List iconCymbeline:
Act 2, scene 3
List icon

Act 2, scene 3



Characters in the Play

Entire Play

Cymbeline, which takes place in ancient Britain, is filled with hidden identities, extraordinary schemes, and violent acts. Long ago, the…

Act 1, scene 1

At the court of King Cymbeline, the princess, Imogen, has secretly married a gentleman named Posthumus Leonatus. Imogen is the…

Act 1, scene 2

An encounter between Cloten and Posthumus, reported in 1.1, is here discussed by Cloten and two lords.

Act 1, scene 3

Posthumus’s servant, Pisanio, describes to the grieving Imogen the departure of Posthumus toward Rome.

Act 1, scene 4

Posthumus arrives in Rome, where an Italian gentleman, Iachimo, maneuvers him into placing a bet on Imogen’s chastity. Posthumus bets…

Act 1, scene 5

The queen obtains a box that she is told contains poison. (The audience is told that the box actually contains…

Act 1, scene 6

Iachimo arrives in Britain and begins his attempt to seduce Imogen by telling her that Posthumus is betraying her with…

Act 2, scene 1

Cloten and two lords discuss the arrival of Iachimo. The Second Lord, in soliloquy, expresses the hope that Imogen will…

Act 2, scene 2

As Imogen sleeps, the trunk that she is keeping for Iachimo opens, and Iachimo emerges. Before climbing back into it,…

Act 2, scene 3

Cloten serenades Imogen in an attempt to win her love. Imogen enrages Cloten by saying that he is not as…

Act 2, scene 4

Iachimo returns to Rome with his proofs of Imogen’s unfaithfulness: descriptions of her bedroom and of private marks on her…

Act 2, scene 5

Posthumus, in soliloquy, attacks women as the embodiment of all that is vicious.

Act 3, scene 1

Caius Lucius arrives as ambassador from Augustus Caesar, demanding that Cymbeline pay the tribute Britain owes to Rome. With the…

Act 3, scene 2

Pisanio receives two letters from Posthumus—one in which Pisanio is instructed to kill Imogen, and another written to Imogen, telling…

Act 3, scene 3

Three men enter as if from a cave, the two younger men protesting the limitations of their mountain lives. When…

Act 3, scene 4

On the journey to Milford Haven, Pisanio reveals to Imogen that he is supposed to kill her. She is so…

Act 3, scene 5

When Imogen’s absence from court is discovered, Cloten forces Pisanio to tell him where she is. Pisanio shows him the…

Act 3, scene 6

Imogen, disguised as a boy named Fidele, stumbles, exhausted and famished, into the cave of Belarius and the two young…

Act 3, scene 7

A Roman senator announces that the Roman army attacking Britain will be under the control of Caius Lucius and that…

Act 4, scene 1

Cloten, dressed in Posthumus’s garments, arrives at the spot where he plans to cut off Posthumus’s head and rape Imogen.

Act 4, scene 2

Imogen, not feeling well, takes the potion given her by Pisanio, thinking it is a restorative; the potion puts her…

Act 4, scene 3

Cymbeline finds himself alone in the face of the Roman attack, with Imogen and Cloten both missing and the queen…

Act 4, scene 4

The young princes persuade Belarius that the three of them should join with the Britons against Rome.

Act 5, scene 1

Posthumus, in Britain as part of the Roman army, repents Imogen’s (reported) murder and decides to seek death by joining…

Act 5, scene 2

In a series of battles, Posthumus (disguised as a peasant) defeats and disarms Iachimo; the Britons flee and Cymbeline is…

Act 5, scene 3

Posthumus, still seeking death and failing to find it as a poor British soldier, reverts to his earlier role as…

Act 5, scene 4

Posthumus, in chains, falls asleep and is visited by the ghosts of his dead family and by the god Jupiter,…

Act 5, scene 5

Cymbeline knights Belarius and the two young men in gratitude for their valor, and sends in search of the poor…

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Quill icon
Scene 3
Enter Cloten and Lords.

FIRST LORD Your Lordship is the most patient man in
 loss, the most coldest that ever turned up ace.
CLOTEN It would make any man cold to lose.
FIRST LORD But not every man patient after the noble
5 temper of your Lordship. You are most hot and
 furious when you win.
CLOTEN Winning will put any man into courage. If I
 could get this foolish Imogen, I should have gold
 enough. It’s almost morning, is ’t not?
FIRST LORD 10Day, my lord.
CLOTEN I would this music would come. I am advised
 to give her music a-mornings; they say it will

Enter Musicians.

 Come on, tune. If you can penetrate her with your
15 fingering, so. We’ll try with tongue, too. If none
 will do, let her remain, but I’ll never give o’er. First,
 a very excellent good-conceited thing; after, a wonderful
 sweet air, with admirable rich words to it,
 and then let her consider.

ACT 2. SC. 3

Musicians begin to play.

 20 Hark, hark, the lark at heaven’s gate sings,
  And Phoebus gins arise,
 His steeds to water at those springs
  On chaliced flowers that lies;
 And winking Mary-buds begin
25  To ope their golden eyes.
 With everything that pretty is,
  My lady sweet, arise,
  Arise, arise.

CLOTEN So, get you gone. If this penetrate, I will
30 consider your music the better. If it do not, it is a
 vice in her ears which horsehairs and calves’
 guts, nor the voice of unpaved eunuch to boot, can
 never amend.
Musicians exit.

Enter Cymbeline and Queen, with Attendants.

SECOND LORD Here comes the King.
CLOTEN 35I am glad I was up so late, for that’s the reason
 I was up so early. He cannot choose but take this
 service I have done fatherly.—Good morrow to
 your Majesty and to my gracious mother.
 Attend you here the door of our stern daughter?
40 Will she not forth?
CLOTEN I have assailed her with musics, but she
 vouchsafes no notice.
 The exile of her minion is too new;
 She hath not yet forgot him. Some more time
45 Must wear the print of his remembrance on ’t,
 And then she’s yours.
QUEEN, to Cloten  You are most bound to th’ King,
 Who lets go by no vantages that may

ACT 2. SC. 3

 Prefer you to his daughter. Frame yourself
50 To orderly solicits and be friended
 With aptness of the season. Make denials
 Increase your services. So seem as if
 You were inspired to do those duties which
 You tender to her; that you in all obey her,
55 Save when command to your dismission tends,
 And therein you are senseless.
CLOTEN  Senseless? Not so.

Enter a Messenger.

MESSENGER, to Cymbeline 
 So like you, sir, ambassadors from Rome;
 The one is Caius Lucius.Messenger exits.
CYMBELINE 60 A worthy fellow,
 Albeit he comes on angry purpose now.
 But that’s no fault of his. We must receive him
 According to the honor of his sender,
 And towards himself, his goodness forespent on us,
65 We must extend our notice.—Our dear son,
 When you have given good morning to your mistress,
 Attend the Queen and us. We shall have need
 T’ employ you towards this Roman.—Come, our
Cymbeline and Queen exit, with
Lords and Attendants.

70 If she be up, I’ll speak with her; if not,
 Let her lie still and dream. (He knocks.) By your
 leave, ho!—
 I know her women are about her. What
 If I do line one of their hands? ’Tis gold
75 Which buys admittance—oft it doth—yea, and makes
 Diana’s rangers false themselves, yield up
 Their deer to th’ stand o’ th’ stealer; and ’tis gold
 Which makes the true man killed and saves the thief,

ACT 2. SC. 3

 Nay, sometime hangs both thief and true man. What
80 Can it not do and undo? I will make
 One of her women lawyer to me, for
 I yet not understand the case myself.
 By your leave.Knocks.

Enter a Lady.

 Who’s there that knocks?
CLOTEN 85 A gentleman.
LADY  No more?
 Yes, and a gentlewoman’s son.
LADY  That’s more
 Than some whose tailors are as dear as yours
90 Can justly boast of. What’s your Lordship’s pleasure?
 Your lady’s person. Is she ready?
 To keep her chamber.
CLOTEN  There is gold for you.
95 Sell me your good report.He offers a purse.
 How, my good name? Or to report of you
 What I shall think is good?

Enter Imogen.

 The Princess.
Lady exits.
 Good morrow, fairest sister. Your sweet hand.
100 Good morrow, sir. You lay out too much pains
 For purchasing but trouble. The thanks I give
 Is telling you that I am poor of thanks
 And scarce can spare them.

ACT 2. SC. 3

CLOTEN  Still I swear I love you.
105 If you but said so, ’twere as deep with me.
 If you swear still, your recompense is still
 That I regard it not.
CLOTEN  This is no answer.
 But that you shall not say I yield being silent,
110 I would not speak. I pray you, spare me. Faith,
 I shall unfold equal discourtesy
 To your best kindness. One of your great knowing
 Should learn, being taught, forbearance.
 To leave you in your madness ’twere my sin.
115 I will not.
 Fools are not mad folks.
CLOTEN  Do you call me fool?
IMOGEN As I am mad, I do.
 If you’ll be patient, I’ll no more be mad.
120 That cures us both. I am much sorry, sir,
 You put me to forget a lady’s manners
 By being so verbal; and learn now for all
 That I, which know my heart, do here pronounce,
 By th’ very truth of it, I care not for you,
125 And am so near the lack of charity
 To accuse myself I hate you—which I had rather
 You felt than make ’t my boast.
CLOTEN  You sin against
 Obedience, which you owe your father. For
130 The contract you pretend with that base wretch—
 One bred of alms and fostered with cold dishes,
 With scraps o’ th’ court—it is no contract, none;
 And though it be allowed in meaner parties—
 Yet who than he more mean?—to knit their souls,
135 On whom there is no more dependency

ACT 2. SC. 3

 But brats and beggary, in self-figured knot;
 Yet you are curbed from that enlargement by
 The consequence o’ th’ crown, and must not foil
 The precious note of it with a base slave,
140 A hilding for a livery, a squire’s cloth,
 A pantler—not so eminent.
IMOGEN  Profane fellow,
 Wert thou the son of Jupiter and no more
 But what thou art besides, thou wert too base
145 To be his groom. Thou wert dignified enough,
 Even to the point of envy, if ’twere made
 Comparative for your virtues to be styled
 The under-hangman of his kingdom and hated
 For being preferred so well.
CLOTEN 150 The south fog rot him!
 He never can meet more mischance than come
 To be but named of thee. His mean’st garment
 That ever hath but clipped his body is dearer
 In my respect than all the hairs above thee,
155 Were they all made such men.—How now, Pisanio!

Enter Pisanio.

CLOTEN “His garment? Now the devil—
IMOGEN, to Pisanio 
 To Dorothy, my woman, hie thee presently.
 “His garment”?
IMOGEN, to Pisanio  I am sprighted with a fool,
160 Frighted and angered worse. Go bid my woman
 Search for a jewel that too casually
 Hath left mine arm. It was thy master’s. Shrew me
 If I would lose it for a revenue
 Of any king’s in Europe. I do think
165 I saw ’t this morning. Confident I am
 Last night ’twas on mine arm; I kissed it.

ACT 2. SC. 4

 I hope it be not gone to tell my lord
 That I kiss aught but he.
PISANIO  ’Twill not be lost.
170 I hope so. Go and search.Pisanio exits.
CLOTEN  You have abused me.
 “His meanest garment”?
IMOGEN  Ay, I said so, sir.
 If you will make ’t an action, call witness to ’t.
175 I will inform your father.
IMOGEN  Your mother too.
 She’s my good lady and will conceive, I hope,
 But the worst of me. So I leave you, sir,
 To th’ worst of discontent.She exits.
180 I’ll be revenged! “His mean’st garment”? Well.
He exits.