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Cymbeline, King of Britain

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Act IV, Scene 2

Before the cave of Belarius.


[Enter, from the cave, BELARIUS, GUIDERIUS,] [p]ARVIRAGUS, and IMOGEN]

  • Belarius. [To IMOGEN] You are not well: remain here in the cave;
    We'll come to you after hunting.
  • Arviragus. [To IMOGEN]. Brother, stay here
    Are we not brothers?
  • Imogen. So man and man should be; 2320
    But clay and clay differs in dignity,
    Whose dust is both alike. I am very sick.
  • Guiderius. Go you to hunting; I'll abide with him.
  • Imogen. So sick I am not, yet I am not well;
    But not so citizen a wanton as 2325
    To seem to die ere sick: so please you, leave me;
    Stick to your journal course: the breach of custom
    Is breach of all. I am ill, but your being by me
    Cannot amend me; society is no comfort
    To one not sociable: I am not very sick, 2330
    Since I can reason of it. Pray you, trust me here:
    I'll rob none but myself; and let me die,
    Stealing so poorly.
  • Guiderius. I love thee; I have spoke it
    How much the quantity, the weight as much, 2335
    As I do love my father.
  • Arviragus. If it be sin to say so, I yoke me
    In my good brother's fault: I know not why
    I love this youth; and I have heard you say, 2340
    Love's reason's without reason: the bier at door,
    And a demand who is't shall die, I'd say
    'My father, not this youth.'
  • Belarius. [Aside]. O noble strain!
    O worthiness of nature! breed of greatness! 2345
    Cowards father cowards and base things sire base:
    Nature hath meal and bran, contempt and grace.
    I'm not their father; yet who this should be,
    Doth miracle itself, loved before me.
    'Tis the ninth hour o' the morn. 2350
  • Imogen. [Aside] These are kind creatures. Gods, what lies
    I have heard! 2355
    Our courtiers say all's savage but at court:
    Experience, O, thou disprovest report!
    The imperious seas breed monsters, for the dish
    Poor tributary rivers as sweet fish.
    I am sick still; heart-sick. Pisanio, 2360
    I'll now taste of thy drug.

[Swallows some]

  • Guiderius. I could not stir him:
    He said he was gentle, but unfortunate;
    Dishonestly afflicted, but yet honest. 2365
  • Arviragus. Thus did he answer me: yet said, hereafter
    I might know more.
  • Belarius. To the field, to the field!
    We'll leave you for this time: go in and rest.
  • Belarius. Pray, be not sick,
    For you must be our housewife.
  • Imogen. Well or ill,
    I am bound to you.
  • Belarius. And shalt be ever. 2375
    [Exit IMOGEN, to the cave]
    This youth, how'er distress'd, appears he hath had
    Good ancestors.
  • Guiderius. But his neat cookery! he cut our roots 2380
    In characters,
    And sauced our broths, as Juno had been sick
    And he her dieter.
  • Arviragus. Nobly he yokes
    A smiling with a sigh, as if the sigh 2385
    Was that it was, for not being such a smile;
    The smile mocking the sigh, that it would fly
    From so divine a temple, to commix
    With winds that sailors rail at.
  • Guiderius. I do note 2390
    That grief and patience, rooted in him both,
    Mingle their spurs together.
  • Arviragus. Grow, patience!
    And let the stinking elder, grief, untwine
    His perishing root with the increasing vine! 2395
  • Belarius. It is great morning. Come, away!—
    Who's there?

[Enter CLOTEN]

  • Cloten. I cannot find those runagates; that villain
    Hath mock'd me. I am faint. 2400
  • Belarius. 'Those runagates!'
    Means he not us? I partly know him: 'tis
    Cloten, the son o' the queen. I fear some ambush.
    I saw him not these many years, and yet
    I know 'tis he. We are held as outlaws: hence! 2405
  • Guiderius. He is but one: you and my brother search
    What companies are near: pray you, away;
    Let me alone with him.


  • Cloten. Soft! What are you 2410
    That fly me thus? some villain mountaineers?
    I have heard of such. What slave art thou?
  • Guiderius. A thing
    More slavish did I ne'er than answering
    A slave without a knock. 2415
  • Cloten. Thou art a robber,
    A law-breaker, a villain: yield thee, thief.
  • Guiderius. To who? to thee? What art thou? Have not I
    An arm as big as thine? a heart as big?
    Thy words, I grant, are bigger, for I wear not 2420
    My dagger in my mouth. Say what thou art,
    Why I should yield to thee?
  • Cloten. Thou villain base,
    Know'st me not by my clothes?
  • Guiderius. No, nor thy tailor, rascal, 2425
    Who is thy grandfather: he made those clothes,
    Which, as it seems, make thee.
  • Cloten. Thou precious varlet,
    My tailor made them not.
  • Guiderius. Hence, then, and thank 2430
    The man that gave them thee. Thou art some fool;
    I am loath to beat thee.
  • Cloten. Thou injurious thief,
    Hear but my name, and tremble.
  • Cloten. Cloten, thou villain.
  • Guiderius. Cloten, thou double villain, be thy name,
    I cannot tremble at it: were it Toad, or
    Adder, Spider,
    'Twould move me sooner. 2440
  • Cloten. To thy further fear,
    Nay, to thy mere confusion, thou shalt know
    I am son to the queen.
  • Guiderius. I am sorry for 't; not seeming
    So worthy as thy birth. 2445
  • Guiderius. Those that I reverence those I fear, the wise:
    At fools I laugh, not fear them.
  • Cloten. Die the death:
    When I have slain thee with my proper hand, 2450
    I'll follow those that even now fled hence,
    And on the gates of Lud's-town set your heads:
    Yield, rustic mountaineer.

[Exeunt, fighting]


  • Arviragus. None in the world: you did mistake him, sure.
  • Belarius. I cannot tell: long is it since I saw him,
    But time hath nothing blurr'd those lines of favour
    Which then he wore; the snatches in his voice, 2460
    And burst of speaking, were as his: I am absolute
    'Twas very Cloten.
  • Arviragus. In this place we left them:
    I wish my brother make good time with him,
    You say he is so fell. 2465
  • Belarius. Being scarce made up,
    I mean, to man, he had not apprehension
    Of roaring terrors; for the effect of judgment
    Is oft the cause of fear. But, see, thy brother.

[Re-enter GUIDERIUS, with CLOTEN'S head]

  • Guiderius. This Cloten was a fool, an empty purse;
    There was no money in't: not Hercules
    Could have knock'd out his brains, for he had none:
    Yet I not doing this, the fool had borne
    My head as I do his. 2475
  • Guiderius. I am perfect what: cut off one Cloten's head,
    Son to the queen, after his own report;
    Who call'd me traitor, mountaineer, and swore
    With his own single hand he'ld take us in 2480
    Displace our heads where—thank the gods!—they grow,
    And set them on Lud's-town.
  • Guiderius. Why, worthy father, what have we to lose,
    But that he swore to take, our lives? The law 2485
    Protects not us: then why should we be tender
    To let an arrogant piece of flesh threat us,
    Play judge and executioner all himself,
    For we do fear the law? What company
    Discover you abroad? 2490
  • Belarius. No single soul
    Can we set eye on; but in all safe reason
    He must have some attendants. Though his humour
    Was nothing but mutation, ay, and that
    From one bad thing to worse; not frenzy, not 2495
    Absolute madness could so far have raved
    To bring him here alone; although perhaps
    It may be heard at court that such as we
    Cave here, hunt here, are outlaws, and in time
    May make some stronger head; the which he hearing— 2500
    As it is like him—might break out, and swear
    He'ld fetch us in; yet is't not probable
    To come alone, either he so undertaking,
    Or they so suffering: then on good ground we fear,
    If we do fear this body hath a tail 2505
    More perilous than the head.
  • Arviragus. Let ordinance
    Come as the gods foresay it: howsoe'er,
    My brother hath done well.
  • Belarius. I had no mind 2510
    To hunt this day: the boy Fidele's sickness
    Did make my way long forth.
  • Guiderius. With his own sword,
    Which he did wave against my throat, I have ta'en
    His head from him: I'll throw't into the creek 2515
    Behind our rock; and let it to the sea,
    And tell the fishes he's the queen's son, Cloten:
    That's all I reck.


  • Belarius. I fear 'twill be revenged: 2520
    Would, Polydote, thou hadst not done't! though valour
    Becomes thee well enough.
  • Arviragus. Would I had done't
    So the revenge alone pursued me! Polydore,
    I love thee brotherly, but envy much 2525
    Thou hast robb'd me of this deed: I would revenges,
    That possible strength might meet, would seek us through
    And put us to our answer.
  • Belarius. Well, 'tis done:
    We'll hunt no more to-day, nor seek for danger 2530
    Where there's no profit. I prithee, to our rock;
    You and Fidele play the cooks: I'll stay
    Till hasty Polydote return, and bring him
    To dinner presently.
  • Arviragus. Poor sick Fidele! 2535
    I'll weringly to him: to gain his colour
    I'ld let a parish of such Clotens' blood,
    And praise myself for charity.


  • Belarius. O thou goddess, 2540
    Thou divine Nature, how thyself thou blazon'st
    In these two princely boys! They are as gentle
    As zephyrs blowing below the violet,
    Not wagging his sweet head; and yet as rough,
    Their royal blood enchafed, as the rudest wind, 2545
    That by the top doth take the mountain pine,
    And make him stoop to the vale. 'Tis wonder
    That an invisible instinct should frame them
    To royalty unlearn'd, honour untaught,
    Civility not seen from other, valour 2550
    That wildly grows in them, but yields a crop
    As if it had been sow'd. Yet still it's strange
    What Cloten's being here to us portends,
    Or what his death will bring us.

[Re-enter GUIDERIUS]

  • Guiderius. Where's my brother?
    I have sent Cloten's clotpoll down the stream,
    In embassy to his mother: his body's hostage
    For his return.

[Solemn music]

  • Belarius. My ingenious instrument!
    Hark, Polydore, it sounds! But what occasion
    Hath Cadwal now to give it motion? Hark!
  • Guiderius. What does he mean? since death of my dear'st mother
    it did not speak before. All solemn things
    Should answer solemn accidents. The matter?
    Triumphs for nothing and lamenting toys
    Is jollity for apes and grief for boys. 2570
    Is Cadwal mad?
  • Belarius. Look, here he comes,
    And brings the dire occasion in his arms
    Of what we blame him for.
    [Re-enter ARVIRAGUS, with IMOGEN, as dead,] 2575
    bearing her in his arms]
  • Arviragus. The bird is dead
    That we have made so much on. I had rather
    Have skipp'd from sixteen years of age to sixty,
    To have turn'd my leaping-time into a crutch, 2580
    Than have seen this.
  • Guiderius. O sweetest, fairest lily!
    My brother wears thee not the one half so well
    As when thou grew'st thyself.
  • Belarius. O melancholy! 2585
    Who ever yet could sound thy bottom? find
    The ooze, to show what coast thy sluggish crare
    Might easiliest harbour in? Thou blessed thing!
    Jove knows what man thou mightst have made; but I,
    Thou diedst, a most rare boy, of melancholy. 2590
    How found you him?
  • Arviragus. Stark, as you see:
    Thus smiling, as some fly hid tickled slumber,
    Not as death's dart, being laugh'd at; his
    right cheek 2595
    Reposing on a cushion.
  • Arviragus. O' the floor;
    His arms thus leagued: I thought he slept, and put
    My clouted brogues from off my feet, whose rudeness 2600
    Answer'd my steps too loud.
  • Guiderius. Why, he but sleeps:
    If he be gone, he'll make his grave a bed;
    With female fairies will his tomb be haunted,
    And worms will not come to thee. 2605
  • Arviragus. With fairest flowers
    Whilst summer lasts and I live here, Fidele,
    I'll sweeten thy sad grave: thou shalt not lack
    The flower that's like thy face, pale primrose, nor
    The azured harebell, like thy veins, no, nor 2610
    The leaf of eglantine, whom not to slander,
    Out-sweeten'd not thy breath: the ruddock would,
    With charitable bill,—O bill, sore-shaming
    Those rich-left heirs that let their fathers lie
    Without a monument!—bring thee all this; 2615
    Yea, and furr'd moss besides, when flowers are none,
    To winter-ground thy corse.
  • Guiderius. Prithee, have done;
    And do not play in wench-like words with that
    Which is so serious. Let us bury him, 2620
    And not protract with admiration what
    Is now due debt. To the grave!
  • Arviragus. Be't so: 2625
    And let us, Polydore, though now our voices
    Have got the mannish crack, sing him to the ground,
    As once our mother; use like note and words,
    Save that Euriphile must be Fidele.
  • Guiderius. Cadwal, 2630
    I cannot sing: I'll weep, and word it with thee;
    For notes of sorrow out of tune are worse
    Than priests and fanes that lie.
  • Belarius. Great griefs, I see, medicine the less; for Cloten 2635
    Is quite forgot. He was a queen's son, boys;
    And though he came our enemy, remember
    He was paid for that: though mean and
    mighty, rotting
    Together, have one dust, yet reverence, 2640
    That angel of the world, doth make distinction
    Of place 'tween high and low. Our foe was princely
    And though you took his life, as being our foe,
    Yet bury him as a prince.
  • Guiderius. Pray You, fetch him hither. 2645
    Thersites' body is as good as Ajax',
    When neither are alive.
  • Arviragus. If you'll go fetch him,
    We'll say our song the whilst. Brother, begin.


  • Guiderius. Nay, Cadwal, we must lay his head to the east;
    My father hath a reason for't.


  • Guiderius. Fear no more the heat o' the sun,
    Nor the furious winter's rages;
    Thou thy worldly task hast done,
    Home art gone, and ta'en thy wages: 2660
    Golden lads and girls all must,
    As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.
  • Arviragus. Fear no more the frown o' the great;
    Thou art past the tyrant's stroke;
    Care no more to clothe and eat; 2665
    To thee the reed is as the oak:
    The sceptre, learning, physic, must
    All follow this, and come to dust.
  • Guiderius. Fear no more the lightning flash,
  • Arviragus. Nor the all-dreaded thunder-stone; 2670
  • Guiderius. [with Arviragus] All lovers young, all lovers must
    Consign to thee, and come to dust.
  • Guiderius. [with Arviragus] Quiet consummation have;
    And renowned be thy grave! 2680

[Re-enter BELARIUS, with the body of CLOTEN]

  • Guiderius. We have done our obsequies: come, lay him down.
  • Belarius. Here's a few flowers; but 'bout midnight, more:
    The herbs that have on them cold dew o' the night
    Are strewings fitt'st for graves. Upon their faces. 2685
    You were as flowers, now wither'd: even so
    These herblets shall, which we upon you strew.
    Come on, away: apart upon our knees.
    The ground that gave them first has them again:
    Their pleasures here are past, so is their pain. 2690


  • Imogen. [Awaking] Yes, sir, to Milford-Haven; which is
    the way?—
    I thank you.—By yond bush?—Pray, how far thither?
    'Ods pittikins! can it be six mile yet?— 2695
    I have gone all night. 'Faith, I'll lie down and sleep.
    But, soft! no bedfellow!—O gods and goddesses!
    [Seeing the body of CLOTEN]
    These flowers are like the pleasures of the world;
    This bloody man, the care on't. I hope I dream; 2700
    For so I thought I was a cave-keeper,
    And cook to honest creatures: but 'tis not so;
    'Twas but a bolt of nothing, shot at nothing,
    Which the brain makes of fumes: our very eyes
    Are sometimes like our judgments, blind. Good faith, 2705
    I tremble stiff with fear: but if there be
    Yet left in heaven as small a drop of pity
    As a wren's eye, fear'd gods, a part of it!
    The dream's here still: even when I wake, it is
    Without me, as within me; not imagined, felt. 2710
    A headless man! The garments of Posthumus!
    I know the shape of's leg: this is his hand;
    His foot Mercurial; his Martial thigh;
    The brawns of Hercules: but his Jovial face
    Murder in heaven?—How!—'Tis gone. Pisanio, 2715
    All curses madded Hecuba gave the Greeks,
    And mine to boot, be darted on thee! Thou,
    Conspired with that irregulous devil, Cloten,
    Hast here cut off my lord. To write and read
    Be henceforth treacherous! Damn'd Pisanio 2720
    Hath with his forged letters,—damn'd Pisanio—
    From this most bravest vessel of the world
    Struck the main-top! O Posthumus! alas,
    Where is thy head? where's that? Ay me!
    where's that? 2725
    Pisanio might have kill'd thee at the heart,
    And left this head on. How should this be? Pisanio?
    'Tis he and Cloten: malice and lucre in them
    Have laid this woe here. O, 'tis pregnant, pregnant!
    The drug he gave me, which he said was precious 2730
    And cordial to me, have I not found it
    Murderous to the senses? That confirms it home:
    This is Pisanio's deed, and Cloten's: O!
    Give colour to my pale cheek with thy blood,
    That we the horrider may seem to those 2735
    Which chance to find us: O, my lord, my lord!
    [Falls on the body]
    [Enter LUCIUS, a Captain and other Officers,]
    and a Soothsayer]
  • Roman Captain. To them the legions garrison'd in Gailia, 2740
    After your will, have cross'd the sea, attending
    You here at Milford-Haven with your ships:
    They are in readiness.
  • Roman Captain. The senate hath stirr'd up the confiners 2745
    And gentlemen of Italy, most willing spirits,
    That promise noble service: and they come
    Under the conduct of bold Iachimo,
    Syenna's brother.
  • Caius Lucius. This forwardness
    Makes our hopes fair. Command our present numbers
    Be muster'd; bid the captains look to't. Now, sir,
    What have you dream'd of late of this war's purpose? 2755
  • Soothsayer. Last night the very gods show'd me a vision—
    I fast and pray'd for their intelligence—thus:
    I saw Jove's bird, the Roman eagle, wing'd
    From the spongy south to this part of the west,
    There vanish'd in the sunbeams: which portends— 2760
    Unless my sins abuse my divination—
    Success to the Roman host.
  • Caius Lucius. Dream often so,
    And never false. Soft, ho! what trunk is here
    Without his top? The ruin speaks that sometime 2765
    It was a worthy building. How! a page!
    Or dead, or sleeping on him? But dead rather;
    For nature doth abhor to make his bed
    With the defunct, or sleep upon the dead.
    Let's see the boy's face. 2770
  • Caius Lucius. He'll then instruct us of this body. Young one,
    Inform us of thy fortunes, for it seems
    They crave to be demanded. Who is this
    Thou makest thy bloody pillow? Or who was he 2775
    That, otherwise than noble nature did,
    Hath alter'd that good picture? What's thy interest
    In this sad wreck? How came it? Who is it?
    What art thou?
  • Imogen. I am nothing: or if not, 2780
    Nothing to be were better. This was my master,
    A very valiant Briton and a good,
    That here by mountaineers lies slain. Alas!
    There is no more such masters: I may wander
    From east to occident, cry out for service, 2785
    Try many, all good, serve truly, never
    Find such another master.
  • Caius Lucius. 'Lack, good youth!
    Thou movest no less with thy complaining than
    Thy master in bleeding: say his name, good friend. 2790
  • Imogen. Richard du Champ.
    If I do lie and do
    No harm by it, though the gods hear, I hope
    They'll pardon it.—Say you, sir? 2795
  • Caius Lucius. Thou dost approve thyself the very same:
    Thy name well fits thy faith, thy faith thy name.
    Wilt take thy chance with me? I will not say 2800
    Thou shalt be so well master'd, but, be sure,
    No less beloved. The Roman emperor's letters,
    Sent by a consul to me, should not sooner
    Than thine own worth prefer thee: go with me.
  • Imogen. I'll follow, sir. But first, an't please the gods, 2805
    I'll hide my master from the flies, as deep
    As these poor pickaxes can dig; and when
    With wild wood-leaves and weeds I ha' strew'd his grave,
    And on it said a century of prayers,
    Such as I can, twice o'er, I'll weep and sigh; 2810
    And leaving so his service, follow you,
    So please you entertain me.
  • Caius Lucius. Ay, good youth!
    And rather father thee than master thee.
    My friends, 2815
    The boy hath taught us manly duties: let us
    Find out the prettiest daisied plot we can,
    And make him with our pikes and partisans
    A grave: come, arm him. Boy, he is preferr'd
    By thee to us, and he shall be interr'd 2820
    As soldiers can. Be cheerful; wipe thine eyes
    Some falls are means the happier to arise.