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by William Shakespeare

Dramatis Personae

CYMBELINE, king of Britain. CLOTEN, son to the Queen by a former husband. POSTHUMUS LEONATUS, a gentleman, husband to Imogen. BELARIUS, a banished lord disguised under the name of Morgan. GUIDERIUS and ARVIRAGUS, sons to Cymbeline, disguised under the names of POLYDORE and CADWAL, supposed sons to Morgan. PHILARIO, Italian, friend to Posthumus. IACHIMO, Italian, friend to Philario. CAIUS LUCIUS, general of the Roman forces. PISANIO, servant to Posthumus. CORNELIUS, a physician. A Roman Captain. Two British Captains. A Frenchman, friend to Philario. Two Lords of Cymbeline's court. Two Gentlemen of the same. Two Gaolers.

Queen, wife to Cymbeline. Imogen, daughter to Cymbeline by a former Queen. Helen, a lady attending on Imogen.

Lords, Ladies, Roman Senators, Tribunes, a Soothsayer, a Dutchman, a Spaniard, Musicians, Officers, Captains, Soldiers, Messengers, and other Attendants.


SCENE: Britain; Rome.


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

FIRST 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.

SECOND GENTLEMAN. But what's the matter?

FIRST GENTLEMAN. His daughter, and the heir of's kingdom, whom He purpos'd to his wife's sole son--a widow That late he married--hath referr'd herself Unto a poor but worthy gentleman. She's wedded, Her husband banish'd, she imprison'd; all Is outward sorrow; though I think the King Be touch'd at very heart.

SECOND GENTLEMAN. None but the King?

FIRST GENTLEMAN. He that hath lost her too; so is the Queen, That most desir'd the match: but not a courtier, Although they wear their faces to the bent Of the King's looks, hath a heart that is not Glad at the thing they scowl at.


FIRST GENTLEMAN. He that hath miss'd 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 banish'd--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.

SECOND GENTLEMAN. You speak him far.

FIRST GENTLEMAN. I do extend him, sir, within himself; Crush him together rather than unfold His measure duly.

SECOND GENTLEMAN. What's his name and birth?

FIRST GENTLEMAN. I cannot delve him to the root. His father Was call'd Sicilius, who did join his honour Against the Romans with Cassibelan, But had his titles by Tenantius whom He serv'd with glory and admir'd success, So gain'd 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, deceas'd As he was born. The King he takes the babe To his protection, calls him Posthumus Leonatus, Breeds him and makes him of his bed-chamber, Puts to him all the learnings that his time Could make him the receiver of; which he took, As we do air, fast as 'twas minist'red, And in's spring became a harvest; liv'd in court-- Which rare it is to do--most prais'd, most lov'd, 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, For whom he now is banish'd--her own price Proclaims how she esteem'd him and his virtue; By her election may be truly read What kind of man he is.

SECOND GENTLEMAN. I honour him Even out of your report. But, pray you, tell me, Is she sole child to the King?

FIRST GENTLEMAN. 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.

SECOND GENTLEMAN. How long is this ago?

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