Pis. What shall I need to draw my Sword, the Paper Hath cut her throat alreadie? No, 'tis Slander, Whose edge is sharper then the Sword, whose tongue Out-venomes all the Wormes of Nyle, whose breath Rides on the posting windes, and doth belye All corners of the World. Kings, Queenes, and States, Maides, Matrons, nay the Secrets of the Graue This viperous slander enters. What cheere, Madam? Imo. False to his Bed? What is it to be false? To lye in watch there, and to thinke on him? To weepe 'twixt clock and clock? If sleep charge Nature, To breake it with a fearfull dreame of him, And cry my selfe awake? That's false to's bed? Is it? Pisa. Alas good Lady

Imo. I false? Thy Conscience witnesse: Iachimo, Thou didd'st accuse him of Incontinencie, Thou then look'dst like a Villaine: now, me thinkes Thy fauours good enough. Some Iay of Italy (Whose mother was her painting) hath betraid him: Poore I am stale, a Garment out of fashion, And for I am richer then to hang by th' walles, I must be ript: To peeces with me: Oh! Mens Vowes are womens Traitors. All good seeming By thy reuolt (oh Husband) shall be thought Put on for Villainy; not borne where't growes, But worne a Baite for Ladies

Pisa. Good Madam, heare me

Imo. True honest men being heard, like false Aeneas, Were in his time thought false: and Synons weeping Did scandall many a holy teare: tooke pitty From most true wretchednesse. So thou, Posthumus Wilt lay the Leauen on all proper men; Goodly, and gallant, shall be false and periur'd From thy great faile: Come Fellow, be thou honest, Do thou thy Masters bidding. When thou seest him, A little witnesse my obedience. Looke I draw the Sword my selfe, take it, and hit The innocent Mansion of my Loue (my Heart:) Feare not, 'tis empty of all things, but Greefe: Thy Master is not there, who was indeede The riches of it. Do his bidding, strike, Thou mayst be valiant in a better cause; But now thou seem'st a Coward

Pis. Hence vile Instrument, Thou shalt not damne my hand

Imo. Why, I must dye: And if I do not by thy hand, thou art No Seruant of thy Masters. Against Selfe-slaughter, There is a prohibition so Diuine, That crauens my weake hand: Come, heere's my heart: Something's a-foot: Soft, soft, wee'l no defence, Obedient as the Scabbard. What is heere, The Scriptures of the Loyall Leonatus, All turn'd to Heresie? Away, away Corrupters of my Faith, you shall no more Be Stomachers to my heart: thus may pooru Fooles Beleeue false Teachers: Though those that are betraid Do feele the Treason sharpely, yet the Traitor Stands in worse case of woe. And thou Posthumus, That didd'st set vp my disobedience 'gainst the King My Father, and makes me put into contempt the suites Of Princely Fellowes, shalt heereafter finde It is no acte of common passage, but A straine of Rarenesse: and I greeue my selfe, To thinke, when thou shalt be disedg'd by her, That now thou tyrest on, how thy memory Will then be pang'd by me. Prythee dispatch, The Lambe entreats the Butcher. Wher's thy knife? Thou art too slow to do thy Masters bidding When I desire it too

Pis. Oh gracious Lady: Since I receiu'd command to do this businesse, I haue not slept one winke

Imo. Doo't, and to bed then

Pis. Ile wake mine eye-balles first

Imo. Wherefore then Didd'st vndertake it? Why hast thou abus'd So many Miles, with a pretence? This place? Mine Action? and thine owne? Our Horses labour? The Time inuiting thee? The perturb'd Court For my being absent? whereunto I neuer Purpose returne. Why hast thou gone so farre To be vn-bent? when thou hast 'tane thy stand, Th' elected Deere before thee? Pis. But to win time To loose so bad employment, in the which I haue consider'd of a course: good Ladie Heare me with patience

William Shakespeare
Classic Literature Library

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