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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.
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
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
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.
Enter a MESSENGER
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
dead. Exeunt POSTHUMUS and MESSENGER
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
Enter CYMBELINE, BELARIUS, GUIDERIUS, ARVIRAGUS, PISANIO, LORDS,
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.
Enter CORNELIUS and LADIES
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;