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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 portunity 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 a friend 15, 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 16; 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 us: 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.

Jach. 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

15 See note 10 on this scene, p. 20.

16 I know what I have said; I said no more than I meant.'

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 your sword.

answer me with

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: I will fetch my gold, and have our two wagers recorded.

Post. Agreed.

[Exeunt POST. and IACH. French. Will this hold, think you?

Phi. Signior Iachimo will not from it. Pray, let

us follow 'em.



Britain. A Room in Cymbeline's Palace.

Enter Queen, Ladies, and CORNELIUS.

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

Make haste: Who has the note of them?

1 Lady.

Queen. Despatch.

I, madam. [Exeunt Ladies.

Now, master doctor; have you brought those drugs?


Cor. Pleaseth your highness, ay: here they are, [Presenting a small 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?


I do wonder, doctor,

Thou ask'st me such a question: Have I not been

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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 conclusions1? 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.


Your highness

Shall from this practice but make hard your heart 2: Besides, the seeing these effects will be

Both noisome and infectious.


O, content thee.


Here comes a flattering rascal; upon him [Aside.
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.


I do suspect you, madam;

But you shall do no harm.

1 Conclusions are experiments.


Hark thee, a word.


'I commend (says Walton)

an angler that trieth conclusions, and improves his art.'

2 This thought would probably have been more amplified, had our author lived to be shocked with such experiments as have been published in later times, by a race of men who have practised tortures without pity, and related them without shame, and are yet suffered to erect their heads among human beings.' Cape saxa manu, cape robora, pastor.'

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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.

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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 being5,
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,

3 This soliloquy is pronounced by Johnson to be very inartificial, and that Cornelius makes a long speech to tell himself what himself knows.' The great critic forgot that it was intended for the instruction of the audience, to relieve their anxiety at mischievous ingredients being left in the hands of the Queen. It is no less useful to prepare us for the return of Imogen to life.

4 i. e. grow cool.

5 To change his abode.

To be depender on a thing that leans "?
Who cannot be new built; nor has no friends,

[The Queen drops a Box: PISANIO takes it up. So much as but to prop him?—Thou takʼst 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 pr'ythee, 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 on7; 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 PISA.]-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

6 That inclines towards its fall.

7 Think with what a fair prospect of mending your fortunes you now change your present service.' It has been proposed to read:


'Think what a chance thou chancest on.'

'Think what a change thou chancest on.' But there seems to be no necessity for alteration.

8 A lieger ambassador is one that resides in a foreign court to promote his master's interest. So in Measure for Measure:'Lord Angelo, having affairs to heaven, Intends you for his swift embassador, Where you shall be an everlasting lieger.'

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