Gary Taylor, John Jowett, Terri Bourus, and Gabriel Egan (eds), The New Oxford Shakespeare: Modern Critical Edition
Editor’s NoteEnter Posthumus [like a poor soldier,] and a Briton Lord1
lord Cam'st thou from where they made the stand?
posthumus I did,
2Though you it seems come from the fliers?
lord Ay.Editor’s Note3
posthumus No blame be to you, sir, for all was lost,
4But that the heavens fought. The King himself
Editor’s Note5Of his wings destitute, the army broken,
6And but the backs of Britons seen, all flying
Editor’s Note7Through a strait lane; the enemy full-hearted,
Editor’s Note8Lolling the tongue with slaught'ring, having work
Editor’s Note9More plentiful than tools to do't, struck down
Editor’s Note10Some mortally, some slightly touched, some falling
11Merely through fear, that the strait pass was dammed
12With dead men hurt behind, and cowards living
Editor’s Note13To die with lengthened shame.
lord Where was this lane?14
posthumus Close by the battle, ditched, and walled with turf;
Editor’s Note15Which gave advantage to an ancient soldier,
16An honest one, I warrant, who deserved
Editor’s Note17So long a breeding as his white beard came to,
Editor’s Note18In doing this for's country. Athwart the lane
Editor’s Note19He with two striplings—lads more like to run
20The country base than to commit such slaughter;
Editor’s Note21With faces fit for masks, or rather fairer
Editor’s Note22Than those for preservation cased, or shame—
Editor’s Note23Made good the passage, cried to those that fled
Editor’s Note24'Our Britain's harts die flying, not her men.
Editor’s Note25To darkness fleet souls that fly backwards. Stand,
Editor’s Note26Or we are Romans, and will give you that
Editor’s Note27Like beasts which you shun beastly, and may save
28But to look back in frown. Stand, stand!' These three,
Editor’s Note29Three thousand confident, in act as many—
Editor’s Note30For three performers are the file when all
31The rest do nothing—with this word 'Stand, stand',
Editor’s Note32Accommodated by the place, more charming
33With their own nobleness, which could have turned
Editor’s Note34A distaff to a lance, gilded pale looks;
Editor’s Note36But by example—O, a sin in war,
Editor’s Note37Damned in the first beginners!—'gan to look
38The way that they did and to grin like lions
Editor’s Note39Upon the pikes o'th' hunters. Then began
Editor’s Note40A stop i'th' chaser, a retire. Anon
Editor’s Note41A rout, confusion thick; forthwith they fly
Editor’s Note42Chickens the way which they stooped eagles; slaves,
43The strides they victors made; and now our cowards,
Editor’s Note44Like fragments in hard voyages, became
Editor’s Note45The life o'th' need. Having found the back door open
46Of the unguarded hearts, heavens, how they wound!
Editor’s Note47Some slain before, some dying, some their friends
Editor’s Note48O'erborne i'th' former wave, ten chased by one,
49Are now each one the slaughterman of twenty.
Editor’s Note50Those that would die or ere resist are grown
lord This was strange chance:
52A narrow lane, an old man, and two boys!53
posthumus Nay, do not wonder at it; you are made
54Rather to wonder at the things you hear
Editor’s Note55Than to work any. Will you rhyme upon't,
Editor’s Note56And vent it for a mock'ry? Here is one:
Editor’s Note57'Two boys, an old man twice a boy, a lane,
Editor’s Note58Preserved the Britons, was the Romans' bane.'59
lord Nay, be not angry, sir.
posthumus 'Lack, to what end?
Editor’s Note60Who dares not stand his foe, I'll be his friend,
Editor’s Note61For if he'll do as he is made to do,
62I know he'll quickly fly my friendship too.
Editor’s Note63You have put me into rhyme.Exit
lord Farewell; you're angry.Editor’s Note64Enter two [Briton] Captains, and soldiers
posthumus Still going? This is a lord! O noble misery
65To be i'th' field and ask 'What news?' of me!
66Today how many would have given their honours
Editor’s Note67To have saved their carcasses—took heel to do't,
Editor’s Note68And yet died too! I, in mine own woe charmed,
69Could not find death where I did hear him groan,
70Nor feel him where he struck. Being an ugly monster,
Editor’s Note71'Tis strange he hides him in fresh cups, soft beds,
pg 3050Editor’s Note72Sweet words, or hath more ministers than we
73That draw his knives i'th' war. Well, I will find him;
Editor’s Note74For being now a favourer to the Briton,
75No more a Briton, I have resumed again
76The part I came in. Fight I will no more,
Editor’s Note77But yield me to the veriest hind that shall
Editor’s Note78Once touch my shoulder. Great the slaughter is
79Here made by'th' Roman; great the answer be
Editor’s Note80Britons must take. For me, my ransom's death,
Editor’s Note81On either side I come to spend my breath,
82Which neither here I'll keep nor bear again,
83But end it by some means for Innogen.84
first captain Great Jupiter be praised, Lucius is taken.
85'Tis thought the old man and his sons were angels.Editor’s Note86
second captain There was a fourth man, in a seely habit,
Editor’s Note87That gave th'affront with them.
first captain So 'tis reported,
88But none of 'em can be found. Stand, who's there?89
posthumus A Roman,
Editor’s Note90Who had not now been drooping here if seconds
Editor’s Note91Had answered him.Enter Cymbeline, Belarius, Guiderius, Arviragus, Pisanio, and Roman captives. The Captains present Posthumus to Cymbeline, who delivers Editor’s Notehim over to a Jailer. [Two Jailers lock gyves on his legs. Exeunt all but] Posthumus and [the two Jailers]
second captain Lay hands on him, a dog!
92A leg of Rome shall not return to tell
93What crows have pecked them here. He brags his service
Editor’s Note94As if he were of note. Bring him to th' King.95
first jailer You shall not now be stol'n; you have locks upon you.
Editor’s Note96So graze as you find pasture.[Exeunt Jailers]
second jailer Ay, or a stomach.Editor’s Note97Editor’s NoteSolemn music. Enter, as in an apparition, Sicilius Leonatus (father to Posthumus, an old man), attired like a warrior, leading in his hand an ancient matron, his wife, and mother to Posthumus, with music before them. Then, after other music, follows the two young Leonati, brothers Editor’s Noteto Posthumus, with wounds as they died in the wars. They circle Posthumus round as he lies sleeping
posthumus Most welcome, bondage, for thou art a way,
98I think, to liberty. Yet am I better
99Than one that's sick o'th' gout, since he had rather
100Groan so in perpetuity than be cured
101By th' sure physician, death, who is the key
102T'unbar these locks. My conscience, thou art fettered
103More than my shanks and wrists. You good gods give me
Editor’s Note104The penitent instrument to pick that bolt,
105Then free for ever. Is't enough I am sorry?
Editor’s Note106So children temporal fathers do appease;
Editor’s Note107Gods are more full of mercy. Must I repent,
Editor’s Note109Desired more than constrained. To satisfy,
Editor’s Note110If of my freedom 'tis the main part, take
Editor’s Note111No stricter render of me than my all.
Editor’s Note112I know you are more clement than vile men
Editor’s Note113Who of their broken debtors take a third,
114A sixth, a tenth, letting them thrive again
Editor’s Note115On their abatement. That's not my desire.
116For Innogen's dear life take mine, and though
117'Tis not so dear, yet 'tis a life; you coined it.
Editor’s Note118'Tween man and man they weigh not every stamp;
Editor’s Note119Though light, take pieces for the figure's sake,
120You rather mine, being yours. And so, great powers,
Editor’s Note121If you will make this audit, take this life,
Editor’s Note122And cancel these cold bonds. O Innogen,
123I'll speak to thee in silence!Editor’s Note124
sicilius No more, thou thunder-master, show
125 Thy spite on mortal flies.
Editor’s Note126With Mars fall out, with Juno chide,
127 That thy adulteries
Editor’s Note128Rates and revenges.
129Hath my poor boy done aught but well,
130 Whose face I never saw?
131I died whilst in the womb he stayed,
Editor’s Note132 Attending nature's law,
133Whose father then—as men report
134 Thou orphan's father art—
135Thou shouldst have been, and shielded him
Editor’s Note136 From this earth-vexing smart.Editor’s Note137
mother Lucina lent not me her aid,
Editor’s Note138 But took me in my throes,
Editor’s Note139That from me was Posthumus ripped,
Editor’s Note140 Came crying 'mongst his foes,
141A thing of pity.pg 3052 Editor’s Note142
sicilius Great nature like his ancestry
Editor’s Note143 Moulded the stuff so fair
144That he deserved the praise o'th' world
145 As great Sicilius' heir.Editor’s Note146
first brother When once he was mature for man,
147 In Britain where was he
148That could stand up his parallel,
Editor’s Note149 Or fruitful object be
150In eye of Innogen, that best
Editor’s Note151 Could deem his dignity?152
mother With marriage wherefore was he mocked,
153 To be exiled, and thrown
Editor’s Note154From Leonati seat and cast
155 From her his dearest one,
156Sweet Innogen?Editor’s Note157
sicilius Why did you suffer Giacomo,
Editor’s Note158 Slight thing of Italy,
159To taint his nobler heart and brain
160 With needless jealousy,
Editor’s Note161And to become the geck and scorn
162 O'th' other's villainy?Editor’s Note163
second brother For this from stiller seats we come,
164 Our parents and us twain,
165That striking in our country's cause
166 Fell bravely and were slain,
Editor’s Note167Our fealty and Tenantius' right
168 With honour to maintain.Editor’s Note169
first brother Like hardiment Posthumus hath
170 To Cymbeline performed.
171Then, Jupiter, thou king of gods,
Editor’s Note172 Why hast thou thus adjourned
173The graces for his merits due,
Editor’s Note174 Being all to dolours turned?Editor’s Note175
sicilius Thy crystal window ope; look out,
176 No longer exercise
177Upon a valiant race thy harsh
178 And potent injuries.179
mother Since, Jupiter, our son is good,
180 Take off his miseries.181
sicilius Peep through thy marble mansion. Help,
182 Or we poor ghosts will cry
Editor’s Note183To th' shining synod of the rest
184 Against thy deity.pg 3053 Editor’s Note185Editor’s NoteJupiter descends in thunder and lightning, sitting upon an eagle. He Editor’s Notethrows a thunderbolt. The ghosts fall on their knees
brothers Help, Jupiter, or we appeal,
186 And from thy justice fly.187Ascends [into the heavens]
jupiter No more, you petty spirits of region low,
188 Offend our hearing. Hush! How dare you ghosts
189Accuse the thunderer, whose bolt, you know,
Editor’s Note190 Sky-planted, batters all rebelling coasts?
Editor’s Note191Poor shadows of Elysium, hence, and rest
192 Upon your never-withering banks of flowers.
Editor’s Note193Be not with mortal accidents oppressed;
194 No care of yours it is; you know 'tis ours.
195Whom best I love, I cross, to make my gift,
Editor’s Note196 The more delayed, delighted. Be content.
197Your low-laid son our godhead will uplift.
198 His comforts thrive, his trials well are spent.
Editor’s Note199Our Jovial star reigned at his birth, and in
200 Our temple was he married. Rise, and fade.
201He shall be lord of Lady Innogen,
202 And happier much by his affliction made.
Editor’s Note203This tablet lay upon his breast, wherein
Editor’s Note204 Our pleasure his full fortune doth confine.Editor’s Note[Jupiter gives the ghosts a tablet which they lay upon Posthumus' chest]
205And so away. No farther with your din
206 Express impatience, lest you stir up mine.
207 Mount, eagle, to my palace crystalline.208
sicilius He came in thunder. His celestial breath
Editor’s Note209Was sulphurous to smell. The holy eagle
Editor’s Note210Stooped, as to foot us. His ascension is
211More sweet than our blest fields. His royal bird
212Preens the immortal wing and claws his beak
213As when his god is pleased.
all the ghosts Thanks, Jupiter.214Editor’s Note[The Ghosts] vanish [Posthumus awakes]
sicilius The marble pavement closes, he is entered
215His radiant roof. Away, and, to be blest,
Editor’s Note216Let us with care perform his great behest.217Editor’s NoteEnter Jailer
posthumus Sleep, thou hast been a grandsire, and begot
218A father to me; and thou hast created
Editor’s Note219A mother and two brothers. But, O scorn,
220Gone! They went hence so soon as they were born,
221And so I am awake. Poor wretches that depend
222On greatness' favour dream as I have done,
Editor’s Note223Wake and find nothing. But, alas, I swerve.
pg 3054Editor’s Note224Many dream not to find, neither deserve,
225And yet are steeped in favours; so am I,
Editor’s Note226That have this golden chance and know not why.
227What fairies haunt this ground? A book? O rare one,
Editor’s Note228Be not, as is our fangled world, a garment
229Nobler than that it covers. Let thy effects
Editor’s Note230So follow to be most unlike our courtiers,
231As good as promise.He reads
Editor’s Note232'Whenas a lion's whelp shall, to himself unknown, without seeking Editor’s Note233find, and be embraced by a piece of tender air; and when from a 234stately cedar shall be lopped branches which, being dead many years, 235shall after revive, be jointed to the old stock, and freshly grow, then 236shall Posthumus end his miseries, Britain be fortunate and flourish in 237peace and plenty.
Editor’s Note238'Tis still a dream, or else such stuff as madmen
Editor’s Note239Tongue, and brain not; either both, or nothing,
Editor’s Note240Or senseless speaking, or a speaking such
Editor’s Note241As sense cannot untie. Be what it is,
242The action of my life is like it, which I'll keep,
Editor’s Note243If but for sympathy.244
jailer Come, sir, are you ready for death?245
posthumus Over-roasted rather; ready long ago.Editor’s Note246
jailer Hanging is the word, sir. If you be ready for that, you are well 247cooked.Editor’s Note248
posthumus So, if I prove a good repast to the spectators, the dish pays 249the shot.Editor’s Note250
jailer A heavy reckoning for you, sir. But the comfort is you shall 251be called to no more payments, fear no more tavern bills, which are as 252often the sadness of parting as the procuring of mirth. You come in 253faint for want of meat, depart reeling with too much drink, sorry Editor’s Note254that you have paid too much and sorry that you are paid too much; Editor’s Note255purse and brain both empty: the brain the heavier for being too light, Editor’s Note256the purse too light being drawn of heaviness. Of this contradiction Editor’s Note257you shall now be quit. O, the charity of a penny cord! It sums up Editor’s Note258thousands in a trice. You have no true debitor and creditor but it: of Editor’s Note259what's past, is, and to come the discharge. Your neck, sir, is pen, Editor’s Note260book, and counters; so the acquittance follows.262
jailer Indeed, sir, he that sleeps feels not the toothache; but a man 263that were to sleep your sleep, and a hangman to help him to bed, I Editor’s Note264think he would change places with his officer; for look you, sir, you 265know not which way you shall go.266
posthumus Yes, indeed do I, fellow.Editor’s Note267
jailer Your death has eyes in's head, then; I have not seen him so 268pictured. You must either be directed by some that take upon them 269to know, or to take upon yourself that which I am sure you do not know, Editor’s Note270or jump the after-enquiry on your own peril; and how you shall speed 271in your journey's end I think you'll never return to tell on.Editor’s Note272
posthumus I tell thee, fellow, there are none want eyes to direct them Editor’s Note273the way I am going but such as wink and will not use them.274Enter a Messenger
jailer What an infinite mock is this, that a man should have the best Editor’s Note275use of eyes to see the way of blindness! I am sure hanging's the way of 276winking.277
messenger Knock off his manacles, bring your prisoner to the King.Editor’s Note278
posthumus Thou bring'st good news: I am called to be made free.Editor’s Note279
jailer I'll be hanged then.Editor’s Note281Exeunt
jailer aside Unless a man would marry a gallows and beget young Editor’s Note282gibbets, I never saw one so prone. Yet, on my conscience, there are verier Editor’s Note283knaves desire to live, for all he be a Roman; and there be some of them, 284too, that die against their wills; so should I if I were one. I would we Editor’s Note285were all of one mind, and one mind good. O, there were desolation of 286jailers and gallowses! I speak against my present profit, but my wish Editor’s Note287hath a preferment in't.