Cymbeline Translation Act 2, Scene 5
Enter POSTHUMUS LEONATUS
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 stamp'd; some coiner with his tools Made me a counterfeit: yet my mother seem'd The Dian of that time so doth my wife The nonpareil of this. O, vengeance, vengeance! Me of my lawful pleasure she restrain'd And pray'd me oft forbearance; did it with A prudency so rosy the sweet view on't Might well have warm'd old Saturn; that I thought her As chaste as unsunn'd snow. O, all the devils! This yellow Iachimo, in an hour,—wast not?— Or less,—at first?—perchance he spoke not, but, Like a full-acorn'd boar, a German one, Cried 'O!' and mounted; found no opposition But what he look'd 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 may be named, 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.
Is there no way for men to be born except for women to do half the work? We're all illegitimate. That respected man I called my father wasn't in the room when I was conceived. I was a fake made by some forger. But my mother appeared like a virgin goddess then, and my wife appears equally astounding now. Oh, revenge, revenge! She held off my sexual desires and often asked me to show restraint. She asked this with such sweet prudence that even a god would have found her attractive. I thought she was as pure as unmelted snow. Oh, by all the devils! Unhealthy-looking Iachimo—in an hour, wasn't it? Or less, the first time they laid eyes on each other! Maybe he didn't speak, but like a wild boar cried out and mounted her. He didn't find any resistance except exactly the kind he wanted, not the kind she should have used to stop him. I wish I could find the part of me made out of a woman! If it's lying, that's the part that's made from a woman. If it's buttering people up, it's hers. If it's deceiving people, it's hers. If it's filled with lust and disgusting thoughts, it's hers, definitely hers. If it wants revenge, it's hers. If it's filled with ambition, jealousy, changing clothes, disrespect, ridiculous cravings, slander, changes of mind, and all sins that don't have names, no—all the sins there are in hell, then it's partly or all hers. Or actually, all. Women aren't even faithful to evil, because they're always changing from one sin to the next within thirty seconds. I'll write about them, hate them, curse them. But it's a better revenge to pray that they get what they want. Not even the devils themselves could be worse to them than they are to themselves.
LitCharts A+ members also get exclusive access to:
- Downloadable translations of every Shakespeare play and sonnet
- Downloads of 580 LitCharts Lit Guides
- Explanations and citation info for 14,809 quotes covering 580 books
- Teacher Editions for every Lit Guide
- PDFs defining 136 key Lit Terms