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Wales. A mountainous Country, with a Cave.
Enter Belarius, GUIDERIUS, and ARVIRAGUS.
. A goodly day not to keep house, with such
Whose roof's as low as ours ! Stoop, boys: This
how to adore the heavens; and bows
To morning's holy office : The gates of monarchs
Are arch'd so high, that giants may jet through
And keep their impious turbands on, without
Good morrow to the sun. Hail, thou fair heaven!
We house i’the rock, yet use thee not so hardly
As prouder livers do.
Bel. Now, for our mountain sport: Up to yon
Your legs are young ; I'll tread these flats. Con-
you above perceive me like a crow,
That it is place which lessens, and sets off
then revolve what tales I have told
Of courts, of princes, of the tricks in war:
This service is not service, so being done,
But being so allow'd: To apprehend thus,
Draws us a profit from all things we see:
And often, to our comfort, shall we find
The sharded ? beetle in a safer hold
Than is the full-wing'd eagle. O, this life
Is nobler, than attending for a check;
Richer, than doing nothing for a babe;
• Strut, walk proudly.
Prouder, than rustling in unpaid-for silk :
Such gain the cap of him, that makes them fine,
Yet keeps his book uncross'd: no life to ours.
Gui. Out of your proof you speak: we, poor
unfledgʻd, Have never wing’d from view o'the nest ; nor know
not What air's from home. Haply, this life is best, If quiet life be best ; sweeter to you, That have a sharper known; well corresponding With your stiff age; but, unto us, it is A cell of ignorance; travelling a-bed; A prison for a debtor, that not dares To stride a limit. 9 Aru.
What should we speak of,
When we are old as you ? when we shall hear
The rain and wind beat dark December, how
In this our pinching cave, shall we discourse
The freezing hours away? We have seen nothing :
We are beastly ; subtle as the fox, for
Like warlike as the wolf, for what we eat :
Our valour is, to chace what flies ; our cage
We make a quire, as doth the prison bird,
And sing our bondage freely.
How you speak !
Did you but know the city's usuries,
And felt them knowingly: the art o'the court,
As hard to leave, as keep; whose top to climb
Is certain falling, or so slippery, that
The fear's as bad as falling: the toil of the war,
A pain that only seems to seek out danger
I'the name of fame, and honour; which dies i’the
search; And hath as oft a slanderous epitaph, As record of fair act; nay, many times, Doth ill deserve by doing well ; what's worse, Must court’sey at the censure:-0, boys, this story
8 i. o. Compared with ours.
The world may read in me: My body's mark'd
With Roman swords : and my report was once
First with the best of note : Cymbeline lov’d me;
And when a soldier was the theme, my name
Was not far off: Then was I as a tree,
Whose boughs did bend with fruit: but in one night,
A storm, or robbery, call it what you will,
Shook down my mellow hangings, nay, my leaves,
And left me bare to weather.
Uncertain favour ! Bel. My fault being nothing (as I have told you
But that two villains, whose false oaths prevail'd
Before my perfect honour, swore to Cymbeline,
I was confederate with the Romans: so,
banishment; and, this twenty years,
This rock, and these demesnes, have been my world:
Where I have lived at honest freedom; paid
More pious debts to heaven, than in all
The fore-end of my time. · But, up to the moun-
tains ; This is not hunters' language:-He, that strikes The venison first, shall be the lord o’the feast; To him the other two shall minister ; And we will fear no poison, which attends In place of greater state. I'll meet you in the val. leys.
[Exeunt Gui. and ARV. How hard it is, to hide the sparks of nature ! These boys know little, they are sons to the king; Nor Cymbeline dreams that they are alive. They think, they are mine : and, though train'd up
thus meanly I'the cave, wherein they bow, their thoughts do hit The roofs of palaces; and nature prompts them, In simple and low things to prince it, much Beyond the trick of others. This Polydore, The heir of Cymbeline and Britain, whom The king his father callid Guiderius, - Jove ! When on my three-foot stool I sit, and tell
The warlike fedts I have done, his spirits fly out
Into my story : say,
Thus mine enemy fell ;
And thus I set my foot on his neck; even then
The princely blood flows in his cheek, he sweats,
Strains his young nerves, and puts himself in posture
That acts my words. The younger brother, Cadwal,
(Once, Arvirágus,) in as like a figure,
Strikes life into my speech, and shows much more
His own conceiving. Hark! the game is rous'd !
O Cymbeline! heaven, and my conscience, knows,
Thou didst unjustly banish me: whereon,
At three, and two years old, I stole these babes;
Thinking to bar thee of succession, as
Thou reft’st me of my lands. Euriphile,
Thou wast their nurse ; they took thee for their
And every day do honour to her
grave : Myself, Belarius, that am Morgan call’d, They take for natural father. The game is up:
Imo. Thou told'st me, when we came from horse,
Was near at hand: - Ne'er long'd my:
To see me first, as I have now: Pisanio! Man !
Where is Posthumus? What is in thy mind,
That makes thee stare thus ? Wherefore breaks that
From the inward of thee? One, but painted thus,
Would be interpreted a thing perplex'd
Beyond self-explication: Put thyself
Into a haviour' of less fear, ere wildness
Vanquish my staider senses. What's the matter?
Why tender'st thou that paper to me, with
A look untender? If it be summer news,
Smile to't before: if winterly, thou need'st
But keep that countenance still. - My husband's
Detested Italy hath out-craftied him,
And he's at some hard point. - Speak, man; thy
May take off some extremity, which to read
Would be even mortal to me.
Please you, read ;
shall find me, wretched man, a thing The most disdain'd of fortune.
Imo. [Reads.] Thy mistress, Pisanio, hath played
the strumpet in my bed : the testimonies whereof lie
bleeding in me. I speak not out of weak surmises,
but from proof as strong as my grief, and as certain
as I expect my revenge. That part, thou Pisanio,
must act for me, if thy faith be not tainted with the
breach of hers. Let thine own hands take away her
life: shall give thee opportunities at Milford-
Haven : she hath my letter for the purpose : Where,
if thou fear to strike, and to make me certain it is
done, thou art the pandar to her dishonour, and
equally to me disloyal.
Pis. What, shall I need to draw my sword ? the
Hath cut her throat already. -No, 'tis slander;
Whose edge is sharper than the sword; whose tongue
Out-venoms all the worms of Nile; whose breath
Rides on the posting winds, and doth belie
All corners of the world: kings, queens, and states,
Maids, matrons, nay, the secrets of the
This viperous slander enters.-—What cheer, madam?
Imo. False to his bed! What is it, to be false ?