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ACT IV SCENE II Before the cave of Belarius. 
 Enter, from the cave, BELARIUS, GUIDERIUS, ARVIRAGUS, and IMOGEN 
BELARIUS [ To IMOGEN ] You are not well: remain here in the cave; 
 We'll come to you after hunting. 
ARVIRAGUS [ To IMOGEN ] Brother, stay here: 
 Are we not brothers? 
IMOGEN So man and man should be; 
 But clay and clay differs in dignity,
 Whose dust is both alike. I am very sick. 5
GUIDERIUS Go you to hunting; I'll abide with him. 
IMOGEN So sick I am not, yet I am not well; 
 But not so citizen a wanton as 
 To seem to die ere sick: so please you, leave me;
 Stick to your journal course: the breach of custom 10
 Is breach of all. I am ill, but your being by me

 Cannot amend me; society is no comfort 
 To one not sociable: I am not very sick, 
 Since I can reason of it. Pray you, trust me here:
 I'll rob none but myself; and let me die, 
 Stealing so poorly. 
GUIDERIUS I love thee; I have spoke it 
 How much the quantity, the weight as much, 
 As I do love my father.
BELARIUS What! how! how! 
ARVIRAGUS If it be sin to say so, I yoke me 
 In my good brother's fault: I know not why 20
 I love this youth; and I have heard you say, 
 Love's reason's without reason: the bier at door,
 And a demand who is't shall die, I'd say 
 'My father, not this youth.' 
BELARIUS [ Aside ] 
 O worthiness of nature! breed of greatness! 
 Cowards father cowards and base things sire base: 
 Nature hath meal and bran, contempt and grace.
 I'm not their father; yet who this should be, 
 Doth miracle itself, loved before me. 
 'Tis the ninth hour o' the morn. 
ARVIRAGUS Brother, farewell. 30
IMOGEN I wish ye sport.
ARVIRAGUS You health. So please you, sir. 
IMOGEN [ Aside ] These are kind creatures. Gods, what lies 
 I have heard! 
 Our courtiers say all's savage but at court: 
 Experience, O, thou disprovest report! 
 The imperious seas breed monsters, for the dish
 Poor tributary rivers as sweet fish. 
 I am sick still; heart-sick. Pisanio, 
 I'll now taste of thy drug. 
 [Swallows some.  
GUIDERIUS I could not stir him: 
 He said he was gentle, but unfortunate;
 Dishonestly afflicted, but yet honest. 40
ARVIRAGUS Thus did he answer me: yet said, hereafter 
 I might know more. 
BELARIUS To the field, to the field! 
 We'll leave you for this time: go in and rest.
ARVIRAGUS We'll not be long away. 
BELARIUS Pray, be not sick, 
 For you must be our housewife. 
IMOGEN Well or ill, 
 I am bound to you.
BELARIUS And shalt be ever. 
 [ Exit Imogen, to the cave.  
 This youth, how'er distress'd, appears he hath had 
 Good ancestors. 
ARVIRAGUS How angel-like he sings! 
GUIDERIUS But his neat cookery! he cut our roots
 In characters, 
 And sauced our broths, as Juno had been sick 50
 And he her dieter. 
ARVIRAGUS Nobly he yokes 
 A smiling with a sigh, as if the sigh
 Was that it was, for not being such a smile; 
 The smile mocking the sigh, that it would fly 
 From so divine a temple, to commix 
 With winds that sailors rail at. 
 That grief and patience, rooted in him both, 
 Mingle their spurs together. 
ARVIRAGUS Grow, patience! 
 And let the stinking elder, grief, untwine 
 His perishing root with the increasing vine! 60
BELARIUS It is great morning. Come, away!-- 
 Who's there? 
 Enter CLOTEN 
CLOTEN I cannot find those runagates; that villain 
 Hath mock'd me. I am faint. 
BELARIUS 'Those runagates!'
 Means he not us? I partly know him: 'tis 
 Cloten, the son o' the queen. I fear some ambush. 
 I saw him not these many years, and yet 
 I know 'tis he. We are held as outlaws: hence! 
GUIDERIUS He is but one: you and my brother search
 What companies are near: pray you, away; 
 Let me alone with him. 
CLOTEN Soft! What are you 70
 That fly me thus? some villain mountaineers? 
 I have heard of such. What slave art thou?
 More slavish did I ne'er than answering 
 A slave without a knock. 
CLOTEN Thou art a robber, 
 A law-breaker, a villain: yield thee, thief.
GUIDERIUS To who? to thee? What art thou? Have not I 
 An arm as big as thine? a heart as big? 
 Thy words, I grant, are bigger, for I wear not 
 My dagger in my mouth. Say what thou art, 
 Why I should yield to thee?
CLOTEN Thou villain base, 80
 Know'st me not by my clothes? 
GUIDERIUS No, nor thy tailor, rascal, 
 Who is thy grandfather: he made those clothes, 
 Which, as it seems, make thee.
CLOTEN Thou precious varlet, 
 My tailor made them not. 
GUIDERIUS Hence, then, and thank 
 The man that gave them thee. Thou art some fool; 
 I am loath to beat thee.
CLOTEN Thou injurious thief, 
 Hear but my name, and tremble. 
GUIDERIUS What's thy name? 
CLOTEN Cloten, thou villain. 
GUIDERIUS Cloten, thou double villain, be thy name,
 I cannot tremble at it: were it Toad, or 
 Adder, Spider, 90
 'Twould move me sooner. 
CLOTEN To thy further fear, 
 Nay, to thy mere confusion, thou shalt know
 I am son to the queen. 
GUIDERIUS I am sorry for 't; not seeming 
 So worthy as thy birth. 
CLOTEN Art not afeard? 
GUIDERIUS Those that I reverence those I fear, the wise:
 At fools I laugh, not fear them. 
CLOTEN Die the death: 
 When I have slain thee with my proper hand, 
 I'll follow those that even now fled hence, 
 And on the gates of Lud's town set your heads:
 Yield, rustic mountaineer. 
 [ Exeunt, fighting.  100
BELARIUS No companies abroad? 
ARVIRAGUS None in the world: you did mistake him, sure. 
BELARIUS I cannot tell: long is it since I saw him, 
 But time hath nothing blurr'd those lines of favour
 Which then he wore; the snatches in his voice, 
 And burst of speaking, were as his: I am absolute 
 'Twas very Cloten. 
ARVIRAGUS In this place we left them: 
 I wish my brother make good time with him,
 You say he is so fell. 
BELARIUS Being scarce made up, 
 I mean, to man, he had not apprehension 110
 Of roaring terrors; for the effect of judgment 
 Is oft the cause of fear. But, see, thy brother.
 Re-enter GUIDERIUS, with CLOTEN'S head. 
GUIDERIUS This Cloten was a fool, an empty purse; 
 There was no money in't: not Hercules 
 Could have knock'd out his brains, for he had none: 
 Yet I not doing this, the fool had borne 
 My head as I do his.
BELARIUS What hast thou done? 
GUIDERIUS I am perfect what: cut off one Cloten's head, 
 Son to the queen, after his own report; 
 Who call'd me traitor, mountaineer, and swore 120
 With his own single hand he'ld take us in
 Displace our heads where--thank the gods!--they grow, 
 And set them on Lud's town. 
BELARIUS We are all undone. 
GUIDERIUS Why, worthy father, what have we to lose, 
 But that he swore to take, our lives? The law
 Protects not us: then why should we be tender 
 To let an arrogant piece of flesh threat us, 
 Play judge and executioner all himself, 
 For we do fear the law? What company 
 Discover you abroad?
BELARIUS No single soul 130
 Can we set eye on; but in all safe reason 
 He must have some attendants. Though his humour 
 Was nothing but mutation, ay, and that 
 From one bad thing to worse; not frenzy, not
 Absolute madness could so far have raved 
 To bring him here alone; although perhaps 
 It may be heard at court that such as we 
 Cave here, hunt here, are outlaws, and in time 
 May make some stronger head; the which he hearing--
 As it is like him--might break out, and swear 140
 He'ld fetch us in; yet is't not probable 
 To come alone, either he so undertaking, 
 Or they so suffering: then on good ground we fear, 
 If we do fear this body hath a tail
 More perilous than the head. 
ARVIRAGUS Let ordinance 
 Come as the gods foresay it: howsoe'er, 
 My brother hath done well. 
BELARIUS I had no mind
 To hunt this day: the boy Fidele's sickness 
 Did make my way long forth. 
GUIDERIUS With his own sword, 
 Which he did wave against my throat, I have ta'en 150
 His head from him: I'll throw't into the creek
 Behind our rock; and let it to the sea, 
 And tell the fishes he's the queen's son, Cloten: 
 That's all I reck. 
 [ Exit.  
BELARIUS I fear 'twill be revenged: 
 Would, Polydore, thou hadst not done't! though valour
 Becomes thee well enough. 
ARVIRAGUS Would I had done't 
 So the revenge alone pursued me! Polydore, 
 I love thee brotherly, but envy much 
 Thou hast robb'd me of this deed: I would revenges,
 That possible strength might meet, would seek us through 
 And put us to our answer. 
BELARIUS Well, 'tis done: 
 We'll hunt no more to-day, nor seek for danger 
 Where there's no profit. I prithee, to our rock;
 You and Fidele play the cooks: I'll stay 
 Till hasty Polydore return, and bring him 
 To dinner presently. 
ARVIRAGUS Poor sick Fidele! 
 I'll weringly to him: to gain his colour
 I'ld let a parish of such Clotens' blood, 
 And praise myself for charity. 
 [ Exit. 
BELARIUS O thou goddess, 170
 Thou divine Nature, how thyself thou blazon'st 
 In these two princely boys! They are as gentle
 As zephyrs blowing below the violet, 
 Not wagging his sweet head; and yet as rough, 
 Their royal blood enchafed, as the rudest wind, 
 That by the top doth take the mountain pine, 
 And make him stoop to the vale. 'Tis wonder
 That an invisible instinct should frame them 
 To royalty unlearn'd, honour untaught, 
 Civility not seen from other, valour 
 That wildly grows in them, but yields a crop 180
 As if it had been sow'd. Yet still it's strange
 What Cloten's being here to us portends, 
 Or what his death will bring us. 
 Re-enter GUIDERIUS. 
GUIDERIUS Where's my brother? 
 I have sent Cloten's clotpoll down the stream, 
 In embassy to his mother: his body's hostage
 For his return. 
 [ Solemn music. 
BELARIUS My ingenious instrument! 
 Hark, Polydore, it sounds! But what occasion 
 Hath Cadwal now to give it motion? Hark! 
GUIDERIUS Is he at home?
BELARIUS He went hence even now. 
GUIDERIUS What does he mean? since death of my dear'st mother 190
 It did not speak before. All solemn things 
 Should answer solemn accidents. The matter? 
 Triumphs for nothing and lamenting toys
 Is jollity for apes and grief for boys. 
 Is Cadwal mad? 
BELARIUS Look, here he comes, 
 And brings the dire occasion in his arms 
 Of what we blame him for!
 Re-enter ARVIRAGUS, with IMOGEN, as dead, bearing her in his arms. 
ARVIRAGUS The bird is dead 
 That we have made so much on. I had rather 
 Have skipp'd from sixteen years of age to sixty, 
 To have turn'd my leaping-time into a crutch, 200
 Than have seen this.
GUIDERIUS O sweetest, fairest lily! 
 My brother wears thee not the one half so well 
 As when thou grew'st thyself. 
BELARIUS O melancholy! 
 Who ever yet could sound thy bottom? find
 The ooze, to show what coast thy sluggish crare 
 Might easiliest harbour in? Thou blessed thing! 
 Jove knows what man thou mightst have made; but I, 
 Thou diedst, a most rare boy, of melancholy. 
 How found you him?
ARVIRAGUS Stark, as you see: 
 Thus smiling, as some fly hid tickled slumber, 210
 Not as death's dart, being laugh'd at; his 
 right cheek 
 Reposing on a cushion.
ARVIRAGUS O' the floor; 
 His arms thus leagu'd: I thought he slept, and put 
 My clouted brogues from off my feet, whose rudeness 
 Answer'd my steps too loud.
GUIDERIUS Why, he but sleeps: 
 If he be gone, he'll make his grave a bed; 
 With female fairies will his tomb be haunted, 
 And worms will not come to thee. 
ARVIRAGUS With fairest flowers
 Whilst summer lasts and I live here, Fidele, 
 I'll sweeten thy sad grave: thou shalt not lack 220
 The flower that's like thy face, pale primrose, nor 
 The azured harebell, like thy veins, no, nor 
 The leaf of eglantine, whom not to slander,
 Out-sweeten'd not thy breath: the ruddock would, 
 With charitable bill,--O bill, sore-shaming 
 Those rich-left heirs that let their fathers lie 
 Without a monument!--bring thee all this; 
 Yea, and furr'd moss besides, when flowers are none,
 To winter-ground thy corse. 
GUIDERIUS Prithee, have done; 
 And do not play in wench-like words with that 230
 Which is so serious. Let us bury him, 
 And not protract with admiration what
 Is now due debt. To the grave! 
ARVIRAGUS Say, where shall's lay him? 
GUIDERIUS By good Euriphile, our mother. 
 And let us, Polydore, though now our voices
 Have got the mannish crack, sing him to the ground, 
 As once our mother; use like note and words, 
 Save that Euriphile must be Fidele. 
 I cannot sing: I'll weep, and word it with thee; 240
 For notes of sorrow out of tune are worse 
 Than priests and fanes that lie. 
ARVIRAGUS We'll speak it, then. 
BELARIUS Great griefs, I see, medicine the less; for Cloten 
 Is quite forgot. He was a queen's son, boys;
 And though he came our enemy, remember 
 He was paid for that: though mean and 
 mighty, rotting 
 Together, have one dust, yet reverence,-- 
 That angel of the world, doth make distinction
 Of place 'tween high and low. Our foe was princely 250
 And though you took his life, as being our foe, 
 Yet bury him as a prince. 
GUIDERIUS Pray You, fetch him hither. 
 Thersites' body is as good as Ajax',
 When neither are alive. 
ARVIRAGUS If you'll go fetch him, 
 We'll say our song the whilst. Brother, begin. 
GUIDERIUS Nay, Cadwal, we must lay his head to the east; 
 My father hath a reason for't.
ARVIRAGUS 'Tis true.
GUIDERIUS Come on then, and remove him. 
GUIDERIUS Fear no more the heat o' the sun, 
 Nor the furious winter's rages;
 Thou thy worldly task hast done, 260
 Home art gone, and ta'en thy wages: 
 Golden lads and girls all must, 
 As chimney-sweepers, come to dust. 
ARVIRAGUS Fear no more the frown o' the great;
 Thou art past the tyrant's stroke; 
 Care no more to clothe and eat; 
 To thee the reed is as the oak: 
 The sceptre, learning, physic, must 
 All follow this, and come to dust.
GUIDERIUS Fear no more the lightning flash, 270
ARVIRAGUS Nor the all-dreaded thunder-stone; 
GUIDERIUS Fear not slander, censure rash; 
ARVIRAGUS Thou hast finish'd joy and moan: 
 | All lovers young, all lovers must 
ARVIRAGUS | Consign to thee, and come to dust. 
GUIDERIUS No exorciser harm thee! 
ARVIRAGUS Nor no witchcraft charm thee! 
GUIDERIUS Ghost unlaid forbear thee!
ARVIRAGUS Nothing ill come near thee! 
 | Quiet consummation have; 280
ARVIRAGUS | And renowned be thy grave! 
 Re-enter BELARIUS, with the body of CLOTEN. 
GUIDERIUS We have done our obsequies: come, lay him down.
BELARIUS Here's a few flowers; but 'bout midnight, more: 
 The herbs that have on them cold dew o' the night 
 Are strewings fitt'st for graves. Upon their faces. 
 You were as flowers, now wither'd: even so 
 These herblets shall, which we upon you strew.
 Come on, away: apart upon our knees. 
 The ground that gave them first has them again: 
 Their pleasures here are past, so is their pain. 290
 [ Exeunt Belarius, Guiderius, and Arviragus.  
IMOGEN [ Awaking ] Yes sir, to Milford-Haven; which is the 
 the way?-- 
 I thank you.--By yond bush?--Pray, how far thither?
 'Ods pittikins! can it be six mile yet?-- 
 I have gone all night. 'Faith, I'll lie down and sleep. 
 But, soft! no bedfellow!--O gods and goddesses! 
 [Seeing the body of Cloten.  
 These flowers are like the pleasures of the world; 
 This bloody man, the care on't. I hope I dream;
 For so I thought I was a cave-keeper, 
 And cook to honest creatures: but 'tis not so; 
 'Twas but a bolt of nothing, shot at nothing, 
 Which the brain makes of fumes: our very eyes 
 Are sometimes like our judgments, blind. Good faith,
 I tremble stiff with fear: but if there be 
 Yet left in heaven as small a drop of pity 
 As a wren's eye, fear'd gods, a part of it! 
 The dream's here still: even when I wake, it is 
 Without me, as within me; not imagined, felt.
 A headless man! The garments of Posthumus! 
 I know the shape of's leg: this is his hand; 
 His foot Mercurial; his Martial thigh; 310
 The brawns of Hercules: but his Jovial face -- 
 Murder in heaven?--How!--'Tis gone. Pisanio,
 All curses madded Hecuba gave the Greeks, 
 And mine to boot, be darted on thee! Thou, 
 Conspired with that irregulous devil, Cloten, 
 Hast here cut off my lord. To write and read 
 Be henceforth treacherous! Damn'd Pisanio
 Hath with his forged letters,--damn'd Pisanio-- 
 From this most bravest vessel of the world 
 Struck the main-top! O Posthumus! alas, 320
 Where is thy head? where's that? Ay me! 
 where's that?
 Pisanio might have kill'd thee at the heart, 
 And left this head on. How should this be? Pisanio? 
 'Tis he and Cloten: malice and lucre in them 
 Have laid this woe here. O, 'tis pregnant, pregnant! 
 The drug he gave me, which he said was precious
 And cordial to me, have I not found it 
 Murderous to the senses? That confirms it home: 
 This is Pisanio's deed, and Cloten's: O! 
 Give colour to my pale cheek with thy blood, 330
 That we the horrider may seem to those
 Which chance to find us: O, my lord, my lord! 
 [Throws herself on the body.  
 Enter LUCIUS, a Captain and other Officers, and a Soothsayer 
Captain 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 in readiness.
CAIUS LUCIUS But what from Rome? 
Captain 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, 340
 Syenna's brother. 
CAIUS LUCIUS When expect you them? 
Captain With the next benefit o' the wind. 
CAIUS LUCIUS This forwardness 
 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? 
Soothsayer 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 spongy south to this part of the west, 
 There vanish'd in the sunbeams: which portends-- 350
 Unless my sins abuse my divination-- 
 Success to the Roman host. 
CAIUS LUCIUS Dream often so,
 And never false. Soft, ho! what trunk is here 
 Without his top? The ruin speaks that sometime 
 It was a worthy building. How! a page! 
 Or dead, or sleeping on him? But dead rather; 
 For nature doth abhor to make his bed
 With the defunct, or sleep upon the dead. 
 Let's see the boy's face. 
Captain He's alive, my lord. 360
CAIUS LUCIUS He'll then instruct us of this body. Young one, 
 Inform us of thy fortunes, for it seems
 They crave to be demanded. Who is this 
 Thou makest thy bloody pillow? Or who was he 
 That, otherwise than noble nature did, 
 Hath alter'd that good picture? What's thy interest 
 In this sad wreck? How came it? Who is it?
 What art thou? 
IMOGEN I am nothing: or if not, 
 Nothing to be were better. This was my master, 
 A very valiant Briton and a good, 
 That here by mountaineers lies slain. Alas! 370
 There is no more such masters: I may wander 
 From east to occident, cry out for service, 
 Try many, all good, serve truly, never 
 Find such another master. 
CAIUS LUCIUS 'Lack, good youth!
 Thou movest no less with thy complaining than 
 Thy master in bleeding: say his name, good friend. 
IMOGEN Richard du Champ. 
 [ Aside ] 
 If I do lie and do 
 No harm by it, though the gods hear, I hope
 They'll pardon it.--Say you, sir? 
IMOGEN Fidele, sir. 
CAIUS LUCIUS Thou dost approve thyself the very same: 380
 Thy name well fits thy faith, thy faith thy name.
 Wilt take thy chance with me? I will not say 
 Thou shalt be so well master'd, but, be sure, 
 No less beloved. The Roman emperor's letters, 
 Sent by a consul to me, should not sooner 
 Than thine own worth prefer thee: go with me.
IMOGEN I'll follow, sir. But first, an't please the gods, 
 I'll hide my master from the flies, as deep 
 As these poor pickaxes can dig; and when 
 With wild wood-leaves and weeds I ha' strew'd his grave, 
 And on it said a century of prayers,
 Such as I can, twice o'er, I'll weep and sigh; 
 And leaving so his service, follow you, 
 So please you entertain me. 
CAIUS LUCIUS Ay, good youth! 
 And rather father thee than master thee.
 My friends, 
 The boy hath taught us manly duties: let us 
 Find out the prettiest daisied plot we can, 
 And make him with our pikes and partisans 
 A grave: come, arm him. Boy, he is preferr'd
 By thee to us, and he shall be interr'd 
 As soldiers can. Be cheerful; wipe thine eyes 
 Some falls are means the happier to arise. 
 [ Exeunt.  

Cymbeline, Act 4, Scene 3


Explanatory Notes for Act 4, Scene 2
From Cymbeline. A.W. Verity. Cambridge, University Press.


8. citizen, city-bred, effeminate.

10, 11. "Keep your daily course uninterrupted: if the stated plan of life is once broken, nothing follows but confusion -- Johnson.

22. Love's reason; the reason which love gives is no reason at all.

33. courtiers ...court. Cf. As You Like It, III. 2. 41, 42. The underlying idea is that courtesy belongs to the court. Cf. Greene's Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay, III. 67, "His courtesy gentle, smelling of the court," and George Herbert, The Church-Porch, "Courtesie grows in court." The austere Milton would have none of this notion; cf. Comus, 321-326.
"Shepherd, I take thy word,
And trust thy honest-offer'd courtesy,
Which oft is sooner found in lowly sheds,
With smoky rafters, than in tapestry halls
And courts of princes, where it first was named,
And yet is most pretended";
the speaker being "the Lady," who is sometimes the obvious mouth-piece of the poet's own sentiments.

35. imperious; interchangeable with imperial until far into the 17th century. Cf. "imperious Ccesar" (Quarto) in Hamlet, V. 1. 236 (Folio imperial).

38. thy drug. "The plot of the play hinges upon the operation on Imogen of this narcotic, the supposed powers of which appear to have been exactly the same as that given by Friar Laurence to Juliet for the purpose of simulating death. Modern medicine is acquainted with no drug having the property to produce for a while the show of death, and yet leave the powers of life so unharmed that the subject of them shall be more 'fresh, reviving'" -- Dr Bucknill. (F.) Is the idea Italian or oriental?

38. not stir him; "not move him to tell his story" -- Johnson.

39. gentle, of gentle birth. Lines 38-42 are spoken aside.

40. honest; he does not know her meaning here.

50. as, as if.

51-53. A little like Viola's "smiling at grief," Twelfth Night, II. 4. 1 18 (in the picture of "patience on a monument"; cf. "patience" in the next speech). So also in Pericles, V. 1. 138- 140:
"yet thou dost look
Like Patience gazing on kings' graves, and smiling
Extremity out of act."
58. spurs, the lateral roots of a tree; cf. The Tempest, V. 1. 47.

59. untwine, i.e. cease to twine. Shakespeare uses elder disparagingly as a wood of soft useless texture -- e.g. "heart of elder" = weak, faint heart (The Merry Wives of Windsor, II. 3. 30), exactly the reverse of "heart of oak." The legend that Judas hanged himself on an elder tree (Love's Labour's Lost, V. 2. 610) gave the tree gloomy associations fit for the scene of crime (Titus Audronicus, II. 3. 272).

60. perishing; perhaps = 'destructive.'

61. great morning; F. grand jour.

69. companies, i.e. of soldiers.

71. mountaineers; an opprobrious term then, implying 'savage and barbarous.' Cf. Comus, 426, "No savage, fierce, bandit-mountaineer." People's feelings have changed with regard to mountains.

80. Being dressed in the garments of Posthumus (III. 5, end), Cloten thinks that he should be recognised as a courtier. (F.)

81-83. tailor ... clothes ... make thee; cf. II. 3. 77-79, note.

86. injurious, insolent; cf. III. 1. 46.

90. Toad. ..Adder, Spider; similarly united in Rich. II. III. 2. 14, 15, 20; Rich. III. I. 2. 19; all having a bad reputation for "venom." (F.)

92. mere confusion, utter destruction, mere; see G.

97. proper, own (Lat. proprius, 'own').

106. absolute, positive; absolutely certain ; cf. "perfect" (118).

109-112. Cloten is fierce ("fell") been when grown up he was too stupid to understand why he should be afraid: misuse of judgment is often the cause of fear (i.e. the over-intellectual man goes to the other extreme and perceives too many reasons for fear).
I borrow this interpretation of defect from Professor Herford's note, but feel some doubt about it. Theobald's change, which used to hold the field, viz. th' effect instead of defect gave excellent sense and a thoroughly Shakespearean antithesis (effect ...cause). Much less satisfactory was Hanmer's cure of fear (keeping defect).
Theobald paraphrased the passage as emended by him thus: "Cloten was defective in judgment, and therefore did not fear. Apprehensions of fear grow from a judgment in weighing dangers." Shakespeare never uses apprehension = 'fear'; except in two places where it has the literal sense 'seizure, arrest,' it always has the idea of 'conception' or 'perception.'

129. For, merely because.

132. humour. Theobald's certain correction of the Folio's honour. Malone gives other instances where the words have been confused in the Folio or Quarto of Shakespeare. It gives admirable sense: "though he was always fickle to the last degree, and governed by humour, not sound sense; yet not madness itself could make him so hardy [as] to attempt an enterprise of this nature alone, and unseconded." Elizabethans are fond of the word humour and it meant more for them, from the old physiology of the "humours." Cf. the titles of Ben Jonson's two comedies.

151. the creek; "the stream" of 184. The word is used thus in America; with us it is oftener applied to an inlet of the sea. (F.)

160. i.e. not too powerful for us to combat.

167. gain, restore.

186. my ingenious instrument; apparently a sort of Aeolian harp. The Folio has ingenuous. (F.)

193. lamenting toys, to grieve over trifles, toys; see Glossary.

197. Imogen, as dead. Her trance has been compared with Juliet's.

205. crare, small vessel; see Glossary. This correction of the Folio's care is adopted universally.

209. Stark, stiff, rigid; the old sense, as in phrases like "stark and stiff," "lie stark in death." The etymological idea is 'stiff, strong'; cf. Germ. stark.

214. clouted brogues, rough shoes studded with nails; see each word in Glossary.

218-229. Marina in Pericles (IV), strewing flowers on the grave of her nurse: a scene of absolute Shakespeare.

222. Cf. II. 2. 22, 23. harebell, wild hyacinth.

223. eglantine, sweet-briar; connected with F. aiguille, 'needle' (i.e. the prickly shrub).

224. ruddock; the bird with the ruddy breast, the robin.
Most readers will ask with Bishop Percy (of the Reliques)-. "Is this an allusion to the 'Babes in the Wood,' or was the notion of the red-breast covering dead bodies general before the writing of that ballad?" Editors show that it was a very ancient idea. Shakespeare's readers would certainly think of the ballad, "the most famous of all ballads" in Elizabethan times; published in 1595.

229. To winter-ground; "to cover up in the ground (as a plant with straw etc.)." Said to be a gardener's term.

243. Great griefs... medicine the less. Much the same thought as I. 1. 135, 136. Editors compare King Lear, ill. 5. 8.

244. He was a queen's son. "Go, see now this cursed woman, and bury her: for she is a king's daughter," 2 Kings ix. 34. Cf. v. 5. 291; and the scroll on the body of Thaisa in Pericles, III. 2 (a genuine part of the play):
"I, King Pericles, have lost
This queen, worth all our mundane cost.
Who finds her, give her burying;
She was the daughter of a king."
247, 248. "Reverence, or due regard to subordination, is the power that keeps peace and order in the world" -- Johnson.

252. Thersites...Ajax. A Troilus and Crcssida echo.

255. we must lay his head to the east; a reversal of the Christian custom of interment. (F.) One wonders what the "reason for 't" was. Some think, because the time of Cymbeline is pre-Christian.

268. physic, i.e. even "the art of those whose immediate study is the prolongation of life" -- Johnson. So again in V. 5. 28-30.

271. thunder-stone, thunder-bolt; cf. Julius Caesar, 1. 3. 49.

275. Consign to thee; "seal the same contract with thee, i.e. add their names to thine upon the register of death" -- Steevens.

276. No exorciser harm thee! i.e. by raising, calling up, her spirit from the grave. Exorcise always has this idea in Shakespeare; not that of drawing evil spirits out of people (Acts xix. 13) and 'laying' them.

278. "Blue meagre hag, or stubborn unlaid ghost," Comus, 434.

280. consummation, end; Hamlet, III. 1. 63.

285. Upon their faces. Who, till it is pointed out, remembers that actually there was only one face (the body of Cloten being headless)?

289. The age-long thought that all things proceed from Nature and, perishing, pass back into Nature: omniparens eadem rerum commune sepulcrum (Lucretius, V. 260).
"The earth that's Nature's mother is her tomb;
What is her burying grave that is her womb" --
Romeo and Juliet, II. 3. 9, 10.
293. 'Ods pittikins! God's pity; or rather, 'little pity.' This corruption of God's occurs in many phrases, e.g. Od's bodikins.

301. fume; "a delusion, a fantasm, anything hindering, like a mist, the function of the brain" -- Schmidt. The physiology is that of Macbeth, I. 7. 65, 66. Milton uses fume of the harmful vapours generated by food or drink -- e.g. the forbidden Fruit (Par. Lost. ix. 1050) and wine (Samson Agonistes, 551, 552).

310-313. His foot Mercurial ... Martial ... his jovial face ... madded Hecuba. All Hamlet touches; cf. II. 2. 523-541, 584-586; III. 4. 56-59.

315. irregulous, lawless, licentious; the word is not found elsewhere. She evidently thinks that Pisanio had induced Posthumus to come to Milford.

325. pregnant, clear, obvious; see Glossary

337. confiners; perhaps 'borderers'; people living on the confines; but Shakespeare often uses confine = 'territory,' so that confiners might mean 'the people of a territory,' and so 'inhabitants.'

341. Syenna; said to mean 'the ruler of Sienna'; like France -- 'the French king.'

345, 346. dream ... vision. A frequent contrast. Cf. Cowley's Essays: "I fell at last into this vision; or if you please to call it but a dream, I shall not take it ill, because the father of poets Homer tells us, even dreams too are from God"; where Dr Lumby's note (Pitt Press ed. p. 197) is:
"In visions a higher degree of revelation was supposed to be imparted than in dreams. Cf. Select Discourses of John Smith, p. 184: 'The Jews are wont to make a vision superior to a dream, as representing things more to the life.'" The same distinction is seen in Bacon's Advancement of Learning, I. 3. 3. See Comus, 457; Par. Lost, XI. 377, xii. 611 (note).

347. I fast and pray d. Shakespeare often makes one termination, whether inflexion or suffix, serve for a pair of words. Cf. Sonnet XXI. "With sun and moon, with earth and sea's rich gems," i.e. earth's; Sonnet lxxx. "The humble as the proudest sail," i.e. humble; Julius Caesar, II. 1. 224, "Good gentlemen, look fresh and merily," i.e. freshly.

349. the spongy south; cf. II. 3. 130, note. to this part of the west. Perhaps a Holinshed touch: When Aulus Plautius was sailing to invade Britain, "the marriners and men of wane" were encouraged by seeing "a fierie leame [light] to shoot out of the east toward the west, which way their course lay" -- Stone.

377. Richard du Champ; a French name, in Roman times; but the Italian names in the play are equal anachronisms. Editors quote various instances from Elizabethan plays and stories.

386. prefer, recommend; cf. 400 and II. 3. 45.

389. these poor pickaxes, i.e. her fingers.

394. entertain me, take me into your service.

399. partisans; see Glossary.

How to cite the explanatory notes:
Shakespeare, William. Cymbeline. Ed. A.W. Verity. Cambridge, University Press, 1899. Shakespeare Online. 10 Dec. 2013. < >.

How to cite the sidebar:
Mabillard, Amanda. Notes on Shakespeare. Shakespeare Online. 10 Dec. 2013. < >.

Notes on Cymbeline

microsoft images Renaissance records of Shakespeare's plays in performance are exceedingly scarce. However, those few contemporary accounts that have survived provide brief yet invaluable information about a handful of Shakespeare's dramas. They give us a sense of what the play-going experience was like while Shakespeare was alive and involved in his own productions, and, in some cases, they help us determine the composition dates of the plays. Of all the records of performance handed down to us, none is more significant than the exhaustive diary of a doctor named Simon Forman, from which we obtain a lengthy description of an early production of Cymbeline. 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

Did You Know?...

The average length of a play in Elizabethan England was 3000 lines. With 4,042 lines and 29,551 words, Hamlet is the longest Shakespearean play (based on the first edition of The Riverside Shakespeare (1974)). With 1,787 lines and 14,369 words, The Comedy of Errors is the shortest Shakespearean play (also based on the first edition of The Riverside Shakespeare).

This relative of Shakespeare developed a treatment for scurvy made from local grasses and plants high in ascorbic acid over one hundred years before James Lind's discovery that the disease could be treated with citrus fruit. Who was he? Find out...

This famous Romantic poet was so influenced by Shakespeare that he kept a bust of the Bard beside him for inspiration while he wrote. Who was he? Find out...

So great was the Elizabethan demand for wigs made from human hair that "children with handsome locks were never allowed to walk alone in the London streets for fear they should be temporarily kidnapped and their tresses cut off." Read on...

Twenty-four of Shakespeare's sonnets are addressed to a woman. We have little information about this woman, except for a description the poet gives of her over the course of the poems. Shakespeare describes her as 'a woman color'd ill', with black eyes and coarse black hair. Thus, she has come to be known as the "dark lady." Find out...

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...

Shakespeare acquired substantial wealth thanks to his acting and writing abilities, and his shares in London theatres. The going rate was £10 per play at the turn of the sixteenth century. So how much money did Shakespeare make? Read on...

Shakespeare was familiar with seven foreign languages and often quoted them directly in his plays. His vocabulary was the largest of any writer, at over twenty-four thousand words. Read on...

 Shakespeare's Treatment of Love in the Plays
 Shakespeare's Dramatic Use of Songs
 Shakespeare Quotations on Love
 Shakespeare Wedding Readings
 Shakespeare on Sleep