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Cymbeline, King of Britain

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Act II, Scene 1

Britain. Before Cymbeline’s palace.


[Enter CLOTEN and two Lords]

  • Cloten. Was there ever man had such luck! when I kissed the
    jack, upon an up-cast to be hit away! I had a
    hundred pound on't: and then a whoreson jackanapes
    must take me up for swearing; as if I borrowed mine
    oaths of him and might not spend them at my pleasure. 855
  • First Lord. What got he by that? You have broke his pate with
    your bowl.
  • Second Lord. [Aside] If his wit had been like him that broke it,
    it would have run all out.
  • Cloten. When a gentleman is disposed to swear, it is not for 860
    any standers-by to curtail his oaths, ha?
  • Second Lord. No my lord;
    nor crop the ears of them.
  • Cloten. Whoreson dog! I give him satisfaction? 865
    Would he had been one of my rank!
  • Cloten. I am not vexed more at any thing in the earth: a
    pox on't! I had rather not be so noble as I am;
    they dare not fight with me, because of the queen my 870
    mother: every Jack-slave hath his bellyful of
    fighting, and I must go up and down like a cock that
    nobody can match.
  • Second Lord. [Aside] You are cock and capon too; and you crow,
    cock, with your comb on. 875
  • Second Lord. It is not fit your lordship should undertake every
    companion that you give offence to.
  • Cloten. No, I know that: but it is fit I should commit
    offence to my inferiors. 880
  • First Lord. Did you hear of a stranger that's come to court to-night?
  • Cloten. A stranger, and I not know on't!
  • Second Lord. [Aside] He's a strange fellow himself, and knows it 885
  • First Lord. There's an Italian come; and, 'tis thought, one of
    Leonatus' friends.
  • Cloten. Leonatus! a banished rascal; and he's another,
    whatsoever he be. Who told you of this stranger? 890
  • Cloten. Is it fit I went to look upon him? is there no
    derogation in't?
  • Cloten. Not easily, I think. 895
  • Second Lord. [Aside] You are a fool granted; therefore your
    issues, being foolish, do not derogate.
  • Cloten. Come, I'll go see this Italian: what I have lost
    to-day at bowls I'll win to-night of him. Come, go.
  • Second Lord. I'll attend your lordship. 900
    [Exeunt CLOTEN and First Lord]
    That such a crafty devil as is his mother
    Should yield the world this ass! a woman that
    Bears all down with her brain; and this her son
    Cannot take two from twenty, for his heart, 905
    And leave eighteen. Alas, poor princess,
    Thou divine Imogen, what thou endurest,
    Betwixt a father by thy step-dame govern'd,
    A mother hourly coining plots, a wooer
    More hateful than the foul expulsion is 910
    Of thy dear husband, than that horrid act
    Of the divorce he'ld make! The heavens hold firm
    The walls of thy dear honour, keep unshaked
    That temple, thy fair mind, that thou mayst stand,
    To enjoy thy banish'd lord and this great land! 915