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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)


    1Actus Primus. Scoena Prima.

    Enter two Gentlemen.

    1. Gent.
    YOu do not meet a man but Frownes.
    5Our bloods no more obey the Heauens
    Then our Courtiers:
    Still seeme, as do's the Kings.
    2 Gent. But what's the matter?
    1. His daughter, and the heire of's kingdome (whom
    10He purpos'd to his wiues sole Sonne, a Widdow
    That late he married) hath referr'd her selfe
    Vnto a poore, but worthy Gentleman. She's wedded,
    Her Husband banish'd; she imprison'd, all
    Is outward sorrow, though I thinke the King
    15Be touch'd at very heart.
    2 None but the King?
    1 He that hath lost her too: so is the Queene,
    That most desir'd the Match. But not a Courtier,
    Although they weare their faces to the bent
    20Of the Kings lookes, hath a heart that is not
    Glad at the thing they scowle at.
    2 And why so?
    1 He that hath miss'd the Princesse, is a thing
    Too bad, for bad report: and he that hath her,
    25(I meane, that married her, alacke good man,
    And therefore banish'd) is a Creature, such,
    As to seeke through the Regions of the Earth
    For one, his like; there would be something failing
    In him, that should compare. I do not thinke,
    30So faire an Outward, and such stuffe Within
    Endowes a man, but hee.
    2 You speake him farre.
    1 I do extend him (Sir) within himselfe,
    Crush him together, rather then vnfold
    35His measure duly.
    2 What's his name, and Birth?
    1 I cannot delue him to the roote: His Father
    Was call'd Sicillius, who did ioyne his Honor
    Against the Romanes, with Cassibulan,
    40But had his Titles by Tenantius, whom
    He seru'd with Glory, and admir'd Successe:
    So gain'd the Sur-addition, Leonatus.
    And had (besides this Gentleman in question)
    Two other Sonnes, who in the Warres o'th' time
    45Dy'de with their Swords in hand. For which, their Father
    Then old, and fond of yssue, tooke such sorrow
    That he quit Being; and his gentle Lady

    Bigge of this Gentleman (our Theame) deceast
    As he was borne. The King he takes the Babe
    50To his protection, cals him Posthumus Leonatus,
    Breedes him, and makes him of his Bed-chamber,
    Puts to him all the Learnings that his time
    Could make him the receiuer of, which he tooke
    As we do ayre, fast as 'twas ministred,
    55And in's Spring, became a Haruest: Liu'd in Court
    (Which rare it is to do) most prais'd, most lou'd,
    A sample to the yongest: to th' more Mature,
    A glasse that feated them: and to the grauer,
    A Childe that guided Dotards. To his Mistris,
    60(For whom he now is banish'd) her owne price
    Proclaimes how she esteem'd him; and his Vertue
    By her electiõ may be truly read, what kind of man he is.
    2 I honor him, euen out of your report.
    But pray you tell me, is she sole childe to'th' King?
    651 His onely childe:
    He had two Sonnes (if this be worth your hearing,
    Marke it) the eldest of them, at three yeares old
    I'th' swathing cloathes, the other from their Nursery
    Were stolne, and to this houre, no ghesse in knowledge
    70Which way they went.
    2 How long is this ago?
    1 Some twenty yeares.
    2 That a Kings Children should be so conuey'd,
    So slackely guarded, and the search so slow
    75That could not trace them.
    1 Howsoere, 'tis strange,
    Or that the negligence may well be laugh'd at:
    Yet is it true Sir.
    2 I do well beleeue you.
    801 We must forbeare. Heere comes the Gentleman,
    The Queene, and Princesse. Exeunt

    Scena Secunda.

    Enter the Queene, Posthumus, and Imogen.

    Qu. No, be assur'd you shall not finde me (Daughter)
    85After the slander of most Step-Mothers,
    Euill-ey'd vnto you. You're my Prisoner, but
    Your Gaoler shall deliuer you the keyes
    zz 3