Britain. Before Cymbeline’s palace.
(Cloten; First Lord; Second Lord)
Cloten again is spoiling for a fight, but because he is a prince, he complains cannot find anybody willing to fight with him. One of his companions comments aside on Cloten’s stupidity. (41 lines)
Enter Cloten and the two Lords.
Was there ever man had such luck? When I kiss’d the jack upon an up-cast, to be hit away! I had a hundred pound on’t; and then a whoreson jack-an-apes must take me up for swearing, as if I borrow’d mine oaths of him and might not spend them at my pleasure.
What got he by that? You have broke his pate with your bowl.
If his wit had been like him that broke it, it would have run all out.
When a gentleman is dispos’d to swear, it is not for any standers-by to curtal his oaths. Ha?
No, my lord;
nor crop the ears of them.
Whoreson dog! I gave him satisfaction! Would he had been one of my rank!
To have smell’d like a fool.
I am not vex’d more at any thing in th’ earth; a pox on’t! I had rather not be so noble as I am. They dare not fight with me because of the Queen my mother. Every Jack slave hath his bellyful of fighting, and I must go up and down like a cock that nobody can match.
You are cock and capon too, and you crow, cock, with your comb on.
It is not fit your lordship should undertake every companion that you give offense to.
No, I know that; but it is fit I should commit offense to my inferiors.
Ay, it is fit for your lordship only.
Why, so I say.
Did you hear of a stranger that’s come to court tonight?
A stranger, and I not know on’t?
He’s a strange fellow himself, and knows it not.
There’s an Italian come, and ’tis thought one of Leonatus’ friends.
Leonatus? A banish’d rascal; and he’s another, whatsoever he be. Who told you of this stranger?
One of your lordship’s pages.
Is it fit I went to look upon him? Is there no derogation in’t?
You cannot derogate, my lord.
Not easily, I think.
You are a fool granted, therefore your issues, being foolish, do not derogate.
Come, I’ll go see this Italian. What I have lost today at bowls I’ll win tonight of him. Come; go.
I’ll attend your lordship.
Exeunt Cloten and First Lord.
That such a crafty devil as is his mother
Should yield the world this ass! A woman that
Bears all down with her brain, and this her son
Cannot take two from twenty, for his heart,
And leave eighteen. Alas, poor Princess,
Thou divine Imogen, what thou endur’st,
Betwixt a father by thy step-dame govern’d,
A mother hourly coining plots, a wooer
More hateful than the foul expulsion is
Of thy dear husband, than that horrid act
Of the divorce he’ld make. The heavens hold firm
The walls of thy dear honor; keep unshak’d
That temple, thy fair mind, that thou mayst stand
T’ enjoy thy banish’d lord and this great land!