Cymbeline - Act 3, scene 1
Last updated: Fri, Jul 31, 2015
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Act 3, scene 1
Caius Lucius arrives as ambassador from Augustus Caesar, demanding that Cymbeline pay the tribute Britain owes to Rome. With the encouragement of the queen and Cloten, Cymbeline refuses. Caius Lucius pronounces war between Rome and Britain.Enter in state Cymbeline, Queen, Cloten, and Lords at
one door, and, at another, Caius Lucius and Attendants.
1368 Now say, what would Augustus Caesar with us?
1369 When Julius Caesar, whose remembrance yet
1370 Lives in men’s eyes and will to ears and tongues
1371 Be theme and hearing ever, was in this Britain
1372 5 And conquered it, Cassibelan, thine uncle,
1373 Famous in Caesar’s praises no whit less
1374 Than in his feats deserving it, for him
1375 And his succession granted Rome a tribute,
1376 Yearly three thousand pounds, which by thee lately
1377 10 Is left untendered.
QUEEN 1378 And, to kill the marvel,
1379 Shall be so ever.
CLOTEN 1380 There be many Caesars
1381 Ere such another Julius. Britain’s a world
1382 15 By itself, and we will nothing pay
1383 For wearing our own noses.
QUEEN 1384 That opportunity
1385 Which then they had to take from ’s, to resume
1386 We have again.—Remember, sir, my liege,
1387 20 The Kings your ancestors, together with
1388 The natural bravery of your isle, which stands
1390 With ⌜rocks⌝ unscalable and roaring waters,
1391 With sands that will not bear your enemies’ boats
1392 25 But suck them up to th’ topmast. A kind of conquest
1393 Caesar made here, but made not here his brag
1394 Of “came, and saw, and overcame.” With shame—
1395 The first that ever touched him—he was carried
1396 From off our coast, twice beaten; and his shipping,
1397 30 Poor ignorant baubles, on our terrible seas
1398 Like eggshells moved upon their surges, cracked
1399 As easily ’gainst our rocks. For joy whereof
1400 The famed Cassibelan, who was once at point—
1401 O, giglet Fortune!—to master Caesar’s sword,
1402 35 Made Lud’s Town with rejoicing fires bright
1403 And Britons strut with courage.
CLOTEN 1404 Come, there’s no more tribute to be paid. Our
1405 kingdom is stronger than it was at that time, and,
1406 as I said, there is no more such Caesars. Other of
1407 40 them may have crooked noses, but to owe such
1408 straight arms, none.
CYMBELINE 1409 Son, let your mother end.
CLOTEN 1410 We have yet many among us can grip as hard
1411 as Cassibelan. I do not say I am one, but I have a
1412 45 hand. Why tribute? Why should we pay tribute? If
1413 Caesar can hide the sun from us with a blanket or
1414 put the moon in his pocket, we will pay him tribute
1415 for light; else, sir, no more tribute, pray you now.
CYMBELINE, ⌜to Lucius⌝ 1416 You must know,
1417 50 Till the injurious Romans did extort
1418 This tribute from us, we were free. Caesar’s ambition,
1419 Which swelled so much that it did almost stretch
1420 The sides o’ th’ world, against all color here
1421 Did put the yoke upon ’s, which to shake off
1422 55 Becomes a warlike people, whom we reckon
1423 Ourselves to be. We do say, then, to Caesar,
1424 Our ancestor was that Mulmutius which
1426 Hath too much mangled, whose repair and franchise
1427 60 Shall, by the power we hold, be our good deed,
1428 Though Rome be therefore angry. Mulmutius made
1429 our laws,
1430 Who was the first of Britain which did put
1431 His brows within a golden crown and called
1432 65 Himself a king.
LUCIUS 1433 I am sorry, Cymbeline,
1434 That I am to pronounce Augustus Caesar—
1435 Caesar, that hath more kings his servants than
1436 Thyself domestic officers—thine enemy.
1437 70 Receive it from me, then: war and confusion
1438 In Caesar’s name pronounce I ’gainst thee. Look
1439 For fury not to be resisted. Thus defied,
1440 I thank thee for myself.
CYMBELINE 1441 Thou art welcome, Caius.
1442 75 Thy Caesar knighted me; my youth I spent
1443 Much under him. Of him I gathered honor,
1444 Which he to seek of me again perforce
1445 Behooves me keep at utterance. I am perfect
1446 That the Pannonians and Dalmatians for
1447 80 Their liberties are now in arms, a precedent
1448 Which not to read would show the Britons cold.
1449 So Caesar shall not find them.
LUCIUS 1450 Let proof speak.
CLOTEN 1451 His Majesty bids you welcome. Make pastime
1452 85 with us a day or two, or longer. If you seek us afterwards
1453 in other terms, you shall find us in our saltwater
1454 girdle; if you beat us out of it, it is yours. If
1455 you fall in the adventure, our crows shall fare the
1456 better for you, and there’s an end.
LUCIUS 1457 90So, sir.
1458 I know your master’s pleasure, and he mine.
1459 All the remain is welcome.