldier, thou art; but his whole action grows
Not in the power on't. So our leader's led,
And we are women's men.
SOLDIER. You keep by land
The legions and the horse whole, do you not?
CANIDIUS. Marcus Octavius, Marcus Justeius,
Publicola, and Caelius are for sea;
But we keep whole by land. This speed of Caesar's
Carries beyond belief.
SOLDIER. While he was yet in Rome,
His power went out in such distractions as
Beguil'd all spies.
CANIDIUS. Who's his lieutenant, hear you?
SOLDIER. They say one Taurus.
CANIDIUS. Well I know the man.


MESSENGER. The Emperor calls Canidius.
CANIDIUS. With news the time's with labour and throes forth
Each minute some. Exeunt

A plain near Actium

Enter CAESAR, with his army, marching

CAESAR. Taurus!
TAURUS. My lord?
CAESAR. Strike not by land; keep whole; provoke not battle
Till we have done at sea. Do not exceed
The prescript of this scroll. Our fortune lies
Upon this jump. Exeunt

Another part of the plain


ANTONY. Set we our squadrons on yon side o' th' hill,
In eye of Caesar's battle; from which place
We may the number of the ships behold,
And so proceed accordingly. Exeunt

Another part of the plain

CANIDIUS marcheth with his land army one way
over the stage, and TAURUS, the Lieutenant of
CAESAR, the other way. After their going in is heard
the noise of a sea-fight

Alarum. Enter ENOBARBUS

ENOBARBUS. Naught, naught, all naught! I can behold no longer.
Th' Antoniad, the Egyptian admiral,
With all their sixty, fly and turn the rudder.
To see't mine eyes are blasted.


SCARUS. Gods and goddesses,
All the whole synod of them!
ENOBARBUS. What's thy passion?
SCARUS. The greater cantle of the world is lost
With very ignorance; we have kiss'd away
Kingdoms and provinces.
ENOBARBUS. How appears the fight?
SCARUS. On our side like the token'd pestilence,
Where death is sure. Yon ribaudred nag of Egypt-
Whom leprosy o'ertake!- i' th' midst o' th' fight,
When vantage like a pair of twins appear'd,
Both as the same, or rather ours the elder-
The breese upon her, like a cow in June-
Hoists sails and flies.
ENOBARBUS. That I beheld;
Mine eyes did sicken at the sight and could not
Endure a further view.
SCARUS. She once being loof'd,
The noble ruin of her magic, Antony,
Claps on his sea-wing, and, like a doting mallard,
Leaving the fight in height, flies after her.
I never saw an action of such shame;
Experience, manhood, honour, ne'er before
Did violate so itself.
ENOBARBUS. Alack, alack!


CANIDIUS. Our fortune on the sea is out of breath,
And sinks most lamentably. Had our general
Been what he knew himself, it had gone well.
O, he has given example for our flight
Most grossly by his own!
ENOBARBUS. Ay, are you thereabouts?
Why then, good night indeed.
CANIDIUS. Toward Peloponnesus are they fled.
SCARUS. 'Tis easy to't; and there I will attend
What further comes.
CANIDIUS. To Caesar will I render
My legions and my horse; six kings already
Show me the way of yielding.
ENOBARBUS. I'll yet follow
The wounded chance of Antony, though my reason
Sits in the wind against me. Exeunt

Alexandria. CLEOPATRA'S palace

Enter ANTONY With attendants

ANTONY. Hark! the land bids me tread no more upon't;
It is asham'd to bear me. Friends, come hither.
I am so lated in the world that I
Have lost my way for ever. I have a ship
Laden with gold; take that; divide it. Fly,
And make your peace with Caesar.
ALL. Fly? Not we!
ANTONY. I have fled myself, and have instructed cowards
To run and show their shoulders. Friends, be gone;
I have myself resolv'd upon a course
Which has no need of you; be gone.
My treasure's in the harbour, take it. O,
I follow'd that I blush to look upon.
My very hairs do mutiny; for the white
Reprove the brown for rashness, and they them
For fear and doting. Friends, be gone; you shall
Have letters from me to some friends that will
Sweep your way for you. Pray you look not sad,
Nor make replies of loathness; take the hint
Which my despair proclaims. Let that be left
Which leaves itself. To the sea-side straight way.
I will possess you of that ship and treasure.
Leave me, I pray, a little; pray you now;
Nay, do so, for indeed I have lost command;
Therefore I pray you. I'll see you by and by. [Sits down]

EROS following

EROS. Nay, gentle madam, to him! Comfort him.
IRAS. Do, most dear Queen.
CHARMIAN. Do? Why, what else?
CLEOPATRA. Let me sit down. O Juno!
ANTONY. No, no, no, no, no.
EROS. See you here, sir?
ANTONY. O, fie, fie, fie!
IRAS. Madam, O good Empress!
EROS. Sir, sir!
ANTONY. Yes, my lord, yes. He at Philippi kept
His sword e'en like a dancer, while I struck
The lean and wrinkled Cassius; and 'twas I
That the mad Brutus ended; he alone
Dealt on lieutenantry, and no practice had
In the brave squares of war. Yet now- no matter.
CLEOPATRA. Ah, stand by!
EROS. The Queen, my lord, the Queen!
IRAS. Go to him, madam, speak to him.
He is unqualitied with very shame.
CLEOPATRA. Well then, sustain me. O!
EROS. Most noble sir, arise; the Queen approaches.
Her head's declin'd, and death will seize her but
Your comfort makes the rescue.
ANTONY. I have offended reputation-
A most unnoble swerving.
EROS. Sir, the Queen.
ANTONY. O, whither hast thou led me, Egypt? See
How I convey my shame out of thine eyes
By looking back what I have left behind
'Stroy'd in dishonour.
CLEOPATRA. O my lord, my lord,
Forgive my fearful sails! I little thought
You would have followed.
ANTONY. Egypt, thou knew'st too well
My heart was to thy rudder tied by th' strings,
And thou shouldst tow me after. O'er my spirit
Thy full supremacy thou knew'st, and that
Thy beck might from the bidding of the gods
Command me.
CLEOPATRA. O, my pardon!
ANTONY. Now I must
To the young man send humble treaties, dodge
And palter in the shifts of lowness, who
With half the bulk o' th' world play'd as I pleas'd,
Making and marring fortunes. You did know
How much you were my conqueror, and that
My sword, made weak by my affection, would
Obey it on all cause.
CLEOPATRA. Pardon, pardon!
ANTONY. Fall not a tear, I say; one of them rates
All that is won and lost. Give me a kiss;
Even this repays me.
We sent our schoolmaster; is 'a come back?
Love, I am full of lead. Some wine,
Within there, and our viands! Fortune knows
We scorn her most when most she offers blows. Exeunt

CAESAR'S camp in Egypt


CAESAR. Let him appear that's come from Antony.
Know you him?
DOLABELLA. Caesar, 'tis his schoolmaster:
An argument that he is pluck'd, when hither
He sends so poor a pinion of his wing,
Which had superfluous kings for messengers
Not many moons gone by.

Enter EUPHRONIUS, Ambassador from ANTONY

CAESAR. Approach, and speak.
EUPHRONIUS. Such as I am, I come from Antony.
I was of late as petty to his ends
As is the morn-dew on the myrtle leaf
To his grand sea.
CAESAR. Be't so. Declare thine office.
EUPHRONIUS. Lord of his fortunes he salutes thee, and
Requires to live in Egypt; which not granted,
He lessens his requests and to thee sues
To let him breathe between the heavens and earth,
A private man in Athens. This for him.
Next, Cleopatra does confess thy greatness,
Submits her to thy might, and of thee craves
The circle of the Ptolemies for her heirs,
Now hazarded to thy grace.
CAESAR. For Antony,
I have no ears to his request. The Queen
Of audience nor desire shall fail, so she
From Egypt drive her all-disgraced friend,
Or take his life there. This if she perform,
She shall not sue unheard. So to them both.
EUPHRONIUS. Fortune pursue thee!
CAESAR. Bring him through the bands. Exit EUPHRONIUS
[To THYREUS] To try thy eloquence, now 'tis time. Dispatch;
From Antony win Cleopatra. Promise,
And in our name, what she requires; add more,
From thine invention, offers. Women are not
In their best fortunes strong; but want will perjure
The ne'er-touch'd vestal. Try thy cunning, Thyreus;
Make thine own edict for thy pains, which we
Will answer as a law.
THYREUS. Caesar, I go.
CAESAR. Observe how Antony becomes his flaw,
And what thou think'st his very action speaks
In every power that moves.
THYREUS. Caesar, I shall. Exeunt

Alexandria. CLEOPATRA'S palace


CLEOPATRA. What shall we do, Enobarbus?
ENOBARBUS. Think, and die.
CLEOPATRA. Is Antony or we in fault for this?
ENOBARBUS. Antony only, that would make his will
Lord of his reason. What though you fled
From that great face of war, whose several ranges
Frighted each other? Why should he follow?
The itch of his affection should not then
Have nick'd his captainship, at such a point,
When half to half the world oppos'd, he being
The mered question. 'Twas a shame no less
Than was his loss, to course your flying flags
And leave his navy gazing.
CLEOPATRA. Prithee, peace.

Enter EUPHRONIUS, the Ambassador; with ANTONY

ANTONY. Is that his answer?
EUPHRONIUS. Ay, my lord.
ANTONY. The Queen shall then have courtesy, so she
Will yield us up.
EUPHRONIUS. He says so.
ANTONY. Let her know't.
To the boy Caesar send this grizzled head,
And he will fill thy wishes to the brim
With principalities.
CLEOPATRA. That head, my lord?
ANTONY. To him again. Tell him he wears the rose
Of youth upon him; from which the world should note
Something particular. His coin, ships, legions,
May be a coward's whose ministers would prevail
Under the service of a child as soon
As i' th' command of Caesar. I dare him therefore
To lay his gay comparisons apart,
And answer me declin'd, sword against sword,
Ourselves alone. I'll write it. Follow me.
EUPHRONIUS. [Aside] Yes, like enough high-battled Caesar will
Unstate his happiness, and be stag'd to th' show
Against a sworder! I see men's judgments are
A parcel of their fortunes, and things outward
Do draw the inward quality after them,
To suffer all alike. That he should dream,
Knowing all measures, the full Caesar will
Answer his emptiness! Caesar, thou hast subdu'd
His judgment too.


SERVANT. A messenger from Caesar.
CLEOPATRA. What, no more ceremony? See, my women!
Against the blown rose may they stop their nose
That kneel'd unto the buds. Admit him, sir. Exit SERVANT
ENOBARBUS. [Aside] Mine honesty and I begin to square.
The loyalty well held to fools does make
Our faith mere folly. Yet he that can endure
To follow with allegiance a fall'n lord
Does conquer him that did his master conquer,
And earns a place i' th' story.


CLEOPATRA. Caesar's will?
THYREUS. Hear it apart.
CLEOPATRA. None but friends: say boldly.
THYREUS. So, haply, are they friends to Antony.
ENOBARBUS. He needs as many, sir, as Caesar has,
Or needs not us. If Caesar please, our master
Will leap to be his friend. For us, you know
Whose he is we are, and that is Caesar's.
Thus then, thou most renown'd: Caesar entreats
Not to consider in what case thou stand'st
Further than he is Caesar.
CLEOPATRA. Go on. Right royal!
THYREUS. He knows that you embrace not Antony
As you did love, but as you fear'd him.
THYREUS. The scars upon your honour, therefore, he
Does pity, as constrained blemishes,
Not as deserv'd.
CLEOPATRA. He is a god, and knows
What is most right. Mine honour was not yielded,
But conquer'd merely.
ENOBARBUS. [Aside] To be sure of that,
I will ask Antony. Sir, sir, thou art so leaky
That we must leave thee to thy sinking, for
Thy dearest quit thee. Exit
THYREUS. Shall I say to Caesar
What you require of him? For he partly begs
To be desir'd to give. It much would please him
That of his fortunes you should make a staff
To lean upon. But it would warm his spirits
To hear from me you had left Antony,
And put yourself under his shroud,
The universal landlord.
CLEOPATRA. What's your name?
THYREUS. My name is Thyreus.
CLEOPATRA. Most kind messenger,
Say to great Caesar this: in deputation
I kiss his conquring hand. Tell him I am prompt
To lay my crown at 's feet, and there to kneel.
Tell him from his all-obeying breath I hear
The doom of Egypt.
THYREUS. 'Tis your noblest course.
Wisdom and fortune combating together,
If that the former dare but what it can,
No chance may shake it. Give me grace to lay
My duty on your hand.
CLEOPATRA. Your Caesar's father oft,
When he hath mus'd of taking kingdoms in,
Bestow'd his lips on that unworthy place,
As it rain'd kisses.


ANTONY. Favours, by Jove that thunders!
What art thou, fellow?
THYREUS. One that but performs
The bidding of the fullest man, and worthiest
To have command obey'd.
ENOBARBUS. [Aside] You will be whipt.
ANTONY. Approach there.- Ah, you kite!- Now, gods and devils!
Authority melts from me. Of late, when I cried 'Ho!'
Like boys unto a muss, kings would start forth
And cry 'Your will?' Have you no ears? I am
Antony yet.

Enter servants

Take hence this Jack and whip him.
ENOBARBUS. 'Tis better playing with a lion's whelp
Than with an old one dying.
ANTONY. Moon and stars!
Whip him. Were't twenty of the greatest tributaries
That do acknowledge Caesar, should I find them
So saucy with the hand of she here- what's her name
Since she was Cleopatra? Whip him, fellows,
Till like a boy you see him cringe his face,
And whine aloud for mercy. Take him hence.
THYMUS. Mark Antony-
ANTONY. Tug him away. Being whipt,
Bring him again: the Jack of Caesar's shall
Bear us an errand to him. Exeunt servants with THYREUS
You were half blasted ere I knew you. Ha!
Have I my pillow left unpress'd in Rome,
Forborne the getting of a lawful race,
And by a gem of women, to be abus'd
By one that looks on feeders?
CLEOPATRA. Good my lord-
ANTONY. You have been a boggler ever.
But when we in our viciousness grow hard-
O misery on't!- the wise gods seel our eyes,
In our own filth drop our clear judgments, make us
Adore our errors, laugh at's while we strut
To our confusion.
CLEOPATRA. O, is't come to this?
ANTONY. I found you as a morsel cold upon
Dead Caesar's trencher. Nay, you were a fragment
Of Cneius Pompey's, besides what hotter hours,
Unregist'red in vulgar fame, you have
Luxuriously pick'd out; for I am sure,
Though you can guess what temperance should be,
You know not what it is.
CLEOPATRA. Wherefore is this?
ANTONY. To let a fellow that will take rewards,
And say 'God quit you!' be familiar with
My playfellow, your hand, this kingly seal
And plighter of high hearts! O that I were
Upon the hill of Basan to outroar
The horned herd! For I have savage cause,
And to proclaim it civilly were like
A halter'd neck which does the hangman thank
For being yare about him.

Re-enter a SERVANT with THYREUS

Is he whipt?
SERVANT. Soundly, my lord.
ANTONY. Cried he? and begg'd 'a pardon?
SERVANT. He did ask favour.
ANTONY. If that thy father live, let him repent
Thou wast not made his daughter; and be thou sorry
To follow Caesar in his triumph, since
Thou hast been whipt for following him. Henceforth
The white hand of a lady fever thee!
Shake thou to look on't. Get thee back to Caesar;
Tell him thy entertainment; look thou say
He makes me angry with him; for he seems
Proud and disdainful, harping on what I am,
Not what he knew I was. He makes me angry;
And at this time most easy 'tis to do't,
When my good stars, that were my former guides,
Have empty left their orbs and shot their fires
Into th' abysm of hell. If he mislike
My speech and what is done, tell him he has
Hipparchus, my enfranched bondman, whom
He may at pleasure whip or hang or torture,
As he shall like, to quit me. Urge it thou.
Hence with thy stripes, be gone. Exit THYREUS
CLEOPATRA. Have you done yet?
ANTONY. Alack, our terrene moon
Is now eclips'd, and it portends alone
The fall of Antony.
CLEOPATRA. I must stay his time.
ANTONY. To flatter Caesar, would you mingle eyes
With one that ties his points?
CLEOPATRA. Not know me yet?
ANTONY. Cold-hearted toward me?
CLEOPATRA. Ah, dear, if I be so,
From my cold heart let heaven engender hail,
And poison it in the source, and the first stone
Drop in my neck; as it determines, so
Dissolve my life! The next Caesarion smite!
Till by degrees the memory of my womb,
Together with my brave Egyptians all,
By the discandying of this pelleted storm,
Lie graveless, till the flies and gnats of Nile
Have buried them for prey.
ANTONY. I am satisfied.
Caesar sits down in Alexandria, where
I will oppose his fate. Our force by land
Hath nobly held; our sever'd navy to
Have knit again, and fleet, threat'ning most sea-like.
Where hast thou been, my heart? Dost thou hear, lady?
If from the field I shall return once more
To kiss these lips, I will appear in blood.
I and my sword will earn our chronicle.
There's hope in't yet.
CLEOPATRA. That's my brave lord!
ANTONY. I will be treble-sinew'd, hearted, breath'd,
And fight maliciously. For when mine hours
Were nice and lucky, men did ransom lives
Of me for jests; but now I'll set my teeth,
And send to darkness all that stop me. Come,
Let's have one other gaudy night. Call to me
All my sad captains; fill our bowls once more;
Let's mock the midnight bell.
CLEOPATRA. It is my birthday.
I had thought t'have held it poor; but since my lord
Is Antony again, I will be Cleopatra.
ANTONY. We will yet do well.
CLEOPATRA. Call all his noble captains to my lord.
ANTONY. Do so, we'll speak to them; and to-night I'll force
The wine peep through their scars. Come on, my queen,
There's sap in't yet. The next time I do fight
I'll make death love me; for I will contend
Even with his pestilent scythe. Exeunt all but ENOBARBUS
ENOBARBUS. Now he'll outstare the lightning. To be furious
Is to be frighted out of fear, and in that mood
The dove will peck the estridge; and I see still
A diminution in our captain's brain
Restores his heart. When valour preys on reason,
It eats the sword it fights with. I will seek
Some way to leave him. Exit

CAESAR'S camp before Alexandria

Enter CAESAR, AGRIPPA, and MAECENAS, with his army;
CAESAR reading a letter

CAESAR. He calls me boy, and chides as he had power
To beat me out of Egypt. My messenger
He hath whipt with rods; dares me to personal combat,
Caesar to Antony. Let the old ruffian know
I have many other ways to die, meantime
Laugh at his challenge.
MAECENAS. Caesar must think
When one so great begins to rage, he's hunted
Even to falling. Give him no breath, but now
Make boot of his distraction. Never anger
Made good guard for itself.
CAESAR. Let our best heads
Know that to-morrow the last of many battles
We mean to fight. Within our files there are
Of those that serv'd Mark Antony but late
Enough to fetch him in. See it done;
And feast the army; we have store to do't,
And they have earn'd the waste. Poor Antony! Exeunt

Alexandria. CLEOPATRA's palace

ALEXAS, with others

ANTONY. He will not fight with me, Domitius?
ANTONY. Why should he not?
ENOBARBUS. He thinks, being twenty times of better fortune,
He is twenty men to one.
ANTONY. To-morrow, soldier,
By sea and land I'll fight. Or I will live,
Or bathe my dying honour in the blood
Shall make it live again. Woo't thou fight well?
ENOBARBUS. I'll strike, and cry 'Take all.'
ANTONY. Well said; come on.
Call forth my household servants; let's to-night
Be bounteous at our meal.

Enter three or four servitors

Give me thy hand,
Thou has been rightly honest. So hast thou;
Thou, and thou, and thou. You have serv'd me well,
And kings have been your fellows.
CLEOPATRA. [Aside to ENOBARBUS] What means this?
ENOBARBUS. [Aside to CLEOPATRA] 'Tis one of those odd tricks which
sorrow shoots
Out of the mind.
ANTONY. And thou art honest too.
I wish I could be made so many men,
And all of you clapp'd up together in
An Antony, that I might do you service
So good as you have done.
SERVANT. The gods forbid!
ANTONY. Well, my good fellows, wait on me to-night.
Scant not my cups, and make as much of me
As when mine empire was your fellow too,
And suffer'd my command.
CLEOPATRA. [Aside to ENOBARBUS] What does he mean?
ENOBARBUS. [Aside to CLEOPATRA] To make his followers weep.
ANTONY. Tend me to-night;
May be it is the period of your duty.
Haply you shall not see me more; or if,
A mangled shadow. Perchance to-morrow
You'll serve another master. I look on you
As one that takes his leave. Mine honest friends,
I turn you not away; but, like a master
Married to your good service, stay till death.
Tend me to-night two hours, I ask no more,
And the gods yield you for't!
ENOBARBUS. What mean you, sir,
To give them this discomfort? Look, they weep;
And I, an ass, am onion-ey'd. For shame!
Transform us not to women.
ANTONY. Ho, ho, ho!
Now the witch take me if I meant it thus!
Grace grow where those drops fall! My hearty friends,
You take me in too dolorous a sense;
For I spake to you for your comfort, did desire you
To burn this night with torches. Know, my hearts,
I hope well of to-morrow, and will lead you
Where rather I'll expect victorious life
Than death and honour. Let's to supper, come,
And drown consideration. Exeunt

Alexandria. Before CLEOPATRA's palace

Enter a company of soldiers

FIRST SOLDIER. Brother, good night. To-morrow is the day.
SECOND SOLDIER. It will determine one way. Fare you well.
Heard you of nothing strange about the streets?
FIRST SOLDIER. Nothing. What news?
SECOND SOLDIER. Belike 'tis but a rumour. Good night to you.
FIRST SOLDIER. Well, sir, good night.
[They meet other soldiers]
SECOND SOLDIER. Soldiers, have careful watch.
FIRST SOLDIER. And you. Good night, good night.
[The two companies separate and place themselves
in every corner of the stage]
SECOND SOLDIER. Here we. And if to-morrow
Our navy thrive, I have an absolute hope
Our landmen will stand up.
THIRD SOLDIER. 'Tis a brave army,
And full of purpose.
[Music of the hautboys is under the stage]
SECOND SOLDIER. Peace, what noise?
THIRD SOLDIER. List, list!
THIRD SOLDIER. Music i' th' air.
FOURTH SOLDIER. Under the earth.
THIRD SOLDIER. It signs well, does it not?
THIRD SOLDIER. Peace, I say!
What should this mean?
SECOND SOLDIER. 'Tis the god Hercules, whom Antony lov'd,
Now leaves him.
THIRD SOLDIER. Walk; let's see if other watchmen
Do hear what we do.
SECOND SOLDIER. How now, masters!
SOLDIERS. [Speaking together] How now!
How now! Do you hear this?
FIRST SOLDIER. Ay; is't not strange?
THIRD SOLDIER. Do you hear, masters? Do you hear?
FIRST SOLDIER. Follow the noise so far as we have quarter;
Let's see how it will give off.
SOLDIERS. Content. 'Tis strange. Exeunt

Alexandria. CLEOPATRA's palace

with others

ANTONY. Eros! mine armour, Eros!
CLEOPATRA. Sleep a little.
ANTONY. No, my chuck. Eros! Come, mine armour, Eros!

Enter EROS with armour

Come, good fellow, put mine iron on.
If fortune be not ours to-day, it is
Because we brave her. Come.
CLEOPATRA. Nay, I'll help too.
What's this for?
ANTONY. Ah, let be, let be! Thou art
The armourer of my heart. False, false; this, this.
CLEOPATRA. Sooth, la, I'll help. Thus it must be.
ANTONY. Well, well;
We shall thrive now. Seest thou, my good fellow?
Go put on thy defences.
EROS. Briefly, sir.
CLEOPATRA. Is not this buckled well?
ANTONY. Rarely, rarely!
He that unbuckles this, till we do please
To daff't for our repose, shall hear a storm.
Thou fumblest, Eros, and my queen's a squire
More tight at this than thou. Dispatch. O love,
That thou couldst see my wars to-day, and knew'st
The royal occupation! Thou shouldst see
A workman in't.

Enter an armed SOLDIER

Good-morrow to thee. Welcome.
Thou look'st like him that knows a warlike charge.
To business that we love we rise betime,
And go to't with delight.
SOLDIER. A thousand, sir,
Early though't be, have on their riveted trim,
And at the port expect you.
[Shout. Flourish of trumpets within]

Enter CAPTAINS and soldiers

CAPTAIN. The morn is fair. Good morrow, General.
ALL. Good morrow, General.
ANTONY. 'Tis well blown, lads.
This morning, like the spirit of a youth
That means to be of note, begins betimes.
So, so. Come, give me that. This way. Well said.
Fare thee well, dame, whate'er becomes of me.
This is a soldier's kiss. Rebukeable,
And worthy shameful check it were, to stand
On more mechanic compliment; I'll leave thee
Now like a man of steel. You that will fight,
Follow me close; I'll bring you to't. Adieu.
Exeunt ANTONY, EROS, CAPTAINS and soldiers
CHARMIAN. Please you retire to your chamber?
He goes forth gallantly. That he and Caesar might
Determine this great war in single fight!
Then, Antony- but now. Well, on. Exeunt

Alexandria. ANTONY'S camp

Trumpets sound. Enter ANTONY and EROS, a SOLDIER
meeting them

SOLDIER. The gods make this a happy day to Antony!
ANTONY. Would thou and those thy scars had once prevail'd
To make me fight at land!
SOLDIER. Hadst thou done so,
The kings that have revolted, and the soldier
That has this morning left thee, would have still
Followed thy heels.
ANTONY. Who's gone this morning?
One ever near thee. Call for Enobarbus,
He shall not hear thee; or from Caesar's camp
Say 'I am none of thine.'
ANTONY. What say'st thou?
He is with Caesar.
EROS. Sir, his chests and treasure
He has not with him.
ANTONY. Is he gone?
SOLDIER. Most certain.
ANTONY. Go, Eros, send his treasure after; do it;
Detain no jot, I charge thee. Write to him-
I will subscribe- gentle adieus and greetings;
Say that I wish he never find more cause
To change a master. O, my fortunes have
Corrupted honest men! Dispatch. Enobarbus! Exeunt

Alexandria. CAESAR'S camp


CAESAR. Go forth, Agrippa, and begin the fight.
Our will is Antony be took alive;
Make it so known.
AGRIPPA. Caesar, I shall. Exit
CAESAR. The time of universal peace is near.
Prove this a prosp'rous day, the three-nook'd world
Shall bear the olive freely.


Is come into the field.
CAESAR. Go charge Agrippa
Plant those that have revolted in the vant,
That Antony may seem to spend his fury
Upon himself. Exeunt all but ENOBARBUS
ENOBARBUS. Alexas did revolt and went to Jewry on
Affairs of Antony; there did dissuade
Great Herod to incline himself to Caesar
And leave his master Antony. For this pains
Casaer hath hang'd him. Canidius and the rest
That fell away have entertainment, but
No honourable trust. I have done ill,
Of which I do accuse myself so sorely
That I will joy no more.


SOLDIER. Enobarbus, Antony
Hath after thee sent all thy treasure, with
His bounty overplus. The messenger
Came on my guard, and at thy tent is now
Unloading of his mules.
ENOBARBUS. I give it you.
SOLDIER. Mock not, Enobarbus.
I tell you true. Best you saf'd the bringer
Out of the host. I must attend mine office,
Or would have done't myself. Your emperor
Continues still a Jove. Exit
ENOBARBUS. I am alone the villain of the earth,
And feel I am so most. O Antony,
Thou mine of bounty, how wouldst thou have paid
My better service, when my turpitude
Thou dost so crown with gold! This blows my heart.
If swift thought break it not, a swifter mean
Shall outstrike thought; but thought will do't, I feel.
I fight against thee? No! I will go seek
Some ditch wherein to die; the foul'st best fits
My latter part of life. Exit

Field of battle between the camps

Alarum. Drums and trumpets. Enter AGRIPPA
and others

AGRIPPA. Retire. We have engag'd ourselves too far.
Caesar himself has work, and our oppression
Exceeds what we expected. Exeunt

Alarums. Enter ANTONY, and SCARUS wounded

SCARUS. O my brave Emperor, this is fought indeed!
Had we done so at first, we had droven them home
With clouts about their heads.
ANTONY. Thou bleed'st apace.
SCARUS. I had a wound here that was like a T,
But now 'tis made an H.
ANTONY. They do retire.
SCARUS. We'll beat'em into bench-holes. I have yet
Room for six scotches more.

Enter EROS

EROS. They are beaten, sir, and our advantage serves
For a fair victory.
SCARUS. Let us score their backs
And snatch 'em up, as we take hares, behind.
'Tis sport to maul a runner.
ANTONY. I will reward thee
Once for thy sprightly comfort, and tenfold
For thy good valour. Come thee on.
SCARUS. I'll halt after. Exeunt

Under the walls of Alexandria

Alarum. Enter ANTONY, again in a march; SCARUS
with others

ANTONY. We have beat him to his camp. Run one before
And let the Queen know of our gests. To-morrow,
Before the sun shall see's, we'll spill the blood
That has to-day escap'd. I thank you all;
For doughty-handed are you, and have fought
Not as you serv'd the cause, but as't had been
Each man's like mine; you have shown all Hectors.
Enter the city, clip your wives, your friends,
Tell them your feats; whilst they with joyful tears
Wash the congealment from your wounds and kiss
The honour'd gashes whole.

Enter CLEOPATRA, attended

[To SCARUS] Give me thy hand-
To this great fairy I'll commend thy acts,
Make her thanks bless thee. O thou day o' th' world,
Chain mine arm'd neck. Leap thou, attire and all,
Through proof of harness to my heart, and there
Ride on the pants triumphing.
CLEOPATRA. Lord of lords!
O infinite virtue, com'st thou smiling from
The world's great snare uncaught?
ANTONY. Mine nightingale,
We have beat them to their beds. What, girl! though grey
Do something mingle with our younger brown, yet ha' we
A brain that nourishes our nerves, and can
Get goal for goal of youth. Behold this man;
Commend unto his lips thy favouring hand-
Kiss it, my warrior- he hath fought to-day
As if a god in hate of mankind had
Destroyed in such a shape.
CLEOPATRA. I'll give thee, friend,
An armour all of gold; it was a king's.
ANTONY. He has deserv'd it, were it carbuncled
Like holy Phoebus' car. Give me thy hand.
Through Alexandria make a jolly march;
Bear our hack'd targets like the men that owe them.
Had our great palace the capacity
To camp this host, we all would sup together,
And drink carouses to the next day's fate,
Which promises royal peril. Trumpeters,
With brazen din blast you the city's ear;
Make mingle with our rattling tabourines,
That heaven and earth may strike their sounds together
Applauding our approach. Exeunt


Enter a CENTURION and his company; ENOBARBUS follows

CENTURION. If we be not reliev'd within this hour,
We must return to th' court of guard. The night
Is shiny, and they say we shall embattle
By th' second hour i' th' morn.
FIRST WATCH. This last day was
A shrewd one to's.
ENOBARBUS. O, bear me witness, night-
SECOND WATCH. What man is this?
FIRST WATCH. Stand close and list him.
ENOBARBUS. Be witness to me, O thou blessed moon,
When men revolted shall upon record
Bear hateful memory, poor Enobarbus did
Before thy face repent!
CENTURION. Enobarbus?
Hark further.
ENOBARBUS. O sovereign mistress of true melancholy,
The poisonous damp of night disponge upon me,
That life, a very rebel to my will,
May hang no longer on me. Throw my heart
Against the flint and hardness of my fault,
Which, being dried with grief, will break to powder,
And finish all foul thoughts. O Antony,
Nobler than my revolt is infamous,
Forgive me in thine own particular,
But let the world rank me in register
A master-leaver and a fugitive!
O Antony! O Antony! [Dies]
FIRST WATCH. Let's speak to him.
CENTURION. Let's hear him, for the things he speaks
May concern Caesar.
SECOND WATCH. Let's do so. But he sleeps.
CENTURION. Swoons rather; for so bad a prayer as his
Was never yet for sleep.
FIRST WATCH. Go we to him.
SECOND WATCH. Awake, sir, awake; speak to us.
FIRST WATCH. Hear you, sir?
CENTURION. The hand of death hath raught him.
[Drums afar off ] Hark! the drums
Demurely wake the sleepers. Let us bear him
To th' court of guard; he is of note. Our hour
Is fully out.
SECOND WATCH. Come on, then;
He may recover yet. Exeunt with the body

Between the two camps

Enter ANTONY and SCARUS, with their army

ANTONY. Their preparation is to-day by sea;
We please them not by land.
SCARUS. For both, my lord.
ANTONY. I would they'd fight i' th' fire or i' th' air;
We'd fight there too. But this it is, our foot
Upon the hills adjoining to the city
Shall stay with us- Order for sea is given;
They have put forth the haven-
Where their appointment we may best discover
And look on their endeavour. Exeunt

Between the camps

Enter CAESAR and his army

CAESAR. But being charg'd, we will be still by land,
Which, as I take't, we shall; for his best force
Is forth to man his galleys. To the vales,
And hold our best advantage. Exeunt

A hill near Alexandria


ANTONY. Yet they are not join'd. Where yond pine does stand
I shall discover all. I'll bring thee word
Straight how 'tis like to go. Exit
SCARUS. Swallows have built
In Cleopatra's sails their nests. The augurers
Say they know not, they cannot tell; look grimly,
And dare not speak their knowledge. Antony
Is valiant and dejected; and by starts
His fretted fortunes give him hope and fear
Of what he has and has not.
[Alarum afar off, as at a sea-fight]

Re-enter ANTONY

ANTONY. All is lost!
This foul Egyptian hath betrayed me.
My fleet hath yielded to the foe, and yonder
They cast their caps up and carouse together
Like friends long lost. Triple-turn'd whore! 'tis thou
Hast sold me to this novice; and my heart
Makes only wars on thee. Bid them all fly;
For when I am reveng'd upon my charm,
I have done all. Bid them all fly; begone. Exit SCARUS
O sun, thy uprise shall I see no more!
Fortune and Antony part here; even here
Do we shake hands. All come to this? The hearts
That spaniel'd me at heels, to whom I gave
Their wishes, do discandy, melt their sweets
On blossoming Caesar; and this pine is bark'd
That overtopp'd them all. Betray'd I am.
O this false soul of Egypt! this grave charm-
Whose eye beck'd forth my wars and call'd them home,
Whose bosom was my crownet, my chief end-
Like a right gypsy hath at fast and loose
Beguil'd me to the very heart of loss.
What, Eros, Eros!


Ah, thou spell! Avaunt!
CLEOPATRA. Why is my lord enrag'd against his love?
ANTONY. Vanish, or I shall give thee thy deserving
And blemish Caesar's triumph. Let him take thee
And hoist thee up to the shouting plebeians;
Follow his chariot, like the greatest spot
Of all thy sex; most monster-like, be shown
For poor'st diminutives, for doits, and let
Patient Octavia plough thy visage up
With her prepared nails. Exit CLEOPATRA
'Tis well th'art gone,
If it be well to live; but better 'twere
Thou fell'st into my fury, for one death
Might have prevented many. Eros, ho!
The shirt of Nessus is upon me; teach me,
Alcides, thou mine ancestor, thy rage;
Let me lodge Lichas on the horns o' th' moon,
And with those hands that grasp'd the heaviest club
Subdue my worthiest self. The witch shall die.
To the young Roman boy she hath sold me, and I fall
Under this plot. She dies for't. Eros, ho! Exit

Alexandria. CLEOPATRA's palace


CLEOPATRA. Help me, my women. O, he is more mad
Than Telamon for his shield; the boar of Thessaly
Was never so emboss'd.
CHARMIAN. To th'monument!
There lock yourself, and send him word you are dead.
The soul and body rive not more in parting
Than greatness going off.
CLEOPATRA. To th' monument!
Mardian, go tell him I have slain myself;
Say that the last I spoke was 'Antony'
And word it, prithee, piteously. Hence, Mardian,
And bring me how he takes my death. To th' monument!



ANTONY. Eros, thou yet behold'st me?
EROS. Ay, noble lord.
ANTONY. Sometime we see a cloud that's dragonish;
A vapour sometime like a bear or lion,
A tower'd citadel, a pendent rock,
A forked mountain, or blue promontory
With trees upon't that nod unto the world
And mock our eyes with air. Thou hast seen these signs;
They are black vesper's pageants.
EROS. Ay, my lord.
ANTONY. That which is now a horse, even with a thought
The rack dislimns, and makes it indistinct,
As water is in water.
EROS. It does, my lord.
ANTONY. My good knave Eros, now thy captain is
Even such a body. Here I am Antony;
Yet cannot hold this visible shape, my knave.
I made these wars for Egypt; and the Queen-
Whose heart I thought I had, for she had mine,
Which, whilst it was mine, had annex'd unto't
A million moe, now lost- she, Eros, has
Pack'd cards with Caesar, and false-play'd my glory
Unto an enemy's triumph.
Nay, weep not, gentle Eros; there is left us
Ourselves to end ourselves.


O, thy vile lady!
She has robb'd me of my sword.
MARDIAN. No, Antony;
My mistress lov'd thee, and her fortunes mingled
With thine entirely.
ANTONY. Hence, saucy eunuch; peace!
She hath betray'd me, and shall die the death.
MARDIAN. Death of one person can be paid but once,
And that she has discharg'd. What thou wouldst do
Is done unto thy hand. The last she spake
Was 'Antony! most noble Antony!'
Then in the midst a tearing groan did break
The name of Antony; it was divided
Between her heart and lips. She rend'red life,
Thy name so buried in her.
ANTONY. Dead then?
ANTONY. Unarm, Eros; the long day's task is done,
And we must sleep. That thou depart'st hence safe
Does pay thy labour richly. Go. Exit MARDIAN
Off, pluck off!
The sevenfold shield of Ajax cannot keep
The battery from my heart. O, cleave, my sides!
Heart, once be stronger than thy continent,
Crack thy frail case. Apace, Eros, apace.-
No more a soldier. Bruised pieces, go;
You have been nobly borne.- From me awhile. Exit EROS
I will o'ertake thee, Cleopatra, and
Weep for my pardon. So it must be, for now
All length is torture. Since the torch is out,
Lie down, and stray no farther. Now all labour
Mars what it does; yea, very force entangles
Itself with strength. Seal then, and all is done.
Eros!- I come, my queen.- Eros!- Stay for me;
Where souls do couch on flowers, we'll hand in hand,
And with our sprightly port make the ghosts gaze.
Dido and her Aeneas shall want troops,
And all the haunt be ours.- Come, Eros, Eros!

Re-enter EROS

EROS. What would my lord?
ANTONY. Since Cleopatra died,
I have liv'd in such dishonour that the gods
Detest my baseness. I, that with my sword
Quarter'd the world, and o'er green Neptune's back
With ships made cities, condemn myself to lack
The courage of a woman; less noble mind
Than she which by her death our Caesar tells
'I am conqueror of myself.' Thou art sworn, Eros,
That, when the exigent should come- which now
Is come indeed- when I should see behind me
Th' inevitable prosecution of
Disgrace and horror, that, on my command,
Thou then wouldst kill me. Do't; the time is come.
Thou strik'st not me; 'tis Caesar thou defeat'st.
Put colour in thy cheek.
EROS. The gods withhold me!
Shall I do that which all the Parthian darts,
Though enemy, lost aim and could not?
Wouldst thou be window'd in great Rome and see
Thy master thus with pleach'd arms, bending down
His corrigible neck, his face subdu'd
To penetrative shame, whilst the wheel'd seat
Of fortunate Caesar, drawn before him, branded
His baseness that ensued?
EROS. I would not see't.
ANTONY. Come, then; for with a wound I must be cur'd.
Draw that thy honest sword, which thou hast worn
Most useful for thy country.
EROS. O, sir, pardon me!
ANTONY. When I did make thee free, swor'st thou not then
To do this when I bade thee? Do it at once,
Or thy precedent services are all
But accidents unpurpos'd. Draw, and come.
EROS. Turn from me then that noble countenance,
Wherein the worship of the whole world lies.
ANTONY. Lo thee! [Turning from him]
EROS. My sword is drawn.
ANTONY. Then let it do at once
The thing why thou hast drawn it.
EROS. My dear master,
My captain and my emperor, let me say,
Before I strike this bloody stroke, farewell.
ANTONY. 'Tis said, man; and farewell.
EROS. Farewell, great chief. Shall I strike now?
ANTONY. Now, Eros.
EROS. Why, there then! Thus do I escape the sorrow
Of Antony's death. [Kills himself
ANTONY. Thrice nobler than myself!
Thou teachest me, O valiant Eros, what
I should, and thou couldst not. My queen and Eros
Have, by their brave instruction, got upon me
A nobleness in record. But I will be
A bridegroom in my death, and run into't
As to a lover's bed. Come, then; and, Eros,
Thy master dies thy scholar. To do thus
[Falling on his sword]
I learn'd of thee. How? not dead? not dead?-
The guard, ho! O, dispatch me!

Enter DERCETAS and a guard

FIRST GUARD. What's the noise?
ANTONY. I have done my work ill, friends. O, make an end
Of what I have begun.
SECOND GUARD. The star is fall'n.
FIRST GUARD. And time is at his period.
ALL. Alas, and woe!
ANTONY. Let him that loves me, strike me dead.
THIRD GUARD. Nor any one. Exeunt guard
DERCETAS. Thy death and fortunes bid thy followers fly.
This sword but shown to Caesar, with this tidings,
Shall enter me with him.


DIOMEDES. Where's Antony?
DERCETAS. There, Diomed, there.
DIOMEDES. Lives he?
Wilt thou not answer, man? Exit DERCETAS
ANTONY. Art thou there, Diomed? Draw thy sword and give me
Sufficing strokes for death.
DIOMEDES. Most absolute lord,
My mistress Cleopatra sent me to thee.
ANTONY. When did she send thee?
DIOMEDES. Now, my lord.
ANTONY. Where is she?
DIOMEDES. Lock'd in her monument. She had a prophesying fear
Of what hath come to pass; for when she saw-
Which never shall be found- you did suspect
She had dispos'd with Caesar, and that your rage
Would not be purg'd, she sent you word she was dead;
But fearing since how it might work, hath sent
Me to proclaim the truth; and I am come,
I dread, too late.
ANTONY. Too late, good Diomed. Call my guard, I prithee.
DIOMEDES. What, ho! the Emperor's guard! The guard, what ho!
Come, your lord calls!

Enter four or five of the guard of ANTONY

ANTONY. Bear me, good friends, where Cleopatra bides;
'Tis the last service that I shall command you.
FIRST GUARD. Woe, woe are we, sir, you may not live to wear
All your true followers out.
ALL. Most heavy day!
ANTONY. Nay, good my fellows, do not please sharp fate
To grace it with your sorrows. Bid that welcome
Which comes to punish us, and we punish it,
Seeming to bear it lightly. Take me up.
I have led you oft; carry me now, good friends,
And have my thanks for all. Exeunt, hearing ANTONY
Alexandria. A monument

Enter CLEOPATRA and her maids aloft, with CHARMIAN
and IRAS

CLEOPATRA. O Charmian, I will never go from hence!
CHARMIAN. Be comforted, dear madam.
CLEOPATRA. No, I will not.
All strange and terrible events are welcome,
But comforts we despise; our size of sorrow,
Proportion'd to our cause, must be as great
As that which makes it.

Enter DIOMEDES, below

How now! Is he dead?
DIOMEDES. His death's upon him, but not dead.
Look out o' th' other side your monument;
His guard have brought him thither.

Enter, below, ANTONY, borne by the guard

Burn the great sphere thou mov'st in! Darkling stand
The varying shore o' th' world. O Antony,
Antony, Antony! Help, Charmian; help, Iras, help;
Help, friends below! Let's draw him hither.
ANTONY. Peace!
Not Caesar's valour hath o'erthrown Antony,
But Antony's hath triumph'd on itself.
CLEOPATRA. So it should be, that none but Antony
Should conquer Antony; but woe 'tis so!
ANTONY. I am dying, Egypt, dying; only
I here importune death awhile, until
Of many thousand kisses the poor last
I lay upon thy lips.
CLEOPATRA. I dare not, dear.
Dear my lord, pardon! I dare not,
Lest I be taken. Not th' imperious show
Of the full-fortun'd Caesar ever shall
Be brooch'd with me. If knife, drugs, serpents, have
Edge, sting, or operation, I am safe.
Your wife Octavia, with her modest eyes
And still conclusion, shall acquire no honour
Demuring upon me. But come, come, Antony-
Help me, my women- we must draw thee up;
Assist, good friends.
ANTONY. O, quick, or I am gone.
CLEOPATRA. Here's sport indeed! How heavy weighs my lord!
Our strength is all gone into heaviness;
That makes the weight. Had I great Juno's power,
The strong-wing'd Mercury should fetch thee up,
And set thee by Jove's side. Yet come a little.
Wishers were ever fools. O come, come,
[They heave ANTONY aloft to CLEOPATRA]
And welcome, welcome! Die where thou hast liv'd.
Quicken with kissing. Had my lips that power,
Thus would I wear them out.
ALL. A heavy sight!
ANTONY. I am dying, Egypt, dying.
Give me some wine, and let me speak a little.
CLEOPATRA. No, let me speak; and let me rail so high
That the false huswife Fortune break her wheel,
Provok'd by my offence.
ANTONY. One word, sweet queen:
Of Caesar seek your honour, with your safety. O!
CLEOPATRA. They do not go together.
ANTONY. Gentle, hear me:
None about Caesar trust but Proculeius.
CLEOPATRA. My resolution and my hands I'll trust;
None about Caesar
ANTONY. The miserable change now at my end
Lament nor sorrow at; but please your thoughts
In feeding them with those my former fortunes
Wherein I liv'd the greatest prince o' th' world,
The noblest; and do now not basely die,
Not cowardly put off my helmet to
My countryman- a Roman by a Roman
Valiantly vanquish'd. Now my spirit is going
I can no more.
CLEOPATRA. Noblest of men, woo't die?
Hast thou no care of me? Shall I abide
In this dull world, which in thy absence is
No better than a sty? O, see, my women, [Antony dies]
The crown o' th' earth doth melt. My lord!
O, wither'd is the garland of the war,
The soldier's pole is fall'n! Young boys and girls
Are level now with men. The odds is gone,
And there is nothing left remarkable
Beneath the visiting moon. [Swoons]
CHARMIAN. O, quietness, lady!
IRAS. She's dead too, our sovereign.
IRAS. Madam!
CHARMIAN. O madam, madam, madam!
IRAS. Royal Egypt, Empress!
CHARMIAN. Peace, peace, Iras!
CLEOPATRA. No more but e'en a woman, and commanded
By such poor passion as the maid that milks
And does the meanest chares. It were for me
To throw my sceptre at the injurious gods;
To tell them that this world did equal theirs
Till they had stol'n our jewel. All's but nought;
Patience is sottish, and impatience does
Become a dog that's mad. Then is it sin
To rush into the secret house of death
Ere death dare come to us? How do you, women?
What, what! good cheer! Why, how now, Charmian!
My noble girls! Ah, women, women, look,
Our lamp is spent, it's out! Good sirs, take heart.
We'll bury him; and then, what's brave, what's noble,
Let's do it after the high Roman fashion,
And make death proud to take us. Come, away;
This case of that huge spirit now is cold.
Ah, women, women! Come; we have no friend
But resolution and the briefest end.
Exeunt; those above hearing off ANTONY'S body

Alexandria. CAESAR'S camp

PROCULEIUS, and others, his Council of War

CAESAR. Go to him, Dolabella, bid him yield;
Being so frustrate, tell him he mocks
The pauses that he makes.
DOLABELLA. Caesar, I shall. Exit

Enter DERCETAS With the sword of ANTONY

CAESAR. Wherefore is that? And what art thou that dar'st
Appear thus to us?
DERCETAS. I am call'd Dercetas;
Mark Antony I serv'd, who best was worthy
Best to be serv'd. Whilst he stood up and spoke,
He was my master, and I wore my life
To spend upon his haters. If thou please
To take me to thee, as I was to him
I'll be to Caesar; if thou pleasest not,
I yield thee up my life.
CAESAR. What is't thou say'st?
DERCETAS. I say, O Caesar, Antony is dead.
CAESAR. The breaking of so great a thing should make
A greater crack. The round world
Should have shook lions into civil streets,
And citizens to their dens. The death of Antony
Is not a single doom; in the name lay
A moiety of the world.
DERCETAS. He is dead, Caesar,
Not by a public minister of justice,
Nor by a hired knife; but that self hand
Which writ his honour in the acts it did
Hath, with the courage which the heart did lend it,
Splitted the heart. This is his sword;
I robb'd his wound of it; behold it stain'd
With his most noble blood.
CAESAR. Look you sad, friends?
The gods rebuke me, but it is tidings
To wash the eyes of kings.
AGRIPPA. And strange it is
That nature must compel us to lament
Our most persisted deeds.
MAECENAS. His taints and honours
Wag'd equal with him.
AGRIPPA. A rarer spirit never
Did steer humanity. But you gods will give us
Some faults to make us men. Caesar is touch'd.
MAECENAS. When such a spacious mirror's set before him,
He needs must see himself.
CAESAR. O Antony,
I have follow'd thee to this! But we do lance
Diseases in our bodies. I must perforce
Have shown to thee such a declining day
Or look on thine; we could not stall together
In the whole world. But yet let me lament,
With tears as sovereign as the blood of hearts,
That thou, my brother, my competitor
In top of all design, my mate in empire,
Friend and companion in the front of war,
The arm of mine own body, and the heart
Where mine his thoughts did kindle- that our stars,
Unreconciliable, should divide
Our equalness to this. Hear me, good friends-


But I will tell you at some meeter season.
The business of this man looks out of him;
We'll hear him what he says. Whence are you?
EGYPTIAN. A poor Egyptian, yet the Queen, my mistress,
Confin'd in all she has, her monument,
Of thy intents desires instruction,
That she preparedly may frame herself
To th' way she's forc'd to.
CAESAR. Bid her have good heart.
She soon shall know of us, by some of ours,
How honourable and how kindly we
Determine for her; for Caesar cannot learn
To be ungentle.
EGYPTIAN. So the gods preserve thee! Exit
CAESAR. Come hither, Proculeius. Go and say
We purpose her no shame. Give her what comforts
The quality of her passion shall require,
Lest, in her greatness, by some mortal stroke
She do defeat us; for her life in Rome
Would be eternal in our triumph. Go,
And with your speediest bring us what she says,
And how you find her.
PROCULEIUS. Caesar, I shall. Exit
CAESAR. Gallus, go you along. Exit GALLUS
Where's Dolabella, to second Proculeius?
ALL. Dolabella!
CAESAR. Let him alone, for I remember now
How he's employ'd; he shall in time be ready.
Go with me to my tent, where you shall see
How hardly I was drawn into this war,
How calm and gentle I proceeded still
In all my writings. Go with me, and see
What I can show in this. Exeunt

Alexandria. The monument


CLEOPATRA. My desolation does begin to make
A better life. 'Tis paltry to be Caesar:
Not being Fortune, he's but Fortune's knave,
A minister of her will; and it is great
To do that thing that ends all other deeds,
Which shackles accidents and bolts up change,
Which sleeps, and never palates more the dug,
The beggar's nurse and Caesar's.

Enter, to the gates of the monument, PROCULEIUS, GALLUS,
and soldiers

PROCULEIUS. Caesar sends greetings to the Queen of Egypt,
And bids thee study on what fair demands
Thou mean'st to have him grant thee.
CLEOPATRA. What's thy name?
PROCULEIUS. My name is Proculeius.
Did tell me of you, bade me trust you; but
I do not greatly care to be deceiv'd,
That have no use for trusting. If your master
Would have a queen his beggar, you must tell him
That majesty, to keep decorum, must
No less beg than a kingdom. If he please
To give me conquer'd Egypt for my son,
He gives me so much of mine own as I
Will kneel to him with thanks.
PROCULEIUS. Be of good cheer;
Y'are fall'n into a princely hand; fear nothing.
Make your full reference freely to my lord,
Who is so full of grace that it flows over
On all that need. Let me report to him
Your sweet dependency, and you shall find
A conqueror that will pray in aid for kindness
Where he for grace is kneel'd to.
CLEOPATRA. Pray you tell him
I am his fortune's vassal and I send him
The greatness he has got. I hourly learn
A doctrine of obedience, and would gladly
Look him i' th' face.
PROCULEIUS. This I'll report, dear lady.
Have comfort, for I know your plight is pitied
Of him that caus'd it.
GALLUS. You see how easily she may be surpris'd.

Here PROCULEIUS and two of the guard ascend the
monument by a ladder placed against a window,
and come behind CLEOPATRA. Some of the guard
unbar and open the gates

Guard her till Caesar come. Exit
IRAS. Royal Queen!
CHARMIAN. O Cleopatra! thou art taken, Queen!
CLEOPATRA. Quick, quick, good hands. [Drawing a dagger]
PROCULEIUS. Hold, worthy lady, hold, [Disarms her]
Do not yourself such wrong, who are in this
Reliev'd, but not betray'd.
CLEOPATRA. What, of death too,
That rids our dogs of languish?
PROCULEIUS. Cleopatra,
Do not abuse my master's bounty by
Th' undoing of yourself. Let the world see
His nobleness well acted, which your death
Will never let come forth.
CLEOPATRA. Where art thou, death?
Come hither, come! Come, come, and take a queen
Worth many babes and beggars!
PROCULEIUS. O, temperance, lady!
CLEOPATRA. Sir, I will eat no meat; I'll not drink, sir;
If idle talk will once be necessary,
I'll not sleep neither. This mortal house I'll ruin,
Do Caesar what he can. Know, sir, that I
Will not wait pinion'd at your master's court,
Nor once be chastis'd with the sober eye
Of dull Octavia. Shall they hoist me up,
And show me to the shouting varletry
Of censuring Rome? Rather a ditch in Egypt
Be gentle grave unto me! Rather on Nilus' mud
Lay me stark-nak'd, and let the water-flies
Blow me into abhorring! Rather make
My country's high pyramides my gibbet,
And hang me up in chains!
PROCULEIUS. You do extend
These thoughts of horror further than you shall
Find cause in Caesar.


DOLABELLA. Proculeius,
What thou hast done thy master Caesar knows,
And he hath sent for thee. For the Queen,
I'll take her to my guard.
PROCULEIUS. So, Dolabella,
It shall content me best. Be gentle to her.
[To CLEOPATRA] To Caesar I will speak what you shall please,
If you'll employ me to him.
CLEOPATRA. Say I would die.
Exeunt PROCULEIUS and soldiers
DOLABELLA. Most noble Empress, you have heard of me?
CLEOPATRA. I cannot tell.
DOLABELLA. Assuredly you know me.
CLEOPATRA. No matter, sir, what I have heard or known.
You laugh when boys or women tell their dreams;
Is't not your trick?
DOLABELLA. I understand not, madam.
CLEOPATRA. I dreamt there was an Emperor Antony-
O, such another sleep, that I might see
But such another man!
DOLABELLA. If it might please ye-
CLEOPATRA. His face was as the heav'ns, and therein stuck
A sun and moon, which kept their course and lighted
The little O, the earth.
DOLABELLA. Most sovereign creature-
CLEOPATRA. His legs bestrid the ocean; his rear'd arm
Crested the world. His voice was propertied
As all the tuned spheres, and that to friends;
But when he meant to quail and shake the orb,
He was as rattling thunder. For his bounty,
There was no winter in't; an autumn 'twas
That grew the more by reaping. His delights
Were dolphin-like: they show'd his back above
The element they liv'd in. In his livery
Walk'd crowns and crownets; realms and islands were
As plates dropp'd from his pocket.
DOLABELLA. Cleopatra-
CLEOPATRA. Think you there was or might be such a man
As this I dreamt of?
DOLABELLA. Gentle madam, no.
CLEOPATRA. You lie, up to the hearing of the gods.
But if there be nor ever were one such,
It's past the size of drearning. Nature wants stuff
To vie strange forms with fancy; yet t' imagine
An Antony were nature's piece 'gainst fancy,
Condemning shadows quite.
DOLABELLA. Hear me, good madam.
Your loss is, as yourself, great; and you bear it
As answering to the weight. Would I might never
O'ertake pursu'd success, but I do feel,
By the rebound of yours, a grief that smites
My very heart at root.
CLEOPATRA. I thank you, sir.
Know you what Caesar means to do with me?
DOLABELLA. I am loath to tell you what I would you knew.
CLEOPATRA. Nay, pray you, sir.
DOLABELLA. Though he be honourable-
CLEOPATRA. He'll lead me, then, in triumph?
DOLABELLA. Madam, he will. I know't. [Flourish]
[Within: 'Make way there-Caesar!']

and others of his train

CAESAR. Which is the Queen of Egypt?
DOLABELLA. It is the Emperor, madam. [CLEOPATPA kneels]
CAESAR. Arise, you shall not kneel.
I pray you, rise; rise, Egypt.
CLEOPATRA. Sir, the gods
Will have it thus; my master and my lord
I must obey.
CAESAR. Take to you no hard thoughts.
The record of what injuries you did us,
Though written in our flesh, we shall remember
As things but done by chance.
CLEOPATRA. Sole sir o' th' world,
I cannot project mine own cause so well
To make it clear, but do confess I have
Been laden with like frailties which before
Have often sham'd our sex.
CAESAR. Cleopatra, know
We will extenuate rather than enforce.
If you apply yourself to our intents-
Which towards you are most gentle- you shall find
A benefit in this change; but if you seek
To lay on me a cruelty by taking
Antony's course, you shall bereave yourself
Of my good purposes, and put your children
To that destruction which I'll guard them from,
If thereon you rely. I'll take my leave.
CLEOPATRA. And may, through all the world. 'Tis yours, and we,
Your scutcheons and your signs of conquest, shall
Hang in what place you please. Here, my good lord.
CAESAR. You shall advise me in all for Cleopatra.
CLEOPATRA. This is the brief of money, plate, and jewels,
I am possess'd of. 'Tis exactly valued,
Not petty things admitted. Where's Seleucus?
SELEUCUS. Here, madam.
CLEOPATRA. This is my treasurer; let him speak, my lord,
Upon his peril, that I have reserv'd
To myself nothing. Speak the truth, Seleucus.
I had rather seal my lips than to my peril
Speak that which is not.
CLEOPATRA. What have I kept back?
SELEUCUS. Enough to purchase what you have made known.
CAESAR. Nay, blush not, Cleopatra; I approve
Your wisdom in the deed.
CLEOPATRA. See, Caesar! O, behold,
How pomp is followed! Mine will now be yours;
And, should we shift estates, yours would be mine.
The ingratitude of this Seleucus does
Even make me wild. O slave, of no more trust
Than love that's hir'd! What, goest thou back? Thou shalt
Go back, I warrant thee; but I'll catch thine eyes
Though they had wings. Slave, soulless villain, dog!
O rarely base!
CAESAR. Good Queen, let us entreat you.
CLEOPATRA. O Caesar, what a wounding shame is this,
That thou vouchsafing here to visit me,
Doing the honour of thy lordliness
To one so meek, that mine own servant should
Parcel the sum of my disgraces by
Addition of his envy! Say, good Caesar,
That I some lady trifles have reserv'd,
Immoment toys, things of such dignity
As we greet modern friends withal; and say
Some nobler token I have kept apart
For Livia and Octavia, to induce
Their mediation- must I be unfolded
With one that I have bred? The gods! It smites me
Beneath the fall I have. [To SELEUCUS] Prithee go hence;
Or I shall show the cinders of my spirits
Through th' ashes of my chance. Wert thou a man,
Thou wouldst have mercy on me.
CAESAR. Forbear, Seleucus. Exit SELEUCUS
CLEOPATRA. Be it known that we, the greatest, are misthought
For things that others do; and when we fall
We answer others' merits in our name,
Are therefore to be pitied.
CAESAR. Cleopatra,
Not what you have reserv'd, nor what acknowledg'd,
Put we i' th' roll of conquest. Still be't yours,
Bestow it at your pleasure; and believe
Caesar's no merchant, to make prize with you
Of things that merchants sold. Therefore be cheer'd;
Make not your thoughts your prisons. No, dear Queen;
For we intend so to dispose you as
Yourself shall give us counsel. Feed and sleep.
Our care and pity is so much upon you
That we remain your friend; and so, adieu.
CLEOPATRA. My master and my lord!
CAESAR. Not so. Adieu.
Flourish. Exeunt CAESAR and his train
CLEOPATRA. He words me, girls, he words me, that I should not
Be noble to myself. But hark thee, Charmian!
[Whispers CHARMIAN]
IRAS. Finish, good lady; the bright day is done,
And we are for the dark.
CLEOPATRA. Hie thee again.
I have spoke already, and it is provided;
Go put it to the haste.
CHARMIAN. Madam, I will.


DOLABELLA. Where's the Queen?
CHARMIAN. Behold, sir. Exit
CLEOPATRA. Dolabella!
DOLABELLA. Madam, as thereto sworn by your command,
Which my love makes religion to obey,
I tell you this: Caesar through Syria
Intends his journey, and within three days
You with your children will he send before.
Make your best use of this; I have perform'd
Your pleasure and my promise.
CLEOPATRA. Dolabella,
I shall remain your debtor.
DOLABELLA. I your servant.
Adieu, good Queen; I must attend on Caesar.
CLEOPATRA. Farewell, and thanks. Exit DOLABELLA
Now, Iras, what think'st thou?
Thou an Egyptian puppet shall be shown
In Rome as well as I. Mechanic slaves,
With greasy aprons, rules, and hammers, shall
Uplift us to the view; in their thick breaths,
Rank of gross diet, shall we be enclouded,
And forc'd to drink their vapour.
IRAS. The gods forbid!
CLEOPATRA. Nay, 'tis most certain, Iras. Saucy lictors
Will catch at us like strumpets, and scald rhymers
Ballad us out o' tune; the quick comedians
Extemporally will stage us, and present
Our Alexandrian revels; Antony
Shall be brought drunken forth, and I shall see
Some squeaking Cleopatra boy my greatness
I' th' posture of a whore.
IRAS. O the good gods!
CLEOPATRA. Nay, that's certain.
IRAS. I'll never see't, for I am sure mine nails
Are stronger than mine eyes.
CLEOPATRA. Why, that's the way
To fool their preparation and to conquer
Their most absurd intents.


Now, Charmian!
Show me, my women, like a queen. Go fetch
My best attires. I am again for Cydnus,
To meet Mark Antony. Sirrah, Iras, go.
Now, noble Charmian, we'll dispatch indeed;
And when thou hast done this chare, I'll give thee leave
To play till doomsday. Bring our crown and all.
Exit IRAS. A noise within
Wherefore's this noise?


GUARDSMAN. Here is a rural fellow
That will not be denied your Highness' presence.
He brings you figs.
CLEOPATRA. Let him come in. Exit GUARDSMAN
What poor an instrument
May do a noble deed! He brings me liberty.
My resolution's plac'd, and I have nothing
Of woman in me. Now from head to foot
I am marble-constant; now the fleeting moon
No planet is of mine.

Re-enter GUARDSMAN and CLOWN, with a basket

GUARDSMAN. This is the man.
CLEOPATRA. Avoid, and leave him. Exit GUARDSMAN
Hast thou the pretty worm of Nilus there
That kills and pains not?
CLOWN. Truly, I have him. But I would not be the party that should
desire you to touch him, for his biting is immortal; those that
do die of it do seldom or never recover.
CLEOPATRA. Remember'st thou any that have died on't?
CLOWN. Very many, men and women too. I heard of one of them no
longer than yesterday: a very honest woman, but something given
to lie, as a woman should not do but in the way of honesty; how
she died of the biting of it, what pain she felt- truly she makes
a very good report o' th' worm. But he that will believe all that
they say shall never be saved by half that they do. But this is
most falliable, the worm's an odd worm.
CLEOPATRA. Get thee hence; farewell.
CLOWN. I wish you all joy of the worm.
[Sets down the basket]
CLEOPATRA. Farewell.
CLOWN. You must think this, look you, that the worm will do his
CLEOPATRA. Ay, ay; farewell.
CLOWN. Look you, the worm is not to be trusted but in the keeping
of wise people; for indeed there is no goodness in the worm.
CLEOPATRA. Take thou no care; it shall be heeded.
CLOWN. Very good. Give it nothing, I pray you, for it is not worth
the feeding.
CLEOPATRA. Will it eat me?
CLOWN. You must not think I am so simple but I know the devil
himself will not eat a woman. I know that a woman is a dish for
the gods, if the devil dress her not. But truly, these same
whoreson devils do the gods great harm in their women, for in
every ten that they make the devils mar five.
CLEOPATRA. Well, get thee gone; farewell.
CLOWN. Yes, forsooth. I wish you joy o' th' worm. Exit

Re-enter IRAS, with a robe, crown, &c.

CLEOPATRA. Give me my robe, put on my crown; I have
Immortal longings in me. Now no more
The juice of Egypt's grape shall moist this lip.
Yare, yare, good Iras; quick. Methinks I hear
Antony call. I see him rouse himself
To praise my noble act. I hear him mock
The luck of Caesar, which the gods give men
To excuse their after wrath. Husband, I come.
Now to that name my courage prove my title!
I am fire and air; my other elements
I give to baser life. So, have you done?
Come then, and take the last warmth of my lips.
Farewell, kind Charmian. Iras, long farewell.
[Kisses them. IRAS falls and dies]
Have I the aspic in my lips? Dost fall?
If thus thou and nature can so gently part,
The stroke of death is as a lover's pinch,
Which hurts and is desir'd. Dost thou lie still?
If thou vanishest, thou tell'st the world
It is not worth leave-taking.
CHARMIAN. Dissolve, thick cloud, and rain, that I may say
The gods themselves do weep.
CLEOPATRA. This proves me base.
If she first meet the curled Antony,
He'll make demand of her, and spend that kiss
Which is my heaven to have. Come, thou mortal wretch,
[To an asp, which she applies to her breast]
With thy sharp teeth this knot intrinsicate
Of life at once untie. Poor venomous fool,
Be angry and dispatch. O couldst thou speak,
That I might hear thee call great Caesar ass
CHARMIAN. O Eastern star!
CLEOPATRA. Peace, peace!
Dost thou not see my baby at my breast
That sucks the nurse asleep?
CHARMIAN. O, break! O, break!
CLEOPATRA. As sweet as balm, as soft as air, as gentle-
O Antony! Nay, I will take thee too:
[Applying another asp to her arm]
What should I stay- [Dies]
CHARMIAN. In this vile world? So, fare thee well.
Now boast thee, death, in thy possession lies
A lass unparallel'd. Downy windows, close;
And golden Phoebus never be beheld
Of eyes again so royal! Your crown's awry;
I'll mend it and then play-

Enter the guard, rushing in

FIRST GUARD. Where's the Queen?
CHARMIAN. Speak softly, wake her not.
FIRST GUARD. Caesar hath sent-
CHARMIAN. Too slow a messenger. [Applies an asp]
O, come apace, dispatch. I partly feel thee.
FIRST GUARD. Approach, ho! All's not well: Caesar's beguil'd.
SECOND GUARD. There's Dolabella sent from Caesar; call him.
FIRST GUARD. What work is here! Charmian, is this well done?
CHARMIAN. It is well done, and fitting for a princes
Descended of so many royal kings.
Ah, soldier! [CHARMIAN dies]


DOLABELLA. How goes it here?
DOLABELLA. Caesar, thy thoughts
Touch their effects in this. Thyself art coming
To see perform'd the dreaded act which thou
So sought'st to hinder.
[Within: 'A way there, a way for Caesar!']

Re-enter CAESAR and all his train

DOLABELLA. O sir, you are too sure an augurer:
That you did fear is done.
CAESAR. Bravest at the last,
She levell'd at our purposes, and being royal,
Took her own way. The manner of their deaths?
I do not see them bleed.
DOLABELLA. Who was last with them?
FIRST GUARD. A simple countryman that brought her figs.
This was his basket.
CAESAR. Poison'd then.
This Charmian liv'd but now; she stood and spake.
I found her trimming up the diadem
On her dead mistress. Tremblingly she stood,
And on the sudden dropp'd.
CAESAR. O noble weakness!
If they had swallow'd poison 'twould appear
By external swelling; but she looks like sleep,
As she would catch another Antony
In her strong toil of grace.
DOLABELLA. Here on her breast
There is a vent of blood, and something blown;
The like is on her arm.
FIRST GUARD. This is an aspic's trail; and these fig-leaves
Have slime upon them, such as th' aspic leaves
Upon the caves of Nile.
CAESAR. Most probable
That so she died; for her physician tells me
She hath pursu'd conclusions infinite
Of easy ways to die. Take up her bed,
And bear her women from the monument.
She shall be buried by her Antony;
No grave upon the earth shall clip in it
A pair so famous. High events as these
Strike those that make them; and their story is
No less in pity than his glory which
Brought them to be lamented. Our army shall
In solemn show attend this funeral,
And then to Rome. Come, Dolabella, see
High order in this great solemnity. Exeunt

The End.

As you Like it

Dramatis Personae.

DUKE, living in exile
FREDERICK, his brother, and usurper of his dominions
AMIENS, lord attending on the banished Duke
JAQUES, " " " " " "
LE BEAU, a courtier attending upon Frederick
CHARLES, wrestler to Frederick
OLIVER, son of Sir Rowland de Boys
JAQUES, " " " " " "
ORLANDO, " " " " " "
ADAM, servant to Oliver
DENNIS, " " "
TOUCHSTONE, the court jester
CORIN, shepherd
WILLIAM, a country fellow, in love with Audrey
A person representing HYMEN

ROSALIND, daughter to the banished Duke
CELIA, daughter to Frederick
PHEBE, a shepherdes
AUDREY, a country wench

Lords, Pages, Foresters, and Attendants

OLIVER'S house; FREDERICK'S court; and the Forest of Arden

Orchard of OLIVER'S house


ORLANDO. As I remember, Adam, it was upon this fashion bequeathed
me by will but poor a thousand crowns, and, as thou say'st,
charged my brother, on his blessing, to breed me well; and there
begins my sadness. My brother Jaques he keeps at school, and
report speaks goldenly of his profit. For my part, he keeps me
rustically at home, or, to speak more properly, stays me here at
home unkept; for call you that keeping for a gentleman of my
birth that differs not from the stalling of an ox? His horses are
bred better; for, besides that they are fair with their feeding,
they are taught their manage, and to that end riders dearly
hir'd; but I, his brother, gain nothing under him but growth; for
the which his animals on his dunghills are as much bound to him
as I. Besides this nothing that he so plentifully gives me, the
something that nature gave me his countenance seems to take from
me. He lets me feed with his hinds, bars me the place of a
brother, and as much as in him lies, mines my gentility with my
education. This is it, Adam, that grieves me; and the spirit of
my father, which I think is within me, begins to mutiny against
this servitude. I will no longer endure it, though yet I know no
wise remedy how to avoid it.


ADAM. Yonder comes my master, your brother.
ORLANDO. Go apart, Adam, and thou shalt hear how he will shake me
up. [ADAM retires]
OLIVER. Now, sir! what make you here?
ORLANDO. Nothing; I am not taught to make any thing.
OLIVER. What mar you then, sir?
ORLANDO. Marry, sir, I am helping you to mar that which God made, a
poor unworthy brother of yours, with idleness.
OLIVER. Marry, sir, be better employed, and be nought awhile.
ORLANDO. Shall I keep your hogs, and eat husks with them? What
prodigal portion have I spent that I should come to such penury?
OLIVER. Know you where you are, sir?
ORLANDO. O, sir, very well; here in your orchard.
OLIVER. Know you before whom, sir?
ORLANDO. Ay, better than him I am before knows me. I know you are
my eldest brother; and in the gentle condition of blood, you
should so know me. The courtesy of nations allows you my better
in that you are the first-born; but the same tradition takes not
away my blood, were there twenty brothers betwixt us. I have as
much of my father in me as you, albeit I confess your coming
before me is nearer to his reverence.
OLIVER. What, boy! [Strikes him]
ORLANDO. Come, come, elder brother, you are too young in this.
OLIVER. Wilt thou lay hands on me, villain?
ORLANDO. I am no villain; I am the youngest son of Sir Rowland de
Boys. He was my father; and he is thrice a villain that says such
a father begot villains. Wert thou not my brother, I would not
take this hand from thy throat till this other had pull'd out thy
tongue for saying so. Thou has rail'd on thyself.
ADAM. [Coming forward] Sweet masters, be patient; for your father's
remembrance, be at accord.
OLIVER. Let me go, I say.
ORLANDO. I will not, till I please; you shall hear me. My father
charg'd you in his will to give me good education: you have
train'd me like a peasant, obscuring and hiding from me all
gentleman-like qualities. The spirit of my father grows strong in
me, and I will no longer endure it; therefore allow me such
exercises as may become a gentleman, or give me the poor
allottery my father left me by testament; with that I will go buy
my fortunes.
OLIVER. And what wilt thou do? Beg, when that is spent? Well, sir,
get you in. I will not long be troubled with you; you shall have
some part of your will. I pray you leave me.
ORLANDO. I no further offend you than becomes me for my good.
OLIVER. Get you with him, you old dog.
ADAM. Is 'old dog' my reward? Most true, I have lost my teeth in
your service. God be with my old master! He would not have spoke
such a word.
OLIVER. Is it even so? Begin you to grow upon me? I will physic
your rankness, and yet give no thousand crowns neither. Holla,


DENNIS. Calls your worship?
OLIVER. not Charles, the Duke's wrestler, here to speak with me?
DENNIS. So please you, he is here at the door and importunes access
to you.
OLIVER. Call him in. [Exit DENNIS] 'Twill be a good way; and
to-morrow the wrestling is.


CHARLES. Good morrow to your worship.
OLIVER. Good Monsieur Charles! What's the new news at the new
CHARLES. There's no news at the court, sir, but the old news; that
is, the old Duke is banished by his younger brother the new Duke;
and three or four loving lords have put themselves into voluntary
exile with him, whose lands and revenues enrich the new Duke;
therefore he gives them good leave to wander.
OLIVER. Can you tell if Rosalind, the Duke's daughter, be banished
with her father?
CHARLES. O, no; for the Duke's daughter, her cousin, so loves her,
being ever from their cradles bred together, that she would have
followed her exile, or have died to stay behind her. She is at
the court, and no less beloved of her uncle than his own
daughter; and never two ladies loved as they do.
OLIVER. Where will the old Duke live?
CHARLES. They say he is already in the Forest of Arden, and a many
merry men with him; and there they live like the old Robin Hood
of England. They say many young gentlemen flock to him every day,
and fleet the time carelessly, as they did in the golden world.
OLIVER. What, you wrestle to-morrow before the new Duke?
CHARLES. Marry, do I, sir; and I came to acquaint you with a
matter. I am given, sir, secretly to understand that your younger
brother, Orlando, hath a disposition to come in disguis'd against
me to try a fall. To-morrow, sir, I wrestle for my credit; and he
that escapes me without some broken limb shall acquit him well.
Your brother is but young and tender; and, for your love, I would
be loath to foil him, as I must, for my own honour, if he come
in; therefore, out of my love to you, I came hither to acquaint
you withal, that either you might stay him from his intendment,
or brook such disgrace well as he shall run into, in that it is
thing of his own search and altogether against my will.
OLIVER. Charles, I thank thee for thy love to me, which thou shalt
find I will most kindly requite. I had myself notice of my
brother's purpose herein, and have by underhand means laboured to
dissuade him from it; but he is resolute. I'll tell thee,
Charles, it is the stubbornest young fellow of France; full of
ambition, an envious emulator of every man's good parts, a secret
and villainous contriver against me his natural brother.
Therefore use thy discretion: I had as lief thou didst break his
neck as his finger. And thou wert best look to't; for if thou
dost him any slight disgrace, or if he do not mightily grace
himself on thee, he will practise against thee by poison, entrap
thee by some treacherous device, and never leave thee till he
hath ta'en thy life by some indirect means or other; for, I
assure thee, and almost with tears I speak it, there is not one
so young and so villainous this day living. I speak but brotherly
of him; but should I anatomize him to thee as he is, I must blush
and weep, and thou must look pale and wonder.
CHARLES. I am heartily glad I came hither to you. If he come
to-morrow I'll give him his payment. If ever he go alone again,
I'll never wrestle for prize more. And so, God keep your worship!
OLIVER. Farewell, good Charles. Now will I stir this gamester. I
hope I shall see an end of him; for my soul, yet I know not why,
hates nothing more than he. Yet he's gentle; never school'd and
yet learned; full of noble device; of all sorts enchantingly
beloved; and, indeed, so much in the heart of the world, and
especially of my own people, who best know him, that I am
altogether misprised. But it shall not be so long; this wrestler
shall clear all. Nothing remains but that I kindle the boy
thither, which now I'll go about. Exit

A lawn before the DUKE'S palace


CELIA. I pray thee, Rosalind, sweet my coz, be merry.
ROSALIND. Dear Celia, I show more mirth than I am mistress of; and
would you yet I were merrier? Unless you could teach me to forget
a banished father, you must not learn me how to remember any
extraordinary pleasure.
CELIA. Herein I see thou lov'st me not with the full weight that I
love thee. If my uncle, thy banished father, had banished thy
uncle, the Duke my father, so thou hadst been still with me, I
could have taught my love to take thy father for mine; so wouldst
thou, if the truth of thy love to me were so righteously temper'd
as mine is to thee.
ROSALIND. Well, I will forget the condition of my estate, to
rejoice in yours.
CELIA. You know my father hath no child but I, nor none is like to
have; and, truly, when he dies thou shalt be his heir; for what
he hath taken away from thy father perforce, I will render thee
again in affection. By mine honour, I will; and when I break that
oath, let me turn monster; therefore, my sweet Rose, my dear
Rose, be merry.
ROSALIND. From henceforth I will, coz, and devise sports.
Let me see; what think you of falling in love?
CELIA. Marry, I prithee, do, to make sport withal; but love no man
in good earnest, nor no further in sport neither than with safety
of a pure blush thou mayst in honour come off again.
ROSALIND. What shall be our sport, then?
CELIA. Let us sit and mock the good housewife Fortune from her
wheel, that her gifts may henceforth be bestowed equally.
ROSALIND. I would we could do so; for her benefits are mightily
misplaced; and the bountiful blind woman doth most mistake in her
gifts to women.
CELIA. 'Tis true; for those that she makes fair she scarce makes
honest; and those that she makes honest she makes very
ROSALIND. Nay; now thou goest from Fortune's office to Nature's:
Fortune reigns in gifts of the world, not in the lineaments of


CELIA. No; when Nature hath made a fair creature, may she not by
Fortune fall into the fire? Though Nature hath given us wit to
flout at Fortune, hath not Fortune sent in this fool to cut off
the argument?
ROSALIND. Indeed, there is Fortune too hard for Nature, when
Fortune makes Nature's natural the cutter-off of Nature's wit.
CELIA. Peradventure this is not Fortune's work neither, but
Nature's, who perceiveth our natural wits too dull to reason of
such goddesses, and hath sent this natural for our whetstone; for
always the dullness of the fool is the whetstone of the wits. How
now, wit! Whither wander you?
TOUCHSTONE. Mistress, you must come away to your father.
CELIA. Were you made the messenger?
TOUCHSTONE. No, by mine honour; but I was bid to come for you.
ROSALIND. Where learned you that oath, fool?
TOUCHSTONE. Of a certain knight that swore by his honour they were
good pancakes, and swore by his honour the mustard was naught.
Now I'll stand to it, the pancakes were naught and the mustard
was good, and yet was not the knight forsworn.
CELIA. How prove you that, in the great heap of your knowledge?
ROSALIND. Ay, marry, now unmuzzle your wisdom.
TOUCHSTONE. Stand you both forth now: stroke your chins, and swear
by your beards that I am a knave.
CELIA. By our beards, if we had them, thou art.
TOUCHSTONE. By my knavery, if I had it, then I were. But if you
swear by that that not, you are not forsworn; no more was this
knight, swearing by his honour, for he never had any; or if he
had, he had sworn it away before ever he saw those pancackes or
that mustard.
CELIA. Prithee, who is't that thou mean'st?
TOUCHSTONE. One that old Frederick, your father, loves.
CELIA. My father's love is enough to honour him. Enough, speak no
more of him; you'll be whipt for taxation one of these days.
TOUCHSTONE. The more pity that fools may not speak wisely what wise
men do foolishly.
CELIA. By my troth, thou sayest true; for since the little wit that
fools have was silenced, the little foolery that wise men have
makes a great show. Here comes Monsieur Le Beau.


ROSALIND. With his mouth full of news.
CELIA. Which he will put on us as pigeons feed their young.
ROSALIND. Then shall we be news-cramm'd.
CELIA. All the better; we shall be the more marketable. Bon jour,
Monsieur Le Beau. What's the news?
LE BEAU. Fair Princess, you have lost much good sport.
CELIA. Sport! of what colour?
LE BEAU. What colour, madam? How shall I answer you?
ROSALIND. As wit and fortune will.
TOUCHSTONE. Or as the Destinies decrees.
CELIA. Well said; that was laid on with a trowel.
TOUCHSTONE. Nay, if I keep not my rank-
ROSALIND. Thou losest thy old smell.
LE BEAU. You amaze me, ladies. I would have told you of good
wrestling, which you have lost the sight of.
ROSALIND. Yet tell us the manner of the wrestling.
LE BEAU. I will tell you the beginning, and, if it please your
ladyships, you may see the end; for the best is yet to do; and
here, where you are, they are coming to perform it.
CELIA. Well, the beginning, that is dead and buried.
LE BEAU. There comes an old man and his three sons-
CELIA. I could match this beginning with an old tale.
LE BEAU. Three proper young men, of excellent growth and presence.
ROSALIND. With bills on their necks: 'Be it known unto all men by
these presents'-
LE BEAU. The eldest of the three wrestled with Charles, the Duke's
wrestler; which Charles in a moment threw him, and broke three of
his ribs, that there is little hope of life in him. So he serv'd
the second, and so the third. Yonder they lie; the poor old man,
their father, making such pitiful dole over them that all the
beholders take his part with weeping.
TOUCHSTONE. But what is the sport, monsieur, that the ladies have
LE BEAU. Why, this that I speak of.
TOUCHSTONE. Thus men may grow wiser every day. It is the first time
that ever I heard breaking of ribs was sport for ladies.
CELIA. Or I, I promise thee.
ROSALIND. But is there any else longs to see this broken music in
his sides? Is there yet another dotes upon rib-breaking? Shall we
see this wrestling, cousin?
LE BEAU. You must, if you stay here; for here is the place
appointed for the wrestling, and they are ready to perform it.
CELIA. Yonder, sure, they are coming. Let us now stay and see it.


FREDERICK. Come on; since the youth will not be entreated, his own
peril on his forwardness.
ROSALIND. Is yonder the man?
LE BEAU. Even he, madam.
CELIA. Alas, he is too young; yet he looks successfully.
FREDERICK. How now, daughter and cousin! Are you crept hither to
see the wrestling?
ROSALIND. Ay, my liege; so please you give us leave.
FREDERICK. You will take little delight in it, I can tell you,
there is such odds in the man. In pity of the challenger's youth
I would fain dissuade him, but he will not be entreated. Speak to
him, ladies; see if you can move him.
CELIA. Call him hither, good Monsieur Le Beau.
FREDERICK. Do so; I'll not be by.
[DUKE FREDERICK goes apart]
LE BEAU. Monsieur the Challenger, the Princess calls for you.
ORLANDO. I attend them with all respect and duty.
ROSALIND. Young man, have you challeng'd Charles the wrestler?
ORLANDO. No, fair Princess; he is the general challenger. I come
but in, as others do, to try with him the strength of my youth.
CELIA. Young gentleman, your spirits are too bold for your years.
You have seen cruel proof of this man's strength; if you saw
yourself with your eyes, or knew yourself with your judgment, the
fear of your adventure would counsel you to a more equal
enterprise. We pray you, for your own sake, to embrace your own
safety and give over this attempt.
ROSALIND. Do, young sir; your reputation shall not therefore be
misprised: we will make it our suit to the Duke that the
wrestling might not go forward.
ORLANDO. I beseech you, punish me not with your hard thoughts,
wherein I confess me much guilty to deny so fair and excellent
ladies any thing. But let your fair eyes and gentle wishes go
with me to my trial; wherein if I be foil'd there is but one
sham'd that was never gracious; if kill'd, but one dead that is
willing to be so. I shall do my friends no wrong, for I have none
to lament me; the world no injury, for in it I have nothing; only
in the world I fill up a place, which may be better supplied when
I have made it empty.
ROSALIND. The little strength that I have, I would it were with
CELIA. And mine to eke out hers.
ROSALIND. Fare you well. Pray heaven I be deceiv'd in you!
CELIA. Your heart's desires be with you!
CHARLES. Come, where is this young gallant that is so desirous to
lie with his mother earth?
ORLANDO. Ready, sir; but his will hath in it a more modest working.
FREDERICK. You shall try but one fall.
CHARLES. No, I warrant your Grace, you shall not entreat him to a
second, that have so mightily persuaded him from a first.
ORLANDO. You mean to mock me after; you should not have mock'd me
before; but come your ways.
ROSALIND. Now, Hercules be thy speed, young man!
CELIA. I would I were invisible, to catch the strong fellow by the
leg. [They wrestle]
ROSALIND. O excellent young man!
CELIA. If I had a thunderbolt in mine eye, I can tell who should
[CHARLES is thrown. Shout]
FREDERICK. No more, no more.
ORLANDO. Yes, I beseech your Grace; I am not yet well breath'd.
FREDERICK. How dost thou, Charles?
LE BEAU. He cannot speak, my lord.
FREDERICK. Bear him away. What is thy name, young man?
ORLANDO. Orlando, my liege; the youngest son of Sir Rowland de
FREDERICK. I would thou hadst been son to some man else.
The world esteem'd thy father honourable,
But I did find him still mine enemy.
Thou shouldst have better pleas'd me with this deed,
Hadst thou descended from another house.
But fare thee well; thou art a gallant youth;
I would thou hadst told me of another father.
Exeunt DUKE, train, and LE BEAU
CELIA. Were I my father, coz, would I do this?
ORLANDO. I am more proud to be Sir Rowland's son,
His youngest son- and would not change that calling
To be adopted heir to Frederick.
ROSALIND. My father lov'd Sir Rowland as his soul,
And all the world was of my father's mind;
Had I before known this young man his son,
I should have given him tears unto entreaties
Ere he should thus have ventur'd.
CELIA. Gentle cousin,
Let us go thank him, and encourage him;
My father's rough and envious disposition
Sticks me at heart. Sir, you have well deserv'd;
If you do keep your promises in love
But justly as you have exceeded all promise,
Your mistress shall be happy.
ROSALIND. Gentleman, [Giving him a chain from her neck]
Wear this for me; one out of suits with fortune,
That could give more, but that her hand lacks means.
Shall we go, coz?
CELIA. Ay. Fare you well, fair gentleman.
ORLANDO. Can I not say 'I thank you'? My better parts
Are all thrown down; and that which here stands up
Is but a quintain, a mere lifeless block.
ROSALIND. He calls us back. My pride fell with my fortunes;
I'll ask him what he would. Did you call, sir?
Sir, you have wrestled well, and overthrown
More than your enemies.
CELIA. Will you go, coz?
ROSALIND. Have with you. Fare you well.
ORLANDO. What passion hangs these weights upon my tongue?
I cannot speak to her, yet she urg'd conference.
O poor Orlando, thou art overthrown!
Or Charles or something weaker masters thee.

Re-enter LE BEAU

LE BEAU. Good sir, I do in friendship counsel you
To leave this place. Albeit you have deserv'd
High commendation, true applause, and love,
Yet such is now the Duke's condition
That he misconstrues all that you have done.
The Duke is humorous; what he is, indeed,
More suits you to conceive than I to speak of.
ORLANDO. I thank you, sir; and pray you tell me this:
Which of the two was daughter of the Duke
That here was at the wrestling?
LE BEAU. Neither his daughter, if we judge by manners;
But yet, indeed, the smaller is his daughter;
The other is daughter to the banish'd Duke,
And here detain'd by her usurping uncle,
To keep his daughter company; whose loves
Are dearer than the natural bond of sisters.
But I can tell you that of late this Duke
Hath ta'en displeasure 'gainst his gentle niece,
Grounded upon no other argument
But that the people praise her for her virtues
And pity her for her good father's sake;
And, on my life, his malice 'gainst the lady
Will suddenly break forth. Sir, fare you well.
Hereafter, in a better world than this,
I shall desire more love and knowledge of you.
ORLANDO. I rest much bounden to you; fare you well.
Thus must I from the smoke into the smother;
From tyrant Duke unto a tyrant brother.
But heavenly Rosalind! Exit

The DUKE's palace


CELIA. Why, cousin! why, Rosalind! Cupid have mercy!
Not a word?
ROSALIND. Not one to throw at a dog.
CELIA. No, thy words are too precious to be cast away upon curs;
throw some of them at me; come, lame me with reasons.
ROSALIND. Then there were two cousins laid up, when the one should
be lam'd with reasons and the other mad without any.
CELIA. But is all this for your father?
ROSALIND. No, some of it is for my child's father. O, how full of
briers is this working-day world!
CELIA. They are but burs, cousin, thrown upon thee in holiday
foolery; if we walk not in the trodden paths, our very petticoats
will catch them.
ROSALIND. I could shake them off my coat: these burs are in my
CELIA. Hem them away.
ROSALIND. I would try, if I could cry 'hem' and have him.
CELIA. Come, come, wrestle with thy affections.
ROSALIND. O, they take the part of a better wrestler than myself.
CELIA. O, a good wish upon you! You will try in time, in despite of
a fall. But, turning these jests out of service, let us talk in
good earnest. Is it possible, on such a sudden, you should fall
into so strong a liking with old Sir Rowland's youngest son?
ROSALIND. The Duke my father lov'd his father dearly.
CELIA. Doth it therefore ensue that you should love his son dearly?
By this kind of chase I should hate him, for my father hated his
father dearly; yet I hate not Orlando.
ROSALIND. No, faith, hate him not, for my sake.
CELIA. Why should I not? Doth he not deserve well?


ROSALIND. Let me love him for that; and do you love him because I
do. Look, here comes the Duke.
CELIA. With his eyes full of anger.
FREDERICK. Mistress, dispatch you with your safest haste,
And get you from our court.
ROSALIND. Me, uncle?
FREDERICK. You, cousin.
Within these ten days if that thou beest found
So near our public court as twenty miles,
Thou diest for it.
ROSALIND. I do beseech your Grace,
Let me the knowledge of my fault bear with me.
If with myself I hold intelligence,
Or have acquaintance with mine own desires;
If that I do not dream, or be not frantic-
As I do trust I am not- then, dear uncle,
Never so much as in a thought unborn
Did I offend your Highness.
FREDERICK. Thus do all traitors;
If their purgation did consist in words,
They are as innocent as grace itself.
Let it suffice thee that I trust thee not.
ROSALIND. Yet your mistrust cannot make me a traitor.
Tell me whereon the likelihood depends.
FREDERICK. Thou art thy father's daughter; there's enough.
ROSALIND. SO was I when your Highness took his dukedom;
So was I when your Highness banish'd him.
Treason is not inherited, my lord;
Or, if we did derive it from our friends,
What's that to me? My father was no traitor.
Then, good my liege, mistake me not so much
To think my poverty is treacherous.
CELIA. Dear sovereign, hear me speak.
FREDERICK. Ay, Celia; we stay'd her for your sake,
Else had she with her father rang'd along.
CELIA. I did not then entreat to have her stay;
It was your pleasure, and your own remorse;
I was too young that time to value her,
But now I know her. If she be a traitor,
Why so am I: we still have slept together,
Rose at an instant, learn'd, play'd, eat together;
And wheresoe'er we went, like Juno's swans,
Still we went coupled and inseparable.
FREDERICK. She is too subtle for thee; and her smoothness,
Her very silence and her patience,
Speak to the people, and they pity her.
Thou art a fool. She robs thee of thy name;
And thou wilt show more bright and seem more virtuous
When she is gone. Then open not thy lips.
Firm and irrevocable is my doom
Which I have pass'd upon her; she is banish'd.
CELIA. Pronounce that sentence, then, on me, my liege;
I cannot live out of her company.
FREDERICK. You are a fool. You, niece, provide yourself.
If you outstay the time, upon mine honour,
And in the greatness of my word, you die.
Exeunt DUKE and LORDS
CELIA. O my poor Rosalind! Whither wilt thou go?
Wilt thou change fathers? I will give thee mine.
I charge thee be not thou more griev'd than I am.
ROSALIND. I have more cause.
CELIA. Thou hast not, cousin.
Prithee be cheerful. Know'st thou not the Duke
Hath banish'd me, his daughter?
ROSALIND. That he hath not.
CELIA. No, hath not? Rosalind lacks, then, the love
Which teacheth thee that thou and I am one.
Shall we be sund'red? Shall we part, sweet girl?
No; let my father seek another heir.
Therefore devise with me how we may fly,
Whither to go, and what to bear with us;
And do not seek to take your charge upon you,
To bear your griefs yourself, and leave me out;
For, by this heaven, now at our sorrows pale,
Say what thou canst, I'll go along with thee.
ROSALIND. Why, whither shall we go?
CELIA. To seek my uncle in the Forest of Arden.
ROSALIND. Alas, what danger will it be to us,
Maids as we are, to travel forth so far!
Beauty provoketh thieves sooner than gold.
CELIA. I'll put myself in poor and mean attire,
And with a kind of umber smirch my face;
The like do you; so shall we pass along,
And never stir assailants.
ROSALIND. Were it not better,
Because that I am more than common tall,
That I did suit me all points like a man?
A gallant curtle-axe upon my thigh,
A boar spear in my hand; and- in my heart
Lie there what hidden woman's fear there will-
We'll have a swashing and a martial outside,
As many other mannish cowards have
That do outface it with their semblances.
CELIA. What shall I call thee when thou art a man?
ROSALIND. I'll have no worse a name than Jove's own page,
And therefore look you call me Ganymede.
But what will you be call'd?
CELIA. Something that hath a reference to my state:
No longer Celia, but Aliena.
ROSALIND. But, cousin, what if we assay'd to steal
The clownish fool out of your father's court?
Would he not be a comfort to our travel?
CELIA. He'll go along o'er the wide world with me;
Leave me alone to woo him. Let's away,
And get our jewels and our wealth together;
Devise the fittest time and safest way
To hide us from pursuit that will be made
After my flight. Now go we in content
To liberty, and not to banishment. Exeunt

The Forest of Arden

Enter DUKE SENIOR, AMIENS, and two or three LORDS, like foresters

DUKE SENIOR. Now, my co-mates and brothers in exile,
Hath not old custom made this life more sweet
Than that of painted pomp? Are not these woods
More free from peril than the envious court?
Here feel we not the penalty of Adam,
The seasons' difference; as the icy fang
And churlish chiding of the winter's wind,
Which when it bites and blows upon my body,
Even till I shrink with cold, I smile and say
'This is no flattery; these are counsellors
That feelingly persuade me what I am.'
Sweet are the uses of adversity,
Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous,
Wears yet a precious jewel in his head;
And this our life, exempt from public haunt,
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones, and good in everything.
I would not change it.
AMIENS. Happy is your Grace,
That can translate the stubbornness of fortune
Into so quiet and so sweet a style.
DUKE SENIOR. Come, shall we go and kill us venison?
And yet it irks me the poor dappled fools,
Being native burghers of this desert city,
Should, in their own confines, with forked heads
Have their round haunches gor'd.
FIRST LORD. Indeed, my lord,
The melancholy Jaques grieves at that;
And, in that kind, swears you do more usurp
Than doth your brother that hath banish'd you.
To-day my Lord of Amiens and myself
Did steal behind him as he lay along
Under an oak whose antique root peeps out
Upon the brook that brawls along this wood!
To the which place a poor sequest'red stag,
That from the hunter's aim had ta'en a hurt,
Did come to languish; and, indeed, my lord,
The wretched animal heav'd forth such groans
That their discharge did stretch his leathern coat
Almost to bursting; and the big round tears
Cours'd one another down his innocent nose
In piteous chase; and thus the hairy fool,
Much marked of the melancholy Jaques,
Stood on th' extremest verge of the swift brook,
Augmenting it with tears.
DUKE SENIOR. But what said Jaques?
Did he not moralize this spectacle?
FIRST LORD. O, yes, into a thousand similes.
First, for his weeping into the needless stream:
'Poor deer,' quoth he 'thou mak'st a testament
As worldlings do, giving thy sum of more
To that which had too much.' Then, being there alone,
Left and abandoned of his velvet friends:
''Tis right'; quoth he 'thus misery doth part
The flux of company.' Anon, a careless herd,
Full of the pasture, jumps along by him
And never stays to greet him. 'Ay,' quoth Jaques
'Sweep on, you fat and greasy citizens;
'Tis just the fashion. Wherefore do you look
Upon that poor and broken bankrupt there?'
Thus most invectively he pierceth through
The body of the country, city, court,
Yea, and of this our life; swearing that we
Are mere usurpers, tyrants, and what's worse,
To fright the animals, and to kill them up
In their assign'd and native dwelling-place.
DUKE SENIOR. And did you leave him in this contemplation?
SECOND LORD. We did, my lord, weeping and commenting
Upon the sobbing deer.
DUKE SENIOR. Show me the place;
I love to cope him in these sullen fits,
For then he's full of matter.
FIRST LORD. I'll bring you to him straight. Exeunt

The DUKE'S palace


FREDERICK. Can it be possible that no man saw them?
It cannot be; some villains of my court
Are of consent and sufferance in this.
FIRST LORD. I cannot hear of any that did see her.
The ladies, her attendants of her chamber,
Saw her abed, and in the morning early
They found the bed untreasur'd of their mistress.
SECOND LORD. My lord, the roynish clown, at whom so oft
Your Grace was wont to laugh, is also missing.
Hisperia, the Princess' gentlewoman,
Confesses that she secretly o'erheard
Your daughter and her cousin much commend
The parts and graces of the wrestler
That did but lately foil the sinewy Charles;
And she believes, wherever they are gone,
That youth is surely in their company.
FREDERICK. Send to his brother; fetch that gallant hither.
If he be absent, bring his brother to me;
I'll make him find him. Do this suddenly;
And let not search and inquisition quail
To bring again these foolish runaways. Exeunt

Before OLIVER'S house

Enter ORLANDO and ADAM, meeting

ORLANDO. Who's there?
ADAM. What, my young master? O my gentle master!
O my sweet master! O you memory
Of old Sir Rowland! Why, what make you here?
Why are you virtuous? Why do people love you?
And wherefore are you gentle, strong, and valiant?
Why would you be so fond to overcome
The bonny prizer of the humorous Duke?
Your praise is come too swiftly home before you.
Know you not, master, to some kind of men
Their graces serve them but as enemies?
No more do yours. Your virtues, gentle master,
Are sanctified and holy traitors to you.
O, what a world is this, when what is comely
Envenoms him that bears it!
ORLANDO. Why, what's the matter?
ADAM. O unhappy youth!
Come not within these doors; within this roof
The enemy of all your graces lives.
Your brother- no, no brother; yet the son-
Yet not the son; I will not call him son
Of him I was about to call his father-
Hath heard your praises; and this night he means
To burn the lodging where you use to lie,
And you within it. If he fail of that,
He will have other means to cut you off;
I overheard him and his practices.
This is no place; this house is but a butchery;
Abhor it, fear it, do not enter it.
ORLANDO. Why, whither, Adam, wouldst thou have me go?
ADAM. No matter whither, so you come not here.
ORLANDO. What, wouldst thou have me go and beg my food,
Or with a base and boist'rous sword enforce
A thievish living on the common road?
This I must do, or know not what to do;
Yet this I will not do, do how I can.
I rather will subject me to the malice
Of a diverted blood and bloody brother.
ADAM. But do not so. I have five hundred crowns,
The thrifty hire I sav'd under your father,
Which I did store to be my foster-nurse,
When service should in my old limbs lie lame,
And unregarded age in corners thrown.
Take that, and He that doth the ravens feed,
Yea, providently caters for the sparrow,
Be comfort to my age! Here is the gold;
All this I give you. Let me be your servant;
Though I look old, yet I am strong and lusty;
For in my youth I never did apply
Hot and rebellious liquors in my blood,
Nor did not with unbashful forehead woo
The means of weakness and debility;
Therefore my age is as a lusty winter,
Frosty, but kindly. Let me go with you;
I'll do the service of a younger man
In all your business and necessities.
ORLANDO. O good old man, how well in thee appears
The constant service of the antique world,
When service sweat for duty, not for meed!
Thou art not for the fashion of these times,
Where none will sweat but for promotion,
And having that do choke their service up
Even with the having; it is not so with thee.
But, poor old man, thou prun'st a rotten tree
That cannot so much as a blossom yield
In lieu of all thy pains and husbandry.
But come thy ways, we'll go along together,
And ere we have thy youthful wages spent
We'll light upon some settled low content.
ADAM. Master, go on; and I will follow the
To the last gasp, with truth and loyalty.
From seventeen years till now almost four-score
Here lived I, but now live here no more.
At seventeen years many their fortunes seek,
But at fourscore it is too late a week;
Yet fortune cannot recompense me better
Than to die well and not my master's debtor. Exeunt

The Forest of Arden


ROSALIND. O Jupiter, how weary are my spirits!
TOUCHSTONE. I Care not for my spirits, if my legs were not weary.
ROSALIND. I could find in my heart to disgrace my man's apparel,
and to cry like a woman; but I must comfort the weaker vessel, as
doublet and hose ought to show itself courageous to petticoat;
therefore, courage, good Aliena.
CELIA. I pray you bear with me; I cannot go no further.
TOUCHSTONE. For my part, I had rather bear with you than bear you;
yet I should bear no cross if I did bear you; for I think you
have no money in your purse.
ROSALIND. Well,. this is the Forest of Arden.
TOUCHSTONE. Ay, now am I in Arden; the more fool I; when I was at
home I was in a better place; but travellers must be content.


ROSALIND. Ay, be so, good Touchstone. Look you, who comes here, a
young man and an old in solemn talk.
CORIN. That is the way to make her scorn you still.
SILVIUS. O Corin, that thou knew'st how I do love her!
CORIN. I partly guess; for I have lov'd ere now.
SILVIUS. No, Corin, being old, thou canst not guess,
Though in thy youth thou wast as true a lover
As ever sigh'd upon a midnight pillow.
But if thy love were ever like to mine,
As sure I think did never man love so,
How many actions most ridiculous
Hast thou been drawn to by thy fantasy?
CORIN. Into a thousand that I have forgotten.
SILVIUS. O, thou didst then never love so heartily!
If thou rememb'rest not the slightest folly
That ever love did make thee run into,
Thou hast not lov'd;
Or if thou hast not sat as I do now,
Wearing thy hearer in thy mistress' praise,
Thou hast not lov'd;
Or if thou hast not broke from company
Abruptly, as my passion now makes me,
Thou hast not lov'd.
O Phebe, Phebe, Phebe! Exit Silvius
ROSALIND. Alas, poor shepherd! searching of thy wound,
I have by hard adventure found mine own.
TOUCHSTONE. And I mine. I remember, when I was in love, I broke my
sword upon a stone, and bid him take that for coming a-night to
Jane Smile; and I remember the kissing of her batler, and the
cow's dugs that her pretty chopt hands had milk'd; and I remember
the wooing of peascod instead of her; from whom I took two cods,
and giving her them again, said with weeping tears 'Wear these
for my sake.' We that are true lovers run into strange capers;
but as all is mortal in nature, so is all nature in love mortal
in folly.
ROSALIND. Thou speak'st wiser than thou art ware of.
TOUCHSTONE. Nay, I shall ne'er be ware of mine own wit till I break
my shins against it.
ROSALIND. Jove, Jove! this shepherd's passion
Is much upon my fashion.
TOUCHSTONE. And mine; but it grows something stale with me.
CELIA. I pray you, one of you question yond man
If he for gold will give us any food;
I faint almost to death.
TOUCHSTONE. Holla, you clown!
ROSALIND. Peace, fool; he's not thy Ensman.
CORIN. Who calls?
TOUCHSTONE. Your betters, sir.
CORIN. Else are they very wretched.
ROSALIND. Peace, I say. Good even to you, friend.
CORIN. And to you, gentle sir, and to you all.
ROSALIND. I prithee, shepherd, if that love or gold
Can in this desert place buy entertainment,
Bring us where we may rest ourselves and feed.
Here's a young maid with travel much oppress'd,
And faints for succour.
CORIN. Fair sir, I pity her,
And wish, for her sake more than for mine own,
My fortunes were more able to relieve her;
But I am shepherd to another man,
And do not shear the fleeces that I graze.
My master is of churlish disposition,
And little recks to find the way to heaven
By doing deeds of hospitality.
Besides, his cote, his flocks, and bounds of feed,
Are now on sale; and at our sheepcote now,
By reason of his absence, there is nothing
That you will feed on; but what is, come see,
And in my voice most welcome shall you be.
ROSALIND. What is he that shall buy his flock and pasture?
CORIN. That young swain that you saw here but erewhile,
That little cares for buying any thing.
ROSALIND. I pray thee, if it stand with honesty,
Buy thou the cottage, pasture, and the flock,
And thou shalt have to pay for it of us.
CELIA. And we will mend thy wages. I like this place,
And willingly could waste my time in it.
CORIN. Assuredly the thing is to be sold.
Go with me; if you like upon report
The soil, the profit, and this kind of life,
I will your very faithful feeder be,
And buy it with your gold right suddenly. Exeunt

Another part of the forest


AMIENS. Under the greenwood tree
Who loves to lie with me,
And turn his merry note
Unto the sweet bird's throat,
Come hither, come hither, come hither.
Here shall he see
No enemy
But winter and rough weather.

JAQUES. More, more, I prithee, more.
AMIENS. It will make you melancholy, Monsieur Jaques.
JAQUES. I thank it. More, I prithee, more. I can suck melancholy
out of a song, as a weasel sucks eggs. More, I prithee, more.
AMIENS. My voice is ragged; I know I cannot please you.
JAQUES. I do not desire you to please me; I do desire you to sing.
Come, more; another stanzo. Call you 'em stanzos?
AMIENS. What you will, Monsieur Jaques.
JAQUES. Nay, I care not for their names; they owe me nothing. Will
you sing?
AMIENS. More at your request than to please myself.
JAQUES. Well then, if ever I thank any man, I'll thank you; but
that they call compliment is like th' encounter of two dog-apes;
and when a man thanks me heartily, methinks have given him a
penny, and he renders me the beggarly thanks. Come, sing; and you
that will not, hold your tongues.
AMIENS. Well, I'll end the song. Sirs, cover the while; the Duke
will drink under this tree. He hath been all this day to look
JAQUES. And I have been all this day to avoid him. He is to
disputable for my company. I think of as many matters as he; but
I give heaven thanks, and make no boast of them. Come, warble,

[All together here]

Who doth ambition shun,
And loves to live i' th' sun,
Seeking the food he eats,
And pleas'd with what he gets,
Come hither, come hither, come hither.
Here shall he see
No enemy
But winter and rough weather.

JAQUES. I'll give you a verse to this note that I made yesterday in
despite of my invention.
AMIENS. And I'll sing it.
JAQUES. Thus it goes:

If it do come to pass
That any man turn ass,
Leaving his wealth and ease
A stubborn will to please,
Ducdame, ducdame, ducdame;
Here shall he see
Gross fools as he,
An if he will come to me.

AMIENS. What's that 'ducdame'?
JAQUES. 'Tis a Greek invocation, to call fools into a circle. I'll
go sleep, if I can; if I cannot, I'll rail against all the
first-born of Egypt.
AMIENS. And I'll go seek the Duke; his banquet is prepar'd.
Exeunt severally

The forest


ADAM. Dear master, I can go no further. O, I die for food! Here lie
I down, and measure out my grave. Farewell, kind master.
ORLANDO. Why, how now, Adam! No greater heart in thee? Live a
little; comfort a little; cheer thyself a little. If this uncouth
forest yield anything savage, I will either be food for it or
bring it for food to thee. Thy conceit is nearer death than thy
powers. For my sake be comfortable; hold death awhile at the
arm's end. I will here be with the presently; and if I bring thee
not something to eat, I will give thee leave to die; but if thou
diest before I come, thou art a mocker of my labour. Well said!
thou look'st cheerly; and I'll be with thee quickly. Yet thou
liest in the bleak air. Come, I will bear thee to some shelter;
and thou shalt not die for lack of a dinner, if there live
anything in this desert. Cheerly, good Adam! Exeunt

The forest

A table set out. Enter DUKE SENIOR, AMIENS, and LORDS, like outlaws

DUKE SENIOR. I think he be transform'd into a beast;
For I can nowhere find him like a man.
FIRST LORD. My lord, he is but even now gone hence;
Here was he merry, hearing of a song.
DUKE SENIOR. If he, compact of jars, grow musical,
We shall have shortly discord in the spheres.
Go seek him; tell him I would speak with him.


FIRST LORD. He saves my labour by his own approach.
DUKE SENIOR. Why, how now, monsieur! what a life is this,
That your poor friends must woo your company?
What, you look merrily!
JAQUES. A fool, a fool! I met a fool i' th' forest,
A motley fool. A miserable world!
As I do live by food, I met a fool,
Who laid him down and bask'd him in the sun,
And rail'd on Lady Fortune in good terms,
In good set terms- and yet a motley fool.
'Good morrow, fool,' quoth I; 'No, sir,' quoth he,
'Call me not fool till heaven hath sent me fortune.'
And then he drew a dial from his poke,
And, looking on it with lack-lustre eye,
Says very wisely, 'It is ten o'clock;
Thus we may see,' quoth he, 'how the world wags;
'Tis but an hour ago since it was nine;
And after one hour more 'twill be eleven;
And so, from hour to hour, we ripe and ripe,
And then, from hour to hour, we rot and rot;
And thereby hangs a tale.' When I did hear
The motley fool thus moral on the time,
My lungs began to crow like chanticleer
That fools should be so deep contemplative;
And I did laugh sans intermission
An hour by his dial. O noble fool!
A worthy fool! Motley's the only wear.
DUKE SENIOR. What fool is this?
JAQUES. O worthy fool! One that hath been a courtier,
And says, if ladies be but young and fair,
They have the gift to know it; and in his brain,
Which is as dry as the remainder biscuit
After a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd
With observation, the which he vents
In mangled forms. O that I were a fool!
I am ambitious for a motley coat.
DUKE SENIOR. Thou shalt have one.
JAQUES. It is my only suit,
Provided that you weed your better judgments
Of all opinion that grows rank in them
That I am wise. I must have liberty
Withal, as large a charter as the wind,
To blow on whom I please, for so fools have;
And they that are most galled with my folly,
They most must laugh. And why, sir, must they so?
The why is plain as way to parish church:
He that a fool doth very wisely hit
Doth very foolishly, although he smart,
Not to seem senseless of the bob; if not,
The wise man's folly is anatomiz'd
Even by the squand'ring glances of the fool.
Invest me in my motley; give me leave
To speak my mind, and I will through and through
Cleanse the foul body of th' infected world,
If they will patiently receive my medicine.
DUKE SENIOR. Fie on thee! I can tell what thou wouldst do.
JAQUES. What, for a counter, would I do but good?
DUKE SENIOR. Most Mischievous foul sin, in chiding sin;
For thou thyself hast been a libertine,
As sensual as the brutish sting itself;
And all th' embossed sores and headed evils
That thou with license of free foot hast caught
Wouldst thou disgorge into the general world.
JAQUES. Why, who cries out on pride
That can therein tax any private party?
Doth it not flow as hugely as the sea,
Till that the wearer's very means do ebb?
What woman in the city do I name
When that I say the city-woman bears
The cost of princes on unworthy shoulders?
Who can come in and say that I mean her,
When such a one as she such is her neighbour?
Or what is he of basest function
That says his bravery is not on my cost,
Thinking that I mean him, but therein suits
His folly to the mettle of my speech?
There then! how then? what then? Let me see wherein
My tongue hath wrong'd him: if it do him right,
Then he hath wrong'd himself; if he be free,
Why then my taxing like a wild-goose flies,
Unclaim'd of any man. But who comes here?

Enter ORLANDO with his sword drawn

ORLANDO. Forbear, and eat no more.
JAQUES. Why, I have eat none yet.
ORLANDO. Nor shalt not, till necessity be serv'd.
JAQUES. Of what kind should this cock come of?
DUKE SENIOR. Art thou thus bolden'd, man, by thy distress?
Or else a rude despiser of good manners,
That in civility thou seem'st so empty?
ORLANDO. You touch'd my vein at first: the thorny point
Of bare distress hath ta'en from me the show
Of smooth civility; yet arn I inland bred,
And know some nurture. But forbear, I say;
He dies that touches any of this fruit
Till I and my affairs are answered.
JAQUES. An you will not be answer'd with reason, I must die.
DUKE SENIOR. What would you have? Your gentleness shall force
More than your force move us to gentleness.
ORLANDO. I almost die for food, and let me have it.
DUKE SENIOR. Sit down and feed, and welcome to our table.
ORLANDO. Speak you so gently? Pardon me, I pray you;
I thought that all things had been savage here,
And therefore put I on the countenance
Of stern commandment. But whate'er you are
That in this desert inaccessible,
Under the shade of melancholy boughs,
Lose and neglect the creeping hours of time;
If ever you have look'd on better days,
If ever been where bells have knoll'd to church,
If ever sat at any good man's feast,
If ever from your eyelids wip'd a tear,
And know what 'tis to pity and be pitied,
Let gentleness my strong enforcement be;
In the which hope I blush, and hide my sword.
DUKE SENIOR. True is it that we have seen better days,
And have with holy bell been knoll'd to church,
And sat at good men's feasts, and wip'd our eyes
Of drops that sacred pity hath engend'red;
And therefore sit you down in gentleness,
And take upon command what help we have
That to your wanting may be minist'red.
ORLANDO. Then but forbear your food a little while,
Whiles, like a doe, I go to find my fawn,
And give it food. There is an old poor man
Who after me hath many a weary step
Limp'd in pure love; till he be first suffic'd,
Oppress'd with two weak evils, age and hunger,
I will not touch a bit.
DUKE SENIOR. Go find him out.
And we will nothing waste till you return.
ORLANDO. I thank ye; and be blest for your good comfort!
DUKE SENIOR. Thou seest we are not all alone unhappy:
This wide and universal theatre
Presents more woeful pageants than the scene
Wherein we play in.
JAQUES. All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms;
Then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon's mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lin'd,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper'd pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,
His youthful hose, well sav'd, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion;
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans every thing.

Re-enter ORLANDO with ADAM

DUKE SENIOR. Welcome. Set down your venerable burden.
And let him feed.
ORLANDO. I thank you most for him.
ADAM. So had you need;
I scarce can speak to thank you for myself.
DUKE SENIOR. Welcome; fall to. I will not trouble you
As yet to question you about your fortunes.
Give us some music; and, good cousin, sing.

Blow, blow, thou winter wind,
Thou art not so unkind
As man's ingratitude;
Thy tooth is not so keen,
Because thou art not seen,
Although thy breath be rude.
Heigh-ho! sing heigh-ho! unto the green holly.
Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly.
Then, heigh-ho, the holly!
This life is most jolly.

Freeze, freeze, thou bitter sky,
That dost not bite so nigh
As benefits forgot;
Though thou the waters warp,
Thy sting is not so sharp
As friend rememb'red not.
Heigh-ho! sing, &c.

DUKE SENIOR. If that you were the good Sir Rowland's son,
As you have whisper'd faithfully you were,
And as mine eye doth his effigies witness
Most truly limn'd and living in your face,
Be truly welcome hither. I am the Duke
That lov'd your father. The residue of your fortune,
Go to my cave and tell me. Good old man,
Thou art right welcome as thy master is.
Support him by the arm. Give me your hand,
And let me all your fortunes understand. Exeunt

The palace


FREDERICK. Not see him since! Sir, sir, that cannot be.
But were I not the better part made mercy,
I should not seek an absent argument
Of my revenge, thou present. But look to it:
Find out thy brother wheresoe'er he is;
Seek him with candle; bring him dead or living
Within this twelvemonth, or turn thou no more
To seek a living in our territory.
Thy lands and all things that thou dost call thine
Worth seizure do we seize into our hands,
Till thou canst quit thee by thy brother's mouth
Of what we think against thee.
OLIVER. O that your Highness knew my heart in this!
I never lov'd my brother in my life.
FREDERICK. More villain thou. Well, push him out of doors;
And let my officers of such a nature
Make an extent upon his house and lands.
Do this expediently, and turn him going. Exeunt

The forest

Enter ORLANDO, with a paper

ORLANDO. Hang there, my verse, in witness of my love;
And thou, thrice-crowned Queen of Night, survey
With thy chaste eye, from thy pale sphere above,
Thy huntress' name that my full life doth sway.
O Rosalind! these trees shall be my books,
And in their barks my thoughts I'll character,
That every eye which in this forest looks
Shall see thy virtue witness'd every where.
Run, run, Orlando; carve on every tree,
The fair, the chaste, and unexpressive she. Exit


CORIN. And how like you this shepherd's life, Master Touchstone?
TOUCHSTONE. Truly, shepherd, in respect of itself, it is a good
life; but in respect that it is a shepherd's life, it is nought.
In respect that it is solitary, I like it very well; but in
respect that it is private, it is a very vile life. Now in
respect it is in the fields, it pleaseth me well; but in respect
it is not in the court, it is tedious. As it is a spare life,
look you, it fits my humour well; but as there is no more plenty
in it, it goes much against my stomach. Hast any philosophy in
thee, shepherd?
CORIN. No more but that I know the more one sickens the worse at
ease he is; and that he that wants money, means, and content, is
without three good friends; that the property of rain is to wet,
and fire to burn; that good pasture makes fat sheep; and that a
great cause of the night is lack of the sun; that he that hath
learned no wit by nature nor art may complain of good breeding,
or comes of a very dull kindred.
TOUCHSTONE. Such a one is a natural philosopher. Wast ever in
court, shepherd?
CORIN. No, truly.
TOUCHSTONE. Then thou art damn'd.
CORIN. Nay, I hope.
TOUCHSTONE. Truly, thou art damn'd, like an ill-roasted egg, all on
one side.
CORIN. For not being at court? Your reason.
TOUCHSTONE. Why, if thou never wast at court thou never saw'st good
manners; if thou never saw'st good manners, then thy manners must
be wicked; and wickedness is sin, and sin is damnation. Thou art
in a parlous state, shepherd.
CORIN. Not a whit, Touchstone. Those that are good manners at the
court are as ridiculous in the country as the behaviour of the
country is most mockable at the court. You told me you salute not
at the court, but you kiss your hands; that courtesy would be
uncleanly if courtiers were shepherds.
TOUCHSTONE. Instance, briefly; come, instance.
CORIN. Why, we are still handling our ewes; and their fells, you
know, are greasy.
TOUCHSTONE. Why, do not your courtier's hands sweat? And is not the
grease of a mutton as wholesome as the sweat of a man? Shallow,
shallow. A better instance, I say; come.
CORIN. Besides, our hands are hard.
TOUCHSTONE. Your lips will feel them the sooner. Shallow again. A
more sounder instance; come.
CORIN. And they are often tarr'd over with the surgery of our
sheep; and would you have us kiss tar? The courtier's hands are
perfum'd with civet.
TOUCHSTONE. Most shallow man! thou worm's meat in respect of a good
piece of flesh indeed! Learn of the wise, and perpend: civet is
of a baser birth than tar- the very uncleanly flux of a cat. Mend
the instance, shepherd.
CORIN. You have too courtly a wit for me; I'll rest.
TOUCHSTONE. Wilt thou rest damn'd? God help thee, shallow man! God
make incision in thee! thou art raw.
CORIN. Sir, I am a true labourer: I earn that I eat, get that I
wear; owe no man hate, envy no man's happiness; glad of other
men's good, content with my harm; and the greatest of my pride is
to see my ewes graze and my lambs suck.
TOUCHSTONE. That is another simple sin in you: to bring the ewes
and the rams together, and to offer to get your living by the
copulation of cattle; to be bawd to a bell-wether, and to betray
a she-lamb of a twelvemonth to crooked-pated, old, cuckoldly ram,
out of all reasonable match. If thou beest not damn'd for this,
the devil himself will have no shepherds; I cannot see else how
thou shouldst scape.
CORIN. Here comes young Master Ganymede, my new mistress's brother.

Enter ROSALIND, reading a paper

ROSALIND. 'From the east to western Inde,
No jewel is like Rosalinde.
Her worth, being mounted on the wind,
Through all the world bears Rosalinde.
All the pictures fairest lin'd
Are but black to Rosalinde.
Let no face be kept in mind
But the fair of Rosalinde.'
TOUCHSTONE. I'll rhyme you so eight years together, dinners, and
suppers, and sleeping hours, excepted. It is the right
butter-women's rank to market.
ROSALIND. Out, fool!
TOUCHSTONE. For a taste:
If a hart do lack a hind,
Let him seek out Rosalinde.
If the cat will after kind,
So be sure will Rosalinde.
Winter garments must be lin'd,
So must slender Rosalinde.
They that reap must sheaf and bind,
Then to cart with Rosalinde.
Sweetest nut hath sourest rind,
Such a nut is Rosalinde.
He that sweetest rose will find
Must find love's prick and Rosalinde.
This is the very false gallop of verses; why do you infect
yourself with them?
ROSALIND. Peace, you dull fool! I found them on a tree.
TOUCHSTONE. Truly, the tree yields bad fruit.
ROSALIND. I'll graff it with you, and then I shall graff it with a
medlar. Then it will be the earliest fruit i' th' country; for
you'll be rotten ere you be half ripe, and that's the right
virtue of the medlar.
TOUCHSTONE. You have said; but whether wisely or no, let the forest

Enter CELIA, with a writing

Here comes my sister, reading; stand aside.
CELIA. 'Why should this a desert be?
For it is unpeopled? No;
Tongues I'll hang on every tree
That shall civil sayings show.
Some, how brief the life of man
Runs his erring pilgrimage,
That the streching of a span
Buckles in his sum of age;
Some, of violated vows
'Twixt the souls of friend and friend;
But upon the fairest boughs,
Or at every sentence end,
Will I Rosalinda write,
Teaching all that read to know
The quintessence of every sprite
Heaven would in little show.
Therefore heaven Nature charg'd
That one body should be fill'd
With all graces wide-enlarg'd.
Nature presently distill'd
Helen's cheek, but not her heart,
Cleopatra's majesty,
Atalanta's better part,
Sad Lucretia's modesty.
Thus Rosalinde of many parts
By heavenly synod was devis'd,
Of many faces, eyes, and hearts,
To have the touches dearest priz'd.
Heaven would that she these gifts should have,
And I to live and die her slave.'
ROSALIND. O most gentle pulpiter! What tedious homily of love have
you wearied your parishioners withal, and never cried 'Have
patience, good people.'
CELIA. How now! Back, friends; shepherd, go off a little; go with
him, sirrah.
TOUCHSTONE. Come, shepherd, let us make an honourable retreat;
though not with bag and baggage, yet with scrip and scrippage.
CELIA. Didst thou hear these verses?
ROSALIND. O, yes, I heard them all, and more too; for some of them
had in them more feet than the verses would bear.
CELIA. That's no matter; the feet might bear the verses.
ROSALIND. Ay, but the feet were lame, and could not bear themselves
without the verse, and therefore stood lamely in the verse.
CELIA. But didst thou hear without wondering how thy name should be
hang'd and carved upon these trees?
ROSALIND. I was seven of the nine days out of the wonder before you
came; for look here what I found on a palm-tree. I was never so
berhym'd since Pythagoras' time that I was an Irish rat, which I
can hardly remember.
CELIA. Trow you who hath done this?
ROSALIND. Is it a man?
CELIA. And a chain, that you once wore, about his neck.
Change you colour?
ROSALIND. I prithee, who?
CELIA. O Lord, Lord! it is a hard matter for friends to meet; but
mountains may be remov'd with earthquakes, and so encounter.
ROSALIND. Nay, but who is it?
CELIA. Is it possible?
ROSALIND. Nay, I prithee now, with most petitionary vehemence, tell
me who it is.
CELIA. O wonderful, wonderful, most wonderful wonderful, and yet
again wonderful, and after that, out of all whooping!
ROSALIND. Good my complexion! dost thou think, though I am
caparison'd like a man, I have a doublet and hose in my
disposition? One inch of delay more is a South Sea of discovery.
I prithee tell me who is it quickly, and speak apace. I would
thou could'st stammer, that thou mightst pour this conceal'd man
out of thy mouth, as wine comes out of narrow-mouth'd bottle-
either too much at once or none at all. I prithee take the cork
out of thy mouth that I may drink thy tidings.
CELIA. So you may put a man in your belly.
ROSALIND. Is he of God's making? What manner of man?
Is his head worth a hat or his chin worth a beard?
CELIA. Nay, he hath but a little beard.
ROSALIND. Why, God will send more if the man will be thankful. Let
me stay the growth of his beard, if thou delay me not the
knowledge of his chin.
CELIA. It is young Orlando, that tripp'd up the wrestler's heels
and your heart both in an instant.
ROSALIND. Nay, but the devil take mocking! Speak sad brow and true
CELIA. I' faith, coz, 'tis he.
ROSALIND. Orlando?
CELIA. Orlando.
ROSALIND. Alas the day! what shall I do with my doublet and hose?
What did he when thou saw'st him? What said he? How look'd he?
Wherein went he? What makes he here? Did he ask for me? Where
remains he? How parted he with thee? And when shalt thou see him
again? Answer me in one word.
CELIA. You must borrow me Gargantua's mouth first; 'tis a word too
great for any mouth of this age's size. To say ay and no to these
particulars is more than to answer in a catechism.
ROSALIND. But doth he know that I am in this forest, and in man's
apparel? Looks he as freshly as he did the day he wrestled?
CELIA. It is as easy to count atomies as to resolve the
propositions of a lover; but take a taste of my finding him, and
relish it with good observance. I found him under a tree, like a
dropp'd acorn.
ROSALIND. It may well be call'd Jove's tree, when it drops forth
such fruit.
CELIA. Give me audience, good madam.
ROSALIND. Proceed.
CELIA. There lay he, stretch'd along like a wounded knight.
ROSALIND. Though it be pity to see such a sight, it well becomes
the ground.
CELIA. Cry 'Holla' to thy tongue, I prithee; it curvets
unseasonably. He was furnish'd like a hunter.
ROSALIND. O, ominous! he comes to kill my heart.
CELIA. I would sing my song without a burden; thou bring'st me out
of tune.
ROSALIND. Do you not know I am a woman? When I think, I must speak.
Sweet, say on.
CELIA. You bring me out. Soft! comes he not here?


ROSALIND. 'Tis he; slink by, and note him.
JAQUES. I thank you for your company; but, good faith, I had as
lief have been myself alone.
ORLANDO. And so had I; but yet, for fashion sake, I thank you too
for your society.
JAQUES. God buy you; let's meet as little as we can.
ORLANDO. I do desire we may be better strangers.
JAQUES. I pray you mar no more trees with writing love songs in
their barks.
ORLANDO. I pray you mar no more of my verses with reading them
JAQUES. Rosalind is your love's name?
ORLANDO. Yes, just.
JAQUES. I do not like her name.
ORLANDO. There was no thought of pleasing you when she was
JAQUES. What stature is she of?
ORLANDO. Just as high as my heart.
JAQUES. You are full of pretty answers. Have you not been
acquainted with goldsmiths' wives, and conn'd them out of rings?
ORLANDO. Not so; but I answer you right painted cloth, from whence
you have studied your questions.
JAQUES. You have a nimble wit; I think 'twas made of Atalanta's
heels. Will you sit down with me? and we two will rail against
our mistress the world, and all our misery.
ORLANDO. I will chide no breather in the world but myself, against
whom I know most faults.
JAQUES. The worst fault you have is to be in love.
ORLANDO. 'Tis a fault I will not change for your best virtue. I am
weary of you.
JAQUES. By my troth, I was seeking for a fool when I found you.
ORLANDO. He is drown'd in the brook; look but in, and you shall see
JAQUES. There I shall see mine own figure.
ORLANDO. Which I take to be either a fool or a cipher.
JAQUES. I'll tarry no longer with you; farewell, good Signior Love.
ORLANDO. I am glad of your departure; adieu, good Monsieur
ROSALIND. [Aside to CELIA] I will speak to him like a saucy lackey,
and under that habit play the knave with him.- Do you hear,
ORLANDO. Very well; what would you?
ROSALIND. I pray you, what is't o'clock?
ORLANDO. You should ask me what time o' day; there's no clock in
the forest.
ROSALIND. Then there is no true lover in the forest, else sighing
every minute and groaning every hour would detect the lazy foot
of Time as well as a clock.
ORLANDO. And why not the swift foot of Time? Had not that been as
ROSALIND. By no means, sir. Time travels in divers paces with
divers persons. I'll tell you who Time ambles withal, who Time
trots withal, who Time gallops withal, and who he stands still
ORLANDO. I prithee, who doth he trot withal?
ROSALIND. Marry, he trots hard with a young maid between the
contract of her marriage and the day it is solemniz'd; if the
interim be but a se'nnight, Time's pace is so hard that it seems
the length of seven year.
ORLANDO. Who ambles Time withal?
ROSALIND. With a priest that lacks Latin and a rich man that hath
not the gout; for the one sleeps easily because he cannot study,
and the other lives merrily because he feels no pain; the one
lacking the burden of lean and wasteful learning, the other
knowing no burden of heavy tedious penury. These Time ambles
ORLANDO. Who doth he gallop withal?
ROSALIND. With a thief to the gallows; for though he go as softly
as foot can fall, he thinks himself too soon there.
ORLANDO. Who stays it still withal?
ROSALIND. With lawyers in the vacation; for they sleep between term
and term, and then they perceive not how Time moves.
ORLANDO. Where dwell you, pretty youth?
ROSALIND. With this shepherdess, my sister; here in the skirts of
the forest, like fringe upon a petticoat.
ORLANDO. Are you native of this place?
ROSALIND. As the coney that you see dwell where she is kindled.
ORLANDO. Your accent is something finer than you could purchase in
so removed a dwelling.
ROSALIND. I have been told so of many; but indeed an old religious
uncle of mine taught me to speak, who was in his youth an inland
man; one that knew courtship too well, for there he fell in love.
I have heard him read many lectures against it; and I thank God I
am not a woman, to be touch'd with so many giddy offences as he
hath generally tax'd their whole sex withal.
ORLANDO. Can you remember any of the principal evils that he laid
to the charge of women?
ROSALIND. There were none principal; they were all like one another
as halfpence are; every one fault seeming monstrous till his
fellow-fault came to match it.
ORLANDO. I prithee recount some of them.
ROSALIND. No; I will not cast away my physic but on those that are
sick. There is a man haunts the forest that abuses our young
plants with carving 'Rosalind' on their barks; hangs odes upon
hawthorns and elegies on brambles; all, forsooth, deifying the
name of Rosalind. If I could meet that fancy-monger, I would give
him some good counsel, for he seems to have the quotidian of love
upon him.
ORLANDO. I am he that is so love-shak'd; I pray you tell me your
ROSALIND. There is none of my uncle's marks upon you; he taught me
how to know a man in love; in which cage of rushes I am sure you
are not prisoner.
ORLANDO. What were his marks?
ROSALIND. A lean cheek, which you have not; a blue eye and sunken,
which you have not; an unquestionable spirit, which you have not;
a beard neglected, which you have not; but I pardon you for that,
for simply your having in beard is a younger brother's revenue.
Then your hose should be ungarter'd, your bonnet unbanded, your
sleeve unbutton'd, your shoe untied, and every thing about you
demonstrating a careless desolation. But you are no such man; you
are rather point-device in your accoutrements, as loving yourself
than seeming the lover of any other.
ORLANDO. Fair youth, I would I could make thee believe I love.
ROSALIND. Me believe it! You may as soon make her that you love
believe it; which, I warrant, she is apter to do than to confess
she does. That is one of the points in the which women still give
the lie to their consciences. But, in good sooth, are you he that
hangs the verses on the trees wherein Rosalind is so admired?
ORLANDO. I swear to thee, youth, by the white hand of Rosalind, I
am that he, that unfortunate he.
ROSALIND. But are you so much in love as your rhymes speak?
ORLANDO. Neither rhyme nor reason can express how much.
ROSALIND. Love is merely a madness; and, I tell you, deserves as
well a dark house and a whip as madmen do; and the reason why
they are not so punish'd and cured is that the lunacy is so
ordinary that the whippers are in love too. Yet I profess curing
it by counsel.
ORLANDO. Did you ever cure any so?
ROSALIND. Yes, one; and in this manner. He was to imagine me his
love, his mistress; and I set him every day to woo me; at which
time would I, being but a moonish youth, grieve, be effeminate,
changeable, longing and liking, proud, fantastical, apish,
shallow, inconstant, full of tears, full of smiles; for every
passion something and for no passion truly anything, as boys and
women are for the most part cattle of this colour; would now like
him, now loathe him; then entertain him, then forswear him; now
weep for him, then spit at him; that I drave my suitor from his
mad humour of love to a living humour of madness; which was, to
forswear the full stream of the world and to live in a nook
merely monastic. And thus I cur'd him; and this way will I take
upon me to wash your liver as clean as a sound sheep's heart,
that there shall not be one spot of love in 't.
ORLANDO. I would not be cured, youth.
ROSALIND. I would cure you, if you would but call me Rosalind, and
come every day to my cote and woo me.
ORLANDO. Now, by the faith of my love, I will. Tell me where it is.
ROSALIND. Go with me to it, and I'll show it you; and, by the way,
you shall tell me where in the forest you live. Will you go?
ORLANDO. With all my heart, good youth.
ROSALIND. Nay, you must call me Rosalind. Come, sister, will you
go? Exeunt

The forest


TOUCHSTONE. Come apace, good Audrey; I will fetch up your goats,
Audrey. And how, Audrey, am I the man yet? Doth my simple feature
content you?
AUDREY. Your features! Lord warrant us! What features?
TOUCHSTONE. I am here with thee and thy goats, as the most
capricious poet, honest Ovid, was among the Goths.
JAQUES. [Aside] O knowledge ill-inhabited, worse than Jove in a
thatch'd house!
TOUCHSTONE. When a man's verses cannot be understood, nor a man's
good wit seconded with the forward child understanding, it
strikes a man more dead than a great reckoning in a little room.
Truly, I would the gods had made thee poetical.
AUDREY. I do not know what 'poetical' is. Is it honest in deed and
word? Is it a true thing?
TOUCHSTONE. No, truly; for the truest poetry is the most feigning,
and lovers are given to poetry; and what they swear in poetry may
be said as lovers they do feign.
AUDREY. Do you wish, then, that the gods had made me poetical?
TOUCHSTONE. I do, truly, for thou swear'st to me thou art honest;
now, if thou wert a poet, I might have some hope thou didst
AUDREY. Would you not have me honest?
TOUCHSTONE. No, truly, unless thou wert hard-favour'd; for honesty
coupled to beauty is to have honey a sauce to sugar.
JAQUES. [Aside] A material fool!
AUDREY. Well, I am not fair; and therefore I pray the gods make me
TOUCHSTONE. Truly, and to cast away honesty upon a foul slut were
to put good meat into an unclean dish.
AUDREY. I am not a slut, though I thank the gods I am foul.
TOUCHSTONE. Well, praised be the gods for thy foulness;
sluttishness may come hereafter. But be it as it may be, I will
marry thee; and to that end I have been with Sir Oliver Martext,
the vicar of the next village, who hath promis'd to meet me in
this place of the forest, and to couple us.
JAQUES. [Aside] I would fain see this meeting.
AUDREY. Well, the gods give us joy!
TOUCHSTONE. Amen. A man may, if he were of a fearful heart, stagger
in this attempt; for here we have no temple but the wood, no
assembly but horn-beasts. But what though? Courage! As horns are
odious, they are necessary. It is said: 'Many a man knows no end
of his goods.' Right! Many a man has good horns and knows no end
of them. Well, that is the dowry of his wife; 'tis none of his
own getting. Horns? Even so. Poor men alone? No, no; the noblest
deer hath them as huge as the rascal. Is the single man therefore
blessed? No; as a wall'd town is more worthier than a village, so
is the forehead of a married man more honourable than the bare
brow of a bachelor; and by how much defence is better than no
skill, by so much is horn more precious than to want. Here comes
Sir Oliver.


Sir Oliver Martext, you are well met. Will you dispatch us here
under this tree, or shall we go with you to your chapel?
MARTEXT. Is there none here to give the woman?
TOUCHSTONE. I will not take her on gift of any man.
MARTEXT. Truly, she must be given, or the marriage is not lawful.
JAQUES. [Discovering himself] Proceed, proceed; I'll give her.
TOUCHSTONE. Good even, good Master What-ye-call't; how do you, sir?
You are very well met. Goddild you for your last company. I am
very glad to see you. Even a toy in hand here, sir. Nay; pray be
JAQUES. Will you be married, motley?
TOUCHSTONE. As the ox hath his bow, sir, the horse his curb, and
the falcon her bells, so man hath his desires; and as pigeons
bill, so wedlock would be nibbling.
JAQUES. And will you, being a man of your breeding, be married
under a bush, like a beggar? Get you to church and have a good
priest that can tell you what marriage is; this fellow will but
join you together as they join wainscot; then one of you will
prove a shrunk panel, and like green timber warp, warp.
TOUCHSTONE. [Aside] I am not in the mind but I were better to be
married of him than of another; for he is not like to marry me
well; and not being well married, it will be a good excuse for me
hereafter to leave my wife.
JAQUES. Go thou with me, and let me counsel thee.
TOUCHSTONE. Come, sweet Audrey;
We must be married or we must live in bawdry.
Farewell, good Master Oliver. Not-
O sweet Oliver,
O brave Oliver,
Leave me not behind thee.
Wind away,
Begone, I say,
I will not to wedding with thee.
MARTEXT. 'Tis no matter; ne'er a fantastical knave of them all
shall flout me out of my calling. Exit

The forest


ROSALIND. Never talk to me; I will weep.
CELIA. Do, I prithee; but yet have the grace to consider that tears
do not become a man.
ROSALIND. But have I not cause to weep?
CELIA. As good cause as one would desire; therefore weep.
ROSALIND. His very hair is of the dissembling colour.
CELIA. Something browner than Judas's.
Marry, his kisses are Judas's own children.
ROSALIND. I' faith, his hair is of a good colour.
CELIA. An excellent colour: your chestnut was ever the only colour.
ROSALIND. And his kissing is as full of sanctity as the touch of
holy bread.
CELIA. He hath bought a pair of cast lips of Diana. A nun of
winter's sisterhood kisses not more religiously; the very ice of
chastity is in them.
ROSALIND. But why did he swear he would come this morning, and
comes not?
CELIA. Nay, certainly, there is no truth in him.
ROSALIND. Do you think so?
CELIA. Yes; I think he is not a pick-purse nor a horse-stealer; but
for his verity in love, I do think him as concave as covered
goblet or a worm-eaten nut.
ROSALIND. Not true in love?
CELIA. Yes, when he is in; but I think he is not in.
ROSALIND. You have heard him swear downright he was.
CELIA. 'Was' is not 'is'; besides, the oath of a lover is no
stronger than the word of a tapster; they are both the confirmer
of false reckonings. He attends here in the forest on the Duke,
your father.
ROSALIND. I met the Duke yesterday, and had much question with him.
He asked me of what parentage I was; I told him, of as good as
he; so he laugh'd and let me go. But what talk we of fathers when
there is such a man as Orlando?
CELIA. O, that's a brave man! He writes brave verses, speaks brave
words, swears brave oaths, and breaks them bravely, quite
traverse, athwart the heart of his lover; as a puny tilter, that
spurs his horse but on one side, breaks his staff like a noble
goose. But all's brave that youth mounts and folly guides. Who
comes here?


CORIN. Mistress and master, you have oft enquired
After the shepherd that complain'd of love,
Who you saw sitting by me on the turf,
Praising the proud disdainful shepherdess
That was his mistress.
CELIA. Well, and what of him?
CORIN. If you will see a pageant truly play'd
Between the pale complexion of true love
And the red glow of scorn and proud disdain,
Go hence a little, and I shall conduct you,
If you will mark it.
ROSALIND. O, come, let us remove!
The sight of lovers feedeth those in love.
Bring us to this sight, and you shall say
I'll prove a busy actor in their play. Exeunt

Another part of the forest


SILVIUS. Sweet Phebe, do not scorn me; do not, Phebe.
Say that you love me not; but say not so
In bitterness. The common executioner,
Whose heart th' accustom'd sight of death makes hard,
Falls not the axe upon the humbled neck
But first begs pardon. Will you sterner be
Than he that dies and lives by bloody drops?

Enter ROSALIND, CELIA, and CORIN, at a distance

PHEBE. I would not be thy executioner;
I fly thee, for I would not injure thee.
Thou tell'st me there is murder in mine eye.
'Tis pretty, sure, and very probable,
That eyes, that are the frail'st and softest things,
Who shut their coward gates on atomies,
Should be call'd tyrants, butchers, murderers!
Now I do frown on thee with all my heart;
And if mine eyes can wound, now let them kill thee.
Now counterfeit to swoon; why, now fall down;
Or, if thou canst not, O, for shame, for shame,
Lie not, to say mine eyes are murderers.
Now show the wound mine eye hath made in thee.
Scratch thee but with a pin, and there remains
Some scar of it; lean upon a rush,
The cicatrice and capable impressure
Thy palm some moment keeps; but now mine eyes,
Which I have darted at thee, hurt thee not;
Nor, I am sure, there is not force in eyes
That can do hurt.
SILVIUS. O dear Phebe,
If ever- as that ever may be near-
You meet in some fresh cheek the power of fancy,
Then shall you know the wounds invisible
That love's keen arrows make.
PHEBE. But till that time
Come not thou near me; and when that time comes,
Afflict me with thy mocks, pity me not;
As till that time I shall not pity thee.
ROSALIND. [Advancing] And why, I pray you? Who might be your
That you insult, exult, and all at once,
Over the wretched? What though you have no beauty-
As, by my faith, I see no more in you
Than without candle may go dark to bed-
Must you be therefore proud and pitiless?
Why, what means this? Why do you look on me?
I see no more in you than in the ordinary
Of nature's sale-work. 'Od's my little life,
I think she means to tangle my eyes too!
No faith, proud mistress, hope not after it;
'Tis not your inky brows, your black silk hair,
Your bugle eyeballs, nor your cheek of cream,
That can entame my spirits to your worship.
You foolish shepherd, wherefore do you follow her,
Like foggy south, puffing with wind and rain?
You are a thousand times a properer man
Than she a woman. 'Tis such fools as you
That makes the world full of ill-favour'd children.
'Tis not her glass, but you, that flatters her;
And out of you she sees herself more proper
Than any of her lineaments can show her.
But, mistress, know yourself. Down on your knees,
And thank heaven, fasting, for a good man's love;
For I must tell you friendly in your ear:
Sell when you can; you are not for all markets.
Cry the man mercy, love him, take his offer;
Foul is most foul, being foul to be a scoffer.
So take her to thee, shepherd. Fare you well.
PHEBE. Sweet youth, I pray you chide a year together;
I had rather hear you chide than this man woo.
ROSALIND. He's fall'n in love with your foulness, and she'll fall
in love with my anger. If it be so, as fast as she answers thee
with frowning looks, I'll sauce her with bitter words. Why look
you so upon me?
PHEBE. For no ill will I bear you.
ROSALIND. I pray you do not fall in love with me,
For I am falser than vows made in wine;
Besides, I like you not. If you will know my house,
'Tis at the tuft of olives here hard by.
Will you go, sister? Shepherd, ply her hard.
Come, sister. Shepherdess, look on him better,
And be not proud; though all the world could see,
None could be so abus'd in sight as he.
Come, to our flock. Exeunt ROSALIND, CELIA, and CORIN
PHEBE. Dead shepherd, now I find thy saw of might:
'Who ever lov'd that lov'd not at first sight?'
SILVIUS. Sweet Phebe.
PHEBE. Ha! what say'st thou, Silvius?
SILVIUS. Sweet Phebe, pity me.
PHEBE. Why, I arn sorry for thee, gentle Silvius.
SILVIUS. Wherever sorrow is, relief would be.
If you do sorrow at my grief in love,
By giving love, your sorrow and my grief
Were both extermin'd.
PHEBE. Thou hast my love; is not that neighbourly?
SILVIUS. I would have you.
PHEBE. Why, that were covetousness.
Silvius, the time was that I hated thee;
And yet it is not that I bear thee love;
But since that thou canst talk of love so well,
Thy company, which erst was irksome to me,
I will endure; and I'll employ thee too.
But do not look for further recompense
Than thine own gladness that thou art employ'd.
SILVIUS. So holy and so perfect is my love,
And I in such a poverty of grace,
That I shall think it a most plenteous crop
To glean the broken ears after the man
That the main harvest reaps; loose now and then
A scatt'red smile, and that I'll live upon.
PHEBE. Know'st thou the youth that spoke to me erewhile?
SILVIUS. Not very well; but I have met him oft;
And he hath bought the cottage and the bounds
That the old carlot once was master of.
PHEBE. Think not I love him, though I ask for him;
'Tis but a peevish boy; yet he talks well.
But what care I for words? Yet words do well
When he that speaks them pleases those that hear.
It is a pretty youth- not very pretty;
But, sure, he's proud; and yet his pride becomes him.
He'll make a proper man. The best thing in him
Is his complexion; and faster than his tongue
Did make offence, his eye did heal it up.
He is not very tall; yet for his years he's tall;
His leg is but so-so; and yet 'tis well.
There was a pretty redness in his lip,
A little riper and more lusty red
Than that mix'd in his cheek; 'twas just the difference
Betwixt the constant red and mingled damask.
There be some women, Silvius, had they mark'd him
In parcels as I did, would have gone near
To fall in love with him; but, for my part,
I love him not, nor hate him not; and yet
I have more cause to hate him than to love him;
For what had he to do to chide at me?
He said mine eyes were black, and my hair black,
And, now I am rememb'red, scorn'd at me.
I marvel why I answer'd not again;
But that's all one: omittance is no quittance.
I'll write to him a very taunting letter,
And thou shalt bear it; wilt thou, Silvius?
SILVIUS. Phebe, with all my heart.
PHEBE. I'll write it straight;
The matter's in my head and in my heart;
I will be bitter with him and passing short.
Go with me, Silvius. Exeunt

The forest


JAQUES. I prithee, pretty youth, let me be better acquainted with
ROSALIND. They say you are a melancholy fellow.
JAQUES. I am so; I do love it better than laughing.
ROSALIND. Those that are in extremity of either are abominable
fellows, and betray themselves to every modern censure worse than
JAQUES. Why, 'tis good to be sad and say nothing.
ROSALIND. Why then, 'tis good to be a post.
JAQUES. I have neither the scholar's melancholy, which is
emulation; nor the musician's, which is fantastical; nor the
courtier's, which is proud; nor the soldier's, which is
ambitious; nor the lawyer's, which is politic; nor the lady's,
which is nice; nor the lover's, which is all these; but it is a
melancholy of mine own, compounded of many simples, extracted
from many objects, and, indeed, the sundry contemplation of my
travels; in which my often rumination wraps me in a most humorous
ROSALIND. A traveller! By my faith, you have great reason to be
sad. I fear you have sold your own lands to see other men's; then
to have seen much and to have nothing is to have rich eyes and
poor hands.
JAQUES. Yes, I have gain'd my experience.


ROSALIND. And your experience makes you sad. I had rather have a
fool to make me merry than experience to make me sad- and to
travel for it too.
ORLANDO. Good day, and happiness, dear Rosalind!
JAQUES. Nay, then, God buy you, an you talk in blank verse.
ROSALIND. Farewell, Monsieur Traveller; look you lisp and wear
strange suits, disable all the benefits of your own country, be
out of love with your nativity, and almost chide God for making
you that countenance you are; or I will scarce think you have
swam in a gondola. [Exit JAQUES] Why, how now, Orlando! where
have you been all this while? You a lover! An you serve me such
another trick, never come in my sight more.
ORLANDO. My fair Rosalind, I come within an hour of my promise.
ROSALIND. Break an hour's promise in love! He that will divide a
minute into a thousand parts, and break but a part of the
thousand part of a minute in the affairs of love, it may be said
of him that Cupid hath clapp'd him o' th' shoulder, but I'll
warrant him heart-whole.
ORLANDO. Pardon me, dear Rosalind.
ROSALIND. Nay, an you be so tardy, come no more in my sight. I had
as lief be woo'd of a snail.
ORLANDO. Of a snail!
ROSALIND. Ay, of a snail; for though he comes slowly, he carries
his house on his head- a better jointure, I think, than you make
a woman; besides, he brings his destiny with him.
ORLANDO. What's that?
ROSALIND. Why, horns; which such as you are fain to be beholding to
your wives for; but he comes armed in his fortune, and prevents
the slander of his wife.
ORLANDO. Virtue is no horn-maker; and my Rosalind is virtuous.
ROSALIND. And I am your Rosalind.
CELIA. It pleases him to call you so; but he hath a Rosalind of a
better leer than you.
ROSALIND. Come, woo me, woo me; for now I am in a holiday humour,
and like enough to consent. What would you say to me now, an I
were your very very Rosalind?
ORLANDO. I would kiss before I spoke.
ROSALIND. Nay, you were better speak first; and when you were
gravell'd for lack of matter, you might take occasion to kiss.
Very good orators, when they are out, they will spit; and for
lovers lacking- God warn us!- matter, the cleanliest shift is to
ORLANDO. How if the kiss be denied?
ROSALIND. Then she puts you to entreaty, and there begins new
ORLANDO. Who could be out, being before his beloved mistress?
ROSALIND. Marry, that should you, if I were your mistress; or I
should think my honesty ranker than my wit.
ORLANDO. What, of my suit?
ROSALIND. Not out of your apparel, and yet out of your suit.
Am not I your Rosalind?
ORLANDO. I take some joy to say you are, because I would be talking
of her.
ROSALIND. Well, in her person, I say I will not have you.
ORLANDO. Then, in mine own person, I die.
ROSALIND. No, faith, die by attorney. The poor world is almost six
thousand years old, and in all this time there was not any man
died in his own person, videlicet, in a love-cause. Troilus had
his brains dash'd out with a Grecian club; yet he did what he
could to die before, and he is one of the patterns of love.
Leander, he would have liv'd many a fair year, though Hero had
turn'd nun, if it had not been for a hot midsummer night; for,
good youth, he went but forth to wash him in the Hellespont, and,
being taken with the cramp, was drown'd; and the foolish
chroniclers of that age found it was- Hero of Sestos. But these
are all lies: men have died from time to time, and worms have
eaten them, but not for love.
ORLANDO. I would not have my right Rosalind of this mind; for, I
protest, her frown might kill me.
ROSALIND. By this hand, it will not kill a fly. But come, now I
will be your Rosalind in a more coming-on disposition; and ask me
what you will, I will grant it.
ORLANDO. Then love me, Rosalind.
ROSALIND. Yes, faith, will I, Fridays and Saturdays, and all.
ORLANDO. And wilt thou have me?
ROSALIND. Ay, and twenty such.
ORLANDO. What sayest thou?
ROSALIND. Are you not good?
ORLANDO. I hope so.
ROSALIND. Why then, can one desire too much of a good thing? Come,
sister, you shall be the priest, and marry us. Give me your hand,
Orlando. What do you say, sister?
ORLANDO. Pray thee, marry us.
CELIA. I cannot say the words.
ROSALIND. You must begin 'Will you, Orlando'-
CELIA. Go to. Will you, Orlando, have to wife this Rosalind?
ORLANDO. I will.
ROSALIND. Ay, but when?
ORLANDO. Why, now; as fast as she can marry us.
ROSALIND. Then you must say 'I take thee, Rosalind, for wife.'
ORLANDO. I take thee, Rosalind, for wife.
ROSALIND. I might ask you for your commission; but- I do take thee,
Orlando, for my husband. There's a girl goes before the priest;
and, certainly, a woman's thought runs before her actions.
ORLANDO. So do all thoughts; they are wing'd.
ROSALIND. Now tell me how long you would have her, after you have
possess'd her.
ORLANDO. For ever and a day.
ROSALIND. Say 'a day' without the 'ever.' No, no, Orlando; men are
April when they woo, December when they wed: maids are May when
they are maids, but the sky changes when they are wives. I will
be more jealous of thee than a Barbary cock-pigeon over his hen,
more clamorous than a parrot against rain, more new-fangled than
an ape, more giddy in my desires than a monkey. I will weep for
nothing, like Diana in the fountain, and I will do that when you
are dispos'd to be merry; I will laugh like a hyen, and that when
thou are inclin'd to sleep.
ORLANDO. But will my Rosalind do so?
ROSALIND. By my life, she will do as I do.
ORLANDO. O, but she is wise.
ROSALIND. Or else she could not have the wit to do this. The wiser,
the waywarder. Make the doors upon a woman's wit, and it will out
at the casement; shut that, and 'twill out at the key-hole; stop
that, 'twill fly with the smoke out at the chimney.
ORLANDO. A man that had a wife with such a wit, he might say 'Wit,
whither wilt?' ROSALIND. Nay, you might keep that check for it, till you met your
wife's wit going to your neighbour's bed.
ORLANDO. And what wit could wit have to excuse that?
ROSALIND. Marry, to say she came to seek you there. You shall never
take her without her answer, unless you take her without her
tongue. O, that woman that cannot make her fault her husband's
occasion, let her never nurse her child herself, for she will
breed it like a fool!
ORLANDO. For these two hours, Rosalind, I will leave thee.
ROSALIND. Alas, dear love, I cannot lack thee two hours!
ORLANDO. I must attend the Duke at dinner; by two o'clock I will be
with thee again.
ROSALIND. Ay, go your ways, go your ways. I knew what you would
prove; my friends told me as much, and I thought no less. That
flattering tongue of yours won me. 'Tis but one cast away, and
so, come death! Two o'clock is your hour?
ORLANDO. Ay, sweet Rosalind.
ROSALIND. By my troth, and in good earnest, and so God mend me, and
by all pretty oaths that are not dangerous, if you break one jot
of your promise, or come one minute behind your hour, I will
think you the most pathetical break-promise, and the most hollow
lover, and the most unworthy of her you call Rosalind, that may
be chosen out of the gross band of the unfaithful. Therefore
beware my censure, and keep your promise.
ORLANDO. With no less religion than if thou wert indeed my
Rosalind; so, adieu.
ROSALIND. Well, Time is the old justice that examines all such
offenders, and let Time try. Adieu. Exit ORLANDO
CELIA. You have simply misus'd our sex in your love-prate. We must
have your doublet and hose pluck'd over your head, and show the
world what the bird hath done to her own nest.
ROSALIND. O coz, coz, coz, my pretty little coz, that thou didst
know how many fathom deep I am in love! But it cannot be sounded;
my affection hath an unknown bottom, like the Bay of Portugal.
CELIA. Or rather, bottomless; that as fast as you pour affection
in, it runs out.
ROSALIND. No; that same wicked bastard of Venus, that was begot of
thought, conceiv'd of spleen, and born of madness; that blind
rascally boy, that abuses every one's eyes, because his own are
out- let him be judge how deep I am in love. I'll tell thee,
Aliena, I cannot be out of the sight of Orlando. I'll go find a
shadow, and sigh till he come.
CELIA. And I'll sleep. Exeunt

The forest

Enter JAQUES and LORDS, in the habit of foresters

JAQUES. Which is he that killed the deer?
LORD. Sir, it was I.
JAQUES. Let's present him to the Duke, like a Roman conqueror; and
it would do well to set the deer's horns upon his head for a
branch of victory. Have you no song, forester, for this purpose?
LORD. Yes, sir.
JAQUES. Sing it; 'tis no matter how it be in tune, so it make noise


What shall he have that kill'd the deer?
His leather skin and horns to wear.
[The rest shall hear this burden:]
Then sing him home.

Take thou no scorn to wear the horn;
It was a crest ere thou wast born.
Thy father's father wore it;
And thy father bore it.
The horn, the horn, the lusty horn,
Is not a thing to laugh to scorn. Exeunt

The forest


ROSALIND. How say you now? Is it not past two o'clock?
And here much Orlando!
CELIA. I warrant you, with pure love and troubled brain, he hath
ta'en his bow and arrows, and is gone forth- to sleep. Look, who
comes here.


SILVIUS. My errand is to you, fair youth;
My gentle Phebe did bid me give you this.
I know not the contents; but, as I guess
By the stern brow and waspish action
Which she did use as she was writing of it,
It bears an angry tenour. Pardon me,
I am but as a guiltless messenger.
ROSALIND. Patience herself would startle at this letter,
And play the swaggerer. Bear this, bear all.
She says I am not fair, that I lack manners;
She calls me proud, and that she could not love me,
Were man as rare as Phoenix. 'Od's my will!
Her love is not the hare that I do hunt;
Why writes she so to me? Well, shepherd, well,
This is a letter of your own device.
SILVIUS. No, I protest, I know not the contents;
Phebe did write it.
ROSALIND. Come, come, you are a fool,
And turn'd into the extremity of love.
I saw her hand; she has a leathern hand,
A freestone-colour'd hand; I verily did think
That her old gloves were on, but 'twas her hands;
She has a huswife's hand- but that's no matter.
I say she never did invent this letter:
This is a man's invention, and his hand.
SILVIUS. Sure, it is hers.
ROSALIND. Why, 'tis a boisterous and a cruel style;
A style for challengers. Why, she defies me,
Like Turk to Christian. Women's gentle brain
Could not drop forth such giant-rude invention,
Such Ethiope words, blacker in their effect
Than in their countenance. Will you hear the letter?
SILVIUS. So please you, for I never heard it yet;
Yet heard too much of Phebe's cruelty.
ROSALIND. She Phebes me: mark how the tyrant writes.

'Art thou god to shepherd turn'd,
That a maiden's heart hath burn'd?'

Can a woman rail thus?
SILVIUS. Call you this railing?
ROSALIND. 'Why, thy godhead laid apart,
Warr'st thou with a woman's heart?'

Did you ever hear such railing?

'Whiles the eye of man did woo me,
That could do no vengeance to me.'

Meaning me a beast.

'If the scorn of your bright eyne
Have power to raise such love in mine,
Alack, in me what strange effect
Would they work in mild aspect!
Whiles you chid me, I did love;
How then might your prayers move!
He that brings this love to the
Little knows this love in me;
And by him seal up thy mind,
Whether that thy youth and kind
Will the faithful offer take
Of me and all that I can make;
Or else by him my love deny,
And then I'll study how to die.'
SILVIUS. Call you this chiding?
CELIA. Alas, poor shepherd!
ROSALIND. Do you pity him? No, he deserves no pity. Wilt thou love
such a woman? What, to make thee an instrument, and play false
strains upon thee! Not to be endur'd! Well, go your way to her,
for I see love hath made thee tame snake, and say this to her-
that if she love me, I charge her to love thee; if she will not,
I will never have her unless thou entreat for her. If you be a
true lover, hence, and not a word; for here comes more company.


OLIVER. Good morrow, fair ones; pray you, if you know,
Where in the purlieus of this forest stands
A sheep-cote fenc'd about with olive trees?
CELIA. West of this place, down in the neighbour bottom.
The rank of osiers by the murmuring stream
Left on your right hand brings you to the place.
But at this hour the house doth keep itself;
There's none within.
OLIVER. If that an eye may profit by a tongue,
Then should I know you by description-
Such garments, and such years: 'The boy is fair,
Of female favour, and bestows himself
Like a ripe sister; the woman low,
And browner than her brother.' Are not you
The owner of the house I did inquire for?
CELIA. It is no boast, being ask'd, to say we are.
OLIVER. Orlando doth commend him to you both;
And to that youth he calls his Rosalind
He sends this bloody napkin. Are you he?
ROSALIND. I am. What must we understand by this?
OLIVER. Some of my shame; if you will know of me
What man I am, and how, and why, and where,
This handkercher was stain'd.
CELIA. I pray you, tell it.
OLIVER. When last the young Orlando parted from you,
He left a promise to return again
Within an hour; and, pacing through the forest,
Chewing the food of sweet and bitter fancy,
Lo, what befell! He threw his eye aside,
And mark what object did present itself.
Under an oak, whose boughs were moss'd with age,
And high top bald with dry antiquity,
A wretched ragged man, o'ergrown with hair,
Lay sleeping on his back. About his neck
A green and gilded snake had wreath'd itself,
Who with her head nimble in threats approach'd
The opening of his mouth; but suddenly,
Seeing Orlando, it unlink'd itself,
And with indented glides did slip away
Into a bush; under which bush's shade
A lioness, with udders all drawn dry,
Lay couching, head on ground, with catlike watch,
When that the sleeping man should stir; for 'tis
The royal disposition of that beast
To prey on nothing that doth seem as dead.
This seen, Orlando did approach the man,
And found it was his brother, his elder brother.
CELIA. O, I have heard him speak of that same brother;
And he did render him the most unnatural
That liv'd amongst men.
OLIVER. And well he might so do,
For well I know he was unnatural.
ROSALIND. But, to Orlando: did he leave him there,
Food to the suck'd and hungry lioness?
OLIVER. Twice did he turn his back, and purpos'd so;
But kindness, nobler ever than revenge,
And nature, stronger than his just occasion,
Made him give battle to the lioness,
Who quickly fell before him; in which hurtling
From miserable slumber I awak'd.
CELIA. Are you his brother?
ROSALIND. Was't you he rescu'd?
CELIA. Was't you that did so oft contrive to kill him?
OLIVER. 'Twas I; but 'tis not I. I do not shame
To tell you what I was, since my conversion
So sweetly tastes, being the thing I am.
ROSALIND. But for the bloody napkin?
OLIVER. By and by.
When from the first to last, betwixt us two,
Tears our recountments had most kindly bath'd,
As how I came into that desert place-
In brief, he led me to the gentle Duke,
Who gave me fresh array and entertainment,
Committing me unto my brother's love;
Who led me instantly unto his cave,
There stripp'd himself, and here upon his arm
The lioness had torn some flesh away,
Which all this while had bled; and now he fainted,
And cried, in fainting, upon Rosalind.
Brief, I recover'd him, bound up his wound,
And, after some small space, being strong at heart,
He sent me hither, stranger as I am,
To tell this story, that you might excuse
His broken promise, and to give this napkin,
Dy'd in his blood, unto the shepherd youth
That he in sport doth call his Rosalind.
[ROSALIND swoons]
CELIA. Why, how now, Ganymede! sweet Ganymede!
OLIVER. Many will swoon when they do look on blood.
CELIA. There is more in it. Cousin Ganymede!
OLIVER. Look, he recovers.
ROSALIND. I would I were at home.
CELIA. We'll lead you thither.
I pray you, will you take him by the arm?
OLIVER. Be of good cheer, youth. You a man!
You lack a man's heart.
ROSALIND. I do so, I confess it. Ah, sirrah, a body would think
this was well counterfeited. I pray you tell your brother how
well I counterfeited. Heigh-ho!
OLIVER. This was not counterfeit; there is too great testimony in
your complexion that it was a passion of earnest.
ROSALIND. Counterfeit, I assure you.
OLIVER. Well then, take a good heart and counterfeit to be a man.
ROSALIND. So I do; but, i' faith, I should have been a woman by
CELIA. Come, you look paler and paler; pray you draw homewards.
Good sir, go with us.
OLIVER. That will I, for I must bear answer back
How you excuse my brother, Rosalind.
ROSALIND. I shall devise something; but, I pray you, commend my
counterfeiting to him. Will you go? Exeunt

The forest


TOUCHSTONE. We shall find a time, Audrey; patience, gentle Audrey.
AUDREY. Faith, the priest was good enough, for all the old
gentleman's saying.
TOUCHSTONE. A most wicked Sir Oliver, Audrey, a most vile Martext.
But, Audrey, there is a youth here in the forest lays claim to
AUDREY. Ay, I know who 'tis; he hath no interest in me in the
world; here comes the man you mean.


TOUCHSTONE. It is meat and drink to me to see a clown. By my troth,
we that have good wits have much to answer for: we shall be
flouting; we cannot hold.
WILLIAM. Good ev'n, Audrey.
AUDREY. God ye good ev'n, William.
WILLIAM. And good ev'n to you, sir.
TOUCHSTONE. Good ev'n, gentle friend. Cover thy head, cover thy
head; nay, prithee be cover'd. How old are you, friend?
WILLIAM. Five and twenty, sir.
TOUCHSTONE. A ripe age. Is thy name William?
WILLIAM. William, sir.
TOUCHSTONE. A fair name. Wast born i' th' forest here?
WILLIAM. Ay, sir, I thank God.
TOUCHSTONE. 'Thank God.' A good answer.
Art rich?
WILLIAM. Faith, sir, so so.
TOUCHSTONE. 'So so' is good, very good, very excellent good; and
yet it is not; it is but so so. Art thou wise?
WILLIAM. Ay, sir, I have a pretty wit.
TOUCHSTONE. Why, thou say'st well. I do now remember a saying: 'The
fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be
a fool.' The heathen philosopher, when he had a desire to eat a
grape, would open his lips when he put it into his mouth; meaning
thereby that grapes were made to eat and lips to open. You do
love this maid?
WILLIAM. I do, sir.
TOUCHSTONE. Give me your hand. Art thou learned?
WILLIAM. No, sir.
TOUCHSTONE. Then learn this of me: to have is to have; for it is a
figure in rhetoric that drink, being pour'd out of cup into a
glass, by filling the one doth empty the other; for all your
writers do consent that ipse is he; now, you are not ipse, for I
am he.
WILLIAM. Which he, sir?
TOUCHSTONE. He, sir, that must marry this woman. Therefore, you
clown, abandon- which is in the vulgar leave- the society- which
in the boorish is company- of this female- which in the common is
woman- which together is: abandon the society of this female; or,
clown, thou perishest; or, to thy better understanding, diest;
or, to wit, I kill thee, make thee away, translate thy life into
death, thy liberty into bondage. I will deal in poison with thee,
or in bastinado, or in steel; I will bandy with thee in faction;
will o'er-run thee with policy; I will kill thee a hundred and
fifty ways; therefore tremble and depart.
AUDREY. Do, good William.
WILLIAM. God rest you merry, sir. Exit


CORIN. Our master and mistress seeks you; come away, away.
TOUCHSTONE. Trip, Audrey, trip, Audrey. I attend, I attend.

The forest


ORLANDO. Is't possible that on so little acquaintance you should
like her? that but seeing you should love her? and loving woo?
and, wooing, she should grant? and will you persever to enjoy
OLIVER. Neither call the giddiness of it in question, the poverty
of her, the small acquaintance, my sudden wooing, nor her sudden
consenting; but say with me, I love Aliena; say with her that she
loves me; consent with both that we may enjoy each other. It
shall be to your good; for my father's house and all the revenue
that was old Sir Rowland's will I estate upon you, and here live
and die a shepherd.
ORLANDO. You have my consent. Let your wedding be to-morrow.
Thither will I invite the Duke and all's contented followers. Go
you and prepare Aliena; for, look you, here comes my Rosalind.


ROSALIND. God save you, brother.
OLIVER. And you, fair sister. Exit
ROSALIND. O, my dear Orlando, how it grieves me to see thee wear
thy heart in a scarf!
ORLANDO. It is my arm.
ROSALIND. I thought thy heart had been wounded with the claws of a
ORLANDO. Wounded it is, but with the eyes of a lady.
ROSALIND. Did your brother tell you how I counterfeited to swoon
when he show'd me your handkercher?
ORLANDO. Ay, and greater wonders than that.
ROSALIND. O, I know where you are. Nay, 'tis true. There was never
any thing so sudden but the fight of two rams and Caesar's
thrasonical brag of 'I came, saw, and overcame.' For your brother
and my sister no sooner met but they look'd; no sooner look'd but
they lov'd; no sooner lov'd but they sigh'd; no sooner sigh'd but
they ask'd one another the reason; no sooner knew the reason but
they sought the remedy- and in these degrees have they made pair
of stairs to marriage, which they will climb incontinent, or else
be incontinent before marriage. They are in the very wrath of
love, and they will together. Clubs cannot part them.
ORLANDO. They shall be married to-morrow; and I will bid the Duke
to the nuptial. But, O, how bitter a thing it is to look into
happiness through another man's eyes! By so much the more shall I
to-morrow be at the height of heart-heaviness, by how much I
shall think my brother happy in having what he wishes for.
ROSALIND. Why, then, to-morrow I cannot serve your turn for
ORLANDO. I can live no longer by thinking.
ROSALIND. I will weary you, then, no longer with idle talking. Know
of me then- for now I speak to some purpose- that I know you are
a gentleman of good conceit. I speak not this that you should
bear a good opinion of my knowledge, insomuch I say I know you
are; neither do I labour for a greater esteem than may in some
little measure draw a belief from you, to do yourself good, and
not to grace me. Believe then, if you please, that I can do
strange things. I have, since I was three year old, convers'd
with a magician, most profound in his art and yet not damnable.
If you do love Rosalind so near the heart as your gesture cries
it out, when your brother marries Aliena shall you marry her. I
know into what straits of fortune she is driven; and it is not
impossible to me, if it appear not inconvenient to you, to set
her before your eyes to-morrow, human as she is, and without any
ORLANDO. Speak'st thou in sober meanings?
ROSALIND. By my life, I do; which I tender dearly, though I say I
am a magician. Therefore put you in your best array, bid your
friends; for if you will be married to-morrow, you shall; and to
Rosalind, if you will.


Look, here comes a lover of mine, and a lover of hers.
PHEBE. Youth, you have done me much ungentleness
To show the letter that I writ to you.
ROSALIND. I care not if I have. It is my study
To seem despiteful and ungentle to you.
You are there follow'd by a faithful shepherd;
Look upon him, love him; he worships you.
PHEBE. Good shepherd, tell this youth what 'tis to love.
SILVIUS. It is to be all made of sighs and tears;
And so am I for Phebe.
PHEBE. And I for Ganymede.
ORLANDO. And I for Rosalind.
ROSALIND. And I for no woman.
SILVIUS. It is to be all made of faith and service;
And so am I for Phebe.
PHEBE. And I for Ganymede.
ORLANDO. And I for Rosalind.
ROSALIND. And I for no woman.
SILVIUS. It is to be all made of fantasy,
All made of passion, and all made of wishes;
All adoration, duty, and observance,
All humbleness, all patience, and impatience,
All purity, all trial, all obedience;
And so am I for Phebe.
PHEBE. And so am I for Ganymede.
ORLANDO. And so am I for Rosalind.
ROSALIND. And so am I for no woman.
PHEBE. If this be so, why blame you me to love you?
SILVIUS. If this be so, why blame you me to love you?
ORLANDO. If this be so, why blame you me to love you?
ROSALIND. Why do you speak too, 'Why blame you me to love you?'
ORLANDO. To her that is not here, nor doth not hear.
ROSALIND. Pray you, no more of this; 'tis like the howling of Irish
wolves against the moon. [To SILVIUS] I will help you if I can.
[To PHEBE] I would love you if I could.- To-morrow meet me all
together. [ To PHEBE ] I will marry you if ever I marry woman,
and I'll be married to-morrow. [To ORLANDO] I will satisfy you if
ever I satisfied man, and you shall be married to-morrow. [To
Silvius] I will content you if what pleases you contents you, and
you shall be married to-morrow. [To ORLANDO] As you love
Rosalind, meet. [To SILVIUS] As you love Phebe, meet;- and as I
love no woman, I'll meet. So, fare you well; I have left you
SILVIUS. I'll not fail, if I live.
ORLANDO. Nor I. Exeunt

The forest


TOUCHSTONE. To-morrow is the joyful day, Audre'y; to-morrow will we
be married.
AUDREY. I do desire it with all my heart; and I hope it is no
dishonest desire to desire to be a woman of the world. Here come
two of the banish'd Duke's pages.

Enter two PAGES

FIRST PAGE. Well met, honest gentleman.
TOUCHSTONE. By my troth, well met. Come sit, sit, and a song.
SECOND PAGE. We are for you; sit i' th' middle.
FIRST PAGE. Shall we clap into't roundly, without hawking, or
spitting, or saying we are hoarse, which are the only prologues
to a bad voice?
SECOND PAGE. I'faith, i'faith; and both in a tune, like two gipsies
on a horse.

It was a lover and his lass,
With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino,
That o'er the green corn-field did pass
In the spring time, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding, ding.
Sweet lovers love the spring.

Between the acres of the rye,
With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino,
These pretty country folks would lie,
In the spring time, &c.

This carol they began that hour,
With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino,
How that a life was but a flower,
In the spring time, &c.

And therefore take the present time,
With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino,
For love is crowned with the prime,
In the spring time, &c.

TOUCHSTONE. Truly, young gentlemen, though there was no great
matter in the ditty, yet the note was very untuneable.
FIRST PAGE. YOU are deceiv'd, sir; we kept time, we lost not our
TOUCHSTONE. By my troth, yes; I count it but time lost to hear such
a foolish song. God buy you; and God mend your voices. Come,
Audrey. Exeunt

The forest


DUKE SENIOR. Dost thou believe, Orlando, that the boy
Can do all this that he hath promised?
ORLANDO. I sometimes do believe and sometimes do not:
As those that fear they hope, and know they fear.


ROSALIND. Patience once more, whiles our compact is urg'd:
You say, if I bring in your Rosalind,
You will bestow her on Orlando here?
DUKE SENIOR. That would I, had I kingdoms to give with her.
ROSALIND. And you say you will have her when I bring her?
ORLANDO. That would I, were I of all kingdoms king.
ROSALIND. You say you'll marry me, if I be willing?
PHEBE. That will I, should I die the hour after.
ROSALIND. But if you do refuse to marry me,
You'll give yourself to this most faithful shepherd?
PHEBE. So is the bargain.
ROSALIND. You say that you'll have Phebe, if she will?
SILVIUS. Though to have her and death were both one thing.
ROSALIND. I have promis'd to make all this matter even.
Keep you your word, O Duke, to give your daughter;
You yours, Orlando, to receive his daughter;
Keep your word, Phebe, that you'll marry me,
Or else, refusing me, to wed this shepherd;
Keep your word, Silvius, that you'll marry her
If she refuse me; and from hence I go,
To make these doubts all even.
DUKE SENIOR. I do remember in this shepherd boy
Some lively touches of my daughter's favour.
ORLANDO. My lord, the first time that I ever saw him
Methought he was a brother to your daughter.
But, my good lord, this boy is forest-born,
And hath been tutor'd in the rudiments
Of many desperate studies by his uncle,
Whom he reports to be a great magician,
Obscured in the circle of this forest.


JAQUES. There is, sure, another flood toward, and these couples are
coming to the ark. Here comes a pair of very strange beasts which
in all tongues are call'd fools.
TOUCHSTONE. Salutation and greeting to you all!
JAQUES. Good my lord, bid him welcome. This is the motley-minded
gentleman that I have so often met in the forest. He hath been a
courtier, he swears.
TOUCHSTONE. If any man doubt that, let him put me to my purgation.
I have trod a measure; I have flatt'red a lady; I have been
politic with my friend, smooth with mine enemy; I have undone
three tailors; I have had four quarrels, and like to have fought
JAQUES. And how was that ta'en up?
TOUCHSTONE. Faith, we met, and found the quarrel was upon the
seventh cause.
JAQUES. How seventh cause? Good my lord, like this fellow.
DUKE SENIOR. I like him very well.
TOUCHSTONE. God 'ild you, sir; I desire you of the like. I press in
here, sir, amongst the rest of the country copulatives, to swear
and to forswear, according as marriage binds and blood breaks. A
poor virgin, sir, an ill-favour'd thing, sir, but mine own; a
poor humour of mine, sir, to take that that man else will. Rich
honesty dwells like a miser, sir, in a poor house; as your pearl
in your foul oyster.
DUKE SENIOR. By my faith, he is very swift and sententious.
TOUCHSTONE. According to the fool's bolt, sir, and such dulcet
JAQUES. But, for the seventh cause: how did you find the quarrel on
the seventh cause?
TOUCHSTONE. Upon a lie seven times removed- bear your body more
seeming, Audrey- as thus, sir. I did dislike the cut of a certain
courtier's beard; he sent me word, if I said his beard was not
cut well, he was in the mind it was. This is call'd the Retort
Courteous. If I sent him word again it was not well cut, he would
send me word he cut it to please himself. This is call'd the Quip
Modest. If again it was not well cut, he disabled my judgment.
This is call'd the Reply Churlish. If again it was not well cut,
he would answer I spake not true. This is call'd the Reproof
Valiant. If again it was not well cut, he would say I lie. This
is call'd the Countercheck Quarrelsome. And so to the Lie
Circumstantial and the Lie Direct.
JAQUES. And how oft did you say his beard was not well cut?
TOUCHSTONE. I durst go no further than the Lie Circumstantial, nor
he durst not give me the Lie Direct; and so we measur'd swords
and parted.
JAQUES. Can you nominate in order now the degrees of the lie?
TOUCHSTONE. O, sir, we quarrel in print by the book, as you have
books for good manners. I will name you the degrees. The first,
the Retort Courteous; the second, the Quip Modest; the third, the
Reply Churlish; the fourth, the Reproof Valiant; the fifth, the
Countercheck Quarrelsome; the sixth, the Lie with Circumstance;
the seventh, the Lie Direct. All these you may avoid but the Lie
Direct; and you may avoid that too with an If. I knew when seven
justices could not take up a quarrel; but when the parties were
met themselves, one of them thought but of an If, as: 'If you
said so, then I said so.' And they shook hands, and swore
brothers. Your If is the only peace-maker; much virtue in If.
JAQUES. Is not this a rare fellow, my lord?
He's as good at any thing, and yet a fool.
DUKE SENIOR. He uses his folly like a stalking-horse, and under the
presentation of that he shoots his wit:


HYMEN. Then is there mirth in heaven,
When earthly things made even
Atone together.
Good Duke, receive thy daughter;
Hymen from heaven brought her,
Yea, brought her hither,
That thou mightst join her hand with his,
Whose heart within his bosom is.
ROSALIND. [To DUKE] To you I give myself, for I am yours.
[To ORLANDO] To you I give myself, for I am yours.
DUKE SENIOR. If there be truth in sight, you are my daughter.
ORLANDO. If there be truth in sight, you are my Rosalind.
PHEBE. If sight and shape be true,
Why then, my love adieu!
ROSALIND. I'll have no father, if you be not he;
I'll have no husband, if you be not he;
Nor ne'er wed woman, if you be not she.
HYMEN. Peace, ho! I bar confusion;
'Tis I must make conclusion
Of these most strange events.
Here's eight that must take hands
To join in Hymen's bands,
If truth holds true contents.
You and you no cross shall part;
You and you are heart in heart;
You to his love must accord,
Or have a woman to your lord;
You and you are sure together,
As the winter to foul weather.
Whiles a wedlock-hymn we sing,
Feed yourselves with questioning,
That reason wonder may diminish,
How thus we met, and these things finish.

Wedding is great Juno's crown;
O blessed bond of board and bed!
'Tis Hymen peoples every town;
High wedlock then be honoured.
Honour, high honour, and renown,
To Hymen, god of every town!

DUKE SENIOR. O my dear niece, welcome thou art to me!
Even daughter, welcome in no less degree.
PHEBE. I will not eat my word, now thou art mine;
Thy faith my fancy to thee doth combine.


JAQUES de BOYS. Let me have audience for a word or two.
I am the second son of old Sir Rowland,
That bring these tidings to this fair assembly.
Duke Frederick, hearing how that every day
Men of great worth resorted to this forest,
Address'd a mighty power; which were on foot,
In his own conduct, purposely to take
His brother here, and put him to the sword;
And to the skirts of this wild wood he came,
Where, meeting with an old religious man,
After some question with him, was converted
Both from his enterprise and from the world;
His crown bequeathing to his banish'd brother,
And all their lands restor'd to them again
That were with him exil'd. This to be true
I do engage my life.
DUKE SENIOR. Welcome, young man.
Thou offer'st fairly to thy brothers' wedding:
To one, his lands withheld; and to the other,
A land itself at large, a potent dukedom.
First, in this forest let us do those ends
That here were well begun and well begot;
And after, every of this happy number,
That have endur'd shrewd days and nights with us,
Shall share the good of our returned fortune,
According to the measure of their states.
Meantime, forget this new-fall'n dignity,
And fall into our rustic revelry.
Play, music; and you brides and bridegrooms all,
With measure heap'd in joy, to th' measures fall.
JAQUES. Sir, by your patience. If I heard you rightly,
The Duke hath put on a religious life,
And thrown into neglect the pompous court.
JAQUES. To him will I. Out of these convertites
There is much matter to be heard and learn'd.
[To DUKE] You to your former honour I bequeath;
Your patience and your virtue well deserves it.
[To ORLANDO] You to a love that your true faith doth merit;
[To OLIVER] You to your land, and love, and great allies
[To SILVIUS] You to a long and well-deserved bed;
[To TOUCHSTONE] And you to wrangling; for thy loving voyage
Is but for two months victuall'd.- So to your pleasures;
I am for other than for dancing measures.
DUKE SENIOR. Stay, Jaques, stay.
JAQUES. To see no pastime I. What you would have
I'll stay to know at your abandon'd cave. Exit
DUKE SENIOR. Proceed, proceed. We will begin these rites,
As we do trust they'll end, in true delights. [A dance] Exeunt

ROSALIND. It is not the fashion to see the lady the epilogue; but
it is no more unhandsome than to see the lord the prologue. If it
be true that good wine needs no bush, 'tis true that a good play
needs no epilogue. Yet to good wine they do use good bushes; and
good plays prove the better by the help of good epilogues. What a
case am I in then, that am neither a good epilogue, nor cannot
insinuate with you in the behalf of a good play! I am not
furnish'd like a beggar; therefore to beg will not become me. My
way is to conjure you; and I'll begin with the women. I charge
you, O women, for the love you bear to men, to like as much of
this play as please you; and I charge you, O men, for the love
you bear to women- as I perceive by your simp'ring none of you
hates them- that between you and the women the play may please.
If I were a woman, I would kiss as many of you as had beards that
pleas'd me, complexions that lik'd me, and breaths that I defied
not; and, I am sure, as many as have good beards, or good faces,
or sweet breaths, will, for my kind offer, when I make curtsy,
bid me farewell.

The End.

The Comedy of Errours

Dramatis Personae

SOLINUS, Duke of Ephesus
AEGEON, a merchant of Syracuse

ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS twin brothers and sons to

DROMIO OF EPHESUS twin brothers, and attendants on
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE the two Antipholuses

BALTHAZAR, a merchant
ANGELO, a goldsmith
FIRST MERCHANT, friend to Antipholus of Syracuse
SECOND MERCHANT, to whom Angelo is a debtor
PINCH, a schoolmaster

AEMILIA, wife to AEgeon; an abbess at Ephesus
ADRIANA, wife to Antipholus of Ephesus
LUCIANA, her sister
LUCE, servant to Adriana


Gaoler, Officers, Attendants




A hall in the DUKE'S palace

Enter the DUKE OF EPHESUS, AEGEON, the Merchant
of Syracuse, GAOLER, OFFICERS, and other ATTENDANTS

AEGEON. Proceed, Solinus, to procure my fall,
And by the doom of death end woes and all.
DUKE. Merchant of Syracuse, plead no more;
I am not partial to infringe our laws.
The enmity and discord which of late
Sprung from the rancorous outrage of your duke
To merchants, our well-dealing countrymen,
Who, wanting guilders to redeem their lives,
Have seal'd his rigorous statutes with their bloods,
Excludes all pity from our threat'ning looks.
For, since the mortal and intestine jars
'Twixt thy seditious countrymen and us,
It hath in solemn synods been decreed,
Both by the Syracusians and ourselves,
To admit no traffic to our adverse towns;
Nay, more: if any born at Ephesus
Be seen at any Syracusian marts and fairs;
Again, if any Syracusian born
Come to the bay of Ephesus-he dies,
His goods confiscate to the Duke's dispose,
Unless a thousand marks be levied,
To quit the penalty and to ransom him.
Thy substance, valued at the highest rate,
Cannot amount unto a hundred marks;
Therefore by law thou art condemn'd to die.
AEGEON. Yet this my comfort: when your words are done,
My woes end likewise with the evening sun.
DUKE. Well, Syracusian, say in brief the cause
Why thou departed'st from thy native home,
And for what cause thou cam'st to Ephesus.
AEGEON. A heavier task could not have been impos'd
Than I to speak my griefs unspeakable;
Yet, that the world may witness that my end
Was wrought by nature, not by vile offence,
I'll utter what my sorrow gives me leave.
In Syracuse was I born, and wed
Unto a woman, happy but for me,
And by me, had not our hap been bad.
With her I liv'd in joy; our wealth increas'd
By prosperous voyages I often made
To Epidamnum; till my factor's death,
And the great care of goods at random left,
Drew me from kind embracements of my spouse:
From whom my absence was not six months old,
Before herself, almost at fainting under
The pleasing punishment that women bear,
Had made provision for her following me,
And soon and safe arrived where I was.
There had she not been long but she became
A joyful mother of two goodly sons;
And, which was strange, the one so like the other
As could not be disdnguish'd but by names.
That very hour, and in the self-same inn,
A mean woman was delivered
Of such a burden, male twins, both alike.
Those, for their parents were exceeding poor,
I bought, and brought up to attend my sons.
My wife, not meanly proud of two such boys,
Made daily motions for our home return;
Unwilling, I agreed. Alas! too soon
We came aboard.
A league from Epidamnum had we sail'd
Before the always-wind-obeying deep
Gave any tragic instance of our harm:
But longer did we not retain much hope,
For what obscured light the heavens did grant
Did but convey unto our fearful minds
A doubtful warrant of immediate death;
Which though myself would gladly have embrac'd,
Yet the incessant weepings of my wife,
Weeping before for what she saw must come,
And piteous plainings of the pretty babes,
That mourn'd for fashion, ignorant what to fear,
Forc'd me to seek delays for them and me.
And this it was, for other means was none:
The sailors sought for safety by our boat,
And left the ship, then sinking-ripe, to us;
My wife, more careful for the latter-born,
Had fast'ned him unto a small spare mast,
Such as sea-faring men provide for storms;
To him one of the other twins was bound,
Whilst I had been like heedful of the other.
The children thus dispos'd, my wife and I,
Fixing our eyes on whom our care was fix'd,
Fast'ned ourselves at either end the mast,
And, floating straight, obedient to the stream,
Was carried towards Corinth, as we thought.
At length the sun, gazing upon the earth,
Dispers'd those vapours that offended us;
And, by the benefit of his wished light,
The seas wax'd calm, and we discovered
Two ships from far making amain to us-
Of Corinth that, of Epidaurus this.
But ere they came-O, let me say no more!
Gather the sequel by that went before.
DUKE. Nay, forward, old man, do not break off so;
For we may pity, though not pardon thee.
AEGEON. O, had the gods done so, I had not now
Worthily term'd them merciless to us!
For, ere the ships could meet by twice five leagues,
We were encount'red by a mighty rock,
Which being violently borne upon,
Our helpful ship was splitted in the midst;
So that, in this unjust divorce of us,
Fortune had left to both of us alike
What to delight in, what to sorrow for.
Her part, poor soul, seeming as burdened
With lesser weight, but not with lesser woe,
Was carried with more speed before the wind;
And in our sight they three were taken up
By fishermen of Corinth, as we thought.
At length another ship had seiz'd on us;
And, knowing whom it was their hap to save,
Gave healthful welcome to their ship-wreck'd guests,
And would have reft the fishers of their prey,
Had not their bark been very slow of sail;
And therefore homeward did they bend their course.
Thus have you heard me sever'd from my bliss,
That by misfortunes was my life prolong'd,
To tell sad stories of my own mishaps.
DUKE. And, for the sake of them thou sorrowest for,
Do me the favour to dilate at full
What have befall'n of them and thee till now.
AEGEON. My youngest boy, and yet my eldest care,
At eighteen years became inquisitive
After his brother, and importun'd me
That his attendant-so his case was like,
Reft of his brother, but retain'd his name-
Might bear him company in the quest of him;
Whom whilst I laboured of a love to see,
I hazarded the loss of whom I lov'd.
Five summers have I spent in farthest Greece,
Roaming clean through the bounds of Asia,
And, coasting homeward, came to Ephesus;
Hopeless to find, yet loath to leave unsought
Or that or any place that harbours men.
But here must end the story of my life;
And happy were I in my timely death,
Could all my travels warrant me they live.
DUKE. Hapless, Aegeon, whom the fates have mark'd
To bear the extremity of dire mishap!
Now, trust me, were it not against our laws,
Against my crown, my oath, my dignity,
Which princes, would they, may not disannul,
My soul should sue as advocate for thee.
But though thou art adjudged to the death,
And passed sentence may not be recall'd
But to our honour's great disparagement,
Yet will I favour thee in what I can.
Therefore, merchant, I'll limit thee this day
To seek thy help by beneficial hap.
Try all the friends thou hast in Ephesus;
Beg thou, or borrow, to make up the sum,
And live; if no, then thou art doom'd to die.
Gaoler, take him to thy custody.
GAOLER. I will, my lord.
AEGEON. Hopeless and helpless doth Aegeon wend,
But to procrastinate his lifeless end.


The mart


FIRST MERCHANT. Therefore, give out you are of Epidamnum,
Lest that your goods too soon be confiscate.
This very day a Syracusian merchant
Is apprehended for arrival here;
And, not being able to buy out his life,
According to the statute of the town,
Dies ere the weary sun set in the west.
There is your money that I had to keep.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. Go bear it to the Centaur, where we host.
And stay there, Dromio, till I come to thee.
Within this hour it will be dinner-time;
Till that, I'll view the manners of the town,
Peruse the traders, gaze upon the buildings,
And then return and sleep within mine inn;
For with long travel I am stiff and weary.
Get thee away.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. Many a man would take you at your word,
And go indeed, having so good a mean.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. A trusty villain, sir, that very oft,
When I am dull with care and melancholy,
Lightens my humour with his merry jests.
What, will you walk with me about the town,
And then go to my inn and dine with me?
FIRST MERCHANT. I am invited, sir, to certain merchants,
Of whom I hope to make much benefit;
I crave your pardon. Soon at five o'clock,
Please you, I'll meet with you upon the mart,
And afterward consort you till bed time.
My present business calls me from you now.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. Farewell till then. I will go lose myself,
And wander up and down to view the city.
FIRST MERCHANT. Sir, I commend you to your own content.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. He that commends me to mine own content
Commends me to the thing I cannot get.
I to the world am like a drop of water
That in the ocean seeks another drop,
Who, falling there to find his fellow forth,
Unseen, inquisitive, confounds himself.
So I, to find a mother and a brother,
In quest of them, unhappy, lose myself.


Here comes the almanac of my true date.
What now? How chance thou art return'd so soon?
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. Return'd so soon! rather approach'd too late.
The capon burns, the pig falls from the spit;
The clock hath strucken twelve upon the bell-
My mistress made it one upon my cheek;
She is so hot because the meat is cold,
The meat is cold because you come not home,
You come not home because you have no stomach,
You have no stomach, having broke your fast;
But we, that know what 'tis to fast and pray,
Are penitent for your default to-day.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. Stop in your wind, sir; tell me this, I pray:
Where have you left the money that I gave you?
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. O-Sixpence that I had a Wednesday last
To pay the saddler for my mistress' crupper?
The saddler had it, sir; I kept it not.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. I am not in a sportive humour now;
Tell me, and dally not, where is the money?
We being strangers here, how dar'st thou trust
So great a charge from thine own custody?
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. I pray you jest, sir, as you sit at dinner.
I from my mistress come to you in post;
If I return, I shall be post indeed,
For she will score your fault upon my pate.
Methinks your maw, like mine, should be your clock,
And strike you home without a messenger.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. Come, Dromio, come, these jests are out of season;
Reserve them till a merrier hour than this.
Where is the gold I gave in charge to thee?
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. To me, sir? Why, you gave no gold to me.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. Come on, sir knave, have done your foolishness,
And tell me how thou hast dispos'd thy charge.
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. My charge was but to fetch you from the mart
Home to your house, the Phoenix, sir, to dinner.
My mistress and her sister stays for you.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. Now, as I am a Christian, answer me
In what safe place you have bestow'd my money,
Or I shall break that merry sconce of yours,
That stands on tricks when I am undispos'd.
Where is the thousand marks thou hadst of me?
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. I have some marks of yours upon my pate,
Some of my mistress' marks upon my shoulders,
But not a thousand marks between you both.
If I should pay your worship those again,
Perchance you will not bear them patiently.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. Thy mistress' marks! What mistress, slave, hast thou?
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. Your worship's wife, my mistress at the Phoenix;
She that doth fast till you come home to dinner,
And prays that you will hie you home to dinner.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. What, wilt thou flout me thus unto my face,
Being forbid? There, take you that, sir knave.
[Beats him]
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. What mean you, sir? For God's sake hold your hands!
Nay, an you will not, sir, I'll take my heels.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. Upon my life, by some device or other
The villain is o'erraught of all my money.
They say this town is full of cozenage;
As, nimble jugglers that deceive the eye,
Dark-working sorcerers that change the mind,
Soul-killing witches that deform the body,
Disguised cheaters, prating mountebanks,
And many such-like liberties of sin;
If it prove so, I will be gone the sooner.
I'll to the Centaur to go seek this slave.
I greatly fear my money is not safe.



Enter ADRIANA, wife to ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS, with LUCIANA, her sister

ADRIANA. Neither my husband nor the slave return'd
That in such haste I sent to seek his master!
Sure, Luciana, it is two o'clock.
LUCIANA. Perhaps some merchant hath invited him,
And from the mart he's somewhere gone to dinner;
Good sister, let us dine, and never fret.
A man is master of his liberty;
Time is their master, and when they see time,
They'll go or come. If so, be patient, sister.
ADRIANA. Why should their liberty than ours be more?
LUCIANA. Because their business still lies out o' door.
ADRIANA. Look when I serve him so, he takes it ill.
LUCIANA. O, know he is the bridle of your will.
ADRIANA. There's none but asses will be bridled so.
LUCIANA. Why, headstrong liberty is lash'd with woe.
There's nothing situate under heaven's eye
But hath his bound, in earth, in sea, in sky.
The beasts, the fishes, and the winged fowls,
Are their males' subjects, and at their controls.
Man, more divine, the master of all these,
Lord of the wide world and wild wat'ry seas,
Indu'd with intellectual sense and souls,
Of more pre-eminence than fish and fowls,
Are masters to their females, and their lords;
Then let your will attend on their accords.
ADRIANA. This servitude makes you to keep unwed.
LUCIANA. Not this, but troubles of the marriage-bed.
ADRIANA. But, were you wedded, you would bear some sway.
LUCIANA. Ere I learn love, I'll practise to obey.
ADRIANA. How if your husband start some other where?
LUCIANA. Till he come home again, I would forbear.
ADRIANA. Patience unmov'd! no marvel though she pause:
They can be meek that have no other cause.
A wretched soul, bruis'd with adversity,
We bid be quiet when we hear it cry;
But were we burd'ned with like weight of pain,
As much, or more, we should ourselves complain.
So thou, that hast no unkind mate to grieve thee,
With urging helpless patience would relieve me;
But if thou live to see like right bereft,
This fool-begg'd patience in thee will be left.
LUCIANA. Well, I will marry one day, but to try.
Here comes your man, now is your husband nigh.


ADRIANA. Say, is your tardy master now at hand?
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. Nay, he's at two hands with me, and that my two
ears can witness.
ADRIANA. Say, didst thou speak with him? Know'st thou his mind?
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. Ay, ay, he told his mind upon mine ear.
Beshrew his hand, I scarce could understand it.
LUCIANA. Spake he so doubtfully thou could'st not feel his meaning?
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. Nay, he struck so plainly I could to
well feel his blows; and withal so doubtfully that I could
scarce understand them.
ADRIANA. But say, I prithee, is he coming home?
It seems he hath great care to please his wife.
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. Why, mistress, sure my master is horn-mad.
ADRIANA. Horn-mad, thou villain!
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. I mean not cuckold-mad;
But, sure, he is stark mad.
When I desir'd him to come home to dinner,
He ask'd me for a thousand marks in gold.
"Tis dinner time' quoth I; 'My gold!' quoth he.
'Your meat doth burn' quoth I; 'My gold!' quoth he.
'Will you come home?' quoth I; 'My gold!' quoth he.
'Where is the thousand marks I gave thee, villain?'
'The pig' quoth I 'is burn'd'; 'My gold!' quoth he.
'My mistress, sir,' quoth I; 'Hang up thy mistress;
I know not thy mistress; out on thy mistress.'
LUCIANA. Quoth who?
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. Quoth my master.
'I know' quoth he 'no house, no wife, no mistress.'
So that my errand, due unto my tongue,
I thank him, I bare home upon my shoulders;
For, in conclusion, he did beat me there.
ADRIANA. Go back again, thou slave, and fetch him home.
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. Go back again, and be new beaten home?
For God's sake, send some other messenger.
ADRIANA. Back, slave, or I will break thy pate across.
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. And he will bless that cross with other beating;
Between you I shall have a holy head.
ADRIANA. Hence, prating peasant! Fetch thy master home.
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. Am I so round with you, as you with me,
That like a football you do spurn me thus?
You spurn me hence, and he will spurn me hither;
If I last in this service, you must case me in leather.
LUCIANA. Fie, how impatience loureth in your face!
ADRIANA. His company must do his minions grace,
Whilst I at home starve for a merry look.
Hath homely age th' alluring beauty took
From my poor cheek? Then he hath wasted it.
Are my discourses dull? Barren my wit?
If voluble and sharp discourse be marr'd,
Unkindness blunts it more than marble hard.
Do their gay vestments his affections bait?
That's not my fault; he's master of my state.
What ruins are in me that can be found
By him not ruin'd? Then is he the ground
Of my defeatures. My decayed fair
A sunny look of his would soon repair.
But, too unruly deer, he breaks the pale,
And feeds from home; poor I am but his stale.
LUCIANA. Self-harming jealousy! fie, beat it hence.
ADRIANA. Unfeeling fools can with such wrongs dispense.
I know his eye doth homage otherwhere;
Or else what lets it but he would be here?
Sister, you know he promis'd me a chain;
Would that alone a love he would detain,
So he would keep fair quarter with his bed!
I see the jewel best enamelled
Will lose his beauty; yet the gold bides still
That others touch and, often touching, will
Where gold; and no man that hath a name
By falsehood and corruption doth it shame.
Since that my beauty cannot please his eye,
I'll weep what's left away, and weeping die.
LUCIANA. How many fond fools serve mad jealousy!


The mart


ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. The gold I gave to Dromio is laid up
Safe at the Centaur, and the heedful slave
Is wand'red forth in care to seek me out.
By computation and mine host's report
I could not speak with Dromio since at first
I sent him from the mart. See, here he comes.


How now, sir, is your merry humour alter'd?
As you love strokes, so jest with me again.
You know no Centaur! You receiv'd no gold!
Your mistress sent to have me home to dinner!
My house was at the Phoenix! Wast thou mad,
That thus so madly thou didst answer me?
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. What answer, sir? When spake I such a word?
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. Even now, even here, not half an hour since.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. I did not see you since you sent me hence,
Home to the Centaur, with the gold you gave me.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. Villain, thou didst deny the gold's receipt,
And told'st me of a mistress and a dinner;
For which, I hope, thou felt'st I was displeas'd.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. I am glad to see you in this merry vein.
What means this jest? I pray you, master, tell me.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. Yea, dost thou jeer and flout me in the teeth?
Think'st thou I jest? Hold, take thou that, and that.
[Beating him]
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. Hold, sir, for God's sake! Now your jest is earnest.
Upon what bargain do you give it me?
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. Because that I familiarly sometimes
Do use you for my fool and chat with you,
Your sauciness will jest upon my love,
And make a common of my serious hours.
When the sun shines let foolish gnats make sport,
But creep in crannies when he hides his beams.
If you will jest with me, know my aspect,
And fashion your demeanour to my looks,
Or I will beat this method in your sconce.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. Sconce, call you it? So you would
leave battering, I had rather have it a head. An you use
these blows long, I must get a sconce for my head, and
insconce it too; or else I shall seek my wit in my shoulders.
But I pray, sir, why am I beaten?
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. Dost thou not know?
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. Nothing, sir, but that I am beaten.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. Shall I tell you why?
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. Ay, sir, and wherefore; for they say
every why hath a wherefore.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. Why, first for flouting me; and then wherefore,
For urging it the second time to me.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. Was there ever any man thus beaten out of season,
When in the why and the wherefore is neither rhyme nor reason?
Well, sir, I thank you.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. Thank me, sir! for what?
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. Marry, sir, for this something that you gave
me for nothing.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. I'll make you amends next, to
give you nothing for something. But say, sir, is it dinnertime?
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. No, sir; I think the meat wants that I have.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. In good time, sir, what's that?
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. Well, sir, then 'twill be dry.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. If it be, sir, I pray you eat none of it.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. Lest it make you choleric, and purchase me
another dry basting.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. Well, sir, learn to jest in good time;
there's a time for all things.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. I durst have denied that, before you
were so choleric.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. By what rule, sir?
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. Marry, sir, by a rule as plain as the
plain bald pate of Father Time himself.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. There's no time for a man to recover
his hair that grows bald by nature.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. May he not do it by fine and recovery?
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. Yes, to pay a fine for a periwig, and
recover the lost hair of another man.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. Why is Time such a niggard of
hair, being, as it is, so plentiful an excrement?
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. Because it is a blessing that he bestows
on beasts, and what he hath scanted men in hair he hath
given them in wit.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. Why, but there's many a man
hath more hair than wit.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. Not a man of those but he hath the
wit to lose his hair.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. Why, thou didst conclude hairy
men plain dealers without wit.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. The plainer dealer, the sooner lost;
yet he loseth it in a kind of jollity.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. For two; and sound ones too.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. Nay, not sound I pray you.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. Sure ones, then.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. Nay, not sure, in a thing falsing.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. Certain ones, then.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. The one, to save the money that he spends in
tiring; the other, that at dinner they should not drop in his
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. You would all this time have prov'd there
is no time for all things.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. Marry, and did, sir; namely, no time to recover
hair lost by nature.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. But your reason was not substantial, why
there is no time to recover.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. Thus I mend it: Time himself is bald,
and therefore to the world's end will have bald followers.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. I knew 't'would be a bald conclusion. But,
soft, who wafts us yonder?


ADRIANA. Ay, ay, Antipholus, look strange and frown.
Some other mistress hath thy sweet aspects;
I am not Adriana, nor thy wife.
The time was once when thou unurg'd wouldst vow
That never words were music to thine ear,
That never object pleasing in thine eye,
That never touch well welcome to thy hand,
That never meat sweet-savour'd in thy taste,
Unless I spake, or look'd, or touch'd, or carv'd to thee.
How comes it now, my husband, O, how comes it,
That thou art then estranged from thyself?
Thyself I call it, being strange to me,
That, undividable, incorporate,
Am better than thy dear self's better part.
Ah, do not tear away thyself from me;
For know, my love, as easy mayst thou fall
A drop of water in the breaking gulf,
And take unmingled thence that drop again
Without addition or diminishing,
As take from me thyself, and not me too.
How dearly would it touch thee to the quick,
Should'st thou but hear I were licentious,
And that this body, consecrate to thee,
By ruffian lust should be contaminate!
Wouldst thou not spit at me and spurn at me,
And hurl the name of husband in my face,
And tear the stain'd skin off my harlot-brow,
And from my false hand cut the wedding-ring,
And break it with a deep-divorcing vow?
I know thou canst, and therefore see thou do it.
I am possess'd with an adulterate blot;
My blood is mingled with the crime of lust;
For if we two be one, and thou play false,
I do digest the poison of thy flesh,
Being strumpeted by thy contagion.
Keep then fair league and truce with thy true bed;
I live dis-stain'd, thou undishonoured.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. Plead you to me, fair dame? I know you not:
In Ephesus I am but two hours old,
As strange unto your town as to your talk,
Who, every word by all my wit being scann'd,
Wants wit in all one word to understand.
LUCIANA. Fie, brother, how the world is chang'd with you!
When were you wont to use my sister thus?
She sent for you by Dromio home to dinner.
ADRIANA. By thee; and this thou didst return from him-
That he did buffet thee, and in his blows
Denied my house for his, me for his wife.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. Did you converse, sir, with this gentlewoman?
What is the course and drift of your compact?
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. I, Sir? I never saw her till this time.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. Villain, thou liest; for even her very words
Didst thou deliver to me on the mart.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. I never spake with her in all my life.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. How can she thus, then, call us by our names,
Unless it be by inspiration?
ADRIANA. How ill agrees it with your gravity
To counterfeit thus grossly with your slave,
Abetting him to thwart me in my mood!
Be it my wrong you are from me exempt,
But wrong not that wrong with a more contempt.
Come, I will fasten on this sleeve of thine;
Thou art an elm, my husband, I a vine,
Whose weakness, married to thy stronger state,
Makes me with thy strength to communicate.
If aught possess thee from me, it is dross,
Usurping ivy, brier, or idle moss;
Who all, for want of pruning, with intrusion
Infect thy sap, and live on thy confusion.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. To me she speaks; she moves me for her theme.
What, was I married to her in my dream?
Or sleep I now, and think I hear all this?
What error drives our eyes and ears amiss?
Until I know this sure uncertainty,
I'll entertain the offer'd fallacy.
LUCIANA. Dromio, go bid the servants spread for dinner.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. O, for my beads! I cross me for sinner.
This is the fairy land. O spite of spites!
We talk with goblins, owls, and sprites.
If we obey them not, this will ensue:
They'll suck our breath, or pinch us black and blue.
LUCIANA. Why prat'st thou to thyself, and answer'st not?
Dromio, thou drone, thou snail, thou slug, thou sot!
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. I am transformed, master, am not I?
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. I think thou art in mind, and so am I.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. Nay, master, both in mind and in my shape.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. Thou hast thine own form.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. No, I am an ape.
LUCIANA. If thou art chang'd to aught, 'tis to an ass.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. 'Tis true; she rides me, and I long for grass.
'Tis so, I am an ass; else it could never be
But I should know her as well as she knows me.
ADRIANA. Come, come, no longer will I be a fool,
To put the finger in the eye and weep,
Whilst man and master laughs my woes to scorn.
Come, sir, to dinner. Dromio, keep the gate.
Husband, I'll dine above with you to-day,
And shrive you of a thousand idle pranks.
Sirrah, if any ask you for your master,
Say he dines forth, and let no creature enter.
Come, sister. Dromio, play the porter well.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. Am I in earth, in heaven, or in hell?
Sleeping or waking, mad or well-advis'd?
Known unto these, and to myself disguis'd!
I'll say as they say, and persever so,
And in this mist at all adventures go.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. Master, shall I be porter at the gate?
ADRIANA. Ay; and let none enter, lest I break your pate.
LUCIANA. Come, come, Antipholus, we dine too late.


Before the house of ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS


ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. Good Signior Angelo, you must excuse us all;
My wife is shrewish when I keep not hours.
Say that I linger'd with you at your shop
To see the making of her carcanet,
And that to-morrow you will bring it home.
But here's a villain that would face me down
He met me on the mart, and that I beat him,
And charg'd him with a thousand marks in gold,
And that I did deny my wife and house.
Thou drunkard, thou, what didst thou mean by this?
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. Say what you will, sir, but I know what I know.
That you beat me at the mart I have your hand to show;
If the skin were parchment, and the blows you gave were ink,
Your own handwriting would tell you what I think.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. I think thou art an ass.
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. Marry, so it doth appear
By the wrongs I suffer and the blows I bear.
I should kick, being kick'd; and being at that pass,
You would keep from my heels, and beware of an ass.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. Y'are sad, Signior Balthazar; pray God our cheer
May answer my good will and your good welcome here.
BALTHAZAR. I hold your dainties cheap, sir, and your welcome dear.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. O, Signior Balthazar, either at flesh or fish,
A table full of welcome makes scarce one dainty dish.
BALTHAZAR. Good meat, sir, is common; that every churl affords.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. And welcome more common; for that's nothing
but words.
BALTHAZAR. Small cheer and great welcome makes a merry feast.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. Ay, to a niggardly host and more sparing guest.
But though my cates be mean, take them in good part;
Better cheer may you have, but not with better heart.
But, soft, my door is lock'd; go bid them let us in.
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. Maud, Bridget, Marian, Cicely, Gillian, Ginn!
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. [Within] Mome, malt-horse, capon, coxcomb, idiot, patch!
Either get thee from the door, or sit down at the hatch.
Dost thou conjure for wenches, that thou call'st for such store,
When one is one too many? Go get thee from the door.
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. What patch is made our porter?
My master stays in the street.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. [Within] Let him walk from whence he came,
lest he catch cold on's feet.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. Who talks within there? Ho, open the door!
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. [Within] Right, sir; I'll tell you when,
an you'll tell me wherefore.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. Wherefore? For my dinner;
I have not din'd to-day.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. [Within] Nor to-day here you must not;
come again when you may.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. What art thou that keep'st me out
from the house I owe?
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. [Within] The porter for this time,
sir, and my name is Dromio.
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. O Villain, thou hast stol'n both mine
office and my name!
The one ne'er got me credit, the other mickle blame.
If thou hadst been Dromio to-day in my place,
Thou wouldst have chang'd thy face for a name, or thy name for an ass.

Enter LUCE, within

LUCE. [Within] What a coil is there, Dromio? Who are those at the gate?
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. Let my master in, Luce.
LUCE. [Within] Faith, no, he comes too late;
And so tell your master.
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. O Lord, I must laugh!
Have at you with a proverb: Shall I set in my staff?
LUCE. [Within] Have at you with another: that's-when? can you tell?
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. [Within] If thy name be called Luce
-Luce, thou hast answer'd him well.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. Do you hear, you minion? You'll let us in, I hope?
LUCE. [Within] I thought to have ask'd you.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. [Within] And you said no.
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. SO, Come, help: well struck! there was blow for blow.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. Thou baggage, let me in.
LUCE. [Within] Can you tell for whose sake?
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. Master, knock the door hard.
LUCE. [Within] Let him knock till it ache.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. You'll cry for this, minion, if beat the door down.
LUCE. [Within] What needs all that, and a pair of stocks in the town?

Enter ADRIANA, within

ADRIANA. [Within] Who is that at the door, that keeps all this noise?
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. [Within] By my troth, your town is
troubled with unruly boys.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. Are you there, wife? You might
have come before.
ADRIANA. [Within] Your wife, sir knave! Go get you from the door.
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. If YOU went in pain, master, this 'knave' would go sore.
ANGELO. Here is neither cheer, sir, nor welcome; we would fain have either.
BALTHAZAR. In debating which was best, we shall part with neither.
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. They stand at the door, master; bid them welcome hither.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. There is something in the wind, that we cannot get in.
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. You would say so, master, if your garments were thin.
Your cake here is warm within; you stand here in the cold;
It would make a man mad as a buck to be so bought and sold.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. Go fetch me something; I'll break ope the gate.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. [Within] Break any breaking here,
and I'll break your knave's pate.
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. A man may break a word with you,
sir; and words are but wind;
Ay, and break it in your face, so he break it not behind.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. [Within] It seems thou want'st breaking;
out upon thee, hind!
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. Here's too much 'out upon thee!' pray thee let me in.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. [Within] Ay, when fowls have no
feathers and fish have no fin.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. Well, I'll break in; go borrow me a crow.
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. A crow without feather? Master, mean you so?
For a fish without a fin, there's a fowl without a feather;
If a crow help us in, sirrah, we'll pluck a crow together.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. Go get thee gone; fetch me an iron crow.
BALTHAZAR. Have patience, sir; O, let it not be so!
Herein you war against your reputation,
And draw within the compass of suspect
Th' unviolated honour of your wife.
Once this-your long experience of her wisdom,
Her sober virtue, years, and modesty,
Plead on her part some cause to you unknown;
And doubt not, sir, but she will well excuse
Why at this time the doors are made against you.
Be rul'd by me: depart in patience,
And let us to the Tiger all to dinner;
And, about evening, come yourself alone
To know the reason of this strange restraint.
If by strong hand you offer to break in
Now in the stirring passage of the day,
A vulgar comment will be made of it,
And that supposed by the common rout
Against your yet ungalled estimation
That may with foul intrusion enter in
And dwell upon your grave when you are dead;
For slander lives upon succession,
For ever hous'd where it gets possession.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. You have prevail'd. I will depart in quiet,
And in despite of mirth mean to be merry.
I know a wench of excellent discourse,
Pretty and witty; wild, and yet, too, gentle;
There will we dine. This woman that I mean,
My wife-but, I protest, without desert-
Hath oftentimes upbraided me withal;
To her will we to dinner. [To ANGELO] Get you home
And fetch the chain; by this I know 'tis made.
Bring it, I pray you, to the Porpentine;
For there's the house. That chain will I bestow-
Be it for nothing but to spite my wife-
Upon mine hostess there; good sir, make haste.
Since mine own doors refuse to entertain me,
I'll knock elsewhere, to see if they'll disdain me.
ANGELO. I'll meet you at that place some hour hence.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. Do so; this jest shall cost me some expense.


Before the house of ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS


LUCIANA. And may it be that you have quite forgot
A husband's office? Shall, Antipholus,
Even in the spring of love, thy love-springs rot?
Shall love, in building, grow so ruinous?
If you did wed my sister for her wealth,
Then for her wealth's sake use her with more kindness;
Or, if you like elsewhere, do it by stealth;
Muffle your false love with some show of blindness;
Let not my sister read it in your eye;
Be not thy tongue thy own shame's orator;
Look sweet, speak fair, become disloyalty;
Apparel vice like virtue's harbinger;
Bear a fair presence, though your heart be tainted;
Teach sin the carriage of a holy saint;
Be secret-false. What need she be acquainted?
What simple thief brags of his own attaint?
'Tis double wrong to truant with your bed
And let her read it in thy looks at board;
Shame hath a bastard fame, well managed;
Ill deeds is doubled with an evil word.
Alas, poor women! make us but believe,
Being compact of credit, that you love us;
Though others have the arm, show us the sleeve;
We in your motion turn, and you may move us.
Then, gentle brother, get you in again;
Comfort my sister, cheer her, call her wife.
'Tis holy sport to be a little vain
When the sweet breath of flattery conquers strife.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. Sweet mistress-what your name is else, I know not,
Nor by what wonder you do hit of mine-
Less in your knowledge and your grace you show not
Than our earth's wonder-more than earth, divine.
Teach me, dear creature, how to think and speak;
Lay open to my earthy-gross conceit,
Smoth'red in errors, feeble, shallow, weak,
The folded meaning of your words' deceit.
Against my soul's pure truth why labour you
To make it wander in an unknown field?
Are you a god? Would you create me new?
Transform me, then, and to your pow'r I'll yield.
But if that I am I, then well I know
Your weeping sister is no wife of mine,
Nor to her bed no homage do I owe;
Far more, far more, to you do I decline.
O, train me not, sweet mermaid, with thy note,
To drown me in thy sister's flood of tears.
Sing, siren, for thyself, and I will dote;
Spread o'er the silver waves thy golden hairs,
And as a bed I'll take them, and there he;
And in that glorious supposition think
He gains by death that hath such means to die.
Let Love, being light, be drowned if she sink.
LUCIANA. What, are you mad, that you do reason so?
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. Not mad, but mated; how, I do not know.
LUCIANA. It is a fault that springeth from your eye.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. For gazing on your beams, fair sun, being by.
LUCIANA. Gaze where you should, and that will clear your sight.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. As good to wink, sweet love, as look on night.
LUCIANA. Why call you me love? Call my sister so.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. Thy sister's sister.
LUCIANA. That's my sister.
It is thyself, mine own self's better part;
Mine eye's clear eye, my dear heart's dearer heart,
My food, my fortune, and my sweet hope's aim,
My sole earth's heaven, and my heaven's claim.
LUCIANA. All this my sister is, or else should be.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. Call thyself sister, sweet, for I am thee;
Thee will I love, and with thee lead my life;
Thou hast no husband yet, nor I no wife.
Give me thy hand.
LUCIANA. O, soft, sir, hold you still;
I'll fetch my sister to get her good will.


ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. Why, how now, Dromio! Where run'st thou
so fast?
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. Do you know me, sir? Am I Dromio?
Am I your man? Am I myself?
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. Thou art Dromio, thou art my
man, thou art thyself.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. I am an ass, I am a woman's man, and besides
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. What woman's man, and how besides thyself?
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. Marry, sir, besides myself, I am due
to a woman-one that claims me, one that haunts me, one
that will have me.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. What claim lays she to thee?
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. Marry, sir, such claim as you would
lay to your horse; and she would have me as a beast: not
that, I being a beast, she would have me; but that she,
being a very beastly creature, lays claim to me.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. A very reverent body; ay, such a one
as a man may not speak of without he say 'Sir-reverence.'
I have but lean luck in the match, and yet is she a
wondrous fat marriage.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. How dost thou mean a fat marriage?
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. Marry, sir, she's the kitchen-wench,
and all grease; and I know not what use to put her to but
to make a lamp of her and run from her by her own light.
I warrant, her rags and the tallow in them will burn
Poland winter. If she lives till doomsday, she'll burn
week longer than the whole world.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. What complexion is she of?
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. Swart, like my shoe; but her face
nothing like so clean kept; for why, she sweats, a man may
go over shoes in the grime of it.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. That's a fault that water will mend.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. No, sir, 'tis in grain; Noah's flood
could not do it.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. Nell, sir; but her name and three
quarters, that's an ell and three quarters, will not measure
her from hip to hip.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. Then she bears some breadth?
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. No longer from head to foot than
from hip to hip: she is spherical, like a globe; I could find
out countries in her.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. In what part of her body stands Ireland?
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. Marry, sir, in her buttocks; I found it out by
the bogs.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. I found it by the barrenness, hard in
the palm of the hand.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. In her forehead, arm'd and reverted,
making war against her heir.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. I look'd for the chalky cliffs, but I
could find no whiteness in them; but I guess it stood in her
chin, by the salt rheum that ran between France and it.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. Faith, I saw it not, but I felt it hot in
her breath.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. Where America, the Indies?
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. O, sir, upon her nose, an o'er embellished with
rubies, carbuncles, sapphires, declining their rich aspect to the
hot breath of Spain; who sent whole armadoes of caracks to be
ballast at her nose.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. Where stood Belgia, the Netherlands?
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. O, Sir, I did not look so low. To
conclude: this drudge or diviner laid claim to me; call'd me
Dromio; swore I was assur'd to her; told me what privy
marks I had about me, as, the mark of my shoulder, the
mole in my neck, the great wart on my left arm, that I,
amaz'd, ran from her as a witch.
And, I think, if my breast had not been made of faith,
and my heart of steel,
She had transform'd me to a curtal dog, and made me turn i' th' wheel.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. Go hie thee presently post to the road;
An if the wind blow any way from shore,
I will not harbour in this town to-night.
If any bark put forth, come to the mart,
Where I will walk till thou return to me.
If every one knows us, and we know none,
'Tis time, I think, to trudge, pack and be gone.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. As from a bear a man would run for life,
So fly I from her that would be my wife.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. There's none but witches do inhabit here,
And therefore 'tis high time that I were hence.
She that doth call me husband, even my soul
Doth for a wife abhor. But her fair sister,
Possess'd with such a gentle sovereign grace,
Of such enchanting presence and discourse,
Hath almost made me traitor to myself;
But, lest myself be guilty to self-wrong,
I'll stop mine ears against the mermaid's song.

Enter ANGELO with the chain

ANGELO. Master Antipholus!
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. Ay, that's my name.
ANGELO. I know it well, sir. Lo, here is the chain.
I thought to have ta'en you at the Porpentine;
The chain unfinish'd made me stay thus long.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. What is your will that I shall do with this?
ANGELO. What please yourself, sir; I have made it for you.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. Made it for me, sir! I bespoke it not.
ANGELO. Not once nor twice, but twenty times you have.
Go home with it, and please your wife withal;
And soon at supper-time I'll visit you,
And then receive my money for the chain.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. I pray you, sir, receive the money now,
For fear you ne'er see chain nor money more.
ANGELO. You are a merry man, sir; fare you well.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. What I should think of this cannot tell:
But this I think, there's no man is so vain
That would refuse so fair an offer'd chain.
I see a man here needs not live by shifts,
When in the streets he meets such golden gifts.
I'll to the mart, and there for Dromio stay;
If any ship put out, then straight away.


A public place


SECOND MERCHANT. You know since Pentecost the sum is due,
And since I have not much importun'd you;
Nor now I had not, but that I am bound
To Persia, and want guilders for my voyage.
Therefore make present satisfaction,
Or I'll attach you by this officer.
ANGELO. Even just the sum that I do owe to you
Is growing to me by Antipholus;
And in the instant that I met with you
He had of me a chain; at five o'clock
I shall receive the money for the same.
Pleaseth you walk with me down to his house,
I will discharge my bond, and thank you too.


OFFICER. That labour may you save; see where he comes.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. While I go to the goldsmith's house, go thou
And buy a rope's end; that will I bestow
Among my wife and her confederates,
For locking me out of my doors by day.
But, soft, I see the goldsmith. Get thee gone;
Buy thou a rope, and bring it home to me.
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. I buy a thousand pound a year; I buy a rope.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. A man is well holp up that trusts to you!
I promised your presence and the chain;
But neither chain nor goldsmith came to me.
Belike you thought our love would last too long,
If it were chain'd together, and therefore came not.
ANGELO. Saving your merry humour, here's the note
How much your chain weighs to the utmost carat,
The fineness of the gold, and chargeful fashion,
Which doth amount to three odd ducats more
Than I stand debted to this gentleman.
I pray you see him presently discharg'd,
For he is bound to sea, and stays but for it.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. I am not furnish'd with the present money;
Besides, I have some business in the town.
Good signior, take the stranger to my house,
And with you take the chain, and bid my wife
Disburse the sum on the receipt thereof.
Perchance I will be there as soon as you.
ANGELO. Then you will bring the chain to her yourself?
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. No; bear it with you, lest I come not time enough.
ANGELO. Well, sir, I will. Have you the chain about you?
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. An if I have not, sir, I hope you have;
Or else you may return without your money.
ANGELO. Nay, come, I pray you, sir, give me the chain;
Both wind and tide stays for this gentleman,
And I, to blame, have held him here too long.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. Good Lord! you use this dalliance to excuse
Your breach of promise to the Porpentine;
I should have chid you for not bringing it,
But, like a shrew, you first begin to brawl.
SECOND MERCHANT. The hour steals on; I pray you, sir, dispatch.
ANGELO. You hear how he importunes me-the chain!
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. Why, give it to my wife, and fetch your money.
ANGELO. Come, come, you know I gave it you even now.
Either send the chain or send by me some token.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. Fie, now you run this humour out of breath!
Come, where's the chain? I pray you let me see it.
SECOND MERCHANT. My business cannot brook this dalliance.
Good sir, say whe'r you'll answer me or no;
If not, I'll leave him to the officer.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. I answer you! What should I answer you?
ANGELO. The money that you owe me for the chain.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. I owe you none till I receive the chain.
ANGELO. You know I gave it you half an hour since.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. You gave me none; you wrong me much to say so.
ANGELO. You wrong me more, sir, in denying it.
Consider how it stands upon my credit.
SECOND MERCHANT. Well, officer, arrest him at my suit.
OFFICER. I do; and charge you in the Duke's name to obey me.
ANGELO. This touches me in reputation.
Either consent to pay this sum for me,
Or I attach you by this officer.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. Consent to pay thee that I never had!
Arrest me, foolish fellow, if thou dar'st.
ANGELO. Here is thy fee; arrest him, officer.
I would not spare my brother in this case,
If he should scorn me so apparently.
OFFICER. I do arrest you, sir; you hear the suit.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. I do obey thee till I give thee bail.
But, sirrah, you shall buy this sport as dear
As all the metal in your shop will answer.
ANGELO. Sir, sir, I shall have law in Ephesus,
To your notorious shame, I doubt it not.

Enter DROMIO OF SYRACUSE, from the bay

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. Master, there's a bark of Epidamnum
That stays but till her owner comes aboard,
And then, sir, she bears away. Our fraughtage, sir,
I have convey'd aboard; and I have bought
The oil, the balsamum, and aqua-vitx.
The ship is in her trim; the merry wind
Blows fair from land; they stay for nought at an
But for their owner, master, and yourself.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. How now! a madman? Why, thou peevish sheep,
What ship of Epidamnum stays for me?
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. A ship you sent me to, to hire waftage.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. THOU drunken slave! I sent the for a rope;
And told thee to what purpose and what end.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. YOU sent me for a rope's end as soon-
You sent me to the bay, sir, for a bark.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. I Will debate this matter at more leisure,
And teach your ears to list me with more heed.
To Adriana, villain, hie thee straight;
Give her this key, and tell her in the desk
That's cover'd o'er with Turkish tapestry
There is a purse of ducats; let her send it.
Tell her I am arrested in the street,
And that shall bail me; hie thee, slave, be gone.
On, officer, to prison till it come.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. To Adriana! that is where we din'd,
Where Dowsabel did claim me for her husband.
She is too big, I hope, for me to compass.
Thither I must, although against my will,
For servants must their masters' minds fulfil.




ADRIANA. Ah, Luciana, did he tempt thee so?
Might'st thou perceive austerely in his eye
That he did plead in earnest? Yea or no?
Look'd he or red or pale, or sad or merrily?
What observation mad'st thou in this case
Of his heart's meteors tilting in his face?
LUCIANA. First he denied you had in him no right.
ADRIANA. He meant he did me none-the more my spite.
LUCIANA. Then swore he that he was a stranger here.
ADRIANA. And true he swore, though yet forsworn he were.
LUCIANA. Then pleaded I for you.
ADRIANA. And what said he?
LUCIANA. That love I begg'd for you he begg'd of me.
ADRIANA. With what persuasion did he tempt thy love?
LUCIANA. With words that in an honest suit might move.
First he did praise my beauty, then my speech.
ADRIANA. Didst speak him fair?
LUCIANA. Have patience, I beseech.
ADRIANA. I cannot, nor I will not hold me still;
My tongue, though not my heart, shall have his will.
He is deformed, crooked, old, and sere,
Ill-fac'd, worse bodied, shapeless everywhere;
Vicious, ungentle, foolish, blunt, unkind;
Stigmatical in making, worse in mind.
LUCIANA. Who would be jealous then of such a one?
No evil lost is wail'd when it is gone.
ADRIANA. Ah, but I think him better than I say,
And yet would herein others' eyes were worse.
Far from her nest the lapwing cries away;
My heart prays for him, though my tongue do curse.


DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. Here go-the desk, the purse. Sweet
now, make haste.
LUCIANA. How hast thou lost thy breath?
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. By running fast.
ADRIANA. Where is thy master, Dromio? Is he well?
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. No, he's in Tartar limbo, worse than hell.
A devil in an everlasting garment hath him;
One whose hard heart is button'd up with steel;
A fiend, a fairy, pitiless and rough;
A wolf, nay worse, a fellow all in buff;
A back-friend, a shoulder-clapper, one that countermands
The passages of alleys, creeks, and narrow lands;
A hound that runs counter, and yet draws dry-foot well;
One that, before the Judgment, carries poor souls to hell.
ADRIANA. Why, man, what is the matter?
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. I do not know the matter; he is rested on the case.
ADRIANA. What, is he arrested? Tell me, at whose suit?
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. I know not at whose suit he is arrested well;
But he's in a suit of buff which 'rested him, that can I tell.
Will you send him, mistress, redemption, the money in his desk?
ADRIANA. Go fetch it, sister. [Exit LUCIANA] This I wonder at:
Thus he unknown to me should be in debt.
Tell me, was he arrested on a band?
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. on a band, but on a stronger thing,
A chain, a chain. Do you not hear it ring?
ADRIANA. What, the chain?
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. No, no, the bell; 'tis time that I were gone.
It was two ere I left him, and now the clock strikes one.
ADRIANA. The hours come back! That did I never hear.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. O yes. If any hour meet a sergeant,
'a turns back for very fear.
ADRIANA. As if Time were in debt! How fondly dost thou reason!
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. Time is a very bankrupt, and owes
more than he's worth to season.
Nay, he's a thief too: have you not heard men say
That Time comes stealing on by night and day?
If 'a be in debt and theft, and a sergeant in the way,
Hath he not reason to turn back an hour in a day?

Re-enter LUCIANA with a purse

ADRIANA. Go, Dromio, there's the money; bear it straight,
And bring thy master home immediately.
Come, sister; I am press'd down with conceit-
Conceit, my comfort and my injury.


The mart


ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. There's not a man I meet but doth salute me
As if I were their well-acquainted friend;
And every one doth call me by my name.
Some tender money to me, some invite me,
Some other give me thanks for kindnesses,
Some offer me commodities to buy;
Even now a tailor call'd me in his shop,
And show'd me silks that he had bought for me,
And therewithal took measure of my body.
Sure, these are but imaginary wiles,
And Lapland sorcerers inhabit here.


DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. Master, here's the gold you sent me
for. What, have you got the picture of old Adam new-apparell'd?
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. What gold is this? What Adam dost thou mean?
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. Not that Adam that kept the Paradise,
but that Adam that keeps the prison; he that goes in the
calf's skin that was kill'd for the Prodigal; he that came behind
you, sir, like an evil angel, and bid you forsake your liberty.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. I understand thee not.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. No? Why, 'tis a plain case: he that
went, like a bass-viol, in a case of leather; the man, sir,
that, when gentlemen are tired, gives them a sob, and rest
them; he, sir, that takes pity on decayed men, and give
them suits of durance; he that sets up his rest to do more
exploits with his mace than a morris-pike.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. What, thou mean'st an officer?
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. Ay, sir, the sergeant of the band;
that brings any man to answer it that breaks his band; on
that thinks a man always going to bed, and says 'God give
you good rest!'
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. Well, sir, there rest in your foolery. Is
there any ship puts forth to-night? May we be gone?
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. Why, sir, I brought you word an
hour since that the bark Expedition put forth to-night; and
then were you hind'red by the sergeant, to tarry for the
boy Delay. Here are the angels that you sent for to deliver you.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. The fellow is distract, and so am I;
And here we wander in illusions.
Some blessed power deliver us from hence!


COURTEZAN. Well met, well met, Master Antipholus.
I see, sir, you have found the goldsmith now.
Is that the chain you promis'd me to-day?
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. Satan, avoid! I charge thee, tempt me not.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. Master, is this Mistress Satan?
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. Nay, she is worse, she is the devil's
dam, and here she comes in the habit of a light wench; and
thereof comes that the wenches say 'God damn me!' That's
as much to say 'God make me a light wench!' It is written
they appear to men like angels of light; light is an effect
of fire, and fire will burn; ergo, light wenches will burn.
Come not near her.
COURTEZAN. Your man and you are marvellous merry, sir.
Will you go with me? We'll mend our dinner here.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. Master, if you do, expect spoon-meat,
or bespeak a long spoon.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. Marry, he must have a long spoon
that must eat with the devil.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. Avoid then, fiend! What tell'st thou me of supping?
Thou art, as you are all, a sorceress;
I conjure thee to leave me and be gone.
COURTEZAN. Give me the ring of mine you had at dinner,
Or, for my diamond, the chain you promis'd,
And I'll be gone, sir, and not trouble you.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. Some devils ask but the parings of one's nail,
A rush, a hair, a drop of blood, a pin,
A nut, a cherry-stone;
But she, more covetous, would have a chain.
Master, be wise; an if you give it her,
The devil will shake her chain, and fright us with it.
COURTEZAN. I pray you, sir, my ring, or else the chain;
I hope you do not mean to cheat me so.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. Avaunt, thou witch! Come, Dromio, let us go.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. 'Fly pride' says the peacock. Mistress, that you know.
COURTEZAN. Now, out of doubt, Antipholus is mad,
Else would he never so demean himself.
A ring he hath of mine worth forty ducats,
And for the same he promis'd me a chain;
Both one and other he denies me now.
The reason that I gather he is mad,
Besides this present instance of his rage,
Is a mad tale he told to-day at dinner
Of his own doors being shut against his entrance.
Belike his wife, acquainted with his fits,
On purpose shut the doors against his way.
My way is now to hie home to his house,
And tell his wife that, being lunatic,
He rush'd into my house and took perforce
My ring away. This course I fittest choose,
For forty ducats is too much to lose.


A street


ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. Fear me not, man; I will not break away.
I'll give thee, ere I leave thee, so much money,
To warrant thee, as I am 'rested for.
My wife is in a wayward mood to-day,
And will not lightly trust the messenger.
That I should be attach'd in Ephesus,
I tell you 'twill sound harshly in her cars.

Enter DROMIO OF EPHESUS, with a rope's-end

Here comes my man; I think he brings the money.
How now, sir! Have you that I sent you for?
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. Here's that, I warrant you, will pay them all.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. But where's the money?
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. Why, sir, I gave the money for the rope.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. Five hundred ducats, villain, for rope?
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. I'll serve you, sir, five hundred at the rate.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. To what end did I bid thee hie thee home?
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. To a rope's-end, sir; and to that end am I
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. And to that end, sir, I will welcome you.
[Beating him]
OFFICER. Good sir, be patient.
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. Nay, 'tis for me to be patient; I am in
OFFICER. Good now, hold thy tongue.
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. Nay, rather persuade him to hold his hands.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. Thou whoreson, senseless villain!
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. I would I were senseless, sir, that I
might not feel your blows.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. Thou art sensible in nothing but
blows, and so is an ass.
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. I am an ass indeed; you may prove it
by my long 'ears. I have served him from the hour of my
nativity to this instant, and have nothing at his hands for
my service but blows. When I am cold he heats me with
beating; when I am warm he cools me with beating. I am
wak'd with it when I sleep; rais'd with it when I sit; driven
out of doors with it when I go from home; welcom'd home
with it when I return; nay, I bear it on my shoulders as
beggar wont her brat; and I think, when he hath lam'd me,
I shall beg with it from door to door.

call'd PINCH

ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. Come, go along; my wife is coming yonder.
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. Mistress, 'respice finem,' respect your end; or
rather, to prophesy like the parrot, 'Beware the rope's-end.'
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. Wilt thou still talk?
[Beating him]
COURTEZAN. How say you now? Is not your husband mad?
ADRIANA. His incivility confirms no less.
Good Doctor Pinch, you are a conjurer:
Establish him in his true sense again,
And I will please you what you will demand.
LUCIANA. Alas, how fiery and how sharp he looks!
COURTEZAN. Mark how he trembles in his ecstasy.
PINCH. Give me your hand, and let me feel your pulse.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. There is my hand, and let it feel your ear.
[Striking him]
PINCH. I charge thee, Satan, hous'd within this man,
To yield possession to my holy prayers,
And to thy state of darkness hie thee straight.
I conjure thee by all the saints in heaven.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. Peace, doting wizard, peace! I am not mad.
ADRIANA. O, that thou wert not, poor distressed soul!
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. You minion, you, are these your customers?
Did this companion with the saffron face
Revel and feast it at my house to-day,
Whilst upon me the guilty doors were shut,
And I denied to enter in my house?
ADRIANA. O husband, God doth know you din'd at home,
Where would you had remain'd until this time,
Free from these slanders and this open shame!
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. Din'd at home! Thou villain, what sayest thou?
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. Sir, Sooth to say, you did not dine at home.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. Were not my doors lock'd up and I shut out?
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. Perdie, your doors were lock'd and you shut out.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. And did not she herself revile me there?
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. Sans fable, she herself revil'd you there.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. Did not her kitchen-maid rail, taunt, and scorn me?
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. Certes, she did; the kitchen-vestal scorn'd you.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. And did not I in rage depart from thence?
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. In verity, you did. My bones bear witness,
That since have felt the vigour of his rage.
ADRIANA. Is't good to soothe him in these contraries?
PINCH. It is no shame; the fellow finds his vein,
And, yielding to him, humours well his frenzy.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. Thou hast suborn'd the goldsmith to arrest me.
ADRIANA. Alas, I sent you money to redeem you,
By Dromio here, who came in haste for it.
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. Money by me! Heart and goodwill you might,
But surely, master, not a rag of money.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. Went'st not thou to her for purse of ducats?
ADRIANA. He came to me, and I deliver'd it.
LUCIANA. And I am witness with her that she did.
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. God and the rope-maker bear me witness
That I was sent for nothing but a rope!
PINCH. Mistress, both man and master is possess'd;
I know it by their pale and deadly looks.
They must be bound, and laid in some dark room.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. Say, wherefore didst thou lock me forth to-day?
And why dost thou deny the bag of gold?
ADRIANA. I did not, gentle husband, lock thee forth.
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. And, gentle master, I receiv'd no gold;
But I confess, sir, that we were lock'd out.
ADRIANA. Dissembling villain, thou speak'st false in both.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. Dissembling harlot, thou art false in all,
And art confederate with a damned pack
To make a loathsome abject scorn of me;
But with these nails I'll pluck out these false eyes
That would behold in me this shameful sport.
ADRIANA. O, bind him, bind him; let him not come near me.
PINCH. More company! The fiend is strong within him.

Enter three or four, and offer to bind him. He strives

LUCIANA. Ay me, poor man, how pale and wan he looks!
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. What, will you murder me? Thou gaoler, thou,
I am thy prisoner. Wilt thou suffer them
To make a rescue?
OFFICER. Masters, let him go;
He is my prisoner, and you shall not have him.
PINCH. Go bind this man, for he is frantic too.
[They bind DROMIO]
ADRIANA. What wilt thou do, thou peevish officer?
Hast thou delight to see a wretched man
Do outrage and displeasure to himself?
OFFICER. He is my prisoner; if I let him go,
The debt he owes will be requir'd of me.
ADRIANA. I will discharge thee ere I go from thee;
Bear me forthwith unto his creditor,
And, knowing how the debt grows, I will pay it.
Good Master Doctor, see him safe convey'd
Home to my house. O most unhappy day!
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. O most unhappy strumpet!
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. Master, I am here ent'red in bond for you.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. Out on thee, villian! Wherefore
dost thou mad me?
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. Will you be bound for nothing?
Be mad, good master; cry 'The devil!'
LUCIANA. God help, poor souls, how idly do they talk!
ADRIANA. Go bear him hence. Sister, go you with me.
Say now, whose suit is he arrested at?
OFFICER. One Angelo, a goldsmith; do you know him?
ADRIANA. I know the man. What is the sum he owes?
OFFICER. Two hundred ducats.
ADRIANA. Say, how grows it due?
OFFICER. Due for a chain your husband had of him.
ADRIANA. He did bespeak a chain for me, but had it not.
COURTEZAN. When as your husband, all in rage, to-day
Came to my house, and took away my ring-
The ring I saw upon his finger now-
Straight after did I meet him with a chain.
ADRIANA. It may be so, but I did never see it.
Come, gaoler, bring me where the goldsmith is;
I long to know the truth hereof at large.

Enter ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE, with his rapier drawn, and

LUCIANA. God, for thy mercy! they are loose again.
ADRIANA. And come with naked swords.
Let's call more help to have them bound again.
OFFICER. Away, they'll kill us!
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE as fast as may be, frighted
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. I see these witches are afraid of swords.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. She that would be your wife now ran from you.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. Come to the Centaur; fetch our stuff from thence.
I long that we were safe and sound aboard.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. Faith, stay here this night; they will
surely do us no harm; you saw they speak us fair, give us
gold; methinks they are such a gentle nation that, but for
the mountain of mad flesh that claims marriage of me,
could find in my heart to stay here still and turn witch.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. I will not stay to-night for all the town;
Therefore away, to get our stuff aboard.


A street before a priory


ANGELO. I am sorry, sir, that I have hind'red you;
But I protest he had the chain of me,
Though most dishonestly he doth deny it.
SECOND MERCHANT. How is the man esteem'd here in the city?
ANGELO. Of very reverend reputation, sir,
Of credit infinite, highly belov'd,
Second to none that lives here in the city;
His word might bear my wealth at any time.
SECOND MERCHANT. Speak softly; yonder, as I think, he walks.


ANGELO. 'Tis so; and that self chain about his neck
Which he forswore most monstrously to have.
Good sir, draw near to me, I'll speak to him.
Signior Andpholus, I wonder much
That you would put me to this shame and trouble;
And, not without some scandal to yourself,
With circumstance and oaths so to deny
This chain, which now you wear so openly.
Beside the charge, the shame, imprisonment,
You have done wrong to this my honest friend;
Who, but for staying on our controversy,
Had hoisted sail and put to sea to-day.
This chain you had of me; can you deny it?
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. I think I had; I never did deny it.
SECOND MERCHANT. Yes, that you did, sir, and forswore it too.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. Who heard me to deny it or forswear it?
SECOND MERCHANT. These ears of mine, thou know'st, did hear thee.
Fie on thee, wretch! 'tis pity that thou liv'st
To walk where any honest men resort.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. Thou art a villain to impeach me thus;
I'll prove mine honour and mine honesty
Against thee presently, if thou dar'st stand.
SECOND MERCHANT. I dare, and do defy thee for a villain.
[They draw]


ADRIANA. Hold, hurt him not, for God's sake! He is mad.
Some get within him, take his sword away;
Bind Dromio too, and bear them to my house.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. Run, master, run; for God's sake take a house.
This is some priory. In, or we are spoil'd.


ABBESS. Be quiet, people. Wherefore throng you hither?
ADRIANA. To fetch my poor distracted husband hence.
Let us come in, that we may bind him fast,
And bear him home for his recovery.
ANGELO. I knew he was not in his perfect wits.
SECOND MERCHANT. I am sorry now that I did draw on him.
ABBESS. How long hath this possession held the man?
ADRIANA. This week he hath been heavy, sour, sad,
And much different from the man he was;
But till this afternoon his passion
Ne'er brake into extremity of rage.
ABBESS. Hath he not lost much wealth by wreck of sea?
Buried some dear friend? Hath not else his eye
Stray'd his affection in unlawful love?
A sin prevailing much in youthful men
Who give their eyes the liberty of gazing.
Which of these sorrows is he subject to?
ADRIANA. To none of these, except it be the last;
Namely, some love that drew him oft from home.
ABBESS. You should for that have reprehended him.
ADRIANA. Why, so I did.
ABBESS. Ay, but not rough enough.
ADRIANA. As roughly as my modesty would let me.
ABBESS. Haply in private.
ADRIANA. And in assemblies too.
ABBESS. Ay, but not enough.
ADRIANA. It was the copy of our conference.
In bed, he slept not for my urging it;
At board, he fed not for my urging it;
Alone, it was the subject of my theme;
In company, I often glanced it;
Still did I tell him it was vile and bad.
ABBESS. And thereof came it that the man was mad.
The venom clamours of a jealous woman
Poisons more deadly than a mad dog's tooth.
It seems his sleeps were hind'red by thy railing,
And thereof comes it that his head is light.
Thou say'st his meat was sauc'd with thy upbraidings:
Unquiet meals make ill digestions;
Thereof the raging fire of fever bred;
And what's a fever but a fit of madness?
Thou say'st his sports were hind'red by thy brawls.
Sweet recreation barr'd, what doth ensue
But moody and dull melancholy,
Kinsman to grim and comfortless despair,
And at her heels a huge infectious troop
Of pale distemperatures and foes to life?
In food, in sport, and life-preserving rest,
To be disturb'd would mad or man or beast.
The consequence is, then, thy jealous fits
Hath scar'd thy husband from the use of wits.
LUCIANA. She never reprehended him but mildly,
When he demean'd himself rough, rude, and wildly.
Why bear you these rebukes, and answer not?
ADRIANA. She did betray me to my own reproof.
Good people, enter, and lay hold on him.
ABBESS. No, not a creature enters in my house.
ADRIANA. Then let your servants bring my husband forth.
ABBESS. Neither; he took this place for sanctuary,
And it shall privilege him from your hands
Till I have brought him to his wits again,
Or lose my labour in assaying it.
ADRIANA. I will attend my husband, be his nurse,
Diet his sickness, for it is my office,
And will have no attorney but myself;
And therefore let me have him home with me.
ABBESS. Be patient; for I will not let him stir
Till I have us'd the approved means I have,
With wholesome syrups, drugs, and holy prayers,
To make of him a formal man again.
It is a branch and parcel of mine oath,
A charitable duty of my order;
Therefore depart, and leave him here with me.
ADRIANA. I will not hence and leave my husband here;
And ill it doth beseem your holiness
To separate the husband and the wife.
ABBESS. Be quiet, and depart; thou shalt not have him.
LUCIANA. Complain unto the Duke of this indignity.
ADRIANA. Come, go; I will fall prostrate at his feet,
And never rise until my tears and prayers
Have won his Grace to come in person hither
And take perforce my husband from the Abbess.
SECOND MERCHANT. By this, I think, the dial points at five;
Anon, I'm sure, the Duke himself in person
Comes this way to the melancholy vale,
The place of death and sorry execution,
Behind the ditches of the abbey here.
ANGELO. Upon what cause?
SECOND MERCHANT. To see a reverend Syracusian merchant,
Who put unluckily into this bay
Against the laws and statutes of this town,
Beheaded publicly for his offence.
ANGELO. See where they come; we will behold his death.
LUCIANA. Kneel to the Duke before he pass the abbey.

Enter the DUKE, attended; AEGEON, bareheaded;
with the HEADSMAN and other OFFICERS

DUKE. Yet once again proclaim it publicly,
If any friend will pay the sum for him,
He shall not die; so much we tender him.
ADRIANA. Justice, most sacred Duke, against the Abbess!
DUKE. She is a virtuous and a reverend lady;
It cannot be that she hath done thee wrong.
ADRIANA. May it please your Grace, Antipholus, my husband,
Who I made lord of me and all I had
At your important letters-this ill day
A most outrageous fit of madness took him,
That desp'rately he hurried through the street,
With him his bondman all as mad as he,
Doing displeasure to the citizens
By rushing in their houses, bearing thence
Rings, jewels, anything his rage did like.
Once did I get him bound and sent him home,
Whilst to take order for the wrongs I went,
That here and there his fury had committed.
Anon, I wot not by what strong escape,
He broke from those that had the guard of him,
And with his mad attendant and himself,
Each one with ireful passion, with drawn swords,
Met us again and, madly bent on us,
Chas'd us away; till, raising of more aid,
We came again to bind them. Then they fled
Into this abbey, whither we pursu'd them;
And here the Abbess shuts the gates on us,
And will not suffer us to fetch him out,
Nor send him forth that we may bear him hence.
Therefore, most gracious Duke, with thy command
Let him be brought forth and borne hence for help.
DUKE. Long since thy husband serv'd me in my wars,
And I to thee engag'd a prince's word,
When thou didst make him master of thy bed,
To do him all the grace and good I could.
Go, some of you, knock at the abbey gate,
And bid the Lady Abbess come to me,
I will determine this before I stir.


MESSENGER. O mistress, mistress, shift and save yourself!
My master and his man are both broke loose,
Beaten the maids a-row and bound the doctor,
Whose beard they have sing'd off with brands of fire;
And ever, as it blaz'd, they threw on him
Great pails of puddled mire to quench the hair.
My master preaches patience to him, and the while
His man with scissors nicks him like a fool;
And sure, unless you send some present help,
Between them they will kill the conjurer.
ADRIANA. Peace, fool! thy master and his man are here,
And that is false thou dost report to us.
MESSENGER. Mistress, upon my life, I tell you true;
I have not breath'd almost since I did see it.
He cries for you, and vows, if he can take you,
To scorch your face, and to disfigure you.
[Cry within]
Hark, hark, I hear him, mistress; fly, be gone!
DUKE. Come, stand by me; fear nothing. Guard with halberds.
ADRIANA. Ay me, it is my husband! Witness you
That he is borne about invisible.
Even now we hous'd him in the abbey here,
And now he's there, past thought of human reason.


ANTIPHOLUS OFEPHESUS. Justice, most gracious Duke; O, grant me justice!
Even for the service that long since I did thee,
When I bestrid thee in the wars, and took
Deep scars to save thy life; even for the blood
That then I lost for thee, now grant me justice.
AEGEON. Unless the fear of death doth make me dote,
I see my son Antipholus, and Dromio.
ANTIPHOLUS OFEPHESUS. Justice, sweet Prince, against that woman there!
She whom thou gav'st to me to be my wife,
That hath abused and dishonoured me
Even in the strength and height of injury.
Beyond imagination is the wrong
That she this day hath shameless thrown on me.
DUKE. Discover how, and thou shalt find me just.
ANTIPHOLUS OFEPHESUS. This day, great Duke, she shut the doors upon me,
While she with harlots feasted in my house.
DUKE. A grievous fault. Say, woman, didst thou so?
ADRIANA. No, my good lord. Myself, he, and my sister,
To-day did dine together. So befall my soul
As this is false he burdens me withal!
LUCIANA. Ne'er may I look on day nor sleep on night
But she tells to your Highness simple truth!
ANGELO. O peflur'd woman! They are both forsworn.
In this the madman justly chargeth them.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. My liege, I am advised what I say;
Neither disturbed with the effect of wine,
Nor heady-rash, provok'd with raging ire,
Albeit my wrongs might make one wiser mad.
This woman lock'd me out this day from dinner;
That goldsmith there, were he not pack'd with her,
Could witness it, for he was with me then;
Who parted with me to go fetch a chain,
Promising to bring it to the Porpentine,
Where Balthazar and I did dine together.
Our dinner done, and he not coming thither,
I went to seek him. In the street I met him,
And in his company that gentleman.
There did this perjur'd goldsmith swear me down
That I this day of him receiv'd the chain,
Which, God he knows, I saw not; for the which
He did arrest me with an officer.
I did obey, and sent my peasant home
For certain ducats; he with none return'd.
Then fairly I bespoke the officer
To go in person with me to my house.
By th' way we met my wife, her sister, and a rabble more
Of vile confederates. Along with them
They brought one Pinch, a hungry lean-fac'd villain,
A mere anatomy, a mountebank,
A threadbare juggler, and a fortune-teller,
A needy, hollow-ey'd, sharp-looking wretch,
A living dead man. This pernicious slave,
Forsooth, took on him as a conjurer,
And gazing in mine eyes, feeling my pulse,
And with no face, as 'twere, outfacing me,
Cries out I was possess'd. Then all together
They fell upon me, bound me, bore me thence,
And in a dark and dankish vault at home
There left me and my man, both bound together;
Till, gnawing with my teeth my bonds in sunder,
I gain'd my freedom, and immediately
Ran hither to your Grace; whom I beseech
To give me ample satisfaction
For these deep shames and great indignities.
ANGELO. My lord, in truth, thus far I witness with him,
That he din'd not at home, but was lock'd out.
DUKE. But had he such a chain of thee, or no?
ANGELO. He had, my lord, and when he ran in here,
These people saw the chain about his neck.
SECOND MERCHANT. Besides, I will be sworn these ears of mine
Heard you confess you had the chain of him,
After you first forswore it on the mart;
And thereupon I drew my sword on you,
And then you fled into this abbey here,
From whence, I think, you are come by miracle.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. I never came within these abbey walls,
Nor ever didst thou draw thy sword on me;
I never saw the chain, so help me Heaven!
And this is false you burden me withal.
DUKE. Why, what an intricate impeach is this!
I think you all have drunk of Circe's cup.
If here you hous'd him, here he would have been;
If he were mad, he would not plead so coldly.
You say he din'd at home: the goldsmith here
Denies that saying. Sirrah, what say you?
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. Sir, he din'd with her there, at the Porpentine.
COURTEZAN. He did; and from my finger snatch'd that ring.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. 'Tis true, my liege; this ring I had of her.
DUKE. Saw'st thou him enter at the abbey here?
COURTEZAN. As sure, my liege, as I do see your Grace.
DUKE. Why, this is strange. Go call the Abbess hither.
I think you are all mated or stark mad.
AEGEON. Most mighty Duke, vouchsafe me speak a word:
Haply I see a friend will save my life
And pay the sum that may deliver me.
DUKE. Speak freely, Syracusian, what thou wilt.
AEGEON. Is not your name, sir, call'd Antipholus?
And is not that your bondman Dromio?
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. Within this hour I was his bondman, sir,
But he, I thank him, gnaw'd in two my cords
Now am I Dromio and his man unbound.
AEGEON. I am sure you both of you remember me.
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. Ourselves we do remember, sir, by you;
For lately we were bound as you are now.
You are not Pinch's patient, are you, sir?
AEGEON. Why look you strange on me? You know me well.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. I never saw you in my life till now.
AEGEON. O! grief hath chang'd me since you saw me last;
And careful hours with time's deformed hand
Have written strange defeatures in my face.
But tell me yet, dost thou not know my voice?
AEGEON. Dromio, nor thou?
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. No, trust me, sir, nor I.
AEGEON. I am sure thou dost.
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. Ay, sir, but I am sure I do not; and
whatsoever a man denies, you are now bound to believe him.
AEGEON. Not know my voice! O time's extremity,
Hast thou so crack'd and splitted my poor tongue
In seven short years that here my only son
Knows not my feeble key of untun'd cares?
Though now this grained face of mine be hid
In sap-consuming winter's drizzled snow,
And all the conduits of my blood froze up,
Yet hath my night of life some memory,
My wasting lamps some fading glimmer left,
My dull deaf ears a little use to hear;
All these old witnesses-I cannot err-
Tell me thou art my son Antipholus.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. I never saw my father in my life.
AEGEON. But seven years since, in Syracuse, boy,
Thou know'st we parted; but perhaps, my son,
Thou sham'st to acknowledge me in misery.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. The Duke and all that know me in
the city Can witness with me that it is not so:
I ne'er saw Syracuse in my life.
DUKE. I tell thee, Syracusian, twenty years
Have I been patron to Antipholus,
During which time he ne'er saw Syracuse.
I see thy age and dangers make thee dote.


ABBESS. Most mighty Duke, behold a man much wrong'd.
[All gather to see them]
ADRIANA. I see two husbands, or mine eyes deceive me.
DUKE. One of these men is genius to the other;
And so of these. Which is the natural man,
And which the spirit? Who deciphers them?
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. I, sir, am Dromio; command him away.
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. I, Sir, am Dromio; pray let me stay.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. Aegeon, art thou not? or else his
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. O, my old master! who hath bound
ABBESS. Whoever bound him, I will loose his bonds,
And gain a husband by his liberty.
Speak, old Aegeon, if thou be'st the man
That hadst a wife once call'd Aemilia,
That bore thee at a burden two fair sons.
O, if thou be'st the same Aegeon, speak,
And speak unto the same Aemilia!
AEGEON. If I dream not, thou art Aemilia.
If thou art she, tell me where is that son
That floated with thee on the fatal raft?
ABBESS. By men of Epidamnum he and I
And the twin Dromio, all were taken up;
But by and by rude fishermen of Corinth
By force took Dromio and my son from them,
And me they left with those of Epidamnum.
What then became of them I cannot tell;
I to this fortune that you see me in.
DUKE. Why, here begins his morning story right.
These two Antipholus', these two so like,
And these two Dromios, one in semblance-
Besides her urging of her wreck at sea-
These are the parents to these children,
Which accidentally are met together.
Antipholus, thou cam'st from Corinth first?
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. No, sir, not I; I came from Syracuse.
DUKE. Stay, stand apart; I know not which is which.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. I came from Corinth, my most gracious lord.
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. And I with him.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. Brought to this town by that most famous warrior,
Duke Menaphon, your most renowned uncle.
ADRIANA. Which of you two did dine with me to-day?
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. I, gentle mistress.
ADRIANA. And are not you my husband?
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. No; I say nay to that.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. And so do I, yet did she call me so;
And this fair gentlewoman, her sister here,
Did call me brother. [To LUCIANA] What I told you then,
I hope I shall have leisure to make good;
If this be not a dream I see and hear.
ANGELO. That is the chain, sir, which you had of me.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. I think it be, sir; I deny it not.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. And you, sir, for this chain arrested me.
ANGELO. I think I did, sir; I deny it not.
ADRIANA. I sent you money, sir, to be your bail,
By Dromio; but I think he brought it not.
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. No, none by me.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. This purse of ducats I receiv'd from you,
And Dromio my man did bring them me.
I see we still did meet each other's man,
And I was ta'en for him, and he for me,
And thereupon these ERRORS are arose.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. These ducats pawn I for my father here.
DUKE. It shall not need; thy father hath his life.
COURTEZAN. Sir, I must have that diamond from you.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. There, take it; and much thanks for my
good cheer.
ABBESS. Renowned Duke, vouchsafe to take the pains
To go with us into the abbey here,
And hear at large discoursed all our fortunes;
And all that are assembled in this place
That by this sympathized one day's error
Have suffer'd wrong, go keep us company,
And we shall make full satisfaction.
Thirty-three years have I but gone in travail
Of you, my sons; and till this present hour
My heavy burden ne'er delivered.
The Duke, my husband, and my children both,
And you the calendars of their nativity,
Go to a gossips' feast, and go with me;
After so long grief, such nativity!
DUKE. With all my heart, I'll gossip at this feast.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. Master, shall I fetch your stuff from shipboard?
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. Dromio, what stuff of mine hast thou embark'd?
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. Your goods that lay at host, sir, in the Centaur.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. He speaks to me. I am your master, Dromio.
Come, go with us; we'll look to that anon.
Embrace thy brother there; rejoice with him.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. There is a fat friend at your master's house,
That kitchen'd me for you to-day at dinner;
She now shall be my sister, not my wife.
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. Methinks you are my glass, and not my brother;
I see by you I am a sweet-fac'd youth.
Will you walk in to see their gossiping?
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. Not I, sir; you are my elder.
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. That's a question; how shall we try it?
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. We'll draw cuts for the senior; till then,
lead thou first.
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. Nay, then, thus:
We came into the world like brother and brother,
And now let's go hand in hand, not one before another.

The End.

The Tragedy of Coriolanus

Dramatis Personae


Generals against the Volscians

MENENIUS AGRIPPA, friend to Coriolanus

Tribunes of the People

YOUNG MARCIUS, son to Coriolanus
NICANOR, a Roman
TULLUS AUFIDIUS, General of the Volscians
LIEUTENANT, to Aufidius
ADRIAN, a Volscian
A CITIZEN of Antium

VOLUMNIA, mother to Coriolanus
VIRGILIA, wife to Coriolanus
VALERIA, friend to Virgilia
GENTLEWOMAN attending on Virgilia

Roman and Volscian Senators, Patricians, Aediles, Lictors,
Soldiers, Citizens, Messengers, Servants to Aufidius, and other

Rome and the neighbourhood; Corioli and the neighbourhood; Antium

Rome. A street

Enter a company of mutinous citizens, with staves, clubs, and other weapons

FIRST CITIZEN. Before we proceed any further, hear me speak.
ALL. Speak, speak.
FIRST CITIZEN. YOU are all resolv'd rather to die than to famish?
ALL. Resolv'd, resolv'd.
FIRST CITIZEN. First, you know Caius Marcius is chief enemy to the
ALL. We know't, we know't.
FIRST CITIZEN. Let us kill him, and we'll have corn at our own
price. Is't a verdict?
ALL. No more talking on't; let it be done. Away, away!
SECOND CITIZEN. One word, good citizens.
FIRST CITIZEN. We are accounted poor citizens, the patricians good.
What authority surfeits on would relieve us; if they would yield
us but the superfluity while it were wholesome, we might guess
they relieved us humanely; but they think we are too dear. The
leanness that afflicts us, the object of our misery, is as an
inventory to particularize their abundance; our sufferance is a
gain to them. Let us revenge this with our pikes ere we become
rakes; for the gods know I speak this in hunger for bread, not in
thirst for revenge.
SECOND CITIZEN. Would you proceed especially against Caius Marcius?
FIRST CITIZEN. Against him first; he's a very dog to the
SECOND CITIZEN. Consider you what services he has done for his
FIRST CITIZEN. Very well, and could be content to give him good
report for't but that he pays himself with being proud.
SECOND CITIZEN. Nay, but speak not maliciously.
FIRST CITIZEN. I say unto you, what he hath done famously he did it
to that end; though soft-conscienc'd men can be content to say it
was for his country, he did it to please his mother and to be
partly proud, which he is, even to the altitude of his virtue.
SECOND CITIZEN. What he cannot help in his nature you account a
vice in him. You must in no way say he is covetous.
FIRST CITIZEN. If I must not, I need not be barren of accusations;
he hath faults, with surplus, to tire in repetition. [Shouts
within] What shouts are these? The other side o' th' city is
risen. Why stay we prating here? To th' Capitol!
ALL. Come, come.
FIRST CITIZEN. Soft! who comes here?


SECOND CITIZEN. Worthy Menenius Agrippa; one that hath always lov'd
the people.
FIRST CITIZEN. He's one honest enough; would all the rest were so!
MENENIUS. What work's, my countrymen, in hand? Where go you
With bats and clubs? The matter? Speak, I pray you.
FIRST CITIZEN. Our business is not unknown to th' Senate; they have
had inkling this fortnight what we intend to do, which now we'll
show 'em in deeds. They say poor suitors have strong breaths;
they shall know we have strong arms too.
MENENIUS. Why, masters, my good friends, mine honest neighbours,
Will you undo yourselves?
FIRST CITIZEN. We cannot, sir; we are undone already.
MENENIUS. I tell you, friends, most charitable care
Have the patricians of you. For your wants,
Your suffering in this dearth, you may as well
Strike at the heaven with your staves as lift them
Against the Roman state; whose course will on
The way it takes, cracking ten thousand curbs
Of more strong link asunder than can ever
Appear in your impediment. For the dearth,
The gods, not the patricians, make it, and
Your knees to them, not arms, must help. Alack,
You are transported by calamity
Thither where more attends you; and you slander
The helms o' th' state, who care for you like fathers,
When you curse them as enemies.
FIRST CITIZEN. Care for us! True, indeed! They ne'er car'd for us
yet. Suffer us to famish, and their storehouses cramm'd with
grain; make edicts for usury, to support usurers; repeal daily
any wholesome act established against the rich, and provide more
piercing statutes daily to chain up and restrain the poor. If the
wars eat us not up, they will; and there's all the love they bear
MENENIUS. Either you must
Confess yourselves wondrous malicious,
Or be accus'd of folly. I shall tell you
A pretty tale. It may be you have heard it;
But, since it serves my purpose, I will venture
To stale't a little more.
FIRST CITIZEN. Well, I'll hear it, sir; yet you must not think to
fob off our disgrace with a tale. But, an't please you, deliver.
MENENIUS. There was a time when all the body's members
Rebell'd against the belly; thus accus'd it:
That only like a gulf it did remain
I' th' midst o' th' body, idle and unactive,
Still cupboarding the viand, never bearing
Like labour with the rest; where th' other instruments
Did see and hear, devise, instruct, walk, feel,
And, mutually participate, did minister
Unto the appetite and affection common
Of the whole body. The belly answer'd-
FIRST CITIZEN. Well, sir, what answer made the belly?
MENENIUS. Sir, I shall tell you. With a kind of smile,
Which ne'er came from the lungs, but even thus-
For look you, I may make the belly smile
As well as speak- it tauntingly replied
To th' discontented members, the mutinous parts
That envied his receipt; even so most fitly
As you malign our senators for that
They are not such as you.
FIRST CITIZEN. Your belly's answer- What?
The kingly crowned head, the vigilant eye,
The counsellor heart, the arm our soldier,
Our steed the leg, the tongue our trumpeter,
With other muniments and petty helps
Is this our fabric, if that they-
MENENIUS. What then?
Fore me, this fellow speaks! What then? What then?
FIRST CITIZEN. Should by the cormorant belly be restrain'd,
Who is the sink o' th' body-
MENENIUS. Well, what then?
FIRST CITIZEN. The former agents, if they did complain,
What could the belly answer?
MENENIUS. I will tell you;
If you'll bestow a small- of what you have little-
Patience awhile, you'st hear the belly's answer.
FIRST CITIZEN. Y'are long about it.
MENENIUS. Note me this, good friend:
Your most grave belly was deliberate,
Not rash like his accusers, and thus answered.
'True is it, my incorporate friends,' quoth he
'That I receive the general food at first
Which you do live upon; and fit it is,
Because I am the storehouse and the shop
Of the whole body. But, if you do remember,
I send it through the rivers of your blood,
Even to the court, the heart, to th' seat o' th' brain;
And, through the cranks and offices of man,
The strongest nerves and small inferior veins
From me receive that natural competency
Whereby they live. And though that all at once
You, my good friends'- this says the belly; mark me.
FIRST CITIZEN. Ay, sir; well, well.
MENENIUS. 'Though all at once cannot
See what I do deliver out to each,
Yet I can make my audit up, that all
From me do back receive the flour of all,
And leave me but the bran.' What say you to' t?
FIRST CITIZEN. It was an answer. How apply you this?
MENENIUS. The senators of Rome are this good belly,
And you the mutinous members; for, examine
Their counsels and their cares, digest things rightly
Touching the weal o' th' common, you shall find
No public benefit which you receive
But it proceeds or comes from them to you,
And no way from yourselves. What do you think,
You, the great toe of this assembly?
FIRST CITIZEN. I the great toe? Why the great toe?
MENENIUS. For that, being one o' th' lowest, basest, poorest,
Of this most wise rebellion, thou goest foremost.
Thou rascal, that art worst in blood to run,
Lead'st first to win some vantage.
But make you ready your stiff bats and clubs.
Rome and her rats are at the point of battle;
The one side must have bale.


Hail, noble Marcius!
MARCIUS. Thanks. What's the matter, you dissentious rogues
That, rubbing the poor itch of your opinion,
Make yourselves scabs?
FIRST CITIZEN. We have ever your good word.
MARCIUS. He that will give good words to thee will flatter
Beneath abhorring. What would you have, you curs,
That like nor peace nor war? The one affrights you,
The other makes you proud. He that trusts to you,
Where he should find you lions, finds you hares;
Where foxes, geese; you are no surer, no,
Than is the coal of fire upon the ice
Or hailstone in the sun. Your virtue is
To make him worthy whose offence subdues him,
And curse that justice did it. Who deserves greatness
Deserves your hate; and your affections are
A sick man's appetite, who desires most that
Which would increase his evil. He that depends
Upon your favours swims with fins of lead,
And hews down oaks with rushes. Hang ye! Trust ye?
With every minute you do change a mind
And call him noble that was now your hate,
Him vile that was your garland. What's the matter
That in these several places of the city
You cry against the noble Senate, who,
Under the gods, keep you in awe, which else
Would feed on one another? What's their seeking?
MENENIUS. For corn at their own rates, whereof they say
The city is well stor'd.
MARCIUS. Hang 'em! They say!
They'll sit by th' fire and presume to know
What's done i' th' Capitol, who's like to rise,
Who thrives and who declines; side factions, and give out
Conjectural marriages, making parties strong,
And feebling such as stand not in their liking
Below their cobbled shoes. They say there's grain enough!
Would the nobility lay aside their ruth
And let me use my sword, I'd make a quarry
With thousands of these quarter'd slaves, as high
As I could pick my lance.
MENENIUS. Nay, these are almost thoroughly persuaded;
For though abundantly they lack discretion,
Yet are they passing cowardly. But, I beseech you,
What says the other troop?
MARCIUS. They are dissolv'd. Hang 'em!
They said they were an-hungry; sigh'd forth proverbs-
That hunger broke stone walls, that dogs must eat,
That meat was made for mouths, that the gods sent not
Corn for the rich men only. With these shreds
They vented their complainings; which being answer'd,
And a petition granted them- a strange one,
To break the heart of generosity
And make bold power look pale- they threw their caps
As they would hang them on the horns o' th' moon,
Shouting their emulation.
MENENIUS. What is granted them?
MARCIUS. Five tribunes, to defend their vulgar wisdoms,
Of their own choice. One's Junius Brutus-
Sicinius Velutus, and I know not. 'Sdeath!
The rabble should have first unroof'd the city
Ere so prevail'd with me; it will in time
Win upon power and throw forth greater themes
For insurrection's arguing.
MENENIUS. This is strange.
MARCIUS. Go get you home, you fragments.

Enter a MESSENGER, hastily

MESSENGER. Where's Caius Marcius?
MARCIUS. Here. What's the matter?
MESSENGER. The news is, sir, the Volsces are in arms.
MARCIUS. I am glad on't; then we shall ha' means to vent
Our musty superfluity. See, our best elders.


FIRST SENATOR. Marcius, 'tis true that you have lately told us:
The Volsces are in arms.
MARCIUS. They have a leader,
Tullus Aufidius, that will put you to't.
I sin in envying his nobility;
And were I anything but what I am,
I would wish me only he.
COMINIUS. You have fought together?
MARCIUS. Were half to half the world by th' ears, and he
Upon my party, I'd revolt, to make
Only my wars with him. He is a lion
That I am proud to hunt.
FIRST SENATOR. Then, worthy Marcius,
Attend upon Cominius to these wars.
COMINIUS. It is your former promise.
MARCIUS. Sir, it is;
And I am constant. Titus Lartius, thou
Shalt see me once more strike at Tullus' face.
What, art thou stiff? Stand'st out?
LARTIUS. No, Caius Marcius;
I'll lean upon one crutch and fight with t'other
Ere stay behind this business.
MENENIUS. O, true bred!
FIRST SENATOR. Your company to th' Capitol; where, I know,
Our greatest friends attend us.
LARTIUS. [To COMINIUS] Lead you on.
[To MARCIUS] Follow Cominius; we must follow you;
Right worthy you priority.
COMINIUS. Noble Marcius!
FIRST SENATOR. [To the Citizens] Hence to your homes; be gone.
MARCIUS. Nay, let them follow.
The Volsces have much corn: take these rats thither
To gnaw their garners. Worshipful mutineers,
Your valour puts well forth; pray follow.
Ciitzens steal away. Exeunt all but SICINIUS and BRUTUS
SICINIUS. Was ever man so proud as is this Marcius?
BRUTUS. He has no equal.
SICINIUS. When we were chosen tribunes for the people-
BRUTUS. Mark'd you his lip and eyes?
SICINIUS. Nay, but his taunts!
BRUTUS. Being mov'd, he will not spare to gird the gods.
SICINIUS. Bemock the modest moon.
BRUTUS. The present wars devour him! He is grown
Too proud to be so valiant.
SICINIUS. Such a nature,
Tickled with good success, disdains the shadow
Which he treads on at noon. But I do wonder
His insolence can brook to be commanded
Under Cominius.
BRUTUS. Fame, at the which he aims-
In whom already he is well grac'd- cannot
Better be held nor more attain'd than by
A place below the first; for what miscarries
Shall be the general's fault, though he perform
To th' utmost of a man, and giddy censure
Will then cry out of Marcius 'O, if he
Had borne the business!'
SICINIUS. Besides, if things go well,
Opinion, that so sticks on Marcius, shall
Of his demerits rob Cominius.
Half all Cominius' honours are to Marcius,
Though Marcius earn'd them not; and all his faults
To Marcius shall be honours, though indeed
In aught he merit not.
SICINIUS. Let's hence and hear
How the dispatch is made, and in what fashion,
More than his singularity, he goes
Upon this present action.
BRUTUS. Let's along. Exeunt

Corioli. The Senate House.


FIRST SENATOR. So, your opinion is, Aufidius,
That they of Rome are ent'red in our counsels
And know how we proceed.
AUFIDIUS. Is it not yours?
What ever have been thought on in this state
That could be brought to bodily act ere Rome
Had circumvention? 'Tis not four days gone
Since I heard thence; these are the words- I think
I have the letter here;.yes, here it is:
[Reads] 'They have press'd a power, but it is not known
Whether for east or west. The dearth is great;
The people mutinous; and it is rumour'd,
Cominius, Marcius your old enemy,
Who is of Rome worse hated than of you,
And Titus Lartius, a most valiant Roman,
These three lead on this preparation
Whither 'tis bent. Most likely 'tis for you;
Consider of it.'
FIRST SENATOR. Our army's in the field;
We never yet made doubt but Rome was ready
To answer us.
AUFIDIUS. Nor did you think it folly
To keep your great pretences veil'd till when
They needs must show themselves; which in the hatching,
It seem'd, appear'd to Rome. By the discovery
We shall be short'ned in our aim, which was
To take in many towns ere almost Rome
Should know we were afoot.
SECOND SENATOR. Noble Aufidius,
Take your commission; hie you to your bands;
Let us alone to guard Corioli.
If they set down before's, for the remove
Bring up your army; but I think you'll find
Th' have not prepar'd for us.
AUFIDIUS. O, doubt not that!
I speak from certainties. Nay more,
Some parcels of their power are forth already,
And only hitherward. I leave your honours.
If we and Caius Marcius chance to meet,
'Tis sworn between us we shall ever strike
Till one can do no more.
ALL. The gods assist you!
AUFIDIUS. And keep your honours safe!
ALL. Farewell. Exeunt

Rome. MARCIUS' house

Enter VOLUMNIA and VIRGILIA, mother and wife to MARCIUS;
they set them down on two low stools and sew

VOLUMNIA. I pray you, daughter, sing, or express yourself in a more
comfortable sort. If my son were my husband, I should freelier
rejoice in that absence wherein he won honour than in the
embracements of his bed where he would show most love. When yet
he was but tender-bodied, and the only son of my womb; when youth
with comeliness pluck'd all gaze his way; when, for a day of
kings' entreaties, a mother should not sell him an hour from her
beholding; I, considering how honour would become such a person-
that it was no better than picture-like to hang by th' wall, if
renown made it not stir- was pleas'd to let him seek danger where
he was to find fame. To a cruel war I sent him, from whence he
return'd his brows bound with oak. I tell thee, daughter, I
sprang not more in joy at first hearing he was a man-child than
now in first seeing he had proved himself a man.
VIRGILIA. But had he died in the business, madam, how then?
VOLUMNIA. Then his good report should have been my son; I therein
would have found issue. Hear me profess sincerely: had I a dozen
sons, each in my love alike, and none less dear than thine and my
good Marcius, I had rather had eleven die nobly for their country
than one voluptuously surfeit out of action.


GENTLEWOMAN. Madam, the Lady Valeria is come to visit you.
VIRGILIA. Beseech you give me leave to retire myself.
VOLUMNIA. Indeed you shall not.
Methinks I hear hither your husband's drum;
See him pluck Aufidius down by th' hair;
As children from a bear, the Volsces shunning him.
Methinks I see him stamp thus, and call thus:
'Come on, you cowards! You were got in fear,
Though you were born in Rome.' His bloody brow
With his mail'd hand then wiping, forth he goes,
Like to a harvest-man that's task'd to mow
Or all or lose his hire.
VIRGILIA. His bloody brow? O Jupiter, no blood!
VOLUMNIA. Away, you fool! It more becomes a man
Than gilt his trophy. The breasts of Hecuba,
When she did suckle Hector, look'd not lovelier
Than Hector's forehead when it spit forth blood
At Grecian sword, contemning. Tell Valeria
We are fit to bid her welcome. Exit GENTLEWOMAN
VIRGILIA. Heavens bless my lord from fell Aufidius!
VOLUMNIA. He'll beat Aufidius' head below his knee
And tread upon his neck.

Re-enter GENTLEWOMAN, With VALERIA and an usher

VALERIA. My ladies both, good day to you.
VOLUMNIA. Sweet madam!
VIRGILIA. I am glad to see your ladyship.
VALERIA. How do you both? You are manifest housekeepers. What are
you sewing here? A fine spot, in good faith. How does your little
VIRGILIA. I thank your ladyship; well, good madam.
VOLUMNIA. He had rather see the swords and hear a drum than look
upon his schoolmaster.
VALERIA. O' my word, the father's son! I'll swear 'tis a very
pretty boy. O' my troth, I look'd upon him a Wednesday half an
hour together; has such a confirm'd countenance! I saw him run
after a gilded butterfly; and when he caught it he let it go
again, and after it again, and over and over he comes, and up
again, catch'd it again; or whether his fall enrag'd him, or how
'twas, he did so set his teeth and tear it. O, I warrant, how he
mammock'd it!
VOLUMNIA. One on's father's moods.
VALERIA. Indeed, la, 'tis a noble child.
VIRGILIA. A crack, madam.
VALERIA. Come, lay aside your stitchery; I must have you play the
idle huswife with me this afternoon.
VIRGILIA. No, good madam; I will not out of doors.
VALERIA. Not out of doors!
VOLUMNIA. She shall, she shall.
VIRGILIA. Indeed, no, by your patience; I'll not over the threshold
till my lord return from the wars.
VALERIA. Fie, you confine yourself most unreasonably; come, you
must go visit the good lady that lies in.
VIRGILIA. I will wish her speedy strength, and visit her with my
prayers; but I cannot go thither.
VOLUMNIA. Why, I pray you?
VIRGILIA. 'Tis not to save labour, nor that I want love.
VALERIA. You would be another Penelope; yet they say all the yarn
she spun in Ulysses' absence did but fill Ithaca full of moths.
Come, I would your cambric were sensible as your finger, that you
might leave pricking it for pity. Come, you shall go with us.
VIRGILIA. No, good madam, pardon me; indeed I will not forth.
VALERIA. In truth, la, go with me; and I'll tell you excellent news
of your husband.
VIRGILIA. O, good madam, there can be none yet.
VALERIA. Verily, I do not jest with you; there came news from him
last night.
VIRGILIA. Indeed, madam?
VALERIA. In earnest, it's true; I heard a senator speak it. Thus it
is: the Volsces have an army forth; against whom Cominius the
general is gone, with one part of our Roman power. Your lord and
Titus Lartius are set down before their city Corioli; they
nothing doubt prevailing and to make it brief wars. This is true,
on mine honour; and so, I pray, go with us.
VIRGILIA. Give me excuse, good madam; I will obey you in everything
VOLUMNIA. Let her alone, lady; as she is now, she will but disease
our better mirth.
VALERIA. In troth, I think she would. Fare you well, then. Come,
good sweet lady. Prithee, Virgilia, turn thy solemness out o'
door and go along with us.
VIRGILIA. No, at a word, madam; indeed I must not. I wish you much
VALERIA. Well then, farewell. Exeunt

Before Corioli

Enter MARCIUS, TITUS LARTIUS, with drum and colours,
with CAPTAINS and soldiers. To them a MESSENGER

MARCIUS. Yonder comes news; a wager- they have met.
LARTIUS. My horse to yours- no.
MARCIUS. 'Tis done.
LARTIUS. Agreed.
MARCIUS. Say, has our general met the enemy?
MESSENGER. They lie in view, but have not spoke as yet.
LARTIUS. So, the good horse is mine.
MARCIUS. I'll buy him of you.
LARTIUS. No, I'll nor sell nor give him; lend you him I will
For half a hundred years. Summon the town.
MARCIUS. How far off lie these armies?
MESSENGER. Within this mile and half.
MARCIUS. Then shall we hear their 'larum, and they ours.
Now, Mars, I prithee, make us quick in work,
That we with smoking swords may march from hence
To help our fielded friends! Come, blow thy blast.

They sound a parley. Enter two SENATORS with others,
on the walls of Corioli

Tullus Aufidius, is he within your walls?
FIRST SENATOR. No, nor a man that fears you less than he:
That's lesser than a little. [Drum afar off] Hark, our drums
Are bringing forth our youth. We'll break our walls
Rather than they shall pound us up; our gates,
Which yet seem shut, we have but pinn'd with rushes;
They'll open of themselves. [Alarum far off] Hark you far off!
There is Aufidius. List what work he makes
Amongst your cloven army.
MARCIUS. O, they are at it!
LARTIUS. Their noise be our instruction. Ladders, ho!

Enter the army of the Volsces

MARCIUS. They fear us not, but issue forth their city.
Now put your shields before your hearts, and fight
With hearts more proof than shields. Advance, brave Titus.
They do disdain us much beyond our thoughts,
Which makes me sweat with wrath. Come on, my fellows.
He that retires, I'll take him for a Volsce,
And he shall feel mine edge.

Alarum. The Romans are beat back to their trenches.
Re-enter MARCIUS, cursing

MARCIUS. All the contagion of the south light on you,
You shames of Rome! you herd of- Boils and plagues
Plaster you o'er, that you may be abhorr'd
Farther than seen, and one infect another
Against the wind a mile! You souls of geese
That bear the shapes of men, how have you run
From slaves that apes would beat! Pluto and hell!
All hurt behind! Backs red, and faces pale
With flight and agued fear! Mend and charge home,
Or, by the fires of heaven, I'll leave the foe
And make my wars on you. Look to't. Come on;
If you'll stand fast we'll beat them to their wives,
As they us to our trenches. Follow me.

Another alarum. The Volsces fly, and MARCIUS follows
them to the gates

So, now the gates are ope; now prove good seconds;
'Tis for the followers fortune widens them,
Not for the fliers. Mark me, and do the like.

[MARCIUS enters the gates]

FIRST SOLDIER. Fool-hardiness; not I.
FIRST SOLDIER. See, they have shut him in.
ALL. To th' pot, I warrant him. [Alarum continues]


LARTIUS. What is become of Marcius?
ALL. Slain, sir, doubtless.
FIRST SOLDIER. Following the fliers at the very heels,
With them he enters; who, upon the sudden,
Clapp'd to their gates. He is himself alone,
To answer all the city.
LARTIUS. O noble fellow!
Who sensibly outdares his senseless sword,
And when it bows stand'st up. Thou art left, Marcius;
A carbuncle entire, as big as thou art,
Were not so rich a jewel. Thou wast a soldier
Even to Cato's wish, not fierce and terrible
Only in strokes; but with thy grim looks and
The thunder-like percussion of thy sounds
Thou mad'st thine enemies shake, as if the world
Were feverous and did tremble.

Re-enter MARCIUS, bleeding, assaulted by the enemy

LARTIUS. O, 'tis Marcius!
Let's fetch him off, or make remain alike.
[They fight, and all enter the city]

Within Corioli. A street

Enter certain Romans, with spoils

FIRST ROMAN. This will I carry to Rome.
THIRD ROMAN. A murrain on 't! I took this for silver.
[Alarum continues still afar off]

Enter MARCIUS and TITUS LARTIUS With a trumpeter

MARCIUS. See here these movers that do prize their hours
At a crack'd drachma! Cushions, leaden spoons,
Irons of a doit, doublets that hangmen would
Bury with those that wore them, these base slaves,
Ere yet the fight be done, pack up. Down with them!
Exeunt pillagers
And hark, what noise the general makes! To him!
There is the man of my soul's hate, Aufidius,
Piercing our Romans; then, valiant Titus, take
Convenient numbers to make good the city;
Whilst I, with those that have the spirit, will haste
To help Cominius.
LARTIUS. Worthy sir, thou bleed'st;
Thy exercise hath been too violent
For a second course of fight.
MARCIUS. Sir, praise me not;
My work hath yet not warm'd me. Fare you well;
The blood I drop is rather physical
Than dangerous to me. To Aufidius thus
I will appear, and fight.
LARTIUS. Now the fair goddess, Fortune,
Fall deep in love with thee, and her great charms
Misguide thy opposers' swords! Bold gentleman,
Prosperity be thy page!
MARCIUS. Thy friend no less
Than those she placeth highest! So farewell.
LARTIUS. Thou worthiest Marcius! Exit MARCIUS
Go sound thy trumpet in the market-place;
Call thither all the officers o' th' town,
Where they shall know our mind. Away! Exeunt

Near the camp of COMINIUS

Enter COMINIUS, as it were in retire, with soldiers

COMINIUS. Breathe you, my friends. Well fought; we are come off
Like Romans, neither foolish in our stands
Nor cowardly in retire. Believe me, sirs,
We shall be charg'd again. Whiles we have struck,
By interims and conveying gusts we have heard
The charges of our friends. The Roman gods,
Lead their successes as we wish our own,
That both our powers, with smiling fronts encount'ring,
May give you thankful sacrifice!


Thy news?
MESSENGER. The citizens of Corioli have issued
And given to Lartius and to Marcius battle;
I saw our party to their trenches driven,
And then I came away.
COMINIUS. Though thou speak'st truth,
Methinks thou speak'st not well. How long is't since?
MESSENGER. Above an hour, my lord.
COMINIUS. 'Tis not a mile; briefly we heard their drums.
How couldst thou in a mile confound an hour,
And bring thy news so late?
MESSENGER. Spies of the Volsces
Held me in chase, that I was forc'd to wheel
Three or four miles about; else had I, sir,
Half an hour since brought my report.


COMINIUS. Who's yonder
That does appear as he were flay'd? O gods!
He has the stamp of Marcius, and I have
Before-time seen him thus.
MARCIUS. Come I too late?
COMINIUS. The shepherd knows not thunder from a tabor
More than I know the sound of Marcius' tongue
From every meaner man.
MARCIUS. Come I too late?
COMINIUS. Ay, if you come not in the blood of others,
But mantled in your own.
MARCIUS. O! let me clip ye
In arms as sound as when I woo'd, in heart
As merry as when our nuptial day was done,
And tapers burn'd to bedward.
COMINIUS. Flower of warriors,
How is't with Titus Lartius?
MARCIUS. As with a man busied about decrees:
Condemning some to death and some to exile;
Ransoming him or pitying, threat'ning th' other;
Holding Corioli in the name of Rome
Even like a fawning greyhound in the leash,
To let him slip at will.
COMINIUS. Where is that slave
Which told me they had beat you to your trenches?
Where is he? Call him hither.
MARCIUS. Let him alone;
He did inform the truth. But for our gentlemen,
The common file- a plague! tribunes for them!
The mouse ne'er shunn'd the cat as they did budge
From rascals worse than they.
COMINIUS. But how prevail'd you?
MARCIUS. Will the time serve to tell? I do not think.
Where is the enemy? Are you lords o' th' field?
If not, why cease you till you are so?
COMINIUS. Marcius,
We have at disadvantage fought, and did
Retire to win our purpose.
MARCIUS. How lies their battle? Know you on which side
They have plac'd their men of trust?
COMINIUS. As I guess, Marcius,
Their bands i' th' vaward are the Antiates,
Of their best trust; o'er them Aufidius,
Their very heart of hope.
MARCIUS. I do beseech you,
By all the battles wherein we have fought,
By th' blood we have shed together, by th' vows
We have made to endure friends, that you directly
Set me against Aufidius and his Antiates;
And that you not delay the present, but,
Filling the air with swords advanc'd and darts,
We prove this very hour.
COMINIUS. Though I could wish
You were conducted to a gentle bath
And balms applied to you, yet dare I never
Deny your asking: take your choice of those
That best can aid your action.
MARCIUS. Those are they
That most are willing. If any such be here-
As it were sin to doubt- that love this painting
Wherein you see me smear'd; if any fear
Lesser his person than an ill report;
If any think brave death outweighs bad life
And that his country's dearer than himself;
Let him alone, or so many so minded,
Wave thus to express his disposition,
And follow Marcius. [They all shout and wave their
swords, take him up in their arms and cast up their caps]
O, me alone! Make you a sword of me?
If these shows be not outward, which of you
But is four Volsces? None of you but is
Able to bear against the great Aufidius
A shield as hard as his. A certain number,
Though thanks to all, must I select from all; the rest
Shall bear the business in some other fight,
As cause will be obey'd. Please you to march;
And four shall quickly draw out my command,
Which men are best inclin'd.
COMINIUS. March on, my fellows;
Make good this ostentation, and you shall
Divide in all with us. Exeunt

The gates of Corioli

TITUS LARTIUS, having set a guard upon Corioli, going with drum and trumpet
toward COMINIUS and CAIUS MARCIUS, enters with a LIEUTENANT, other soldiers,
and a scout

LARTIUS. So, let the ports be guarded; keep your duties
As I have set them down. If I do send, dispatch
Those centuries to our aid; the rest will serve
For a short holding. If we lose the field
We cannot keep the town.
LIEUTENANT. Fear not our care, sir.
LARTIUS. Hence, and shut your gates upon's.
Our guider, come; to th' Roman camp conduct us. Exeunt

A field of battle between the Roman and the Volscian camps

Alarum, as in battle. Enter MARCIUS and AUFIDIUS at several doors

MARCIUS. I'll fight with none but thee, for I do hate thee
Worse than a promise-breaker.
AUFIDIUS. We hate alike:
Not Afric owns a serpent I abhor
More than thy fame and envy. Fix thy foot.
MARCIUS. Let the first budger die the other's slave,
And the gods doom him after!
AUFIDIUS. If I fly, Marcius,
Halloa me like a hare.
MARCIUS. Within these three hours, Tullus,
Alone I fought in your Corioli walls,
And made what work I pleas'd. 'Tis not my blood
Wherein thou seest me mask'd. For thy revenge
Wrench up thy power to th' highest.
AUFIDIUS. Wert thou the Hector
That was the whip of your bragg'd progeny,
Thou shouldst not scape me here.

Here they fight, and certain Volsces come in the aid
of AUFIDIUS. MARCIUS fights till they be driven in

Officious, and not valiant, you have sham'd me
In your condemned seconds. Exeunt

The Roman camp

Flourish. Alarum. A retreat is sounded. Enter, at one door,
COMINIUS with the Romans; at another door, MARCIUS, with his arm in a scarf

COMINIUS. If I should tell thee o'er this thy day's work,
Thou't not believe thy deeds; but I'll report it
Where senators shall mingle tears with smiles;
Where great patricians shall attend, and shrug,
I' th' end admire; where ladies shall be frighted
And, gladly quak'd, hear more; where the dull tribunes,
That with the fusty plebeians hate thine honours,
Shall say against their hearts 'We thank the gods
Our Rome hath such a soldier.'
Yet cam'st thou to a morsel of this feast,
Having fully din'd before.

Enter TITUS LARTIUS, with his power, from the pursuit

LARTIUS. O General,
Here is the steed, we the caparison.
Hadst thou beheld-
MARCIUS. Pray now, no more; my mother,
Who has a charter to extol her blood,
When she does praise me grieves me. I have done
As you have done- that's what I can; induc'd
As you have been- that's for my country.
He that has but effected his good will
Hath overta'en mine act.
COMINIUS. You shall not be
The grave of your deserving; Rome must know
The value of her own. 'Twere a concealment
Worse than a theft, no less than a traducement,
To hide your doings and to silence that
Which, to the spire and top of praises vouch'd,
Would seem but modest. Therefore, I beseech you,
In sign of what you are, not to reward
What you have done, before our army hear me.
MARCIUS. I have some wounds upon me, and they smart
To hear themselves rememb'red.
COMINIUS. Should they not,
Well might they fester 'gainst ingratitude
And tent themselves with death. Of all the horses-
Whereof we have ta'en good, and good store- of all
The treasure in this field achiev'd and city,
We render you the tenth; to be ta'en forth
Before the common distribution at
Your only choice.
MARCIUS. I thank you, General,
But cannot make my heart consent to take
A bribe to pay my sword. I do refuse it,
And stand upon my common part with those
That have beheld the doing.

A long flourish. They all cry 'Marcius, Marcius!'
cast up their caps and lances. COMINIUS and LARTIUS stand bare

May these same instruments which you profane
Never sound more! When drums and trumpets shall
I' th' field prove flatterers, let courts and cities be
Made all of false-fac'd soothing. When steel grows
Soft as the parasite's silk, let him be made
An overture for th' wars. No more, I say.
For that I have not wash'd my nose that bled,
Or foil'd some debile wretch, which without note
Here's many else have done, you shout me forth
In acclamations hyperbolical,
As if I lov'd my little should be dieted
In praises sauc'd with lies.
COMINIUS. Too modest are you;
More cruel to your good report than grateful
To us that give you truly. By your patience,
If 'gainst yourself you be incens'd, we'll put you-
Like one that means his proper harm- in manacles,
Then reason safely with you. Therefore be it known,
As to us, to all the world, that Caius Marcius
Wears this war's garland; in token of the which,
My noble steed, known to the camp, I give him,
With all his trim belonging; and from this time,
For what he did before Corioli, can him
With all th' applause-and clamour of the host,
Caius Marcius Coriolanus.
Bear th' addition nobly ever!
[Flourish. Trumpets sound, and drums]
ALL. Caius Marcius Coriolanus!
CORIOLANUS. I will go wash;
And when my face is fair you shall perceive
Whether I blush or no. Howbeit, I thank you;
I mean to stride your steed, and at all times
To undercrest your good addition
To th' fairness of my power.
COMINIUS. So, to our tent;
Where, ere we do repose us, we will write
To Rome of our success. You, Titus Lartius,
Must to Corioli back. Send us to Rome
The best, with whom we may articulate
For their own good and ours.
LARTIUS. I shall, my lord.
CORIOLANUS. The gods begin to mock me. I, that now
Refus'd most princely gifts, am bound to beg
Of my Lord General.
COMINIUS. Take't- 'tis yours; what is't?
CORIOLANUS. I sometime lay here in Corioli
At a poor man's house; he us'd me kindly.
He cried to me; I saw him prisoner;
But then Aufidius was within my view,
And wrath o'erwhelm'd my pity. I request you
To give my poor host freedom.
COMINIUS. O, well begg'd!
Were he the butcher of my son, he should
Be free as is the wind. Deliver him, Titus.
LARTIUS. Marcius, his name?
CORIOLANUS. By Jupiter, forgot!
I am weary; yea, my memory is tir'd.
Have we no wine here?
COMINIUS. Go we to our tent.
The blood upon your visage dries; 'tis time
It should be look'd to. Come. Exeunt

The camp of the Volsces

A flourish. Cornets. Enter TULLUS AUFIDIUS bloody, with two or three soldiers

AUFIDIUS. The town is ta'en.
FIRST SOLDIER. 'Twill be deliver'd back on good condition.
AUFIDIUS. Condition!
I would I were a Roman; for I cannot,
Being a Volsce, be that I am. Condition?
What good condition can a treaty find
I' th' part that is at mercy? Five times, Marcius,
I have fought with thee; so often hast thou beat me;
And wouldst do so, I think, should we encounter
As often as we eat. By th' elements,
If e'er again I meet him beard to beard,
He's mine or I am his. Mine emulation
Hath not that honour in't it had; for where
I thought to crush him in an equal force,
True sword to sword, I'll potch at him some way,
Or wrath or craft may get him.
FIRST SOLDIER. He's the devil.
AUFIDIUS. Bolder, though not so subtle. My valour's poison'd
With only suff'ring stain by him; for him
Shall fly out of itself. Nor sleep nor sanctuary,
Being naked, sick, nor fane nor Capitol,
The prayers of priests nor times of sacrifice,
Embarquements all of fury, shall lift up
Their rotten privilege and custom 'gainst
My hate to Marcius. Where I find him, were it
At home, upon my brother's guard, even there,
Against the hospitable canon, would I
Wash my fierce hand in's heart. Go you to th' city;
Learn how 'tis held, and what they are that must
Be hostages for Rome.
FIRST SOLDIER. Will not you go?
AUFIDIUS. I am attended at the cypress grove; I pray you-
'Tis south the city mills- bring me word thither
How the world goes, that to the pace of it
I may spur on my journey.
FIRST SOLDIER. I shall, sir. Exeunt

Rome. A public place

Enter MENENIUS, with the two Tribunes of the people, SICINIUS and BRUTUS

MENENIUS. The augurer tells me we shall have news tonight.
BRUTUS. Good or bad?
MENENIUS. Not according to the prayer of the people, for they love
not Marcius.
SICINIUS. Nature teaches beasts to know their friends.
MENENIUS. Pray you, who does the wolf love?
SICINIUS. The lamb.
MENENIUS. Ay, to devour him, as the hungry plebeians would the
noble Marcius.
BRUTUS. He's a lamb indeed, that baes like a bear.
MENENIUS. He's a bear indeed, that lives fike a lamb. You two are
old men; tell me one thing that I shall ask you.
MENENIUS. In what enormity is Marcius poor in that you two have not
in abundance?
BRUTUS. He's poor in no one fault, but stor'd with all.
SICINIUS. Especially in pride.
BRUTUS. And topping all others in boasting.
MENENIUS. This is strange now. Do you two know how you are censured
here in the city- I mean of us o' th' right-hand file? Do you?
BOTH TRIBUNES. Why, how are we censur'd?
MENENIUS. Because you talk of pride now- will you not be angry?
BOTH TRIBUNES. Well, well, sir, well.
MENENIUS. Why, 'tis no great matter; for a very little thief of
occasion will rob you of a great deal of patience. Give your
dispositions the reins, and be angry at your pleasures- at the
least, if you take it as a pleasure to you in being so. You blame
Marcius for being proud?
BRUTUS. We do it not alone, sir.
MENENIUS. I know you can do very little alone; for your helps are
many, or else your actions would grow wondrous single: your
abilities are too infant-like for doing much alone. You talk of
pride. O that you could turn your eyes toward the napes of your
necks, and make but an interior survey of your good selves! O
that you could!
BOTH TRIBUNES. What then, sir?
MENENIUS. Why, then you should discover a brace of unmeriting,
proud, violent, testy magistrates-alias fools- as any in Rome.
SICINIUS. Menenius, you are known well enough too.
MENENIUS. I am known to be a humorous patrician, and one that loves
a cup of hot wine with not a drop of allaying Tiber in't; said to
be something imperfect in favouring the first complaint, hasty
and tinder-like upon too trivial motion; one that converses more
with the buttock of the night than with the forehead of the
morning. What I think I utter, and spend my malice in my breath.
Meeting two such wealsmen as you are- I cannot call you
Lycurguses- if the drink you give me touch my palate adversely, I
make a crooked face at it. I cannot say your worships have
deliver'd the matter well, when I find the ass in compound with
the major part of your syllables; and though I must be content to
bear with those that say you are reverend grave men, yet they lie
deadly that tell you you have good faces. If you see this in the
map of my microcosm, follows it that I am known well enough too?
What harm can your bisson conspectuities glean out of this
character, if I be known well enough too?
BRUTUS. Come, sir, come, we know you well enough.
MENENIUS. You know neither me, yourselves, nor any thing. You are
ambitious for poor knaves' caps and legs; you wear out a good
wholesome forenoon in hearing a cause between an orange-wife and
a fosset-seller, and then rejourn the controversy of threepence
to a second day of audience. When you are hearing a matter
between party and party, if you chance to be pinch'd with the
colic, you make faces like mummers, set up the bloody flag
against all patience, and, in roaring for a chamber-pot, dismiss
the controversy bleeding, the more entangled by your hearing. All
the peace you make in their cause is calling both the parties
knaves. You are a pair of strange ones.
BRUTUS. Come, come, you are well understood to be a perfecter giber
for the table than a necessary bencher in the Capitol.
MENENIUS. Our very priests must become mockers, if they shall
encounter such ridiculous subjects as you are. When you speak
best unto the purpose, it is not worth the wagging of your
beards; and your beards deserve not so honourable a grave as to
stuff a botcher's cushion or to be entomb'd in an ass's
pack-saddle. Yet you must be saying Marcius is proud; who, in a
cheap estimation, is worth all your predecessors since Deucalion;
though peradventure some of the best of 'em were hereditary
hangmen. God-den to your worships. More of your conversation
would infect my brain, being the herdsmen of the beastly
plebeians. I will be bold to take my leave of you.
[BRUTUS and SICINIUS go aside]


How now, my as fair as noble ladies- and the moon, were she
earthly, no nobler- whither do you follow your eyes so fast?
VOLUMNIA. Honourable Menenius, my boy Marcius approaches; for the
love of Juno, let's go.
MENENIUS. Ha! Marcius coming home?
VOLUMNIA. Ay, worthy Menenius, and with most prosperous
MENENIUS. Take my cap, Jupiter, and I thank thee. Hoo!
Marcius coming home!
VOLUMNIA, VIRGILIA. Nay, 'tis true.
VOLUMNIA. Look, here's a letter from him; the state hath another,
his wife another; and I think there's one at home for you.
MENENIUS. I will make my very house reel to-night. A letter for me?
VIRGILIA. Yes, certain, there's a letter for you; I saw't.
MENENIUS. A letter for me! It gives me an estate of seven years'
health; in which time I will make a lip at the physician. The
most sovereign prescription in Galen is but empiricutic and, to
this preservative, of no better report than a horse-drench. Is he
not wounded? He was wont to come home wounded.
VIRGILIA. O, no, no, no.
VOLUMNIA. O, he is wounded, I thank the gods for't.
MENENIUS. So do I too, if it be not too much. Brings a victory in
his pocket? The wounds become him.
VOLUMNIA. On's brows, Menenius, he comes the third time home with
the oaken garland.
MENENIUS. Has he disciplin'd Aufidius soundly?
VOLUMNIA. Titus Lartius writes they fought together, but Aufidius
got off.
MENENIUS. And 'twas time for him too, I'll warrant him that; an he
had stay'd by him, I would not have been so fidius'd for all the
chests in Corioli and the gold that's in them. Is the Senate
possess'd of this?
VOLUMNIA. Good ladies, let's go. Yes, yes, yes: the Senate has
letters from the general, wherein he gives my son the whole name
of the war; he hath in this action outdone his former deeds
VALERIA. In troth, there's wondrous things spoke of him.
MENENIUS. Wondrous! Ay, I warrant you, and not without his true
VIRGILIA. The gods grant them true!
VOLUMNIA. True! pow, waw.
MENENIUS. True! I'll be sworn they are true. Where is he wounded?
[To the TRIBUNES] God save your good worships! Marcius is coming
home; he has more cause to be proud. Where is he wounded?
VOLUMNIA. I' th' shoulder and i' th' left arm; there will be large
cicatrices to show the people when he shall stand for his place.
He received in the repulse of Tarquin seven hurts i' th' body.
MENENIUS. One i' th' neck and two i' th' thigh- there's nine that I
VOLUMNIA. He had before this last expedition twenty-five wounds
upon him.
MENENIUS. Now it's twenty-seven; every gash was an enemy's grave.
[A shout and flourish] Hark! the trumpets.
VOLUMNIA. These are the ushers of Marcius. Before him he carries
noise, and behind him he leaves tears;
Death, that dark spirit, in's nervy arm doth lie,
Which, being advanc'd, declines, and then men die.

A sennet. Trumpets sound. Enter COMINIUS the
GENERAL, and TITUS LARTIUS; between them,
CORIOLANUS, crown'd with an oaken garland; with
CAPTAINS and soldiers and a HERALD

HERALD. Know, Rome, that all alone Marcius did fight
Within Corioli gates, where he hath won,
With fame, a name to Caius Marcius; these
In honour follows Coriolanus.
Welcome to Rome, renowned Coriolanus! [Flourish]
ALL. Welcome to Rome, renowned Coriolanus!
CORIOLANUS. No more of this, it does offend my heart.
Pray now, no more.
COMINIUS. Look, sir, your mother!
You have, I know, petition'd all the gods
For my prosperity! [Kneels]
VOLUMNIA. Nay, my good soldier, up;
My gentle Marcius, worthy Caius, and
By deed-achieving honour newly nam'd-
What is it? Coriolanus must I can thee?
But, O, thy wife!
CORIOLANUS. My gracious silence, hail!
Wouldst thou have laugh'd had I come coffin'd home,
That weep'st to see me triumph? Ah, my dear,
Such eyes the widows in Corioli wear,
And mothers that lack sons.
MENENIUS. Now the gods crown thee!
CORIOLANUS. And live you yet? [To VALERIA] O my sweet lady,
VOLUMNIA. I know not where to turn.
O, welcome home! And welcome, General.
And y'are welcome all.
MENENIUS. A hundred thousand welcomes. I could weep
And I could laugh; I am light and heavy. Welcome!
A curse begin at very root on's heart
That is not glad to see thee! You are three
That Rome should dote on; yet, by the faith of men,
We have some old crab trees here at home that will not
Be grafted to your relish. Yet welcome, warriors.
We call a nettle but a nettle, and
The faults of fools but folly.
COMINIUS. Ever right.
CORIOLANUS. Menenius ever, ever.
HERALD. Give way there, and go on.
CORIOLANUS. [To his wife and mother] Your hand, and yours.
Ere in our own house I do shade my head,
The good patricians must be visited;
From whom I have receiv'd not only greetings,
But with them change of honours.
VOLUMNIA. I have lived
To see inherited my very wishes,
And the buildings of my fancy; only
There's one thing wanting, which I doubt not but
Our Rome will cast upon thee.
CORIOLANUS. Know, good mother,
I had rather be their servant in my way
Than sway with them in theirs.
COMINIUS. On, to the Capitol.
[Flourish. Cornets. Exeunt in state, as before]

BRUTUS and SICINIUS come forward

BRUTUS. All tongues speak of him and the bleared sights
Are spectacled to see him. Your prattling nurse
Into a rapture lets her baby cry
While she chats him; the kitchen malkin pins
Her richest lockram 'bout her reechy neck,
Clamb'ring the walls to eye him; stalls, bulks, windows,
Are smother'd up, leads fill'd and ridges hors'd
With variable complexions, all agreeing
In earnestness to see him. Seld-shown flamens
Do press among the popular throngs and puff
To win a vulgar station; our veil'd dames
Commit the war of white and damask in
Their nicely gawded cheeks to th' wanton spoil
Of Phoebus' burning kisses. Such a pother,
As if that whatsoever god who leads him
Were slily crept into his human powers,
And gave him graceful posture.
SICINIUS. On the sudden
I warrant him consul.
BRUTUS. Then our office may
During his power go sleep.
SICINIUS. He cannot temp'rately transport his honours
From where he should begin and end, but will
Lose those he hath won.
BRUTUS. In that there's comfort.
SICINIUS. Doubt not
The commoners, for whom we stand, but they
Upon their ancient malice will forget
With the least cause these his new honours; which
That he will give them make I as little question
As he is proud to do't.
BRUTUS. I heard him swear,
Were he to stand for consul, never would he
Appear i' th' market-place, nor on him put
The napless vesture of humility;
Nor, showing, as the manner is, his wounds
To th' people, beg their stinking breaths.
SICINIUS. 'Tis right.
BRUTUS. It was his word. O, he would miss it rather
Than carry it but by the suit of the gentry to him
And the desire of the nobles.
SICINIUS. I wish no better
Than have him hold that purpose, and to put it
In execution.
BRUTUS. 'Tis most like he will.
SICINIUS. It shall be to him then as our good wills:
A sure destruction.
BRUTUS. So it must fall out
To him or our authorities. For an end,
We must suggest the people in what hatred
He still hath held them; that to's power he would
Have made them mules, silenc'd their pleaders, and
Dispropertied their freedoms; holding them
In human action and capacity
Of no more soul nor fitness for the world
Than camels in their war, who have their provand
Only for bearing burdens, and sore blows
For sinking under them.
SICINIUS. This, as you say, suggested
At some time when his soaring insolence
Shall touch the people- which time shall not want,
If he be put upon't, and that's as easy
As to set dogs on sheep- will be his fire
To kindle their dry stubble; and their blaze
Shall darken him for ever.


BRUTUS. What's the matter?
MESSENGER. You are sent for to the Capitol. 'Tis thought
That Marcius shall be consul.
I have seen the dumb men throng to see him and
The blind to hear him speak; matrons flung gloves,
Ladies and maids their scarfs and handkerchers,
Upon him as he pass'd; the nobles bended
As to Jove's statue, and the commons made
A shower and thunder with their caps and shouts.
I never saw the like.
BRUTUS. Let's to the Capitol,
And carry with us ears and eyes for th' time,
But hearts for the event.
SICINIUS. Have with you. Exeunt

Rome. The Capitol

Enter two OFFICERS, to lay cushions, as it were in the Capitol

FIRST OFFICER. Come, come, they are almost here. How many stand for
SECOND OFFICER. Three, they say; but 'tis thought of every one
Coriolanus will carry it.
FIRST OFFICER. That's a brave fellow; but he's vengeance proud and
loves not the common people.
SECOND OFFICER. Faith, there have been many great men that have
flatter'd the people, who ne'er loved them; and there be many
that they have loved, they know not wherefore; so that, if they
love they know not why, they hate upon no better a ground.
Therefore, for Coriolanus neither to care whether they love or
hate him manifests the true knowledge he has in their
disposition, and out of his noble carelessness lets them plainly
FIRST OFFICER. If he did not care whether he had their love or no,
he waved indifferently 'twixt doing them neither good nor harm;
but he seeks their hate with greater devotion than they can
render it him, and leaves nothing undone that may fully discover
him their opposite. Now to seem to affect the malice and
displeasure of the people is as bad as that which he dislikes- to
flatter them for their love.
SECOND OFFICER. He hath deserved worthily of his country; and his
ascent is not by such easy degrees as those who, having been
supple and courteous to the people, bonneted, without any further
deed to have them at all, into their estimation and report; but
he hath so planted his honours in their eyes and his actions in
their hearts that for their tongues to be silent and not confess
so much were a kind of ingrateful injury; to report otherwise
were a malice that, giving itself the lie, would pluck reproof
and rebuke from every car that heard it.
FIRST OFFICER. No more of him; he's a worthy man. Make way, they
are coming.

A sennet. Enter the PATRICIANS and the TRIBUNES
BRUTUS take their places by themselves.

MENENIUS. Having determin'd of the Volsces, and
To send for Titus Lartius, it remains,
As the main point of this our after-meeting,
To gratify his noble service that
Hath thus stood for his country. Therefore please you,
Most reverend and grave elders, to desire
The present consul and last general
In our well-found successes to report
A little of that worthy work perform'd
By Caius Marcius Coriolanus; whom
We met here both to thank and to remember
With honours like himself. [CORIOLANUS sits]
FIRST SENATOR. Speak, good Cominius.
Leave nothing out for length, and make us think
Rather our state's defective for requital
Than we to stretch it out. Masters o' th' people,
We do request your kindest ears; and, after,
Your loving motion toward the common body,
To yield what passes here.
SICINIUS. We are convented
Upon a pleasing treaty, and have hearts
Inclinable to honour and advance
The theme of our assembly.
BRUTUS. Which the rather
We shall be bless'd to do, if he remember
A kinder value of the people than
He hath hereto priz'd them at.
MENENIUS. That's off, that's off;
I would you rather had been silent. Please you
To hear Cominius speak?
BRUTUS. Most willingly.
But yet my caution was more pertinent
Than the rebuke you give it.
MENENIUS. He loves your people;
But tie him not to be their bedfellow.
Worthy Cominius, speak.
[CORIOLANUS rises, and offers to go away]
Nay, keep your place.
FIRST SENATOR. Sit, Coriolanus, never shame to hear
What you have nobly done.
CORIOLANUS. Your Honours' pardon.
I had rather have my wounds to heal again
Than hear say how I got them.
BRUTUS. Sir, I hope
My words disbench'd you not.
CORIOLANUS. No, sir; yet oft,
When blows have made me stay, I fled from words.
You sooth'd not, therefore hurt not. But your people,
I love them as they weigh-
MENENIUS. Pray now, sit down.
CORIOLANUS. I had rather have one scratch my head i' th' sun
When the alarum were struck than idly sit
To hear my nothings monster'd. Exit
MENENIUS. Masters of the people,
Your multiplying spawn how can he flatter-
That's thousand to one good one- when you now see
He had rather venture all his limbs for honour
Than one on's ears to hear it? Proceed, Cominius.
COMINIUS. I shall lack voice; the deeds of Coriolanus
Should not be utter'd feebly. It is held
That valour is the chiefest virtue and
Most dignifies the haver. If it be,
The man I speak of cannot in the world
Be singly counterpois'd. At sixteen years,
When Tarquin made a head for Rome, he fought
Beyond the mark of others; our then Dictator,
Whom with all praise I point at, saw him fight
When with his Amazonian chin he drove
The bristled lips before him; he bestrid
An o'erpress'd Roman and i' th' consul's view
Slew three opposers; Tarquin's self he met,
And struck him on his knee. In that day's feats,
When he might act the woman in the scene,
He prov'd best man i' th' field, and for his meed
Was brow-bound with the oak. His pupil age
Man-ent'red thus, he waxed like a sea,
And in the brunt of seventeen battles since
He lurch'd all swords of the garland. For this last,
Before and in Corioli, let me say
I cannot speak him home. He stopp'd the fliers,
And by his rare example made the coward
Turn terror into sport; as weeds before
A vessel under sail, so men obey'd
And fell below his stem. His sword, death's stamp,
Where it did mark, it took; from face to foot
He was a thing of blood, whose every motion
Was tim'd with dying cries. Alone he ent'red
The mortal gate of th' city, which he painted
With shunless destiny; aidless came off,
And with a sudden re-enforcement struck
Corioli like a planet. Now all's his.
When by and by the din of war 'gan pierce
His ready sense, then straight his doubled spirit
Re-quick'ned what in flesh was fatigate,
And to the battle came he; where he did
Run reeking o'er the lives of men, as if
'Twere a perpetual spoil; and till we call'd
Both field and city ours he never stood
To ease his breast with panting.
MENENIUS. Worthy man!
FIRST SENATOR. He cannot but with measure fit the honours
Which we devise him.
COMINIUS. Our spoils he kick'd at,
And look'd upon things precious as they were
The common muck of the world. He covets less
Than misery itself would give, rewards
His deeds with doing them, and is content
To spend the time to end it.
MENENIUS. He's right noble;
Let him be call'd for.
FIRST SENATOR. Call Coriolanus.
OFFICER. He doth appear.


MENENIUS. The Senate, Coriolanus, are well pleas'd
To make thee consul.
CORIOLANUS. I do owe them still
My life and services.
MENENIUS. It then remains
That you do speak to the people.
CORIOLANUS. I do beseech you
Let me o'erleap that custom; for I cannot
Put on the gown, stand naked, and entreat them
For my wounds' sake to give their suffrage. Please you
That I may pass this doing.
SICINIUS. Sir, the people
Must have their voices; neither will they bate
One jot of ceremony.
MENENIUS. Put them not to't.
Pray you go fit you to the custom, and
Take to you, as your predecessors have,
Your honour with your form.
CORIOLANUS. It is a part
That I shall blush in acting, and might well
Be taken from the people.
BRUTUS. Mark you that?
CORIOLANUS. To brag unto them 'Thus I did, and thus!'
Show them th' unaching scars which I should hide,
As if I had receiv'd them for the hire
Of their breath only!
MENENIUS. Do not stand upon't.
We recommend to you, Tribunes of the People,
Our purpose to them; and to our noble consul
Wish we all joy and honour.
SENATORS. To Coriolanus come all joy and honour!
[Flourish. Cornets. Then exeunt all
BRUTUS. You see how he intends to use the people.
SICINIUS. May they perceive's intent! He will require them
As if he did contemn what he requested
Should be in them to give.
BRUTUS. Come, we'll inform them
Of our proceedings here. On th' market-place
I know they do attend us. Exeunt

Rome. The Forum

Enter seven or eight citizens

FIRST CITIZEN. Once, if he do require our voices, we ought not to
deny him.
SECOND CITIZEN. We may, sir, if we will.
THIRD CITIZEN. We have power in ourselves to do it, but it is a
power that we have no power to do; for if he show us his wounds
and tell us his deeds, we are to put our tongues into those
wounds and speak for them; so, if he tell us his noble deeds, we
must also tell him our noble acceptance of them. Ingratitude is
monstrous, and for the multitude to be ingrateful were to make a
monster of the multitude; of the which we being members should
bring ourselves to be monstrous members.
FIRST CITIZEN. And to make us no better thought of, a little help
will serve; for once we stood up about the corn, he himself stuck
not to call us the many-headed multitude.
THIRD CITIZEN. We have been call'd so of many; not that our heads
are some brown, some black, some abram, some bald, but that our
wits are so diversely colour'd; and truly I think if all our wits
were to issue out of one skull, they would fly east, west, north,
south, and their consent of one direct way should be at once to
all the points o' th' compass.
SECOND CITIZEN. Think you so? Which way do you judge my wit would
THIRD CITIZEN. Nay, your wit will not so soon out as another man's
will- 'tis strongly wedg'd up in a block-head; but if it were at
liberty 'twould sure southward.
SECOND CITIZEN. Why that way?
THIRD CITIZEN. To lose itself in a fog; where being three parts
melted away with rotten dews, the fourth would return for
conscience' sake, to help to get thee a wife.
SECOND CITIZEN. YOU are never without your tricks; you may, you
THIRD CITIZEN. Are you all resolv'd to give your voices? But that's
no matter, the greater part carries it. I say, if he would
incline to the people, there was never a worthier man.

Enter CORIOLANUS, in a gown of humility,

Here he comes, and in the gown of humility. Mark his behaviour.
We are not to stay all together, but to come by him where he
stands, by ones, by twos, and by threes. He's to make his
requests by particulars, wherein every one of us has a single
honour, in giving him our own voices with our own tongues;
therefore follow me, and I'll direct you how you shall go by him.
ALL. Content, content. Exeunt citizens
MENENIUS. O sir, you are not right; have you not known
The worthiest men have done't?
CORIOLANUS. What must I say?
'I pray, sir'- Plague upon't! I cannot bring
My tongue to such a pace. 'Look, sir, my wounds
I got them in my country's service, when
Some certain of your brethren roar'd and ran
From th' noise of our own drums.'
MENENIUS. O me, the gods!
You must not speak of that. You must desire them
To think upon you.
CORIOLANUS. Think upon me? Hang 'em!
I would they would forget me, like the virtues
Which our divines lose by 'em.
MENENIUS. You'll mar all.
I'll leave you. Pray you speak to 'em, I pray you,
In wholesome manner. Exit

Re-enter three of the citizens

CORIOLANUS. Bid them wash their faces
And keep their teeth clean. So, here comes a brace.
You know the cause, sir, of my standing here.
THIRD CITIZEN. We do, sir; tell us what hath brought you to't.
CORIOLANUS. Mine own desert.
SECOND CITIZEN. Your own desert?
CORIOLANUS. Ay, not mine own desire.
THIRD CITIZEN. How, not your own desire?
CORIOLANUS. No, sir, 'twas never my desire yet to trouble the poor
with begging.
THIRD CITIZEN. YOU MUST think, if we give you anything, we hope to
gain by you.
CORIOLANUS. Well then, I pray, your price o' th' consulship?
FIRST CITIZEN. The price is to ask it kindly.
CORIOLANUS. Kindly, sir, I pray let me ha't. I have wounds to show
you, which shall be yours in private. Your good voice, sir; what
say you?
SECOND CITIZEN. You shall ha' it, worthy sir.
CORIOLANUS. A match, sir. There's in all two worthy voices begg'd.
I have your alms. Adieu.
THIRD CITIZEN. But this is something odd.
SECOND CITIZEN. An 'twere to give again- but 'tis no matter.
Exeunt the three citizens

Re-enter two other citizens

CORIOLANUS. Pray you now, if it may stand with the tune of your
voices that I may be consul, I have here the customary gown.
FOURTH CITIZEN. You have deserved nobly of your country, and you
have not deserved nobly.
CORIOLANUS. Your enigma?
FOURTH CITIZEN. You have been a scourge to her enemies; you have
been a rod to her friends. You have not indeed loved the common
CORIOLANUS. You should account me the more virtuous, that I have
not been common in my love. I will, sir, flatter my sworn
brother, the people, to earn a dearer estimation of them; 'tis a
condition they account gentle; and since the wisdom of their
choice is rather to have my hat than my heart, I will practise
the insinuating nod and be off to them most counterfeitly. That
is, sir, I will counterfeit the bewitchment of some popular man
and give it bountiful to the desirers. Therefore, beseech you I
may be consul.
FIFTH CITIZEN. We hope to find you our friend; and therefore give
you our voices heartily.
FOURTH CITIZEN. You have received many wounds for your country.
CORIOLANUS. I will not seal your knowledge with showing them. I
will make much of your voices, and so trouble you no farther.
BOTH CITIZENS. The gods give you joy, sir, heartily!
Exeunt citizens
CORIOLANUS. Most sweet voices!
Better it is to die, better to starve,
Than crave the hire which first we do deserve.
Why in this wolvish toge should I stand here
To beg of Hob and Dick that do appear
Their needless vouches? Custom calls me to't.
What custom wills, in all things should we do't,
The dust on antique time would lie unswept,
And mountainous error be too highly heap'd
For truth to o'erpeer. Rather than fool it so,
Let the high office and the honour go
To one that would do thus. I am half through:
The one part suffered, the other will I do.

Re-enter three citizens more

Here come moe voices.
Your voices. For your voices I have fought;
Watch'd for your voices; for your voices bear
Of wounds two dozen odd; battles thrice six
I have seen and heard of; for your voices have
Done many things, some less, some more. Your voices?
Indeed, I would be consul.
SIXTH CITIZEN. He has done nobly, and cannot go without any honest
man's voice.
SEVENTH CITIZEN. Therefore let him be consul. The gods give him
joy, and make him good friend to the people!
ALL. Amen, amen. God save thee, noble consul!
Exeunt citizens
CORIOLANUS. Worthy voices!


MENENIUS. You have stood your limitation, and the tribunes
Endue you with the people's voice. Remains
That, in th' official marks invested, you
Anon do meet the Senate.
CORIOLANUS. Is this done?
SICINIUS. The custom of request you have discharg'd.
The people do admit you, and are summon'd
To meet anon, upon your approbation.
CORIOLANUS. Where? At the Senate House?
SICINIUS. There, Coriolanus.
CORIOLANUS. May I change these garments?
SICINIUS. You may, sir.
CORIOLANUS. That I'll straight do, and, knowing myself again,
Repair to th' Senate House.
MENENIUS. I'll keep you company. Will you along?
BRUTUS. We stay here for the people.
SICINIUS. Fare you well.
He has it now; and by his looks methinks
'Tis warm at's heart.
BRUTUS. With a proud heart he wore
His humble weeds. Will you dismiss the people?

Re-enter citizens

SICINIUS. How now, my masters! Have you chose this man?
FIRST CITIZEN. He has our voices, sir.
BRUTUS. We pray the gods he may deserve your loves.
SECOND CITIZEN. Amen, sir. To my poor unworthy notice,
He mock'd us when he begg'd our voices.
He flouted us downright.
FIRST CITIZEN. No, 'tis his kind of speech- he did not mock us.
SECOND CITIZEN. Not one amongst us, save yourself, but says
He us'd us scornfully. He should have show'd us
His marks of merit, wounds receiv'd for's country.
SICINIUS. Why, so he did, I am sure.
ALL. No, no; no man saw 'em.
THIRD CITIZEN. He said he had wounds which he could show in
And with his hat, thus waving it in scorn,
'I would be consul,' says he; 'aged custom
But by your voices will not so permit me;
Your voices therefore.' When we granted that,
Here was 'I thank you for your voices. Thank you,
Your most sweet voices. Now you have left your voices,
I have no further with you.' Was not this mockery?
SICINIUS. Why either were you ignorant to see't,
Or, seeing it, of such childish friendliness
To yield your voices?
BRUTUS. Could you not have told him-
As you were lesson'd- when he had no power
But was a petty servant to the state,
He was your enemy; ever spake against
Your liberties and the charters that you bear
I' th' body of the weal; and now, arriving
A place of potency and sway o' th' state,
If he should still malignantly remain
Fast foe to th' plebeii, your voices might
Be curses to yourselves? You should have said
That as his worthy deeds did claim no less
Than what he stood for, so his gracious nature
Would think upon you for your voices, and
Translate his malice towards you into love,
Standing your friendly lord.
SICINIUS. Thus to have said,
As you were fore-advis'd, had touch'd his spirit
And tried his inclination; from him pluck'd
Either his gracious promise, which you might,
As cause had call'd you up, have held him to;
Or else it would have gall'd his surly nature,
Which easily endures not article
Tying him to aught. So, putting him to rage,
You should have ta'en th' advantage of his choler
And pass'd him unelected.
BRUTUS. Did you perceive
He did solicit you in free contempt
When he did need your loves; and do you think
That his contempt shall not be bruising to you
When he hath power to crush? Why, had your bodies
No heart among you? Or had you tongues to cry
Against the rectorship of judgment?
SICINIUS. Have you
Ere now denied the asker, and now again,
Of him that did not ask but mock, bestow
Your su'd-for tongues?
THIRD CITIZEN. He's not confirm'd: we may deny him yet.
SECOND CITIZENS. And will deny him;
I'll have five hundred voices of that sound.
FIRST CITIZEN. I twice five hundred, and their friends to piece
BRUTUS. Get you hence instantly, and tell those friends
They have chose a consul that will from them take
Their liberties, make them of no more voice
Than dogs, that are as often beat for barking
As therefore kept to do so.
SICINIUS. Let them assemble;
And, on a safer judgment, all revoke
Your ignorant election. Enforce his pride
And his old hate unto you; besides, forget not
With what contempt he wore the humble weed;
How in his suit he scorn'd you; but your loves,
Thinking upon his services, took from you
Th' apprehension of his present portance,
Which, most gibingly, ungravely, he did fashion
After the inveterate hate he bears you.
A fault on us, your tribunes, that we labour'd,
No impediment between, but that you must
Cast your election on him.
SICINIUS. Say you chose him
More after our commandment than as guided
By your own true affections; and that your minds,
Pre-occupied with what you rather must do
Than what you should, made you against the grain
To voice him consul. Lay the fault on us.
BRUTUS. Ay, spare us not. Say we read lectures to you,
How youngly he began to serve his country,
How long continued; and what stock he springs of-
The noble house o' th' Marcians; from whence came
That Ancus Marcius, Numa's daughter's son,
Who, after great Hostilius, here was king;
Of the same house Publius and Quintus were,
That our best water brought by conduits hither;
And Censorinus, nobly named so,
Twice being by the people chosen censor,
Was his great ancestor.
SICINIUS. One thus descended,
That hath beside well in his person wrought
To be set high in place, we did commend
To your remembrances; but you have found,
Scaling his present bearing with his past,
That he's your fixed enemy, and revoke
Your sudden approbation.
BRUTUS. Say you ne'er had done't-
Harp on that still- but by our putting on;
And presently, when you have drawn your number,
Repair to th' Capitol.
CITIZENS. will will so; almost all
Repent in their election. Exeunt plebeians
BRUTUS. Let them go on;
This mutiny were better put in hazard
Than stay, past doubt, for greater.
If, as his nature is, he fall in rage
With their refusal, both observe and answer
The vantage of his anger.
SICINIUS. To th' Capitol, come.
We will be there before the stream o' th' people;
And this shall seem, as partly 'tis, their own,
Which we have goaded onward. Exeunt

Rome. A street


CORIOLANUS. Tullus Aufidius, then, had made new head?
LARTIUS. He had, my lord; and that it was which caus'd
Our swifter composition.
CORIOLANUS. So then the Volsces stand but as at first,
Ready, when time shall prompt them, to make road
Upon's again.
COMINIUS. They are worn, Lord Consul, so
That we shall hardly in our ages see
Their banners wave again.
CORIOLANUS. Saw you Aufidius?
LARTIUS. On safeguard he came to me, and did curse
Against the Volsces, for they had so vilely
Yielded the town. He is retir'd to Antium.
CORIOLANUS. Spoke he of me?
LARTIUS. He did, my lord.
LARTIUS. How often he had met you, sword to sword;
That of all things upon the earth he hated
Your person most; that he would pawn his fortunes
To hopeless restitution, so he might
Be call'd your vanquisher.
CORIOLANUS. At Antium lives he?
LARTIUS. At Antium.
CORIOLANUS. I wish I had a cause to seek him there,
To oppose his hatred fully. Welcome home.


Behold, these are the tribunes of the people,
The tongues o' th' common mouth. I do despise them,
For they do prank them in authority,
Against all noble sufferance.
SICINIUS. Pass no further.
CORIOLANUS. Ha! What is that?
BRUTUS. It will be dangerous to go on- no further.
CORIOLANUS. What makes this change?
MENENIUS. The matter?
COMINIUS. Hath he not pass'd the noble and the common?
BRUTUS. Cominius, no.
CORIOLANUS. Have I had children's voices?
FIRST SENATOR. Tribunes, give way: he shall to th' market-place.
BRUTUS. The people are incens'd against him.
Or all will fall in broil.
CORIOLANUS. Are these your herd?
Must these have voices, that can yield them now
And straight disclaim their tongues? What are your offices?
You being their mouths, why rule you not their teeth?
Have you not set them on?
MENENIUS. Be calm, be calm.
CORIOLANUS. It is a purpos'd thing, and grows by plot,
To curb the will of the nobility;
Suffer't, and live with such as cannot rule
Nor ever will be rul'd.
BRUTUS. Call't not a plot.
The people cry you mock'd them; and of late,
When corn was given them gratis, you repin'd;
Scandal'd the suppliants for the people, call'd them
Time-pleasers, flatterers, foes to nobleness.
CORIOLANUS. Why, this was known before.
BRUTUS. Not to them all.
CORIOLANUS. Have you inform'd them sithence?
BRUTUS. How? I inform them!
COMINIUS. You are like to do such business.
BRUTUS. Not unlike
Each way to better yours.
CORIOLANUS. Why then should I be consul? By yond clouds,
Let me deserve so ill as you, and make me
Your fellow tribune.
SICINIUS. You show too much of that
For which the people stir; if you will pass
To where you are bound, you must enquire your way,
Which you are out of, with a gentler spirit,
Or never be so noble as a consul,
Nor yoke with him for tribune.
MENENIUS. Let's be calm.
COMINIUS. The people are abus'd; set on. This palt'ring
Becomes not Rome; nor has Coriolanus
Deserved this so dishonour'd rub, laid falsely
I' th' plain way of his merit.
CORIOLANUS. Tell me of corn!
This was my speech, and I will speak't again-
MENENIUS. Not now, not now.
FIRST SENATOR. Not in this heat, sir, now.
CORIOLANUS. Now, as I live, I will.
My nobler friends, I crave their pardons.
For the mutable, rank-scented meiny, let them
Regard me as I do not flatter, and
Therein behold themselves. I say again,
In soothing them we nourish 'gainst our Senate
The cockle of rebellion, insolence, sedition,
Which we ourselves have plough'd for, sow'd, and scatter'd,
By mingling them with us, the honour'd number,
Who lack not virtue, no, nor power, but that
Which they have given to beggars.
MENENIUS. Well, no more.
FIRST SENATOR. No more words, we beseech you.
CORIOLANUS. How? no more!
As for my country I have shed my blood,
Not fearing outward force, so shall my lungs
Coin words till their decay against those measles
Which we disdain should tetter us, yet sought
The very way to catch them.
BRUTUS. You speak o' th' people
As if you were a god, to punish; not
A man of their infirmity.
SICINIUS. 'Twere well
We let the people know't.
MENENIUS. What, what? his choler?
Were I as patient as the midnight sleep,
By Jove, 'twould be my mind!
SICINIUS. It is a mind
That shall remain a poison where it is,
Not poison any further.
CORIOLANUS. Shall remain!
Hear you this Triton of the minnows? Mark you
His absolute 'shall'?
COMINIUS. 'Twas from the canon.
O good but most unwise patricians! Why,
You grave but reckless senators, have you thus
Given Hydra here to choose an officer
That with his peremptory 'shall,' being but
The horn and noise o' th' monster's, wants not spirit
To say he'll turn your current in a ditch,
And make your channel his? If he have power,
Then vail your ignorance; if none, awake
Your dangerous lenity. If you are learn'd,
Be not as common fools; if you are not,
Let them have cushions by you. You are plebeians,
If they be senators; and they are no less,
When, both your voices blended, the great'st taste
Most palates theirs. They choose their magistrate;
And such a one as he, who puts his 'shall,'
His popular 'shall,' against a graver bench
Than ever frown'd in Greece. By Jove himself,
It makes the consuls base; and my soul aches
To know, when two authorities are up,
Neither supreme, how soon confusion
May enter 'twixt the gap of both and take
The one by th' other.
COMINIUS. Well, on to th' market-place.
CORIOLANUS. Whoever gave that counsel to give forth
The corn o' th' storehouse gratis, as 'twas us'd
Sometime in Greece-
MENENIUS. Well, well, no more of that.
CORIOLANUS. Though there the people had more absolute pow'r-
I say they nourish'd disobedience, fed
The ruin of the state.
BRUTUS. Why shall the people give
One that speaks thus their voice?
CORIOLANUS. I'll give my reasons,
More worthier than their voices. They know the corn
Was not our recompense, resting well assur'd
They ne'er did service for't; being press'd to th' war
Even when the navel of the state was touch'd,
They would not thread the gates. This kind of service
Did not deserve corn gratis. Being i' th' war,
Their mutinies and revolts, wherein they show'd
Most valour, spoke not for them. Th' accusation
Which they have often made against the Senate,
All cause unborn, could never be the native
Of our so frank donation. Well, what then?
How shall this bosom multiplied digest
The Senate's courtesy? Let deeds express
What's like to be their words: 'We did request it;
We are the greater poll, and in true fear
They gave us our demands.' Thus we debase
The nature of our seats, and make the rabble
Call our cares fears; which will in time
Break ope the locks o' th' Senate and bring in
The crows to peck the eagles.
MENENIUS. Come, enough.
BRUTUS. Enough, with over measure.
CORIOLANUS. No, take more.
What may be sworn by, both divine and human,
Seal what I end withal! This double worship,
Where one part does disdain with cause, the other
Insult without all reason; where gentry, title, wisdom,
Cannot conclude but by the yea and no
Of general ignorance- it must omit
Real necessities, and give way the while
To unstable slightness. Purpose so barr'd, it follows
Nothing is done to purpose. Therefore, beseech you-
You that will be less fearful than discreet;
That love the fundamental part of state
More than you doubt the change on't; that prefer
A noble life before a long, and wish
To jump a body with a dangerous physic
That's sure of death without it- at once pluck out
The multitudinous tongue; let them not lick
The sweet which is their poison. Your dishonour
Mangles true judgment, and bereaves the state
Of that integrity which should become't,
Not having the power to do the good it would,
For th' ill which doth control't.
BRUTUS. Has said enough.
SICINIUS. Has spoken like a traitor and shall answer
As traitors do.
CORIOLANUS. Thou wretch, despite o'erwhelm thee!
What should the people do with these bald tribunes,
On whom depending, their obedience fails
To the greater bench? In a rebellion,
When what's not meet, but what must be, was law,
Then were they chosen; in a better hour
Let what is meet be said it must be meet,
And throw their power i' th' dust.
BRUTUS. Manifest treason!
SICINIUS. This a consul? No.
BRUTUS. The aediles, ho!

Enter an AEDILE

Let him be apprehended.
SICINIUS. Go call the people, [Exit AEDILE] in whose name myself
Attach thee as a traitorous innovator,
A foe to th' public weal. Obey, I charge thee,
And follow to thine answer.
CORIOLANUS. Hence, old goat!
PATRICIANS. We'll surety him.
COMINIUS. Ag'd sir, hands off.
CORIOLANUS. Hence, rotten thing! or I shall shake thy bones
Out of thy garments.
SICINIUS. Help, ye citizens!

Enter a rabble of plebeians, with the AEDILES

MENENIUS. On both sides more respect.
SICINIUS. Here's he that would take from you all your power.
BRUTUS. Seize him, aediles.
PLEBEIANS. Down with him! down with him!
SECOND SENATOR. Weapons, weapons, weapons!
[They all bustle about CORIOLANUS]
ALL. Tribunes! patricians! citizens! What, ho! Sicinius!
Brutus! Coriolanus! Citizens!
PATRICIANS. Peace, peace, peace; stay, hold, peace!
MENENIUS. What is about to be? I am out of breath;
Confusion's near; I cannot speak. You tribunes
To th' people- Coriolanus, patience!
Speak, good Sicinius.
SICINIUS. Hear me, people; peace!
PLEBEIANS. Let's hear our tribune. Peace! Speak, speak, speak.
SICINIUS. You are at point to lose your liberties.
Marcius would have all from you; Marcius,
Whom late you have nam'd for consul.
MENENIUS. Fie, fie, fie!
This is the way to kindle, not to quench.
FIRST SENATOR. To unbuild the city, and to lay all flat.
SICINIUS. What is the city but the people?
The people are the city.
BRUTUS. By the consent of all we were establish'd
The people's magistrates.
PLEBEIANS. You so remain.
MENENIUS. And so are like to do.
COMINIUS. That is the way to lay the city flat,
To bring the roof to the foundation,
And bury all which yet distinctly ranges
In heaps and piles of ruin.
SICINIUS. This deserves death.
BRUTUS. Or let us stand to our authority
Or let us lose it. We do here pronounce,
Upon the part o' th' people, in whose power
We were elected theirs: Marcius is worthy
Of present death.
SICINIUS. Therefore lay hold of him;
Bear him to th' rock Tarpeian, and from thence
Into destruction cast him.
BRUTUS. AEdiles, seize him.
PLEBEIANS. Yield, Marcius, yield.
MENENIUS. Hear me one word; beseech you, Tribunes,
Hear me but a word.
AEDILES. Peace, peace!
MENENIUS. Be that you seem, truly your country's friend,
And temp'rately proceed to what you would
Thus violently redress.
BRUTUS. Sir, those cold ways,
That seem like prudent helps, are very poisonous
Where the disease is violent. Lay hands upon him
And bear him to the rock.
[CORIOLANUS draws his sword]
CORIOLANUS. No: I'll die here.
There's some among you have beheld me fighting;
Come, try upon yourselves what you have seen me.
MENENIUS. Down with that sword! Tribunes, withdraw awhile.
BRUTUS. Lay hands upon him.
MENENIUS. Help Marcius, help,
You that be noble; help him, young and old.
PLEBEIANS. Down with him, down with him!
[In this mutiny the TRIBUNES, the AEDILES,
and the people are beat in]
MENENIUS. Go, get you to your house; be gone, away.
All will be nought else.
SECOND SENATOR. Get you gone.
CORIOLANUS. Stand fast;
We have as many friends as enemies.
MENENIUS. Shall it be put to that?
FIRST SENATOR. The gods forbid!
I prithee, noble friend, home to thy house;
Leave us to cure this cause.
MENENIUS. For 'tis a sore upon us
You cannot tent yourself; be gone, beseech you.
COMINIUS. Come, sir, along with us.
CORIOLANUS. I would they were barbarians, as they are,
Though in Rome litter'd; not Romans, as they are not,
Though calved i' th' porch o' th' Capitol.
MENENIUS. Be gone.
Put not your worthy rage into your tongue;
One time will owe another.
CORIOLANUS. On fair ground
I could beat forty of them.
MENENIUS. I could myself
Take up a brace o' th' best of them; yea, the two tribunes.
COMINIUS. But now 'tis odds beyond arithmetic,
And manhood is call'd foolery when it stands
Against a falling fabric. Will you hence,
Before the tag return? whose rage doth rend
Like interrupted waters, and o'erbear
What they are us'd to bear.
MENENIUS. Pray you be gone.
I'll try whether my old wit be in request
With those that have but little; this must be patch'd
With cloth of any colour.
COMINIUS. Nay, come away.
Exeunt CORIOLANUS and COMINIUS, with others
PATRICIANS. This man has marr'd his fortune.
MENENIUS. His nature is too noble for the world:
He would not flatter Neptune for his trident,
Or Jove for's power to thunder. His heart's his mouth;
What his breast forges, that his tongue must vent;
And, being angry, does forget that ever
He heard the name of death. [A noise within]
Here's goodly work!
PATRICIANS. I would they were a-bed.
MENENIUS. I would they were in Tiber.
What the vengeance, could he not speak 'em fair?

Re-enter BRUTUS and SICINIUS, the rabble again

SICINIUS. Where is this viper
That would depopulate the city and
Be every man himself?
MENENIUS. You worthy Tribunes-
SICINIUS. He shall be thrown down the Tarpeian rock
With rigorous hands; he hath resisted law,
And therefore law shall scorn him further trial
Than the severity of the public power,
Which he so sets at nought.
FIRST CITIZEN. He shall well know
The noble tribunes are the people's mouths,
And we their hands.
PLEBEIANS. He shall, sure on't.
MENENIUS. Sir, sir-
MENENIUS. Do not cry havoc, where you should but hunt
With modest warrant.
SICINIUS. Sir, how comes't that you
Have holp to make this rescue?
MENENIUS. Hear me speak.
As I do know the consul's worthiness,
So can I name his faults.
SICINIUS. Consul! What consul?
MENENIUS. The consul Coriolanus.
BRUTUS. He consul!
PLEBEIANS. No, no, no, no, no.
MENENIUS. If, by the tribunes' leave, and yours, good people,
I may be heard, I would crave a word or two;
The which shall turn you to no further harm
Than so much loss of time.
SICINIUS. Speak briefly, then,
For we are peremptory to dispatch
This viperous traitor; to eject him hence
Were but one danger, and to keep him here
Our certain death; therefore it is decreed
He dies to-night.
MENENIUS. Now the good gods forbid
That our renowned Rome, whose gratitude
Towards her deserved children is enroll'd
In Jove's own book, like an unnatural dam
Should now eat up her own!
SICINIUS. He's a disease that must be cut away.
MENENIUS. O, he's a limb that has but a disease-
Mortal, to cut it off: to cure it, easy.
What has he done to Rome that's worthy death?
Killing our enemies, the blood he hath lost-
Which I dare vouch is more than that he hath
By many an ounce- he dropt it for his country;
And what is left, to lose it by his country
Were to us all that do't and suffer it
A brand to th' end o' th' world.
SICINIUS. This is clean kam.
BRUTUS. Merely awry. When he did love his country,
It honour'd him.
SICINIUS. The service of the foot,
Being once gangren'd, is not then respected
For what before it was.
BRUTUS. We'll hear no more.
Pursue him to his house and pluck him thence,
Lest his infection, being of catching nature,
Spread further.
MENENIUS. One word more, one word
This tiger-footed rage, when it shall find
The harm of unscann'd swiftness, will, too late,
Tie leaden pounds to's heels. Proceed by process,
Lest parties- as he is belov'd- break out,
And sack great Rome with Romans.
BRUTUS. If it were so-
SICINIUS. What do ye talk?
Have we not had a taste of his obedience-
Our aediles smote, ourselves resisted? Come!
MENENIUS. Consider this: he has been bred i' th' wars
Since 'a could draw a sword, and is ill school'd
In bolted language; meal and bran together
He throws without distinction. Give me leave,
I'll go to him and undertake to bring him
Where he shall answer by a lawful form,
In peace, to his utmost peril.
FIRST SENATOR. Noble Tribunes,
It is the humane way; the other course
Will prove too bloody, and the end of it
Unknown to the beginning.
SICINIUS. Noble Menenius,
Be you then as the people's officer.
Masters, lay down your weapons.
BRUTUS. Go not home.
SICINIUS. Meet on the market-place. We'll attend you there;
Where, if you bring not Marcius, we'll proceed
In our first way.
MENENIUS. I'll bring him to you.
[To the SENATORS] Let me desire your company; he must come,
Or what is worst will follow.
FIRST SENATOR. Pray you let's to him. Exeunt

Rome. The house of CORIOLANUS


CORIOLANUS. Let them pull all about mine ears, present me
Death on the wheel or at wild horses' heels;
Or pile ten hills on the Tarpeian rock,
That the precipitation might down stretch
Below the beam of sight; yet will I still
Be thus to them.
FIRST PATRICIAN. You do the nobler.
CORIOLANUS. I muse my mother
Does not approve me further, who was wont
To call them woollen vassals, things created
To buy and sell with groats; to show bare heads
In congregations, to yawn, be still, and wonder,
When one but of my ordinance stood up
To speak of peace or war.


I talk of you:
Why did you wish me milder? Would you have me
False to my nature? Rather say I play
The man I am.
VOLUMNIA. O, sir, sir, sir,
I would have had you put your power well on
Before you had worn it out.
VOLUMNIA. You might have been enough the man you are
With striving less to be so; lesser had been
The thwartings of your dispositions, if
You had not show'd them how ye were dispos'd,
Ere they lack'd power to cross you.
CORIOLANUS. Let them hang.
VOLUMNIA. Ay, and burn too.


MENENIUS. Come, come, you have been too rough, something too rough;
You must return and mend it.
FIRST SENATOR. There's no remedy,
Unless, by not so doing, our good city
Cleave in the midst and perish.
VOLUMNIA. Pray be counsell'd;
I have a heart as little apt as yours,
But yet a brain that leads my use of anger
To better vantage.
MENENIUS. Well said, noble woman!
Before he should thus stoop to th' herd, but that
The violent fit o' th' time craves it as physic
For the whole state, I would put mine armour on,
Which I can scarcely bear.
CORIOLANUS. What must I do?
MENENIUS. Return to th' tribunes.
CORIOLANUS. Well, what then, what then?
MENENIUS. Repent what you have spoke.
CORIOLANUS. For them! I cannot do it to the gods;
Must I then do't to them?
VOLUMNIA. You are too absolute;
Though therein you can never be too noble
But when extremities speak. I have heard you say
Honour and policy, like unsever'd friends,
I' th' war do grow together; grant that, and tell me
In peace what each of them by th' other lose
That they combine not there.
CORIOLANUS. Tush, tush!
MENENIUS. A good demand.
VOLUMNIA. If it be honour in your wars to seem
The same you are not, which for your best ends
You adopt your policy, how is it less or worse
That it shall hold companionship in peace
With honour as in war; since that to both
It stands in like request?
CORIOLANUS. Why force you this?
VOLUMNIA. Because that now it lies you on to speak
To th' people, not by your own instruction,
Nor by th' matter which your heart prompts you,
But with such words that are but roted in
Your tongue, though but bastards and syllables
Of no allowance to your bosom's truth.
Now, this no more dishonours you at all
Than to take in a town with gentle words,
Which else would put you to your fortune and
The hazard of much blood.
I would dissemble with my nature where
My fortunes and my friends at stake requir'd
I should do so in honour. I am in this
Your wife, your son, these senators, the nobles;
And you will rather show our general louts
How you can frown, than spend a fawn upon 'em
For the inheritance of their loves and safeguard
Of what that want might ruin.
MENENIUS. Noble lady!
Come, go with us, speak fair; you may salve so,
Not what is dangerous present, but the los
Of what is past.
VOLUMNIA. I prithee now, My son,
Go to them with this bonnet in thy hand;
And thus far having stretch'd it- here be with them-
Thy knee bussing the stones- for in such busines
Action is eloquence, and the eyes of th' ignorant
More learned than the ears- waving thy head,
Which often thus correcting thy-stout heart,
Now humble as the ripest mulberry
That will not hold the handling. Or say to them
Thou art their soldier and, being bred in broils,
Hast not the soft way which, thou dost confess,
Were fit for thee to use, as they to claim,
In asking their good loves; but thou wilt frame
Thyself, forsooth, hereafter theirs, so far
As thou hast power and person.
MENENIUS. This but done
Even as she speaks, why, their hearts were yours;
For they have pardons, being ask'd, as free
As words to little purpose.
VOLUMNIA. Prithee now,
Go, and be rul'd; although I know thou hadst rather
Follow thine enemy in a fiery gulf
Than flatter him in a bower.


Here is Cominius.
COMINIUS. I have been i' th' market-place; and, sir, 'tis fit
You make strong party, or defend yourself
By calmness or by absence; all's in anger.
MENENIUS. Only fair speech.
COMINIUS. I think 'twill serve, if he
Can thereto frame his spirit.
VOLUMNIA. He must and will.
Prithee now, say you will, and go about it.
CORIOLANUS. Must I go show them my unbarb'd sconce? Must I
With my base tongue give to my noble heart
A lie that it must bear? Well, I will do't;
Yet, were there but this single plot to lose,
This mould of Marcius, they to dust should grind it,
And throw't against the wind. To th' market-place!
You have put me now to such a part which never
I shall discharge to th' life.
COMINIUS. Come, come, we'll prompt you.
VOLUMNIA. I prithee now, sweet son, as thou hast said
My praises made thee first a soldier, so,
To have my praise for this, perform a part
Thou hast not done before.
CORIOLANUS. Well, I must do't.
Away, my disposition, and possess me
Some harlot's spirit! My throat of war be turn'd,
Which quier'd with my drum, into a pipe
Small as an eunuch or the virgin voice
That babies lulls asleep! The smiles of knaves
Tent in my cheeks, and schoolboys' tears take up
The glasses of my sight! A beggar's tongue
Make motion through my lips, and my arm'd knees,
Who bow'd but in my stirrup, bend like his
That hath receiv'd an alms! I will not do't,
Lest I surcease to honour mine own truth,
And by my body's action teach my mind
A most inherent baseness.
VOLUMNIA. At thy choice, then.
To beg of thee, it is my more dishonour
Than thou of them. Come all to ruin. Let
Thy mother rather feel thy pride than fear
Thy dangerous stoutness; for I mock at death
With as big heart as thou. Do as thou list.
Thy valiantness was mine, thou suck'dst it from me;
But owe thy pride thyself.
CORIOLANUS. Pray be content.
Mother, I am going to the market-place;
Chide me no more. I'll mountebank their loves,
Cog their hearts from them, and come home belov'd
Of all the trades in Rome. Look, I am going.
Commend me to my wife. I'll return consul,
Or never trust to what my tongue can do
I' th' way of flattery further.
VOLUMNIA. Do your will. Exit
COMINIUS. Away! The tribunes do attend you. Arm yourself
To answer mildly; for they are prepar'd
With accusations, as I hear, more strong
Than are upon you yet.
CORIOLANUS. The word is 'mildly.' Pray you let us go.
Let them accuse me by invention; I
Will answer in mine honour.
MENENIUS. Ay, but mildly.
CORIOLANUS. Well, mildly be it then- mildly. Exeunt

Rome. The Forum


BRUTUS. In this point charge him home, that he affects
Tyrannical power. If he evade us there,
Enforce him with his envy to the people,
And that the spoil got on the Antiates
Was ne'er distributed.

Enter an AEDILE

What, will he come?
AEDILE. He's coming.
BRUTUS. How accompanied?
AEDILE. With old Menenius, and those senators
That always favour'd him.
SICINIUS. Have you a catalogue
Of all the voices that we have procur'd,
Set down by th' poll?
AEDILE. I have; 'tis ready.
SICINIUS. Have you corrected them by tribes?
AEDILE. I have.
SICINIUS. Assemble presently the people hither;
And when they hear me say 'It shall be so
I' th' right and strength o' th' commons' be it either
For death, for fine, or banishment, then let them,
If I say fine, cry 'Fine!'- if death, cry 'Death!'
Insisting on the old prerogative
And power i' th' truth o' th' cause.
AEDILE. I shall inform them.
BRUTUS. And when such time they have begun to cry,
Let them not cease, but with a din confus'd
Enforce the present execution
Of what we chance to sentence.
AEDILE. Very well.
SICINIUS. Make them be strong, and ready for this hint,
When we shall hap to give't them.
BRUTUS. Go about it. Exit AEDILE
Put him to choler straight. He hath been us'd
Ever to conquer, and to have his worth
Of contradiction; being once chaf'd, he cannot
Be rein'd again to temperance; then he speaks
What's in his heart, and that is there which looks
With us to break his neck.


SICINIUS. Well, here he comes.
MENENIUS. Calmly, I do beseech you.
CORIOLANUS. Ay, as an ostler, that for th' poorest piece
Will bear the knave by th' volume. Th' honour'd gods
Keep Rome in safety, and the chairs of justice
Supplied with worthy men! plant love among's!
Throng our large temples with the shows of peace,
And not our streets with war!
FIRST SENATOR. Amen, amen!
MENENIUS. A noble wish.

Re-enter the.AEDILE,with the plebeians

SICINIUS. Draw near, ye people.
AEDILE. List to your tribunes. Audience! peace, I say!
CORIOLANUS. First, hear me speak.
BOTH TRIBUNES. Well, say. Peace, ho!
CORIOLANUS. Shall I be charg'd no further than this present?
Must all determine here?
SICINIUS. I do demand,
If you submit you to the people's voices,
Allow their officers, and are content
To suffer lawful censure for such faults
As shall be prov'd upon you.
CORIOLANUS. I am content.
MENENIUS. Lo, citizens, he says he is content.
The warlike service he has done, consider; think
Upon the wounds his body bears, which show
Like graves i' th' holy churchyard.
CORIOLANUS. Scratches with briers,
Scars to move laughter only.
MENENIUS. Consider further,
That when he speaks not like a citizen,
You find him like a soldier; do not take
His rougher accents for malicious sounds,
But, as I say, such as become a soldier
Rather than envy you.
COMINIUS. Well, well! No more.
CORIOLANUS. What is the matter,
That being pass'd for consul with full voice,
I am so dishonour'd that the very hour
You take it off again?
SICINIUS. Answer to us.
CORIOLANUS. Say then; 'tis true, I ought so.
SICINIUS. We charge you that you have contriv'd to take
From Rome all season'd office, and to wind
Yourself into a power tyrannical;
For which you are a traitor to the people.
CORIOLANUS. How- traitor?
MENENIUS. Nay, temperately! Your promise.
CORIOLANUS. The fires i' th' lowest hell fold in the people!
Call me their traitor! Thou injurious tribune!
Within thine eyes sat twenty thousand deaths,
In thy hands clutch'd as many millions, in
Thy lying tongue both numbers, I would say
'Thou liest' unto thee with a voice as free
As I do pray the gods.
SICINIUS. Mark you this, people?
PLEBEIANS. To th' rock, to th' rock, with him!
We need not put new matter to his charge.
What you have seen him do and heard him speak,
Beating your officers, cursing yourselves,
Opposing laws with strokes, and here defying
Those whose great power must try him- even this,
So criminal and in such capital kind,
Deserves th' extremest death.
BRUTUS. But since he hath
Serv'd well for Rome-
CORIOLANUS. What do you prate of service?
BRUTUS. I talk of that that know it.
MENENIUS. Is this the promise that you made your mother?
COMINIUS. Know, I pray you-
CORIOLANUS. I'll know no further.
Let them pronounce the steep Tarpeian death,
Vagabond exile, flaying, pent to linger
But with a grain a day, I would not buy
Their mercy at the price of one fair word,
Nor check my courage for what they can give,
To have't with saying 'Good morrow.'
SICINIUS. For that he has-
As much as in him lies- from time to time
Envied against the people, seeking means
To pluck away their power; as now at last
Given hostile strokes, and that not in the presence
Of dreaded justice, but on the ministers
That do distribute it- in the name o' th' people,
And in the power of us the tribunes, we,
Ev'n from this instant, banish him our city,
In peril of precipitation
From off the rock Tarpeian, never more
To enter our Rome gates. I' th' people's name,
I say it shall be so.
PLEBEIANS. It shall be so, it shall be so! Let him away!
He's banish'd, and it shall be so.
COMINIUS. Hear me, my masters and my common friends-
SICINIUS. He's sentenc'd; no more hearing.
COMINIUS. Let me speak.
I have been consul, and can show for Rome
Her enemies' marks upon me. I do love
My country's good with a respect more tender,
More holy and profound, than mine own life,
My dear wife's estimate, her womb's increase
And treasure of my loins. Then if I would
Speak that-
SICINIUS. We know your drift. Speak what?
BRUTUS. There's no more to be said, but he is banish'd,
As enemy to the people and his country.
It shall be so.
PLEBEIANS. It shall be so, it shall be so.
CORIOLANUS. YOU common cry of curs, whose breath I hate
As reek o' th' rotten fens, whose loves I prize
As the dead carcasses of unburied men
That do corrupt my air- I banish you.
And here remain with your uncertainty!
Let every feeble rumour shake your hearts;
Your enemies, with nodding of their plumes,
Fan you into despair! Have the power still
To banish your defenders, till at length
Your ignorance- which finds not till it feels,
Making but reservation of yourselves
Still your own foes- deliver you
As most abated captives to some nation
That won you without blows! Despising
For you the city, thus I turn my back;
There is a world elsewhere.
AEDILE. The people's enemy is gone, is gone!
[They all shout and throw up their caps]
PLEBEIANS. Our enemy is banish'd, he is gone! Hoo-oo!
SICINIUS. Go see him out at gates, and follow him,
As he hath follow'd you, with all despite;
Give him deserv'd vexation. Let a guard
Attend us through the city.
PLEBEIANS. Come, come, let's see him out at gates; come!
The gods preserve our noble tribunes! Come. Exeunt

Rome. Before a gate of the city

with the young NOBILITY of Rome

CORIOLANUS. Come, leave your tears; a brief farewell. The beast
With many heads butts me away. Nay, mother,
Where is your ancient courage? You were us'd
To say extremities was the trier of spirits;
That common chances common men could bear;
That when the sea was calm all boats alike
Show'd mastership in floating; fortune's blows,
When most struck home, being gentle wounded craves
A noble cunning. You were us'd to load me
With precepts that would make invincible
The heart that conn'd them.
VIRGILIA. O heavens! O heavens!
CORIOLANUS. Nay, I prithee, woman-
VOLUMNIA. Now the red pestilence strike all trades in Rome,
And occupations perish!
CORIOLANUS. What, what, what!
I shall be lov'd when I am lack'd. Nay, mother,
Resume that spirit when you were wont to say,
If you had been the wife of Hercules,
Six of his labours you'd have done, and sav'd
Your husband so much sweat. Cominius,
Droop not; adieu. Farewell, my wife, my mother.
I'll do well yet. Thou old and true Menenius,
Thy tears are salter than a younger man's
And venomous to thine eyes. My sometime General,
I have seen thee stern, and thou hast oft beheld
Heart-hard'ning spectacles; tell these sad women
'Tis fond to wail inevitable strokes,
As 'tis to laugh at 'em. My mother, you wot well
My hazards still have been your solace; and
Believe't not lightly- though I go alone,
Like to a lonely dragon, that his fen
Makes fear'd and talk'd of more than seen- your son
Will or exceed the common or be caught
With cautelous baits and practice.
VOLUMNIA. My first son,
Whither wilt thou go? Take good Cominius
With thee awhile; determine on some course
More than a wild exposture to each chance
That starts i' th' way before thee.
VIRGILIA. O the gods!
COMINIUS. I'll follow thee a month, devise with the
Where thou shalt rest, that thou mayst hear of us,
And we of thee; so, if the time thrust forth
A cause for thy repeal, we shall not send
O'er the vast world to seek a single man,
And lose advantage, which doth ever cool
I' th' absence of the needer.
CORIOLANUS. Fare ye well;
Thou hast years upon thee, and thou art too full
Of the wars' surfeits to go rove with one
That's yet unbruis'd; bring me but out at gate.
Come, my sweet wife, my dearest mother, and
My friends of noble touch; when I am forth,
Bid me farewell, and smile. I pray you come.
While I remain above the ground you shall
Hear from me still, and never of me aught
But what is like me formerly.
MENENIUS. That's worthily
As any ear can hear. Come, let's not weep.
If I could shake off but one seven years
From these old arms and legs, by the good gods,
I'd with thee every foot.
CORIOLANUS. Give me thy hand.
Come. Exeunt

Rome. A street near the gate

Enter the two Tribunes, SICINIUS and BRUTUS with the AEDILE

SICINIUS. Bid them all home; he's gone, and we'll no further.
The nobility are vex'd, whom we see have sided
In his behalf.
BRUTUS. Now we have shown our power,
Let us seem humbler after it is done
Than when it was a-doing.
SICINIUS. Bid them home.
Say their great enemy is gone, and they
Stand in their ancient strength.
BRUTUS. Dismiss them home. Exit AEDILE
Here comes his mother.


SICINIUS. Let's not meet her.
SICINIUS. They say she's mad.
BRUTUS. They have ta'en note of us; keep on your way.
VOLUMNIA. O, Y'are well met; th' hoarded plague o' th' gods
Requite your love!
MENENIUS. Peace, peace, be not so loud.
VOLUMNIA. If that I could for weeping, you should hear-
Nay, and you shall hear some. [To BRUTUS] Will you be gone?
VIRGILIA. [To SICINIUS] You shall stay too. I would I had the
To say so to my husband.
SICINIUS. Are you mankind?
VOLUMNIA. Ay, fool; is that a shame? Note but this, fool:
Was not a man my father? Hadst thou foxship
To banish him that struck more blows for Rome
Than thou hast spoken words?
SICINIUS. O blessed heavens!
VOLUMNIA. Moe noble blows than ever thou wise words;
And for Rome's good. I'll tell thee what- yet go!
Nay, but thou shalt stay too. I would my son
Were in Arabia, and thy tribe before him,
His good sword in his hand.
SICINIUS. What then?
VIRGILIA. What then!
He'd make an end of thy posterity.
VOLUMNIA. Bastards and all.
Good man, the wounds that he does bear for Rome!
MENENIUS. Come, come, peace.
SICINIUS. I would he had continued to his country
As he began, and not unknit himself
The noble knot he made.
BRUTUS. I would he had.
VOLUMNIA. 'I would he had!' 'Twas you incens'd the rabble-
Cats that can judge as fitly of his worth
As I can of those mysteries which heaven
Will not have earth to know.
BRUTUS. Pray, let's go.
VOLUMNIA. Now, pray, sir, get you gone;
You have done a brave deed. Ere you go, hear this:
As far as doth the Capitol exceed
The meanest house in Rome, so far my son-
This lady's husband here, this, do you see?-
Whom you have banish'd does exceed you an.
BRUTUS. Well, well, we'll leave you.
SICINIUS. Why stay we to be baited
With one that wants her wits? Exeunt TRIBUNES
VOLUMNIA. Take my prayers with you.
I would the gods had nothing else to do
But to confirm my curses. Could I meet 'em
But once a day, it would unclog my heart
Of what lies heavy to't.
MENENIUS. You have told them home,
And, by my troth, you have cause. You'll sup with me?
VOLUMNIA. Anger's my meat; I sup upon myself,
And so shall starve with feeding. Come, let's go.
Leave this faint puling and lament as I do,
In anger, Juno-like. Come, come, come.
MENENIUS. Fie, fie, fie! Exit

A highway between Rome and Antium

Enter a ROMAN and a VOLSCE, meeting

ROMAN. I know you well, sir, and you know me; your name, I think,
is Adrian.
VOLSCE. It is so, sir. Truly, I have forgot you.
ROMAN. I am a Roman; and my services are, as you are, against 'em.
Know you me yet?
VOLSCE. Nicanor? No!
ROMAN. The same, sir.
VOLSCE. YOU had more beard when I last saw you, but your favour is
well appear'd by your tongue. What's the news in Rome? I have a
note from the Volscian state, to find you out there. You have
well saved me a day's journey.
ROMAN. There hath been in Rome strange insurrections: the people
against the senators, patricians, and nobles.
VOLSCE. Hath been! Is it ended, then? Our state thinks not so; they
are in a most warlike preparation, and hope to come upon them in
the heat of their division.
ROMAN. The main blaze of it is past, but a small thing would make
it flame again; for the nobles receive so to heart the banishment
of that worthy Coriolanus that they are in a ripe aptness to take
all power from the people, and to pluck from them their tribunes
for ever. This lies glowing, I can tell you, and is almost mature
for the violent breaking out.
VOLSCE. Coriolanus banish'd!
ROMAN. Banish'd, sir.
VOLSCE. You will be welcome with this intelligence, Nicanor.
ROMAN. The day serves well for them now. I have heard it said the
fittest time to corrupt a man's wife is when she's fall'n out
with her husband. Your noble Tullus Aufidius will appear well in
these wars, his great opposer, Coriolanus, being now in no
request of his country.
VOLSCE. He cannot choose. I am most fortunate thus accidentally to
encounter you; you have ended my business, and I will merrily
accompany you home.
ROMAN. I shall between this and supper tell you most strange things
from Rome, all tending to the good of their adversaries. Have you
an army ready, say you?
VOLSCE. A most royal one: the centurions and their charges,
distinctly billeted, already in th' entertainment, and to be on
foot at an hour's warning.
ROMAN. I am joyful to hear of their readiness, and am the man, I
think, that shall set them in present action. So, sir, heartily
well met, and most glad of your company.
VOLSCE. You take my part from me, sir. I have the most cause to be
glad of yours.
ROMAN. Well, let us go together.

Antium. Before AUFIDIUS' house

Enter CORIOLANUS, in mean apparel, disguis'd and muffled

CORIOLANUS. A goodly city is this Antium. City,
'Tis I that made thy widows: many an heir
Of these fair edifices fore my wars
Have I heard groan and drop. Then know me not.
Lest that thy wives with spits and boys with stones,
In puny battle slay me.


Save you, sir.
CITIZEN. And you.
CORIOLANUS. Direct me, if it be your will,
Where great Aufidius lies. Is he in Antium?
CITIZEN. He is, and feasts the nobles of the state
At his house this night.
CORIOLANUS. Which is his house, beseech you?
CITIZEN. This here before you.
CORIOLANUS. Thank you, sir; farewell. Exit CITIZEN
O world, thy slippery turns! Friends now fast sworn,
Whose double bosoms seems to wear one heart,
Whose hours, whose bed, whose meal and exercise
Are still together, who twin, as 'twere, in love,
Unseparable, shall within this hour,
On a dissension of a doit, break out
To bitterest enmity; so fellest foes,
Whose passions and whose plots have broke their sleep
To take the one the other, by some chance,
Some trick not worth an egg, shall grow dear friends
And interjoin their issues. So with me:
My birthplace hate I, and my love's upon
This enemy town. I'll enter. If he slay me,
He does fair justice: if he give me way,
I'll do his country service.

Antium. AUFIDIUS' house

Music plays. Enter A SERVINGMAN

FIRST SERVANT. Wine, wine, wine! What service is here! I think our
fellows are asleep. Exit

Enter another SERVINGMAN

SECOND SERVANT.Where's Cotus? My master calls for him.
Cotus! Exit


CORIOLANUS. A goodly house. The feast smells well, but I
Appear not like a guest.

Re-enter the first SERVINGMAN

FIRST SERVANT. What would you have, friend?
Whence are you? Here's no place for you: pray go to the door.
CORIOLANUS. I have deserv'd no better entertainment
In being Coriolanus.

Re-enter second SERVINGMAN

SECOND SERVANT. Whence are you, sir? Has the porter his eyes in his
head that he gives entrance to such companions? Pray get you out.
SECOND SERVANT. Away? Get you away.
CORIOLANUS. Now th' art troublesome.
SECOND SERVANT. Are you so brave? I'll have you talk'd with anon.

Enter a third SERVINGMAN. The first meets him

THIRD SERVANT. What fellow's this?
FIRST SERVANT. A strange one as ever I look'd on. I cannot get him
out o' th' house. Prithee call my master to him.
THIRD SERVANT. What have you to do here, fellow? Pray you avoid the
CORIOLANUS. Let me but stand- I will not hurt your hearth.
THIRD SERVANT. What are you?
CORIOLANUS. A gentleman.
THIRD SERVANT. A marv'llous poor one.
CORIOLANUS. True, so I am.
THIRD SERVANT. Pray you, poor gentleman, take up some other
station; here's no place for you. Pray you avoid. Come.
CORIOLANUS. Follow your function, go and batten on cold bits.
[Pushes him away from him]
THIRD SERVANT. What, you will not? Prithee tell my master what a
strange guest he has here.
SECOND SERVANT. And I shall. Exit
THIRD SERVANT. Where dwell'st thou?
CORIOLANUS. Under the canopy.
THIRD SERVANT. Under the canopy?
THIRD SERVANT. Where's that?
CORIOLANUS. I' th' city of kites and crows.
THIRD SERVANT. I' th' city of kites and crows!
What an ass it is! Then thou dwell'st with daws too?
CORIOLANUS. No, I serve not thy master.
THIRD SERVANT. How, sir! Do you meddle with my master?
CORIOLANUS. Ay; 'tis an honester service than to meddle with thy
mistress. Thou prat'st and prat'st; serve with thy trencher;
hence! [Beats him away]

Enter AUFIDIUS with the second SERVINGMAN

AUFIDIUS. Where is this fellow?
SECOND SERVANT. Here, sir; I'd have beaten him like a dog, but for
disturbing the lords within.
AUFIDIUS. Whence com'st thou? What wouldst thou? Thy name?
Why speak'st not? Speak, man. What's thy name?
CORIOLANUS. [Unmuffling] If, Tullus,
Not yet thou know'st me, and, seeing me, dost not
Think me for the man I am, necessity
Commands me name myself.
AUFIDIUS. What is thy name?
CORIOLANUS. A name unmusical to the Volscians' ears,
And harsh in sound to thine.
AUFIDIUS. Say, what's thy name?
Thou has a grim appearance, and thy face
Bears a command in't; though thy tackle's torn,
Thou show'st a noble vessel. What's thy name?
CORIOLANUS. Prepare thy brow to frown- know'st thou me yet?
AUFIDIUS. I know thee not. Thy name?
CORIOLANUS. My name is Caius Marcius, who hath done
To thee particularly, and to all the Volsces,
Great hurt and mischief; thereto witness may
My surname, Coriolanus. The painful service,
The extreme dangers, and the drops of blood
Shed for my thankless country, are requited
But with that surname- a good memory
And witness of the malice and displeasure
Which thou shouldst bear me. Only that name remains;
The cruelty and envy of the people,
Permitted by our dastard nobles, who
Have all forsook me, hath devour'd the rest,
An suffer'd me by th' voice of slaves to be
Whoop'd out of Rome. Now this extremity
Hath brought me to thy hearth; not out of hope,
Mistake me not, to save my life; for if
I had fear'd death, of all the men i' th' world
I would have 'voided thee; but in mere spite,
To be full quit of those my banishers,
Stand I before thee here. Then if thou hast
A heart of wreak in thee, that wilt revenge
Thine own particular wrongs and stop those maims
Of shame seen through thy country, speed thee straight
And make my misery serve thy turn. So use it
That my revengeful services may prove
As benefits to thee; for I will fight
Against my cank'red country with the spleen
Of all the under fiends. But if so be
Thou dar'st not this, and that to prove more fortunes
Th'art tir'd, then, in a word, I also am
Longer to live most weary, and present
My throat to thee and to thy ancient malice;
Which not to cut would show thee but a fool,
Since I have ever followed thee with hate,
Drawn tuns of blood out of thy country's breast,
And cannot live but to thy shame, unless
It be to do thee service.
AUFIDIUS. O Marcius, Marcius!
Each word thou hast spoke hath weeded from my heart
A root of ancient envy. If Jupiter
Should from yond cloud speak divine things,
And say ''Tis true,' I'd not believe them more
Than thee, all noble Marcius. Let me twine
Mine arms about that body, where against
My grained ash an hundred times hath broke
And scarr'd the moon with splinters; here I clip
The anvil of my sword, and do contest
As hotly and as nobly with thy love
As ever in ambitious strength I did
Contend against thy valour. Know thou first,
I lov'd the maid I married; never man
Sigh'd truer breath; but that I see thee here,
Thou noble thing, more dances my rapt heart
Than when I first my wedded mistress saw
Bestride my threshold. Why, thou Mars, I tell the
We have a power on foot, and I had purpose
Once more to hew thy target from thy brawn,
Or lose mine arm for't. Thou hast beat me out
Twelve several times, and I have nightly since
Dreamt of encounters 'twixt thyself and me-
We have been down together in my sleep,
Unbuckling helms, fisting each other's throat-
And wak'd half dead with nothing. Worthy Marcius,
Had we no other quarrel else to Rome but that
Thou art thence banish'd, we would muster all
From twelve to seventy, and, pouring war
Into the bowels of ungrateful Rome,
Like a bold flood o'erbeat. O, come, go in,
And take our friendly senators by th' hands,
Who now are here, taking their leaves of me
Who am prepar'd against your territories,
Though not for Rome itself.
CORIOLANUS. You bless me, gods!
AUFIDIUS. Therefore, most. absolute sir, if thou wilt have
The leading of thine own revenges, take
Th' one half of my commission, and set down-
As best thou art experienc'd, since thou know'st
Thy country's strength and weakness- thine own ways,
Whether to knock against the gates of Rome,
Or rudely visit them in parts remote
To fright them ere destroy. But come in;
Let me commend thee first to those that shall
Say yea to thy desires. A thousand welcomes!
And more a friend than e'er an enemy;
Yet, Marcius, that was much. Your hand; most welcome!

The two SERVINGMEN come forward

FIRST SERVANT. Here's a strange alteration!
SECOND SERVANT. By my hand, I had thought to have strucken him with
a cudgel; and yet my mind gave me his clothes made a false report
of him.
FIRST SERVANT. What an arm he has! He turn'd me about with his
finger and his thumb, as one would set up a top.
SECOND SERVANT. Nay, I knew by his face that there was something in
him; he had, sir, a kind of face, methought- I cannot tell how to
term it.
FIRST SERVANT. He had so, looking as it were- Would I were hang'd,
but I thought there was more in him than I could think.
SECOND SERVANT. So did I, I'll be sworn. He is simply the rarest
man i' th' world.
FIRST SERVANT. I think he is; but a greater soldier than he you wot
SECOND SERVANT. Who, my master?
FIRST SERVANT. Nay, it's no matter for that.
SECOND SERVANT. Worth six on him.
FIRST SERVANT. Nay, not so neither; but I take him to be the
greater soldier.
SECOND SERVANT. Faith, look you, one cannot tell how to say that;
for the defence of a town our general is excellent.
FIRST SERVANT. Ay, and for an assault too.

Re-enter the third SERVINGMAN

THIRD SERVANT. O slaves, I can tell you news- news, you rascals!
BOTH. What, what, what? Let's partake.
THIRD SERVANT. I would not be a Roman, of all nations;
I had as lief be a condemn'd man.
BOTH. Wherefore? wherefore?
THIRD SERVANT. Why, here's he that was wont to thwack our general-
Caius Marcius.
FIRST SERVANT. Why do you say 'thwack our general'?
THIRD SERVANT. I do not say 'thwack our general,' but he was always
good enough for him.
SECOND SERVANT. Come, we are fellows and friends. He was ever too
hard for him, I have heard him say so himself.
FIRST SERVANT. He was too hard for him directly, to say the troth
on't; before Corioli he scotch'd him and notch'd him like a
SECOND SERVANT. An he had been cannibally given, he might have
broil'd and eaten him too.
FIRST SERVANT. But more of thy news!
THIRD SERVANT. Why, he is so made on here within as if he were son
and heir to Mars; set at upper end o' th' table; no question
asked him by any of the senators but they stand bald before him.
Our general himself makes a mistress of him, sanctifies himself
with's hand, and turns up the white o' th' eye to his discourse.
But the bottom of the news is, our general is cut i' th' middle
and but one half of what he was yesterday, for the other has half
by the entreaty and grant of the whole table. He'll go, he says,
and sowl the porter of Rome gates by th' ears; he will mow all
down before him, and leave his passage poll'd.
SECOND SERVANT. And he's as like to do't as any man I can imagine.
THIRD SERVANT. Do't! He will do't; for look you, sir, he has as
many friends as enemies; which friends, sir, as it were, durst
not- look you, sir- show themselves, as we term it, his friends,
whilst he's in directitude.
FIRST SERVANT. Directitude? What's that?
THIRD SERVANT. But when they shall see, sir, his crest up again and
the man in blood, they will out of their burrows, like conies
after rain, and revel an with him.
FIRST SERVANT. But when goes this forward?
THIRD SERVANT. To-morrow, to-day, presently. You shall have the
drum struck up this afternoon; 'tis as it were parcel of their
feast, and to be executed ere they wipe their lips.
SECOND SERVANT. Why, then we shall have a stirring world again.
This peace is nothing but to rust iron, increase tailors, and
breed ballad-makers.
FIRST SERVANT. Let me have war, say I; it exceeds peace as far as
day does night; it's spritely, waking, audible, and full of vent.
Peace is a very apoplexy, lethargy; mull'd, deaf, sleepy,
insensible; a getter of more bastard children than war's a
destroyer of men.
SECOND SERVANT. 'Tis so; and as war in some sort may be said to be
a ravisher, so it cannot be denied but peace is a great maker of
FIRST SERVANT. Ay, and it makes men hate one another.
THIRD SERVANT. Reason: because they then less need one another. The
wars for my money. I hope to see Romans as cheap as Volscians.
They are rising, they are rising.
BOTH. In, in, in, in! Exeunt

Rome. A public place

Enter the two Tribunes, SICINIUS and BRUTUS

SICINIUS. We hear not of him, neither need we fear him.
His remedies are tame. The present peace
And quietness of the people, which before
Were in wild hurry, here do make his friends
Blush that the world goes well; who rather had,
Though they themselves did suffer by't, behold
Dissentious numbers pest'ring streets than see
Our tradesmen singing in their shops, and going
About their functions friendly.


BRUTUS. We stood to't in good time. Is this Menenius?
SICINIUS. 'Tis he, 'tis he. O, he is grown most kind
Of late. Hail, sir!
MENENIUS. Hail to you both!
SICINIUS. Your Coriolanus is not much miss'd
But with his friends. The commonwealth doth stand,
And so would do, were he more angry at it.
MENENIUS. All's well, and might have been much better
He could have temporiz'd.
SICINIUS. Where is he, hear you?
MENENIUS. Nay, I hear nothing; his mother and his wife
Hear nothing from him.

Enter three or four citizens

CITIZENS. The gods preserve you both!
SICINIUS. God-den, our neighbours.
BRUTUS. God-den to you all, god-den to you an.
FIRST CITIZEN. Ourselves, our wives, and children, on our knees
Are bound to pray for you both.
SICINIUS. Live and thrive!
BRUTUS. Farewell, kind neighbours; we wish'd Coriolanus
Had lov'd you as we did.
CITIZENS. Now the gods keep you!
BOTH TRIBUNES. Farewell, farewell. Exeunt citizens
SICINIUS. This is a happier and more comely time
Than when these fellows ran about the streets
Crying confusion.
BRUTUS. Caius Marcius was
A worthy officer i' the war, but insolent,
O'ercome with pride, ambitious past all thinking,
SICINIUS. And affecting one sole throne,
Without assistance.
MENENIUS. I think not so.
SICINIUS. We should by this, to all our lamentation,
If he had gone forth consul, found it so.
BRUTUS. The gods have well prevented it, and Rome
Sits safe and still without him.

Enter an AEDILE

AEDILE. Worthy tribunes,
There is a slave, whom we have put in prison,
Reports the Volsces with several powers
Are ent'red in the Roman territories,
And with the deepest malice of the war
Destroy what lies before 'em.
MENENIUS. 'Tis Aufidius,
Who, hearing of our Marcius' banishment,
Thrusts forth his horns again into the world,
Which were inshell'd when Marcius stood for Rome,
And durst not once peep out.
SICINIUS. Come, what talk you of Marcius?
BRUTUS. Go see this rumourer whipp'd. It cannot be
The Volsces dare break with us.
MENENIUS. Cannot be!
We have record that very well it can;
And three examples of the like hath been
Within my age. But reason with the fellow
Before you punish him, where he heard this,
Lest you shall chance to whip your information
And beat the messenger who bids beware
Of what is to be dreaded.
SICINIUS. Tell not me.
I know this cannot be.
BRUTUS. Not Possible.


MESSENGER. The nobles in great earnestness are going
All to the Senate House; some news is come
That turns their countenances.
SICINIUS. 'Tis this slave-
Go whip him fore the people's eyes- his raising,
Nothing but his report.
MESSENGER. Yes, worthy sir,
The slave's report is seconded, and more,
More fearful, is deliver'd.
SICINIUS. What more fearful?
MESSENGER. It is spoke freely out of many mouths-
How probable I do not know- that Marcius,
Join'd with Aufidius, leads a power 'gainst Rome,
And vows revenge as spacious as between
The young'st and oldest thing.
SICINIUS. This is most likely!
BRUTUS. Rais'd only that the weaker sort may wish
Good Marcius home again.
SICINIUS. The very trick on 't.
MENENIUS. This is unlikely.
He and Aufidius can no more atone
Than violent'st contrariety.

Enter a second MESSENGER

SECOND MESSENGER. You are sent for to the Senate.
A fearful army, led by Caius Marcius
Associated with Aufidius, rages
Upon our territories, and have already
O'erborne their way, consum'd with fire and took
What lay before them.


COMINIUS. O, you have made good work!
MENENIUS. What news? what news?
COMINIUS. You have holp to ravish your own daughters and
To melt the city leads upon your pates,
To see your wives dishonour'd to your noses-
MENENIUS. What's the news? What's the news?
COMINIUS. Your temples burned in their cement, and
Your franchises, whereon you stood, confin'd
Into an auger's bore.
MENENIUS. Pray now, your news?
You have made fair work, I fear me. Pray, your news.
If Marcius should be join'd wi' th' Volscians-
He is their god; he leads them like a thing
Made by some other deity than Nature,
That shapes man better; and they follow him
Against us brats with no less confidence
Than boys pursuing summer butterflies,
Or butchers killing flies.
MENENIUS. You have made good work,
You and your apron men; you that stood so much
Upon the voice of occupation and
The breath of garlic-eaters!
COMINIUS. He'll shake
Your Rome about your ears.
MENENIUS. As Hercules
Did shake down mellow fruit. You have made fair work!
BRUTUS. But is this true, sir?
COMINIUS. Ay; and you'll look pale
Before you find it other. All the regions
Do smilingly revolt, and who resists
Are mock'd for valiant ignorance,
And perish constant fools. Who is't can blame him?
Your enemies and his find something in him.
MENENIUS. We are all undone unless
The noble man have mercy.
COMINIUS. Who shall ask it?
The tribunes cannot do't for shame; the people
Deserve such pity of him as the wolf
Does of the shepherds; for his best friends, if they
Should say 'Be good to Rome'- they charg'd him even
As those should do that had deserv'd his hate,
And therein show'd fike enemies.
MENENIUS. 'Tis true;
If he were putting to my house the brand
That should consume it, I have not the face
To say 'Beseech you, cease.' You have made fair hands,
You and your crafts! You have crafted fair!
COMINIUS. You have brought
A trembling upon Rome, such as was never
S' incapable of help.
BOTH TRIBUNES. Say not we brought it.
MENENIUS. How! Was't we? We lov'd him, but, like beasts
And cowardly nobles, gave way unto your clusters,
Who did hoot him out o' th' city.
COMINIUS. But I fear
They'll roar him in again. Tullus Aufidius,
The second name of men, obeys his points
As if he were his officer. Desperation
Is all the policy, strength, and defence,
That Rome can make against them.

Enter a troop of citizens

MENENIUS. Here comes the clusters.
And is Aufidius with him? You are they
That made the air unwholesome when you cast
Your stinking greasy caps in hooting at
Coriolanus' exile. Now he's coming,
And not a hair upon a soldier's head
Which will not prove a whip; as many coxcombs
As you threw caps up will he tumble down,
And pay you for your voices. 'Tis no matter;
If he could burn us all into one coal
We have deserv'd it.
PLEBEIANS. Faith, we hear fearful news.
FIRST CITIZEN. For mine own part,
When I said banish him, I said 'twas pity.
THIRD CITIZEN. And so did I; and, to say the truth, so did very
many of us. That we did, we did for the best; and though we
willingly consented to his banishment, yet it was against our
COMINIUS. Y'are goodly things, you voices!
MENENIUS. You have made
Good work, you and your cry! Shall's to the Capitol?
COMINIUS. O, ay, what else?
SICINIUS. Go, masters, get you be not dismay'd;
These are a side that would be glad to have
This true which they so seem to fear. Go home,
And show no sign of fear.
FIRST CITIZEN. The gods be good to us! Come, masters, let's home. I
ever said we were i' th' wrong when we banish'd him.
SECOND CITIZEN. So did we all. But come, let's home.
Exeunt citizens
BRUTUS. I do not like this news.
BRUTUS. Let's to the Capitol. Would half my wealth
Would buy this for a lie!
SICINIUS. Pray let's go. Exeunt

A camp at a short distance from Rome


AUFIDIUS. Do they still fly to th' Roman?
LIEUTENANT. I do not know what witchcraft's in him, but
Your soldiers use him as the grace fore meat,
Their talk at table, and their thanks at end;
And you are dark'ned in this action, sir,
Even by your own.
AUFIDIUS. I cannot help it now,
Unless by using means I lame the foot
Of our design. He bears himself more proudlier,
Even to my person, than I thought he would
When first I did embrace him; yet his nature
In that's no changeling, and I must excuse
What cannot be amended.
LIEUTENANT. Yet I wish, sir-
I mean, for your particular- you had not
Join'd in commission with him, but either
Had borne the action of yourself, or else
To him had left it solely.
AUFIDIUS. I understand thee well; and be thou sure,
When he shall come to his account, he knows not
What I can urge against him. Although it seems,
And so he thinks, and is no less apparent
To th' vulgar eye, that he bears all things fairly
And shows good husbandry for the Volscian state,
Fights dragon-like, and does achieve as soon
As draw his sword; yet he hath left undone
That which shall break his neck or hazard mine
Whene'er we come to our account.
LIEUTENANT. Sir, I beseech you, think you he'll carry Rome?
AUFIDIUS. All places yield to him ere he sits down,
And the nobility of Rome are his;
The senators and patricians love him too.
The tribunes are no soldiers, and their people
Will be as rash in the repeal as hasty
To expel him thence. I think he'll be to Rome
As is the osprey to the fish, who takes it
By sovereignty of nature. First he was
A noble servant to them, but he could not
Carry his honours even. Whether 'twas pride,
Which out of daily fortune ever taints
The happy man; whether defect of judgment,
To fail in the disposing of those chances
Which he was lord of; or whether nature,
Not to be other than one thing, not moving
From th' casque to th' cushion, but commanding peace
Even with the same austerity and garb
As he controll'd the war; but one of these-
As he hath spices of them all- not all,
For I dare so far free him- made him fear'd,
So hated, and so banish'd. But he has a merit
To choke it in the utt'rance. So our virtues
Lie in th' interpretation of the time;
And power, unto itself most commendable,
Hath not a tomb so evident as a chair
T' extol what it hath done.
One fire drives out one fire; one nail, one nail;
Rights by rights falter, strengths by strengths do fail.
Come, let's away. When, Caius, Rome is thine,
Thou art poor'st of all; then shortly art thou mine.

Rome. A public place

Enter MENENIUS, COMINIUS, SICINIUS and BRUTUS, the two Tribunes, with others

MENENIUS. No, I'll not go. You hear what he hath said
Which was sometime his general, who lov'd him
In a most dear particular. He call'd me father;
But what o' that? Go, you that banish'd him:
A mile before his tent fall down, and knee
The way into his mercy. Nay, if he coy'd
To hear Cominius speak, I'll keep at home.
COMINIUS. He would not seem to know me.
MENENIUS. Do you hear?
COMINIUS. Yet one time he did call me by my name.
I urg'd our old acquaintance, and the drops
That we have bled together. 'Coriolanus'
He would not answer to; forbid all names;
He was a kind of nothing, titleless,
Till he had forg'd himself a name i' th' fire
Of burning Rome.
MENENIUS. Why, so! You have made good work.
A pair of tribunes that have wrack'd for Rome
To make coals cheap- a noble memory!
COMINIUS. I minded him how royal 'twas to pardon
When it was less expected; he replied,
It was a bare petition of a state
To one whom they had punish'd.
MENENIUS. Very well.
Could he say less?
COMINIUS. I offer'd to awaken his regard
For's private friends; his answer to me was,
He could not stay to pick them in a pile
Of noisome musty chaff. He said 'twas folly,
For one poor grain or two, to leave unburnt
And still to nose th' offence.
MENENIUS. For one poor grain or two!
I am one of those. His mother, wife, his child,
And this brave fellow too- we are the grains:
You are the musty chaff, and you are smelt
Above the moon. We must be burnt for you.
SICINIUS. Nay, pray be patient; if you refuse your aid
In this so never-needed help, yet do not
Upbraid's with our distress. But sure, if you
Would be your country's pleader, your good tongue,
More than the instant army we can make,
Might stop our countryman.
MENENIUS. No; I'll not meddle.
SICINIUS. Pray you go to him.
MENENIUS. What should I do?
BRUTUS. Only make trial what your love can do
For Rome, towards Marcius.
MENENIUS. Well, and say that Marcius
Return me, as Cominius is return'd,
Unheard- what then?
But as a discontented friend, grief-shot
With his unkindness? Say't be so?
SICINIUS. Yet your good will
Must have that thanks from Rome after the measure
As you intended well.
MENENIUS. I'll undertake't;
I think he'll hear me. Yet to bite his lip
And hum at good Cominius much unhearts me.
He was not taken well: he had not din'd;
The veins unfill'd, our blood is cold, and then
We pout upon the morning, are unapt
To give or to forgive; but when we have stuff'd
These pipes and these conveyances of our blood
With wine and feeding, we have suppler souls
Than in our priest-like fasts. Therefore I'll watch him
Till he be dieted to my request,
And then I'll set upon him.
BRUTUS. You know the very road into his kindness
And cannot lose your way.
MENENIUS. Good faith, I'll prove him,
Speed how it will. I shall ere long have knowledge
Of my success. Exit
COMINIUS. He'll never hear him.
COMINIUS. I tell you he does sit in gold, his eye
Red as 'twould burn Rome, and his injury
The gaoler to his pity. I kneel'd before him;
'Twas very faintly he said 'Rise'; dismiss'd me
Thus with his speechless hand. What he would do,
He sent in writing after me; what he would not,
Bound with an oath to yield to his conditions;
So that all hope is vain,
Unless his noble mother and his wife,
Who, as I hear, mean to solicit him
For mercy to his country. Therefore let's hence,
And with our fair entreaties haste them on. Exeunt

The Volscian camp before Rome

Enter MENENIUS to the WATCH on guard

FIRST WATCH. Stay. Whence are you?
SECOND WATCH. Stand, and go back.
MENENIUS. You guard like men, 'tis well; but, by your leave,
I am an officer of state and come
To speak with Coriolanus.
FIRST WATCH. From whence?
MENENIUS. From Rome.
FIRST WATCH. YOU may not pass; you must return. Our general
Will no more hear from thence.
SECOND WATCH. You'll see your Rome embrac'd with fire before
You'll speak with Coriolanus.
MENENIUS. Good my friends,
If you have heard your general talk of Rome
And of his friends there, it is lots to blanks
My name hath touch'd your ears: it is Menenius.
FIRST WATCH. Be it so; go back. The virtue of your name
Is not here passable.
MENENIUS. I tell thee, fellow,
Thy general is my lover. I have been
The book of his good acts whence men have read
His fame unparallel'd haply amplified;
For I have ever verified my friends-
Of whom he's chief- with all the size that verity
Would without lapsing suffer. Nay, sometimes,
Like to a bowl upon a subtle ground,
I have tumbled past the throw, and in his praise
Have almost stamp'd the leasing; therefore, fellow,
I must have leave to pass.
FIRST WATCH. Faith, sir, if you had told as many lies in his behalf
as you have uttered words in your own, you should not pass here;
no, though it were as virtuous to lie as to live chastely.
Therefore go back.
MENENIUS. Prithee, fellow, remember my name is Menenius, always
factionary on the party of your general.
SECOND WATCH. Howsoever you have been his liar, as you say you
have, I am one that, telling true under him, must say you cannot
pass. Therefore go back.
MENENIUS. Has he din'd, canst thou tell? For I would not speak with
him till after dinner.
FIRST WATCH. You are a Roman, are you?
MENENIUS. I am as thy general is.
FIRST WATCH. Then you should hate Rome, as he does. Can you, when
you have push'd out your gates the very defender of them, and in
a violent popular ignorance given your enemy your shield, think
to front his revenges with the easy groans of old women, the
virginal palms of your daughters, or with the palsied
intercession of such a decay'd dotant as you seem to be? Can you
think to blow out the intended fire your city is ready to flame
in with such weak breath as this? No, you are deceiv'd; therefore
back to Rome and prepare for your execution. You are condemn'd;
our general has sworn you out of reprieve and pardon.
MENENIUS. Sirrah, if thy captain knew I were here, he would use me
with estimation.
FIRST WATCH. Come, my captain knows you not.
MENENIUS. I mean thy general.
FIRST WATCH. My general cares not for you. Back, I say; go, lest I
let forth your half pint of blood. Back- that's the utmost of
your having. Back.
MENENIUS. Nay, but fellow, fellow-


CORIOLANUS. What's the matter?
MENENIUS. Now, you companion, I'll say an errand for you; you shall
know now that I am in estimation; you shall perceive that a Jack
guardant cannot office me from my son Coriolanus. Guess but by my
entertainment with him if thou stand'st not i' th' state of
hanging, or of some death more long in spectatorship and crueller
in suffering; behold now presently, and swoon for what's to come
upon thee. The glorious gods sit in hourly synod about thy
particular prosperity, and love thee no worse than thy old father
Menenius does! O my son! my son! thou art preparing fire for us;
look thee, here's water to quench it. I was hardly moved to come
to thee; but being assured none but myself could move thee, I
have been blown out of your gates with sighs, and conjure thee to
pardon Rome and thy petitionary countrymen. The good gods assuage
thy wrath, and turn the dregs of it upon this varlet here; this,
who, like a block, hath denied my access to thee.
MENENIUS. How! away!
CORIOLANUS. Wife, mother, child, I know not. My affairs
Are servanted to others. Though I owe
My revenge properly, my remission lies
In Volscian breasts. That we have been familiar,
Ingrate forgetfulness shall poison rather
Than pity note how much. Therefore be gone.
Mine ears against your suits are stronger than
Your gates against my force. Yet, for I lov'd thee,
Take this along; I writ it for thy sake [Gives a letter]
And would have sent it. Another word, Menenius,
I will not hear thee speak. This man, Aufidius,
Was my belov'd in Rome; yet thou behold'st.
AUFIDIUS. You keep a constant temper.
Exeunt CORIOLANUS and Aufidius
FIRST WATCH. Now, sir, is your name Menenius?
SECOND WATCH. 'Tis a spell, you see, of much power! You know the
way home again.
FIRST WATCH. Do you hear how we are shent for keeping your
greatness back?
SECOND WATCH. What cause, do you think, I have to swoon?
MENENIUS. I neither care for th' world nor your general; for such
things as you, I can scarce think there's any, y'are so slight.
He that hath a will to die by himself fears it not from another.
Let your general do his worst. For you, be that you are, long;
and your misery increase with your age! I say to you, as I was
said to: Away! Exit
FIRST WATCH. A noble fellow, I warrant him.
SECOND WATCH. The worthy fellow is our general; he's the rock, the
oak not to be wind-shaken. Exeunt

The tent of CORIOLANUS

Enter CORIOLANUS, AUFIDIUS, and others

CORIOLANUS. We will before the walls of Rome to-morrow
Set down our host. My partner in this action,
You must report to th' Volscian lords how plainly
I have borne this business.
AUFIDIUS. Only their ends
You have respected; stopp'd your ears against
The general suit of Rome; never admitted
A private whisper- no, not with such friends
That thought them sure of you.
CORIOLANUS. This last old man,
Whom with crack'd heart I have sent to Rome,
Lov'd me above the measure of a father;
Nay, godded me indeed. Their latest refuge
Was to send him; for whose old love I have-
Though I show'd sourly to him- once more offer'd
The first conditions, which they did refuse
And cannot now accept. To grace him only,
That thought he could do more, a very little
I have yielded to; fresh embassies and suits,
Nor from the state nor private friends, hereafter
Will I lend ear to. [Shout within] Ha! what shout is this?
Shall I be tempted to infringe my vow
In the same time 'tis made? I will not.

Enter, in mourning habits, VIRGILIA, VOLUMNIA, VALERIA,
YOUNG MARCIUS, with attendants

My wife comes foremost, then the honour'd mould
Wherein this trunk was fram'd, and in her hand
The grandchild to her blood. But out, affection!
All bond and privilege of nature, break!
Let it be virtuous to be obstinate.
What is that curtsy worth? or those doves' eyes,
Which can make gods forsworn? I melt, and am not
Of stronger earth than others. My mother bows,
As if Olympus to a molehill should
In supplication nod; and my young boy
Hath an aspect of intercession which
Great nature cries 'Deny not.' Let the Volsces
Plough Rome and harrow Italy; I'll never
Be such a gosling to obey instinct, but stand
As if a man were author of himself
And knew no other kin.
VIRGILIA. My lord and husband!
CORIOLANUS. These eyes are not the same I wore in Rome.
VIRGILIA. The sorrow that delivers us thus chang'd
Makes you think so.
CORIOLANUS. Like a dull actor now
I have forgot my part and I am out,
Even to a full disgrace. Best of my flesh,
Forgive my tyranny; but do not say,
For that, 'Forgive our Romans.' O, a kiss
Long as my exile, sweet as my revenge!
Now, by the jealous queen of heaven, that kiss
I carried from thee, dear, and my true lip
Hath virgin'd it e'er since. You gods! I prate,
And the most noble mother of the world
Leave unsaluted. Sink, my knee, i' th' earth; [Kneels]
Of thy deep duty more impression show
Than that of common sons.
VOLUMNIA. O, stand up blest!
Whilst with no softer cushion than the flint
I kneel before thee, and unproperly
Show duty, as mistaken all this while
Between the child and parent. [Kneels]
CORIOLANUS. What's this?
Your knees to me, to your corrected son?
Then let the pebbles on the hungry beach
Fillip the stars; then let the mutinous winds
Strike the proud cedars 'gainst the fiery sun,
Murd'ring impossibility, to make
What cannot be slight work.
VOLUMNIA. Thou art my warrior;
I holp to frame thee. Do you know this lady?
CORIOLANUS. The noble sister of Publicola,
The moon of Rome, chaste as the icicle
That's curdied by the frost from purest snow,
And hangs on Dian's temple- dear Valeria!
VOLUMNIA. This is a poor epitome of yours,
Which by th' interpretation of full time
May show like all yourself.
CORIOLANUS. The god of soldiers,
With the consent of supreme Jove, inform
Thy thoughts with nobleness, that thou mayst prove
To shame unvulnerable, and stick i' th' wars
Like a great sea-mark, standing every flaw,
And saving those that eye thee!
VOLUMNIA. Your knee, sirrah.
CORIOLANUS. That's my brave boy.
VOLUMNIA. Even he, your wife, this lady, and myself,
Are suitors to you.
CORIOLANUS. I beseech you, peace!
Or, if you'd ask, remember this before:
The thing I have forsworn to grant may never
Be held by you denials. Do not bid me
Dismiss my soldiers, or capitulate
Again with Rome's mechanics. Tell me not
Wherein I seem unnatural; desire not
T'allay my rages and revenges with
Your colder reasons.
VOLUMNIA. O, no more, no more!
You have said you will not grant us any thing-
For we have nothing else to ask but that
Which you deny already; yet we will ask,
That, if you fail in our request, the blame
May hang upon your hardness; therefore hear us.
CORIOLANUS. Aufidius, and you Volsces, mark; for we'll
Hear nought from Rome in private. Your request?
VOLUMNIA. Should we be silent and not speak, our raiment
And state of bodies would bewray what life
We have led since thy exile. Think with thyself
How more unfortunate than all living women
Are we come hither; since that thy sight, which should
Make our eyes flow with joy, hearts dance with comforts,
Constrains them weep and shake with fear and sorrow,
Making the mother, wife, and child, to see
The son, the husband, and the father, tearing
His country's bowels out. And to poor we
Thine enmity's most capital: thou bar'st us
Our prayers to the gods, which is a comfort
That all but we enjoy. For how can we,
Alas, how can we for our country pray,
Whereto we are bound, together with thy victory,
Whereto we are bound? Alack, or we must lose
The country, our dear nurse, or else thy person,
Our comfort in the country. We must find
An evident calamity, though we had
Our wish, which side should win; for either thou
Must as a foreign recreant be led
With manacles through our streets, or else
Triumphantly tread on thy country's ruin,
And bear the palm for having bravely shed
Thy wife and children's blood. For myself, son,
I purpose not to wait on fortune till
These wars determine; if I can not persuade thee
Rather to show a noble grace to both parts
Than seek the end of one, thou shalt no sooner
March to assault thy country than to tread-
Trust to't, thou shalt not- on thy mother's womb
That brought thee to this world.
VIRGILIA. Ay, and mine,
That brought you forth this boy to keep your name
Living to time.
BOY. 'A shall not tread on me!
I'll run away till I am bigger, but then I'll fight.
CORIOLANUS. Not of a woman's tenderness to be
Requires nor child nor woman's face to see.
I have sat too long. [Rising]
VOLUMNIA. Nay, go not from us thus.
If it were so that our request did tend
To save the Romans, thereby to destroy
The Volsces whom you serve, you might condemn us
As poisonous of your honour. No, our suit
Is that you reconcile them: while the Volsces
May say 'This mercy we have show'd,' the Romans
'This we receiv'd,' and each in either side
Give the all-hail to thee, and cry 'Be blest
For making up this peace!' Thou know'st, great son,
The end of war's uncertain; but this certain,
That, if thou conquer Rome, the benefit
Which thou shalt thereby reap is such a name
Whose repetition will be dogg'd with curses;
Whose chronicle thus writ: 'The man was noble,
But with his last attempt he wip'd it out,
Destroy'd his country, and his name remains
To th' ensuing age abhorr'd.' Speak to me, son.
Thou hast affected the fine strains of honour,
To imitate the graces of the gods,
To tear with thunder the wide cheeks o' th' air,
And yet to charge thy sulphur with a bolt
That should but rive an oak. Why dost not speak?
Think'st thou it honourable for a noble man
Still to remember wrongs? Daughter, speak you:
He cares not for your weeping. Speak thou, boy;
Perhaps thy childishness will move him more
Than can our reasons. There's no man in the world
More bound to's mother, yet here he lets me prate
Like one i' th' stocks. Thou hast never in thy life
Show'd thy dear mother any courtesy,
When she, poor hen, fond of no second brood,
Has cluck'd thee to the wars, and safely home
Loaden with honour. Say my request's unjust,
And spurn me back; but if it he not so,
Thou art not honest, and the gods will plague thee,
That thou restrain'st from me the duty which
To a mother's part belongs. He turns away.
Down, ladies; let us shame him with our knees.
To his surname Coriolanus 'longs more pride
Than pity to our prayers. Down. An end;
This is the last. So we will home to Rome,
And die among our neighbours. Nay, behold's!
This boy, that cannot tell what he would have
But kneels and holds up hands for fellowship,
Does reason our petition with more strength
Than thou hast to deny't. Come, let us go.
This fellow had a Volscian to his mother;
His wife is in Corioli, and his child
Like him by chance. Yet give us our dispatch.
I am hush'd until our city be afire,
And then I'll speak a little.
[He holds her by the hand, silent]
CORIOLANUS. O mother, mother!
What have you done? Behold, the heavens do ope,
The gods look down, and this unnatural scene
They laugh at. O my mother, mother! O!
You have won a happy victory to Rome;
But for your son- believe it, O, believe it!-
Most dangerously you have with him prevail'd,
If not most mortal to him. But let it come.
Aufidius, though I cannot make true wars,
I'll frame convenient peace. Now, good Aufidius,
Were you in my stead, would you have heard
A mother less, or granted less, Aufidius?
AUFIDIUS. I was mov'd withal.
CORIOLANUS. I dare be sworn you were!
And, sir, it is no little thing to make
Mine eyes to sweat compassion. But, good sir,
What peace you'fl make, advise me. For my part,
I'll not to Rome, I'll back with you; and pray you
Stand to me in this cause. O mother! wife!
AUFIDIUS. [Aside] I am glad thou hast set thy mercy and thy
At difference in thee. Out of that I'll work
Myself a former fortune.
CORIOLANUS. [To the ladies] Ay, by and by;
But we will drink together; and you shall bear
A better witness back than words, which we,
On like conditions, will have counter-seal'd.
Come, enter with us. Ladies, you deserve
To have a temple built you. All the swords
In Italy, and her confederate arms,
Could not have made this peace. Exeunt

Rome. A public place


MENENIUS. See you yond coign o' th' Capitol, yond cornerstone?
SICINIUS. Why, what of that?
MENENIUS. If it be possible for you to displace it with your little
finger, there is some hope the ladies of Rome, especially his
mother, may prevail with him. But I say there is no hope in't;
our throats are sentenc'd, and stay upon execution.
SICINIUS. Is't possible that so short a time can alter the
condition of a man?
MENENIUS. There is differency between a grub and a butterfly; yet
your butterfly was a grub. This Marcius is grown from man to
dragon; he has wings, he's more than a creeping thing.
SICINIUS. He lov'd his mother dearly.
MENENIUS. So did he me; and he no more remembers his mother now
than an eight-year-old horse. The tartness of his face sours ripe
grapes; when he walks, he moves like an engine and the ground
shrinks before his treading. He is able to pierce a corslet with
his eye, talks like a knell, and his hum is a battery. He sits in
his state as a thing made for Alexander. What he bids be done is
finish'd with his bidding. He wants nothing of a god but
eternity, and a heaven to throne in.
SICINIUS. Yes- mercy, if you report him truly.
MENENIUS. I paint him in the character. Mark what mercy his mother
shall bring from him. There is no more mercy in him than there is
milk in a male tiger; that shall our poor city find. And all this
is 'long of you.
SICINIUS. The gods be good unto us!
MENENIUS. No, in such a case the gods will not be good unto us.
When we banish'd him we respected not them; and, he returning to
break our necks, they respect not us.


MESSENGER. Sir, if you'd save your life, fly to your house.
The plebeians have got your fellow tribune
And hale him up and down; all swearing if
The Roman ladies bring not comfort home
They'll give him death by inches.

Enter another MESSENGER

SICINIUS. What's the news?
SECOND MESSENGER. Good news, good news! The ladies have prevail'd,
The Volscians are dislodg'd, and Marcius gone.
A merrier day did never yet greet Rome,
No, not th' expulsion of the Tarquins.
Art thou certain this is true? Is't most certain?
SECOND MESSENGER. As certain as I know the sun is fire.
Where have you lurk'd, that you make doubt of it?
Ne'er through an arch so hurried the blown tide
As the recomforted through th' gates. Why, hark you!
[Trumpets, hautboys, drums beat, all together]
The trumpets, sackbuts, psalteries, and fifes,
Tabors and cymbals, and the shouting Romans,
Make the sun dance. Hark you! [A shout within]
MENENIUS. This is good news.
I will go meet the ladies. This Volumnia
Is worth of consuls, senators, patricians,
A city full; of tribunes such as you,
A sea and land full. You have pray'd well to-day:
This morning for ten thousand of your throats
I'd not have given a doit. Hark, how they joy!
[Sound still with the shouts]
SICINIUS. First, the gods bless you for your tidings; next,
Accept my thankfulness.
SECOND MESSENGER. Sir, we have all
Great cause to give great thanks.
SICINIUS. They are near the city?
MESSENGER. Almost at point to enter.
SICINIUS. We'll meet them,
And help the joy. Exeunt

Rome. A street near the gate

Enter two SENATORS With VOLUMNIA, VIRGILIA, VALERIA, passing over the stage,
'With other LORDS

FIRST SENATOR. Behold our patroness, the life of Rome!
Call all your tribes together, praise the gods,
And make triumphant fires; strew flowers before them.
Unshout the noise that banish'd Marcius,
Repeal him with the welcome of his mother;
ALL. Welcome, ladies, welcome!
[A flourish with drums and trumpets. Exeunt]

Corioli. A public place

Enter TULLUS AUFIDIUS with attendents

AUFIDIUS. Go tell the lords o' th' city I am here;
Deliver them this paper' having read it,
Bid them repair to th' market-place, where I,
Even in theirs and in the commons' ears,
Will vouch the truth of it. Him I accuse
The city ports by this hath enter'd and
Intends t' appear before the people, hoping
To purge himself with words. Dispatch.
Exeunt attendants

Enter three or four CONSPIRATORS of AUFIDIUS' faction

Most welcome!
FIRST CONSPIRATOR. How is it with our general?
As with a man by his own alms empoison'd,
And with his charity slain.
If you do hold the same intent wherein
You wish'd us parties, we'll deliver you
Of your great danger.
AUFIDIUS. Sir, I cannot tell;
We must proceed as we do find the people.
THIRD CONSPIRATOR. The people will remain uncertain whilst
'Twixt you there's difference; but the fall of either
Makes the survivor heir of all.
AUFIDIUS. I know it;
And my pretext to strike at him admits
A good construction. I rais'd him, and I pawn'd
Mine honour for his truth; who being so heighten'd,
He watered his new plants with dews of flattery,
Seducing so my friends; and to this end
He bow'd his nature, never known before
But to be rough, unswayable, and free.
THIRD CONSPIRATOR. Sir, his stoutness
When he did stand for consul, which he lost
By lack of stooping-
AUFIDIUS. That I would have spoken of.
Being banish'd for't, he came unto my hearth,
Presented to my knife his throat. I took him;
Made him joint-servant with me; gave him way
In all his own desires; nay, let him choose
Out of my files, his projects to accomplish,
My best and freshest men; serv'd his designments
In mine own person; holp to reap the fame
Which he did end all his, and took some pride
To do myself this wrong. Till, at the last,
I seem'd his follower, not partner; and
He wag'd me with his countenance as if
I had been mercenary.
FIRST CONSPIRATOR. So he did, my lord.
The army marvell'd at it; and, in the last,
When he had carried Rome and that we look'd
For no less spoil than glory-
AUFIDIUS. There was it;
For which my sinews shall be stretch'd upon him.
At a few drops of women's rheum, which are
As cheap as lies, he sold the blood and labour
Of our great action; therefore shall he die,
And I'll renew me in his fall. But, hark!
[Drums and
trumpets sound, with great shouts of the people]
FIRST CONSPIRATOR. Your native town you enter'd like a post,
And had no welcomes home; but he returns
Splitting the air with noise.
SECOND CONSPIRATOR. And patient fools,
Whose children he hath slain, their base throats tear
With giving him glory.
THIRD CONSPIRATOR. Therefore, at your vantage,
Ere he express himself or move the people
With what he would say, let him feel your sword,
Which we will second. When he lies along,
After your way his tale pronounc'd shall bury
His reasons with his body.
AUFIDIUS. Say no more:
Here come the lords.

Enter the LORDS of the city

LORDS. You are most welcome home.
AUFIDIUS. I have not deserv'd it.
But, worthy lords, have you with heed perused
What I have written to you?
LORDS. We have.
FIRST LORD. And grieve to hear't.
What faults he made before the last, I think
Might have found easy fines; but there to end
Where he was to begin, and give away
The benefit of our levies, answering us
With our own charge, making a treaty where
There was a yielding- this admits no excuse.
AUFIDIUS. He approaches; you shall hear him.

Enter CORIOLANUS, marching with drum and colours;
the commoners being with him

CORIOLANUS. Hail, lords! I am return'd your soldier;
No more infected with my country's love
Than when I parted hence, but still subsisting
Under your great command. You are to know
That prosperously I have attempted, and
With bloody passage led your wars even to
The gates of Rome. Our spoils we have brought home
Doth more than counterpoise a full third part
The charges of the action. We have made peace
With no less honour to the Antiates
Than shame to th' Romans; and we here deliver,
Subscrib'd by th' consuls and patricians,
Together with the seal o' th' Senate, what
We have compounded on.
AUFIDIUS. Read it not, noble lords;
But tell the traitor in the highest degree
He hath abus'd your powers.
CORIOLANUS. Traitor! How now?
AUFIDIUS. Ay, traitor, Marcius.
AUFIDIUS. Ay, Marcius, Caius Marcius! Dost thou think
I'll grace thee with that robbery, thy stol'n name
Coriolanus, in Corioli?
You lords and heads o' th' state, perfidiously
He has betray'd your business and given up,
For certain drops of salt, your city Rome-
I say your city- to his wife and mother;
Breaking his oath and resolution like
A twist of rotten silk; never admitting
Counsel o' th' war; but at his nurse's tears
He whin'd and roar'd away your victory,
That pages blush'd at him, and men of heart
Look'd wond'ring each at others.
CORIOLANUS. Hear'st thou, Mars?
AUFIDIUS. Name not the god, thou boy of tears-
AUFIDIUS. -no more.
CORIOLANUS. Measureless liar, thou hast made my heart
Too great for what contains it. 'Boy'! O slave!
Pardon me, lords, 'tis the first time that ever
I was forc'd to scold. Your judgments, my grave lords,
Must give this cur the lie; and his own notion-
Who wears my stripes impress'd upon him, that
Must bear my beating to his grave- shall join
To thrust the lie unto him.
FIRST LORD. Peace, both, and hear me speak.
CORIOLANUS. Cut me to pieces, Volsces; men and lads,
Stain all your edges on me. 'Boy'! False hound!
If you have writ your annals true, 'tis there
That, like an eagle in a dove-cote, I
Flutter'd your Volscians in Corioli.
Alone I did it. 'Boy'!
AUFIDIUS. Why, noble lords,
Will you be put in mind of his blind fortune,
Which was your shame, by this unholy braggart,
Fore your own eyes and ears?
CONSPIRATORS. Let him die for't.
ALL THE PEOPLE. Tear him to pieces. Do it presently. He kill'd my
son. My daughter. He kill'd my cousin Marcus. He kill'd my
SECOND LORD. Peace, ho! No outrage- peace!
The man is noble, and his fame folds in
This orb o' th' earth. His last offences to us
Shall have judicious hearing. Stand, Aufidius,
And trouble not the peace.
CORIOLANUS. O that I had him,
With six Aufidiuses, or more- his tribe,
To use my lawful sword!
AUFIDIUS. Insolent villain!
CONSPIRATORS. Kill, kill, kill, kill, kill him!
[The CONSPIRATORS draw and kill CORIOLANUS,who falls.
AUFIDIUS stands on him]
LORDS. Hold, hold, hold, hold!
AUFIDIUS. My noble masters, hear me speak.
SECOND LORD. Thou hast done a deed whereat valour will weep.
THIRD LORD. Tread not upon him. Masters all, be quiet;
Put up your swords.
AUFIDIUS. My lords, when you shall know- as in this rage,
Provok'd by him, you cannot- the great danger
Which this man's life did owe you, you'll rejoice
That he is thus cut off. Please it your honours
To call me to your Senate, I'll deliver
Myself your loyal servant, or endure
Your heaviest censure.
FIRST LORD. Bear from hence his body,
And mourn you for him. Let him be regarded
As the most noble corse that ever herald
Did follow to his um.
SECOND LORD. His own impatience
Takes from Aufidius a great part of blame.
Let's make the best of it.
AUFIDIUS. My rage is gone,
And I am struck with sorrow. Take him up.
Help, three o' th' chiefest soldiers; I'll be one.
Beat thou the drum, that it speak mournfully;
Trail your steel pikes. Though in this city he
Hath widowed and unchilded many a one,
Which to this hour bewail the injury,
Yet he shall have a noble memory.
Assist. Exeunt, bearing the body of CORIOLANUS
[A dead march sounded]

The End.

Cymbeline King of Britaine

Dramatis Personae

CYMBELINE, King of Britain
CLOTEN, son to the Queen by a former husband
POSTHUMUS LEONATUS, a gentleman, husband to Imogen
BELARIUS, a banished lord, disguised under the name of Morgan

GUIDERIUS and ARVIRAGUS, sons to Cymbeline, disguised under the
names of POLYDORE and CADWAL, supposed sons to Belarius
PHILARIO, Italian, friend to Posthumus
IACHIMO, Italian, friend to Philario
A FRENCH GENTLEMAN, friend to Philario
CAIUS LUCIUS, General of the Roman Forces
PISANIO, servant to Posthumus
CORNELIUS, a physician
TWO LORDS of Cymbeline's court
TWO GENTLEMEN of the same

QUEEN, wife to Cymbeline
IMOGEN, daughter to Cymbeline by a former queen
HELEN, a lady attending on Imogen


Lords, Ladies, Roman Senators, Tribunes, a Soothsayer, a
Dutch Gentleman, a Spanish Gentleman, Musicians, Officers,
Captains, Soldiers, Messengers, and Attendants

Britain; Italy

Britain. The garden of CYMBELINE'S palace

FIRST GENTLEMAN. You do not meet a man but frowns; our bloods
No more obey the heavens than our courtiers
Still seem as does the King's.
SECOND GENTLEMAN. But what's the matter?
FIRST GENTLEMAN. His daughter, and the heir of's kingdom, whom
He purpos'd to his wife's sole son- a widow
That late he married- hath referr'd herself
Unto a poor but worthy gentleman. She's wedded;
Her husband banish'd; she imprison'd. All
Is outward sorrow, though I think the King
Be touch'd at very heart.
SECOND GENTLEMAN. None but the King?
FIRST GENTLEMAN. He that hath lost her too. So is the Queen,
That most desir'd the match. But not a courtier,
Although they wear their faces to the bent
Of the King's looks, hath a heart that is not
Glad at the thing they scowl at.
FIRST GENTLEMAN. He that hath miss'd the Princess is a thing
Too bad for bad report; and he that hath her-
I mean that married her, alack, good man!
And therefore banish'd- is a creature such
As, to seek through the regions of the earth
For one his like, there would be something failing
In him that should compare. I do not think
So fair an outward and such stuff within
Endows a man but he.
SECOND GENTLEMAN. You speak him far.
FIRST GENTLEMAN. I do extend him, sir, within himself;
Crush him together rather than unfold
His measure duly.
SECOND GENTLEMAN. What's his name and birth?
FIRST GENTLEMAN. I cannot delve him to the root; his father
Was call'd Sicilius, who did join his honour
Against the Romans with Cassibelan,
But had his titles by Tenantius, whom
He serv'd with glory and admir'd success,
So gain'd the sur-addition Leonatus;
And had, besides this gentleman in question,
Two other sons, who, in the wars o' th' time,
Died with their swords in hand; for which their father,
Then old and fond of issue, took such sorrow
That he quit being; and his gentle lady,
Big of this gentleman, our theme, deceas'd
As he was born. The King he takes the babe
To his protection, calls him Posthumus Leonatus,
Breeds him and makes him of his bed-chamber,
Puts to him all the learnings that his time
Could make him the receiver of; which he took,
As we do air, fast as 'twas minist'red,
And in's spring became a harvest, liv'd in court-
Which rare it is to do- most prais'd, most lov'd,
A sample to the youngest; to th' more mature
A glass that feated them; and to the graver
A child that guided dotards. To his mistress,
For whom he now is banish'd- her own price
Proclaims how she esteem'd him and his virtue;
By her election may be truly read
What kind of man he is.
Even out of your report. But pray you tell me,
Is she sole child to th' King?
FIRST GENTLEMAN. His only child.
He had two sons- if this be worth your hearing,
Mark it- the eldest of them at three years old,
I' th' swathing clothes the other, from their nursery
Were stol'n; and to this hour no guess in knowledge
Which way they went.
SECOND GENTLEMAN. How long is this ago?
FIRST GENTLEMAN. Some twenty years.
SECOND GENTLEMAN. That a king's children should be so convey'd,
So slackly guarded, and the search so slow
That could not trace them!
FIRST GENTLEMAN. Howsoe'er 'tis strange,
Or that the negligence may well be laugh'd at,
Yet is it true, sir.
SECOND GENTLEMAN. I do well believe you.
FIRST GENTLEMAN. We must forbear; here comes the gentleman,
The Queen, and Princess. Exeunt


QUEEN. No, be assur'd you shall not find me, daughter,
After the slander of most stepmothers,
Evil-ey'd unto you. You're my prisoner, but
Your gaoler shall deliver you the keys
That lock up your restraint. For you, Posthumus,
So soon as I can win th' offended King,
I will be known your advocate. Marry, yet
The fire of rage is in him, and 'twere good
You lean'd unto his sentence with what patience
Your wisdom may inform you.
POSTHUMUS. Please your Highness,
I will from hence to-day.
QUEEN. You know the peril.
I'll fetch a turn about the garden, pitying
The pangs of barr'd affections, though the King
Hath charg'd you should not speak together. Exit
IMOGEN. O dissembling courtesy! How fine this tyrant
Can tickle where she wounds! My dearest husband,
I something fear my father's wrath, but nothing-
Always reserv'd my holy duty- what
His rage can do on me. You must be gone;
And I shall here abide the hourly shot
Of angry eyes, not comforted to live
But that there is this jewel in the world
That I may see again.
POSTHUMUS. My queen! my mistress!
O lady, weep no more, lest I give cause
To be suspected of more tenderness
Than doth become a man. I will remain
The loyal'st husband that did e'er plight troth;
My residence in Rome at one Philario's,
Who to my father was a friend, to me
Known but by letter; thither write, my queen,
And with mine eyes I'll drink the words you send,
Though ink be made of gall.

Re-enter QUEEN

QUEEN. Be brief, I pray you.
If the King come, I shall incur I know not
How much of his displeasure. [Aside] Yet I'll move him
To walk this way. I never do him wrong
But he does buy my injuries, to be friends;
Pays dear for my offences. Exit
POSTHUMUS. Should we be taking leave
As long a term as yet we have to live,
The loathness to depart would grow. Adieu!
IMOGEN. Nay, stay a little.
Were you but riding forth to air yourself,
Such parting were too petty. Look here, love:
This diamond was my mother's; take it, heart;
But keep it till you woo another wife,
When Imogen is dead.
POSTHUMUS. How, how? Another?
You gentle gods, give me but this I have,
And sear up my embracements from a next
With bonds of death! Remain, remain thou here
[Puts on the ring]
While sense can keep it on. And, sweetest, fairest,
As I my poor self did exchange for you,
To your so infinite loss, so in our trifles
I still win of you. For my sake wear this;
It is a manacle of love; I'll place it
Upon this fairest prisoner. [Puts a bracelet on her arm]
IMOGEN. O the gods!
When shall we see again?


POSTHUMUS. Alack, the King!
CYMBELINE. Thou basest thing, avoid; hence from my sight
If after this command thou fraught the court
With thy unworthiness, thou diest. Away!
Thou'rt poison to my blood.
POSTHUMUS. The gods protect you,
And bless the good remainders of the court!
I am gone. Exit
IMOGEN. There cannot be a pinch in death
More sharp than this is.
CYMBELINE. O disloyal thing,
That shouldst repair my youth, thou heap'st
A year's age on me!
IMOGEN. I beseech you, sir,
Harm not yourself with your vexation.
I am senseless of your wrath; a touch more rare
Subdues all pangs, all fears.
CYMBELINE. Past grace? obedience?
IMOGEN. Past hope, and in despair; that way past grace.
CYMBELINE. That mightst have had the sole son of my queen!
IMOGEN. O blessed that I might not! I chose an eagle,
And did avoid a puttock.
CYMBELINE. Thou took'st a beggar, wouldst have made my throne
A seat for baseness.
IMOGEN. No; I rather added
A lustre to it.
CYMBELINE. O thou vile one!
It is your fault that I have lov'd Posthumus.
You bred him as my playfellow, and he is
A man worth any woman; overbuys me
Almost the sum he pays.
CYMBELINE. What, art thou mad?
IMOGEN. Almost, sir. Heaven restore me! Would I were
A neat-herd's daughter, and my Leonatus
Our neighbour shepherd's son!

Re-enter QUEEN

CYMBELINE. Thou foolish thing!
[To the QUEEN] They were again together. You have done
Not after our command. Away with her,
And pen her up.
QUEEN. Beseech your patience.- Peace,
Dear lady daughter, peace!- Sweet sovereign,
Leave us to ourselves, and make yourself some comfort
Out of your best advice.
CYMBELINE. Nay, let her languish
A drop of blood a day and, being aged,
Die of this folly. Exit, with LORDS


QUEEN. Fie! you must give way.
Here is your servant. How now, sir! What news?
PISANIO. My lord your son drew on my master.
No harm, I trust, is done?
PISANIO. There might have been,
But that my master rather play'd than fought,
And had no help of anger; they were parted
By gentlemen at hand.
QUEEN. I am very glad on't.
IMOGEN. Your son's my father's friend; he takes his part
To draw upon an exile! O brave sir!
I would they were in Afric both together;
Myself by with a needle, that I might prick
The goer-back. Why came you from your master?
PISANIO. On his command. He would not suffer me
To bring him to the haven; left these notes
Of what commands I should be subject to,
When't pleas'd you to employ me.
QUEEN. This hath been
Your faithful servant. I dare lay mine honour
He will remain so.
PISANIO. I humbly thank your Highness.
QUEEN. Pray walk awhile.
IMOGEN. About some half-hour hence,
Pray you speak with me. You shall at least
Go see my lord aboard. For this time leave me. Exeunt

Britain. A public place

Enter CLOTEN and two LORDS

FIRST LORD. Sir, I would advise you to shift a shirt; the violence
of action hath made you reek as a sacrifice. Where air comes out,
air comes in; there's none abroad so wholesome as that you vent.
CLOTEN. If my shirt were bloody, then to shift it. Have I hurt him?
SECOND LORD. [Aside] No, faith; not so much as his patience.
FIRST LORD. Hurt him! His body's a passable carcass if he be not
hurt. It is a throughfare for steel if it be not hurt.
SECOND LORD. [Aside] His steel was in debt; it went o' th' back
side the town.
CLOTEN. The villain would not stand me.
SECOND LORD. [Aside] No; but he fled forward still, toward your
FIRST LORD. Stand you? You have land enough of your own; but he
added to your having, gave you some ground.
SECOND LORD. [Aside] As many inches as you have oceans.
CLOTEN. I would they had not come between us.
SECOND LORD. [Aside] So would I, till you had measur'd how long a
fool you were upon the ground.
CLOTEN. And that she should love this fellow, and refuse me!
SECOND LORD. [Aside] If it be a sin to make a true election, she is
FIRST LORD. Sir, as I told you always, her beauty and her brain go
not together; she's a good sign, but I have seen small reflection
of her wit.
SECOND LORD. [Aside] She shines not upon fools, lest the reflection
should hurt her.
CLOTEN. Come, I'll to my chamber. Would there had been some hurt
SECOND LORD. [Aside] I wish not so; unless it had been the fall of
an ass, which is no great hurt.
CLOTEN. You'll go with us?
FIRST LORD. I'll attend your lordship.
CLOTEN. Nay, come, let's go together.
SECOND LORD. Well, my lord. Exeunt

Britain. CYMBELINE'S palace


IMOGEN. I would thou grew'st unto the shores o' th' haven,
And questioned'st every sail; if he should write,
And I not have it, 'twere a paper lost,
As offer'd mercy is. What was the last
That he spake to thee?
PISANIO. It was: his queen, his queen!
IMOGEN. Then wav'd his handkerchief?
PISANIO. And kiss'd it, madam.
IMOGEN. Senseless linen, happier therein than I!
And that was all?
PISANIO. No, madam; for so long
As he could make me with his eye, or care
Distinguish him from others, he did keep
The deck, with glove, or hat, or handkerchief,
Still waving, as the fits and stirs of's mind
Could best express how slow his soul sail'd on,
How swift his ship.
IMOGEN. Thou shouldst have made him
As little as a crow, or less, ere left
To after-eye him.
PISANIO. Madam, so I did.
IMOGEN. I would have broke mine eyestrings, crack'd them but
To look upon him, till the diminution
Of space had pointed him sharp as my needle;
Nay, followed him till he had melted from
The smallness of a gnat to air, and then
Have turn'd mine eye and wept. But, good Pisanio,
When shall we hear from him?
PISANIO. Be assur'd, madam,
With his next vantage.
IMOGEN. 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,
T' 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.

Enter a LADY

LADY. The Queen, madam,
Desires your Highness' company.
IMOGEN. Those things I bid you do, get them dispatch'd.
I will attend the Queen.
PISANIO. Madam, I shall. Exeunt

Rome. PHILARIO'S house


IACHIMO. Believe it, sir, I have seen him in Britain. He was then
of a crescent note, expected to prove so worthy as since he hath
been allowed the name of. But I could then have look'd on him
without the help of admiration, though the catalogue of his
endowments had been tabled by his side, and I to peruse him by
PHILARIO. You speak of him when he was less furnish'd than now he
is with that which makes him both without and within.
FRENCHMAN. I have seen him in France; we had very many there could
behold the sun with as firm eyes as he.
IACHIMO. This matter of marrying his king's daughter, wherein he
must be weighed rather by her value than his own, words him, I
doubt not, a great deal from the matter.
FRENCHMAN. And then his banishment.
IACHIMO. Ay, and the approbation of those that weep this lamentable
divorce under her colours are wonderfully to extend him, be it
but to fortify her judgment, which else an easy battery might lay
flat, for taking a beggar, without less quality. But how comes it
he is to sojourn with you? How creeps acquaintance?
PHILARIO. His father and I were soldiers together, to whom I have
been often bound for no less than my life.


Here comes the Briton. Let him be so entertained amongst you as
suits with gentlemen of your knowing to a stranger of his
quality. I beseech you all be better known to this gentleman,
whom I commend to you as a noble friend of mine. How worthy he is
I will leave to appear hereafter, rather than story him in his
own hearing.
FRENCHMAN. Sir, we have known together in Orleans.
POSTHUMUS. Since when I have been debtor to you for courtesies,
which I will be ever to pay and yet pay still.
FRENCHMAN. Sir, you o'errate my poor kindness. I was glad I did
atone my countryman and you; it had been pity you should have
been put together with so mortal a purpose as then each bore,
upon importance of so slight and trivial a nature.
POSTHUMUS. By your pardon, sir. I was then a young traveller;
rather shunn'd to go even with what I heard than in my every
action to be guided by others' experiences; but upon my mended
judgment- if I offend not to say it is mended- my quarrel was not
altogether slight.
FRENCHMAN. Faith, yes, to be put to the arbitrement of swords, and
by such two that would by all likelihood have confounded one the
other or have fall'n both.
IACHIMO. Can we, with manners, ask what was the difference?
FRENCHMAN. Safely, I think. 'Twas a contention in public, which
may, without contradiction, suffer the report. It was much like
an argument that fell out last night, where each of us fell in
praise of our country mistresses; this gentleman at that time
vouching- and upon warrant of bloody affirmation- his to be more
fair, virtuous, wise, chaste, constant, qualified, and less
attemptable, than any the rarest of our ladies in France.
IACHIMO. That lady is not now living, or this gentleman's opinion,
by this, worn out.
POSTHUMUS. She holds her virtue still, and I my mind.
IACHIMO. You must not so far prefer her fore ours of Italy.
POSTHUMUS. Being so far provok'd as I was in France, I would abate
her nothing, though I profess myself her adorer, not her friend.
IACHIMO. As fair and as good- a kind of hand-in-hand comparison-
had been something too fair and too good for any lady in Britain.
If she went before others I have seen as that diamond of yours
outlustres many I have beheld, I could not but believe she
excelled many; but I have not seen the most precious diamond that
is, nor you the lady.
POSTHUMUS. I prais'd her as I rated her. So do I my stone.
IACHIMO. What do you esteem it at?
POSTHUMUS. More than the world enjoys.
IACHIMO. Either your unparagon'd mistress is dead, or she's
outpriz'd by a trifle.
POSTHUMUS. You are mistaken: the one may be sold or given, if there
were wealth enough for the purchase or merit for the gift; the
other is not a thing for sale, and only the gift of the gods.
IACHIMO. Which the gods have given you?
POSTHUMUS. Which by their graces I will keep.
IACHIMO. You may wear her in title yours; but you know strange fowl
light upon neighbouring ponds. Your ring may be stol'n too. So
your brace of unprizable estimations, the one is but frail and
the other casual; a cunning thief, or a that-way-accomplish'd
courtier, would hazard the winning both of first and last.
POSTHUMUS. Your Italy contains none so accomplish'd a courtier to
convince the honour of my mistress, if in the holding or loss of
that you term her frail. I do nothing doubt you have store of
thieves; notwithstanding, I fear not my ring.
PHILARIO. Let us leave here, gentlemen.
POSTHUMUS. Sir, with all my heart. This worthy signior, I thank
him, makes no stranger of me; we are familiar at first.
IACHIMO. With five times so much conversation I should get ground
of your fair mistress; make her go back even to the yielding, had
I admittance and opportunity to friend.
IACHIMO. I dare thereupon pawn the moiety of my estate to your
ring, which, in my opinion, o'ervalues it something. But I make
my wager rather against your confidence than her reputation; and,
to bar your offence herein too, I durst attempt it against any
lady in the world.
POSTHUMUS. You are a great deal abus'd in too bold a persuasion,
and I doubt not you sustain what y'are worthy of by your attempt.
IACHIMO. What's that?
POSTHUMUS. A repulse; though your attempt, as you call it, deserve
more- a punishment too.
PHILARIO. Gentlemen, enough of this. It came in too suddenly; let
it die as it was born, and I pray you be better acquainted.
IACHIMO. Would I had put my estate and my neighbour's on th'
approbation of what I have spoke!
POSTHUMUS. What lady would you choose to assail?
IACHIMO. Yours, whom in constancy you think stands so safe. I will
lay you ten thousand ducats to your ring that, commend me to the
court where your lady is, with no more advantage than the
opportunity of a second conference, and I will bring from thence
that honour of hers which you imagine so reserv'd.
POSTHUMUS. I will wage against your gold, gold to it. My ring I
hold dear as my finger; 'tis part of it.
IACHIMO. You are a friend, and therein the wiser. If you buy
ladies' flesh at a million a dram, you cannot preserve it from
tainting. But I see you have some religion in you, that you fear.
POSTHUMUS. This is but a custom in your tongue; you bear a graver
purpose, I hope.
IACHIMO. I am the master of my speeches, and would undergo what's
spoken, I swear.
POSTHUMUS. Will you? I Shall but lend my diamond till your return.
Let there be covenants drawn between's. My mistress exceeds in
goodness the hugeness of your unworthy thinking. I dare you to
this match: here's my ring.
PHILARIO. I will have it no lay.
IACHIMO. By the gods, it is one. If I bring you no sufficient
testimony that I have enjoy'd the dearest bodily part of your
mistress, my ten thousand ducats are yours; so is your diamond
too. If I come off, and leave her in such honour as you have
trust in, she your jewel, this your jewel, and my gold are yours-
provided I have your commendation for my more free entertainment.
POSTHUMUS. I embrace these conditions; let us have articles betwixt
us. Only, thus far you shall answer: if you make your voyage upon
her, and give me directly to understand you have prevail'd, I am
no further your enemy- she is not worth our debate; if she remain
unseduc'd, you not making it appear otherwise, for your ill
opinion and th' assault you have made to her chastity you shall
answer me with your sword.
IACHIMO. Your hand- a covenant! We will have these things set down
by lawful counsel, and straight away for Britain, lest the
bargain should catch cold and starve. I will fetch my gold and
have our two wagers recorded.
FRENCHMAN. Will this hold, think you?
PHILARIO. Signior Iachimo will not from it. Pray let us follow 'em.

Britain. CYMBELINE'S palace


QUEEN. Whiles yet the dew's on ground, gather those flowers;
Make haste; who has the note of them?
LADY. I, madam.
QUEEN. Dispatch. Exeunt LADIES
Now, Master Doctor, have you brought those drugs?
CORNELIUS. Pleaseth your Highness, ay. Here they are, madam.
[Presenting a box]
But I beseech your Grace, without offence-
My conscience bids me ask- wherefore you have
Commanded of me these most poisonous compounds
Which are the movers of a languishing death,
But, though slow, deadly?
QUEEN. I wonder, Doctor,
Thou ask'st me such a question. Have I not been
Thy pupil long? Hast thou not learn'd me how
To make perfumes? distil? preserve? yea, so
That our great king himself doth woo me oft
For my confections? Having thus far proceeded-
Unless thou think'st me devilish- is't not meet
That I did amplify my judgment in
Other conclusions? I will try the forces
Of these thy compounds on such creatures as
We count not worth the hanging- but none human-
To try the vigour of them, and apply
Allayments to their act, and by them gather
Their several virtues and effects.
CORNELIUS. Your Highness
Shall from this practice but make hard your heart;
Besides, the seeing these effects will be
Both noisome and infectious.
QUEEN. O, content thee.


[Aside] Here comes a flattering rascal; upon him
Will I first work. He's for his master,
An enemy to my son.- How now, Pisanio!
Doctor, your service for this time is ended;
Take your own way.
CORNELIUS. [Aside] I do suspect you, madam;
But you shall do no harm.
QUEEN. [To PISANIO] Hark thee, a word.
CORNELIUS. [Aside] I do not like her. She doth think she has
Strange ling'ring poisons. I do know her spirit,
And will not trust one of her malice with
A drug of such damn'd nature. Those she has
Will stupefy and dull the sense awhile,
Which first perchance she'll prove on cats and dogs,
Then afterward up higher; but there is
No danger in what show of death it makes,
More than the locking up the spirits a time,
To be more fresh, reviving. She is fool'd
With a most false effect; and I the truer
So to be false with her.
QUEEN. No further service, Doctor,
Until I send for thee.
CORNELIUS. I humbly take my leave. Exit
QUEEN. Weeps she still, say'st 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 comes to
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.


So, so. Well done, well done.
The violets, cowslips, and the primroses,
Bear to my closet. Fare thee well, Pisanio;
Think on my words. Exeunt QUEEN and LADIES
PISANIO. And shall do.
But when to my good lord I prove untrue
I'll choke myself- there's all I'll do for you. Exit

Britain. The palace

Enter IMOGEN alone

IMOGEN. A father cruel and a step-dame false;
A foolish suitor to a wedded lady
That hath her husband banish'd. O, that husband!
My supreme crown of grief! and those repeated
Vexations of it! Had I been thief-stol'n,
As my two brothers, happy! but most miserable
Is the desire that's glorious. Blessed be those,
How mean soe'er, that have their honest wills,
Which seasons comfort. Who may this be? Fie!


PISANIO. Madam, a noble gentleman of Rome
Comes from my lord with letters.
IACHIMO. Change you, madam?
The worthy Leonatus is in safety,
And greets your Highness dearly. [Presents a letter]
IMOGEN. Thanks, good sir.
You're kindly welcome.
IACHIMO. [Aside] All of her that is out of door most rich!
If she be furnish'd with a mind so rare,
She is alone th' Arabian bird, and I
Have lost the wager. Boldness be my friend!
Arm me, audacity, from head to foot!
Or, like the Parthian, I shall flying fight;
Rather, directly fly.
IMOGEN. [Reads] 'He is one of the noblest note, to whose
kindnesses I am most infinitely tied. Reflect upon him
accordingly, as you value your trust. LEONATUS.'

So far I read aloud;
But even the very middle of my heart
Is warm'd by th' rest and takes it thankfully.
You are as welcome, worthy sir, as I
Have words to bid you; and shall find it so
In all that I can do.
IACHIMO. Thanks, fairest lady.
What, are men mad? Hath nature given them eyes
To see this vaulted arch and the rich crop
Of sea and land, which can distinguish 'twixt
The fiery orbs above and the twinn'd stones
Upon the number'd beach, and can we not
Partition make with spectacles so precious
'Twixt fair and foul?
IMOGEN. What makes your admiration?
IACHIMO. It cannot be i' th' eye, for apes and monkeys,
'Twixt two such shes, would chatter this way and
Contemn with mows the other; nor i' th' judgment,
For idiots in this case of favour would
Be wisely definite; nor i' th' appetite;
Sluttery, to such neat excellence oppos'd,
Should make desire vomit emptiness,
Not so allur'd to feed.
IMOGEN. What is the matter, trow?
IACHIMO. The cloyed will-
That satiate yet unsatisfied desire, that tub
Both fill'd and running- ravening first the lamb,
Longs after for the garbage.
IMOGEN. What, dear sir,
Thus raps you? Are you well?
IACHIMO. Thanks, madam; well.- Beseech you, sir,
Desire my man's abode where I did leave him.
He's strange and peevish.
PISANIO. I was going, sir,
To give him welcome. Exit
IMOGEN. Continues well my lord? His health beseech you?
IACHIMO. Well, madam.
IMOGEN. Is he dispos'd to mirth? I hope he is.
IACHIMO. Exceeding pleasant; none a stranger there
So merry and so gamesome. He is call'd
The Britain reveller.
IMOGEN. When he was here
He did incline to sadness, and oft-times
Not knowing why.
IACHIMO. I never saw him sad.
There is a Frenchman his companion, one
An eminent monsieur that, it seems, much loves
A Gallian girl at home. He furnaces
The thick sighs from him; whiles the jolly Briton-
Your lord, I mean- laughs from's free lungs, cries 'O,
Can my sides hold, to think that man- who knows
By history, report, or his own proof,
What woman is, yea, what she cannot choose
But must be- will's free hours languish for
Assured bondage?'
IMOGEN. Will my lord say so?
IACHIMO. Ay, madam, with his eyes in flood with laughter.
It is a recreation to be by
And hear him mock the Frenchman. But heavens know
Some men are much to blame.
IMOGEN. Not he, I hope.
IACHIMO. Not he; but yet heaven's bounty towards him might
Be us'd more thankfully. In himself, 'tis much;
In you, which I account his, beyond all talents.
Whilst I am bound to wonder, I am bound
To pity too.
IMOGEN. What do you pity, sir?
IACHIMO. Two creatures heartily.
IMOGEN. Am I one, sir?
You look on me: what wreck discern you in me
Deserves your pity?
IACHIMO. Lamentable! What,
To hide me from the radiant sun and solace
I' th' dungeon by a snuff?
IMOGEN. I pray you, sir,
Deliver with more openness your answers
To my demands. Why do you pity me?
IACHIMO. That others do,
I was about to say, enjoy your- But
It is an office of the gods to venge it,
Not mine to speak on't.
IMOGEN. You do seem to know
Something of me, or what concerns me; pray you-
Since doubting things go ill often hurts more
Than to be sure they do; for certainties
Either are past remedies, or, timely knowing,
The remedy then born- discover to me
What both you spur and stop.
IACHIMO. Had I this cheek
To bathe my lips upon; this hand, whose touch,
Whose every touch, would force the feeler's soul
To th' oath of loyalty; this object, which
Takes prisoner the wild motion of mine eye,
Fixing it only here; should I, damn'd then,
Slaver with lips as common as the stairs
That mount the Capitol; join gripes with hands
Made hard with hourly falsehood- falsehood as
With labour; then by-peeping in an eye
Base and illustrious as the smoky light
That's fed with stinking tallow- it were fit
That all the plagues of hell should at one time
Encounter such revolt.
IMOGEN. My lord, I fear,
Has forgot Britain.
IACHIMO. And himself. Not I
Inclin'd to this intelligence pronounce
The beggary of his change; but 'tis your graces
That from my mutest conscience to my tongue
Charms this report out.
IMOGEN. Let me hear no more.
IACHIMO. O dearest soul, your cause doth strike my heart
With pity that doth make me sick! A lady
So fair, and fasten'd to an empery,
Would make the great'st king double, to be partner'd
With tomboys hir'd with that self exhibition
Which your own coffers yield! with diseas'd ventures
That play with all infirmities for gold
Which rottenness can lend nature! such boil'd stuff
As well might poison poison! Be reveng'd;
Or she that bore you was no queen, and you
Recoil from your great stock.
IMOGEN. Reveng'd?
How should I be reveng'd? If this be true-
As I have such a heart that both mine ears
Must not in haste abuse- if it be true,
How should I be reveng'd?
IACHIMO. Should he make me
Live like Diana's priest betwixt cold sheets,
Whiles he is vaulting variable ramps,
In your despite, upon your purse? Revenge it.
I dedicate myself to your sweet pleasure,
More noble than that runagate to your bed,
And will continue fast to your affection,
Still close as sure.
IMOGEN. What ho, Pisanio!
IACHIMO. Let me my service tender on your lips.
IMOGEN. 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
Solicits 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.- What ho, Pisanio!
IACHIMO. O happy Leonatus! I may say
The credit that thy lady hath of thee
Deserves thy trust, and thy most perfect goodness
Her assur'd credit. Blessed live you long,
A lady to the worthiest sir that ever
Country call'd his! and you his mistress, only
For the most worthiest fit! Give me your pardon.
I have spoke this to know if your affiance
Were deeply rooted, and shall make your lord
That which he is new o'er; and he is one
The truest manner'd, such a holy witch
That he enchants societies into him,
Half all men's hearts are his.
IMOGEN. You make amends.
IACHIMO. He sits 'mongst men like a descended god:
He hath a kind of honour sets him of
More than a mortal seeming. Be not angry,
Most mighty Princess, that I have adventur'd
To try your taking of a false report, which hath
Honour'd with confirmation your great judgment
In the election of a sir so rare,
Which you know cannot err. The love I bear him
Made me to fan you thus; but the gods made you,
Unlike all others, chaffless. Pray your pardon.
IMOGEN. All's well, sir; take my pow'r i' th' court for yours.
IACHIMO. My humble thanks. I had almost forgot
T' entreat your Grace but in a small request,
And yet of moment too, for it concerns
Your lord; myself and other noble friends
Are partners in the business.
IMOGEN. Pray what is't?
IACHIMO. Some dozen Romans of us, and your lord-
The best feather of our wing- have mingled sums
To buy a present for the Emperor;
Which I, the factor for the rest, have done
In France. 'Tis plate of rare device, and jewels
Of rich and exquisite form, their values great;
And I am something curious, being strange,
To have them in safe stowage. May it please you
To take them in protection?
IMOGEN. Willingly;
And pawn mine honour for their safety. Since
My lord hath interest in them, I will keep them
In my bedchamber.
IACHIMO. They are in a trunk,
Attended by my men. I will make bold
To send them to you only for this night;
I must aboard to-morrow.
IMOGEN. O, no, no.
IACHIMO. Yes, I beseech; or I shall short my word
By length'ning my return. From Gallia
I cross'd the seas on purpose and on promise
To see your Grace.
IMOGEN. I thank you for your pains.
But not away to-morrow!
IACHIMO. O, I must, madam.
Therefore I shall beseech you, if you please
To greet your lord with writing, do't to-night.
I have outstood my time, which is material
'To th' tender of our present.
IMOGEN. I will write.
Send your trunk to me; it shall safe be kept
And truly yielded you. You're very welcome. Exeunt

Britain. Before CYMBELINE'S palace

Enter CLOTEN and the two LORDS

CLOTEN. Was there ever man had such luck! When I kiss'd the jack,
upon an up-cast to be hit away! I had a hundred pound on't; and
then a whoreson jackanapes must take me up for swearing, as if I
borrowed mine oaths of him, and might not spend them at my
FIRST LORD. What got he by that? You have broke his pate with your
SECOND LORD. [Aside] If his wit had been like him that broke it, it
would have run all out.
CLOTEN. When a gentleman is dispos'd to swear, it is not for any
standers-by to curtail his oaths. Ha?
SECOND LORD. No, my lord; [Aside] nor crop the ears of them.
CLOTEN. Whoreson dog! I give him satisfaction? Would he had been
one of my rank!
SECOND LORD. [Aside] To have smell'd like a fool.
CLOTEN. I am not vex'd more at anything in th' earth. A pox on't! I
had rather not be so noble as I am; they dare not fight with me,
because of the Queen my mother. Every jackslave hath his bellyful
of fighting, and I must go up and down like a cock that nobody
can match.
SECOND LORD. [Aside] You are cock and capon too; and you crow,
cock, with your comb on.
CLOTEN. Sayest thou?
SECOND LORD. It is not fit your lordship should undertake every
companion that you give offence to.
CLOTEN. No, I know that; but it is fit I should commit offence to
my inferiors.
SECOND LORD. Ay, it is fit for your lordship only.
CLOTEN. Why, so I say.
FIRST LORD. Did you hear of a stranger that's come to court
CLOTEN. A stranger, and I not known on't?
SECOND LORD. [Aside] He's a strange fellow himself, and knows it
FIRST LORD. There's an Italian come, and, 'tis thought, one of
Leonatus' friends.
CLOTEN. Leonatus? A banish'd rascal; and he's another, whatsoever
he be. Who told you of this stranger?
FIRST LORD. One of your lordship's pages.
CLOTEN. Is it fit I went to look upon him? Is there no derogation
SECOND LORD. You cannot derogate, my lord.
CLOTEN. Not easily, I think.
SECOND LORD. [Aside] You are a fool granted; therefore your issues,
being foolish, do not derogate.
CLOTEN. Come, I'll go see this Italian. What I have lost to-day at
bowls I'll win to-night of him. Come, go.
SECOND LORD. I'll attend your lordship.
That such a crafty devil as is his mother
Should yield the world this ass! A woman that
Bears all down with her brain; and this her son
Cannot take two from twenty, for his heart,
And leave eighteen. Alas, poor princess,
Thou divine Imogen, what thou endur'st,
Betwixt a father by thy step-dame govern'd,
A mother hourly coining plots, a wooer
More hateful than the foul expulsion is
Of thy dear husband, than that horrid act
Of the divorce he'd make! The heavens hold firm
The walls of thy dear honour, keep unshak'd
That temple, thy fair mind, that thou mayst stand
T' enjoy thy banish'd lord and this great land! Exit

Britain. IMOGEN'S bedchamber in CYMBELINE'S palace; a trunk in one corner

Enter IMOGEN in her bed, and a LADY attending

IMOGEN. Who's there? My woman? Helen?
LADY. Please you, madam.
IMOGEN. What hour is it?
LADY. Almost midnight, madam.
IMOGEN. I have read three hours then. Mine eyes are weak;
Fold down the leaf where I have left. To bed.
Take not away the taper, leave it burning;
And if thou canst awake by four o' th' clock,
I prithee call me. Sleep hath seiz'd me wholly. Exit LADY
To your protection I commend me, gods.
From fairies and the tempters of the night
Guard me, beseech ye!
[Sleeps. IACHIMO comes from the trunk]
IACHIMO. The crickets sing, and man's o'er-labour'd sense
Repairs itself by rest. Our Tarquin thus
Did softly press the rushes ere he waken'd
The chastity he wounded. Cytherea,
How bravely thou becom'st thy bed! fresh lily,
And whiter than the sheets! That I might touch!
But kiss; one kiss! Rubies unparagon'd,
How dearly they do't! 'Tis her breathing that
Perfumes the chamber thus. The flame o' th' taper
Bows toward her and would under-peep her lids
To see th' enclosed lights, now canopied
Under these windows white and azure, lac'd
With blue of heaven's own tinct. But my design
To note the chamber. I will write all down:
Such and such pictures; there the window; such
Th' adornment of her bed; the arras, figures-
Why, such and such; and the contents o' th' story.
Ah, but some natural notes about her body
Above ten thousand meaner movables
Would testify, t' enrich mine inventory.
O sleep, thou ape of death, lie dull upon her!
And be her sense but as a monument,
Thus in a chapel lying! Come off, come off;
[Taking off her bracelet]
As slippery as the Gordian knot was hard!
'Tis mine; and this will witness outwardly,
As strongly as the conscience does within,
To th' madding of her lord. On her left breast
A mole cinque-spotted, like the crimson drops
I' th' bottom of a cowslip. Here's a voucher
Stronger than ever law could make; this secret
Will force him think I have pick'd the lock and ta'en
The treasure of her honour. No more. To what end?
Why should I write this down that's riveted,
Screw'd to my memory? She hath been reading late
The tale of Tereus; here the leaf's turn'd down
Where Philomel gave up. I have enough.
To th' trunk again, and shut the spring of it.
Swift, swift, you dragons of the night, that dawning
May bare the raven's eye! I lodge in fear;
Though this a heavenly angel, hell is here. [Clock strikes]
One, two, three. Time, time! Exit into the trunk

CYMBELINE'S palace. An ante-chamber adjoining IMOGEN'S apartments


FIRST LORD. Your lordship is the most patient man in loss, the most
coldest that ever turn'd up ace.
CLOTEN. It would make any man cold to lose.
FIRST LORD. But not every man patient after the noble temper of
your lordship. You are most hot and furious when you win.
CLOTEN. Winning will put any man into courage. If I could get this
foolish Imogen, I should have gold enough. It's almost morning,
is't not?
FIRST LORD. Day, my lord.
CLOTEN. I would this music would come. I am advised to give her
music a mornings; they say it will penetrate.

Enter musicians

Come on, tune. If you can penetrate her with your fingering, so.
We'll try with tongue too. If none will do, let her remain; but
I'll never give o'er. First, a very excellent good-conceited
thing; after, a wonderful sweet air, with admirable rich words to
it- and then let her consider.


Hark, hark! the lark at heaven's gate sings,
And Phoebus 'gins arise,
His steeds to water at those springs
On chalic'd flow'rs that lies;
And winking Mary-buds begin
To ope their golden eyes.
With everything that pretty bin,
My lady sweet, arise;
Arise, arise!

So, get you gone. If this penetrate, I will consider your music
the better; if it do not, it is a vice in her ears which
horsehairs and calves' guts, nor the voice of unpaved eunuch to
boot, can never amend. Exeunt musicians


SECOND LORD. Here comes the King.
CLOTEN. I am glad I was up so late, for that's the reason I was up
so early. He cannot choose but take this service I have done
fatherly.- Good morrow to your Majesty and to my gracious mother.
CYMBELINE. Attend you here the door of our stern daughter?
Will she not forth?
CLOTEN. I have assail'd her with musics, but she vouchsafes no
CYMBELINE. The exile of her minion is too new;
She hath not yet forgot him; some more time
Must wear the print of his remembrance out,
And then she's yours.
QUEEN. You are most bound to th' King,
Who lets go by no vantages that may
Prefer you to his daughter. Frame yourself
To orderly soliciting, and be friended
With aptness of the season; make denials
Increase your services; so seem as if
You were inspir'd to do those duties which
You tender to her; that you in all obey her,
Save when command to your dismission tends,
And therein you are senseless.
CLOTEN. Senseless? Not so.


MESSENGER. So like you, sir, ambassadors from Rome;
The one is Caius Lucius.
CYMBELINE. A worthy fellow,
Albeit he comes on angry purpose now;
But that's no fault of his. We must receive him
According to the honour of his sender;
And towards himself, his goodness forespent on us,
We must extend our notice. Our dear son,
When you have given good morning to your mistress,
Attend the Queen and us; we shall have need
T' employ you towards this Roman. Come, our queen.
Exeunt all but CLOTEN
CLOTEN. If she be up, I'll speak with her; if not,
Let her lie still and dream. By your leave, ho! [Knocks]
I know her women are about her; what
If I do line one of their hands? 'Tis gold
Which buys admittance; oft it doth-yea, and makes
Diana's rangers false themselves, yield up
Their deer to th' stand o' th' stealer; and 'tis gold
Which makes the true man kill'd and saves the thief;
Nay, sometime hangs both thief and true man. What
Can it not do and undo? I will make
One of her women lawyer to me, for
I yet not understand the case myself.
By your leave. [Knocks]

Enter a LADY

LADY. Who's there that knocks?
CLOTEN. A gentleman.
LADY. No more?
CLOTEN. Yes, and a gentlewoman's son.
LADY. That's more
Than some whose tailors are as dear as yours
Can justly boast of. What's your lordship's pleasure?
CLOTEN. Your lady's person; is she ready?
To keep her chamber.
CLOTEN. There is gold for you; sell me your good report.
LADY. How? My good name? or to report of you
What I shall think is good? The Princess!


CLOTEN. Good morrow, fairest sister. Your sweet hand.
IMOGEN. Good morrow, sir. You lay out too much pains
For purchasing but trouble. The thanks I give
Is telling you that I am poor of thanks,
And scarce can spare them.
CLOTEN. Still I swear I love you.
IMOGEN. If you but said so, 'twere as deep with me.
If you swear still, your recompense is still
That I regard it not.
CLOTEN. This is no answer.
IMOGEN. But that you shall not say I yield, being silent,
I would not speak. I pray you spare me. Faith,
I shall unfold equal discourtesy
To your best kindness; one of your great knowing
Should learn, being taught, forbearance.
CLOTEN. To leave you in your madness 'twere my sin;
I will not.
IMOGEN. Fools are not mad folks.
CLOTEN. Do you call me fool?
IMOGEN. As I am mad, I do;
If you'll be patient, I'll no more be mad;
That cures us both. I am much sorry, sir,
You put me to forget a lady's manners
By being so verbal; and learn now, for all,
That I, which know my heart, do here pronounce,
By th' very truth of it, I care not for you,
And am so near the lack of charity
To accuse myself I hate you; which I had rather
You felt than make't my boast.
CLOTEN. You sin against
Obedience, which you owe your father. For
The contract you pretend with that base wretch,
One bred of alms and foster'd with cold dishes,
With scraps o' th' court- it is no contract, none.
And though it be allowed in meaner parties-
Yet who than he more mean?- to knit their souls-
On whom there is no more dependency
But brats and beggary- in self-figur'd knot,
Yet you are curb'd from that enlargement by
The consequence o' th' crown, and must not foil
The precious note of it with a base slave,
A hilding for a livery, a squire's cloth,
A pantler- not so eminent!
IMOGEN. Profane fellow!
Wert thou the son of Jupiter, and no more
But what thou art besides, thou wert too base
To be his groom. Thou wert dignified enough,
Even to the point of envy, if 'twere made
Comparative for your virtues to be styl'd
The under-hangman of his kingdom, and hated
For being preferr'd so well.
CLOTEN. The south fog rot him!
IMOGEN. He never can meet more mischance than come
To be but nam'd of thee. His mean'st garment
That ever hath but clipp'd his body is dearer
In my respect than all the hairs above thee,
Were they all made such men. How now, Pisanio!


CLOTEN. 'His garments'! Now the devil-
IMOGEN. To Dorothy my woman hie thee presently.
CLOTEN. 'His garment'!
IMOGEN. I am sprited with a fool;
Frighted, and ang'red worse. Go bid my woman
Search for a jewel that too casually
Hath left mine arm. It was thy master's; shrew me,
If I would lose it for a revenue
Of any king's in Europe! I do think
I saw't this morning; confident I am
Last night 'twas on mine arm; I kiss'd it.
I hope it be not gone to tell my lord
That I kiss aught but he.
PISANIO. 'Twill not be lost.
IMOGEN. I hope so. Go and search. Exit PISANIO
CLOTEN. You have abus'd me.
'His meanest garment'!
IMOGEN. Ay, I said so, sir.
If you will make 't an action, call witness to 't.
CLOTEN. I will inform your father.
IMOGEN. Your mother too.
She's my good lady and will conceive, I hope,
But the worst of me. So I leave you, sir,
To th' worst of discontent. Exit
CLOTEN. I'll be reveng'd.
'His mean'st garment'! Well. Exit

Rome. PHILARIO'S house


POSTHUMUS. Fear it not, sir; I would I were so sure
To win the King as I am bold her honour
Will remain hers.
PHILARIO. What means do you make to him?
POSTHUMUS. Not any; but abide the change of time,
Quake in the present winter's state, and wish
That warmer days would come. In these fear'd hopes
I barely gratify your love; they failing,
I must die much your debtor.
PHILARIO. Your very goodness and your company
O'erpays all I can do. By this your king
Hath heard of great Augustus. Caius Lucius
Will do's commission throughly; and I think
He'll grant the tribute, send th' arrearages,
Or look upon our Romans, whose remembrance
Is yet fresh in their grief.
POSTHUMUS. I do believe
Statist though I am none, nor like to be,
That this will prove a war; and you shall hear
The legions now in Gallia sooner landed
In our not-fearing Britain than have tidings
Of any penny tribute paid. Our countrymen
Are men more order'd than when Julius Caesar
Smil'd at their lack of skill, but found their courage
Worthy his frowning at. Their discipline,
Now mingled with their courages, will make known
To their approvers they are people such
That mend upon the world.


PHILARIO. See! Iachimo!
POSTHUMUS. The swiftest harts have posted you by land,
And winds of all the comers kiss'd your sails,
To make your vessel nimble.
PHILARIO. Welcome, sir.
POSTHUMUS. I hope the briefness of your answer made
The speediness of your return.
IACHIMO. Your lady
Is one of the fairest that I have look'd upon.
POSTHUMUS. And therewithal the best; or let her beauty
Look through a casement to allure false hearts,
And be false with them.
IACHIMO. Here are letters for you.
POSTHUMUS. Their tenour good, I trust.
IACHIMO. 'Tis very like.
PHILARIO. Was Caius Lucius in the Britain court
When you were there?
IACHIMO. He was expected then,
But not approach'd.
POSTHUMUS. All is well yet.
Sparkles this stone as it was wont, or is't not
Too dull for your good wearing?
IACHIMO. If I have lost it,
I should have lost the worth of it in gold.
I'll make a journey twice as far t' enjoy
A second night of such sweet shortness which
Was mine in Britain; for the ring is won.
POSTHUMUS. The stone's too hard to come by.
IACHIMO. Not a whit,
Your lady being so easy.
POSTHUMUS. Make not, sir,
Your loss your sport. I hope you know that we
Must not continue friends.
IACHIMO. Good sir, we must,
If you keep covenant. Had I not brought
The knowledge of your mistress home, I grant
We were to question farther; but I now
Profess myself the winner of her honour,
Together with your ring; and not the wronger
Of her or you, having proceeded but
By both your wills.
POSTHUMUS. If you can make't apparent
That you have tasted her in bed, my hand
And ring is yours. If not, the foul opinion
You had of her pure honour gains or loses
Your sword or mine, or masterless leaves both
To who shall find them.
IACHIMO. Sir, my circumstances,
Being so near the truth as I will make them,
Must first induce you to believe- whose strength
I will confirm with oath; which I doubt not
You'll give me leave to spare when you shall find
You need it not.
IACHIMO. First, her bedchamber,
Where I confess I slept not, but profess
Had that was well worth watching-it was hang'd
With tapestry of silk and silver; the story,
Proud Cleopatra when she met her Roman
And Cydnus swell'd above the banks, or for
The press of boats or pride. A piece of work
So bravely done, so rich, that it did strive
In workmanship and value; which I wonder'd
Could be so rarely and exactly wrought,
Since the true life on't was-
POSTHUMUS. This is true;
And this you might have heard of here, by me
Or by some other.
IACHIMO. More particulars
Must justify my knowledge.
POSTHUMUS. So they must,
Or do your honour injury.
IACHIMO. The chimney
Is south the chamber, and the chimneypiece
Chaste Dian bathing. Never saw I figures
So likely to report themselves. The cutter
Was as another nature, dumb; outwent her,
Motion and breath left out.
POSTHUMUS. This is a thing
Which you might from relation likewise reap,
Being, as it is, much spoke of.
IACHIMO. The roof o' th' chamber
With golden cherubins is fretted; her andirons-
I had forgot them- were two winking Cupids
Of silver, each on one foot standing, nicely
Depending on their brands.
POSTHUMUS. This is her honour!
Let it be granted you have seen all this, and praise
Be given to your remembrance; the description
Of what is in her chamber nothing saves
The wager you have laid.
IACHIMO. Then, if you can, [Shows the bracelet]
Be pale. I beg but leave to air this jewel. See!
And now 'tis up again. It must be married
To that your diamond; I'll keep them.
Once more let me behold it. Is it that
Which I left with her?
IACHIMO. Sir- I thank her- that.
She stripp'd it from her arm; I see her yet;
Her pretty action did outsell her gift,
And yet enrich'd it too. She gave it me, and said
She priz'd it once.
POSTHUMUS. May be she pluck'd it of
To send it me.
IACHIMO. She writes so to you, doth she?
POSTHUMUS. O, no, no, no! 'tis true. Here, take this too;
[Gives the ring]
It is a basilisk unto mine eye,
Kills me to look on't. Let there be no honour
Where there is beauty; truth where semblance; love
Where there's another man. The vows of women
Of no more bondage be to where they are made
Than they are to their virtues, which is nothing.
O, above measure false!
PHILARIO. Have patience, sir,
And take your ring again; 'tis not yet won.
It may be probable she lost it, or
Who knows if one her women, being corrupted
Hath stol'n it from her?
POSTHUMUS. Very true;
And so I hope he came by't. Back my ring.
Render to me some corporal sign about her,
More evident than this; for this was stol'n.
IACHIMO. By Jupiter, I had it from her arm!
POSTHUMUS. Hark you, he swears; by Jupiter he swears.
'Tis true- nay, keep the ring, 'tis true. I am sure
She would not lose it. Her attendants are
All sworn and honourable- they induc'd to steal it!
And by a stranger! No, he hath enjoy'd her.
The cognizance of her incontinency
Is this: she hath bought the name of whore thus dearly.
There, take thy hire; and all the fiends of hell
Divide themselves between you!
PHILARIO. Sir, be patient;
This is not strong enough to be believ'd
Of one persuaded well of.
POSTHUMUS. Never talk on't;
She hath been colted by him.
IACHIMO. If you seek
For further satisfying, under her breast-
Worthy the pressing- lies a mole, right proud
Of that most delicate lodging. By my life,
I kiss'd it; and it gave me present hunger
To feed again, though full. You do remember
This stain upon her?
POSTHUMUS. Ay, and it doth confirm
Another stain, as big as hell can hold,
Were there no more but it.
IACHIMO. Will you hear more?
POSTHUMUS. Spare your arithmetic; never count the turns.
Once, and a million!
IACHIMO. I'll be sworn-
POSTHUMUS. No swearing.
If you will swear you have not done't, you lie;
And I will kill thee if thou dost deny
Thou'st made me cuckold.
IACHIMO. I'll deny nothing.
POSTHUMUS. O that I had her here to tear her limb-meal!
I will go there and do't, i' th' court, before
Her father. I'll do something- Exit
PHILARIO. Quite besides
The government of patience! You have won.
Let's follow him and pervert the present wrath
He hath against himself.
IACHIMO. With all my heart. Exeunt

Rome. Another room in PHILARIO'S house


POSTHUMUS. Is there no way for men to be, but women
Must be half-workers? We are all bastards,
And that most venerable man which I
Did call my father was I know not where
When I was stamp'd. Some coiner with his tools
Made me a counterfeit; yet my mother seem'd
The Dian of that time. So doth my wife
The nonpareil of this. O, vengeance, vengeance!
Me of my lawful pleasure she restrain'd,
And pray'd me oft forbearance; did it with
A pudency so rosy, the sweet view on't
Might well have warm'd old Saturn; that I thought her
As chaste as unsunn'd snow. O, all the devils!
This yellow Iachimo in an hour- was't not?
Or less!- at first? Perchance he spoke not, but,
Like a full-acorn'd boar, a German one,
Cried 'O!' and mounted; found no opposition
But what he look'd for should oppose and she
Should from encounter guard. Could I find out
The woman's part in me! For there's no motion
That tends to vice in man but I affirm
It is the woman's part. Be it lying, note it,
The woman's; flattering, hers; deceiving, hers;
Lust and rank thoughts, hers, hers; revenges, hers;
Ambitions, covetings, change of prides, disdain,
Nice longing, slanders, mutability,
All faults that man may name, nay, that hell knows,
Why, hers, in part or all; but rather all;
For even to vice
They are not constant, but are changing still
One vice but of a minute old for one
Not half so old as that. I'll write against them,
Detest them, curse them. Yet 'tis greater skill
In a true hate to pray they have their will:
The very devils cannot plague them better. Exit

Britain. A hall in CYMBELINE'S palace

Enter in state, CYMBELINE, QUEEN, CLOTEN, and LORDS at one door,
and at another CAIUS LUCIUS and attendants

CYMBELINE. Now say, what would Augustus Caesar with us?
LUCIUS. When Julius Caesar- whose remembrance yet
Lives in men's eyes, and will to ears and tongues
Be theme and hearing ever- was in this Britain,
And conquer'd it, Cassibelan, thine uncle,
Famous in Caesar's praises no whit less
Than in his feats deserving it, for him
And his succession granted Rome a tribute,
Yearly three thousand pounds, which by thee lately
Is left untender'd.
QUEEN. And, to kill the marvel,
Shall be so ever.
CLOTEN. There be many Caesars
Ere such another Julius. Britain is
A world by itself, and we will nothing pay
For wearing our own noses.
QUEEN. 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, ribb'd and pal'd in
With rocks unscalable and roaring waters,
With sands that will not bear your enemies' boats
But suck them up to th' top-mast. A kind of conquest
Caesar 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.
CLOTEN. Come, there's no more tribute to be paid. Our kingdom is
stronger than it was at that time; and, as I said, there is no
moe such Caesars. Other of them may have crook'd noses; but to
owe such straight arms, none.
CYMBELINE. Son, let your mother end.
CLOTEN. We have yet many among us can gripe as hard as Cassibelan.
I do not say I am one; but I have a hand. Why tribute? Why should
we pay tribute? If Caesar can hide the sun from us with a blanket,
or put the moon in his pocket, we will pay him tribute for light;
else, sir, no more tribute, pray you now.
CYMBELINE. You must know,
Till the injurious Romans did extort
This tribute from us, we were free. Caesar's ambition-
Which swell'd so much that it did almost stretch
The sides o' th' world- against all colour here
Did put the yoke upon's; which to shake of
Becomes a warlike people, whom we reckon
Ourselves to be.
CLOTEN. We do.
CYMBELINE. Say then to Caesar,
Our ancestor was that Mulmutius which
Ordain'd our laws- whose use the sword of Caesar
Hath too much mangled; whose repair and franchise
Shall, by the power we hold, be our good deed,
Though Rome be therefore angry. Mulmutius made our laws,
Who was the first of Britain which did put
His brows within a golden crown, and call'd
Himself a king.
LUCIUS. I am sorry, Cymbeline,
That I am to pronounce Augustus Caesar-
Caesar, that hath moe kings his servants than
Thyself domestic officers- thine enemy.
Receive it from me, then: war and confusion
In Caesar's name pronounce I 'gainst thee; look
For fury not to be resisted. Thus defied,
I thank thee for myself.
CYMBELINE. Thou art welcome, Caius.
Thy Caesar knighted me; my youth I spent
Much under him; of him I gather'd honour,
Which he to seek of me again, perforce,
Behoves me keep at utterance. I am perfect
That the Pannonians and Dalmatians for
Their liberties are now in arms, a precedent
Which not to read would show the Britons cold;
So Caesar shall not find them.
LUCIUS. Let proof speak.
CLOTEN. His majesty bids you welcome. Make pastime with us a day or
two, or longer. If you seek us afterwards in other terms, you
shall find us in our salt-water girdle. If you beat us out of it,
it is yours; if you fall in the adventure, our crows shall fare
the better for you; and there's an end.
LUCIUS. So, sir.
CYMBELINE. I know your master's pleasure, and he mine;
All the remain is, welcome. Exeunt

Britain. Another room in CYMBELINE'S palace

Enter PISANIO reading of a letter

PISANIO. How? of adultery? Wherefore write you not
What monsters her accuse? Leonatus!
O master, what a strange infection
Is fall'n into thy ear! What false Italian-
As poisonous-tongu'd 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? [Reads] '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 fedary for this act, and look'st
So virgin-like without? Lo, here she comes.


I am ignorant in what I am commanded.
IMOGEN. How now, Pisanio!
PISANIO. Madam, here is a letter from my lord.
IMOGEN. 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. 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

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 th' smothering of the sense- how far it is
To this same blessed Milford. And by th' 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 hence-going
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?
PISANIO. One score 'twixt sun and sun,
Madam, 's enough for you, and too much too.
IMOGEN. 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' th' clock's behalf. But this is fool'ry.
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 huswife.
PISANIO. Madam, you're best consider.
IMOGEN. 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. Exeunt

Wales. A mountainous country with a cave

Enter from the cave BELARIUS, GUIDERIUS, and ARVIRAGUS

BELARIUS. A goodly day not to keep house with such
Whose roof's as low as ours! Stoop, boys; this gate
Instructs you how t' adore the heavens, and bows you
To a morning's holy office. The gates of monarchs
Are arch'd so high that giants may jet through
And keep their impious turbans on without
Good morrow to the sun. Hail, thou fair heaven!
We house i' th' rock, yet use thee not so hardly
As prouder livers do.
GUIDERIUS. Hail, heaven!
ARVIRAGUS. Hail, heaven!
BELARIUS. Now for our mountain sport. Up to yond hill,
Your legs are young; I'll tread these flats. Consider,
When you above perceive me like a crow,
That it is place which lessens and sets off;
And you may then revolve what tales I have told you
Of courts, of princes, of the tricks in war.
This service is not service so being done,
But being so allow'd. To apprehend thus
Draws us a profit from all things we see,
And often to our comfort shall we find
The sharded beetle in a safer hold
Than is the full-wing'd eagle. O, this life
Is nobler than attending for a check,
Richer than doing nothing for a bribe,
Prouder than rustling in unpaid-for silk:
Such gain the cap of him that makes him fine,
Yet keeps his book uncross'd. No life to ours!
GUIDERIUS. Out of your proof you speak. We, poor unfledg'd,
Have never wing'd from view o' th' nest, nor know not
What air's from home. Haply this life is best,
If quiet life be best; sweeter to you
That have a sharper known; well corresponding
With your stiff age. But unto us it is
A cell of ignorance, travelling abed,
A prison for a debtor that not dares
To stride a limit.
ARVIRAGUS. What should we speak of
When we are old as you? When we shall hear
The rain and wind beat dark December, how,
In this our pinching cave, shall we discourse.
The freezing hours away? We have seen nothing;
We are beastly: subtle as the fox for prey,
Like warlike as the wolf for what we eat.
Our valour is to chase what flies; our cage
We make a choir, as doth the prison'd bird,
And sing our bondage freely.
BELARIUS. How you speak!
Did you but know the city's usuries,
And felt them knowingly- the art o' th' court,
As hard to leave as keep, whose top to climb
Is certain falling, or so slipp'ry that
The fear's as bad as falling; the toil o' th' war,
A pain that only seems to seek out danger
I' th'name of fame and honour, which dies i' th'search,
And hath as oft a sland'rous epitaph
As record of fair act; nay, many times,
Doth ill deserve by doing well; what's worse-
Must curtsy at the censure. O, boys, this story
The world may read in me; my body's mark'd
With Roman swords, and my report was once
first with the best of note. Cymbeline lov'd me;
And when a soldier was the theme, my name
Was not far off. Then was I as a tree
Whose boughs did bend with fruit; but in one night
A storm, or robbery, call it what you will,
Shook down my mellow hangings, nay, my leaves,
And left me bare to weather.
GUIDERIUS. Uncertain favour!
BELARIUS. My fault being nothing- as I have told you oft-
But that two villains, whose false oaths prevail'd
Before my perfect honour, swore to Cymbeline
I was confederate with the Romans. So
Follow'd my banishment, and this twenty years
This rock and these demesnes have been my world,
Where I have liv'd at honest freedom, paid
More pious debts to heaven than in all
The fore-end of my time. But up to th' mountains!
This is not hunters' language. He that strikes
The venison first shall be the lord o' th' feast;
To him the other two shall minister;
And we will fear no poison, which attends
In place of greater state. I'll meet you in the valleys.
How hard it is to hide the sparks of nature!
These boys know little they are sons to th' King,
Nor Cymbeline dreams that they are alive.
They think they are mine; and though train'd up thus meanly
I' th' cave wherein they bow, their thoughts do hit
The roofs of palaces, and nature prompts them
In simple and low things to prince it much
Beyond the trick of others. This Polydore,
The heir of Cymbeline and Britain, who
The King his father call'd Guiderius- Jove!
When on my three-foot stool I sit and tell
The warlike feats I have done, his spirits fly out
Into my story; say 'Thus mine enemy fell,
And thus I set my foot on's neck'; even then
The princely blood flows in his cheek, he sweats,
Strains his young nerves, and puts himself in posture
That acts my words. The younger brother, Cadwal,
Once Arviragus, in as like a figure
Strikes life into my speech, and shows much more
His own conceiving. Hark, the game is rous'd!
O Cymbeline, heaven and my conscience knows
Thou didst unjustly banish me! Whereon,
At three and two years old, I stole these babes,
Thinking to bar thee of succession as
Thou refts me of my lands. Euriphile,
Thou wast their nurse; they took thee for their mother,
And every day do honour to her grave.
Myself, Belarius, that am Morgan call'd,
They take for natural father. The game is up. Exit

Wales, near Milford Haven


IMOGEN. 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 th' 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.
PISANIO. Please you read,
And you shall find me, wretched man, a thing
The most disdain'd of fortune.
IMOGEN. [Reads] 'Thy mistress, Pisanio, hath play'd the strumpet in
my bed, the testimonies whereof lie bleeding in me. I speak not
out of weak surmises, but 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 opportunity
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 pander to her dishonour, and equally to me disloyal.'
PISANIO. 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?
IMOGEN. 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's bed,
Is it?
PISANIO. Alas, good lady!
IMOGEN. 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 th' 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.
PISANIO. Good madam, hear me.
IMOGEN. True honest men being heard, like false Aeneas,
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.
PISANIO. Hence, vile instrument!
Thou shalt not damn my hand.
IMOGEN. 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,
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 tirest on, how thy memory
Will then be pang'd by me. Prithee dispatch.
The lamp entreats the butcher. Where's thy knife?
Thou art too slow to do thy master's bidding,
When I desire it too.
PISANIO. O gracious lady,
Since I receiv'd command to do this busines
I have not slept one wink.
IMOGEN. Do't, and to bed then.
PISANIO. I'll wake mine eyeballs first.
IMOGEN. 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,
Th' elected deer before thee?
PISANIO. 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.
IMOGEN. 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.
PISANIO. Then, madam,
I thought you would not back again.
IMOGEN. Most like-
Bringing me here to kill me.
PISANIO. 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 abus'd. Some villain,
Ay, and singular in his art, hath done you both
This cursed injury.
IMOGEN. Some Roman courtezan!
PISANIO. 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.
IMOGEN. 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?
PISANIO. If you'll back to th' court-
IMOGEN. 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.
PISANIO. If not at court,
Then not in Britain must you bide.
IMOGEN. Where then?
Hath Britain all the sun that shines? Day, night,
Are they not but in Britain? I' th' world's volume
Our Britain seems as of it, but not in't;
In a great pool a swan's nest. Prithee think
There's livers out of Britain.
PISANIO. I am most glad
You think of other place. Th' 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 t' appear itself must not yet be
But by self-danger, you should tread a course
Pretty and full of view; yea, happily, 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.
IMOGEN. O! for such means,
Though peril to my modesty, not death on't,
I would adventure.
PISANIO. 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 it pretty self- into a waggish courage;
Ready in gibes, quick-answer'd, saucy, and
As quarrelous as the weasel. Nay, you must
Forget that rarest treasure of your cheek,
Exposing it- but, O, the harder heart!
Alack, no remedy!- to the greedy touch
Of common-kissing Titan, and forget
Your laboursome and dainty trims wherein
You made great Juno angry.
IMOGEN. Nay, be brief;
I see into thy end, and am almost
A man already.
PISANIO. First, make yourself but like one.
Fore-thinking this, I have already fit-
'Tis in my cloak-bag- doublet, hat, hose, all
That answer to them. Would you, in their serving,
And with what imitation you can borrow
From youth of such a season, fore noble Lucius
Present yourself, desire his service, tell him
Wherein you're happy- which will make him know
If that his head have ear in music; doubtless
With joy he will embrace you; for he's honourable,
And, doubling that, most holy. Your means abroad-
You have me, rich; and I will never fail
Beginning nor supplyment.
IMOGEN. Thou art all the comfort
The gods will diet me with. Prithee away!
There's more to be consider'd; but we'll even
All that good time will give us. This attempt
I am soldier to, and will abide it with
A prince's courage. Away, I prithee.
PISANIO. Well, madam, we must take a short farewell,
Lest, being miss'd, I be suspected of
Your carriage from the court. My noble mistress,
Here is a box; I had it from the Queen.
What's in't is precious. If you are sick at sea
Or stomach-qualm'd at land, a dram of this
Will drive away distemper. To some shade,
And fit you to your manhood. May the gods
Direct you to the best!
IMOGEN. Amen. I thank thee. Exeunt severally

Britain. CYMBELINE'S palace


CYMBELINE. Thus far; and so farewell.
LUCIUS. Thanks, royal sir.
My emperor hath wrote; I must from hence,
And am right sorry that I must report ye
My master's enemy.
CYMBELINE. Our subjects, sir,
Will not endure his yoke; and for ourself
To show less sovereignty than they, must needs
Appear unkinglike.
LUCIUS. So, sir. I desire of you
A conduct overland to Milford Haven.
Madam, all joy befall your Grace, and you!
CYMBELINE. My lords, you are appointed for that office;
The due of honour in no point omit.
So farewell, noble Lucius.
LUCIUS. Your hand, my lord.
CLOTEN. Receive it friendly; but from this time forth
I wear it as your enemy.
LUCIUS. Sir, the event
Is yet to name the winner. Fare you well.
CYMBELINE. Leave not the worthy Lucius, good my lords,
Till he have cross'd the Severn. Happiness!
QUEEN. He goes hence frowning; but it honours us
That we have given him cause.
CLOTEN. 'Tis all the better;
Your valiant Britons have their wishes in it.
CYMBELINE. Lucius hath wrote already to the Emperor
How it goes here. It fits us therefore ripely
Our chariots and our horsemen be in readiness.
The pow'rs that he already hath in Gallia
Will soon be drawn to head, from whence he moves
His war for Britain.
QUEEN. 'Tis not sleepy business,
But must be look'd to speedily and strongly.
CYMBELINE. Our expectation that it would be thus
Hath made us forward. But, my gentle queen,
Where is our daughter? She hath not appear'd
Before the Roman, nor to us hath tender'd
The duty of the day. She looks us like
A thing more made of malice than of duty;
We have noted it. Call her before us, for
We have been too slight in sufferance. Exit a MESSENGER
QUEEN. Royal sir,
Since the exile of Posthumus, most retir'd
Hath her life been; the cure whereof, my lord,
'Tis time must do. Beseech your Majesty,
Forbear sharp speeches to her; she's a lady
So tender of rebukes that words are strokes,
And strokes death to her.


CYMBELINE. Where is she, sir? How
Can her contempt be answer'd?
MESSENGER. Please you, sir,
Her chambers are all lock'd, and there's no answer
That will be given to th' loud of noise we make.
QUEEN. My lord, when last I went to visit her,
She pray'd me to excuse her keeping close;
Whereto constrain'd by her infirmity
She should that duty leave unpaid to you
Which daily she was bound to proffer. This
She wish'd me to make known; but our great court
Made me to blame in memory.
CYMBELINE. Her doors lock'd?
Not seen of late? Grant, heavens, that which I fear
Prove false! Exit
QUEEN. Son, I say, follow the King.
CLOTEN. That man of hers, Pisanio, her old servant,
I have not seen these two days.
QUEEN. Go, look after. Exit CLOTEN
Pisanio, thou that stand'st so for Posthumus!
He hath a drug of mine. I pray his absence
Proceed by swallowing that; for he believes
It is a thing most precious. But for her,
Where is she gone? Haply despair hath seiz'd her;
Or, wing'd with fervour of her love, she's flown
To her desir'd Posthumus. Gone she is
To death or to dishonour, and my end
Can make good use of either. She being down,
I have the placing of the British crown.

Re-enter CLOTEN

How now, my son?
CLOTEN. 'Tis certain she is fled.
Go in and cheer the King. He rages; none
Dare come about him.
QUEEN. All the better. May
This night forestall him of the coming day! Exit
CLOTEN. I love and hate her; for she's fair and royal,
And that she hath all courtly parts more exquisite
Than lady, ladies, woman. From every one
The best she hath, and she, of all compounded,
Outsells them all. I love her therefore; but
Disdaining me and throwing favours on
The low Posthumus slanders so her judgment
That what's else rare is chok'd; and in that point
I will conclude to hate her, nay, indeed,
To be reveng'd upon her. For when fools


Who is here? What, are you packing, sirrah?
Come hither. Ah, you precious pander! Villain,
Where is thy lady? In a word, or else
Thou art straightway with the fiends.
PISANIO. O good my lord!
CLOTEN. Where is thy lady? or, by Jupiter-
I will not ask again. Close villain,
I'll have this secret from thy heart, or rip
Thy heart to find it. Is she with Posthumus?
From whose so many weights of baseness cannot
A dram of worth be drawn.
PISANIO. Alas, my lord,
How can she be with him? When was she miss'd?
He is in Rome.
CLOTEN. Where is she, sir? Come nearer.
No farther halting! Satisfy me home
What is become of her.
PISANIO. O my all-worthy lord!
CLOTEN. All-worthy villain!
Discover where thy mistress is at once,
At the next word. No more of 'worthy lord'!
Speak, or thy silence on the instant is
Thy condemnation and thy death.
PISANIO. Then, sir,
This paper is the history of my knowledge
Touching her flight. [Presenting a letter]
CLOTEN. Let's see't. I will pursue her
Even to Augustus' throne.
PISANIO. [Aside] Or this or perish.
She's far enough; and what he learns by this
May prove his travel, not her danger.
PISANIO. [Aside] I'll write to my lord she's dead. O Imogen,
Safe mayst thou wander, safe return again!
CLOTEN. Sirrah, is this letter true?
PISANIO. Sir, as I think.
CLOTEN. It is Posthumus' hand; I know't. Sirrah, if thou wouldst
not be a villain, but do me true service, undergo those
employments wherein I should have cause to use thee with a
serious industry- that is, what villainy soe'er I bid thee do, to
perform it directly and truly- I would think thee an honest man;
thou shouldst neither want my means for thy relief nor my voice
for thy preferment.
PISANIO. Well, my good lord.
CLOTEN. Wilt thou serve me? For since patiently and constantly thou
hast stuck to the bare fortune of that beggar Posthumus, thou
canst not, in the course of gratitude, but be a diligent follower
of mine. Wilt thou serve me?
PISANIO. Sir, I will.
CLOTEN. Give me thy hand; here's my purse. Hast any of thy late
master's garments in thy possession?
PISANIO. I have, my lord, at my lodging, the same suit he wore when
he took leave of my lady and mistress.
CLOTEN. The first service thou dost me, fetch that suit hither. Let
it be thy first service; go.
PISANIO. I shall, my lord. Exit
CLOTEN. Meet thee at Milford Haven! I forgot to ask him one thing;
I'll remember't anon. Even there, thou villain Posthumus, will I
kill thee. I would these garments were come. She said upon a
time- the bitterness of it I now belch from my heart- that she
held the very garment of Posthumus in more respect than my noble
and natural person, together with the adornment of my qualities.
With that suit upon my back will I ravish her; first kill him,
and in her eyes. There shall she see my valour, which will then
be a torment to her contempt. He on the ground, my speech of
insultment ended on his dead body, and when my lust hath dined-
which, as I say, to vex her I will execute in the clothes that
she so prais'd- to the court I'll knock her back, foot her home
again. She hath despis'd me rejoicingly, and I'll be merry in my

Re-enter PISANIO, with the clothes

Be those the garments?
PISANIO. Ay, my noble lord.
CLOTEN. How long is't since she went to Milford Haven?
PISANIO. She can scarce be there yet.
CLOTEN. Bring this apparel to my chamber; that is the second thing
that I have commanded thee. The third is that thou wilt be a
voluntary mute to my design. Be but duteous and true, preferment
shall tender itself to thee. My revenge is now at Milford, would
I had wings to follow it! Come, and be true. Exit
PISANIO. Thou bid'st me to my loss; for true to thee
Were to prove false, which I will never be,
To him that is most true. To Milford go,
And find not her whom thou pursuest. Flow, flow,
You heavenly blessings, on her! This fool's speed
Be cross'd with slowness! Labour be his meed! Exit

Wales. Before the cave of BELARIUS

Enter IMOGEN alone, in boy's clothes

IMOGEN. 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' th' 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 anything 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! Exit into the cave


BELARIUS. You, Polydore, have prov'd best woodman and
Are master of the feast. Cadwal and I
Will play the cook and servant; 'tis our match.
The sweat of industry would dry and die
But for the end it works to. Come, our stomachs
Will make what's homely savoury; weariness
Can snore upon the flint, when resty sloth
Finds the down pillow hard. Now, peace be here,
Poor house, that keep'st thyself!
GUIDERIUS. I am thoroughly weary.
ARVIRAGUS. I am weak with toil, yet strong in appetite.
GUIDERIUS. There is cold meat i' th' cave; we'll browse on that
Whilst what we have kill'd be cook'd.
BELARIUS. [Looking into the cave] Stay, come not in.
But that it eats our victuals, I should think
Here were a fairy.
GUIDERIUS. What's the matter, sir?
BELARIUS.. By Jupiter, an angel! or, if not,
An earthly paragon! Behold divineness
No elder than a boy!

Re-enter IMOGEN

IMOGEN. Good masters, harm me not.
Before I enter'd here I call'd, and thought
To have begg'd or bought what I have took. Good troth,
I have stol'n nought; nor would not though I had found
Gold strew'd i' th' floor. Here's money for my meat.
I would have left it on the board, so soon
As I had made my meal, and parted
With pray'rs for the provider.
GUIDERIUS. Money, youth?
ARVIRAGUS. All gold and silver rather turn to dirt,
As 'tis no better reckon'd but of those
Who worship dirty gods.
IMOGEN. I see you're angry.
Know, if you kill me for my fault, I should
Have died had I not made it.
BELARIUS. Whither bound?
IMOGEN. To Milford Haven.
BELARIUS. What's your name?
IMOGEN. Fidele, sir. I have a kinsman who
Is bound for Italy; he embark'd at Milford;
To whom being going, almost spent with hunger,
I am fall'n in this offence.
BELARIUS. Prithee, fair youth,
Think us no churls, nor measure our good minds
By this rude place we live in. Well encounter'd!
'Tis almost night; you shall have better cheer
Ere you depart, and thanks to stay and eat it.
Boys, bid him welcome.
GUIDERIUS. Were you a woman, youth,
I should woo hard but be your groom. In honesty
I bid for you as I'd buy.
ARVIRAGUS. I'll make't my comfort
He is a man. I'll love him as my brother;
And such a welcome as I'd give to him
After long absence, such is yours. Most welcome!
Be sprightly, for you fall 'mongst friends.
IMOGEN. 'Mongst friends,
If brothers. [Aside] Would it had been so that they
Had been my father's sons! Then had my prize
Been less, and so more equal ballasting
To thee, Posthumus.
BELARIUS. He wrings at some distress.
GUIDERIUS. Would I could free't!
ARVIRAGUS. Or I, whate'er it be,
What pain it cost, what danger! Gods!
BELARIUS. [Whispering] Hark, boys.
IMOGEN. [Aside] Great men,
That had a court no bigger than this cave,
That did attend themselves, and had the virtue
Which their own conscience seal'd them, laying by
That nothing-gift of differing multitudes,
Could not out-peer these twain. Pardon me, gods!
I'd change my sex to be companion with them,
Since Leonatus' false.
BELARIUS. It shall be so.
Boys, we'll go dress our hunt. Fair youth, come in.
Discourse is heavy, fasting; when we have supp'd,
We'll mannerly demand thee of thy story,
So far as thou wilt speak it.
GUIDERIUS. Pray draw near.
ARVIRAGUS. The night to th' owl and morn to th' lark less welcome.
IMOGEN. Thanks, sir.
ARVIRAGUS. I pray draw near. Exeunt

Rome. A public place


FIRST SENATOR. This is the tenour of the Emperor's writ:
That since the common men are now in action
'Gainst the Pannonians and Dalmatians,
And that the legions now in Gallia are
Full weak to undertake our wars against
The fall'n-off Britons, that we do incite
The gentry to this business. He creates
Lucius proconsul; and to you, the tribunes,
For this immediate levy, he commands
His absolute commission. Long live Caesar!
TRIBUNE. Is Lucius general of the forces?
TRIBUNE. Remaining now in Gallia?
FIRST SENATOR. With those legions
Which I have spoke of, whereunto your levy
Must be supplyant. The words of your commission
Will tie you to the numbers and the time
Of their dispatch.
TRIBUNE. We will discharge our duty. Exeunt

Wales. Near the cave of BELARIUS

Enter CLOTEN alone

CLOTEN. I am near to th' place where they should meet, if Pisanio
have mapp'd it truly. How fit his garments serve me! Why should
his mistress, who was made by him that made the tailor, not be
fit too? The rather- saving reverence of the word- for 'tis said
a woman's fitness comes by fits. Therein I must play the workman.
I dare speak it to myself, for it is not vain-glory for a man and
his glass to confer in his own chamber- I mean, the lines of my
body are as well drawn as his; no less young, more strong, not
beneath him in fortunes, beyond him in the advantage of the time,
above him in birth, alike conversant in general services, and
more remarkable in single oppositions. Yet this imperceiverant
thing loves him in my despite. What mortality is! Posthumus, thy
head, which now is growing upon thy shoulders, shall within this
hour be off; thy mistress enforced; thy garments cut to pieces
before her face; and all this done, spurn her home to her father,
who may, haply, be a little angry for my so rough usage; but my
mother, having power of his testiness, shall turn all into my
commendations. My horse is tied up safe. Out, sword, and to a
sore purpose! Fortune, put them into my hand. This is the very
description of their meeting-place; and the fellow dares not
deceive me. Exit

Wales. Before the cave of BELARIUS


BELARIUS. [To IMOGEN] You are not well. Remain here in the cave;
We'll come to you after hunting.
ARVIRAGUS. [To IMOGEN] Brother, stay here.
Are we not brothers?
IMOGEN. So man and man should be;
But clay and clay differs in dignity,
Whose dust is both alike. I am very sick.
GUIDERIUS. Go you to hunting; I'll abide with him.
IMOGEN. So sick I am not, yet I am not well;
But not so citizen a wanton as
To seem to die ere sick. So please you, leave me;
Stick to your journal course. The breach of custom
Is breach of all. I am ill, but your being by me
Cannot amend me; society is no comfort
To one not sociable. I am not very sick,
Since I can reason of it. Pray you trust me here.
I'll rob none but myself; and let me die,
Stealing so poorly.
GUIDERIUS. I love thee; I have spoke it.
How much the quantity, the weight as much
As I do love my father.
BELARIUS. What? how? how?
ARVIRAGUS. If it be sin to say so, sir, I yoke me
In my good brother's fault. I know not why
I love this youth, and I have heard you say
Love's reason's without reason. The bier at door,
And a demand who is't shall die, I'd say
'My father, not this youth.'
BELARIUS. [Aside] O noble strain!
O worthiness of nature! breed of greatness!
Cowards father cowards and base things sire base.
Nature hath meal and bran, contempt and grace.
I'm not their father; yet who this should be
Doth miracle itself, lov'd before me.-
'Tis the ninth hour o' th' morn.
ARVIRAGUS. Brother, farewell.
IMOGEN. I wish ye sport.
ARVIRAGUS. Your health. [To BELARIUS] So please you, sir.
IMOGEN. [Aside] These are kind creatures. Gods, what lies I have
Our courtiers say all's savage but at court.
Experience, O, thou disprov'st report!
Th' imperious seas breed monsters; for the dish,
Poor tributary rivers as sweet fish.
I am sick still; heart-sick. Pisanio,
I'll now taste of thy drug. [Swallows some]
GUIDERIUS. I could not stir him.
He said he was gentle, but unfortunate;
Dishonestly afflicted, but yet honest.
ARVIRAGUS. Thus did he answer me; yet said hereafter
I might know more.
BELARIUS. To th' field, to th' field!
We'll leave you for this time. Go in and rest.
ARVIRAGUS. We'll not be long away.
BELARIUS. Pray be not sick,
For you must be our huswife.
IMOGEN. Well, or ill,
I am bound to you.
BELARIUS. And shalt be ever. Exit IMOGEN into the cave
This youth, howe'er distress'd, appears he hath had
Good ancestors.
ARVIRAGUS. How angel-like he sings!
GUIDERIUS. But his neat cookery! He cut our roots in characters,
And sauc'd our broths as Juno had been sick,
And he her dieter.
ARVIRAGUS. Nobly he yokes
A smiling with a sigh, as if the sigh
Was that it was for not being such a smile;
The smile mocking the sigh that it would fly
From so divine a temple to commix
With winds that sailors rail at.
GUIDERIUS. I do note
That grief and patience, rooted in him both,
Mingle their spurs together.
ARVIRAGUS. Grow patience!
And let the stinking elder, grief, untwine
His perishing root with the increasing vine!
BELARIUS. It is great morning. Come, away! Who's there?


CLOTEN. I cannot find those runagates; that villain
Hath mock'd me. I am faint.
BELARIUS. Those runagates?
Means he not us? I partly know him; 'tis
Cloten, the son o' th' Queen. I fear some ambush.
I saw him not these many years, and yet
I know 'tis he. We are held as outlaws. Hence!
GUIDERIUS. He is but one; you and my brother search
What companies are near. Pray you away;
Let me alone with him. Exeunt BELARIUS and ARVIRAGUS
CLOTEN. Soft! What are you
That fly me thus? Some villain mountaineers?
I have heard of such. What slave art thou?
More slavish did I ne'er than answering
'A slave' without a knock.
CLOTEN. Thou art a robber,
A law-breaker, a villain. Yield thee, thief.
GUIDERIUS. To who? To thee? What art thou? Have not I
An arm as big as thine, a heart as big?
Thy words, I grant, are bigger, for I wear not
My dagger in my mouth. Say what thou art;
Why I should yield to thee.
CLOTEN. Thou villain base,
Know'st me not by my clothes?
GUIDERIUS. No, nor thy tailor, rascal,
Who is thy grandfather; he made those clothes,
Which, as it seems, make thee.
CLOTEN. Thou precious varlet,
My tailor made them not.
GUIDERIUS. Hence, then, and thank
The man that gave them thee. Thou art some fool;
I am loath to beat thee.
CLOTEN. Thou injurious thief,
Hear but my name, and tremble.
GUIDERIUS. What's thy name?
CLOTEN. Cloten, thou villain.
GUIDERIUS. Cloten, thou double villain, be thy name,
I cannot tremble at it. Were it toad, or adder, spider,
'Twould move me sooner.
CLOTEN. To thy further fear,
Nay, to thy mere confusion, thou shalt know
I am son to th' Queen.
GUIDERIUS. I'm sorry for't; not seeming
So worthy as thy birth.
CLOTEN. Art not afeard?
GUIDERIUS. Those that I reverence, those I fear- the wise:
At fools I laugh, not fear them.
CLOTEN. Die the death.
When I have slain thee with my proper hand,
I'll follow those that even now fled hence,
And on the gates of Lud's Town set your heads.
Yield, rustic mountaineer. Exeunt, fighting


BELARIUS. No company's abroad.
ARVIRAGUS. None in the world; you did mistake him, sure.
BELARIUS. I cannot tell; long is it since I saw him,
But time hath nothing blurr'd those lines of favour
Which then he wore; the snatches in his voice,
And burst of speaking, were as his. I am absolute
'Twas very Cloten.
ARVIRAGUS. In this place we left them.
I wish my brother make good time with him,
You say he is so fell.
BELARIUS. Being scarce made up,
I mean to man, he had not apprehension
Or roaring terrors; for defect of judgment
Is oft the cease of fear.

Re-enter GUIDERIUS with CLOTEN'S head

But, see, thy brother.
GUIDERIUS. This Cloten was a fool, an empty purse;
There was no money in't. Not Hercules
Could have knock'd out his brains, for he had none;
Yet I not doing this, the fool had borne
My head as I do his.
BELARIUS. What hast thou done?
GUIDERIUS. I am perfect what: cut off one Cloten's head,
Son to the Queen, after his own report;
Who call'd me traitor, mountaineer, and swore
With his own single hand he'd take us in,
Displace our heads where- thank the gods!- they grow,
And set them on Lud's Town.
BELARIUS. We are all undone.
GUIDERIUS. Why, worthy father, what have we to lose
But that he swore to take, our lives? The law
Protects not us; then why should we be tender
To let an arrogant piece of flesh threat us,
Play judge and executioner all himself,
For we do fear the law? What company
Discover you abroad?
BELARIUS. No single soul
Can we set eye on, but in an safe reason
He must have some attendants. Though his humour
Was nothing but mutation- ay, and that
From one bad thing to worse- not frenzy, not
Absolute madness could so far have rav'd,
To bring him here alone. Although perhaps
It may be heard at court that such as we
Cave here, hunt here, are outlaws, and in time
May make some stronger head- the which he hearing,
As it is like him, might break out and swear
He'd fetch us in; yet is't not probable
To come alone, either he so undertaking
Or they so suffering. Then on good ground we fear,
If we do fear this body hath a tail
More perilous than the head.
ARVIRAGUS. Let ordinance
Come as the gods foresay it. Howsoe'er,
My brother hath done well.
BELARIUS. I had no mind
To hunt this day; the boy Fidele's sickness
Did make my way long forth.
GUIDERIUS. With his own sword,
Which he did wave against my throat, I have ta'en
His head from him. I'll throw't into the creek
Behind our rock, and let it to the sea
And tell the fishes he's the Queen's son, Cloten.
That's all I reck. Exit
BELARIUS. I fear'twill be reveng'd.
Would, Polydore, thou hadst not done't! though valour
Becomes thee well enough.
ARVIRAGUS. Would I had done't,
So the revenge alone pursu'd me! Polydore,
I love thee brotherly, but envy much
Thou hast robb'd me of this deed. I would revenges,
That possible strength might meet, would seek us through,
And put us to our answer.
BELARIUS. Well, 'tis done.
We'll hunt no more to-day, nor seek for danger
Where there's no profit. I prithee to our rock.
You and Fidele play the cooks; I'll stay
Till hasty Polydore return, and bring him
To dinner presently.
ARVIRAGUS. Poor sick Fidele!
I'll willingly to him; to gain his colour
I'd let a parish of such Cloten's blood,
And praise myself for charity. Exit
BELARIUS. O thou goddess,
Thou divine Nature, thou thyself thou blazon'st
In these two princely boys! They are as gentle
As zephyrs blowing below the violet,
Not wagging his sweet head; and yet as rough,
Their royal blood enchaf'd, as the rud'st wind
That by the top doth take the mountain pine
And make him stoop to th' vale. 'Tis wonder
That an invisible instinct should frame them
To royalty unlearn'd, honour untaught,
Civility not seen from other, valour
That wildly grows in them, but yields a crop
As if it had been sow'd. Yet still it's strange
What Cloten's being here to us portends,
Or what his death will bring us.


GUIDERIUS. Where's my brother?
I have sent Cloten's clotpoll down the stream,
In embassy to his mother; his body's hostage
For his return. [Solemn music]
BELARIUS. My ingenious instrument!
Hark, Polydore, it sounds. But what occasion
Hath Cadwal now to give it motion? Hark!
GUIDERIUS. Is he at home?
BELARIUS. He went hence even now.
GUIDERIUS. What does he mean? Since death of my dear'st mother
It did not speak before. All solemn things
Should answer solemn accidents. The matter?
Triumphs for nothing and lamenting toys
Is jollity for apes and grief for boys.
Is Cadwal mad?

Re-enter ARVIRAGUS, with IMOGEN as dead, bearing
her in his arms

BELARIUS. Look, here he comes,
And brings the dire occasion in his arms
Of what we blame him for!
ARVIRAGUS. The bird is dead
That we have made so much on. I had rather
Have skipp'd from sixteen years of age to sixty,
To have turn'd my leaping time into a crutch,
Than have seen this.
GUIDERIUS. O sweetest, fairest lily!
My brother wears thee not the one half so well
As when thou grew'st thyself.
BELARIUS. O melancholy!
Who ever yet could sound thy bottom? find
The ooze to show what coast thy sluggish crare
Might'st easiliest harbour in? Thou blessed thing!
Jove knows what man thou mightst have made; but I,
Thou diedst, a most rare boy, of melancholy.
How found you him?
ARVIRAGUS. Stark, as you see;
Thus smiling, as some fly had tickled slumber,
Not as death's dart, being laugh'd at; his right cheek
Reposing on a cushion.
ARVIRAGUS. O' th' floor;
His arms thus leagu'd. I thought he slept, and put
My clouted brogues from off my feet, whose rudeness
Answer'd my steps too loud.
GUIDERIUS. Why, he but sleeps.
If he be gone he'll make his grave a bed;
With female fairies will his tomb be haunted,
And worms will not come to thee.
ARVIRAGUS. With fairest flowers,
Whilst summer lasts and I live here, Fidele,
I'll sweeten thy sad grave. Thou shalt not lack
The flower that's like thy face, pale primrose; nor
The azur'd hare-bell, like thy veins; no, nor
The leaf of eglantine, whom not to slander,
Out-sweet'ned not thy breath. The ruddock would,
With charitable bill- O bill, sore shaming
Those rich-left heirs that let their fathers lie
Without a monument!- bring thee all this;
Yea, and furr'd moss besides, when flow'rs are none,
To winter-ground thy corse-
GUIDERIUS. Prithee have done,
And do not play in wench-like words with that
Which is so serious. Let us bury him,
And not protract with admiration what
Is now due debt. To th' grave.
ARVIRAGUS. Say, where shall's lay him?
GUIDERIUS. By good Euriphile, our mother.
And let us, Polydore, though now our voices
Have got the mannish crack, sing him to th' ground,
As once to our mother; use like note and words,
Save that Euriphile must be Fidele.
I cannot sing. I'll weep, and word it with thee;
For notes of sorrow out of tune are worse
Than priests and fanes that lie.
ARVIRAGUS. We'll speak it, then.
BELARIUS. Great griefs, I see, med'cine the less, for Cloten
Is quite forgot. He was a queen's son, boys;
And though he came our enemy, remember
He was paid for that. Though mean and mighty rotting
Together have one dust, yet reverence-
That angel of the world- doth make distinction
Of place 'tween high and low. Our foe was princely;
And though you took his life, as being our foe,
Yet bury him as a prince.
GUIDERIUS. Pray you fetch him hither.
Thersites' body is as good as Ajax',
When neither are alive.
ARVIRAGUS. If you'll go fetch him,
We'll say our song the whilst. Brother, begin.
GUIDERIUS. Nay, Cadwal, we must lay his head to th' East;
My father hath a reason for't.
ARVIRAGUS. 'Tis true.
GUIDERIUS. Come on, then, and remove him.


GUIDERIUS. Fear no more the heat o' th' sun
Nor the furious winter's rages;
Thou thy worldly task hast done,
Home art gone, and ta'en thy wages.
Golden lads and girls all must,
As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.

ARVIRAGUS. Fear no more the frown o' th' great;
Thou art past the tyrant's stroke.
Care no more to clothe and eat;
To thee the reed is as the oak.
The sceptre, learning, physic, must
All follow this and come to dust.

GUIDERIUS. Fear no more the lightning flash,
ARVIRAGUS. Nor th' all-dreaded thunder-stone;
GUIDERIUS. Fear not slander, censure rash;
ARVIRAGUS. Thou hast finish'd joy and moan.
BOTH. All lovers young, all lovers must
Consign to thee and come to dust.

GUIDERIUS. No exorciser harm thee!
ARVIRAGUS. Nor no witchcraft charm thee!
GUIDERIUS. Ghost unlaid forbear thee!
ARVIRAGUS. Nothing ill come near thee!
BOTH. Quiet consummation have,
And renowned be thy grave!

Re-enter BELARIUS with the body of CLOTEN

GUIDERIUS. We have done our obsequies. Come, lay him down.
BELARIUS. Here's a few flowers; but 'bout midnight, more.
The herbs that have on them cold dew o' th' night
Are strewings fit'st for graves. Upon their faces.
You were as flow'rs, now wither'd. Even so
These herblets shall which we upon you strew.
Come on, away. Apart upon our knees.
The ground that gave them first has them again.
Their pleasures here are past, so is their pain.
Exeunt all but IMOGEN
IMOGEN. [Awaking] 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.
But, soft! no bedfellow. O gods and goddesses!
[Seeing the body]
These flow'rs 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,
Hath 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
Murd'rous to th' senses? That confirms it home.
This is Pisanio's deed, and Cloten. 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 fainting on the body]


CAPTAIN. To them the legions garrison'd in Gallia,
After your will, have cross'd the sea, attending
You here at Milford Haven; with your ships,
They are in readiness.
LUCIUS. But what from Rome?
CAPTAIN. The Senate hath stirr'd up the confiners
And gentlemen of Italy, most willing spirits,
That promise noble service; and they come
Under the conduct of bold Iachimo,
Sienna's brother.
LUCIUS. When expect you them?
CAPTAIN. With the next benefit o' th' wind.
LUCIUS. This forwardness
Makes our hopes fair. Command our present numbers
Be muster'd; bid the captains look to't. Now, sir,
What have you dream'd of late of this war's purpose?
SOOTHSAYER. Last night the very gods show'd me a vision-
I fast and pray'd for their intelligence- thus:
I saw Jove's bird, the Roman eagle, wing'd
From the spongy south to this part of the west,
There vanish'd in the sunbeams; which portends,
Unless my sins abuse my divination,
Success to th' Roman host.
LUCIUS. Dream often so,
And never false. Soft, ho! what trunk is here
Without his top? The ruin speaks that sometime
It was a worthy building. How? a page?
Or dead or sleeping on him? But dead, rather;
For nature doth abhor to make his bed
With the defunct, or sleep upon the dead.
Let's see the boy's face.
CAPTAIN. He's alive, my lord.
LUCIUS. He'll then instruct us of this body. Young one,
Inform us of thy fortunes; for it seems
They crave to be demanded. Who is this
Thou mak'st thy bloody pillow? Or who was he
That, otherwise than noble nature did,
Hath alter'd that good picture? What's thy interest
In this sad wreck? How came't? Who is't? What art thou?
IMOGEN. I am nothing; or if not,
Nothing to be were better. This was my master,
A very valiant Briton and a good,
That here by mountaineers lies slain. Alas!
There is no more such masters. I may wander
From east to occident; cry out for service;
Try many, all good; serve truly; never
Find such another master.
LUCIUS. 'Lack, good youth!
Thou mov'st no less with thy complaining than
Thy master in bleeding. Say his name, good friend.
IMOGEN. Richard du Champ. [Aside] If I do lie, and do
No harm by it, though the gods hear, I hope
They'll pardon it.- Say you, sir?
LUCIUS. Thy name?
IMOGEN. Fidele, sir.
LUCIUS. Thou dost approve thyself the very same;
Thy name well fits thy faith, thy faith thy name.
Wilt take thy chance with me? I will not say
Thou shalt be so well master'd; but, be sure,
No less belov'd. The Roman Emperor's letters,
Sent by a consul to me, should not sooner
Than thine own worth prefer thee. Go with me.
IMOGEN. I'll follow, sir. But first, an't please the gods,
I'll hide my master from the flies, as deep
As these poor pickaxes can dig; and when
With wild wood-leaves and weeds I ha' strew'd his grave,
And on it said a century of prayers,
Such as I can, twice o'er, I'll weep and sigh;
And leaving so his service, follow you,
So please you entertain me.
LUCIUS. Ay, good youth;
And rather father thee than master thee.
My friends,
The boy hath taught us manly duties; let us
Find out the prettiest daisied plot we can,
And make him with our pikes and partisans
A grave. Come, arm him. Boy, he is preferr'd
By thee to us; and he shall be interr'd
As soldiers can. Be cheerful; wipe thine eyes.
Some falls are means the happier to arise. Exeunt

Britain. CYMBELINE'S palace

Enter CYMBELINE, LORDS, PISANIO, and attendants

CYMBELINE. Again! and bring me word how 'tis with her.
Exit an attendant
A fever with the absence of her son;
A madness, of which her life's in danger. Heavens,
How deeply you at once do touch me! Imogen,
The great part of my comfort, gone; my queen
Upon a desperate bed, and in a time
When fearful wars point at me; her son gone,
So needful for this present. It strikes me past
The hope of comfort. But for thee, fellow,
Who needs must know of her departure and
Dost seem so ignorant, we'll enforce it from thee
By a sharp torture.
PISANIO. Sir, my life is yours;
I humbly set it at your will; but for my mistress,
I nothing know where she remains, why gone,
Nor when she purposes return. Beseech your Highness,
Hold me your loyal servant.
LORD. Good my liege,
The day that she was missing he was here.
I dare be bound he's true and shall perform
All parts of his subjection loyally. For Cloten,
There wants no diligence in seeking him,
And will no doubt be found.
CYMBELINE. The time is troublesome.
[To PISANIO] We'll slip you for a season; but our jealousy
Does yet depend.
LORD. So please your Majesty,
The Roman legions, all from Gallia drawn,
Are landed on your coast, with a supply
Of Roman gentlemen by the Senate sent.
CYMBELINE. Now for the counsel of my son and queen!
I am amaz'd with matter.
LORD. Good my liege,
Your preparation can affront no less
Than what you hear of. Come more, for more you're ready.
The want is but to put those pow'rs in motion
That long to move.
CYMBELINE. I thank you. Let's withdraw,
And meet the time as it seeks us. We fear not
What can from Italy annoy us; but
We grieve at chances here. Away! Exeunt all but PISANIO
PISANIO. I heard no letter from my master since
I wrote him Imogen was slain. 'Tis strange.
Nor hear I from my mistress, who did promise
To yield me often tidings. Neither know
What is betid to Cloten, but remain
Perplex'd in all. The heavens still must work.
Wherein I am false I am honest; not true, to be true.
These present wars shall find I love my country,
Even to the note o' th' King, or I'll fall in them.
All other doubts, by time let them be clear'd:
Fortune brings in some boats that are not steer'd. Exit

Wales. Before the cave of BELARIUS


GUIDERIUS. The noise is round about us.
BELARIUS. Let us from it.
ARVIRAGUS. What pleasure, sir, find we in life, to lock it
From action and adventure?
GUIDERIUS. Nay, what hope
Have we in hiding us? This way the Romans
Must or for Britons slay us, or receive us
For barbarous and unnatural revolts
During their use, and slay us after.
We'll higher to the mountains; there secure us.
To the King's party there's no going. Newness
Of Cloten's death- we being not known, not muster'd
Among the bands-may drive us to a render
Where we have liv'd, and so extort from's that
Which we have done, whose answer would be death,
Drawn on with torture.
GUIDERIUS. This is, sir, a doubt
In such a time nothing becoming you
Nor satisfying us.
ARVIRAGUS. It is not likely
That when they hear the Roman horses neigh,
Behold their quarter'd fires, have both their eyes
And ears so cloy'd importantly as now,
That they will waste their time upon our note,
To know from whence we are.
BELARIUS. O, I am known
Of many in the army. Many years,
Though Cloten then but young, you see, not wore him
From my remembrance. And, besides, the King
Hath not deserv'd my service nor your loves,
Who find in my exile the want of breeding,
The certainty of this hard life; aye hopeless
To have the courtesy your cradle promis'd,
But to be still hot summer's tanlings and
The shrinking slaves of winter.
GUIDERIUS. Than be so,
Better to cease to be. Pray, sir, to th' army.
I and my brother are not known; yourself
So out of thought, and thereto so o'ergrown,
Cannot be questioned.
ARVIRAGUS. By this sun that shines,
I'll thither. What thing is't that I never
Did see man die! scarce ever look'd on blood
But that of coward hares, hot goats, and venison!
Never bestrid a horse, save one that had
A rider like myself, who ne'er wore rowel
Nor iron on his heel! I am asham'd
To look upon the holy sun, to have
The benefit of his blest beams, remaining
So long a poor unknown.
GUIDERIUS. By heavens, I'll go!
If you will bless me, sir, and give me leave,
I'll take the better care; but if you will not,
The hazard therefore due fall on me by
The hands of Romans!
ARVIRAGUS. So say I. Amen.
BELARIUS. No reason I, since of your lives you set
So slight a valuation, should reserve
My crack'd one to more care. Have with you, boys!
If in your country wars you chance to die,
That is my bed too, lads, and there I'll lie.
Lead, lead. [Aside] The time seems long; their blood thinks scorn
Till it fly out and show them princes born. Exeunt

Britain. The Roman camp

Enter POSTHUMUS alone, with a bloody handkerchief

POSTHUMUS. Yea, bloody cloth, I'll keep thee; for I wish'd
Thou shouldst be colour'd thus. You married ones,
If each of you should take this course, how many
Must murder wives much better than themselves
For wrying but a little! O Pisanio!
Every good servant does not all commands;
No bond but to do just ones. Gods! if you
Should have ta'en vengeance on my faults, I never
Had liv'd to put on this; so had you saved
The noble Imogen to repent, and struck
Me, wretch more worth your vengeance. But alack,
You snatch some hence for little faults; that's love,
To have them fall no more. You some permit
To second ills with ills, each elder worse,
And make them dread it, to the doer's thrift.
But Imogen is your own. Do your best wills,
And make me blest to obey. I am brought hither
Among th' Italian gentry, and to fight
Against my lady's kingdom. 'Tis enough
That, Britain, I have kill'd thy mistress; peace!
I'll give no wound to thee. Therefore, good heavens,
Hear patiently my purpose. I'll disrobe me
Of these Italian weeds, and suit myself
As does a Britain peasant. So I'll fight
Against the part I come with; so I'll die
For thee, O Imogen, even for whom my life
Is every breath a death. And thus unknown,
Pitied nor hated, to the face of peril
Myself I'll dedicate. Let me make men know
More valour in me than my habits show.
Gods, put the strength o' th' Leonati in me!
To shame the guise o' th' world, I will begin
The fashion- less without and more within. Exit

Britain. A field of battle between the British and Roman camps

Enter LUCIUS, IACHIMO, and the Roman army at one door, and the British army
at another, LEONATUS POSTHUMUS following like a poor soldier.
They march over and go out. Alarums. Then enter again, in skirmish,
IACHIMO and POSTHUMUS. He vanquisheth and disarmeth IACHIMO,
and then leaves him

IACHIMO. The heaviness and guilt within my bosom
Takes off my manhood. I have belied a lady,
The Princess of this country, and the air on't
Revengingly enfeebles me; or could this carl,
A very drudge of nature's, have subdu'd me
In my profession? Knighthoods and honours borne
As I wear mine are titles but of scorn.
If that thy gentry, Britain, go before
This lout as he exceeds our lords, the odds
Is that we scarce are men, and you are gods. Exit

The battle continues; the BRITONS fly; CYMBELINE is taken.
Then enter to his rescue BELARIUS, GUIDERIUS, and ARVIRAGUS

BELARIUS. Stand, stand! We have th' advantage of the ground;
The lane is guarded; nothing routs us but
The villainy of our fears.
GUIDERIUS and ARVIRAGUS. Stand, stand, and fight!

Re-enter POSTHUMUS, and seconds the Britons; they rescue
CYMBELINE, and exeunt. Then re-enter LUCIUS and IACHIMO,

LUCIUS. Away, boy, from the troops, and save thyself;
For friends kill friends, and the disorder's such
As war were hoodwink'd.
IACHIMO. 'Tis their fresh supplies.
LUCIUS. It is a day turn'd strangely. Or betimes
Let's reinforce or fly. Exeunt

Another part of the field

Enter POSTHUMUS and a Britain LORD

LORD. Cam'st thou from where they made the stand?
Though you, it seems, come from the fliers.
LORD. I did.
POSTHUMUS. No blame be to you, sir, for all was lost,
But that the heavens fought. The King himself
Of his wings destitute, the army broken,
And but the backs of Britons seen, an flying,
Through a strait lane- the enemy, full-hearted,
Lolling the tongue with slaught'ring, having work
More plentiful than tools to do't, struck down
Some mortally, some slightly touch'd, some falling
Merely through fear, that the strait pass was damm'd
With dead men hurt behind, and cowards living
To die with length'ned shame.
LORD. Where was this lane?
POSTHUMUS. Close by the battle, ditch'd, and wall'd with turf,
Which gave advantage to an ancient soldier-
An honest one, I warrant, who deserv'd
So long a breeding as his white beard came to,
In doing this for's country. Athwart the lane
He, with two striplings- lads more like to run
The country base than to commit such slaughter;
With faces fit for masks, or rather fairer
Than those for preservation cas'd or shame-
Made good the passage, cried to those that fled
'Our Britain's harts die flying, not our men.
To darkness fleet souls that fly backwards! Stand;
Or we are Romans and will give you that,
Like beasts, which you shun beastly, and may save
But to look back in frown. Stand, stand!' These three,
Three thousand confident, in act as many-
For three performers are the file when all
The rest do nothing- with this word 'Stand, stand!'
Accommodated by the place, more charming
With their own nobleness, which could have turn'd
A distaff to a lance, gilded pale looks,
Part shame, part spirit renew'd; that some turn'd coward
But by example- O, a sin in war
Damn'd in the first beginners!- gan to look
The way that they did and to grin like lions
Upon the pikes o' th' hunters. Then began
A stop i' th' chaser, a retire; anon
A rout, confusion thick. Forthwith they fly,
Chickens, the way which they stoop'd eagles; slaves,
The strides they victors made; and now our cowards,
Like fragments in hard voyages, became
The life o' th' need. Having found the back-door open
Of the unguarded hearts, heavens, how they wound!
Some slain before, some dying, some their friends
O'erborne i' th' former wave. Ten chas'd by one
Are now each one the slaughterman of twenty.
Those that would die or ere resist are grown
The mortal bugs o' th' field.
LORD. This was strange chance:
A narrow lane, an old man, and two boys.
POSTHUMUS. Nay, do not wonder at it; you are made
Rather to wonder at the things you hear
Than to work any. Will you rhyme upon't,
And vent it for a mock'ry? Here is one:
'Two boys, an old man (twice a boy), a lane,
Preserv'd the Britons, was the Romans' bane.'
LORD. Nay, be not angry, sir.
POSTHUMUS. 'Lack, to what end?
Who dares not stand his foe I'll be his friend;
For if he'll do as he is made to do,
I know he'll quickly fly my friendship too.
You have put me into rhyme.
LORD. Farewell; you're angry. Exit
POSTHUMUS. Still going? This is a lord! O noble misery,
To be i' th' field and ask 'What news?' of me!
To-day how many would have given their honours
To have sav'd their carcasses! took heel to do't,
And yet died too! I, in mine own woe charm'd,
Could not find death where I did hear him groan,
Nor feel him where he struck. Being an ugly monster,
'Tis strange he hides him in fresh cups, soft beds,
Sweet words; or hath moe ministers than we
That draw his knives i' th' war. Well, I will find him;
For being now a favourer to the Briton,
No more a Briton, I have resum'd again
The part I came in. Fight I will no more,
But yield me to the veriest hind that shall
Once touch my shoulder. Great the slaughter is
Here made by th' Roman; great the answer be
Britons must take. For me, my ransom's death;
On either side I come to spend my breath,
Which neither here I'll keep nor bear again,
But end it by some means for Imogen.

Enter two BRITISH CAPTAINS and soldiers

FIRST CAPTAIN. Great Jupiter be prais'd! Lucius is taken.
'Tis thought the old man and his sons were angels.
SECOND CAPTAIN. There was a fourth man, in a silly habit,
That gave th' affront with them.
FIRST CAPTAIN. So 'tis reported;
But none of 'em can be found. Stand! who's there?
Who had not now been drooping here if seconds
Had answer'd him.
SECOND CAPTAIN. Lay hands on him; a dog!
A leg of Rome shall not return to tell
What crows have peck'd them here. He brags his service,
As if he were of note. Bring him to th' King.

captives. The CAPTAINS present POSTHUMUS to CYMBELINE, who delivers
him over to a gaoler. Exeunt omnes

Britain. A prison


FIRST GAOLER. You shall not now be stol'n, you have locks upon you;
So graze as you find pasture.
SECOND GAOLER. Ay, or a stomach. Exeunt GAOLERS
POSTHUMUS. Most welcome, bondage! for thou art a way,
I think, to liberty. Yet am I better
Than one that's sick o' th' gout, since he had rather
Groan so in perpetuity than be cur'd
By th' sure physician death, who is the key
T' unbar these locks. My conscience, thou art fetter'd
More than my shanks and wrists; you good gods, give me
The penitent instrument to pick that bolt,
Then, free for ever! Is't enough I am sorry?
So children temporal fathers do appease;
Gods are more full of mercy. Must I repent,
I cannot do it better than in gyves,
Desir'd more than constrain'd. To satisfy,
If of my freedom 'tis the main part, take
No stricter render of me than my all.
I know you are more clement than vile men,
Who of their broken debtors take a third,
A sixth, a tenth, letting them thrive again
On their abatement; that's not my desire.
For Imogen's dear life take mine; and though
'Tis not so dear, yet 'tis a life; you coin'd it.
'Tween man and man they weigh not every stamp;
Though light, take pieces for the figure's sake;
You rather mine, being yours. And so, great pow'rs,
If you will take this audit, take this life,
And cancel these cold bonds. O Imogen!
I'll speak to thee in silence. [Sleeps]

Solemn music. Enter, as in an apparition, SICILIUS
LEONATUS, father to POSTHUMUS, an old man attired
like a warrior; leading in his hand an ancient
matron, his WIFE, and mother to POSTHUMUS, with
music before them. Then, after other music, follows
the two young LEONATI, brothers to POSTHUMUS,
with wounds, as they died in the wars.
They circle POSTHUMUS round as he lies sleeping

SICILIUS. No more, thou thunder-master, show
Thy spite on mortal flies.
With Mars fall out, with Juno chide,
That thy adulteries
Rates and revenges.
Hath my poor boy done aught but well,
Whose face I never saw?
I died whilst in the womb he stay'd
Attending nature's law;
Whose father then, as men report
Thou orphans' father art,
Thou shouldst have been, and shielded him
From this earth-vexing smart.

MOTHER. Lucina lent not me her aid,
But took me in my throes,
That from me was Posthumus ripp'd,
Came crying 'mongst his foes,
A thing of pity.

SICILIUS. Great Nature like his ancestry
Moulded the stuff so fair
That he deserv'd the praise o' th' world
As great Sicilius' heir.

FIRST BROTHER. When once he was mature for man,
In Britain where was he
That could stand up his parallel,
Or fruitful object be
In eye of Imogen, that best
Could deem his dignity?

MOTHER. With marriage wherefore was he mock'd,
To be exil'd and thrown
From Leonati seat and cast
From her his dearest one,
Sweet Imogen?

SICILIUS. Why did you suffer Iachimo,
Slight thing of Italy,
To taint his nobler heart and brain
With needless jealousy,
And to become the geck and scorn
O' th' other's villainy?

SECOND BROTHER. For this from stiller seats we came,
Our parents and us twain,
That, striking in our country's cause,
Fell bravely and were slain,
Our fealty and Tenantius' right
With honour to maintain.

FIRST BROTHER. Like hardiment Posthumus hath
To Cymbeline perform'd.
Then, Jupiter, thou king of gods,
Why hast thou thus adjourn'd
The graces for his merits due,
Being all to dolours turn'd?

SICILIUS. Thy crystal window ope; look out;
No longer exercise
Upon a valiant race thy harsh
And potent injuries.

MOTHER. Since, Jupiter, our son is good,
Take off his miseries.

SICILIUS. Peep through thy marble mansion. Help!
Or we poor ghosts will cry
To th' shining synod of the rest
Against thy deity.

BROTHERS. Help, Jupiter! or we appeal,
And from thy justice fly.

JUPITER descends-in thunder and lightning, sitting
upon an eagle. He throws a thunderbolt. The GHOSTS
fall on their knees

JUPITER. No more, you petty spirits of region low,
Offend our hearing; hush! How dare you ghosts
Accuse the Thunderer whose bolt, you know,
Sky-planted, batters all rebelling coasts?
Poor shadows of Elysium, hence and rest
Upon your never-withering banks of flow'rs.
Be not with mortal accidents opprest:
No care of yours it is; you know 'tis ours.
Whom best I love I cross; to make my gift,
The more delay'd, delighted. Be content;
Your low-laid son our godhead will uplift;
His comforts thrive, his trials well are spent.
Our Jovial star reign'd at his birth, and in
Our temple was he married. Rise and fade!
He shall be lord of Lady Imogen,
And happier much by his affliction made.
This tablet lay upon his breast, wherein
Our pleasure his full fortune doth confine;
And so, away; no farther with your din
Express impatience, lest you stir up mine.
Mount, eagle, to my palace crystalline. [Ascends]
SICILIUS. He came in thunder; his celestial breath
Was sulpherous to smell; the holy eagle
Stoop'd as to foot us. His ascension is
More sweet than our blest fields. His royal bird
Prunes the immortal wing, and cloys his beak,
As when his god is pleas'd.
ALL. Thanks, Jupiter!
SICILIUS. The marble pavement closes, he is enter'd
His radiant roof. Away! and, to be blest,
Let us with care perform his great behest. [GHOSTS vanish]

POSTHUMUS. [Waking] Sleep, thou has been a grandsire and begot
A father to me; and thou hast created
A mother and two brothers. But, O scorn,
Gone! They went hence so soon as they were born.
And so I am awake. Poor wretches, that depend
On greatness' favour, dream as I have done;
Wake and find nothing. But, alas, I swerve;
Many dream not to find, neither deserve,
And yet are steep'd in favours; so am I,
That have this golden chance, and know not why.
What fairies haunt this ground? A book? O rare one!
Be not, as is our fangled world, a garment
Nobler than that it covers. Let thy effects
So follow to be most unlike our courtiers,
As good as promise.

[Reads] 'When as a lion's whelp shall, to himself unknown,
without seeking find, and be embrac'd by a piece of tender air;
and when from a stately cedar shall be lopp'd branches which,
being dead many years, shall after revive, be jointed to the old
stock, and freshly grow; then shall Posthumus end his miseries,
Britain be fortunate and flourish in peace and plenty.'

'Tis still a dream, or else such stuff as madmen
Tongue, and brain not; either both or nothing,
Or senseless speaking, or a speaking such
As sense cannot untie. Be what it is,
The action of my life is like it, which
I'll keep, if but for sympathy.

Re-enter GAOLER

GAOLER. Come, sir, are you ready for death?
POSTHUMUS. Over-roasted rather; ready long ago.
GAOLER. Hanging is the word, sir; if you be ready for that, you are
well cook'd.
POSTHUMUS. So, if I prove a good repast to the spectators, the dish
pays the shot.
GAOLER. A heavy reckoning for you, sir. But the comfort is, you
shall be called to no more payments, fear no more tavern bills,
which are often the sadness of parting, as the procuring of mirth.
You come in faint for want of meat, depart reeling with too much
drink; sorry that you have paid too much, and sorry that you are
paid too much; purse and brain both empty; the brain the heavier
for being too light, the purse too light, being drawn of
heaviness. O, of this contradiction you shall now be quit. O, the
charity of a penny cord! It sums up thousands in a trice. You
have no true debitor and creditor but it; of what's past, is, and
to come, the discharge. Your neck, sir, is pen, book, and
counters; so the acquittance follows.
POSTHUMUS. I am merrier to die than thou art to live.
GAOLER. Indeed, sir, he that sleeps feels not the toothache. But a
man that were to sleep your sleep, and a hangman to help him to
bed, I think he would change places with his officer; for look
you, sir, you know not which way you shall go.
POSTHUMUS. Yes indeed do I, fellow.
GAOLER. Your death has eyes in's head, then; I have not seen him so
pictur'd. You must either be directed by some that take upon them
to know, or to take upon yourself that which I am sure you do not
know, or jump the after-inquiry on your own peril. And how you
shall speed in your journey's end, I think you'll never return to
tell one.
POSTHUMUS. 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.
GAOLER. 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 hanging's
the way of winking.


MESSENGER. Knock off his manacles; bring your prisoner to the King.
POSTHUMUS. Thou bring'st good news: I am call'd to be made free.
GAOLER. I'll be hang'd then.
POSTHUMUS. Thou shalt be then freer than a gaoler; no bolts for the
GAOLER. 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 desire 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. O, there
were desolation of gaolers and gallowses! I speak against my
present profit, but my wish hath a preferment in't. Exit

Britain. CYMBELINE'S tent

OFFICERS, and attendants

CYMBELINE. Stand by my side, you whom the gods have made
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 targes of proof, cannot be found.
He shall be happy that can find him, if
Our grace can make him so.
BELARIUS. I never saw
Such noble fury in so poor a thing;
Such precious deeds in one that promis'd nought
But beggary and poor looks.
CYMBELINE. No tidings of him?
PISANIO. He hath been search'd among the dead and living,
But no trace of him.
CYMBELINE. To my grief, I am
The heir of his reward; [To BELARIUS, GUIDERIUS, and ARVIRAGUS]
which I will add
To you, the liver, heart, and brain, of Britain,
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.
CYMBELINE. Bow your knees.
Arise my knights o' th' battle; I create you
Companions to our person, and will fit you
With dignities becoming your estates.


There's business in these faces. Why so sadly
Greet you our victory? You look like Romans,
And not o' th' court of Britain.
CORNELIUS. Hail, great King!
To sour your happiness I must report
The Queen is dead.
CYMBELINE. Who worse than a physician
Would this report become? But I consider
By med'cine'life may be prolong'd, yet death
Will seize the doctor too. How ended she?
CORNELIUS. 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.
CYMBELINE. Prithee say.
CORNELIUS. 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.
CYMBELINE. She alone knew this;
And but she spoke it dying, I would not
Believe her lips in opening it. Proceed.
CORNELIUS. Your daughter, whom she bore in hand to love
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.
CYMBELINE. O most delicate fiend!
Who is't can read a woman? Is there more?
CORNELIUS. 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; and in time,
When she had fitted you with her craft, to work
Her son into th' adoption of the crown;
But failing of her end by his strange absence,
Grew shameless-desperate, open'd, in despite
Of heaven and men, her purposes, repented
The evils she hatch'd were not effected; so,
Despairing, died.
CYMBELINE. Heard you all this, her women?
LADY. We did, so please your Highness.
CYMBELINE. Mine eyes
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 vicious
To have mistrusted her; yet, O my daughter!
That it was folly in me thou mayst 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 kinsmen 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.
LUCIUS. 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 ransom, 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 master 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.
CYMBELINE. I have surely seen him;
His favour is familiar to me. Boy,
Thou hast look'd thyself into my grace,
And art mine own. I know not why, 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.
IMOGEN. I humbly thank your Highness.
LUCIUS. I do not bid thee beg my life, good lad,
And yet I know thou wilt.
IMOGEN. 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.
LUCIUS. The boy disdains me,
He leaves me, scorns me. Briefly die their joys
That place them on the truth of girls and boys.
Why stands he so perplex'd?
CYMBELINE. What wouldst 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?
IMOGEN. He is a Roman, no more kin to me
Than I to your Highness; who, being born your vassal,
Am something nearer.
CYMBELINE. Wherefore ey'st him so?
IMOGEN. I'll tell you, sir, in private, if you please
To give me hearing.
CYMBELINE. Ay, with all my heart,
And lend my best attention. What's thy name?
IMOGEN. Fidele, sir.
CYMBELINE. Thou'rt my good youth, my page;
I'll be thy master. Walk with me; speak freely.
[CYMBELINE and IMOGEN converse apart]
BELARIUS. Is not this boy reviv'd from death?
ARVIRAGUS. One sand another
Not more resembles- that sweet rosy lad
Who died and was Fidele. What think you?
GUIDERIUS. The same dead thing alive.
BELARIUS. Peace, peace! see further. He eyes us not; forbear.
Creatures may be alike; were't he, I am sure
He would have spoke to us.
GUIDERIUS. But we saw him dead.
BELARIUS. Be silent; let's see further.
PISANIO. [Aside] It is my mistress.
Since she is living, let the time run on
To good or bad. [CYMBELINE and IMOGEN advance]
CYMBELINE. Come, stand thou by our side;
Make thy demand aloud. [To IACHIMO] Sir, step you forth;
Give answer to this boy, and do it freely,
Or, by our greatness and the grace of it,
Which is our honour, bitter torture shall
Winnow the truth from falsehood. On, speak to him.
IMOGEN. My boon is that this gentleman may render
Of whom he had this ring.
POSTHUMUS. [Aside] What's that to him?
CYMBELINE. That diamond upon your finger, say
How came it yours?
IACHIMO. Thou'lt torture me to leave unspoken that