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And, to kill the marvel,
Shall be so ever.
There be many Cæsars,
Ere such another Julius. Britain is
A world by itself; and we will nothing pay
For wearing our own noses.
Which then they had to take from us, to resume
We have again.--Remember, sir, my liege,
The kings your ancestors; together with
The natural bravery of your isle, which stands
As Neptune's park, ribbed and paled in
With rocks unscaleable, and roaring waters ;
With sands that will not bear your enemies' boats,
But suck them up to the top-mast. A kind of conquest
Cæsar made here; but made not here his brag
Of came, and saw, and overcame with shame
(The first that ever touch'd him) he was carried
From off our coast, twice beaten ; and his shipping
(Poor ignorant baubles !) on our terrible seas,
Like egg-shells mov'd upon their surges, crack'd
As easily 'gainst our rocks :- for joy whereof,
The fam'd Cassibelan, who was once at point
(0, giglot ! fortune !) to master Cæsar's sword,
Made Lud's town with rejoicing fires bright,
And Britops strut with courage. Clo. 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 more such Cæsars : other of them may have crooked roses, but to owe such straight arms, none.
Cym. Son, let your mother end.
Clo. 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 Cæsar 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.
Cym. You must know,
Till the injurious Romans did extort
This tribute from us, we were free : Cæsar's ambition
(Which swelld so much that it did almost stretch
The sides o' the world), against all colour, here
Did put the yoke upon us; which to shake off
Becomes a warlike people, whom we reckon
Ourselves to be. We do say then to Cæsar,
Our ancestor was that Mulmutius, which
Ordain'd our laws ; (whose use the sword of Cæsar
Hath too much mangled ; whose repair and franchise
Shall, by the power we hold, be our good deed,
Though Rome be therefore angry); Mulmutius made our laws,
Who was the first of Britain which did put
His brows within a golden crown, and callid
Himself a king
I am sorry, Cymbeline,
That I am to pronounce Augustus Cæsar
(Cæsar that hath more kings his servants than
Thyself domestic officers) thine enemy :
Receive it from me, then War, and confusion,
In Cæsar's name pronounce I 'gainst thee : look
For fury not to be resisted Thus defied,
I thank thee for myself.
Thou art welcome, Caius,
Thy Cæsar knighted me; my youth I spent
Much under him ; of him I gather'd honour ;
Which he to seek of me again, perforce,
Behoves me keep at utterance. I am perfect
That the Pannonians and Dalmatians, for
Their liberties, are now in arms: a precedent
Which not to read would show the Britons cold :
So Cæsar shall not find them.
Let proof speak. Clo. 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.
Luc. So, sir.
Cym. I know your master's pleasure, and he mine :
All the remain is, welcome.
Upon the written history of the sons of Cymbeline, Shakspere has engrafted the romantic story that they were stolen from their father's care, and brought up amongst the mountain fastnesses of Wales, in the primitive simplicity of the hunter's life.
The nurture which Shakspere has assigned to these youths is in harmony with their historical prowess. There are few things finer in the Shaksperean drama than the scenes in which these bold mountaineers display the influence of their primitive habits. They are not ignorant ; they are full of natural piety; they have strong affections ; but the world has been shut out from them, and the conventional usages of the world have no power over their actions. The fierce courage with which they rush to slaughter, and the exquisite tenderness with which they mourn their poor Fidele, are equally the results of their inartificial education. structure of the dramatic verse seems to partake of the rugged freedom of their characters :
BELARIUS, GUIDERIUS, and ARVIRAGUS.
Bel. A goodly day not to keep house with such
Whose roof's as low as ours ! Stoop, boys : this gate
Instructs you how to adore the heavens; and bows you
To a morning's holy office : the gates of monarchs
Are arch'd so high that giants may jet through
And keep their impious turbans 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 hill,
Your legs are young ; I'll tread these flats. Consider
When you above perceive me like a crow,
That it is place which lessens and sets off ;
And you may then revolve what tales I have told you
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. Oh, this life
Is nobler, than attending for a check ;
Richer, than doing nothing for a bribe ;
Prouder, than rustling in unpaid-for silk :
Such gains the cap of him that makes him fine,
Yet keeps his book uncross'd : no life to ours.
Gui. Out of your proof you speak : we, poor unfledged,
Have never wing d from view o' the nest ; nor known 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 abed ;
A prison for a debtor, that not dares
To stride a limit.
What should we speak of
When we are old as you ? when we shall bear
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 prey ;
Like warlike as the wolf, for what we eat.
Our valour is to chase what flies ; our cage
We make a quire, as doth the prison’d bird,
And sing our bondage freely.
How you speak!
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 l' 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'sy at the censure:—O, boys, this story The world may read in me: My body's marked With Roman swords; and my report was once First with the best of pote : Cymbeline lov'd me;
And when a soldier was the theme my namo
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 oft)
But that two villains, whose false oaths prevail'd
Before my perfect honour, swore to Cymbeline
I was confederate with the Romans; so,
Follow'd by banishment; and, this twenty years,
This rock and these demesnes have been my world ;
Where I have liv'd at honest freedom ; paid
More pious debts to heaven, than in all
The fore-end of my time.—But, up to the mountains ;
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 fer no poison, which attends
In place of greater state. I'll meet you in the valleys.
The Roman legions at length tread the British soil :-
Lucius, a Captain, and other Officers, and a Soothsayer.
Cap. To them, the legions garrison'd in Gallia,
After your will, have cross'd the sea ; attending
You here at Milford-Haven, with your ships :
They are here in readiness.
But what from Rome?
Cap: The senate hath stirr'd up the confiners,
And gentlemen of Italy; most willing spirits
That promise noble service: and they come
Under the conduct of bold Iachimo,
When expect you them?
Cap. With the next benefit o' the wind.
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 ?
Sooth. 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 spungy south to this part of the west,
There vanish'd in the sunbeams : which portends
(Unless my sins abuse my divination)
Success to the Roman host.
Dream often so,
And never false.
The cave of Belarius hears the din of the coming strife. One of the youths has
slain Cloten, the queen's son. The old man vainly strives to persuade them to fly to deeper recesses of their mountains :
BELARIUS, GUIDERIUS, and ARVIRAGUS.
Gui. The noise is round about us.
Let us from it.
Aro. What pleasure, sir, find wo in life to lock it
From action and adventure ?
Nay, what hope
Have we in hiding us ? this way, the Romans
Must or for Britons slay us ; or receive us
For barbarous and unnatural revolts
During their use, and slay us after.
We 'll higher to the mountains ; there secure us.
To the king's party there 's no going : newness
Of Cloten's death (we being not known, not muster'd
Among the bands) may drive us to a render
Where we have liv'd; and so extort from us that
Which we have done, whose answer would be death
Drawn on with torture.
This is, sir, à doubt
In such a time nothing becoming you,
Nor satisfying us.
It is not likely
That when they hear the Roman horses neigh,
Behold their quarter'd fires, have both their eyes
And ears so cloy'd importantly as now,
That they will waste their time upon our note,
To know from whence we are.
0, I am known
Of many in the army: many years,
Though Cloten then but young, you see, not wore him
From my remembrance. And, besides, the king
Hath not deserv'd my service, nor your loves;
Who find in my exile the want of breeding,
The certainty of this hard life; aye hopeless
To have the courtesy your cradle promis'd,
But to be still hot summer's tanlings, and
The shrinking slaves of winter.
Than be so,
Better to cease to be. Pray, sir, to the army:
I and my brother are not known: yourself
So out of thought, and thereto so o'ergrown,
Cannot be question'd.
By this sun that shines,
I'll thither: What thing is it, that I never
Did see man die ? scarce ever look'd on blood,
But that of coward hares, hot goats, and venison ?
Never bestrid a horse, save one, that had
A rider like myself, who ne'er woré rowel
Nor iron on his heel ? I am asham'd