Format: Global Grey free PDF, epub, Kindle ebook
Pages (PDF): 147
Publication Date: 1608
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Cymbeline, also known as Cymbeline, King of Britain or The Tragedy of Cymbeline, is a play by William Shakespeare, set in Wales and based on legends concerning the early Celtic British King Cunobeline. Although listed as a tragedy in the First Folio, modern critics often classify Cymbeline as a romance. Like Othello and The Winter's Tale, it deals with the themes of innocence and jealousy. While the precise date of composition remains unknown, the play was certainly produced as early as 1611.
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Britain. The garden of Cymbeline's palace.
Enter two Gentlemen
First Gentleman; You do not meet a man but frowns: our bloods
No more obey the heavens than our courtiers
Still seem as does the king.
Second Gentleman; But what's the matter?
First Gentleman; His daughter, and the heir of's kingdom, whom
He purposed to his wife's sole son--a widow
That late he married--hath referr'd herself
Unto a poor but worthy gentleman: she's wedded;
Her husband banish'd; she imprison'd: all
Is outward sorrow; though I think the king
Be touch'd at very heart.
Second Gentleman; None but the king?
First Gentleman; He that hath lost her too; so is the Queen,
That most desired the match; but not a courtier,
Although they wear their faces to the bent
Of the king's look's, hath a heart that is not
Glad at the thing they scowl at.
Second Gentleman; And why so?
First Gentleman; He that hath miss'd the princess is a thing
Too bad for bad report: and he that hath her--
I mean, that married her, alack, good man!
And therefore banish'd--is a creature such
As, to seek through the regions of the earth
For one his like, there would be something failing
In him that should compare. I do not think
So fair an outward and such stuff within
Endows a man but he.
Second Gentleman; You speak him far.
First Gentleman; I do extend him, sir, within himself,
Crush him together rather than unfold
His measure duly.
Second Gentleman; What's his name and birth?
First Gentleman; I cannot delve him to the root: his father
Was call'd Sicilius, who did join his honour
Against the Romans with Cassibelan,
But had his titles by Tenantius whom
He served with glory and admired success,
So gain'd the sur-addition Leonatus;
And had, besides this gentleman in question,
Two other sons, who in the wars o' the time
Died with their swords in hand; for which
Then old and fond of issue, took such sorrow
That he quit being, and his gentle lady,
Big of this gentleman our theme, deceased
As he was born. The king he takes the babe
To his protection, calls him Posthumus Leonatus,
Breeds him and makes him of his bed-chamber,
Puts to him all the learnings that his time
Could make him the receiver of; which he took,
As we do air, fast as 'twas minister'd,
And in's spring became a harvest, lived in court--
Which rare it is to do--most praised, most loved,
A sample to the youngest, to the more mature
A glass that feated them, and to the graver
A child that guided dotards; to his mistress,
For whom he now is banish'd, her own price
Proclaims how she esteem'd him and his virtue;
By her election may be truly read
What kind of man he is.
Second Gentleman; I honour him
Even out of your report. But, pray you, tell me,
Is she sole child to the king?
First Gentleman; His only child.
He had two sons: if this be worth your hearing,
Mark it: the eldest of them at three years old,
I' the swathing-clothes the other, from their nursery
Were stol'n, and to this hour no guess in knowledge
Which way they went.
Second Gentleman; How long is this ago?
First Gentleman; Some twenty years.
Second Gentleman; That a king's children should be so convey'd,
So slackly guarded, and the search so slow,
That could not trace them!
First Gentleman; Howsoe'er 'tis strange,
Or that the negligence may well be laugh'd at,
Yet is it true, sir.
Second Gentleman; I do well believe you.
First Gentleman; We must forbear: here comes the gentleman,
The Queen, and princess.