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Post. I praised her as I rated her: so do I my stone.

Iach. What do you esteem it at?

Post. More than the world enjoys.

Iach. Either your unparagoned mistress is dead, or she's outprized by a trifle.

Post. You are mistaken: the one may be sold, or given, if(12) 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.

Iach. Which the gods have given you?
Post. Which, by their graces, I will keep.

Iach. You may wear her in title yours: but, you know, strange fowl light upon neighbouring ponds. Your ring may be stolen too: so, (13) your brace of unprizable estimations, the one is but frail, and the other casual; a cunning thief, or a that-way-accomplished courtier, would hazard the winning both of first and last.

Post. Your Italy contains none so accomplished 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.

Phi. Let us leave here, gentlemen.

Post. Sir, with all my heart. This worthy signior, I thank him, makes no stranger of me; we are familiar at first.

Iach. 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.

Post. No, no.

Iach. 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.

Post. You are a great deal abused in too bold a persuasion; and I doubt not you sustain what you're worthy of by your attempt.

Iach. What's that?

Post. A repulse: though your attempt, as you call it, deserve more, a punishment too.

Phi. Gentlemen, enough of this: it came in too suddenly; let it die as it was born, and, I pray you, be better acquainted.

lach. Would I had put my estate and my neighbour's on the approbation of what I have spoke!

Post. What lady would you choose to assail?

Iach. 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 reserved.

Post. I will wage against your gold, gold to it: my ring I hold dear as my finger; 'tis part of it.

Iach. You are afraid,(14) 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.

Post. This is but a custom in your tongue; you bear a graver purpose, I hope.

Iach. I am the master of my speeches; and would undergo what's spoken, I swear.

Post. 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.

Phi. I will have it no lay.

Iach. By the gods, it is one.-If I bring you no sufficient testimony that I have enjoyed 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.

Post. 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 prevailed, I am no further your enemy; she is not worth our debate: if she remain unseduced,-you not making



it appear otherwise,-for your ill opinion, and the assault you have made to her chastity, you shall answer me with your sword.

Iach. 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 :(15) I will fetch my gold, and have our two wagers recorded.

Post. Agreed. [Exeunt Posthumus and Iachimo. French. Will this hold, think you? Phi. Signior Iachimo will not from it. low 'em.

Pray, let us fol[Exeunt.

SCENE V. Britain. A room in CYMBELINE's palace.
Enter Queen, Ladies, and CORNELIUS.

Queen. Whiles yet the dew's on ground, gather those

Make haste: who has the note of them?

First Lady.

Queen. Dispatch.

[Exeunt Ladies.

Now, master doctor, have you brought those drugs? Cor. Pleaseth your highness, ay: here they are, madam : [Presenting a small box.

I, madam.

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?

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

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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.


Your highness

Shall from this practice but make hard your heart :
Besides, the seeing these effects will be

Both noisome and infectious.


O, content thee.-
[Aside.] Here comes a flattering rascal; upon him
Will I first work: he's for his master,
And enemy to my son.-


How now, Pisanio!Doctor, your service for this time is ended; Take your own way.

Cor. [aside] I do suspect you, madam; But you shall do no harm.



Until I send for thee.

Hark thee, a word.

[To Pisanio. Cor. [aside] I do not like her. She doth think she has Strange lingering 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 stupify 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.

No further service, doctor,


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 to decay
A day's work in him. What shalt thou expect,
To be depender on a thing that leans,—

Who cannot be new built, nor has no friends,

[The Queen drops the box: Pisanio takes it up.
So much as but to prop him?—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(16) 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.
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 liegers for her sweet; and which she after,
Except she bend her humour, shall be assur'd
To taste of too.

[Exit Pisanio.

Re-enter PISANIO and Ladies.

So, so; well done, well done:

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