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Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Jennifer Forsyth
Peer Reviewed

Cymbeline (Modern)

Enter in state, Cymbeline, Queen, Clotten, and Lords at 1375one door, and at another, Caius Lucius and Attendants
Now say, what would Augustus Caesar with us?
When Julius Caesar, whose remembrance yet
Lives in men's eyes, and will to ears and tongues
1380Be theme and hearing ever, was in this Britain
And conquered it, Cassibelan, thine uncle,
Famous in Caesar's praises no whit less
Than in his feats deserving it, for him
And his succession granted Rome a tribute,
1385Yearly three thousand pounds, which by thee lately
Is left untendered.
And, to kill the marvel,
Shall be so ever.
There be many Caesars 1390ere such another Julius. Britain's a world by itself, and we will nothing pay for wearing our own noses.
That opportunity
Which then they had to take from's, to resume
1395We have again. Remember, sir, my liege,
The kings your ancestors, together with
The natural bravery of your isle, which stands
As Neptune's park, ribbed and paled in
With oaks unscalable and roaring waters,
1400With sands that will not bear your enemies' boats
But suck them up to th' topmast. A kind of conquest
Caesar made here, but made not here his brag
Of "came and saw and overcame"; with shame,
The first that ever touched him, he was carried
1405From off our coast, twice beaten; and his shipping,
Poor ignorant baubles, on our terrible seas
Like eggshells moved upon their surges, cracked
As easily 'gainst our rocks; for joy whereof
The famed Cassibelan, who was once at point
1410(O giglet Fortune) to master Caesar's sword,
Made Luds-Town with rejoicing fires bright,
And Britons strut with courage.
Come, there's no more tribute to be paid. Our kingdom is stronger than it was at that time, and, as I 1415said, there is no more such Caesars. Other of them may have crook'd noses, but to owe such straight arms, none.
Son, let your mother end.
We have yet many among us can grip as hard as Cassibelan; I do not say I am one, but I have a hand. 1420Why tribute? Why should we pay tribute? If
Caesar can hide the sun from us with a blanket or put the moon in his pocket, we will pay him tribute for light; else, sir, no more tribute, pray you now.
You must know,
1425Till the injurious Romans did extort
This tribute from us, we were free. Caesar's ambition,
Which swelled so much that it did almost stretch
The sides o'th' world, against all color here
Did put the yoke upon's; which to shake off
1430Becomes a warlike people, whom we reckon
Ourselves to be, we do. Say then to Caesar,
Our ancestor was that Mulmutius which
Ordained our laws, whose use the sword of Caesar
Hath too much mangled, whose repair and franchise
1435Shall by the power we hold be our good deed,
Though Rome be therefore angry. Mulmutius made our laws
Who was the first of Britain, which did put
His brows within a golden crown and called
Himself a king.
I am sorry, Cymbeline,
That I am to pronounce Augustus Caesar
(Caesar, that hath more kings his servants than
Thyself domestic officers) thine enemy;
Receive it from me, then. War and confusion
1445In Caesar's name pronounce I 'gainst thee; look
For fury not to be resisted. Thus defied,
I thank thee for myself.
Thou art welcome, Caius.
Thy Caesar knighted me; my youth I spent
1450Much under him; of him, I gathered honor,
Which he to seek of me again, perforce,
Behooves me keep at utterance. I am perfect
That the Pannonians and Dalmatians for
Their liberties are now in arms, a precedent
1455Which not to read would show the Britons cold;
So Caesar shall not find them.
Let proof speak.
His Majesty bids you welcome. Make pastime with us a day or two, or longer; if you seek us 1460afterwards in other terms, you shall find us in our saltwater girdle. If you beat us out of it, it is yours; if you fall in the adventure, our crows shall fare the better for you: and there's an end.
So, sir.
I know your master's pleasure, and he mine;
All the remain is welcome.