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 Belarius [as Morgan], Guiderius [as Polydore], and Arviragus [as Cadwal]
    The noise is round about us.
    Let us from it.
    Arviragus What pleasure, sir, we find in life, to lock it
    2795From action and adventure?
    Nay, what hope
    Have we in hiding us? This way the Romans
    Must or for Britons slay us or receive us
    For barbarous and unnatural revolts
    2800During their use and slay us after.
    We'll higher to the mountains, there secure us.
    To the King's party there's no going: newness
    Of Clotten's death, we being not known, not mustered
    2805Among the bands, may drive us to a render
    Where we have lived; and so extort from's that
    Which we have done, whose answer would be death
    Drawn on with torture.
    This is, sir, a doubt
    2810In such a time nothing becoming you
    Nor satisfying us.
    It is not likely
    That when they hear their Roman horses neigh,
    Behold their quartered fires, have both their eyes
    2815And ears so cloyed importantly as now,
    That they will waste their time upon our note
    To know from whence we are.
    Oh, I am known
    Of many in the army; many years,
    2820Though Clotten then but young, you see, not wore him
    From my remembrance. And besides, the King
    Hath not deserved my service nor your loves,
    Who find in my exile the want of breeding,
    The certainty of this hard life, ay hopeless
    2825To have the courtesy your cradle promised
    But to be still hot summer's tanlings and
    The shrinking slaves of winter.
    Than be so,
    Better to cease to be. Pray, sir, to th' army.
    2830I and my brother are not known, yourself
    So out of thought and thereto so o'ergrown
    Cannot be questioned.
    By this sun that shines,
    I'll thither. What thing is't that I never
    2835Did see man die, scarce ever looked on blood
    But that of coward hares, hot goats, and venison;
    Never bestrid a horse, save one that had
    A rider like myself who ne'er wore rowel
    Nor iron on his heel! I am ashamed
    2840To look upon the holy sun, to have
    The benefit of his blessed beams, remaining
    So long a poor unknown.
    By heavens, I'll go!
    If you will bless me, sir, and give me leave,
    2845I'll take the better care, but if you will not,
    The hazard therefore due fall on me by
    The hands of Romans.
    So say I, amen.
    Belarius No reason I, since of your lives you set
    2850So slight a valuation, should reserve
    My cracked one to more care. Have with you, boys:
    If in your country wars you chance to die,
    That is my bed, too, lads, and there I'll lie.
    Lead, lead. [Aside] The time seems long; their blood thinks scorn
    2855Till it fly out and show them princes born.