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Please see the bottom of the page for explanatory notes.

ACT IV SCENE III A room in Cymbeline's palace. 
 Enter CYMBELINE, Lords, PISANIO, and Attendants 
CYMBELINE Again; and bring me word how 'tis with her. 
 [ Exit an Attendant.  
 A fever with the absence of her son, 
 A madness, of which her life's in danger. Heavens, 
 How deeply you at once do touch me! Imogen,
 The great part of my comfort, gone; my queen 
 Upon a desperate bed, and in a time 
 When fearful wars point at me; her son gone, 
 So needful for this present: it strikes me, past 
 The hope of comfort. But for thee, fellow,
 Who needs must know of her departure and 10
 Dost seem so ignorant, we'll enforce it from thee 
 By a sharp torture. 
PISANIO Sir, my life is yours; 
 I humbly set it at your will; but, for my mistress,
 I nothing know where she remains, why gone, 
 Nor when she purposes return. Beseech your highness, 
 Hold me your loyal servant. 
First Lord Good my liege, 
 The day that she was missing he was here:
 I dare be bound he's true and shall perform 
 All parts of his subjection loyally. For Cloten, 
 There wants no diligence in seeking him, 20
 And will, no doubt, be found. 
CYMBELINE The time is troublesome.
 [ To PISANIO ] 
 We'll slip you for a season; but our jealousy 
 Does yet depend. 
First Lord So please your majesty, 
 The Roman legions, all from Gallia drawn, 
 Are landed on your coast, with a supply
 Of Roman gentlemen, by the senate sent. 
CYMBELINE Now for the counsel of my son and queen! 
 I am amazed with matter. 
First Lord Good my liege, 
 Your preparation can affront no less
 Than what you hear of: come more, for more 
 you're ready: 40
 The want is but to put those powers in motion 
 That long to move. 
CYMBELINE I thank you. Let's withdraw;
 And meet the time as it seeks us. We fear not 
 What can from Italy annoy us; but 
 We grieve at chances here. Away! 
 [ Exeunt all except Pisanio.  
PISANIO I heard no letter from my master since 
 I wrote him Imogen was slain: 'tis strange:
 Nor hear I from my mistress who did promise 
 To yield me often tidings: neither know I 
 What is betid to Cloten; but remain 40
 Perplex'd in all. The heavens still must work. 
 Wherein I am false I am honest; not true, to be true.
 These present wars shall find I love my country, 
 Even to the note o' the king, or I'll fall in them. 
 All other doubts, by time let them be clear'd: 
 Fortune brings in some boats that are not steer'd. 
 [ Exit.  

Cymbeline, Act 4, Scene 4


Explanatory Notes for Act 4, Scene 3
From Cymbeline. A.W. Verity. Cambridge, University Press.


19. subjection, duty as subject.

21. And will, and he will (easily supplied from him).

22, 23. i.e. his suspicions are not satisfied: "if I do not condemn you, I likewise have not acquitted you" -- Johnson. Judgment, as we say, is suspended.

28. amazed: a stronger word then 'confounded.'

29, 30. "Your forces are able to face such an army as we hear the enemy will bring against us" -- Johnson.

34. annoy; in the old and stronger sense -- 'harm.'

44. Even to the note o' the king, so that even the king shall remark it.

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. < >.

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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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...

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Retired Sicilian professor Martino Iuvara claims that Shakespeare was, in fact, not English at all, but Italian. His conclusion is drawn from research carried out from 1925 to 1950 by two professors at Palermo University. Iuvara posits that Shakespeare was born not in Stratford in April 1564, as is commonly believed, but actually was born in Messina as Michelangelo Florio Crollalanza. Read on...

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