Internet Shakespeare Editions

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)

    392The Tragedy of Cymbeline.
    For wrying but a little? Oh Pisanio,
    Euery good Seruant do's not all Commands:
    No Bond, but to do iust ones. Gods, if you
    2865Should haue 'tane vengeance on my faults, I neuer
    Had liu'd to put on this: so had you saued
    The noble Imogen, to repent, and strooke
    Me (wretch) more worth your Vengeance. But alacke,
    You snatch some hence for little faults; that's loue
    2870To haue them fall no more: you some permit
    To second illes with illes, each elder worse,
    And make them dread it, to the dooers thrift.
    But Imogen is your owne, do your best willes,
    And make me blest to obey. I am brought hither
    2875Among th' Italian Gentry, and to fight
    Against my Ladies Kingdome: 'Tis enough
    That (Britaine) I haue kill'd thy Mistris: Peace,
    Ile giue no wound to thee: therefore good Heauens,
    Heare patiently my purpose. Ile disrobe me
    2880Of these Italian weedes, and suite my selfe
    As do's a Britaine Pezant: so Ile fight
    Against the part I come with: so Ile dye
    For thee (O Imogen) euen for whom my life
    Is euery breath, a death: and thus, vnknowne,
    2885Pittied, nor hated, to the face of perill
    My selfe Ile dedicate. Let me make men know
    More valour in me, then my habits show.
    Gods, put the strength o'th' Leonati in me:
    To shame the guize o'th' world, I will begin,
    2890The fashion lesse without, and more within.

    Scena Secunda.

    Enter Lucius, Iachimo, and the Romane Army at one doore:
    and the Britaine Army at another: Leonatus Posthumus
    following like a poore Souldier. They march ouer, and goe
    2895out. Then enter againe in Skirmish Iachimo and Posthu-
    mus: he vanquisheth and disarmeth Iachimo, and then
    leaues him.

    Iac. The heauinesse and guilt within my bosome,
    Takes off my manhood: I haue belyed a Lady,
    2900The Princesse of this Country; and the ayre on't
    Reuengingly enfeebles me, or could this Carle,
    A very drudge of Natures, haue subdu'de me
    In my profession? Knighthoods, and Honors borne
    As I weare mine) are titles but of scorne.
    2905If that thy Gentry (Britaine) go before
    This Lowt, as he exceeds our Lords, the oddes
    Is, that we scarse are men, and you are Goddes. Exit.
    The Battaile continues, the Britaines fly, Cymbeline is
    taken: Then enter to his rescue, Bellarius, Guiderius,
    2910and Aruiragus.
    Bel. Stand, stand, we haue th' aduantage of the ground,
    The Lane is guarded: Nothing rowts vs, but
    The villany of our feares.
    Gui. Arui. Stand, stand, and fight.

    2915Enter Posthumus, and seconds the Britaines. They Rescue
    Cymbeline, and Exeunt.
    Then enter Lucius, Iachimo, and Imogen.
    Luc. Away boy from the Troopes, and saue thy selfe:
    For friends kil friends, and the disorder's such
    2920As warre were hood-wink'd.
    Iac. 'Tis their fresh supplies.
    Luc. It is a day turn'd strangely: or betimes
    Let's re-inforce, or fly. Exeunt

    Scena Tertia.

    2925Enter Posthumus, and a Britaine Lord.
    Lor. Cam'st thou from where they made the stand?
    Post. I did,
    Though you it seemes come from the Fliers?
    Lo, I did.
    2930Post. No blame be to you Sir, for all was lost,
    But that the Heauens fought: the King himselfe
    Of his wings destitute, the Army broken,
    And but the backes of Britaines seene; all flying
    Through a strait Lane, the Enemy full-heart'd,
    2935Lolling the Tongue with slaught'ring: hauing worke
    More plentifull, then Tooles to doo't: strooke downe
    Some mortally, some slightly touch'd, some falling
    Meerely through feare, that the strait passe was damm'd
    With deadmen, hurt behinde, and Cowards liuing
    2940To dye with length'ned shame.
    Lo. Where was this Lane?
    Post. Close by the battell, ditch'd, & wall'd with turph,
    Which gaue aduantage to an ancient Soldiour
    (An honest one I warrant) who deseru'd
    2945So long a breeding, as his white beard came to,
    In doing this for's Country. Athwart the Lane,
    He, with two striplings (Lads more like to run
    The Country base, then to commit such slaughter,
    With faces fit for Maskes, or rather fayrer
    2950Then those for preseruation cas'd, or shame)
    Made good the passage, cryed to those that fled.
    Our Britaines hearts dye flying, not our men,
    To darknesse fleete soules that flye backwards; stand,
    Or we are Romanes, and will giue you that
    2955Like beasts, which you shun beastly, and may saue
    But to looke backe in frowne: Stand, stand. These three,
    Three thousand confident, in acte as many:
    For three performers are the File, when all
    The rest do nothing. With this word stand, stand,
    2960Accomodated by the Place; more Charming
    With their owne Noblenesse, which could haue turn'd
    A Distaffe, to a Lance, guilded pale lookes;
    Part shame, part spirit renew'd, that some turn'd coward
    But by example (Oh a sinne in Warre,
    2965Damn'd in the first beginners) gan to looke
    The way that they did, and to grin like Lyons
    Vpon the Pikes o'th' Hunters. Then beganne
    A stop i'th' Chaser; a Retyre: Anon
    A Rowt, confusion thicke: forthwith they flye
    2970Chickens, the way which they stopt Eagles: Slaues
    The strides the Victors made: and now our Cowards
    Like Fragments in hard Voyages became
    The life o'th' need: hauing found the backe doore open
    Of the vnguarded hearts: heauens, how they wound,
    2975Some slaine before some dying; some their Friends
    Ore-borne i'th' former waue, ten chac'd by one,
    Are now each one the slaughter-man of twenty:
    Those that would dye, or ere resist, are growne
    The mortall bugs o'th' Field.