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 two Gentlemen
    1 Gentleman
    You do not meet a man but frowns. 5Our bloods
    No more obey the heavens than our courtiers'
    Still seem as does the King's.
    2 Gentleman
    But what's the matter?
    1 Gentleman
    His daughter, and the heir of's kingdom (whom
    10He purposed to his wife's sole son, a widow
    That late he married), hath referred herself
    Unto a poor but worthy gentleman. She's wedded,
    Her husband banished, she imprisoned: all
    Is outward sorrow, though I think the King
    15Be touched at very heart.
    2 Gentleman
    None but the King?
    1 Gentleman
    He that hath lost her too; so is the Queen,
    That most desired the match. But not a courtier,
    Although they wear their faces to the bent
    20Of the King's looks, hath a heart that is not
    Glad at the thing they scowl at.
    2 Gentleman
    And why so?
    1 Gentleman
    He that hath missed the princess is a thing
    Too bad for bad report, and he that hath her --
    25I mean that married her, alack, good man,
    And therefore banished -- is a creature such
    As, to seek through the regions of the earth
    For one his like, there would be something failing
    In him that should compare. I do not think
    30So fair an outward and such stuff within
    Endows a man but he.
    2 Gentleman
    You speak him far.
    1 Gentleman
    I do extend him, sir, within himself;
    Crush him together rather than unfold
    35His measure duly.
    2 Gentleman
    What's his name and birth?
    1 Gentleman
    I cannot delve him to the root. His father
    Was called Sicilius, who did join his honor
    Against the Romans with Cassibelan;
    40But had his titles by Tenantius, whom
    He served with glory and admired success,
    So gained the sur-addition "Leonatus";
    And had, besides this gentleman in question,
    Two other sons, who in the wars o'th' time
    45Died with their swords in hand, for which their father,
    Then old and fond of issue, took such sorrow
    That he quit being; and his gentle lady,
    Big of this gentleman, our theme, deceased
    As he was born. The King, he takes the babe
    50To his protection; calls him Posthumus Leonatus;
    Breeds him and makes him of his bed-chamber;
    Puts to him all the learnings that his time
    Could make him the receiver of, which he took
    As we do air, fast as 'twas ministered;
    55And in's spring became a harvest: lived in court
    (Which rare it is to do) most praised, most loved;
    A sample to the youngest; to th' more mature,
    A glass that feated them; and to the graver,
    A child that guided dotards. To his mistress,
    60For whom he now is banished, her own price
    Proclaims how she esteemed him; and his virtue
    By her election may be truly read
    What kind of man he is.
    2 Gentleman
    I honor him
    Even out of your report. But pray you tell me,
    Is she sole child to th' King?
    651 Gentleman
    His only child.
    He had two sons (if this be worth your hearing,
    Mark it); the eldest of them at three years old,
    I'th' swathing clothes the other, from their nursery
    Were stolen, and to this hour no guess in knowledge
    70Which way they went.
    2 Gentleman
    How long is this ago?
    1 Gentleman
    Some twenty years.
    2 Gentleman
    That a king's children should be so conveyed,
    So slackly guarded, and the search so slow
    75That could not trace them!
    1 Gentleman
    Howsoe'er 'tis strange
    Or that the negligence may well be laughed at,
    Yet is it true, sir.
    2 Gentleman
    I do well believe you.
    801 Gentleman
    We must forbear. Here comes the gentleman,
    The Queen, and princess.