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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)

    Scena Tertia.
    Enter Belarius, Guiderius, and Aruiragus.
    1555Bel. A goodly day, not to keepe house with such,
    Whose Roofe's as lowe as ours: Sleepe Boyes, this gate
    Instructs you how t'adore the Heauens; and bowes you
    To a mornings holy office. The Gates of Monarches
    Are Arch'd so high, that Giants may iet through
    1560And keepe their impious Turbonds on, without
    Good morrow to the Sun. Haile thou faire Heauen,
    We house i'th' Rocke, yet vse thee not so hardly
    As prouder liuers do.
    Guid. Haile Heauen.
    1565Aruir. Haile Heauen.
    Bela. Now for our Mountaine sport, vp to yond hill
    Your legges are yong: Ile tread these Flats. Consider,
    When you aboue perceiue me like a Crow,
    That it is Place, which lessen's, and sets off,
    1570And you may then reuolue what Tales, I haue told you,
    Of Courts, of Princes; of the Tricks in Warre.
    This Seruice, is not Seruice; so being done,
    But being so allowed. To apprehend thus,
    Drawes vs a profit from all things we see:
    1575And often to our comfort, shall we finde
    The sharded-Beetle, in a safer hold
    Then is the full-wing'd Eagle. Oh this life,
    Is Nobler, then attending for a checke:
    Richer, then doing nothing for a Babe:
    1580Prouder, then rustling in vnpayd-for Silke:
    Such gaine the Cap of him, that makes him fine,
    Yet keepes his Booke vncros'd: no life to ours.
    Gui. Out of your proofe you speak: we poore vnfledg'd
    Haue neuer wing'd from view o'th' nest; nor knowes not
    1585What Ayre's from home. Hap'ly this life is best,
    (If quiet life be best) sweeter to you
    That haue a sharper knowne. Well corresponding
    With your stiffe Age; but vnto vs, it is
    A Cell of Ignorance: trauailing a bed,
    1590A Prison, or a Debtor, that not dares
    To stride a limit.
    Arui. What should we speake of
    When we are old as you? When we shall heare
    The Raine and winde beate darke December? How
    1595In this our pinching Caue, shall we discourse
    The freezing houres away? We haue seene nothing:
    We are beastly; subtle as the Fox for prey,
    Like warlike as the Wolfe, for what we eate:
    Our Valour is to chace what flyes: Our Cage
    1600We make a Quire, as doth the prison'd Bird,
    And sing our Bondage freely.
    Bel. How you speake.
    Did you but know the Citties Vsuries,
    And felt them knowingly: the Art o'th' Court,
    1605As hard to leaue, as keepe: whose top to climbe
    Is certaine falling: or so slipp'ry, that
    The feare's as bad as falling. The toyle o'th' Warre,
    A paine that onely seemes to seeke out danger
    I'th' name of Fame, and Honor, which dyes i'th' search,
    1610And hath as oft a sland'rous Epitaph,
    As Record of faire Act. Nay, many times
    Doth ill deserue, by doing well: what's worse
    Must curt'sie at the Censure. Oh Boyes, this Storie
    The World may reade in me: My bodie's mark'd
    1615With Roman Swords; and my report, was once
    First, with the best of Note. Cymbeline lou'd me,
    And when a Souldier was the Theame, my name
    Was not farre off: then was I as a Tree
    Whose boughes did bend with fruit. But in one night,
    1620A Storme, or Robbery (call it what you will)
    Shooke downe my mellow hangings: nay my Leaues,
    And left me bare to weather.
    Gui. Vncertaine fauour.
    Bel. My fault being nothing (as I haue told you oft)
    1625But that two Villaines, whose false Oathes preuayl'd
    Before my perfect Honor, swore to Cymbeline,
    I was Confederate with the Romanes: so
    Followed my Banishment, and this twenty yeeres,
    This Rocke, and these Demesnes, haue bene my World,
    1630Where I haue liu'd at honest freedome, payed
    More pious debts to Heauen, then in all
    The fore-end of my time. But, vp to'th' Mountaines,
    This is not Hunters Language; he that strikes
    The Venison first, shall be the Lord o'th' Feast,
    1635To him the other two shall minister,
    And we will feare no poyson, which attends
    In place of greater State:
    Ile meete you in the Valleyes.
    How hard it is to hide the sparkes of Nature?
    1640These Boyes know little they are Sonnes to'th' King,
    Nor Cymbeline dreames that they are aliue.
    They thinke they are mine,
    And though train'd vp thus meanely
    I'th' Caue, whereon the Bowe their thoughts do hit,
    1645The Roofes of Palaces, and Nature prompts them
    In simple and lowe things, to Prince it, much
    Beyond the tricke of others. This Paladour,
    The heyre of Cymbeline and Britaine, who
    The King his Father call'd Guiderius. Ioue,
    1650When on my three-foot stoole I sit, and tell
    The warlike feats I haue done, his spirits flye out
    Into my Story: say thus mine Enemy fell,
    And thus I set my foote on's necke, euen then
    The Princely blood flowes in his Cheeke, he sweats,
    1655Straines his yong Nerues, and puts himselfe in posture
    That acts my words. The yonger Brother Cadwall,
    Once Aruiragus, in as like a figure
    Strikes life into my speech, and shewes much more
    His owne conceyuing. Hearke, the Game is rows'd,
    1660Oh Cymbeline, Heauen and my Conscience knowes
    Thou didd'st vniustly banish me: whereon
    At three, and two yeeres old, I stole these Babes,
    Thinking to barre thee of Succession, as
    Thou refts me of my Lands. Euriphile,
    1665Thou was't their Nurse, they took thee for their mother,
    And euery day do honor to her graue:
    My selfe Belarius, that am Mergan call'd
    They take for Naturall Father. The Game is vp.