Dramatis Personae

CYMBELINE, King of Britain

CLOTEN, son to the Queen by a former husband

POSTHUMUS LEONATUS, a gentleman, husband to Imogen

BELARIUS, a banished lord, disguised under the name of Morgan

GUIDERIUS and ARVIRAGUS, sons to Cymbeline, disguised under the

names of POLYDORE and CADWAL, supposed sons to Belarius

PHILARIO, Italian, friend to Posthumus

IACHIMO, Italian, friend to Philario

A FRENCH GENTLEMAN, friend to Philario

CAIUS LUCIUS, General of the Roman Forces



PISANIO, servant to Posthumus

CORNELIUS, a physician

TWO LORDS of Cymbeline's court

TWO GENTLEMEN of the same


QUEEN, wife to Cymbeline

IMOGEN, daughter to Cymbeline by a former queen

HELEN, a lady attending on Imogen


Lords, Ladies, Roman Senators, Tribunes, a Soothsayer, a

Dutch Gentleman, a Spanish Gentleman, Musicians, Officers,

Captains, Soldiers, Messengers, and Attendants


Britain; Italy


Britain. The garden of CYMBELINE'S palace

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's.

SECOND GENTLEMAN. But what's the matter?

FIRST GENTLEMAN. His daughter, and the heir of's kingdom, whom

He purpos'd 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 desir'd the match. But not a courtier,

Although they wear their faces to the bent

Of the King's looks, hath a heart that is not

Glad at the thing they scowl at.


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 serv'd with glory and admir'd success,

So gain'd the sur-addition Leonatus;

And had, besides this gentleman in question,

Two other sons, who, in the wars o' th' time,

Died with their swords in hand; for which their father,

Then old and fond of issue, took such sorrow

That he quit being; and his gentle lady,

Big of this gentleman, our theme, deceas'd

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 minist'red,

And in's spring became a harvest, liv'd in court-

Which rare it is to do- most prais'd, most lov'd,

A sample to the youngest; to th' 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.


Even out of your report. But pray you tell me,

Is she sole child to th' 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' th' 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. Exeunt

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