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Scene 2

Before Belarius’ cave.

(Belarius; Guiderius; Arviragus; Imogen; Cloten; Lucius; Roman Captain; Philarmonus)

Imogen is not well, but insists that none of the men stay behind to look after her. In the hopes of curing herself, she takes the queen’s potion. Cloten appears; Belarius, who recognizes him, fears that they are all about to be arrested as outlaws. While Belarius and Arviragus go to see if anyone else is about, Guiderius remains to distract Cloten. He does not take well to being insulted by the foolish prince, and they fight. Belarius and Arviragus return, having discovered that Cloten was alone, only to find that Guiderius has chopped off Cloten’s head. Belarius is aghast, but Guiderius remains unrepentant and Arviragus approves. Belarius sees that their royal blood will out. Arviragus finds the drugged Imogen. Believing her dead, they sing her a dirge, and lay her next to Cloten’s body. They leave. Waking up next to the headless body wearing Posthumus’s clothes, the still-dazed Imogen is convinced that the corpse is her husband’s. She is found mourning by Lucius, who takes “Fidele” to his service. (479 lines)

Enter Belarius, Guiderius, Arviragus, and Imogen from the cave.


To Imogen.

You are not well. Remain here in the cave,

We’ll come to you after hunting.


To Imogen.

Brother, stay here.

Are we not brothers?


So man and man should be,

But clay and clay differs in dignity,

Whose dust is both alike. I am very sick.


Go you to hunting, I’ll abide with him.


So sick I am not, yet I am not well;

But not so citizen a wanton as

To seem to die ere sick. So please you, leave me,

Stick to your journal course: the breach of custom

Is breach of all. I am ill, but your being by me

Cannot amend me; society is no comfort

To one not sociable. I am not very sick,

Since I can reason of it. Pray you trust me here,

I’ll rob none but myself, and let me die,

Stealing so poorly.


I love thee; I have spoke it;

How much the quantity, the weight as much,

As I do love my father.


What? How? How?


If it be sin to say so, sir, I yoke me

In my good brother’s fault. I know not why

I love this youth, and I have heard you say,

Love’s reason’s without reason. The bier at door,

And a demand who is’t shall die, I’ld say

“My father, not this youth.”



O noble strain!

O worthiness of nature! Breed of greatness!

Cowards father cowards and base things sire base:

Nature hath meal and bran, contempt and grace.

I’m not their father, yet who this should be

Doth miracle itself, lov’d before me.—

’Tis the ninth hour o’ th’ morn.


Brother, farewell.


I wish ye sport.


You health.

To Belarius.

So please you, sir.



These are kind creatures. Gods, what lies I have heard!

Our courtiers say all’s savage but at court.

Experience, O, thou disprov’st report!

Th’ imperious seas breeds monsters; for the dish,

Poor tributary rivers as sweet fish.

I am sick still, heart-sick. Pisanio,

I’ll now taste of thy drug.

Swallows some.


I could not stir him.

He said he was gentle, but unfortunate;

Dishonestly afflicted, but yet honest.


Thus did he answer me; yet said hereafter

I might know more.


To th’ field, to th’ field!

We’ll leave you for this time, go in, and rest.


We’ll not be long away.


Pray, be not sick,

For you must be our huswife.


Well or ill,

I am bound to you.


And shalt be ever.

Exit Imogen to the cave.

This youth, how e’er distress’d, appears he hath had

Good ancestors.


How angel-like he sings!


But his neat cookery! He cut our roots in characters,

And sauc’d our broths, as Juno had been sick

And he her dieter.


Nobly he yokes

A smiling with a sigh, as if the sigh

Was that it was for not being such a smile;

The smile mocking the sigh, that it would fly

From so divine a temple to commix

With winds that sailors rail at.


I do note

That grief and patience, rooted in them both,

Mingle their spurs together.


Grow patience,

And let the stinking elder, grief, untwine

His perishing root with the increasing vine.


It is great morning. Come away!—Who’s there?

Enter Cloten.


I cannot find those runagates, that villain

Hath mock’d me. I am faint.


“Those runagates”?

Means he not us? I partly know him, ’tis

Cloten, the son o’ th’ Queen. I fear some ambush.

I saw him not these many years, and yet

I know ’tis he. We are held as outlaws. Hence!


He is but one. You and my brother search

What companies are near. Pray you away,

Let me alone with him.

Exeunt Belarius and Arviragus.


Soft, what are you

That fly me thus? Some villain mountainers?

I have heard of such. What slave art thou?


A thing

More slavish did I ne’er than answering

A slave without a knock.


Thou art a robber,

A law-breaker, a villain. Yield thee, thief.


To who? To thee? What art thou? Have not I

An arm as big as thine? A heart as big?

Thy words I grant are bigger; for I wear not

My dagger in my mouth. Say what thou art;

Why I should yield to thee.


Thou villain base,

Know’st me not by my clothes?


No, nor thy tailor, rascal,

Who is thy grandfather! He made those clothes,

Which (as it seems) make thee.


Thou precious varlet,

My tailor made them not.


Hence then, and thank

The man that gave them thee. Thou art some fool,

I am loath to beat thee.


Thou injurious thief,

Hear but my name, and tremble.


What’s thy name?


Cloten, thou villain.


Cloten, thou double villain, be thy name,

I cannot tremble at it. Were it Toad, or Adder, Spider,

’Twould move me sooner.


To thy further fear,

Nay, to thy mere confusion, thou shalt know

I am son to th’ Queen.


I am sorry for’t; not seeming

So worthy as thy birth.


Art not afeard?


Those that I reverence, those I fear—the wise:

At fools I laugh, not fear them.


Die the death!

When I have slain thee with my proper hand,

I’ll follow those that even now fled hence,

And on the gates of Lud’s-Town set your heads.

Yield, rustic mountaineer.

Fight and exeunt.

Enter Belarius and Arviragus.


No company’s abroad?


None in the world. You did mistake him sure.


I cannot tell; long is it since I saw him,

But time hath nothing blurr’d those lines of favor

Which then he wore. The snatches in his voice,

And burst of speaking, were as his. I am absolute

’Twas very Cloten.


In this place we left them.

I wish my brother make good time with him,

You say he is so fell.


Being scarce made up,

I mean, to man, he had not apprehension

Of roaring terrors; for defect of judgment

Is oft the cause of fear.

Enter Guiderius with Cloten’s head.

But see, thy brother.


This Cloten was a fool, an empty purse,

There was no money in’t. Not Hercules

Could have knock’d out his brains, for he had none.

Yet I not doing this, the fool had borne

My head as I do his.


What hast thou done?


I am perfect what: cut off one Cloten’s head,

Son to the Queen (after his own report),

Who call’d me traitor, mountaineer, and swore

With his own single hand he’ld take us in,

Displace our heads where (thanks, ye gods!) they grow,

And set them on Lud’s-Town.


We are all undone.


Why, worthy father, what have we to lose,

But that he swore to take, our lives? The law

Protects not us; then why should we be tender

To let an arrogant piece of flesh threat us,

Play judge and executioner all himself,

For we do fear the law? What company

Discover you abroad?


No single soul

Can we set eye on; but in all safe reason

He must have some attendants. Though his humor

Was nothing but mutation, ay, and that

From one bad thing to worse, not frenzy, not

Absolute madness could so far have rav’d

To bring him here alone; although perhaps

It may be heard at court that such as we

Cave here, hunt here, are outlaws, and in time

May make some stronger head, the which he hearing

(As it is like him), might break out and swear

He’ld fetch us in; yet is’t not probable

To come alone, either he so undertaking,

Or they so suffering. Then on good ground we fear,

If we do fear this body hath a tail

More perilous than the head.


Let ord’nance

Come as the gods foresay it; howsoe’er,

My brother hath done well.


I had no mind

To hunt this day; the boy Fidele’s sickness

Did make my way long forth.


With his own sword,

Which he did wave against my throat, I have ta’en

His head from him. I’ll throw’t into the creek

Behind our rock, and let it to the sea,

And tell the fishes he’s the Queen’s son, Cloten.

That’s all I reak.



I fear ’twill be reveng’d,

Would, Polydore, thou hadst not done’t! Though valor

Becomes thee well enough.


Would I had done’t!

So the revenge alone pursu’d me. Polydore,

I love thee brotherly, but envy much

Thou hast robb’d me of this deed. I would revenges,

That possible strength might meet, would seek us through

And put us to our answer.


Well, ’tis done.

We’ll hunt no more today, nor seek for danger

Where there’s no profit. I prithee to our rock,

You and Fidele play the cooks. I’ll stay

Till hasty Polydore return, and bring him

To dinner presently.


Poor sick Fidele!

I’ll willingly to him. To gain his color

I’ld let a parish of such Clotens blood,

And praise myself for charity.



O thou goddess,

Thou divine Nature, thou thyself thou blazon’st

In these two princely boys! They are as gentle

As zephyrs blowing below the violet,

Not wagging his sweet head; and yet as rough,

Their royal blood enchaf’d, as the rud’st wind

That by the top doth take the mountain pine

And make him stoop to th’ vale. ’Tis wonder

That an invisible instinct should frame them

To royalty unlearn’d, honor untaught,

Civility not seen from other, valor

That wildly grows in them but yields a crop

As if it had been sow’d. Yet still it’s strange

What Cloten’s being here to us portends,

Or what his death will bring us.

Enter Guiderius.


Where’s my brother?

I have sent Cloten’s clotpole down the stream

In embassy to his mother. His body’s hostage

For his return.

Solemn music.


My ingenious instrument

(Hark, Polydore), it sounds! But what occasion

Hath Cadwal now to give it motion? Hark!


Is he at home?


He went hence even now.


What does he mean? Since death of my dear’st mother

It did not speak before. All solemn things

Should answer solemn accidents. The matter?

Triumphs for nothing, and lamenting toys,

Is jollity for apes, and grief for boys.

Is Cadwal mad?

Enter Arviragus with Imogen as dead, bearing her in his arms.


Look, here he comes,

And brings the dire occasion in his arms

Of what we blame him for.


The bird is dead

That we have made so much on. I had rather

Have skipp’d from sixteen years of age to sixty,

To have turn’d my leaping time into a crutch,

Than have seen this.


O sweetest, fairest lily!

My brother wears thee not the one half so well

As when thou grew’st thyself.


O melancholy,

Who ever yet could sound thy bottom? Find

The ooze, to show what coast thy sluggish crare

Mightst easil’est harbor in? Thou blessed thing,

Jove knows what man thou mightst have made; but I,

Thou diedst, a most rare boy, of melancholy.

How found you him?


Stark, as you see;

Thus smiling, as some fly had tickled slumber,

Not as death’s dart being laugh’d at; his right cheek

Reposing on a cushion.




O’ th’ floor.

His arms thus leagu’d. I thought he slept, and put

My clouted brogues from off my feet, whose rudeness

Answer’d my steps too loud.


Why, he but sleeps!

If he be gone, he’ll make his grave a bed.

With female fairies will his tomb be haunted,

And worms will not come to thee.


With fairest flowers

Whilst summer lasts and I live here, Fidele,

I’ll sweeten thy sad grave. Thou shalt not lack

The flower that’s like thy face, pale primrose, nor

The azur’d harebell, like thy veins; no, nor

The leaf of eglantine, whom not to slander,

Outsweet’ned not thy breath. The raddock would,

With charitable bill (O bill, sore shaming

Those rich-left heirs that let their fathers lie

Without a monument!), bring thee all this,

Yea, and furr’d moss besides. When flow’rs are none,

To winter-ground thy corse—


Prithee have done,

And do not play in wench-like words with that

Which is so serious. Let us bury him,

And not protract with admiration what

Is now due debt. To th’ grave!


Say, where shall ’s lay him?


By good Euriphile, our mother.


Be’t so;

And let us, Polydore, though now our voices

Have got the mannish crack, sing him to th’ ground,

As once to our mother; use like note and words,

Save that Euriphile must be Fidele.



I cannot sing. I’ll weep, and word it with thee;

For notes of sorrow out of tune are worse

Than priests and fanes that lie.


We’ll speak it then.


Great griefs, I see, med’cine the less; for Cloten

Is quite forgot. He was a queen’s son, boys,

And though he came our enemy, remember

He was paid for that. Though mean and mighty, rotting

Together, have one dust, yet reverence

(That angel of the world) doth make distinction

Of place ’tween high and low. Our foe was princely,

And though you took his life, as being our foe,

Yet bury him as a prince.


Pray you fetch him hither.

Thersites’ body is as good as Ajax’,

When neither are alive.


If you’ll go fetch him,

We’ll say our song the whilst. Brother, begin.

Exit Belarius.


Nay, Cadwal, we must lay his head to th’ east,

My father hath a reason for’t.


’Tis true.


Come on then, and remove him.


So. Begin.



Fear no more the heat o’ th’ sun,

Nor the furious winter’s rages,

Thou thy worldly task hast done,

Home art gone, and ta’en thy wages.

Golden lads and girls all must,

As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.


Fear no more the frown o’ th’ great,

Thou art past the tyrant’s stroke;

Care no more to clothe and eat,

To thee the reed is as the oak.

The sceptre, learning, physic, must

All follow this and come to dust.


Fear no more the lightning-flash.


Nor th’ all-dreaded thunder-stone.


Fear not slander, censure rash.


Thou hast finish’d joy and moan.


All lovers young, all lovers must

Consign to thee and come to dust.


No exerciser harm thee.


Nor no witchcraft charm thee.


Ghost unlaid forbear thee.


Nothing ill come near thee.


Quiet consummation have,

And renowned be thy grave.

Enter Belarius with the body of Cloten.


We have done our obsequies. Come lay him down.


Here’s a few flow’rs, but ’bout midnight, more:

The herbs that have on them cold dew o’ th’ night

Are strewings fitt’st for graves. Upon their faces.

You were as flow’rs, now wither’d; even so

These herblets shall, which we upon you strew.

Come on, away, apart upon our knees.

The ground that gave them first has them again:

Their pleasures here are past, so is their pain.

Exeunt Belarius, Guiderius, and Arviragus.



Yes, sir, to Milford-Haven, which is the way?

I thank you. By yond bush? Pray how far thither?

’Od’s pittikins! Can it be six mile yet?

I have gone all night. Faith, I’ll lie down and sleep.

Sees the body of Cloten.

But soft! No bedfellow! O gods and goddesses!

These flow’rs are like the pleasures of the world;

This bloody man, the care on’t. I hope I dream;

For so I thought I was a cave-keeper,

And cook to honest creatures. But ’tis not so.

’Twas but a bolt of nothing, shot at nothing,

Which the brain makes of fumes. Our very eyes

Are sometimes like our judgments, blind. Good faith,

I tremble still with fear; but if there be

Yet left in heaven as small a drop of pity

As a wren’s eye, fear’d gods, a part of it!

The dream’s here still; even when I wake, it is

Without me, as within me; not imagin’d, felt.

A headless man? The garments of Posthumus?

I know the shape of ’s leg; this is his hand,

His foot Mercurial, his Martial thigh,

The brawns of Hercules; but his Jovial face—

Murder in heaven? How? ’Tis gone. Pisanio,

All curses madded Hecuba gave the Greeks,

And mine to boot, be darted on thee! Thou,

Conspir’d with that irregulous devil Cloten,

Hath here cut off my lord. To write and read

Be henceforth treacherous! Damn’d Pisanio

Hath with his forged letters (damn’d Pisanio!)

From this most bravest vessel of the world

Struck the main-top! O Posthumus, alas,

Where is thy head? Where’s that? Ay me! Where’s that?

Pisanio might have kill’d thee at the heart

And left this head on. How should this be? Pisanio?

’Tis he and Cloten. Malice and lucre in them

Have laid this woe here. O, ’tis pregnant, pregnant!

The drug he gave me, which he said was precious

And cordial to me, have I not found it

Murd’rous to th’ senses? That confirms it home.

This is Pisanio’s deed, and Cloten. O!

Give color to my pale cheek with thy blood,

That we the horrider may seem to those

Which chance to find us. O, my lord! My lord!

Falls on the body.

Enter Lucius, Captains, and Philarmonus, a soothsayer.


To them the legions garrison’d in Gallia,

After your will, have cross’d the sea, attending

You here at Milford-Haven with your ships.

They are here in readiness.


But what from Rome?


The Senate hath stirr’d up the confiners

And gentlemen of Italy, most willing spirits

That promise noble service; and they come

Under the conduct of bold Jachimo,

Sienna’s brother.


When expect you them?


With the next benefit o’ th’ wind.


This forwardness

Makes our hopes fair. Command our present numbers

Be muster’d; bid the captains look to’t. Now, sir,

What have you dream’d of late of this war’s purpose?


Last night the very gods show’d me a vision

(I fast and pray’d for their intelligence) thus:

I saw Jove’s bird, the Roman eagle, wing’d

From the spungy south to this part of the west,

There vanish’d in the sunbeams, which portends

(Unless my sins abuse my divination)

Success to th’ Roman host.


Dream often so,

And never false. Soft ho, what trunk is here?

Without his top? The ruin speaks that sometime

It was a worthy building. How? A page?

Or dead, or sleeping on him? But dead rather;

For nature doth abhor to make his bed

With the defunct, or sleep upon the dead,

Let’s see the boy’s face.


He’s alive, my lord.


He’ll then instruct us of this body. Young one,

Inform us of thy fortunes, for it seems

They crave to be demanded. Who is this

Thou mak’st thy bloody pillow? Or who was he

That (otherwise than noble nature did)

Hath alter’d that good picture? What’s thy interest

In this sad wrack? How came’t? Who is’t?

What art thou?


I am nothing; or if not,

Nothing to be were better. This was my master,

A very valiant Britain, and a good,

That here by mountaineers lies slain. Alas,

There is no more such masters. I may wander

From east to occident, cry out for service,

Try many, all good; serve truly; never

Find such another master.


’Lack, good youth!

Thou mov’st no less with thy complaining than

Thy master in bleeding. Say his name, good friend.


Richard du Champ.


If I do lie and do

No harm by it, though the gods hear, I hope

They’ll pardon it.—Say you, sir?


Thy name?


Fidele, sir.


Thou dost approve thyself the very same;

Thy name well fits thy faith; thy faith thy name.

Wilt take thy chance with me? I will not say

Thou shalt be so well master’d, but be sure

No less belov’d. The Roman Emperor’s letters,

Sent by a consul to me, should not sooner

Than thine own worth prefer thee. Go with me.


I’ll follow, sir. But first, and’t please the gods,

I’ll hide my master from the flies, as deep

As these poor pickaxes can dig; and when

With wild wood-leaves and weeds I ha’ strew’d his grave,

And on it said a century of prayers

(Such as I can) twice o’er, I’ll weep and sigh,

And leaving so his service, follow you,

So please you entertain me.


Ay, good youth,

And rather father thee than master thee.

My friends,

The boy hath taught us manly duties. Let us

Find out the prettiest daisied plot we can,

And make him with our pikes and partisans

A grave. Come, arm him. Boy, he’s preferr’d

By thee to us, and he shall be interr’d

As soldiers can. Be cheerful; wipe thine eyes:

Some falls are means the happier to arise.



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