Enter Posthumus and Philario
Fear it not, sir: I would I were so sure
To win the king as I am bold her honour
Will remain hers.
What means do you make to him?
Not any: but abide the change of time,
Quake in the present winter's state, and wish
That warmer days would come: in these feared hopes,
I barely gratify your love; they failing,
I must die much your debtor.
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.
I do believe –
Statist though I am none, nor like to be –
That this will prove a war; and you shall hear
The legion now in Gallia sooner landed
In our not-fearing Britain than have tidings
Of any penny tribute paid. Our countrymen
Are men more ordered than when Julius Caesar
Smiled at their lack of skill, but found their courage
Worthy his frowning at. Their discipline –
Now wing-led with their courages – will make known
To their approvers they are people such
That mend upon the world.
The swiftest harts have posted you by land;
And winds of all the corners kissed your sails,
quarter, corner of the earth [as on a map showing winds]
To make your vessel nimble.
I hope the briefness of your answer made
The speediness of your return.
Is one the fairest that I have looked upon –
And therewithal the best, or let her beauty
Look through a casement to allure false hearts,
And be false with them.
Here are letters for you.
Their tenour good, I trust.
'Tis very like.
Was Caius Lucius in the Britain court
When you were there?
He was expected then,
But not approached.
All is well yet.
Sparkles this stone as it was wont, or is't not
Too dull for your good wearing?
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.
The stone's too hard to come by.
Not a whit,
Your lady being so easy.
Make not, sir,
Your loss your sport: I hope you know that we
Must not continue friends.
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.
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 leave both
To who shall find them.
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.
First, her bedchamber –
Where, I confess, I slept not, but profess
Had that was well worth watching – it was hanged
With tapesty of silk and silver, the story
Proud Cleopatra, when she met her Roman,
And Cydnus swelled 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 wondered
Could be so rarely and exactly wrought,
Since the true life on't was –
This is true:
And this you might have heard of here, by me,
Or by some other.
Must justify my knowledge.
So they must,
Or do your honour injury.
Is south the chamber, and the chimney-piece,
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.
This is a thing
Which you might from relation likewise reap,
Being, as it is, much spoke of.
The roof o'th' chamber
With golden cherubins is fretted. Her andirons –
fret (v.) 7
adorn elaborately, decorate ornately [as a carved ceiling]
I had forgot them – were two winking Cupids
Of silver, each on one foot standing, nicely
Depending on their brands.
brand (n.) 1
ornamental flaming torch [associated with Cupid]
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.
Then, if you can,
Showing 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?
Sir – I thank her – that!
She stripped it from her arm: I see her yet:
Her pretty action did outsell her gift,
And yet enriched it too: she gave it me,
And said she prized it once.
May be she plucked it off
To send it me.
She writes so to you? Doth she?
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!
Have patience, sir,
And take your ring again, 'tis not yet won:
It may be probable she lost it: or
Who knows if one of her women, being corrupted,
Hath stolen it from her?
And so, I hope, he came by't. Back my ring,
Render me some corporal sign about her
More evident than this: for this was stolen.
By Jupiter, I had it from her arm.
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 induced to steal it?
And by a stranger? No, he hath enjoyed 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!
Sir, be patient:
This is not strong enough to be believed
Of one persuaded well of.
Never talk on't:
She hath been colted by him.
If you seek
For further satisfying, under her breast –
Worthy her pressing – lies a mole, right proud
Of that most delicate lodging. By my life,
I kissed it, and it gave me present hunger
To feed again, though full. You do remember
This stain upon her?
Ay, and it doth confirm
Another stain, as big as hell can hold,
Were there no more but it.
Will you hear more?
Spare your arithmetic, never count the turns:
Once, and a million!
I'll be sworn –
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.
I'll deny nothing.
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 –
The government of patience! You have won:
Let's follow him, and pervert the present wrath
He hath against himself.
With all my heart.
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 stamped. Some coiner with his tools
Made me a counterfeit: yet my mother seemed
The Dian of that time: so doth my wife
The nonpareil of this. O vengeance, vengeance!
Me of my lawful pleasure she restrained
And prayed me oft forbearance: did it with
A pudency so rosy, the sweet view on't
Might well have warmed old Saturn; that I thought her
As chaste as unsunned 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-acorned boar, a German one,
Cried ‘ O!’ and mounted; found no opposition
But what he looked 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 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.