Gary Taylor, John Jowett, Terri Bourus, and Gabriel Egan (eds), The New Oxford Shakespeare: Modern Critical Edition

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Editor’s NoteEnter in state Cymbeline, [the] Queen, Cloten, and lords at one door, and at another, Caius Lucius and attendants

cymbeline Now say, what would Augustus Caesar with us?


lucius When Julius Caesar—whose remembrance yet

3Lives in men's eyes, and will to ears and tongues

4Be theme and hearing ever—was in this Britain

pg 3012Editor’s Note5And conquered it, Cassibelan, thine uncle,

6Famous in Caesar's praises no whit less

7Than in his feats deserving it, for him

Editor’s Note8And his succession granted Rome a tribute,

9Yearly three thousand pounds, which by thee lately

Editor’s Note10Is left untendered.

queen And, to kill the marvel,

11Shall be so ever.

cloten There be many Caesars

12Ere such another Julius. Britain's a world

13By itself, and we will nothing pay

Editor’s Note14For wearing our own noses.

queen That opportunity

Editor’s Note15Which then they had to take from's, to resume

Editor’s Note16We have again. Remember, sir, my liege,

17The kings your ancestors, together with

Editor’s Note18The natural bravery of your isle, which stands

Editor’s Note19As Neptune's park, ribbed, and paled in

20With oaks unscalable and roaring waters,

Editor’s Note21With sands that will not bear your enemies' boats,

22But suck them up to th' topmast. A kind of conquest

23Caesar made here, but made not here his brag

Editor’s Note24Of 'came and saw and overcame'. With shame—

25The first that ever touched him—he was carried

26From off our coast, twice beaten; and his shipping,

Editor’s Note27Poor ignorant baubles, on our terrible seas

28Like eggshells moved upon their surges, cracked

29As easily 'gainst our rocks; for joy whereof

Editor’s Note30The famed Cassibelan, who was once at point—

Editor’s Note31O giglot fortune!—to master Caesar's sword,

Editor’s Note32Made Lud's town with rejoicing fires bright,

33And Britons strut with courage.


cloten Come, there's no more tribute to be paid. Our kingdom is 35stronger than it was at that time, and, as I said, there is no more such Editor’s Note36Caesars. Other of them may have crook'd noses, but to own such straight 37arms, none.


cymbeline Son, let your mother end.


cloten We have yet many among us can grip as hard as Cassibelan. I 40do not say I am one, but I have a hand. Why tribute? Why should we 41pay tribute? If Caesar can hide the sun from us with a blanket, or put 42the moon in his pocket, we will pay him tribute for light; else, sir, no 43more tribute, pray you now.

pg 3013 44

cymbeline [to Lucius] You must know,

Editor’s Note45Till the injurious Romans did extort

46This tribute from us we were free. Caesar's ambition,

47Which swelled so much that it did almost stretch

Editor’s Note48The sides o'th' world, against all colour here

49Did put the yoke upon's, which to shake off

50Becomes a warlike people, whom we reckon

51Ourselves to be. We do say then to Caesar,

Editor’s Note52Our ancestor was that Mulmutius which

Editor’s Note53Ordained our laws, whose use the sword of Caesar

Editor’s Note54Hath too much mangled, whose repair and franchise

55Shall by the power we hold be our good deed,

56Though Rome be therefore angry. Mulmutius made our laws,

57Who was the first of Britain which did put

58His brows within a golden crown and called

Editor’s Note59Himself a king.

lucius I am sorry, Cymbeline,

60That I am to pronounce Augustus Caesar—

61Caesar that hath more kings his servants than

62Thyself domestic officers—thine enemy.

Editor’s Note63Receive it from me, then: war and confusion

64In Caesar's name pronounce I 'gainst thee. Look

65For fury not to be resisted. Thus defied,

Editor’s Note66I thank thee for myself.

cymbeline Thou art welcome, Caius.

67Thy Caesar knighted me; my youth I spent

68Much under him; of him I gathered honour,

Editor’s Note69Which he to seek of me again perforce

Editor’s Note70Behoves me keep at utterance. I am perfect

Editor’s Note71That the Pannonians and Dalmatians for

72Their liberties are now in arms, a precedent

Editor’s Note73Which not to read would show the Britons cold;

Editor’s Note74So Caesar shall not find them.

lucius Let proof speak.


cloten His majesty bids you welcome. Make pastime with us a day 76or two or longer. If you seek us afterwards in other terms, you shall 77find us in our salt-water girdle. If you beat us out of it, it is yours; if Editor’s Note78you fall in the adventure, our crows shall fare the better for you, and 79there's an end.


lucius So, sir.


cymbeline I know your master's pleasure, and he mine.

Editor’s Note82All the remain is 'Welcome'.


Notes Settings


Editor’s Note–2 Enter in state … Caius Lucius A flourish of trumpets, or some such aural cue, probably accompanied the entrance in early performances. Caius Lucius might be traditionally costumed as a Roman statesman (toga, sandals, etc.).
Editor’s Note
3.1.5 conquered it (in 54 bce)
Editor’s Note
3.1.8 succession successors
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3.1.10 untendered unpaid
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3.1.10 kill the marvel stop the amazement (i.e. just in case you're wondering)
Editor’s Note
3.1.14–33 That … courage. The Queen is the much more vocal partner at the beginning of this scene, and this might hint towards the power dynamic in her relationship with Cymbeline. The Queen and Cloten are also much more vocally patriotic than others; their refusal to accept Rome's demands, and the Queen's insistence upon Britain's noble past, may seem detrimental to Britain's current needs. Cymbeline might seem hesitant about, or supportive of, their claims.
Editor’s Note
3.1.15–16 resume … again we now have to take back
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3.1.16 liege lord
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3.1.18 bravery splendour
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3.1.19 Neptune god of the sea
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3.1.19 ribbed enclosed
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3.1.19 paled in fenced
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3.1.21 sands quicksands
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3.1.24 'came … overcame' Julius Caesar's famous boast 'Veni, vidi, vici': 'I came, I saw, I conquered'
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3.1.27 baubles toys, frail ships
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3.1.30 at point poised
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3.1.31 giglot fickle, whorish
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3.1.32 Lud's town London
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3.1.32 fires (two syllables: 'fyers')
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3.1.36 crook'd noses hooked 'Roman' noses
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3.1.36 straight powerful
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3.1.45 injurious harmful
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3.1.48 against all colour with no show of reason
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3.1.52 Mulmutius a mythical British king
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3.1.53 use practice
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3.1.54 repair restoration
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3.1.54 franchise free exercise
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3.1.59 I am sorry, Cymbeline There may be reluctance on both sides to enter into war; the Queen's sway over Cymbeline might seem especially pronounced at this moment. The King and Lucius may seem familiars.
Editor’s Note
3.1.63 confusion destruction
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3.1.66 for myself on my own behalf
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3.1.69–70 he … utterance his attempt to wrest it back from me requires me to preserve it at any cost
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3.1.70 perfect fully aware
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3.1.71 Pannonians and Dalmations inhabitants of Hungary and Dalmatia, on the Adriatic Sea
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3.1.73 read interpret
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3.1.73 cold unspirited
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3.1.74 proof the result
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3.1.78 adventure attempt
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3.1.82 All the remain all that's left to say
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