Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Jennifer Forsyth
Peer Reviewed

Cymbeline (Folio 1, 1623)


Scena Quinta.
Enter Cymbeline, Bellarius, Guiderius, Arui-
ragus, Pisanio, and Lords.
3250Cym. Stand by my side you, whom the Gods haue made
Preseruers of my Throne: woe is my heart,
That the poore Souldier that so richly fought,
Whose ragges, sham'd gilded Armes, whose naked brest
Stept before Targes of proofe, cannot be found:
3255He shall be happy that can finde him, if
Our Grace can make him so.
Bel. I neuer saw
Such Noble fury in so poore a Thing;
Such precious deeds, in one that promist nought
3260But beggery, and poore lookes.
Cym. No tydings of him?
Pisa. He hath bin search'd among the dead, & liuing;
But no trace of him.
Cym. To my greefe, I am
3265The heyre of his Reward, which I will adde
To you (the Liuer, Heart, and Braine of Britaine)
By whom (I grant) she liues. 'Tis now the time
To aske of whence you are. Report it.
Bel. Sir,
3270In Cambria are we borne, and Gentlemen:
Further to boast, were neyther true, nor modest,
Vnlesse I adde, we are honest.
Cym. Bow your knees:
Arise my Knights o'th'Battell, I create you
3275Companions to our person, and will fit you
With Dignities becomming your estates.
Enter Cornelius and Ladies.
There's businesse in these faces: why so sadly
Greet you our Victory? you looke like Romaines,
3280And not o'th'Court of Britaine.
Corn. Hayle great King,
To sowre your happinesse, I must report
The Queene is dead.
Cym. Who worse then a Physitian
3285Would this report become? But I consider,
By Med'cine life may be prolong'd, yet death
Will seize the Doctor too. How ended she?
Cor. With horror, madly dying, like her life,
Which (being cruell to the world) concluded
3290Most cruell to her selfe. What she confest,
I will report, so please you. These her Women
Can trip me, if I erre, who with wet cheekes
Were present when she finish'd.
Cym. Prythee say.
3295Cor. First, she confest she neuer lou'd you: onely
Affected Greatnesse got by you: not you:
Married your Royalty, was wife to your place:
Abhorr'd your person.
Cym. She alone knew this:
3300And but she spoke it dying, I would not
Beleeue her lips in opening it. Proceed.
Corn. Your daughter, whom she bore in hand to loue
With such integrity, she did confesse
Was as a Scorpion to her sight, whose life
3305(But that her flight preuented it) she had
Tane off by poyson.
Cym. O most delicate Fiend!
Who is't can reade a Woman? Is there more?
Corn. More Sir, and worse. She did confesse she had
3310For you a mortall Minerall, which being tooke,
Should by the minute feede on life, and ling'ring,
By inches waste you. In which time, she purpos'd
By watching, weeping, tendance, kissing, to
Orecome you with her shew; and in time
3315(When she had fitted you with her craft, to worke
Her Sonne into th'adoption of the Crowne:
But fayling of her end by his strange absence,
Grew shamelesse desperate, open'd (in despight
Of Heauen, and Men) her purposes: repented
3320The euils she hatch'd, were not effected: so
Dispayring, dyed.
Cym. Heard you all this, her Women?
La. We did, so please your Highnesse.
Cym. Mine eyes
3325Were not in fault, for she was beautifull:
Mine eares that heare her flattery, nor my heart,
That thought her like her seeming. It had beene vicious
To haue mistrusted her: yet (Oh my Daughter)
That it was folly in me, thou mayst say,
3330And proue it in thy feeling. Heauen mend all.
Enter Lucius, Iachimo, and other Roman prisoners,
Leonatus behind, and Imogen.
Thou comm'st not Caius now for Tribute, that
The Britaines haue rac'd out, though with the losse
3335Of many a bold one: whose Kinsmen haue made suite
That their good soules may be appeas'd, with slaughter
Of you their Captiues, which our selfe haue granted,
So thinke of your estate.
Luc. Consider Sir, the chance of Warre, the day
3340Was yours by accident: had it gone with vs,
We should not when the blood was cool, haue threatend
Our Prisoners with the Sword. But since the Gods
Will haue it thus, that nothing but our liues
May be call'd ransome, let it come: Sufficeth,
3345A Roman, with a Romans heart can suffer:
Augustus liues to thinke on't: and so much
For my peculiar care. This one thing onely
I will entreate, my Boy (a Britaine borne)
Let him be ransom'd: Neuer Master had
3350A Page so kinde, so duteous, diligent,
So tender ouer his occasions, true,
So feate, so Nurse-like: let his vertue ioyne
With my request, which Ile make bold, your Highnesse
Cannot deny: he hath done no Britaine harme,
3355Though he haue seru'd a Roman. Saue him (Sir)
And spare no blood beside.
Cym. I haue surely seene him:
His fauour is familiar to me: Boy,
Thou hast look'd thy selfe into my grace,
3360And art mine owne. I know not why, wherefore,
To say, liue boy: ne're thanke thy Master, liue;
And aske of Cymbeline what Boone thou wilt,
Fitting my bounty, and thy state, Ile giue it:
Yea, though thou do demand a Prisoner
3365The Noblest tane.
Imo. I humbly thanke your Highnesse.
Luc. I do not bid thee begge my life, good Lad,
And yet I know thou wilt.
Imo. No, no, alacke,
3370There's other worke in hand: I see a thing
Bitter to me, as death: your life, good Master,
Must shuffle for it selfe.
Luc. The Boy disdaines me,
He leaues me, scornes me: briefely dye their ioyes,
3375That place them on the truth of Gyrles, and Boyes.
Why stands he so perplext?
Cym. What would'st thou Boy?
I loue thee more, and more: thinke more and more
What's best to aske. Know'st him thou look'st on? speak
3380Wilt haue him liue? Is he thy Kin? thy Friend?
Imo. He is a Romane, no more kin to me,
Then I to your Highnesse, who being born your vassaile
Am something neerer.
Cym. Wherefore ey'st him so?
3385Imo. Ile tell you (Sir) in priuate, if you please
To giue me hearing.
Cym. I, with all my heart,
And lend my best attention. What's thy name?
Imo. Fidele Sir.
3390Cym. Thou'rt my good youth: my Page
Ile be thy Master: walke with me: speake freely.
Bel. Is not this Boy reuiu'd from death?
Arui. One Sand another
Not more resembles that sweet Rosie Lad:
3395Who dyed, and was Fidele: what thinke you?
Gui. The same dead thing aliue.
Bel. Peace, peace, see further: he eyes vs not, forbeare
Creatures may be alike: were't he, I am sure
He would haue spoke to vs.
3400Gui. But we see him dead.
Bel. Be silent: let's see further.
Pisa. It is my Mistris:
Since she is liuing, let the time run on,
To good, or bad.
3405Cym. Come, stand thou by our side,
Make thy demand alowd. Sir, step you forth,
Giue answer to this Boy, and do it freely,
Or by our Greatnesse, and the grace of it
(Which is our Honor) bitter torture shall
3410Winnow the truth from falshood. One speake to him.
Imo. My boone is, that this Gentleman may render
Of whom he had this Ring.
Post. What's that to him?
Cym. That Diamond vpon your Finger, say
3415How came it yours?
Iach. Thou'lt torture me to leaue vnspoken, that
Which to be spoke, wou'd torture thee.
Cym. How? me?
Iach. I am glad to be constrain'd to vtter that
3420Which torments me to conceale. By Villany
I got this Ring: 'twas Leonatus Iewell,
Whom thou did'st banish: and which more may greeue
As it doth me: a Nobler Sir, ne're liu'd
'Twixt sky and ground. Wilt thou heare more my Lord?
3425Cym. All that belongs to this.
Iach. That Paragon, thy daughter,
For whom my heart drops blood, and my false spirits
Quaile to remember. Giue me leaue, I faint.
Cym. My Daughter? what of hir? Renew thy strength
3430I had rather thou should'st liue, while Nature will,
Then dye ere I heare more: striue man, and speake.
Iach. Vpon a time, vnhappy was the clocke
That strooke the houre: it was in Rome, accurst
The Mansion where: 'twas at a Feast, oh would
3435Our Viands had bin poyson'd (or at least
Those which I heau'd to head:) the good Posthumus,
(What should I say? he was too good to be
Where ill men were, and was the best of all
Among'st the rar'st of good ones) sitting sadly,
3440Hearing vs praise our Loues of Italy
For Beauty, that made barren the swell'd boast
Of him that best could speake: for Feature, laming
The Shrine of Venus, or straight-pight Minerua,
Postures, beyond breefe Nature. For Condition,
3445A shop of all the qualities, that man
Loues woman for, besides that hooke of Wiuing,
Fairenesse, which strikes the eye.
Cym. I stand on fire. Come to the matter.
Iach. All too soone I shall,
3450Vnlesse thou would'st greeue quickly. This Posthumus,
Most like a Noble Lord, in loue, and one
That had a Royall Louer, tooke his hint,
And (not dispraising whom we prais'd, therein
He was as calme as vertue) he began
3455His Mistris picture, which, by his tongue, being made,
And then a minde put in't, either our bragges
Were crak'd of Kitchin-Trulles, or his description
Prou'd vs vnspeaking sottes.
Cym. Nay, nay, to'th'purpose.
3460Iach. Your daughters Chastity, (there it beginnes)
He spake of her, as Dian had hot dreames,
And she alone, were cold: Whereat, I wretch
Made scruple of his praise, and wager'd with him
Peeces of Gold, 'gainst this, which then he wore
3465Vpon his honour'd finger) to attaine
In suite the place of's bed, and winne this Ring
By hers, and mine Adultery: he (true Knight)
No lesser of her Honour confident
Then I did truly finde her, stakes this Ring,
3470And would so, had it beene a Carbuncle
Of Phœbus Wheele; and might so safely, had it
Bin all the worth of's Carre. Away to Britaine
Poste I in this designe: Well may you (Sir)
Remember me at Court, where I was taught
3475Of your chaste Daughter, the wide difference
'Twixt Amorous, and Villanous. Being thus quench'd
Of hope, not longing; mine Italian braine,
Gan in your duller Britaine operate
Most vildely: for my vantage excellent.
3480And to be breefe, my practise so preuayl'd
That I return'd with simular proofe enough,
To make the Noble Leonatus mad,
By wounding his beleefe in her Renowne,
With Tokens thus, and thus: auerring notes
3485Of Chamber-hanging, Pictures, this her Bracelet
(Oh cunning how I got) nay some markes
Of secret on her person, that he could not
But thinke her bond of Chastity quite crack'd,
I hauing 'tane the forfeyt. Whereupon,
3490Me thinkes I see him now.
Post. I so thou do'st,
Italian Fiend. Aye me, most credulous Foole,
Egregious murtherer, Theefe, any thing
That's due to all the Villaines past, in being
3495To come. Oh giue me Cord, or knife, or poyson,
Some vpright Iusticer. Thou King, send out
For Torturors ingenious: it is I
That all th'abhorred things o'th'earth amend
By being worse then they. I am Posthumus,
3500That kill'd thy Daughter: Villain-like, I lye,
That caus'd a lesser villaine then my selfe,
A sacrilegious Theefe to doo't. The Temple
Of Vertue was she; yea, and she her selfe.
Spit, and throw stones, cast myre vpon me, set
3505The dogges o'th'street to bay me: euery villaine
Be call'd Posthumus Leonatus, and
Be villany lesse then 'twas. Oh Imogen!
My Queene, my life, my wife: oh Imogen,
Imogen, Imogen.
3510Imo. Peace my Lord, heare, heare.
Post. Shall's haue a play of this?
Thou scornfull Page, there lye thy part.
Pis. Oh Gentlemen, helpe,
Mine and your Mistris: Oh my Lord Posthumus,
3515You ne're kill'd Imogen till now: helpe, helpe,
Mine honour'd Lady.
Cym. Does the world go round?
Posth. How comes these staggers on mee?
Pisa. Wake my Mistris.
3520Cym. If this be so, the Gods do meane to strike me
To death, with mortall ioy.
Pisa. How fares my Mistris?
Imo. Oh get thee from my sight,
Thou gau'st me poyson: dangerous Fellow hence,
3525Breath not where Princes are.
Cym. The tune of Imogen.
Pisæ. Lady, the Gods throw stones of sulpher on me, if
That box I gaue you, was not thought by mee
A precious thing, I had it from the Queene.
3530Cym. New matter still.
Imo. It poyson'd me.
Corn. Oh Gods!
I left out one thing which the Queene confest,
Which must approue thee honest. If Pasanio
3535Haue (said she) giuen his Mistris that Confection
Which I gaue him for Cordiall, she is seru'd,
As I would serue a Rat.
Cym. What's this, Cornelius?
Corn. The Queene (Sir) very oft importun'd me
3540To temper poysons for her, still pretending
The satisfaction of her knowledge, onely
In killing Creatures vilde, as Cats and Dogges
Of no esteeme. I dreading, that her purpose
Was of more danger, did compound for her
3545A certaine stuffe, which being tane, would cease
The present powre of life, but in short time,
All Offices of Nature, should againe
Do their due Functions. Haue you tane of it?
Imo. Most like I did, for I was dead.
3550Bel. My Boyes, there was our error.
Gui. This is sure Fidele.
Imo. Why did you throw your wedded Lady fro you?
Thinke that you are vpon a Rocke, and now
Throw me againe.
3555Post. Hang there like fruite, my soule,
Till the Tree dye.
Cym. How now, my Flesh? my Childe?
What, mak'st thou me a dullard in this Act?
Wilt thou not speake to me?
3560Imo. Your blessing, Sir.
Bel. Though you did loue this youth, I blame ye not,
You had a motiue for't.
Cym. My teares that fall
Proue holy-water on thee; Imogen,
3565Thy Mothers dead.
Imo. I am sorry for't, my Lord.
Cym. Oh, she was naught; and long of her it was
That we meet heere so strangely: but her Sonne
Is gone, we know not how, nor where.
3570Pisa. My Lord,
Now feare is from me, Ile speake troth. Lord Cloten
Vpon my Ladies missing, came to me
With his Sword drawne, foam'd at the mouth, and swore
If I discouer'd not which way she was gone,
3575It was my instant death. By accident,
I had a feigned Letter of my Masters
Then in my pocket, which directed him
To seeke her on the Mountaines neere to Milford,
Where in a frenzie, in my Masters Garments
3580(Which he inforc'd from me) away he postes
With vnchaste purpose, and with oath to violate
My Ladies honor, what became of him,
I further know not.
Gui. Let me end the Story: I slew him there.
3585Cym. Marry, the Gods forefend.
I would not thy good deeds, should from my lips
Plucke a hard sentence: Prythee valiant youth
Deny't againe.
Gui. I haue spoke it, and I did it.
3590Cym. He was a Prince.
Gui. A most inciuill one. The wrongs he did mee
Were nothing Prince-like; for he did prouoke me
With Language that would make me spurne the Sea,
If it could so roare to me. I cut off's head,
3595And am right glad he is not standing heere
To tell this tale of mine.
Cym. I am sorrow for thee:
By thine owne tongue thou art condemn'd, and must
Endure our Law: Thou'rt dead.
3600Imo. That headlesse man I thought had bin my Lord
Cym. Binde the Offender,
And take him from our presence.
Bel. Stay, Sir King.
This man is better then the man he slew,
3605As well descended as thy selfe, and hath
More of thee merited, then a Band of Clotens
Had euer scarre for. Let his Armes alone,
They were not borne for bondage.
Cym. Why old Soldier:
3610Wilt thou vndoo the worth thou art vnpayd for
By tasting of our wrath? How of descent
As good as we?
Arui. In that he spake too farre.
Cym. And thou shalt dye for't.
3615Bel. We will dye all three,
But I will proue that two one's are as good
As I haue giuen out him. My Sonnes, I must
For mine owne part, vnfold a dangerous speech,
Though haply well for you.
3620Arui. Your danger's ours.
Guid. And our good his.
Bel. Haue at it then, by leaue
Thou hadd'st (great King) a Subiect, who
Was call'd Belarius.
3625Cym. What of him? He is a banish'd Traitor.
Bel. He it is, that hath
Assum'd this age: indeed a banish'd man,
I know not how, a Traitor.
Cym. Take him hence,
3630The whole world shall not saue him.
Bel. Not too hot;
First pay me for the Nursing of thy Sonnes,
And let it be confiscate all, so soone
As I haue receyu'd it.
3635Cym. Nursing of my Sonnes?
Bel. I am too blunt, and sawcy: heere's my knee:
Ere I arise, I will preferre my Sonnes,
Then spare not the old Father. Mighty Sir,
These two young Gentlemen that call me Father,
3640And thinke they are my Sonnes, are none of mine,
They are the yssue of your Loynes, my Liege,
And blood of your begetting.
Cym. How? my Issue.
Bel. So sure as you, your Fathers: I (old Morgan)
3645Am that Belarius, whom you sometime banish'd:
Your pleasure was my neere offence, my punishment
It selfe, and all my Treason that I suffer'd,
Was all the harme I did. These gentle Princes
(For such, and so they are) these twenty yeares
3650Haue I train'd vp; those Arts they haue, as I
Could put into them. My breeding was (Sir)
As your Highnesse knowes: Their Nurse Euriphile
(Whom for the Theft I wedded) stole these Children
Vpon my Banishment: I moou'd her too't,
3655Hauing receyu'd the punishment before
For that which I did then. Beaten for Loyaltie,
Excited me to Treason. Their deere losse,
The more of you 'twas felt, the more it shap'd
Vnto my end of stealing them. But gracious Sir,
3660Heere are your Sonnes againe, and I must loose
Two of the sweet'st Companions in the World.
The benediction of these couering Heauens
Fall on their heads like dew, for they are worthie
To in-lay Heauen with Starres.
3665Cym. Thou weep'st, and speak'st:
The Seruice that you three haue done, is more
Vnlike, then this thou tell'st. I lost my Children,
If these be they, I know not how to wish
A payre of worthier Sonnes.
3670Bel. Be pleas'd awhile;
This Gentleman, whom I call Polidore,
Most worthy Prince, as yours, is true Guiderius:
This Gentleman, my Cadwall, Aruiragus.
Your yonger Princely Son, he Sir, was lapt
3675In a most curious Mantle, wrought by th'hand
Of his Queene Mother, which for more probation
I can with ease produce.
Cym. Guiderius had
Vpon his necke a Mole, a sanguine Starre,
3680It was a marke of wonder.
Bel. This is he,
Who hath vpon him still that naturall stampe:
It was wise Natures end, in the donation
To be his euidence now.
3685Cym. Oh, what am I
A Mother to the byrth of three? Nere Mother
Reioyc'd deliuerance more: Blest, pray you be,
That after this strange starting from your Orbes,
You may reigne in them now: Oh Imogen,
3690Thou hast lost by this a Kingdome.
Imo. No, my Lord:
I haue got two Worlds by't. Oh my gentle Brothers,
Haue we thus met? Oh neuer say heereafter
But I am truest speaker. You call'd me Brother
3695When I was but your Sister: I you Brothers,
When we were so indeed.
Cym. Did you ere meete?
Arui. I my good Lord.
Gui. And at first meeting lou'd,
3700Continew'd so, vntill we thought he dyed.
Corn. By the Queenes Dramme she swallow'd.
Cym. O rare instinct!
When shall I heare all through? This fierce abridgment,
Hath to it Circumstantiall branches, which
3705Distinction should be rich in. Where? how liu'd you?
And when came you to serue our Romane Captiue?
How parted with your Brother? How first met them?
Why fled you from the Court? And whether these?
And your three motiues to the Battaile? with
3710I know not how much more should be demanded,
And all the other by-dependances
From chance to chance? But nor the Time, nor Place
Will serue our long Interrogatories. See,
Posthumus Anchors vpon Imogen;
3715And she (like harmlesse Lightning) throwes her eye
On him: her Brothers, Me: her Master hitting
Each obiect with a Ioy: the Counter-change
Is seuerally in all. Let's quit this ground,
And smoake the Temple with our Sacrifices.
3720Thou art my Brother, so wee'l hold thee euer.
Imo. You are my Father too, and did releeue me:
To see this gracious season.
Cym. All ore-ioy'd
Saue these in bonds, let them be ioyfull too,
3725For they shall taste our Comfort.
Imo. My good Master, I will yet do you seruice.
Luc. Happy be you.
Cym. The forlorne Souldier, that no Nobly fought
He would haue well becom'd this place, and grac'd
3730The thankings of a King.
Post. I am Sir
The Souldier that did company these three
In poore beseeming: 'twas a fitment for
The purpose I then follow'd. That I was he,
3735Speake Iachimo, I had you downe, and might
Haue made you finish.
Iach. I am downe againe:
But now my heauie Conscience sinkes my knee,
As then your force did. Take that life, beseech you
3740Which I so often owe: but your Ring first,
And heere the Bracelet of the truest Princesse
That euer swore her Faith.
Post. Kneele not to me:
The powre that I haue on you, is to spare you:
3745The malice towards you, to forgiue you. Liue
And deale with others better.
Cym. Nobly doom'd:
Wee'l learne our Freenesse of a Sonne-in-Law:
Pardon's the word to all.
3750Arui. You holpe vs Sir,
As you did meane indeed to be our Brother,
Ioy'd are we, that you are.
Post. Your Seruant Princes. Good my Lord of Rome
Call forth your Sooth-sayer: As I slept, me thought
3755Great Iupiter vpon his Eagle back'd
Appear'd to me, with other sprightly shewes
Of mine owne Kindred. When I wak'd, I found
This Labell on my bosome; whose containing
Is so from sense in hardnesse, that I can
3760Make no Collection of it. Let him shew
His skill in the construction.
Luc. Philarmonus.
Sooth. Heere, my good Lord.
Luc. Read, and declare the meaning.
3765
Reades.
WHen as a Lyons whelpe, shall to himselfe vnknown, with-
out seeking finde, and bee embrac'd by a peece of tender
Ayre: And when from a stately Cedar shall be lopt branches,
which being dead many yeares, shall after reuiue, bee ioynted to
3770the old Stocke, and freshly grow, then shall Posthumus end his
miseries, Britaine be fortunate, and flourish in Peace and Plen-
tie.
Thou Leonatus art the Lyons Whelpe,
The fit and apt Construction of thy name
3775Being Leonatus, doth import so much:
The peece of tender Ayre, thy vertuous Daughter,
Which we call Mollis Aer, and Mollis Aer
We terme it Mulier; which Mulier I diuine
Is this most constant Wife, who euen now
3780Answering the Letter of the Oracle,
Vnknowne to you vnsought, were clipt about
With this most tender Aire.
Cym. This hath some seeming.
Sooth. The lofty Cedar, Royall Cymbeline
3785Personates thee: And thy lopt Branches, point
Thy two Sonnes forth: who by Belarius stolne
For many yeares thought dead, are now reuiu'd
To the Maiesticke Cedar ioyn'd; whose Issue
Promises Britaine, Peace and Plenty.
3790Cym. Well,
My Peace we will begin: And Caius Lucius,
Although the Victor, we submit to sar,
And to the Romane Empire; promising
To pay our wonted Tribute, from the which
3795We were disswaded by our wicked Queene,
Whom heauens in Iustice both on her, and hers,
Haue laid most heauy hand.
Sooth. The fingers of the Powres aboue, do tune
The harmony of this Peace: the Vision
3800Which I made knowne to Lucius ere the stroke
Of yet this scarse-cold-Battaile, at this instant
Is full accomplish'd. For the Romaine Eagle
From South to West, on wing soaring aloft
Lessen'd her selfe, and in the Beames o'th'Sun
3805So vanish'd; which fore-shew'd our Princely Eagle
Th'Imperiall sar, should againe vnite
His Fauour, with the Radiant Cymbeline,
Which shines heere in the West.
Cym. Laud we the Gods,
3810And let our crooked Smoakes climbe to their Nostrils
From our blest Altars. Publish we this Peace
To all our Subiects. Set we forward: Let
A Roman, and a Brittish Ensigne waue
Friendly together: so through Luds-Towne march,
3815And in the Temple of great Iupiter
Our Peace wee'l ratifie: Seale it with Feasts.
Set on there: Neuer was a Warre did cease
(Ere bloodie hands were wash'd) with such a Peace.
Exeunt.