SCENE I. Britain. The Garden behind Cymbeline's


Enter two Gentlemen.

1 Gentleman. You do not meet a man but frowns;

our bloods

No more obey the heavens, than our courtiers,
Still seem, as does the king's."
2 Gent.

But what's the matter? 1 Gent. His daughter, and the heir of his kingdom,

whom He 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 Be touched at very heart. 2 Gent.

None but the king ? 1 Gent. 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

1 “Our bloods [i. e. our dispositions or temperaments] are not more regulated by the heavens, by every skyey influence, than our courtiers are by the disposition of the king: when he frowns, every man frowns." In some editions, a different meaning is conveyed, by placing a semicolon after the word courtiers.



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Of the king's looks, hath a heart that is not
Glad at the thing they scowl at.
2 Gent.

And why so? 1 Gent. He that hath missed the princess, is a thing Too bad for bad report; and he that hath her, (I 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 So fair an outward, and such stuff within, Endows a man but he. 2 Gent.

You speak him far. 1 Gent. I do extend him, sir, within himself ; Crush him together, rather than unfold His measure duly. 2 Gent.

What's his name, and birth? 1 Gent. I cannot delve him to the root. His father Was called Sicilius, who did join his honor ? Against the Romans, with Cassibelan; But 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'the time, Died 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 To his protection ; calls him Posthumus; Breeds him, and makes him of his bedchamber : Puts him to all the learnings that his time Could make him the receiver of; which he took, As we do air, fast as 'twas ministered ; and In his spring became a harvest ; lived in court

1 i. e. you praise him extensively. 2 Perhaps, says Steevens, Shakspeare wrote:

did join his banner.3 The father of Cymbeline.

(Which rare it is to do) most praised, most loved ;
A sample to the youngest; to the more mature
A glass that feated them; and to the graver,
A child that guided dotards; to his mistress,"
From 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 Gent.

I honor him
Even out of your report. But, 'pray you, tell me,
Is she sole child to the king ?
1 Gent.

His only child.
He had two sons, (if this be worth your hearing,
Mark it,) the eldest of them at three years old,
I'the swathing clothes the other, from their nursery
Were stolen ; and to this hour, no guess in knowledge
Which way they went.
2 Gent.

How long is this ago? 1 Gent. Some twenty years.

2 Gent. That a king's children should be so conveyed! So slackly guarded! and the search so slow, That could not trace them! 1 Gent.

Howsoe'er 'tis strange, Or that the negligence may well be laughed at, Yet is it true, sir. 2 Gent.

I do well believe you. 1 Gent. We must forbear; here comes the queen and princess.


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Enter the Queen, Posthumus, and Imogen. Queen. No, be assured, you shall not find me,


1 Feate is well-fashioned, proper, trim, handsome, well-compact (concinnus). Feature was also used for fashion or proportion. The verb to feat was probably formed by Shakspeare himself.

2 "To his mistress," means as to his mistress.

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After the slander of most step-mothers,
Evil-eyed unto you; you are my prisoner, but
Your jailer shall deliver you
That lock up your restraint. For you, Posthumus,
So soon as I can win the offended king,
I will be known your advocate: marry, yet
The fire of rage is in him; and 'twere good,
You leaned unto his sentence, with what patience
Your wisdom may inform you.

Please your highness,
I will from hence to-day.

You know the peril.
I'll fetch a turn about the garden, pitying
The pangs of barred affections; though the king
Hath charged you should not speak together.

[Exit Queen. Imo. Dissembling courtesy! How fine this tyrant Can tickle where she wounds !—My dearest husband, I something fear my father's wrath; but nothing (Always reserved my holy duty)' what His rage can do on me. You must be

And I shall here abide the hourly shot
Of angry eyes; not comforted to live,
But that there is this jewel in the world,
That I may see again.

My queen! my mistress !
O lady, weep no more ; lest I give cause
To be suspected of more tenderness
Than doth become a man! I will remain
The loyal'st husband that did e'er plight troth.
My residence in Rome at one Philario's;
Who to my father was a friend, to me
Known but by letter: thither write, my queen,
And with mine eyes I'll drink the words you send,
Though ink be made of gall.

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I do not fear my father, so far as I may say it without breach

of duty."

Re-enter Queen.

Be brief, I pray you:
If the king come, I shall incur I know not
How much of his displeasure. Yet I'll move him

[ Aside. To walk this way.

I never do him wrong, But he does buy my injuries, to be friends; Pays dear for my offences. "

[Exit. Post.

Should we be taking leave As long a term as yet we have to live, The loathness to depart would grow. Adieu !

Imo. Nay, stay a little ; Were


but riding forth to air yourself,
Such parting were too petty. Look here, love;
This diamond was my mother's: take it, heart;
But keep it till you woo another wife,
When Imogen is dead.

How! how! another?
You gentle gods, give me but this I have,
And sear up my embracements from a next
With bonds of death !-Remain, remain thou here

[Putting on the ring. While sense can keep it on! And sweetest, fairest, As I my poor self did exchange for

To your so infinite loss; so, in our trifles
I still win of you. For my sake, wear this;
It is a manacle of love ; I'll place it
Upon this fairest prisoner.

[Putting a bracelet on her arm. Imo.

O the gods! When shall we see again?

1 "He gives me a valuable consideration in new kindness (purchasing, as it were, the wrong I have done him), in order to renew our amity, and make us friends again.”

2 Shakspeare poetically calls the cere-cloths, in which the dead are wrapped, the bonds of death. There was no distinction in ancient orthography between seare, to dry, to wither; and seare, to dress or cover with wax. Cere-cloth is most frequently spelled seare-cloth.

3 i. e. while I have sensation to retain it.

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