Enter in state, Cymbeline, Queen, Cloten, and Lords at
one door, and at another, Caius Lucius and Attendants
Now say, what would Augustus Caesar with us?
When Julius Caesar – whose remembrance yet
Lives in men's eyes, and will to ears and tongues
Be theme and hearing ever – was in this Britain
And conquered it, Cassibelan, thine uncle –
Famous in Caesar'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 untendered.
And, to kill the marvel,
Shall be so ever.
There be many Caesars ere such another Julius:
Britain's a world by itself, and we will nothing pay
for wearing our own noses.
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 th' topmast. A kind of conquest
Caesar made here, but made not here his brag
Of ‘ Came, and saw, and, overcame:’ with shame –
The first that ever touched him – he was carried
From off our coast, twice beaten: and his shipping –
Poor ignorant baubles! – on our terrible seas,
Like egg-shells moved upon their surges, cracked
As easily 'gainst our rocks. For joy whereof
The famed Cassibelan, who was once at point –
O giglot fortune! – to master Caesar's sword,
Made Lud's town with rejoicing-fires bright,
And Britons strut with courage.
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 Caesars, other of them may
have crooked noses, but to owe such straight arms,
Son, let your mother end.
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 Caesar
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 tribute, pray you now.
You must know,
Till the injurious Romans did extort
This tribute from us, we were free. Caesar's ambition,
Which swelled so much that it did almost stretch
The sides o'th' world, against all colour here
Did put the yoke upon's; which to shake off
Becomes a warlike people, whom we reckon
Ourselves to be.
CLOTEN and LORDS
Say then to Caesar,
Our ancestor was that Mulmutius which
Ordained our laws, whose use the sword of Caesar
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 called
brow (n.) 4
forehead [often plural, referring to the two prominences of the forehead]
Himself a king.
I am sorry, Cymbeline,
That I am to pronounce Augustus Caesar –
Caesar, that hath moe kings his servants than
Thyself domestic officers – thine enemy:
Receive it from me, then. War and confusion
In Caesar's name pronounce I 'gainst thee: look
For fury, not to be resisted. Thus defied,
I thank thee for myself.
Thou art welcome, Caius.
Thy Caesar knighted me; my youth I spent
Much under him; of him I gathered honour,
Which he 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 Caesar shall not find them.
Let proof speak.
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.
I know your master's pleasure, and he mine:
All the remain is ‘ Welcome.’