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Cymbeline

Please see the bottom of the page for explanatory notes.

ACT IV SCENE IV Wales: before the cave of BELARIUS. 
 Enter BELARIUS, GUIDERIUS, and ARVIRAGUS 
GUIDERIUS The noise is round about us. 
BELARIUS Let us from it. 
ARVIRAGUS What pleasure, sir, find we in life, to lock it 
 From action and adventure?
GUIDERIUS 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.
BELARIUS Sons, 
 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 10
 Among the bands--may drive us to a render
 Where we have lived, and so extort from's that 
 Which we have done, whose answer would be death 
 Drawn on with torture. 
GUIDERIUS This is, sir, a doubt 
 In such a time nothing becoming you,
 Nor satisfying us. 
ARVIRAGUS 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, 20
 To know from whence we are. 
BELARIUS O, 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 deserved 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 promised,
 But to be still hot summer's tanlings and 
 The shrinking slaves of winter. 
GUIDERIUS Than be so 30
 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. 
ARVIRAGUS 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 wore rowel 
 Nor iron on his heel! I am ashamed 40
 To look upon the holy sun, to have
 The benefit of his blest beams, remaining 
 So long a poor unknown. 
GUIDERIUS By heavens, I'll go: 
 If you will bless me, sir, and give me leave, 
 I'll take the better care, but if you will not,
 The hazard therefore due fall on me by 
 The hands of Romans! 
ARVIRAGUS So say I amen. 
BELARIUS No reason I, since of your lives you set 
 So slight a valuation, should reserve
 My crack'd one to more care. Have with you, boys! 50
 If in your country wars you chance to die, 
 That is my bed too, lads, an there I'll lie: 
 Lead, lead. 
 [ Aside ] 
 The time seems long; their blood
 thinks scorn, 
 Till it fly out and show them princes born. 
 [ Exeunt.  


Cymbeline, Act 5, Scene 1



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Explanatory Notes for Act 4, Scene 4
From Cymbeline. A.W. Verity. Cambridge, University Press.

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6. revolts, rebels (i.e. to Cymbeline).

7-14. Belarius has his own reasons for keeping out of the way; cf. 21-24. a render, an account.

13. whose answer. "The retaliation of the death of Cloten would be death" -- Johnson.

18. their quarter'd fires; "fires in the respective quarters of the Roman army" -- Steevens. A camp-scene like Henry V. Prologue IV. (on the eve of Agincourt).

19. importantly, importunately; see Glossary.

27. The certainty; "the certain consequence of this hard life" -- Malone. Perhaps 'the certain continuance.' (F.)

33. o'ergrown, i.e. with hair, beard. This seems to me the key to V. 5. 319, where age = 'aged appearance.'



How to cite the explanatory notes:
Shakespeare, William. Cymbeline. Ed. A.W. Verity. Cambridge, University Press, 1899. Shakespeare Online. 10 Dec. 2013. < http://www.shakespeare-online.com/plays/cymbel_4_4.html >.

How to cite the sidebar:
Mabillard, Amanda. Notes on Shakespeare. Shakespeare Online. 10 Dec. 2013. < http://www.shakespeare-online.com/plays/cymbel_4_4.html >.
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Cymbeline Sources

microsoft images Shakespeare relied upon Holinshed's Chronicles for the setting of the play and the name of the main character, Cymbeline. Holinshed reports on a king named Kymbeline, a descendant of King Lear, who ruled Britain from 33 B.C. to 2 A.D. The main plot of Cymbeline is an old and well-known story, retold time and again throughout the ages. Shakespeare no doubt had heard the tale, in many forms, of a man wagering that his lover is virtuous only to be made the fool. It seems that Shakespeare liked best the rendition of this timeless story told in Giovanni Boccaccio's Decameron (second day, ninth novel), written in 1353. Read on...




More to Explore

 Cymbeline: The Play with Commentary
 Cymbeline Plot Summary
 Famous Quotations from Cymbeline
 How to pronounce the names in Cymbeline
 Sources for Cymbeline

 Introduction to Imogen
 Introduction to Guiderius and Arviragus
 Introduction to Cloten
 Introduction to Cymbeline
 Introduction to Posthumus
 Introduction to Iachimo
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Notes on Shakespeare...

Richard Shakespeare, Shakespeare's paternal grandfather, was a farmer in the small village of Snitterfield, located four miles from Stratford. Records show that Richard worked on several different farms which he leased from various landowners. Coincidentally, Richard leased land from Robert Arden, Shakespeare's maternal grandfather. Read on...
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Henry Bolingbroke, the eldest son of John of Gaunt and the grandson of King Edward III, was born on April 3, 1367. Henry usurped the throne from the ineffectual King Richard II in 1399, and thus became King Henry IV, the first of the three kings of the House of Lancaster. Read on...
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Known to the Elizabethans as ague, Malaria was a common malady spread by the mosquitoes in the marshy Thames. The swampy theatre district of Southwark was always at risk. King James I had it; so too did Shakespeare’s friend, Michael Drayton. Read on...
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Eleanor of Aquitaine was one of the most captivating and complex figures in history. In 1152, Eleanor married Henry Plantagenet (later to become Henry II). Their son, John, was born in 1167 and is the title character of Shakespeare's history play.


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