The certainty of this hard life ; aye, hopeless
To have the courtesy your cradle promised.
But to be still hot summer's tanlings and
The shrinking slaves of winter.
Gui. Than be so
Better to cease to be. Pray, sir, to the army :
I and my brother are not known ; yourself
So out of thought, and thereto so o'ergrown,
Cannot be question' d.
Arr. By this sun that shines,
I '11 thither : what thing is it that I never
Did see man die ! scarce ever look'd 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
To look upon the holy sun, to have
The benefit of liis blest beams, remaining
So long a poor unknown.
(tui. By heavens, I '11 go :
If you will bless me, sir, and give me leave.
I '11 take the better care, but if you will not,
The hazard therefore due fall on me by
The hands of Romans !
Arv. So say I : amen.
Bel. No reason I, since of your lives you set
So slight a valuation, should reserve
My crack'd one to more care. Have with you,
If in your country wars you chance to die,
That is my bed too, lads, and there I '11 lie :
Lead, lead. [Aside."] The time seems long; their
blood thinks scorn,
Till it fly out and show them princes born.
Scene I. Britain. The Roman Camp.
Enter Posthumus, alone, with a bloody hand-
Pos. Yea, bloody cloth, I '11 keep thee, for I
ACT V., Sc. 3.
Thou shouldst be coloured thus. You married
If each of you should take this course, how many
Must murder wives much better than themselves
For wrying but a little ! O Pisanio !
Every good servant does not all commands :
No bond but to do just ones. Gods ! if you
Should haveta'en vengeance on my faults, I never
Had lived to put on this : so had you saved
The noble Imogen to repent, and struck
Me, wretch more worth your vengeance. But,
You snatch some hence for little faults; that's
To have them fall no more : you some permit
To second ills with ills, each elder worse,
And make them dread it, to the doers thrift.
But Imogen is your own : do your best wills,
And make me blest to obey ! I am brought hither
Among the Italian gentry, and to fight
Against my lady's kingdom : 'tis enough
That, Britain, I have kill'd thy mistress ; peace !
I '11 give no wound to thee. Therefore, good
Hear patiently my purpose : I '11 disrobe me
Of these Italian weeds and suit myself
As does a Briton peasant : so I '11 fight
Against the part I come with ; so 1 '11 die
For thee, Imogen, even for whom my life
Is every breath a death ; and thus, unknown,
Pitied nor hated, to the face of peril
Myself I '11 dedicate. Let me make men know
More valour in me than my habits show.
Gods, put the strength o' the Leonati in me!
To shame the guise o' the world, I will begin
The fashion, less without and more within.
Scene II. Field of Battle between the Bntitk
and Roman Camps.
Enter, from one side, Lucius, lachimo and the
Roman Army : from the other side, the British
Army ; Leonatus Posthumus folloiving, like a
poor soldier. They march over and go out.
Then enter again, in skirmish, lachimo and
Posthumus : he vanquisheth and disarmeth
lachimo, and then leaves him.
lac. The heaviness and guilt within my bosom
Takes off my manhood : I have belied a lady,
The princess of this country, and the air on 't
Revengingly enfeebles me ; or could this carl,
A very druge of nature's, have subdued me
In my profession ? Knighthoods and honours,
As I wear mine, are titles but of scorn.
If that thy gentry, Britain, go before
This lout as he exceeds our lords, the odds
Is that we scarce are men and you are gods.
The battle continues; the Britons fly; Cymbe-
linc is taken : then enter, to his rescue.
Belarius, Guiderius and Arviragus.
Bel. Stand, stand! We have the advantage of
the ground :
The lane is guarded : nothing routs us but
The villainy of our fears.
Giii. Arv. Stand, stand, and fight!
Re-enter Posthumus, and seconds the Briton* :
they rescue Cymbeline, and exeunt. Then
re-enter Lucius and lachimo, with Imogen.
Luc. Away, boy, from the troops, and save
For friends kill friends, and the disorder 's such
As war were hoodwink' d.
lac. 'Tis their fresh supplies.
Luc. It is a day turn'd strangely : or betimes
Let 's re-inforce, or fly. Exeunt.
Scene III. Another part of the Field.
Enter Posthumus and a British Lord.
Lord. Camest thou from where they made the
Pos. I did :
Though you, it seems, come from the fliers.
Lord. I did.
Pos. No blame be to you, sir ; for all was lost,
But that the heavens fought : the king himself
Of his wings destitute, the army broken,
And but the backs of Britons seen, all flying
Through a strait lane ; the enemy full-hearted,
Lolling the tongue with slaughtering, having work
More plentiful than tools to do 't, struck down
Some mortally, some slightly touch'd, some falling
Merely through fear; that the strait pass was
With dead men hurt behind, and cowards living
To die with lengthen' d shame.
Lord. Where was this lane ?
Pos. Close by the battle, ditch'd, and wall'd
with turf ;
Which gave advantage to an ancient soldier,
An honest one, I warrant, who deserved
So 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 than to commit such slaughter ;
With faces fit for masks, or rather fairer
Than those for preservation cased, or shame,)
Made good the passage ; cried to those that
Our Britain's harts die flying, not our men :
To darkness fleet souls that fly backwards.
Or ive are Romans and will give you that
Like beasts ivhich you shun beastly, and nunj
But to look back in, frown ; stand, stand. These
Three thousand confident, in act as many
For three performers are the file when all
The rest do nothing with this word Stand.
Accommodated by the place, more charming
With their own nobleness, which could have
A distaff to a lance, gilded pale looks,
Part shame, part spirit renew'd; that some,
But by example, (O, a sin in war.
Damn'd in the first beginners !) gan to look
The way that they did, and to grin like lions
Upon the pikes o' the hunters. Then began
A stop i' the chaser, a retire, anon
A rout, confusion thick ; forthwith they fly
ACT V., Sc. 4.
Chickens, the way which they stoop'd eagles ;
The strides they victors made : and now our
Like fragments in hard voyages, became
The life o' the need : having found the back-door
Of the unguarded hearts, heavens, how they
Some slain before ; some dying ; some their
O'er-borne i' the former wave : ten, chased by one,
Are now each one the slaughter-man of twenty :
Those that would die or ere resist are grown
The mortal bugs o' the field.
Lord. This was strange chance :
A narrow lane, an old man, and two boys. v
Pos. Nay, do not wonder at it : you are made
Rather to wonder at the things you hear
Than to work any. Will you rhyme upon 't,
And vent it for a mockery ? Here is one :
Two boi/s, an old man twice a boy, a lane,
Preserved the Brifon*, iras the Romans' bane.
Lord. Nay, be not angry, sir.
Po.s. 'Lack, to what end ?
Who dares not stand his foe, I '11 be his friend ;
For if he'll do as he is made to do,
I know he '11 quickly fly my friendship too.
You have put me into rhyme.
Lord. Farewell; you 're ant^rv.
!'<>#. Still going ? [Exit Lord.] This is a lord !
O noble misery,
To be i' the field, and ask what news ? of me !
To-day how many would have given their honours
To have saved their carcases ! took heel to do 't,
And yet died too ! I, in mine own woe charm'd,
Could not find death where I did hear him groan,
Nor feel him where he struck : being an ugly
'Tis strange he hides him in fresh cups, soft beds,
Sweet words ; or hath more ministers than w-
That draw his knives i' the war. Well, I will
find him :
For being now a favourer to the Briton,
No more a Briton, I have resumed again
The part I came in : fight I will no more,
But yield me to the veriest hind that shall
Once touch my shoulder. Great the slaughter is
Here made by the Romans ; great the answer be
Britons must take. For me, my ransom 's death ;
On either side I come to spend my breath ;
Which neither here I '11 keep nor bear again,
But end it by some means for Imogen.
Enter two British Captains and Soldiers.
1 Cap. Great Jupiter be praised ! Lucius is
'Tis thought the old man and his sons were
2 Cap. There was a fourth man, in a silly habit.
That gave the affront with them.
1 Cap. So 'tis reported :
But none of 'cm can be found. Stand! who's
Pos. A Roman,
Who had not now been drooping here, if seconds
Had answer' d him.
2 Cap. Lay hands on him ; a dog !
A leg of Rome shall not return to tell
What crows have peck'd them here. He brags
As if he were of note : bring him to the king.
Enter Cymbeline, Belarius, Guiderius, Arvira-
gus, Pisanio, Soldiers, Attendants and Roman
Captives. The Captains present Posthumus
to Cymbeline, luho delivers him ocer to a
Gaoler : then exeunt omnes.
Scene IV. A British Prison.
Enter Posthumus and two Gaolers.
1 Gaol. You shall not now be stol'n, you ha 1
locks upon you ;
So graze as you find pasture.
2 Gaol. Ay, or a stomach.
Pos. Most welcome, bondage ! for thou art
I think, to liberty : yet am I better
Than one that's sick o' the gout; since he had
Groan so in perpetuity than be cured
By the sure physician, death, who is the key
To unbar these locks. My conscience, thou art
More than my shanks and wrists : you good gods,
The penitent instrument to pick that bolt,
Then, free for ever ! Is 't enough I am sorry ?
So children temporal fathers do appease ;
Gods are more full of mercy. Must I repent ?
I cannot do it better than in gyves,
Desired more than constrained : to satisfy,
If of my freedom 'tis the main part, take
No stricter render of rne than my all.
I know you are more clement than vile men,
Who of their broken debtors take a third,
A sixth, a tenth, letting them thrive again
On their abatement : that 's not my desire :
For Imogen's dear life take mine ; and though
'Tis not so dear, yet 'tis a life ; you coin'd it :
'Tween man and man they weigh not every stamp ;
Though light, take pieces for the figure's sake :
You rather mine, being yours : and so, great
If you will take this audit, take this life,
And cancel these cold bonds. Imogen !
I '11 speak to thee in silence. Sleeps.
Solemn music. Enter, as in an apparition,
Sicilius Leon at us, father to Posthumus, an
old man, attired like a warrior ; leading in his
hand an ancient matron, his wife, and mother
to Posthumus, with music before them : then,
after other mu&ic, follow the tiro. young Leo-
nati, brothers to Posthumus, with wound* *
they died in the wars. They circle Posthumus
round, as he lies sleeping.
Sic. No more, thou thunder-master, show
Thy spite on mortal flies :
With Mars fall out, with Juno chide,
That thy adulteries
Rates and revenges.
Hath my poor boy done aught but well,
Whose face I never saw ?
I died whilst in the womb he stay'd
Attending nature's law :
ACT V., Sc. 4.
II 'hose father then, as men report
Tkou orphans' father art,
Th.ou shouldst have been, and shielded him
From this earth-vexing smart.
Moth. Lucina lent not me her aid,
But took me in my throe* ;
That from me was Posthumus ript,
Came crying 'mongst his foes,
A thing of pity !
Sic. Great nature, like his ancestry,
Moulded the stuff so fair,
That he deserved the praise o' the world,
As great SiciLius' heir.
1 Bro. When once he was mature for man,
In Britain ^vhere ivas he
That could stand up his parallel ;
Or fruitful object be
In eye of Imogen, that best
Could deem his dignity ?
Moth. With marriage ^vherefore was he mock' d,
To be exiled, and thrown
From Leonati seat, and cast
From her his dearest one,
Sweet Imogen ?
Sic. Why did you suffer I achimo,
Slight thing of Italy,
To taint his nobler heart and brain
With needless jealousy ;
And to become the geek and scorn
0' th' other's villainy ?
2 Bro. For this from stiller seats we came,
Our parents and us twain,
That striking in our country's cause
Fell bravely and were slain,
Our fealty and Tenantius' right
With honour to maintain.
1 Bro. Like hardiment Posthumus hath
To Cymbeline performed :
Then, Jupiter, thou king of gods,
Why hast thou thus adjourned
TJie graces for his merits due,
Being all to dolours turn'd ?
Sic. Thy crystal window ope ; look out ;
No longer exercise
Vpon a valiant race thy harsh
And potent injuries.
Mt>!h. Since, Jupiter, our son is good,
Take off his miseries.
Sic. Peep through thy marble mansion ; help ;
Or we poor ghosts will cry
To the shining si/nod of the rest
Against thy deity.
Both Bro. Help, Jupiter ; or ice appeal,
And from thy justice fy.
Jupiter descends in thunder and lightning,
sifting upon an eaiile : he throws a thunder-
bolt. * The Ghosts fall on their knees.
J'up. No more, you petty spirits of region low.
Offend our hearing ; hush ! How dare you
Accuse the thunderer, whose holt, you know,
Sky-planted hatters all rebelling coasts ?
Poor shadows of Elysium, hence, and rest
Upon your never-withering banks of flowers :
Be not with mortal accidents opprest ;
No care of yours it is ; you know 'tis ours.
Whom best I love I cross ; to make my gift,
The more delay'd, delighted. Be content ;
Your low-laid son our godhead will uplift :
His comforts thrive, his trials well are spent.
Our Jovial star reign' d at his birth, and in
Our temple was he married. Kise, and fade.
He shall be lord of Lady Imogen,
And happier much by his affliction made.
This tablet lay upon his breast, wherein
Our pleasure his full fortune doth confine :
And so, away : no further with your din
Express impatience, lest you stir up mine.
Mount, eagle, to my palace crystalline.
Sic. He came in thunder; his celestial breath
Was sulphurous to smell : the holy eagle
Stoop'd, as to t'0ot us : his ascension is
More sweet than our blest fields : his royal bird
Prunes the immortal wing and cloys his beak,
As when his god is pleased.
All. Thanks, Jupiter !
Sic. The marble pavement closes, he is enter'd'
His radiant roof. Away ! and, to be blest,
Let us with care perform his great behest.
The Ghosts vanish.
Pos. [ Waking. ] Sleep, thou hast been a grand-
sire, and begot
A father to me ; and thou hast created
A mother and two brothers : but, O scorn !
Gone ! they went hence so soon as they were-
And so I am awake. Poor wretches that depend
On greatness' favour dream as I have done,
Wake and find nothing. But, alas, I swerve :
Many dream not to find, neither deserve,
And yet are steep'd in favours ; so am I,
That have this golden chance and know not why.
What fairies haunt this ground ? A book ? O
rare one !
Be not, as is our fangled world, a garment
Nobler than that it covers : let thy effects
So follow, to be most unlike our courtiers,
As good as promise.
[.Reads.] When as a lion's whelp shall, to
himself unknown, without seeking find, and be
embraced by a piece of tender air; and when
from a stately cedar shall be lopped branches^
which, being dead many years, shall after revive,
be jointed to the old stock and freshly grow ; then
xhall Posthumus end his miseries, Britain be
fortunate and flourish in peace and plenty.
'Tis still a dream, or else such stuff as madmen
Tongue and brain not ; either both or nothing ;
Or senseless speaking or a speaking such
As sense cannot untie. Be what it is,
The action of my life is like it, which
I '11 keep, if but for sympathy.
1 Gaol. Come, sir, are you ready for death ?
Pos. Over-roasted rather ; ready long ago.
1 Gaol. Hanging is the word, sir: if you be
ready for that, you are well cooked.
Pos. So, if I prove a good repast to the spec-
tators, the dish p;iys the shot.
ACT V., Sc. 5.
1 Gaol. A heavy reckoning for you, sir. But
the comfort is, you shall be called to no more
payments, fear no more tavern-bills ; which are
often the sadness of parting, as the procuring of
mirth : you come in faint for want of meat, de-
part reeling with too much drink ; sorry that you
have paid too much, and sorry that you are paid
too much ; purse and brain both empty ; the
brain the heavier for being too light, the purse
too light, being drawn of heaviness : of this con-
tradiction you shall now be quit. O, the charity
of a penny cord ! it sums up thousands in a trice :
you have no true debitor and creditor but it ; of
what 's past, is, and to come, the discharge : your
neck, sir, is pen, book and counters ; so the ac-
Pos. I am merrier to die than thou art to live.
1 Gaol. Indeed, sir, he that sleeps feels not
the tooth-ache : but a man that were to sleep
your sleep, and a hangman to help him to bed, I
think he would change places \yith his officer ;
for, look you, sir, you know not which way you
Pos. Yes, indeed do I, fellow.
1 Gaol. Your death hath eyes in 's head then ;
I have not seen him so pictured : you must either
be directed by some that take upon them to
know, or to take upon yourself that which I am
sure you do not know, or jump the after inquiry
on your own peril : and how you shall speed in
your journey's end, I think you '11 never return
to tell one.
Pos. I tell thee, fellow, there are none want
<\yes to direct them the way I am going, but such
-as wink and will not use them.
1 Gaol. What an infinite mock is this, that a
man should have the best use of eyes to see the
way of blindness ! I am sure hanging 's the way
Enter a Messenger.
J/e.s. Knock off his manacles ; bring your pri-
soner to the king.
Pos. Thou bring' st good news ; I am called to
be made free.
1 Gaol. I '11 be hang'd then.
Pos. Thou shalt be then freer than a gaoler ;
no bolts for the dead.
Exeunt nil InttJie Firat Gimler.
1 Gaol. Unless a man would marry a gallows
and beget young gibbets, I never saw one BO
prone. Yet, on my conscience, there are verier
knaves desire to live, for all he be a Roman : and
there be some of them too that die against their
wills; so should I. if I were one. I would we
were all of one mind, and one mind good ; 0.
"there were desolation of gaolers and gallowses !
I speak against my present profit, but my wish
liath a preferment in 't. * ]' ,-it .
Scene V. Cymlielint's Tent.
Enter Cymbeline, Belan'ns, Gitiflcn'-na, Arvira-
gus, Pisanio, Lords, Officers and
Cym. Stand by my side, you whom the gods
-Preservers of my throne. Woe is my heart
That the poor .soldier that so richly fought,
Whose rags shamed gilded arms, whose naked
Stepp'd before targes of proof, cannot be found :
He shall be happy that can find him, if
Our grace can make him so.
Bel. I never saw
Such noble fury in so poor a thing ;
Such precious deeds in one that promised nought
But beggary and poor looks.
Cym. No tidings of him ?
Pis. He hath been search'd among tin- <1> -id
But no trace of him.
Gym. To my grief, I am
The heir of his reward ; [To Belariua, Guideritis
and Arviragux.~] which I will add
To you, the liver, heart and brain of Britain,
By whom I grant she lives. 'Tis now the time
To ask of whence you are. Report it.
Tn Cambria are we born, and gentlemen :
Further to boast were neither true nor modest,
[Jnless I add, we are honest.
' '\i in . Bow your knees.
Arise my knights o' the battle : I create you
Companions to our person and will fit you
With dignities becoming your estates.
Enter Cornelius and Ladies.
There 's business in these faces. Why so sadly
Greet you our victory ? you look like Romans.
And not o' the court of Britain.
Cor. Hail, great king!
To sour your happiness, I must report
The queen is dead.
Cym. Who worse than a physician
Would this report become ? But I consider
By medicine life may be prolonged, yet death
Will seize the doctor too. How ended she ?
Cor. With horror, madly dying, like her life,
Which, being cruel to the world, concluded
Most cruel to herself. What she confess'd
F will report, so please you : these her women
Can trip me, if I err ; who with wet cheeks
Were present when she finish'd.
< '?/' Prithee, say.
Cor. First, she confess'd she never loved you, only
Affected greatness got by you, not you :
Married your royalty, was wife to your place ;
Abhorr'd your person.
Cyw. She alone knew this ;
And, but she spoke it dying, I would not
Believe her lips in opening it. Proceed.
Cor. Your daughter, whom she bore in hand
With such integrity, she did confess
Was as a scorpion to her sight ; whose life,
But that her flight prevented it, she had
Ta'en off by poison.
Cym-. O most delicate fiend !
Who is 't can read a woman ? Is there more ?
Cor. More, sir, and Averse. She did confess
For you a mortal mineral ; which, being took.
Should by the minute feed on life and lin.irerina:
By inches waste you : in which time she purposed,
Bv watching, weeping, tendance, kissing, to
O'ercome you with her show, and in time,
When she had fitted you with her craft, to work
ACT V., Sc. 5.
Her son into the adoption of the crown :
But, failing of her end by his strange absence,
Grew shameless-desperate ; open'd, in despite
Of heaven and men, her purposes ; repented
The evils she hatch' d were not effected ; so
Cym. Heard you all this, her women ?
1 Lady. We did, so please your highness.
Cym. Mine eyes
Were not in fault, for she was beautiful ;
Mine ears, that heard her flattery ; nor my heart,
That thought her like her seeming ; it had been
To have mistrusted her : yet, O my daughter !
That it was folly in me, thou mayst say,
And prove it in thy feeling. Heaven mend all !
Enter Lucius, lachimo, the Soothsayer and other
Roman Prisoners, guarded ; Posthumus be-
hind, and Imogen.
Thou comest not, Caius, now for tribute ; that
The Britons have razed out, though with the loss
Of many a bold one ; whose kinsmen have made suit
That their good souls may be appeased with
Of you their captives, which ourself have granted :
So think of your estate.
Luc. Consider, sir, the chance of war : the day
Was yours by accident ; had it gone with us,
We should not, when the blood was cool, have
Our prisoners with the sword. But since the gods
Will have it thus, that nothing but our lives
May be call'd ransom, let it come : sufficeth
A. Roman with a Roman' s heart can suffer :
Augustus lives to think on 't : and so much
For my peculiar care. This one thing only
I will entreat ; my boy, a Briton born,
Let him be ransom'd : never master had
A page so kind, so duteous, diligent,
So tender over his occasions, true,
So feat, so nurse-like : let his virtue join
With my request, which I '11 make bold your
Cannot deny ; he hath done no Briton harm,
Though he have served a Roman : save him, sir,
And spare no blood beside.
Cym. I have surely seen him :
His favour is familiar to me. Boy,
Thou hast look'd thyself into my grace,
And art mine own. I know not why, wherefore,
To say live, boy : ne'er thank thy master ; live :
And ask of Cymbeline what boon thou wilt,
Fitting my bounty and thy state, I '11 give it ;
Yea, though thou do demand a prisoner,
The noblest ta'en.
Imo. I humbly thank your highness.
Luc. I do not bid thee beg my life, good lad ;
And yet I know thou wilt.
Imo. No, no : alack,
There 's other work in hand : I see a thing
Bitter to me as death : your life, good master,
Must shuffle for itself.
Luc. The boy disdains me,
He leaves me, scorns me : briefly die their joys
That place them on the truth of girls and boys.
Why stands he so perplex' d ?
Cym. What wouldst thou, boy ?
I love thee more and more : think more and more
What's best to ask. Know'st him thou look'st
on ? speak,
Wilt have him live ? Is he thy kin ? thy friend ?
Imo. He is a Roman ; no more kin to me
Than I to your highness ; who, being born your