Imo. Talke thy tongue weary, speake: I haue heard I am a Strumpet, and mine eare Therein false strooke, can take no greater wound, Nor tent, to bottome that. But speake

Pis. Then Madam, I thought you would not backe againe

Imo. Most like, Bringing me heere to kill me

Pis. Not so neither: But if I were as wise, as honest, then My purpose would proue well: it cannot be, But that my Master is abus'd. Some Villaine, I, and singular in his Art, hath done you both This cursed iniurie

Imo. Some Roman Curtezan? Pisa. No, on my life: Ile giue but notice you are dead, and send him Some bloody signe of it. For 'tis commanded I should do so: you shall be mist at Court, And that will well confirme it

Imo. Why good Fellow, What shall I do the while? Where bide? How liue? Or in my life, what comfort, when I am Dead to my Husband? Pis. If you'l backe to'th' Court

Imo. No Court, no Father, nor no more adoe With that harsh, noble, simple nothing: That Clotten, whose Loue-suite hath bene to me As fearefull as a Siege

Pis. If not at Court, Then not in Britaine must you bide

Imo. Where then? Hath Britaine all the Sunne that shines? Day? Night? Are they not but in Britaine? I'th' worlds Volume Our Britaine seemes as of it, but not in't: In a great Poole, a Swannes-nest, prythee thinke There's liuers out of Britaine

Pis. I am most glad You thinke of other place: Th' Ambassador, Lucius the Romane comes to Milford-Hauen To morrow. Now, if you could weare a minde Darke, as your Fortune is, and but disguise That which t' appeare it selfe, must not yet be, But by selfe-danger, you should tread a course Pretty, and full of view: yea, happily, neere The residence of Posthumus; so nie (at least) That though his Actions were not visible, yut Report should render him hourely to your eare, As truely as he mooues

Imo. Oh for such meanes, Though perill to my modestie, not death on't I would aduenture

Pis. Well then, heere's the point: You must forget to be a Woman: change Command, into obedience. Feare, and Nicenesse (The Handmaides of all Women, or more truely Woman it pretty selfe) into a waggish courage, Ready in gybes, quicke-answer'd, sawcie, and As quarrellous as the Weazell: Nay, you must Forget that rarest Treasure of your Cheeke, Exposing it (but oh the harder heart, Alacke no remedy) to the greedy touch Of common-kissing Titan: and forget Your laboursome and dainty Trimmes, wherein You made great Iuno angry

Imo. Nay be breefe? I see into thy end, and am almost A man already

Pis. First, make your selfe but like one, Fore-thinking this. I haue already fit ('Tis in my Cloake-bagge) Doublet, Hat, Hose, all That answer to them: Would you in their seruing, (And with what imitation you can borrow From youth of such a season) 'fore Noble Lucius Present your selfe, desire his seruice: tell him Wherein you're happy; which will make him know, If that his head haue eare in Musicke, doubtlesse With ioy he will imbrace you: for hee's Honourable, And doubling that, most holy. Your meanes abroad: You haue me rich, and I will neuer faile Beginning, nor supplyment

Imo. Thou art all the comfort The Gods will diet me with. Prythee away, There's more to be consider'd: but wee'l euen All that good time will giue vs. This attempt, I am Souldier too, and will abide it with A Princes Courage. Away, I prythee

Pis. Well Madam, we must take a short farewell, Least being mist, I be suspected of Your carriage from the Court. My Noble Mistris, Heere is a boxe, I had it from the Queene, What's in't is precious: If you are sicke at Sea, Or Stomacke-qualm'd at Land, a Dramme of this Will driue away distemper. To some shade, And fit you to your Manhood: may the Gods Direct you to the best

Imo. Amen: I thanke thee.


William Shakespeare
Classic Literature Library

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