Internet Shakespeare Editions

About this text

  • Title: Cymbeline (Folio 1, 1623)
  • Editor: Jennifer Forsyth
  • ISBN: 1-55058-300-X

    Copyright Jennifer Forsyth. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Editor: Jennifer Forsyth
    Peer Reviewed

    Cymbeline (Folio 1, 1623)

    The Tragedie of Cymbeline.
    2980Lord. This was strange chance:
    A narrow Lane, an old man, and two Boyes.
    Post. Nay, do not wonder at it: you are made
    Rather to wonder at the things you heare,
    Then to worke any. Will you Rime vpon't,
    2985And vent it for a Mock'rie? Heere is one:
    "Two Boyes, an Oldman (twice a Boy) a Lane,
    "Preseru'd the Britaines, was the Romanes bane.
    Lord. Nay, be not angry Sir.
    Post. Lacke, to what end?
    2990Who dares not stand his Foe, Ile be his Friend:
    For if hee'l do, as he is made to doo,
    I know hee'l quickly flye my friendship too.
    You haue put me into Rime.
    Lord. Farewell, you're angry.
    2995Post. Still going? This is a Lord: Oh Noble misery
    To be i'th' Field, and aske what newes of me:
    To day, how many would haue giuen their Honours
    To haue sau'd their Carkasses? Tooke heele to doo't,
    And yet dyed too. I, in mine owne woe charm'd
    3000Could not finde death, where I did heare him groane,
    Nor feele him where he strooke. Being an vgly Monster,
    'Tis strange he hides him in fresh Cups, soft Beds,
    Sweet words; or hath moe ministers then we
    That draw his kniues i'th' War. Well I will finde him:
    3005For being now a Fauourer to the Britaine,
    No more a Britaine, I haue resum'd againe
    The part I came in. Fight I will no more,
    But yeeld me to the veriest Hinde, that shall
    Once touch my shoulder. Great the slaughter is
    3010Heere made by'th' Romane; great the Answer be
    Britaines must take. For me, my Ransome's death,
    On eyther side I come to spend my breath;
    Which neyther heere Ile keepe, nor beare agen,
    But end it by some meanes for Imogen.
    Enter two Captaines, and Soldiers.
    1 Great Iupiter be prais'd, Lucius is taken,
    'Tis thought the old man, and his sonnes, were Angels.
    2 There was a fourth man, in a silly habit,
    That gaue th' Affront with them.
    30201 So 'tis reported:
    But none of 'em can be found. Stand, who's there?
    Post. A Roman,
    Who had not now beene drooping heere, if Seconds
    Had answer'd him.
    30252 Lay hands on him: a Dogge,
    A legge of Rome shall not returne to tell
    What Crows haue peckt them here: he brags his seruice
    As if he were of note: bring him to'th' King.
    Enter Cymbeline, Belarius, Guiderius, Aruiragus, Pisanio, and
    3030Romane Captiues. The Captaines present Posthumus to
    Cymbeline, who deliuers him ouer to a Gaoler.

    Scena Quarta.

    Enter Posthumus, and Gaoler.
    Gao. You shall not now be stolne,
    3035You haue lockes vpon you:
    So graze, as you finde Pasture.
    2. Gao. I, or a stomacke.
    Post. Most welcome bondage; for thou art a way
    (I thinke) to liberty: yet am I better
    3040Then one that's sicke o'th' Gowt, since he had rather
    Groane so in perpetuity, then be cur'd
    By'th' sure Physitian, Death; who is the key
    T' vnbarre these Lockes. My Conscience, thou art fetter'd
    More then my shanks, & wrists: you good Gods giue me
    3045The penitent Instrument to picke that Bolt,
    Then free for euer. Is't enough I am sorry?
    So Children temporall Fathers do appease;
    Gods are more full of mercy. Must I repent,
    I cannot do it better then in Gyues,
    3050Desir'd, more then constrain'd, to satisfie
    If of my Freedome 'tis the maine part, take
    No stricter render of me, then my All.
    I know you are more clement then vilde men,
    Who of their broken Debtors take a third,
    3055A sixt, a tenth, letting them thriue againe
    On their abatement; that's not my desire.
    For Imogens deere life, take mine, and though
    'Tis not so deere, yet 'tis a life; you coyn'd it,
    'Tweene man, and man, they waigh not euery stampe:
    3060Though light, take Peeces for the figures sake,
    (You rather) mine being yours: and so great Powres,
    If you will take this Audit, take this life,
    And cancell these cold Bonds. Oh Imogen,
    Ile speake to thee in silence.

    3065 Solemne Musicke. Enter (as in an Apparation) Sicillius Leo-
    natus, Father to Posthumus, an old man, attyred like a war-
    riour, leading in his hand an ancient Matron (his wife, &
    Mother to Posthumus) with Musicke before them. Then
    after other Musicke, followes the two young Leonati (Bro-
    3070thers to Posthumus) with wounds as they died in the warrs.
    They circle Posthumus round as he lies sleeping.

    Sicil. No more thou Thunder-Master
    shew thy spight, on Mortall Flies:
    With Mars fall out with Iuno chide, that thy Adulteries
    3075Rates, and Reuenges.
    Hath my poore Boy done ought but well,
    whose face I neuer saw:
    I dy'de whil'st in the Wombe he staide,
    attending Natures Law.
    3080Whose Father then (as men report,
    thou Orphanes Father art)
    Thou should'st haue bin, and sheelded him,
    from this earth-vexing smart.
    Moth. Lucina lent not me her ayde,
    3085but tooke me in my Throwes,
    That from me was Posthumus ript,
    came crying 'mong'st his Foes.
    A thing of pitty.
    Sicil. Great Nature like his Ancestrie,
    3090moulded the stuffe so faire:
    That he deseru'd the praise o'th' World,
    as great Sicilius heyre.
    1. Bro. When once he was mature for man,
    in Britaine where was hee
    3095That could stand vp his paralell?
    Or fruitfull obiect bee?
    In eye of Imogen, that best could deeme
    his dignitie.
    Mo. With Marriage wherefore was he mockt
    3100to be exil'd, and throwne
    From Leonati Seate, and cast from her,
    his deerest one:
    Sweete Imogen?
    Sic. Why did you suffer Iachimo, slight thing of Italy,
    bbb 3