A line-by-line translation

Cymbeline

Cymbeline Translation Act 1, Scene 5

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Enter QUEEN, Ladies, and CORNELIUS

QUEEN

Whiles yet the dew's on ground, gather those flowers;Make haste: who has the note of them?

QUEEN

Pick those flowers while there's still dew on the ground. Hurry up. Who has the list of them?

FIRST LADY

I, madam.

FIRST LADY

I do, ma'am.

QUEEN

Dispatch.

QUEEN

Do it.

Exeunt Ladies

QUEEN

Now, master doctor, have you brought those drugs?

QUEEN

Now, doctor, have you brought those drugs?

CORNELIUS

Pleaseth your highness, ay: here they are, madam:

CORNELIUS

Yes, your highness. Here they are, ma'am.

Presenting a small box

CORNELIUS

But I beseech your grace, without offence,— My conscience bids me ask— wherefore you have Commanded of me those most poisonous compounds, Which are the movers of a languishing death; But though slow, deadly?

CORNELIUS

Please, don't be offended, but my conscience makes me ask this: why have you asked me to make these really poisonous mixtures, which cause a slow, painful, death—slow, but deadly?

QUEEN

I wonder, doctor, Thou ask'st me such a question. Have I not been Thy pupil long? Hast thou not learn'd me how To make perfumes? distil? preserve? yea, so That our great king himself doth woo me oft For my confections? Having thus far proceeded,— Unless thou think'st me devilish—is't not meet That I did amplify my judgment in Other conclusions? I will try the forces Of these thy compounds on such creatures as We count not worth the hanging, but none human, To try the vigour of them and apply Allayments to their act, and by them gather Their several virtues and effects.

QUEEN

I'm surprised, doctor, that you're asking me such a question. Haven't I been your student for a long time? Haven't you taught me how to make perfumes, alcohol, and preserves? Am I not so good at it that our great king himself often begs me to give him some of the things I make? Since I've come this far in my studies, unless you think I'm evil, isn't it right for me to learn different skills? I'm going to test the effects of these mixtures on animals that we don't even consider important enough to hang, but none of them will be human. I'll test how strong the potions are and then try their antidotes, to understand the different effects these potions have.

CORNELIUS

Your highness Shall from this practise but make hard your heart: Besides, the seeing these effects will be Both noisome and infectious.

CORNELIUS

Your highness, this test will just make you hard-hearted. And seeing the effects of the poison will be both disgusting and dangerous.

QUEEN

O, content thee.

QUEEN

Don't worry.

Enter PISANIO

Aside

QUEEN

Here comes a flattering rascal; upon him Will I first work: he's for his master, An enemy to my son. How now, Pisanio! Doctor, your service for this time is ended; Take your own way.

Here comes a sweet-talking good-for-nothing. I'll start with him. He's on his master's side, which makes him my son's enemy.

[To Pisanio] Hey, Pisanio!

[To Cornelius]
Doctor, I don't need anything else from you. Go away.

CORNELIUS

[Aside] I do suspect you, madam;But you shall do no harm.

CORNELIUS

[To himself I'm suspicious of you, ma'am. But you won't hurt anyone.

QUEEN

[To PISANIO] Hark thee, a word.

QUEEN

[To PISANIO] Listen, I have something to tell you.

CORNELIUS

[Aside] I do not like her. She doth think she has Strange lingering poisons: I do know her spirit, And will not trust one of her malice with A drug of such damn'd nature. Those she has Will stupefy and dull the sense awhile; Which first, perchance, she'll prove on cats and dogs, Then afterward up higher: but there is No danger in what show of death it makes, More than the locking-up the spirits a time, To be more fresh, reviving. She is fool'd With a most false effect; and I the truer, So to be false with her.

CORNELIUS

[To himself] I don't like her. She thinks she has slow, unusual poisons. I know what she's really like, and wouldn't trust someone that evil with a drug of that kind. The ones she has will send you to sleep and dull your senses for a while. Maybe she'll try them on cats and dogs first, then on animals higher up the chain of being. But although it makes you seem dead, it's not dangerous. It just shuts your mind down for a bit and you wake up energized. She'll be fooled by this fake effect, and I'm being true to myself by giving her a fake.

QUEEN

No further service, doctor,Until I send for thee.

QUEEN

I won't need anything more from you, doctor, until I send for you.

CORNELIUS

I humbly take my leave.

CORNELIUS

Good bye.

Exit

QUEEN

Weeps she still, say'st thou? Dost thou think in time She will not quench and let instructions enter Where folly now possesses? Do thou work: When thou shalt bring me word she loves my son, I'll tell thee on the instant thou art then As great as is thy master, greater, for His fortunes all lie speechless and his name Is at last gasp: return he cannot, nor Continue where he is: to shift his being Is to exchange one misery with another, And every day that comes comes to decay A day's work in him. What shalt thou expect, To be depender on a thing that leans, Who cannot be new built, nor has no friends, So much as but to prop him?

QUEEN

You say she's still crying? Don't you think that, in time, she'll give in and let good advice enter her brain which is now full of silliness? Help with this. When you bring me word she's in love with my son, I'll tell you at once you're as good as your master, because his luck is so sick it can't talk and his reputation is almost dead. He can't come back or stay where he is. For him, moving means exchanging one unpleasant situation for another. And at the end of every day he hasn't achieved anything except grow older. What good is it to lean on something that's fragile and can't be built up to be stronger, and has no one to hold it up? That's what it's like to depend on Posthumus.

The QUEEN drops the box: PISANIO takes it up

QUEEN

Thou takest up Thou know'st not what; but take it for thy labour: It is a thing I made, which hath the king Five times redeem'd from death: I do not know What is more cordial. Nay, I prethee, take it; It is an earnest of a further good That I mean to thee. Tell thy mistress how The case stands with her; do't as from thyself. Think what a chance thou changest on, but think Thou hast thy mistress still, to boot, my son, Who shall take notice of thee: I'll move the king To any shape of thy preferment such As thou'lt desire; and then myself, I chiefly, That set thee on to this desert, am bound To load thy merit richly. Call my women: Think on my words.

QUEEN

You don't know what you're picking up. But take it in exchange for your work. It's something I made, which saved the king from death five different times. I don't know of anything that's better for your health. [He tries to give it back] No, please, take it. It's a preview of the other good deeds I will do for you. Tell your employer what her situation is. Do it as though you're just saying what you think. Consider what good luck this is for you. You still have an employer even though you're betraying your employer. I mean, you have my son, who will show his appreciation of you. I'll get the king to give you any kind of promotion you want. And I especially, since I'm telling you about these rewards available to you, will need to pay you everything you deserve. Call my women, and think about what I've said.

Exit PISANIO

QUEEN

A sly and constant knave, Not to be shaked; the agent for his master And the remembrancer of her to hold The hand-fast to her lord. I have given him that Which, if he take, shall quite unpeople her Of liegers for her sweet, and which she after, Except she bend her humour, shall be assured To taste of too.

He's a sneaky and loyal good-for-nothing, and I can't get him to go away. He's his master's spy and he's reminding Imogen to stay loyal to her husband. But I have given him something which, if he takes it, will kill him and so get rid of the last of her sweet-heart's minions. After that, if she doesn't change her mind, she'll definitely be sorry.

Re-enter PISANIO and Ladies

QUEEN

So, so: well done, well done: The violets, cowslips, and the primroses, Bear to my closet. Fare thee well, Pisanio; Think on my words.

QUEEN

Great. Well done, well done. Take the violets, the cowslips, and the primroses to my room. Good-bye, Pisanio. Think about my words.

Exeunt QUEEN and Ladies

PISANIO

And shall do:But when to my good lord I prove untrue,I'll choke myself: there's all I'll do for you.

PISANIO

I will. But if I ever betray my good master, I'll choke myself. That's the only thing I'll do for you.

Exit

Cymbeline
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