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2 Gent.

I honour him

But, 'pray you, tell me,

Even out of your report.
Is she sole child to the king?

1. Gent.
His only child.
He had two sons (if this be worth your hearing,
Mark it), the eldest of them at three years old,
I'the swathing clothes the other, from their nursery
Were stolen: and to this hour, no guess in knowledge
Which way they went.

2 Gent.

How long is this ago?

1 Gent. Some twenty years.

2 Gent. That a king's children should be so convey'd!

So slackly guarded! And the search so slow,
That could not trace them!

1 Gent.

Howsoe'er 'tis strange,

Or that the negligence may well be laugh'd at,
Yet is it true, sir.

2 Gent.

I do well believe you.

1 Gent. We must forbear: Here comes the queen

and princess.

SCENE II. The same.

[Exeunt.

Enter the Queen, POSTHUMUS, and IMOGEN.

Queen. No, be assur'd, you shall not find me, daughter,

After the slander of most step-mothers,

Evil-eyed unto you: you are my prisoner, but
Your gaoler shall deliver you the keys
That lock up your restraint. For you, Posthumus,
So soon as I can win the 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.

Post.

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.

Imo.

[Exit Queen.

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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 1), 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.

Post. 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.

Queen.

Re-enter Queen.

Be brief, I pray you:

If the king come, I shall incur I know not

How much of his displeasure:-Yet I'll move him

[Aside.

I say I do not fear my father, so far as I may say it without breach of duty.'

To walk this way: I never do him wrong,
But he does buy my injuries, to be friends:
Pays dear for my offences 2.

Post.

[Exit.

Should we be taking leave

As long a term as yet we have to live,

The loathness to depart would grow: Adieu!
Imo. 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.

Post.

How! how! another?-
You gentle gods, give me but this I have,
And sear up3 my embracements from a next
With bonds of death!-Remain, remain thou here
[Putting on the Ring.
While sense 4 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.

[Putting a Bracelet on her Arm.

2He gives me a valuable consideration in new kindness (purchasing, as it were, the wrong I have done him), in order to renew our amity, and make us friends again.'

3 Shakspeare poetically calls the cere-cloths, in which the dead are wrapped, the bonds of death. There was no distinction in ancient orthography between seare, to dry, to wither; and seare, to dress or cover with wax. Cere-cloth is most frequently spelled seare-cloth. In Hamlet we have:

'Why, thy canonized bones hearsed in death

Have burst their cerements.'

4 i. e. while I have sensation to retain it. There can be no doubt that it refers to the ring, and it is equally obvious that thee would have been more proper. Whether this error is to be laid to the poet's charge or to that of careless printing, it would not be easy to decide. Malone, however, has shown that there are many passages in these plays of equally loose construction.

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Cym. Thou basest thing, avoid! hence, from my
sight!

If, after this command, thou fraught the court
With thy unworthiness, thou diest: Away!
Thou art poison to my blood.

Post.
The gods protect you!
And bless the good remainders of the court!

I am gone.

Imo.

[Exit.

There cannot be a pinch in death

More sharp than this is.

Cym.

O disloyal thing,

That should'st repair 5 my youth; thou heapest
A year's age on meб!

Imo.

I beseech you, sir, Harm not yourself with your vexation: I Am senseless of your wrath; a touch more rare7 Subdues all pangs, all fears.

5 i. e. renovate my youth, make me young again. To repaire (according to Baret) is to restore to the first state, to renew.' So in All's Well that Ends Well:

it much repairs me

To talk of your good father.'

6 Sir Thomas Hanmer reads:

thou heapest many

A year's age on me!'

Some such emendation seems necessary.

7 A touch more rare' is a more exquisite feeling, a superior sensation.' So in The Tempest :

Hast thou which art but air, a touch, a feeling
Of their afflictions."

And in Antony and Cleopatra :

The death of Fulvia, with more urgent touches,
Do strongly speak to us.'

A passage in King Lear will illustrate Imogen's meaning:

where the greater malady is fix'd,

The lesser is scarce felt.'

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Сут.

Past grace? obedience?

Imo. Past hope, and in despair; that way, past

grace.

Cym. That might'st have had the sole son of my

queen!

Imo. O bless'd, that I might not! I chose an eagle,

And did avoid a puttock3.

Cym. Thou took'st a beggar; would'st have made my throne

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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 pays9.

Cym.

What!-art thou mad?

Imo. Almost, sir: Heaven restore me !~'Would

I were

A neat-herd's daughter! and my Leonatus
Our neighbour shepherd's son!

Сут.

Re-enter Queen.

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,

8 A puttock is a mean degenerate species of hawk, too worthless to deserve training.

9 My worth is not half equal to his."

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