Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V
Enter Posthumus and a Briton Lord


Cam'st thou from where they made the stand?


                                                         I did,

Though you it seems come from the fliers.


                                                         I did.


No blame be to you, sir, for all was lost,

But that the heavens fought: the king himself

Of his wings destitute, the army broken,

And but the backs of Britons seen; all flying

Through a straight lane; the enemy full-hearted,
full-hearted (adj.) full of courage, totally confident
lane (n.) path, passage, way
strait (adj.) 4 narrow, cramped, confined

Lolling the tongue with slaught'ring, having work
loll (v.) hang down loosely, thrust out

More plentiful than tools to do't, struck down
tool (n.) 1 weapon, sword

Some mortally, some slightly touched, some falling
touch (v.) 8 wound, hurt, injure

Merely through fear, that the strait pass was dammed
merely (adv.) 2 purely, for no other reason than
pass (n.) 3 passage, crossing, thoroughfare
strait (adj.) 4 narrow, cramped, confined

With dead men, hurt behind, and cowards living
behind (adv.) 2 in the back

To die with lengthened shame.
lane (n.) path, passage, way
lengthened (adj.) prolonged, lasting throughout life


                         Where was this lane?


Close by the battle, ditched, and walled with turf –

Which gave advantage to an ancient soldier –
ancient, aunchient (adj.) 3 time-worn, experienced, renowned

An honest one, I warrant – who deserved
honest (adj.) 2 honourable, respectable, upright
warrant (v.) 1 assure, promise, guarantee, confirm See Topics: Frequency count

So long a breeding as his white beard came to,
breeding (n.) 3 ancestry, parentage, noble lineage

In doing this for's country. Athwart the lane,

He, with two striplings – lads more like to run

The country base than to commit such slaughter,
country base rural boys' chasing game involving running between bases (safe homes)
like (adv.) 1 likely, probable / probably See Topics: Frequency count

With faces fit for masks, or rather fairer

Than those for preservation cased, or shame –
case (v.) 1 cover, protect, enclose
shame (n.) 2 modesty, decorum, seemliness

Made good the passage, cried to those that fled,
make good 3 hold, secure, make sure of

‘ Our Britain's harts die flying, not our men:
hart (n.) male deer

To darkness fleet souls that fly backwards; stand,
fleet (v.) 2 [of souls] leave, pass away, fly off
stand (v.) 13 make a stand [against], fight, resist

Or we are Romans, and will give you that

Like beasts which you shun beastly, and may save
beastly (adv.) like an animal, in a beastly manner
save (v.) 2 prevent, avoid, avert

But to look back in frown: stand, stand!’ These three,
frown (n.) 1 fierce look, severe face

Three thousand confident, in act as many –

For three performers are the file when all
file (n.) 1 rank of soldiers, formation

The rest do nothing – with this word ‘ Stand, stand,’

Accommodated by the place, more charming,
accommodate (v.) 2 aid, help, give an advantage
charm (v.) 5 persuade, convince, win over

With their own nobleness, which could have turned

A distaff to a lance, gilded pale looks;
distaff (n.) device for weaving, spindle
gild (v.), past forms gilt, gilded 2 bring colour to, brighten, illuminate

Part shame, part spirit renewed, that some, turned coward

But by example – O, a sin in war,

Damned in the first beginners – 'gan to look
look (v.) 6 face, turn towards

The way that they did, and to grin like lions

Upon the pikes o'th' hunters. Then began

A stop i'th' chaser; a retire: anon
anon (adv.) 1 soon, shortly, presently See Topics: Frequency count
chaser (n.) pursuer, hunter
retire (n.) retreat, withdrawal
stop (n.) 3 [in managing a horse] pulling-up, sudden checking of a career

A rout, confusion thick: forthwith they fly
confusion (n.) 1 destruction, overthrow, ruin
thick (adj.) 6 quick, rapid, fast

Chickens, the way which they stooped eagles: slaves,
stoop (v.) 2 [falconry] swoop, descend swiftly

The strides they victors made: and now our cowards

Like fragments in hard voyages became
fragment (n.) scrap of food, left-over
hard (adj.) 3 painful, harrowing, tough

The life o'th' need: having found the back-door open
life (n.) 2 means of life, way of survival
need (n.) time of necessity, needy situation, emergency

Of the unguarded hearts, heavens, how they wound!

Some slain before, some dying, some their friends

O'er-borne i'th' former wave, ten chased by one,
overbear (v.) 1 overwhelm, overcome, overpower

Are now each one the slaughter-man of twenty:
slaughterman, slaughter-man (n.) executioner, slayer, murderer

Those that would die, or ere resist, are grown

The mortal bugs o'th' field.
bug (n.) 2 object of terror, terrifying force
field (n.) 1 field of battle, battleground, field of combat See Topics: Frequency count
mortal (adj.) 1 fatal, deadly, lethal


                         This was strange chance:

A narrow lane, an old man, and two boys.


Nay, do not wonder at it: you are made

Rather to wonder at the things you hear

Than to work any. Will you rhyme upon't,
work (v.), past form wrought 2 perform, do, carry out

And vent it for a mock'ry? Here is one:
mockery (n.) subject of ridicule, object of derision
vent (v.) 1 utter, express, air, proclaim

Two boys, an old man twice a boy, a lane,

Preserved the Britons, was the Romans' bane.
bane (n.) 1 ruin, woe, destruction


Nay, be not angry, sir.


                         'Lack, to what end?

Who dares not stand his foe, I'll be his friend:
stand (v.) 13 make a stand [against], fight, resist

For if he'll do as he is made to do,

I know he'll quickly fly my friendship too.

You have put me into rhyme.


                         Farewell, you're angry.

Exit Lord


Still going? This is a lord! O noble misery,

To be i'th' field, and ask ‘ what news?’ of me!
field (n.) 1 field of battle, battleground, field of combat See Topics: Frequency count

Today how many would have given their honours

To have saved their carcasses? Took heel to do't,
take heel take to one's heels, run away

And yet died too! I, in mine own woe charmed,
charm (v.) 4 overcome, subdue, take over [as if by a charm]
too (adv.) 1 anyway, in any case

Could not find death where I did hear him groan,

Nor feel him where he struck. Being an ugly monster,

'Tis strange he hides him in fresh cups, soft beds,

Sweet words; or hath moe ministers than we
minister (n.) messenger, agent, servant
mo, moe (adj.) more [in number]

That draw his knives i'th' war. Well, I will find him:

For being now a favourer to the Briton,

No more a Briton, I have resumed again

The part I came in. Fight I will no more,

But yield me to the veriest hind that shall
hind (n.) 1 boor, fellow, rustic, peasant
very (adj.) 1 [intensifying] thorough-going, absolute

Once touch my shoulder. Great the slaughter is

Here made by th' Roman; great the answer be
answer (n.) 4 retaliation, armed response

Britons must take. For me, my ransom's death:

On either side I come to spend my breath,
spend (v.) 1 use up, wear out, exhaust, bring to an end

Which neither here I'll keep nor bear again,

But end it by some means for Innogen.

Enter two British Captains and Soldiers


Great Jupiter be praised, Lucius is taken:

'Tis thought the old man, and his sons, were angels.


There was a fourth man, in a silly habit,
habit (n.) 1 dress, clothing, costume See Topics: Frequency count
silly (adj.) 4 simple, lowly, humble

That gave th' affront with them.
affront (n.) assault, attack, onslaught
give (v.) 2 deal out, make, carry out


                         So 'tis reported:

But none of 'em can be found. Stand! Who's there?
stand (v.) 3 stop, halt


A Roman,

Who had not now been drooping here if seconds
second (n.) 3 (plural) reinforcements, reserves, back-up

Had answered him.
answer (v.) 11 act along with, sustain, respond to


                         Lay hands on him: a dog,

A leg of Rome shall not return to tell

What crows have pecked them here: he brags his service
brag (v.) talk with pride [about], sound off [about]

As if he were of note: bring him to th' king.
note (n.) 7 reputation, distinction, standing

Enter Cymbeline, Belarius, Guiderius, Arviragus, Pisanio,

and Roman Captives. The Captains present Posthumus to

Cymbeline, who delivers him over to a Gaoler


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