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Home > Cymbeline > ACT III - SCENE III. Wales: a mountainous country with a cave.

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ACT III - SCENE III. Wales: a mountainous country with a cave.
BELARIUS
1    A goodly day not to keep house, with such
2    Whose roof's as low as ours! Stoop, boys; this gate
3    Instructs you how to adore the heavens and bows you
4    To a morning's holy office: the gates of monarchs
5    Are arch'd so high that giants may jet through
6    And keep their impious turbans on, without
7    Good morrow to the sun. Hail, thou fair heaven!
8    We house i' the rock, yet use thee not so hardly
9    As prouder livers do.
GUIDERIUS
10   Hail, heaven!
ARVIRAGUS
11   Hail, heaven!
BELARIUS
12   Now for our mountain sport: up to yond hill;
13   Your legs are young; I'll tread these flats. Consider,
14   When you above perceive me like a crow,
15   That it is place which lessens and sets off;
16   And you may then revolve what tales I have told you
17   Of courts, of princes, of the tricks in war:
18   This service is not service, so being done,
19   But being so allow'd: to apprehend thus,
20   Draws us a profit from all things we see;
21   And often, to our comfort, shall we find
22   The sharded beetle in a safer hold
23   Than is the full-wing'd eagle. O, this life
24   Is nobler than attending for a cheque,
25   Richer than doing nothing for a bauble,
26   Prouder than rustling in unpaid-for silk:
27   Such gain the cap of him that makes 'em fine,
28   Yet keeps his book uncross'd: no life to ours.
GUIDERIUS
29   Out of your proof you speak: we, poor unfledged,
30   Have never wing'd from view o' the nest, nor know not
31   What air's from home. Haply this life is best,
32   If quiet life be best; sweeter to you
33   That have a sharper known; well corresponding
34   With your stiff age: but unto us it is
35   A cell of ignorance; travelling a-bed;
36   A prison for a debtor, that not dares
37   To stride a limit.
ARVIRAGUS
38   What should we speak of
39   When we are old as you? when we shall hear
40   The rain and wind beat dark December, how,
41   In this our pinching cave, shall we discourse
42   The freezing hours away? We have seen nothing;
43   We are beastly, subtle as the fox for prey,
44   Like warlike as the wolf for what we eat;
45   Our valour is to chase what flies; our cage
46   We make a quire, as doth the prison'd bird,
47   And sing our bondage freely.
BELARIUS
48   How you speak!
49   Did you but know the city's usuries
50   And felt them knowingly; the art o' the court
51   As hard to leave as keep; whose top to climb
52   Is certain falling, or so slippery that
53   The fear's as bad as falling; the toil o' the war,
54   A pain that only seems to seek out danger
55   I' the name of fame and honour; which dies i'
56   the search,
57   And hath as oft a slanderous epitaph
58   As record of fair act; nay, many times,
59   Doth ill deserve by doing well; what's worse,
60   Must court'sy at the censure:--O boys, this story
61   The world may read in me: my body's mark'd
62   With Roman swords, and my report was once
63   First with the best of note: Cymbeline loved me,
64   And when a soldier was the theme, my name
65   Was not far off: then was I as a tree
66   Whose boughs did bend with fruit: but in one night,
67   A storm or robbery, call it what you will,
68   Shook down my mellow hangings, nay, my leaves,
69   And left me bare to weather.
GUIDERIUS
70   Uncertain favour!
BELARIUS
71   My fault being nothing--as I have told you oft--
72   But that two villains, whose false oaths prevail'd
73   Before my perfect honour, swore to Cymbeline
74   I was confederate with the Romans: so
75   Follow'd my banishment, and this twenty years
76   This rock and these demesnes have been my world;
77   Where I have lived at honest freedom, paid
78   More pious debts to heaven than in all
79   The fore-end of my time. But up to the mountains!
80   This is not hunters' language: he that strikes
81   The venison first shall be the lord o' the feast;
82   To him the other two shall minister;
83   And we will fear no poison, which attends
84   In place of greater state. I'll meet you in the valleys.
Exeunt GUIDERIUS and ARVIRAGUS
85   How hard it is to hide the sparks of nature!
86   These boys know little they are sons to the king;
87   Nor Cymbeline dreams that they are alive.
88   They think they are mine; and though train'd
89   up thus meanly
90   I' the cave wherein they bow, their thoughts do hit
91   The roofs of palaces, and nature prompts them
92   In simple and low things to prince it much
93   Beyond the trick of others. This Polydore,
94   The heir of Cymbeline and Britain, who
95   The king his father call'd Guiderius,--Jove!
96   When on my three-foot stool I sit and tell
97   The warlike feats I have done, his spirits fly out
98   Into my story: say 'Thus, mine enemy fell,
99   And thus I set my foot on 's neck;' even then
100  The princely blood flows in his cheek, he sweats,
101  Strains his young nerves and puts himself in posture
102  That acts my words. The younger brother, Cadwal,
103  Once Arviragus, in as like a figure,
104  Strikes life into my speech and shows much more
105  His own conceiving.--Hark, the game is roused!
106  O Cymbeline! heaven and my conscience knows
107  Thou didst unjustly banish me: whereon,
108  At three and two years old, I stole these babes;
109  Thinking to bar thee of succession, as
110  Thou reft'st me of my lands. Euriphile,
111  Thou wast their nurse; they took thee for
112  their mother,
113  And every day do honour to her grave:
114  Myself, Belarius, that am Morgan call'd,
115  They take for natural father. The game is up.
Exit

< (Previous) ACT III, SCENE IIACT III, SCENE IV (Next) >
Scene Index
ACT I
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III
  • SCENE IV
  • SCENE V
  • SCENE VI


  • ACT II
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE IV
  • SCENE V


  • ACT III
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III
  • SCENE IV
  • SCENE V
  • SCENE VI
  • SCENE VII


  • ACT IV
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III
  • SCENE IV


  • ACT V
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III
  • SCENE IV
  • SCENE V

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