— 1.2 —
The Queen’s son, Cloten, talked in a public place with two lords shortly after his fight with Posthumus.
The first lord said to Cloten, “Sir, I would advise you to change your shirt; the violence of action has made you reek — that is, steam — like a burnt sacrifice.”
Because the first lord was a flatterer, he added, “Where air comes out, air comes in. No air outside is as wholesome as the air you vent.”
Cloten replied, “If my shirt were bloody, then I would change it. Have I hurt Posthumus?”
The second lord thought, No, truly; you have not hurt even his patience.
“Hurt him!” the first lord said. “His body’s a passable and navigable carcass, if he is not hurt: It is a thoroughfare for steel, if it is not hurt. If you have not hurt him, then his body has hidden cavities into which you thrust your sword!”
The second lord thought, Cloten’s steel sword was in debt; like a debtor, it avoided the creditor — Posthumus — and traveled the side streets rather going downtown.
“The villain would not make a stand against me,” Cloten said. “He would not hold his ground.”
The second lord thought, Posthumus fled, all right — he constantly fled forward, toward your face.
The first lord said, “Make a stand against you! Hold his ground! You have land enough of your own, but he added to your having; he gave you some ground.”
The second lord thought, Posthumus gave Cloten as many inches of ground as Cloten has oceans — none!
He then thought about Cloten and the first lord, Young pups!
Cloten said, “I wish the bystanders had not come between Posthumus and me.”
The second lord thought, I wish that they had not come between you two until you had fallen and measured upon the ground how long a fool you are.
Cloten complained, “And that she should love this fellow — Posthumus — and refuse me!”
The second lord thought, If it is a sin to make a truly worthy choice of a man to be her husband, then she is damned.
The first lord said, “Sir, as I have always told you, her beauty and her brain do not go together. She’s a pretty woman, but I have seen little evidence of any intelligence she might have. I have seen small reflection of her wit.”
The second lord thought, She shines not upon fools, lest the reflection of her shine should hurt her.
Cloten said, “Come, I’ll go to my chamber. I wish there had been some hurt done!”
The second lord thought, I don’t wish that there had been some hurt done, unless it had been the fall of an ass, which is no great hurt.
Noticing the second lord for the first time, Cloten asked him, “You’ll go with us?”
An uncomfortable silence followed — the second lord did not like Cloten’s company. To stop the silence, the first lord said, “I’ll go with your lordship.”
Cloten said to the second lord, “Come, let’s go together.”
As son to the Queen, Cloten was a powerful person, so the second lord said, “Very well, my lord.”
— 1.3 —
Imogen and Pisanio spoke together in a room in King Cymbeline’s palace.
Imogen said to Pisanio, “I wish you would cling to the shores of the harbor, and question sailors on every ship. If Posthumus should write me a letter and I not receive it, it would be a paper lost — a loss as serious as the loss of a pardon. What was the last thing that he said to you?”
Pisanio replied, “He spoke about you: ‘My Queen! My Queen!’”
“Did he then wave his handkerchief?”
“Yes, and he kissed it, madam.”
“Linen that was unaware of the kiss! And yet the linen was more fortunate than I am because it was kissed! And was that all?”
“No, madam; as long as he could make me with my eyes or ears distinguish him from the others onboard ship, he stayed on the deck and kept waving his glove, or hat, or handkerchief. It was like he was expressing the fits and stirs of his mind — his soul all so slowly sailed away from you, no matter how swiftly his ship sailed.”
Imogen said, “You should have stayed and watched him until he was as small as a crow, or smaller, before you left. You should have gazed after him that long.”
“Madam, I did.”
“I would have broken my eyes and cracked them,” Imogen said. “I would have looked as long as I could look upon him, until the distance between us had made him the size of the sharp end of my needle. No, my eyes would have followed him until he had melted from the smallness of a gnat to invisible air, and then I would have turned my eyes away and wept. But, good Pisanio, when shall we hear from him?”
“Be assured, madam, he shall write you at the first opportunity.”
“I did not take my proper leave of him,” Imogen said. “I had very pretty things to say to him, but before I could tell him how I would think certain thoughts about him at certain hours, and before I could make him swear that the women of Italy should not betray my interest and his honor, and before I was able to make him promise to pray at the same time as me — at the sixth hour of the morning, at noon, and at midnight — for then my solicitations on his behalf would be in Heaven, and before I could give him that parting kiss that I had set between two enchanting words to protect him from evil, my father came in and like the tyrannous breathing and blowing of the north wind, he shook all our buds of love and kept them from growing.”
A lady entered the room and said to Imogen, “The Queen, madam, desires your highness’ company.”
Imogen said to Pisanio, “Those things I told you to do, get them done. I will attend the Queen.”
“Madam, I shall,” Pisanio replied.
Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved