Internet Shakespeare Editions

About this text

  • Title: Cymbeline (Modern)
  • 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 (Modern)


    Enter Imogen alone, as Fidele
    Imogen I see a man's life is a tedious one:
    I have tired myself, and for two nights together
    Have made the ground my bed. I should be sick
    2085But that my resolution helps me. Milford,
    When from the mountaintop Pisanio showed thee,
    Thou wast within a ken. O Jove, I think
    Foundations fly the wretched: such, I mean,
    Where they should be relieved. Two beggars told me
    2090I could not miss my way. Will poor folks lie
    That have afflictions on them, knowing 'tis
    A punishment or trial? Yes; no wonder,
    When rich ones scarce tell true. To lapse in fullness
    Is sorer than to lie for need, and falsehood
    2095Is worse in kings than beggars. My dear lord,
    Thou art one o'th' false ones -- now I think on thee
    My hunger's gone, but even before I was
    At point to sink for food.
    [Sees cave]
    But what is this?
    Here is a path to't; 'tis some savage hold.
    2100I were best not call; I dare not call; yet famine
    Ere clean it o'erthrow nature makes it valiant.
    Plenty and peace breeds cowards; hardness ever
    Of hardiness is mother. Ho! Who's here?
    If any thing that's civil, speak; if savage,
    2105Take or lend. Ho! No answer? Then I'll enter.
    Best draw my sword, and if mine enemy
    But fear the sword like me, he'll scarcely look on't.
    Such a foe, good heavens!
    Exit [to the cave]
    Enter Belarius [as Morgan], Guiderius [as Polydore], and Arviragus [as Cadwal]
    Belarius You, Polydore, have proved best woodman and
    Are master of the feast; Cadwal and I
    Will play the cook and servant; 'tis our match.
    The sweat of industry would dry and die
    2115But for the end it works to. Come, our stomachs
    Will make what's homely, savory: weariness
    Can snore upon the flint when resty sloth
    Finds the down pillow hard. Now peace be here,
    Poor house, that keepst thyself.
    I am throughly weary.
    Arviragus I am weak with toil yet strong in appetite.
    Guiderius There is cold meat i'th' cave; we'll browse on that
    Whilst what we have killed be cooked.
    Stay; come not in.
    [Belarius looks into or begins to go into the cave]
    2125But that it eats our victuals, I should think
    Here were a fairy.
    What's the matter, sir?
    Belarius By Jupiter, an angel! Or, if not,
    An earthly paragon. Behold divineness
    2130No elder than a boy.
    Enter Imogen [from the cave]
    Imogen Good masters, harm me not.
    Before I entered here, I called, and thought
    To have begged or bought what I have took. Good troth,
    2135I have stolen nought, nor would not, though I had found
    Gold strewed i'th' floor. Here's money for my meat;
    I would have left it on the board so soon
    As I had made my meal, and parted
    With prayers for the provider.
    Money, youth?
    Arviragus All gold and silver rather turn to dirt,
    As 'tis no better reckoned but of those
    Who worship dirty gods.
    I see you're angry.
    2145Know, if you kill me for my fault, I should
    Have died had I not made it.
    Whither bound?
    Imogen To Milford Haven.
    Belarius What's your name?
    2150Imogen Fidele, sir. I have a kinsman who
    Is bound for Italy; he embarked at Milford,
    To whom being going, almost spent with hunger,
    I am fallen in this offense.
    Prithee, fair youth,
    2155Think us no churls, nor measure our good minds
    By this rude place we live in. Well encountered.
    'Tis almost night; you shall have better cheer
    Ere you depart, and thanks to stay and eat it.
    Boys, bid him welcome.
    2160Guiderius Were you a woman, youth,
    I should woo hard but be your groom, in honesty;
    I bid for you as I do buy.
    I'll make't my comfort
    He is a man. I'll love him as my brother,
    2165And such a welcome as I'd give to him
    After long absence, such is yours. Most welcome:
    Be sprightly, for you fall 'mongst friends.
    'Mongst friends,
    If brothers. [Aside] Would it had been so, that they
    2170Had been my father's sons; then had my prize
    Been less, and so more equal ballasting
    To thee, Posthumus.
    He wrings at some distress.
    [Belarius, Guiderius, and Arviragus speak apart]
    Would I could free't.
    Or I, whate'er it be,
    What pain it cost, what danger. Gods!
    Hark, boys.
    [Belarius whispers to Guiderius and Arviragus]
    Imogen [Aside] Great men
    That had a court no bigger than this cave,
    2180That did attend themselves, and had the virtue
    Which their own conscience sealed them, laying by
    That nothing-gift of differing, multitudes
    Could not outpeer these twain. Pardon me, gods;
    I'd change my sex to be companion with them
    2185Since Leonatus false.
    [Aloud] It shall be so.
    Boys, we'll go dress our hunt. -- Fair youth, come in.
    Discourse is heavy, fasting; when we have supped,
    We'll mannerly demand thee of thy story,
    2190So far as thou wilt speak it.
    Pray draw near.
    Arviragus The night to th' owl and morn to th' lark less welcome.
    Thanks, sir.
    I pray draw near.