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Cymbeline - Act 3, scene 3
Last updated: Fri, Jul 31, 2015
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Navigate this workCymbeline - Act 3, scene 3
Act 3, scene 3
Three men enter as if from a cave, the two younger men protesting the limitations of their mountain lives. When they exit to pursue game for food, the older man reveals that they are actually the two lost princes, whom he stole in infancy in protest against unjust treatment he had received from Cymbeline. Belarius (who now calls himself Morgan) has given Welsh names to Guiderius and Arviragus. They have no idea of their heritage, thinking Morgan their father.Enter, ⌜as from a cave,⌝ Belarius ⌜as Morgan,⌝ Guiderius
⌜as Polydor,⌝ and Arviragus ⌜as Cadwal.⌝
BELARIUS, ⌜as Morgan⌝
1547 A goodly day not to keep house with such
p. 1131548 Whose roof’s as low as ours! ⌜Stoop,⌝ boys. This gate
1549 Instructs you how t’ adore the heavens and bows you
1550 To a morning’s holy office. The gates of monarchs
1551 5 Are arched so high that giants may jet through
1552 And keep their impious turbans on, without
1553 Good morrow to the sun. Hail, thou fair heaven!
1554 We house i’ th’ rock, yet use thee not so hardly
1555 As prouder livers do.
GUIDERIUS, ⌜as Polydor⌝ 1556 10 Hail, heaven!
ARVIRAGUS, ⌜as Cadwal⌝ 1557 Hail, heaven!
BELARIUS, ⌜as Morgan⌝
1558 Now for our mountain sport. Up to yond hill;
1559 Your legs are young. I’ll tread these flats. Consider,
1560 When you above perceive me like a crow,
1561 15 That it is place which lessens and sets off,
1562 And you may then revolve what tales I have told you
1563 Of courts, of princes, of the tricks in war.
1564 This service is not service, so being done,
1565 But being so allowed. To apprehend thus
1566 20 Draws us a profit from all things we see,
1567 And often, to our comfort, shall we find
1568 The sharded beetle in a safer hold
1569 Than is the full-winged eagle. O, this life
1570 Is nobler than attending for a check,
1571 25 Richer than doing nothing for a ⌜robe,⌝
1572 Prouder than rustling in unpaid-for silk:
1573 Such gain the cap of him that makes him fine
1574 Yet keeps his book uncrossed. No life to ours.
GUIDERIUS, ⌜as Polydor⌝
1575 Out of your proof you speak. We poor unfledged
1576 30 Have never winged from view o’ th’ nest, nor ⌜know⌝
1578 What air ’s from home. Haply this life is best
1579 If quiet life be best, sweeter to you
1580 That have a sharper known, well corresponding
1581 35 With your stiff age; but unto us it is
p. 1151582 A cell of ignorance, traveling abed,
1583 A prison ⌜for⌝ a debtor that not dares
1584 To stride a limit.
ARVIRAGUS, ⌜as Cadwal⌝ 1585 What should we speak of
1586 40 When we are old as you? When we shall hear
1587 The rain and wind beat dark December, how
1588 In this our pinching cave shall we discourse
1589 The freezing hours away? We have seen nothing.
1590 We are beastly: subtle as the fox for prey,
1591 45 Like warlike as the wolf for what we eat.
1592 Our valor is to chase what flies. Our cage
1593 We make a choir, as doth the prisoned bird,
1594 And sing our bondage freely.
BELARIUS, ⌜as Morgan⌝ 1595 How you speak!
1596 50 Did you but know the city’s usuries
1597 And felt them knowingly; the art o’ th’ court,
1598 As hard to leave as keep, whose top to climb
1599 Is certain falling, or so slipp’ry that
1600 The fear’s as bad as falling; the toil o’ th’ war,
1601 55 A pain that only seems to seek out danger
1602 I’ th’ name of fame and honor, which dies i’ th’ search
1603 And hath as oft a sland’rous epitaph
1604 As record of fair act—nay, many times
1605 Doth ill deserve by doing well; what’s worse,
1606 60 Must curtsy at the censure. O boys, this story
1607 The world may read in me. My body’s marked
1608 With Roman swords, and my report was once
1609 First with the best of note. Cymbeline loved me,
1610 And when a soldier was the theme, my name
1611 65 Was not far off. Then was I as a tree
1612 Whose boughs did bend with fruit. But in one night
1613 A storm or robbery, call it what you will,
1614 Shook down my mellow hangings, nay, my leaves,
1615 And left me bare to weather.
GUIDERIUS, ⌜as Polydor⌝ 1616 70 Uncertain favor!
p. 117BELARIUS, ⌜as Morgan⌝
1617 My fault being nothing, as I have told you oft,
1618 But that two villains, whose false oaths prevailed
1619 Before my perfect honor, swore to Cymbeline
1620 I was confederate with the Romans. So
1621 75 Followed my banishment; and this twenty years
1622 This rock and these demesnes have been my world,
1623 Where I have lived at honest freedom, paid
1624 More pious debts to heaven than in all
1625 The fore-end of my time. But up to th’ mountains!
1626 80 This is not hunters’ language. He that strikes
1627 The venison first shall be the lord o’ th’ feast;
1628 To him the other two shall minister,
1629 And we will fear no poison, which attends
1630 In place of greater state. I’ll meet you in the valleys.
⌜Guiderius and Arviragus⌝ exit.
1631 85 How hard it is to hide the sparks of nature!
1632 These boys know little they are sons to th’ King,
1633 Nor Cymbeline dreams that they are alive.
1634 They think they are mine, and, though trained up
1635 thus meanly,
1636 90 I’ th’ cave ⌜wherein they⌝ bow, their thoughts do hit
1637 The roofs of palaces, and nature prompts them
1638 In simple and low things to prince it much
1639 Beyond the trick of others. This Polydor,
1640 The heir of Cymbeline and Britain, who
1641 95 The King his father called Guiderius—Jove!
1642 When on my three-foot stool I sit and tell
1643 The warlike feats I have done, his spirits fly out
1644 Into my story; say “Thus mine enemy fell,
1645 And thus I set my foot on ’s neck,” even then
1646 100 The princely blood flows in his cheek, he sweats,
1647 Strains his young nerves, and puts himself in posture
1648 That acts my words. The younger brother, Cadwal,
1649 Once Arviragus, in as like a figure
p. 1191650 Strikes life into my speech and shows much more
1651 105 His own conceiving. Hark, the game is roused!
1652 O Cymbeline, heaven and my conscience knows
1653 Thou didst unjustly banish me; whereon,
1654 At three and two years old I stole these babes,
1655 Thinking to bar thee of succession as
1656 110 Thou refts me of my lands. Euriphile,
1657 Thou wast their nurse; they took thee for their
1659 And every day do honor to her grave.
1660 Myself, Belarius, that am Morgan called,
1661 115 They take for natural father. The game is up!