Cymbeline Translation Act 5, Scene 1
Enter POSTHUMUS, with a bloody handkerchief
Yea, bloody cloth, I'll keep thee, for I wish'd Thou shouldst be colour'd thus. You married ones, If each of you should take this course, how many Must murder wives much better than themselves For wrying but a little! O Pisanio! Every good servant does not all commands: No bond but to do just ones. Gods! if you Should have ta'en vengeance on my faults, I never Had lived to put on this: so had you saved The noble Imogen to repent, and struck Me, wretch more worth your vengeance. But, alack, You snatch some hence for little faults; that's love, To have them fall no more: you some permit To second ills with ills, each elder worse, And make them dread it, to the doers' thrift. But Imogen is your own: do your best wills, And make me blest to obey! I am brought hither Among the Italian gentry, and to fight Against my lady's kingdom: 'tis enough That, Britain, I have kill'd thy mistress; peace! I'll give no wound to thee. Therefore, good heavens, Hear patiently my purpose: I'll disrobe me Of these Italian weeds and suit myself As does a Briton peasant: so I'll fight Against the part I come with; so I'll die For thee, O Imogen, even for whom my life Is every breath a death; and thus, unknown, Pitied nor hated, to the face of peril Myself I'll dedicate. Let me make men know More valour in me than my habits show. Gods, put the strength o' the Leonati in me! To shame the guise o' the world, I will begin The fashion, less without and more within.
Yes, bloody cloth, I'll keep you, because I wanted you to be this color. You who are married, if all of you did this, so many of you would murder wives who are much better than you just for straying a bit! Oh Pisanio! Good servants don't obey every order. Their duty is just to obey the moral ones. Gods, if you had taken revenge on me for my sins, I would never has lived long enough to do this and you would have given the noble Imogen a chance to repent and punished me, who deserve it more. But sadly you kill some of us for small sins. That shows your love for those people, because you keep them from sinning worse. Some you allow to do evil after evil, each one worse, so that they are afraid of your revenge but can only be punished once. But Imogen is with you now. Do what you want, and bless me for obeying you! I am brought here along with the Italian nobles, to fight against my wife's country. It's enough that I've killed your ruler, Britain. Let's be at peace! I won't attack you. So, gods, listen to what I mean to do: I'll take off these Italian clothes and dress like a British peasant. So I'll fight against the army I came with. And that way I'll die for you, oh Imogen, since I already feel like I'm dying for you with every breath I take. And so, unknown, neither pitied nor hated, I'll face danger. Let me show more bravery in this than I usually do. Gods, give me the strength of a Leonatus! To make the world feel ashamed, I'll turn the usual fashion around by making myself seem less noble on the outside and more on the inside.
LitCharts A+ members also get exclusive access to:
- Downloadable translations of every Shakespeare play and sonnet
- Downloads of 1202 LitCharts Lit Guides
- Explanations and citation info for 26,454 quotes covering 1202 books
- Teacher Editions for every Lit Guide
- PDFs defining 136 key Lit Terms