The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb — Volume 3 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 755 pages of information about The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb — Volume 3.

“I hear you take no ransom for your prisoners, but doom them all to death; I am a Roman, and with a Roman heart will suffer death.  But there is one thing for which I would intreat.”  Then bringing Imogen before the king, he said, “This boy is a Briton born.  Let him be ransomed.  He is my page.  Never master had a page so kind, so duteous, so diligent on all occasions, so true, so nurse-like.  He hath done no Briton wrong, though he hath served a Roman.  Save him, if you spare no one beside.”

Cymbeline looked earnestly on his daughter Imogen.  He knew her not in that disguise; but it seemed that all-powerful Nature spake in his heart, for he said, “I have surely seen him, his face appears familiar to me.  I know not why or wherefore I say, Live, boy:  but I give you your life, and ask of me what boon you will, and I will grant it you.  Yea, even though it be the life of the noblest prisoner I have.”

“I humbly thank your highness,” said Imogen.

What was then called granting a boon was the same as a promise to give any one thing, whatever it might be, that the person on whom that favour was conferred chose to ask for.  They all were attentive to hear what thing the page would ask for, and Lucius her master said to her, “I do not beg my life, good lad, but I know that is what you will ask for.”  “No, no, alas!” said Imogen, “I have other work in hand, good master; your life I cannot ask for.”

This seeming want of gratitude in the boy astonished the Roman general.

Imogen then fixing her eye on Iachimo, demanded no other boon than this, that Iachimo should be made to confess whence he had the ring he wore on his finger.

Cymbeline granted her this boon, and threatened Iachimo with the torture if he did not confess how he came by the diamond ring on his finger.

Iachimo then made a full acknowledgment of all his villainy, telling, as has been before related, the whole story of his wager with Posthumus, and how he had succeeded in imposing upon his credulity.

What Posthumus felt at hearing this proof of the innocence of his lady cannot be expressed.  He instantly came forward, and confessed to Cymbeline the cruel sentence which he had enjoined Pisanio to execute upon the princess:  exclaiming wildly, “O Imogen, my queen, my life, my wife!  O Imogen, Imogen, Imogen!”

Imogen could not see her beloved husband in this distress without discovering herself, to the unutterable joy of Posthumus, who was thus relieved from a weight of guilt and woe, and restored to the good graces of the dear lady he had so cruelly treated.

Cymbeline, almost as much overwhelmed as he with joy, at finding his lost daughter so strangely recovered, received her to her former place in his fatherly affection, and not only gave her husband Posthumus his life, but consented to acknowledge him for his son-in-law.

Bellarius chose this time of joy and reconciliation to make his confession.  He presented Polidore and Cadwal to the king, telling him they were his two lost sons, Guiderius and Arviragus.

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The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb — Volume 3 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.