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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 Belarius [as Morgan], Guiderius [as Polydore], Arviragus [as Cadwal], and 2245Imogen [as Fidele] from the cave
    Belarius You are not well. Remain here in the cave;
    We'll come to you after hunting.
    [To Imogen] Brother, stay here.
    Are we not brothers?
    So man and man should be. --
    But clay and clay differs in dignity
    Whose dust is both alike. -- I am very sick.
    Guiderius [To Belarius and Arviragus] Go you to hunting; I'll abide with him.
    Imogen So sick I am not, yet I am not well,
    2255But not so citizen a wanton as
    To seem to die ere sick. So please you, leave me.
    Stick to your journal course: the breach of custom
    Is breach of all. I am ill, but your being by me
    Cannot amend me. Society is no comfort
    2260To one not sociable. I am not very sick
    Since I can reason of it. Pray you, trust me here;
    I'll rob none but myself, and let me die,
    Stealing so poorly.
    I love thee. I have spoke it;
    2265How much the quantity, the weight as much,
    As I do love my father.
    What? How, how?
    Arviragus If it be sin to say so, sir, I yoke me
    In my good brother's fault. I know not why
    2270I love this youth, and I have heard you say
    Love's reason's without reason. The bier at door
    And a demand who is't shall die, I'd say
    My father, not this youth.
    [Aside] Oh, noble strain!
    2275O worthiness of Nature, breed of greatness!
    "Cowards father cowards, and base things sire base;
    Nature hath meal and bran, contempt and grace."
    I'm not their father, yet who this should be
    Doth miracle itself, loved before me. --
    2280'Tis the ninth hour o'th' morn.
    Brother, farewell.
    I wish ye sport.
    You, health. --
    [To Belarius]
    So please you, sir.
    Imogen [Aside] These are kind creatures. 2285Gods, what lies I have heard:
    Our courtiers say all's savage but at court;
    Experience, oh, thou disprov'st report.
    Th'imperious seas breeds monsters; for the dish,
    Poor tributary rivers, as sweet fish.
    2290I am sick still, heart-sick; Pisanio,
    I'll now taste of thy drug.
    [To Belarius and Arviragus] I could not stir him.
    He said he was gentle but unfortunate,
    Dishonestly afflicted but yet honest.
    2295Arviragus Thus did he answer me, yet said hereafter
    I might know more.
    To th' field, to th' field. --
    [To Imogen]
    We'll leave you for this time; go in and rest.
    We'll not be long away.
    Pray be not sick,
    For you must be our housewife.
    Well or ill,
    I am bound to you.
    And shalt be ever.
    Exit [to the cave]
    2305This youth, howe'er distressed, appears he hath had
    Good ancestors.
    How angel-like he sings!
    Guiderius But his neat cookery! He cut our roots in characters
    2310And sauc'd our broths as Juno had been sick
    And he her dieter.
    Nobly he yokes
    A smiling with a sigh, as if the sigh
    Was that it was for not being such a smile;
    2315The smile mocking the sigh that it would fly
    From so divine a temple to commix
    With winds that sailors rail at.
    I do note
    That grief and patience rooted in them both
    2320Mingle their spurs together.
    Grow patient,
    And let the stinking elder, grief, untwine
    His perishing root with the increasing vine.
    Belarius It is great morning. Come away. -- Who's there?
    Enter Clotten [without seeing them]
    Clotten [To himself] I cannot find those runagates; that villain
    Hath mocked me. I am faint.
    [To Guiderius and Arviragus] Those runagates?
    Means he not us? I partly know him; 'tis
    2330Clotten, the son o'th' Queen. I fear some ambush.
    I saw him not these many years, and yet
    I know 'tis he. We are held as outlaws. Hence!
    Guiderius He is but one. You and my brother search
    What companies are near. Pray you, away;
    2335Let me alone with him.
    [Clotten notices them] Soft; what are you
    [Exeunt Belarius and Arviragus]
    That fly me thus? Some villain mountaineers?
    I have heard of such. What slave art thou?
    A thing
    2340More slavish did I ne'er than answering
    A slave without a knock.
    Thou art a robber,
    A law-breaker, a villain; yield thee, thief.
    Guiderius To who? To thee? What art thou? Have not I
    2345An arm as big as thine? A heart as big?
    Thy words, I grant, are bigger, for I wear not
    My dagger in my mouth. Say what thou art,
    Why I should yield to thee.
    Thou villain base,
    2350Knowst me not by my clothes?
    No, nor thy tailor, rascal,
    Who is thy grandfather. He made those clothes,
    Which, as it seems, make thee.
    Thou precious varlet,
    2355My tailor made them not.
    Hence then, and thank
    The man that gave them thee. Thou art some fool;
    I am loath to beat thee.
    Thou injurious thief,
    2360Hear but my name and tremble.
    What's thy name?
    Clotten Clotten, thou villain.
    Guiderius "Clotten thou double villain" be thy name,
    I cannot tremble at it. Were it toad or adder, spider,
    2365'Twould move me sooner.
    To thy further fear,
    Nay, to thy mere confusion, thou shalt know
    I am son to th' Queen.
    I am sorry for't, not seeming
    2370So worthy as thy birth.
    Art not afeard?
    Guiderius Those that I reverence, those I fear: the wise;
    At fools I laugh, not fear them.
    Die the death!
    2375When I have slain thee with my proper hand,
    I'll follow those that even now fled hence
    And on the gates of Luds-Town set your heads.
    Yield, rustic mountaineer!
    Fight and exeunt
    Enter Belarius and Arviragus
    2380Belarius No company's abroad?
    Arviragus None in the world. You did mistake him sure.
    Belarius I cannot tell. Long is it since I saw him,
    But time hath nothing blurred those lines of favor
    Which then he wore. The snatches in his voice
    2385And burst of speaking were as his: I am absolute
    'Twas very Clotten.
    In this place we left them.
    I wish my brother make good time with him
    You say he is so fell.
    Being scarce made up,
    I mean to man, he had not apprehension
    Of roaring terrors, for defect of judgment
    Is oft the cause of fear.
    Enter Guiderius [with Clotten's head]
    2395But see thy brother.
    Guiderius This Clotten was a fool, an empty purse;
    There was no money in't. Not Hercules
    Could have knocked out his brains, for he had none;
    Yet I not doing this, the fool had borne
    2400My head as I do his.
    What hast thou done?
    Guiderius I am perfect what: cut off one Clotten's head,
    Son to the Queen after his own report,
    Who called me traitor, mountaineer, and swore
    2405With his own single hand he'd take us in,
    Displace our heads where, thanks the gods, they grow
    And set them on Luds-Town.
    We are all undone.
    Guiderius Why, worthy father, what have we to lose
    2410But that he swore to take, our lives? The law
    Protects not us; then why should we be tender
    To let an arrogant piece of flesh threat us,
    Play judge and executioner all himself
    For we do fear the law? What company
    2415Discover you abroad?
    No single soul
    Can we set eye on, but in all safe reason
    He must have some attendants. Though his honor
    Was nothing but mutation, aye, and that
    2420From one bad thing to worse, not frenzy,
    Not absolute madness could so far have raved
    To bring him here alone -- although perhaps
    It may be heard at court that such as we
    Cave here, hunt here, are outlaws, and in time
    2425May make some stronger head; the which, he hearing,
    As it is like him, might break out and swear
    He'd fetch us in -- yet is't not probable
    To come alone, either he so undertaking,
    Or they so suffering. Then on good ground we fear
    2430If we do fear this body hath a tail
    More perilous than the head.
    Let ord'nance
    Come as the gods fore-say it; howsoe'er,
    My brother hath done well.
    I had no mind
    To hunt this day; the boy Fidele's sickness
    Did make my way long forth.
    With his own sword
    Which he did wave against my throat I have ta'en
    2440His head from him. I'll throw't into the creek
    Behind our rock and let it to the sea
    And tell the fishes he's the Queen's son, Clotten;
    That's all I reck.
    I fear 'twill be revenged.
    2445Would, Polydore, thou hadst not done't, though valor
    Becomes thee well enough.
    Would I had done't,
    So the revenge alone pursued me. Polydore,
    I love thee brotherly, but envy much
    2450Thou hast robbed me of this deed. I would revenges
    That possible strength might meet would seek us through
    And put us to our answer.
    Well, 'tis done.
    We'll hunt no more today, nor seek for danger
    2455Where there's no profit. I prithee to our rock:
    You and Fidele play the cooks; I'll stay
    Till hasty Polydore return, and bring him
    To dinner presently.
    Poor, sick Fidele.
    2460I'll willingly to him. To gain his color,
    I'd let a parish of such Clotten's blood
    And praise myself for charity.
    O thou goddess,
    Thou divine Nature, thou thyself thou blazonst
    2465In these two princely boys: they are as gentle
    As zephyrs blowing below the violet,
    Not wagging his sweet head; and yet as rough,
    Their royal blood enchafed, as the rudest wind
    That by the top doth take the mountain pine
    2470And make him stoop to th' vale. 'Tis wonder
    That an invisible instinct should frame them
    To royalty unlearned, honor untaught,
    Civility not seen from other, valor
    That wildly grows in them but yields a crop
    2475As if it had been sowed. Yet still it's strange
    What Clotten's being here to us portends
    Or what his death will bring us.
    Enter Guiderius
    Where's my brother?
    2480I have sent Clotten's clot-pole down the stream
    In embassy to his mother; his body's hostage
    For his return.
    My ingenious instrument:
    Solemn music
    Hark, Polydore, it sounds; but what occasion
    2485Hath Cadwal now to give it motion? Hark!
    Is he at home?
    He went hence even now.
    Guiderius What does he mean? Since death of my dear'st mother
    2490It did not speak before. All solemn things
    Should answer solemn accidents. The matter?
    Triumphs for nothing and lamenting toys
    Is jollity for apes and grief for boys.
    Is Cadwal mad?
    Enter Arviragus with Imogen dead, bearing her in his arms
    Belarius Look, here he comes,
    And brings the dire occasion in his arms
    Of what we blame him for.
    The bird is dead
    That we have made so much on. I had rather
    Have skipped from sixteen years of age to sixty,
    To have turned my leaping time into a crutch
    Than have seen this.
    O sweetest, fairest lily,
    My brother wears thee not the one half so well
    As when thou grewst thyself.
    O melancholy,
    Who ever yet could sound thy bottom? Find
    2510The ooze to show what coast thy sluggish care
    Might easil'est harbor in. Thou blessèd thing,
    Jove knows what man thou mightst have made; but I,
    Thou diedst a most rare boy, of melancholy.
    How found you him?
    2515Arviragus Stark, as you see;
    Thus smiling as some fly had tickled slumber,
    Not as death's dart being laughed at, his right cheek
    Reposing on a cushion.
    O'th' floor,
    Reposing on a cushion.
    O'th' floor,
    His arms thus leagued; I thought he slept and put
    My clouted brogues from off my feet, whose rudeness
    Answered my steps too loud.
    Why, he but sleeps.
    2525If he be gone, he'll make his grave a bed;
    With female fairies will his tomb be haunted,
    And worms will not come to thee.
    With fairest flowers
    Whilst summer lasts and I live here, Fidele,
    2530I'll sweeten thy sad grave; thou shalt not lack
    The flower that's like thy face, pale primrose; nor
    The azured harebell like thy veins; no, nor
    The leaf of eglantine, whom not to slander,
    Outsweetened not thy breath. The ruddock would
    2535With charitable bill (o bill, sore shaming
    Those rich-left heirs that let their fathers lie
    Without a monument) bring thee all this,
    Yea, and furred moss besides. When flowers are none
    To winter-ground thy corpse --
    Prithee have done,
    And do not play in wench-like words with that
    Which is so serious. Let us bury him
    And not protract with admiration what
    Is now due debt. To th' grave.
    Say, where shall's lay him?
    By good Euriphile, our mother.
    Be't so,
    And let us, Polydore, though now our voices
    Have got the mannish crack, sing him to th' ground
    2550As once to our mother, use like note and words,
    Save that "Euriphile" must be "Fidele."
    I cannot sing; I'll weep and word it with thee,
    For notes of sorrow out of tune are worse
    2555Than priests and fanes that lie.
    We'll speak it, then.
    Belarius Great griefs, I see, med'cine the less, for Clotten
    Is quite forgot. He was a queen's son, boys,
    And though he came our enemy, remember
    2560He was paid for that. Though mean and mighty rotting
    Together have one dust, yet reverence,
    That angel of the world, doth make distinction
    Of place 'tween high and low. Our foe was princely,
    And though you took his life as being our foe,
    2565Yet bury him as a prince.
    Pray you, fetch him hither;
    Thersites' body is as good as Ajax'
    When neither are alive.
    If you'll go fetch him,
    2570We'll say our song the whilst.
    [Exit Belarius]
    Brother, begin.
    Guiderius Nay, Cadwal, we must lay his head to th'east;
    My father hath a reason for't.
    'Tis true.
    Come on, then, and remove him.
    So, begin.
    Guiderius Fear no more the heat o'th' sun,
    Nor the furious winter's rages;
    Thou thy worldly task hast done,
    2580Home art gone, and ta'en thy wages.
    Golden lads and girls all must,
    As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.
    Arviragus Fear no more the frown o'th' great;
    Thou art past the tyrant's stroke.
    2585Care no more to clothe and eat;
    To thee the reed is as the oak:
    The scepter, learning, physic must
    All follow this and come to dust.
    Guiderius Fear no more the lightning-flash,
    2590Arviragus Nor th'all-dreaded thunder-stone;
    Guiderius Fear not slander, censure rash;
    Arviragus Thou hast finished joy and moan.
    BOTH All lovers young, all lovers must
    Consign to thee and come to dust.
    2595Guiderius No exorciser harm thee,
    Arviragus Nor no witchcraft charm thee;
    Guiderius Ghost unlaid forbear thee;
    Arviragus Nothing ill come near thee;
    BOTH Quiet consummation have,
    2600And renowned be thy grave.
    Enter Belarius with the body of Clotten
    Guiderius We have done our obsequies; come, lay him down.
    Belarius Here's a few flowers, but 'bout midnight more;
    2605The herbs that have on them cold dew o'th' night
    Are strewings fitt'st for graves: upon their faces. --
    You were as flowers, now withered; even so
    These herblets shall, which we upon you strew. --
    Come on, away, apart upon our knees;
    2610The ground that gave them first has them again.
    Their pleasures here are past, so are their pain.
    [Imogen awakes]
    Imogen Yes, sir, to Milford Haven, which is the way?
    I thank you. By yond bush? Pray, how far thither?
    2615'Ods-pittikins, can it be six mile yet?
    I have gone all night. Faith, I'll lie down and sleep.
    [Discovers the body]
    But soft; no bedfellow! Oh, gods and goddesses!
    These flowers are like the pleasures of the world;
    This bloody man, the care on't. I hope I dream,
    2620For so I thought I was a cave-keeper
    And cook to honest creatures. But 'tis not so:
    'Twas but a bolt of nothing, shot at nothing,
    Which the brain makes of fumes. Our very eyes
    Are sometimes like our judgments, blind. Good faith,
    2625I tremble still with fear, but if there be
    Yet left in Heaven as small a drop of pity
    As a wren's eye, feared gods, a part of it.
    The dream's here still. Even when I wake it is
    Without me as within me; not imagined, felt.
    2630A headless man? The garments of Posthumus?
    I know the shape of's leg; this is his hand,
    His foot Mercurial, his Martial thigh,
    The brawns of Hercules, but his Jovial face --
    Murder in heaven? How? 'Tis gone. Pisanio,
    2635All curses madded Hecuba gave the Greeks
    And mine to boot be darted on thee! Thou
    Conspired with that irregulous devil Clotten,
    Hast here cut off my lord. To write and read
    Be henceforth treacherous. Damned Pisanio
    2640Hath with his forgèd letters (damned Pisanio!)
    From this most bravest vessel of the world
    Struck the main-top! O Posthumus, alas,
    Where is thy head? Where's that? Ay me! Where's that?
    Pisanio might have killed thee at the heart
    2645And left this head on. How should this be, Pisanio?
    'Tis he and Clotten; malice and lucre in them
    Have laid this woe here. Oh, 'tis pregnant, pregnant!
    The drug he gave me, which he said was precious
    And cordial to me, have I not found it
    2650Murderous to th' senses? That confirms it home:
    This is Pisanio's deed, and Clotten. Oh!
    Give color to my pale cheek with thy blood
    That we the horrider may seem to those
    Which chance to find us. Oh, my lord! My lord!
    Falls on the body
    Enter Lucius, [Roman] Captains, and a Soothsayer
    Captain To them the legions garrisoned in Gallia,
    After your will, have crossed the sea, attending
    You here at Milford Haven with your ships;
    They are here in readiness.
    But what from Rome?
    Captain The senate hath stirred up the confiners
    And gentlemen of Italy, most willing spirits
    That promise noble service, and they come
    Under the conduct of bold Iachimo,
    2665Sienna's brother.
    When expect you them?
    With the next benefit o'th' wind.
    This forwardness
    Makes our hopes fair. Command our present numbers
    2670Be mustered; bid the captains look to't. Now, sir,
    What have you dreamed of late of this war's purpose?
    Soothsayer Last night, the very gods showed me a vision
    (I fast and prayed for their intelligence) thus:
    I saw Jove's bird, the Roman eagle, winged
    2675From the spongy south to this part of the west,
    There vanished in the sunbeams, which portends,
    Unless my sins abuse my divination,
    Success to th' Roman host.
    Dream often so,
    2680And never false. -- [Sees the body] Soft ho, what trunk is here,
    Without his top? The ruin speaks that sometime
    It was a worthy building. How, a page?
    Or dead, or sleeping on him? But dead, rather,
    For Nature doth abhor to make his bed
    2685With the defunct or sleep upon the dead.
    Let's see the boy's face.
    He's alive, my Lord.
    Lucius He'll then instruct us of this body. Young one,
    Inform us of thy fortunes, for it seems
    2690They crave to be demanded. Who is this
    Thou mak'st thy bloody pillow? Or who was he
    That, otherwise than noble Nature did,
    Hath altered that good picture? What's thy interest
    In this sad wrack? How came't? Who is't?
    2695What art thou?
    I am nothing; or, if not,
    Nothing to be were better. This was my master,
    A very valiant Briton and a good,
    That here by mountaineers lies slain. Alas,
    2700There is no more such masters. I may wander
    From east to occident; cry out for service;
    Try many, all good; serve truly; never
    Find such another master.
    'Lack, good youth,
    2705Thou mov'st no less with thy complaining than
    Thy master in bleeding. Say his name, good friend.
    Imogen Richard du Champ. -- [Aside] If I do lie and do
    No harm by it, though the gods hear, I hope
    They'll pardon it. -- Say you, sir?
    Thy name?
    Fidele, sir.
    Lucius Thou dost approve thyself the very same:
    Thy name well fits thy faith; thy faith, thy name.
    Wilt take thy chance with me? I will not say
    2715Thou shalt be so well mastered, but be sure
    No less beloved. The Roman emperor's letters,
    Sent by a consul to me, should not sooner
    Than thine own worth prefer thee. Go with me.
    Imogen I'll follow, sir. But first, an't please the gods,
    2720I'll hide my master from the flies as deep
    As these poor pickaxes can dig, and when
    With wildwood-leaves and weeds I ha' strewed his grave
    And on it said a century of prayers,
    Such as I can, twice o'er, I'll weep and sigh,
    2725And leaving so his service, follow you,
    So please you entertain me.
    Aye, good youth,
    And rather father thee than master thee. My friends,
    The boy hath taught us manly duties: let us
    2730Find out the prettiest daisied plot we can
    And make him with our pikes and partisans
    A grave. --
    [To Captains]
    Come, arm him. --
    [To Imogen]
    Boy, he's preferred
    By thee to us, and he shall be interred
    As soldiers can. Be cheerful; wipe thine eyes:
    2735Some falls are means the happier to arise.