Cymbeline Translation Act 3, Scene 2
Enter PISANIO, with a letter
How? of adultery? Wherefore write you not What monster's her accuser? Leonatus, O master! what a strange infection Is fall'n into thy ear! What false Italian, As poisonous-tongued as handed, hath prevail'd On thy too ready hearing? Disloyal! No: She's punish'd for her truth, and undergoes, More goddess-like than wife-like, such assaults As would take in some virtue. O my master! Thy mind to her is now as low as were Thy fortunes. How! that I should murder her? Upon the love and truth and vows which I Have made to thy command? I, her? her blood? If it be so to do good service, never Let me be counted serviceable. How look I, That I should seem to lack humanity so much as this fact comes to?
What? Accused of adultery? Why don't you mention which monster accused her? Oh, Leonatus! Master! What a strange idea got into your head! What lying Italian, with as much poison in his words as he has hidden in his pocket, took advantage of your gullibility? Disloyal! No, she's not. She's being punished for being loyal to you, and is standing up to their attempts to change her mind with the strength of a goddess, not of a normal wife. Oh my master! Your opinion of her is as low as your funds were when you married her. What? He's ordering me to murder her, if I want to be true to my affection for him and to the promises I made to obey him? Me, murder her? Shed her blood? If that's called being a good servant, I never want to be one. What do I look like? Like someone who is so inhuman he could do something like this?
'Do't: the letter that I have sent her, by her own command Shall give thee opportunity.' O damn'd paper! Black as the ink that's on thee! Senseless bauble, Art thou a feodary for this act, and look'st So virgin-like without? Lo, here she comes. I am ignorant in what I am commanded.
"Do it. The letter I sent her will make her give you the opportunity to." Oh, damned paper! As black-hearted as the ink on you is black! You unconscious object, how can you be part of this plot, while looking so innocent on the outside? She's coming. I'll act like I don't know what I've been ordered to do.
How now, Pisanio!
Madam, here is a letter from my lord.
Ma'am, here's a letter from my lord.
Who? thy lord? that is my lord, Leonatus! O, learn'd indeed were that astronomer That knew the stars as I his characters; He'ld lay the future open. You good gods, Let what is here contain'd relish of love, Of my lord's health, of his content, yet not That we two are asunder; let that grieve him: Some griefs are med'cinable; that is one of them, For it doth physic love: of his content, All but in that! Good wax, thy leave. Blest be You bees that make these locks of counsel! Lovers And men in dangerous bonds pray not alike: Though forfeiters you cast in prison, yet You clasp young Cupid's tables. Good news, gods!
Who? Your lord? That's my lord, Leonatus! An astronomer who knew the stars as well as I know his handwriting would be very wise! He could tell the future. Good gods, make what's written in here be about love and about my husband being in good health and happy, but not happy that we're apart. Let that make him sad. Some sadnesses can be cured, and that is one of them. Absence makes love stronger. I hope he's happy about everything except this absence! Wax seal, let me open you. Bless you, you bees who make these seals that keep secrets! Lovers and men in jail don't make this same prayer. Although wax seals throw people in jail, they also keep the writings of Cupid, the god of love, secret. Please let this be good news, gods!
'Justice, and your father's wrath, should he take me in his dominion, could not be so cruel to me, as you, O the dearest of creatures, would even renew me with your eyes. Take notice that I am in Cambria, at Milford-Haven: what your own love will out of this advise you, follow. So he wishes you all happiness, that remains loyal to his vow, and your, increasing in love, LEONATUS POSTHUMUS.' O, for a horse with wings! Hear'st thou, Pisanio? He is at Milford-Haven: read, and tell me How far 'tis thither. If one of mean affairs May plod it in a week, why may not I Glide thither in a day? Then, true Pisanio,— Who long'st, like me, to see thy lord; who long'st,— let me bate,-but not like me—yet long'st, But in a fainter kind:—O, not like me; For mine's beyond beyond— say, and speak thick; Love's counsellor should fill the bores of hearing, To the smothering of the sense—how far it is To this same blessed Milford: and by the way Tell me how Wales was made so happy as To inherit such a haven: but first of all, How we may steal from hence, and for the gap That we shall make in time, from our hence-going And our return, to excuse: but first, how get hence: Why should excuse be born or e'er begot? We'll talk of that hereafter. Prithee, speak, How many score of miles may we well ride 'Twixt hour and hour?
"The justice system and your father's anger, if he captured me in his country, could not be so cruel to me, as seeing you, dearest of creatures, would not make me feel better. You should know I'm in Cambria, at Milford-Haven. You should do what your love for me tells you to do about this. Wishing you all happiness, still loyal to his wedding vow, always more in love with you, Leonatus Posthumus." Oh, I wish I had a horse with wings! Did you hear, Pisanio? He's at Milford-Haven. Look it up and tell me how far away that is. If someone on ordinary business can plod there in a week, why couldn't I glide there in a day? Then, honest Pisanio, since I know you're eager too to see your master, eager—but wait, not as much as I am, still eager, but less so—oh, not as eager as me, because my eagerness is beyond beyondness. Tell me, and speak quickly. Anyone giving information to someone in love should speak so fast they can't hear. How far is it to this blessed Milford? And by the way, tell me how Wales could be so lucky to have such a town in it. But first, tell me how we can sneak away from here and how to explain the time we'll spend going there and coming back. But first, how to get away from here. Why start thinking of an excuse before you've done anything you need to excuse? We'll talk about that later. Please, tell me, how many tens of miles can we ride per hour?
One score 'twixt sun and sun,Madam, 's enough for you:
Twenty miles between sunrise and sunset, ma'am, is enough for you.
and too much too.
Or too much.
Why, one that rode to's execution, man, Could never go so slow: I have heard of riding wagers, Where horses have been nimbler than the sands That run i' the clock's behalf. But this is foolery: Go bid my woman feign a sickness; say She'll home to her father: and provide me presently A riding-suit, no costlier than would fit A franklin's housewife.
Someone riding to his own execution could never go that slowly. I have heard of riding bets, when horses ran more quickly than the sand falling through an hourglass. But this is nonsense. Go tell my attendant to pretend she's sick. Say she's going home to her father. And then bring me a riding costume no more expensive than something a middle-class housewife would wear.
Madam, you're best consider.
Ma'am, you should think this through.
I see before me, man: nor here, nor here, Nor what ensues, but have a fog in them, That I cannot look through. Away, I prithee; Do as I bid thee: there's no more to say, Accessible is none but Milford way.
I can see in front of me. What's there, or there, or what will happen in the future, I can't see. Go on, please. Do as I told you. There's nothing more to say, and no road to take except the one to Milford.
LitCharts A+ members also get exclusive access to:
- Downloadable translations of every Shakespeare play and sonnet
- Downloads of 1146 LitCharts Lit Guides
- Explanations and citation info for 25,393 quotes covering 1146 books
- Teacher Editions for every Lit Guide
- PDFs defining 136 key Lit Terms