Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V
Enter Belarius, Guiderius, and Arviragus


A goodly day not to keep house with such

Whose roof's as low as ours! Stoop, boys: this gate
gate (n.) 2 entrance, doorway, portal

Instructs you how t' adore the heavens; and bows you

To a morning's holy office. The gates of monarchs
office (n.) 1 task, service, duty, responsibility See Topics: Frequency count

Are arched so high that giants may jet through
jet (v.) strut, swagger, parade

And keep their impious turbans on, without
impious (adj.) lacking reverence towards God, wicked, irreligious

Good morrow to the sun. Hail, thou fair heaven!
morrow (n.) morning See Topics: Frequency count

We house i'th' rock, yet use thee not so hardly
hardly (adv.) 2 severely, harshly, badly
use (v.) 2 treat, deal with, manage

As prouder livers do.


                         Hail, heaven!


                                                         Hail, heaven!


Now for our mountain sport, up to yond hill!
sport (n.) 2 exercise, athletic pastime

Your legs are young: I'll tread these flats. Consider,
flat (n.) 1 low-lying land, plain, swampy ground

When you above perceive me like a crow,

That it is place which lessens and sets off,
place (n.) 1 position, post, office, rank See Topics: Frequency count
set off (v.) 1 enhance, show to advantage, display by contrast

And you may then revolve what tales I have told you
revolve (v.) consider, ponder, meditate

Of courts, of princes; of the tricks in war.
trick (n.) 4 practice, custom, current fashion

This service is not service, so being done,

But being so allowed. To apprehend thus,
allow (v.) 3 acknowledge, grant, admit
apprehend (v.) 6 view, see, look

Draws us a profit from all things we see:

And often, to our comfort, shall we find

The sharded beetle in a safer hold
hold (n.) 4 shelter, refuge, sanctuary
sharded (adj.) living in dung; or: with scales

Than is the full-winged eagle. O, this life

Is nobler than attending for a check:
attend (v.) 3 serve at court, wait on royalty
check (n.) 1 reprimand, reproof, rebuke

Richer than doing nothing for a robe,
bauble (n.) 2 piece of rubbish, worthless trifle

Prouder than rustling in unpaid-for silk:

Such gain the cap of him that makes him fine,
cap (n.) 2 [raising of a cap] salute, respect, approval

Yet keeps his book uncrossed: no life to ours.
uncrossed (adj.) uncancelled, undeleted, not obliterated


Out of your proof you speak: we poor unfledged,
proof (n.) 2 experience, actual practice, tried knowledge

Have never winged from view o'th' nest; nor know not

What air's from home. Haply this life is best –
haply (adv.) perhaps, maybe, by chance, with luck See Topics: Frequency count

If quiet life be best – sweeter to you

That have a sharper known, well corresponding

With your stiff age; but unto us it is
stiff (adj.) 5 unsupple, unathletic; or: lethargic, sluggish

A cell of ignorance, travelling a-bed,

A prison, or a debtor that not dares

To stride a limit.
stride (v.) 1 go beyond, step over


                         What should we speak of

When we are old as you? When we shall hear

The rain and wind beat dark December? How

In this our pinching cave shall we discourse
discourse (v.) 1 talk, chat, converse
pinching (adj.) bitingly cold; or: narrowly restricting

The freezing hours away? We have seen nothing:

We are beastly: subtle as the fox for prey,
beastly (adj.) beast-like, brutish, abominable

Like warlike as the wolf for what we eat:
like (adv.) 3 equally, similarly, also

Our valour is to chase what flies: our cage

We make a quire, as doth the prisoned bird,
choir, quire (n.) 2 part of a church where the choir sings

And sing our bondage freely.


                         How you speak!

Did you but know the city's usuries,
usury (n.) way of dealing with money, financial practice

And felt them knowingly: the art o'th' court,
art (n.) 7 artifice, artificial conduct; or: wile, trick
feel (v.) 2 experience, live through [something]
knowingly (adv.) with knowledge, with worldly experience

As hard to leave as keep: whose top to climb
keep (v.) 2 stay within, remain inside

Is certain falling: or so slipp'ry that

The fear's as bad as falling: the toil o'th' war,

A pain that only seems to seek out danger
pain (n.) effort, endeavour, exertion, labour

I'th' name of fame and honour, which dies i'th' search,

And hath as oft a sland'rous epitaph
oft (adv.) often See Topics: Frequency count

As record of fair act. Nay, many times,
act (n.) 1 activity, action, performance

Doth ill deserve by doing well: what's worse,
deserve (v.) 1 earn, win, receive
ill (n.) 2 trouble, affliction, misfortune

Must court'sy at the censure. O boys, this story
censure (n.) 2 condemnation, blame, stricture

The world may read in me: my body's marked

With Roman swords; and my report was once
report (n.) 1 reputation, fame, renown

First, with the best of note. Cymbeline loved me,
note (n.) 7 reputation, distinction, standing

And when a soldier was the theme, my name

Was not far off: then was I as a tree

Whose boughs did bend with fruit. But in one night,

A storm, or robbery – call it what you will –

Shook down my mellow hangings, nay, my leaves,

And left me bare to weather.


                         Uncertain favour!


My fault being nothing – as I have told you oft –
oft (adv.) often See Topics: Frequency count

But that two villains, whose false oaths prevailed
false (adj.) 1 treacherous, traitorous, perfidious See Topics: Frequency count

Before my perfect honour, swore to Cymbeline

I was confederate with the Romans: so

Followed my banishment, and this twenty years

This rock, and these demesnes, have been my world,
demesne (n.) (plural) territories, lands, dominions

Where I have lived at honest freedom, paid

More pious debts to heaven than in all

The fore-end of my time. But up to th' mountains!
fore-end (n.) early part, initial period
time (n.) 3 lifetime, life

This is not hunter's language; he that strikes

The venison first shall be the lord o'th' feast,

To him the other two shall minister,

And we will fear no poison, which attends
attend (v.) 4 accompany, follow closely, go with
attend (v.) 9 be present [at], be found [at]

In place of greater state. I'll meet you in the valleys.
state (n.) 4 splendour, magnificence, stateliness, dignity

Exeunt Guiderius and Arviragus

How hard it is to hide the sparks of Nature!

These boys know little they are sons to th' king,

Nor Cymbeline dreams that they are alive.

They think they are mine, and though trained up thus meanly,
meanly (adv.) 1 humbly, in a lowly manner
train up (v.) bring up, rear, educate

I'th' cave wherein they bow, their thoughts do hit

The roofs of palaces, and Nature prompts them

In simple and low things to prince it, much
prince (v.) behave like a prince, act royally

Beyond the trick of others. This Polydore,
trick (n.) 2 way, knack, skill

The heir of Cymbeline and Britain, who

The king his father called Guiderius – Jove!

When on my three-foot stool I sit, and tell
three-foot (adj.) three-legged

The warlike feats I have done, his spirits fly out

Into my story: say ‘ Thus mine enemy fell,

And thus I set my foot on's neck,’ even then

The princely blood flows in his cheek, he sweats,

Strains his young nerves, and puts himself in posture
nerve (n.) 1 sinew, ligament, muscle

That acts my words. The younger brother, Cadwal,

Once Arviragus, in as like a figure
figure (n.) 6 role, part, character

Strikes life into my speech, and shows much more

His own conceiving. Hark, the game is roused!
conceiving (n.) imagination, insight, mental creativity
game (n.) 2 quarry, object of the chase
rouse (v.) 1 [hunting] startle from a lair, draw out

O Cymbeline, heaven and my conscience knows

Thou didst unjustly banish me: whereon,

At three and two years old, I stole these babes,

Thinking to bar thee of succession as
succession (n.) 4 successors, heirs

Thou refts me of my lands. Euriphile,

Thou wast their nurse, they took thee for their mother,

And every day do honour to her grave:

Myself, Belarius, that am Morgan called,

They take for natural father. The game is up.


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