Content-type: text/xml Cymbeline


ASCII text placed in the public domain by Moby Lexical Tools, 1992.

SGML markup by Jon Bosak, 1992-1994.

XML version by Jon Bosak, 1996-1999.

The XML markup in this version is Copyright © 1999 Jon Bosak. This work may freely be distributed on condition that it not be modified or altered in any way.


SCENE I. Britain. The garden of Cymbeline's palace.

SCENE II. The same. A public place.

Enter CLOTEN and two Lords

First Lord there's none abroad so wholesome as that you vent.

CLOTEN If my shirt were bloody, then to shift it. Have I hurt him?

Second Lord backside the town.

CLOTEN The villain would not stand me.

Second Lord Aside As many inches as you have oceans. Puppies!

CLOTEN I would they had not come between us.

Second Lord a fool you were upon the ground.

CLOTEN And that she should love this fellow and refuse me!

Second Lord reflection should hurt her.

CLOTEN Come, I'll to my chamber. Would there had been some
hurt done!

Second Lord of an ass, which is no great hurt.

CLOTEN You'll go with us?

First Lord I'll attend your lordship.

CLOTEN Nay, come, let's go together.

SCENE III. A room in Cymbeline's palace.

SCENE IV. Rome. Philario's house.

SCENE V. Britain. A room in Cymbeline's palace.

SCENE VI. The same. Another room in the palace.


SCENE I. 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.

Second Lord it would have run all out.

CLOTEN When a gentleman is disposed to swear, it is not for
any standers-by to curtail his oaths, ha?

Second Lord nor crop the ears of them.

CLOTEN Whoreson dog! I give him satisfaction?
Would he had been one of my rank!

Second Lord Aside To have smelt like a fool.

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
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 cock, with your comb on.

CLOTEN Sayest thou?

Second Lord companion that you give offence to.

CLOTEN No, I know that: but it is fit I should commit
offence to my inferiors.

Second Lord Ay, it is fit for your lordship only.

CLOTEN Why, so I say.

First Lord Did you hear of a stranger that's come to court to-night?

CLOTEN A stranger, and I not know on't!

First Lord Leonatus' friends.

CLOTEN Leonatus! a banished rascal; and he's another,
whatsoever he be. Who told you of this stranger?

First Lord One of your lordship's pages.

CLOTEN Is it fit I went to look upon him? is there no
derogation in't?

Second Lord You cannot derogate, my lord.

CLOTEN Not easily, I think.

Second Lord 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.

SCENE II. Imogen's bedchamber in Cymbeline's palace: a trunk in one corner of it.

Scene III An ante-chamber adjoining Imogen's apartments.

Enter CLOTEN and Lords

First Lord most coldest that ever turned up ace.

CLOTEN It would make any man cold to lose.

First Lord your lordship. You are most hot and furious when you win.

CLOTEN Winning will put any man into courage. If I could
get this foolish Imogen, I should have gold enough.
It's almost morning, is't not?

First Lord Day, my lord.

CLOTEN I would this music would come: I am advised to give
her music o' mornings; they say it will penetrate.
Enter Musicians Come on; tune: if you can penetrate her with your
fingering, so; we'll try with tongue too: if none
will do, let her remain; but I'll never give o'er.
First, a very excellent good-conceited thing;
after, a wonderful sweet air, with admirable rich
words to it: and then let her consider.
SONG Hark, hark! the lark at heaven's gate sings,
And Phoebus 'gins arise,
His steeds to water at those springs
On chaliced flowers that lies;
And winking Mary-buds begin
To ope their golden eyes:
With every thing that pretty is,
My lady sweet, arise:
Arise, arise.

CLOTEN So, get you gone. If this penetrate, I will
consider your music the better: if it do not, it is
a vice in her ears, which horse-hairs and
calves'-guts, nor the voice of unpaved eunuch to
boot, can never amend.

Second Lord Here comes the king.

CLOTEN I am glad I was up so late; for that's the reason I
was up so early: he cannot choose but take this
service I have done fatherly.
Enter CYMBELINE and QUEEN Good morrow to your majesty and to my gracious mother.

CYMBELINE Will she not forth?

CLOTEN I have assailed her with music, but she vouchsafes no notice.

QUEEN And therein you are senseless.

CLOTEN Senseless! not so.

CYMBELINE To employ you towards this Roman. Come, our queen.

Exeunt all but CLOTEN

CLOTEN If she be up, I'll speak with her; if not,
Let her lie still and dream.
Knocks By your leave, ho!
I Know her women are about her: what
If I do line one of their hands? 'Tis gold
Which buys admittance; oft it doth; yea, and makes
Diana's rangers false themselves, yield up
Their deer to the stand o' the stealer; and 'tis gold
Which makes the true man kill'd and saves the thief;
Nay, sometime hangs both thief and true man: what
Can it not do and undo? I will make
One of her women lawyer to me, for
I yet not understand the case myself.
Knocks By your leave.

Lady Who's there that knocks?

CLOTEN A gentleman.

Lady No more?

CLOTEN Yes, and a gentlewoman's son.

Lady Can justly boast of. What's your lordship's pleasure?

CLOTEN Your lady's person: is she ready?

Lady To keep her chamber.

CLOTEN There is gold for you;
Sell me your good report.


CLOTEN Good morrow, fairest: sister, your sweet hand.

IMOGEN And scarce can spare them.

CLOTEN Still, I swear I love you.

IMOGEN That I regard it not.

CLOTEN This is no answer.

IMOGEN Should learn, being taught, forbearance.

CLOTEN To leave you in your madness, 'twere my sin:
I will not.

IMOGEN Fools are not mad folks.

CLOTEN Do you call me fool?

IMOGEN You felt than make't my boast.

CLOTEN You sin against
Obedience, which you owe your father. For
The contract you pretend with that base wretch,
One bred of alms and foster'd with cold dishes,
With scraps o' the court, it is no contract, none:
And though it be allow'd in meaner parties--
Yet who than he more mean?--to knit their souls,
On whom there is no more dependency
But brats and beggary, in self-figured knot;
Yet you are curb'd from that enlargement by
The consequence o' the crown, and must not soil
The precious note of it with a base slave.
A hilding for a livery, a squire's cloth,
A pantler, not so eminent.

IMOGEN For being preferred so well.

CLOTEN The south-fog rot him!


CLOTEN 'His garment!' Now the devil--

IMOGEN To Dorothy my woman hie thee presently--

CLOTEN 'His garment!'


CLOTEN You have abused me:
'His meanest garment!'

IMOGEN If you will make't an action, call witness to't.

CLOTEN I will inform your father.


CLOTEN I'll be revenged:
'His meanest garment!' Well.

SCENE IV. Rome. Philario's house.

SCENE V. Another room in Philario's house.


SCENE I. Britain. A hall in Cymbeline's palace.

Enter in state, CYMBELINE, QUEEN, CLOTEN, and Lords at one door, and at another, CAIUS LUCIUS and Attendants

QUEEN Shall be so ever.

CLOTEN There be many Caesars,
Ere such another Julius. Britain is
A world by itself; and we will nothing pay
For wearing our own noses.

QUEEN And Britons strut with courage.

CLOTEN Come, there's no more tribute to be paid: our
kingdom is stronger than it was at that time; and,
as I said, there is no moe such Caesars: other of
them may have crook'd noses, but to owe such
straight arms, none.

CYMBELINE Son, let your mother end.

CLOTEN We have yet many among us can gripe as hard as
Cassibelan: I do not say I am one; but I have a
hand. Why tribute? why should we pay tribute? If
Caesar can hide the sun from us with a blanket, or
put the moon in his pocket, we will pay him tribute
for light; else, sir, no more tribute, pray you now.

CYMBELINE Ourselves to be.

CLOTEN Lords We do.

CAIUS LUCIUS Let proof speak.

CLOTEN His majesty bids you welcome. Make
pastime with us a day or two, or longer: if
you seek us afterwards in other terms, you
shall find us in our salt-water girdle: if you
beat us out of it, it is yours; if you fall in
the adventure, our crows shall fare the better
for you; and there's an end.

SCENE II. Another room in the palace.

SCENE III. Wales: a mountainous country with a cave.

SCENE IV. Country near Milford-Haven.

SCENE V. A room in Cymbeline's palace.

Enter CYMBELINE, QUEEN, CLOTEN, LUCIUS, Lords, and Attendants

CAIUS LUCIUS Your hand, my lord.

CLOTEN Receive it friendly; but from this time forth
I wear it as your enemy.

QUEEN That we have given him cause.

CLOTEN 'Tis all the better;
Your valiant Britons have their wishes in it.

QUEEN Son, I say, follow the king.

CLOTEN That man of hers, Pisanio, her old servant,
have not seen these two days.

QUEEN How now, my son!

CLOTEN 'Tis certain she is fled.
Go in and cheer the king: he rages; none
Dare come about him.


CLOTEN I love and hate her: for she's fair and royal,
And that she hath all courtly parts more exquisite
Than lady, ladies, woman; from every one
The best she hath, and she, of all compounded,
Outsells them all; I love her therefore: but
Disdaining me and throwing favours on
The low Posthumus slanders so her judgment
That what's else rare is choked; and in that point
I will conclude to hate her, nay, indeed,
To be revenged upon her. For when fools Shall--
Enter PISANIO Who is here? What, are you packing, sirrah?
Come hither: ah, you precious pander! Villain,
Where is thy lady? In a word; or else
Thou art straightway with the fiends.

PISANIO O, good my lord!

CLOTEN Where is thy lady? Or, by Jupiter,--
I will not ask again. Close villain,
I'll have this secret from thy heart, or rip
Thy heart to find it. Is she with Posthumus?
From whose so many weights of baseness cannot
A dram of worth be drawn.

PISANIO He is in Rome.

CLOTEN Where is she, sir? Come nearer;
No further halting: satisfy me home
What is become of her.

PISANIO O, my all-worthy lord!

CLOTEN All-worthy villain!
Discover where thy mistress is at once,
At the next word: no more of 'worthy lord!'
Speak, or thy silence on the instant is
Thy condemnation and thy death.

Presenting a letter

CLOTEN Let's see't. I will pursue her
Even to Augustus' throne.

PISANIO May prove his travel, not her danger.


PISANIO Safe mayst thou wander, safe return again!

CLOTEN Sirrah, is this letter true?

PISANIO Sir, as I think.

CLOTEN It is Posthumus' hand; I know't. Sirrah, if thou
wouldst not be a villain, but do me true service,
undergo those employments wherein I should have
cause to use thee with a serious industry, that is,
what villany soe'er I bid thee do, to perform it
directly and truly, I would think thee an honest
man: thou shouldst neither want my means for thy
relief nor my voice for thy preferment.

PISANIO Well, my good lord.

CLOTEN Wilt thou serve me? for since patiently and
constantly thou hast stuck to the bare fortune of
that beggar Posthumus, thou canst not, in the
course of gratitude, but be a diligent follower of
mine: wilt thou serve me?

PISANIO Sir, I will.

CLOTEN Give me thy hand; here's my purse. Hast any of thy
late master's garments in thy possession?

PISANIO wore when he took leave of my lady and mistress.

CLOTEN The first service thou dost me, fetch that suit
hither: let it be thy lint service; go.


CLOTEN Meet thee at Milford-Haven!--I forgot to ask him one
thing; I'll remember't anon:--even there, thou
villain Posthumus, will I kill thee. I would these
garments were come. She said upon a time--the
bitterness of it I now belch from my heart--that she
held the very garment of Posthumus in more respect
than my noble and natural person together with the
adornment of my qualities. With that suit upon my
back, will I ravish her: first kill him, and in her
eyes; there shall she see my valour, which will then
be a torment to her contempt. He on the ground, my
speech of insultment ended on his dead body, and
when my lust hath dined,--which, as I say, to vex
her I will execute in the clothes that she so
praised,--to the court I'll knock her back, foot
her home again. She hath despised me rejoicingly,
and I'll be merry in my revenge.
Re-enter PISANIO, with the clothes Be those the garments?

PISANIO Ay, my noble lord.

CLOTEN How long is't since she went to Milford-Haven?

PISANIO She can scarce be there yet.

CLOTEN Bring this apparel to my chamber; that is the second
thing that I have commanded thee: the third is,
that thou wilt be a voluntary mute to my design. Be
but duteous, and true preferment shall tender itself
to thee. My revenge is now at Milford: would I had
wings to follow it! Come, and be true.

SCENE VI. Wales. Before the cave of Belarius.

SCENE VII. Rome. A public place.


SCENE I. Wales: near the cave of Belarius.


CLOTEN I am near to the place where they should meet, if
Pisanio have mapped it truly. How fit his garments
serve me! Why should his mistress, who was made by
him that made the tailor, not be fit too? the
rather--saving reverence of the word--for 'tis said
a woman's fitness comes by fits. Therein I must
play the workman. I dare speak it to myself--for it
is not vain-glory for a man and his glass to confer
in his own chamber--I mean, the lines of my body are
as well drawn as his; no less young, more strong,
not beneath him in fortunes, beyond him in the
advantage of the time, above him in birth, alike
conversant in general services, and more remarkable
in single oppositions: yet this imperceiverant
thing loves him in my despite. What mortality is!
Posthumus, thy head, which now is growing upon thy
shoulders, shall within this hour be off; thy
mistress enforced; thy garments cut to pieces before
thy face: and all this done, spurn her home to her
father; who may haply be a little angry for my so
rough usage; but my mother, having power of his
testiness, shall turn all into my commendations. My
horse is tied up safe: out, sword, and to a sore
purpose! Fortune, put them into my hand! This is
the very description of their meeting-place; and
the fellow dares not deceive me.

SCENE II. Before the cave of Belarius.

BELARIUS Who's there?


CLOTEN I cannot find those runagates; that villain
Hath mock'd me. I am faint.


CLOTEN Soft! What are you
That fly me thus? some villain mountaineers?
I have heard of such. What slave art thou?

GUIDERIUS A slave without a knock.

CLOTEN Thou art a robber,
A law-breaker, a villain: yield thee, thief.

GUIDERIUS Why I should yield to thee?

CLOTEN Thou villain base,
Know'st me not by my clothes?

GUIDERIUS Which, as it seems, make thee.

CLOTEN Thou precious varlet,
My tailor made them not.

GUIDERIUS I am loath to beat thee.

CLOTEN Thou injurious thief,
Hear but my name, and tremble.

GUIDERIUS What's thy name?

CLOTEN Cloten, thou villain.

GUIDERIUS 'Twould move me sooner.

CLOTEN To thy further fear,
Nay, to thy mere confusion, thou shalt know
I am son to the queen.

GUIDERIUS So worthy as thy birth.

CLOTEN Art not afeard?

GUIDERIUS At fools I laugh, not fear them.

CLOTEN Die the death:
When I have slain thee with my proper hand,
I'll follow those that even now fled hence,
And on the gates of Lud's-town set your heads:
Yield, rustic mountaineer.

BELARIUS Is oft the cause of fear. But, see, thy brother.

Re-enter GUIDERIUS, with CLOTEN'S head

GUIDERIUS ARVIRAGUS And renowned be thy grave!

Re-enter BELARIUS, with the body of CLOTEN

SCENE III. A room in Cymbeline's palace.

SCENE IV. Wales: before the cave of Belarius.


SCENE I. Britain. The Roman camp.

SCENE II. Field of battle between the British and Roman camps.

SCENE III. Another part of the field.

SCENE IV. A British prison.

SCENE V. Cymbeline's tent.