Internet Shakespeare Editions

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.