William Shakespeare's Cymbeline in the complete original text.
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Cymbeline

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Act III. Scene I.

Act III. Scene I.—Britain. A Hall in
CYMBELINE'S Palace.

Enter at one door CYMBELINE, QUEEN, CLOTEN,
and Lords; and at another CAIUS LUCIUS and
Attendants.

Cym. Now say what would Augustus Cæsar
with us?
Luc. When Julius Cæsar—whose remem-
brance yet
Lives in men's eyes, and will to ears and tongues
Be theme and hearing ever—was in this Britain,
And conquer'd it, Cassibelan, thine uncle,—
Famous in Cæsar's praises, no whit less
Than in his feats deserving it,—for him
And his succession, granted Rome a tribute,
Yearly three thousand pounds, which by thee
lately
Is left untender'd.
Queen. And, to kill the marvel,
Shall be so ever.
Clo. There be many Cæsars
Ere such another Julius. Britain is
A world by itself, and we will nothing pay
For wearing our own noses.
Queen. That opportunity,
Which then they had to take from's, to resume,
We have again. Remember, sir, my liege,
The kings your ancestors, together with
The natural bravery of your isle, which stands
As Neptune's park, ribbed and paled in
With rocks unscaleable and roaring waters,
With sands, that will not bear your enemies'
boats,
But suck them up to the topmast. A kind of
conquest
Cæsar made here, but made not here his brag
Of 'came, and saw, and overcame:' with shame—
The first that ever touch'd him—he was carried
From off our coast, twice beaten; and his ship-
ping—
Poor ignorant baubles!—on our terrible seas,
Like egg-shells mov'd upon their surges, crack'd
As easily 'gainst our rocks: for joy whereof
The fam'd Cassibelan, who was once at point—
O giglot fortune!—to master Cæsar's sword,
Made Lud's town with rejoicing-fires bright,
And Britons strut with courage.
Clo. Come, there's no more tribute to be paid.
Our kingdom is stronger than it was at that time;
and, as I said, there is no moe such Cæsars;
other of them may have crooked noses, but to
owe such straight arms, none.
Cym. Son, let your mother end.
Clo. We have yet many among us can gripe as
hard as Cassibelan; I do not say I am one, but I
have a hand. Why tribute? why should we pay
tribute? If Cæsar can hide the sun from us with
a blanket, or put the moon in his pocket, we will
pay him tribute for light; else, sir, no more tri-
bute, pray you now.
Cym. You must know,
Till the injurious Romans did extort
This tribute from us, we were free; Cæsar's am-
bition—
Which swell'd so much that it did almost stretch
The sides o' the world—against all colour here
Did put the yoke upon's; which to shake off
Becomes a war-like people, whom we reckon
Ourselves to be. We do say then to Cæsar
Our ancestor was that Mulmutius which
Ordain'd our laws, whose use the sword of Cæsar
Hath too much mangled; whose repair and
franchise
Shall, by the power we hold, be our good deed,
Though Rome be therefore angry. Mulmutius
made our laws,
Who was the first of Britain which did put
His brows within a golden crown, and call'd
Himself a king.
Luc. I am sorry, Cymbeline,
That I am to pronounce Augustus Cæsar—
Cæsar, that hath more kings his servants than
Thyself domestic officers—thine enemy.
Receive it from me, then: war and confusion
In Cæsar's name pronounce I 'gainst thee: look
For fury not to be resisted. Thus defied,
I thank thee for myself.
Cym. Thou art welcome, Caius.
Thy Cæsar knighted me; my youth I spent
Much under him; of him I gather'd honour;
Which lie, to seek of me again, perforce,
Behoves me keep at utterance. I am perfect
That the Pannonians and Dalmatians for
Their liberties are now in arms; a precedent
Which not to read would show the Britons cold:
So Cæsar shall not find them.
Luc. Let proof speak.
Clo. His majesty bids you welcome. Make
pastime with us a day or two, or longer; if you
seek us afterwards in other terms, you shall find
us in our salt-water girdle; if you beat us out of
it, it is yours; if you fall in the adventure, our
crows shall fare the better for you; and there's
an end.
Luc. So, sir.
Cym. I know your master's pleasure and he
mine:
All the remain is 'Welcome!' [Exeunt.
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