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

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Act III. Scene VI.

Scene VI.—Wales. Before the Cave of
BELARIUS.

Enter IMOGEN, in boy's clothes.

Imo. I see a man's life is a tedious one;
I have tir'd myself, and for two nights together
Have made the ground my bed; I should be
sick
But that my resolution helps me. Milford,
When from the mountain-top Pisanio show'd
thee,
Thou wast within a ken. O Jove! I think
Foundations fly the wretched; such, I mean,
Where they should be reliev'd. Two beggars
told me
I could not miss my way; will poor folks lie,
That have afflictions on them, knowing 'tis
A punishment or trial? Yes; no wonder,
When rich ones scarce tell true. To lapse in
fulness
Is sorer than to lie for need, and falsehood
Is worse in kings than beggars. My dear lord!
Thou art one o' the false ones. Now I think on
thee,
My hunger's gone, but even before I was
At point to sink for food. But what is this?
Here is a path to't; 'tis some savage hold;
I were best not call, I dare not call, yet famine,
Ere clean it o'erthrow nature, makes it valiant.
Plenty and peace breeds cowards, hardness ever
Of hardiness is mother. Ho! Who's here?
If any thing that's civil, speak; if savage,
Take or lend. Ho! No answer? Then I'll enter.
Best draw my sword; and if mine enemy
But fear the sword like me, he'll scarcely look
on't.
Such a foe, good heavens! [Exit to the cave.

Enter BELARIUS, GUIDERIUS, and
ARVIRAGUS.
Bel. You, Polydore, have prov'd best wood-
man, and
Are master of the feast; Cadwal and I
Will play the cook and servant, 'tis our match;
The sweat of industry would dry and die
But for the end it works to. Come; our sto-
machs
Will make what's homely savoury; weariness
Can snore upon the flint when resty sloth
Finds the down pillow hard. Now, peace be
here,
Poor house, that keep'st thyself!
Gui. I am throughly weary.
Arv. I am weak with toil, yet strong in appe-
tite.
Gui. There is cold meat i' the cave; we'll
browse on that,
Whilst what we have kill'd be cook'd.
Bel. [Looking into the cave.] Stay; come not
in;
But that it eats our victuals, I should think
Here were a fairy.
Gui. What's the matter, sir?
Bel. By Jupiter, an angel! or, if not,
An earthly paragon! Behold divineness
No elder than a boy!

Re-enter IMOGEN.
Imo. Good masters, harm me not:
Before I enter'd here, I call'd; and thought
To have begg'd or bought what I have took.
Good troth,
I have stol'n nought, nor would not, though I
had found
Gold strew'd i' the floor. Here's money for my
meat;
I would have left it on the board so soon
As I had made my meal, and parted
With prayers for the provider.
Gui. Money, youth?
Arv. All gold and silver rather turn to dirt!
As 'tis no better reckoned but of those
Who worship dirty gods.
Imo. I see you're angry.
Know, if you kill me for my fault, I should
Have died had I not made it.
Bel. Whither bound?
Imo. To Milford-Haven.
Bel. What's your name?
Imo. Fidele, sir. I have a kinsman who
Is bound for Italy; he embark'd at Milford:
To whom being going, almost spent with hunger,
I am fall'n in this offence.
Bel. Prithee, fair youth,
Think us no churls, nor measure our good
minds
By this rude place we live in. Well encoun-
ter'd!
'Tis almost night; you shall have better cheer
Ere you depart, and thanks to stay and eat it.
Boys, bid him welcome.
Gui. Were you a woman, youth,
I should woo hard but be your groom. In ho-
nesty,
I bid for you, as I do buy.
Arv. I'll make't my comfort
He is a man; I'll love him as my brother;
And such a welcome as I'd give to him
After a long absence, such is yours: most wel-
come!
Be sprightly, for you fall 'mongst friends.
Imo. 'Mongst friends,
If brothers. [Aside.] Would it had been so,
that they
Had been my father's sons; then had my prize
Been less, and so more equal ballasting
To thee, Posthumus.
Bel. He wrings at some distress.
Gui. Would I could free't!
Arv. Or I, whate'er it be,
What pain it cost, what danger. Gods!
Bel. Hark, boys.
[Whispering.
Imo. Great men,
That had a court no bigger than this cave,
That did attend themselves and had the virtue
Which their own conscience seal'd them,—lay-
ing by
That nothing-gift of differing multitudes,—
Could not out-peer these twain. Pardon me,
gods!
I'd change my sex to be companion with them,
Since Leonatus' false.
Bel. It shall be so.
Boys, we'll go dress our hunt. Fair youth,
come in:
Discourse is heavy, fasting; when we have
supp'd,
We'll mannerly demand thee of thy story,
So far as thou wilt speak it.
Gui. Pray, draw near.
Arv. The night to the owl and morn to the
lark less welcome.
Imo. Thanks, sir.
Arv. I pray, draw near. [Exeunt.
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