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Cymbeline
Act 4, scene 4

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Characters in the Play

Entire Play

Cymbeline, which takes place in ancient Britain, is filled with hidden identities, extraordinary schemes, and violent acts. Long ago, the…

Act 1, scene 1

At the court of King Cymbeline, the princess, Imogen, has secretly married a gentleman named Posthumus Leonatus. Imogen is the…

Act 1, scene 2

An encounter between Cloten and Posthumus, reported in 1.1, is here discussed by Cloten and two lords.

Act 1, scene 3

Posthumus’s servant, Pisanio, describes to the grieving Imogen the departure of Posthumus toward Rome.

Act 1, scene 4

Posthumus arrives in Rome, where an Italian gentleman, Iachimo, maneuvers him into placing a bet on Imogen’s chastity. Posthumus bets…

Act 1, scene 5

The queen obtains a box that she is told contains poison. (The audience is told that the box actually contains…

Act 1, scene 6

Iachimo arrives in Britain and begins his attempt to seduce Imogen by telling her that Posthumus is betraying her with…

Act 2, scene 1

Cloten and two lords discuss the arrival of Iachimo. The Second Lord, in soliloquy, expresses the hope that Imogen will…

Act 2, scene 2

As Imogen sleeps, the trunk that she is keeping for Iachimo opens, and Iachimo emerges. Before climbing back into it,…

Act 2, scene 3

Cloten serenades Imogen in an attempt to win her love. Imogen enrages Cloten by saying that he is not as…

Act 2, scene 4

Iachimo returns to Rome with his proofs of Imogen’s unfaithfulness: descriptions of her bedroom and of private marks on her…

Act 2, scene 5

Posthumus, in soliloquy, attacks women as the embodiment of all that is vicious.

Act 3, scene 1

Caius Lucius arrives as ambassador from Augustus Caesar, demanding that Cymbeline pay the tribute Britain owes to Rome. With the…

Act 3, scene 2

Pisanio receives two letters from Posthumus—one in which Pisanio is instructed to kill Imogen, and another written to Imogen, telling…

Act 3, scene 3

Three men enter as if from a cave, the two younger men protesting the limitations of their mountain lives. When…

Act 3, scene 4

On the journey to Milford Haven, Pisanio reveals to Imogen that he is supposed to kill her. She is so…

Act 3, scene 5

When Imogen’s absence from court is discovered, Cloten forces Pisanio to tell him where she is. Pisanio shows him the…

Act 3, scene 6

Imogen, disguised as a boy named Fidele, stumbles, exhausted and famished, into the cave of Belarius and the two young…

Act 3, scene 7

A Roman senator announces that the Roman army attacking Britain will be under the control of Caius Lucius and that…

Act 4, scene 1

Cloten, dressed in Posthumus’s garments, arrives at the spot where he plans to cut off Posthumus’s head and rape Imogen.

Act 4, scene 2

Imogen, not feeling well, takes the potion given her by Pisanio, thinking it is a restorative; the potion puts her…

Act 4, scene 3

Cymbeline finds himself alone in the face of the Roman attack, with Imogen and Cloten both missing and the queen…

Act 4, scene 4

The young princes persuade Belarius that the three of them should join with the Britons against Rome.

Act 5, scene 1

Posthumus, in Britain as part of the Roman army, repents Imogen’s (reported) murder and decides to seek death by joining…

Act 5, scene 2

In a series of battles, Posthumus (disguised as a peasant) defeats and disarms Iachimo; the Britons flee and Cymbeline is…

Act 5, scene 3

Posthumus, still seeking death and failing to find it as a poor British soldier, reverts to his earlier role as…

Act 5, scene 4

Posthumus, in chains, falls asleep and is visited by the ghosts of his dead family and by the god Jupiter,…

Act 5, scene 5

Cymbeline knights Belarius and the two young men in gratitude for their valor, and sends in search of the poor…

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Scene 4
Enter Belarius as Morgan, Guiderius as Polydor,
and Arviragus as Cadwal.


GUIDERIUS, as Polydor 
 The noise is round about us.
BELARIUS, as Morgan  Let us from it.

195
Cymbeline
ACT 4. SC. 4

ARVIRAGUS, as Cadwal 
 What pleasure, sir, find we in life, to lock it
 From action and adventure?
GUIDERIUS, as Polydor 5 Nay, what hope
 Have we in hiding us? This way the Romans
 Must or for Britons slay us or receive us
 For barbarous and unnatural revolts
 During their use, and slay us after.
BELARIUS, as Morgan 10 Sons,
 We’ll higher to the mountains, there secure us.
 To the King’s party there’s no going. Newness
 Of Cloten’s death—we being not known, not mustered
 Among the bands—may drive us to a render
15 Where we have lived, and so extort from ’s that
 Which we have done, whose answer would be death
 Drawn on with torture.
GUIDERIUS, as Polydor  This is, sir, a doubt
 In such a time nothing becoming you
20 Nor satisfying us.
ARVIRAGUS, as Cadwal  It is not likely
 That when they hear the Roman horses neigh,
 Behold their quartered fires, have both their eyes
 And ears so cloyed importantly as now,
25 That they will waste their time upon our note,
 To know from whence we are.
BELARIUS, as Morgan  O, I am known
 Of many in the army. Many years,
 Though Cloten then but young, you see not wore him
30 From my remembrance. And besides, the King
 Hath not deserved my service nor your loves,
 Who find in my exile the want of breeding,
 The certainty of this hard life, aye hopeless
 To have the courtesy your cradle promised,
35 But to be still hot summer’s tanlings and
 The shrinking slaves of winter.
GUIDERIUS, as Polydor  Than be so

197
Cymbeline
ACT 4. SC. 4

 Better to cease to be. Pray, sir, to th’ army.
 I and my brother are not known; yourself
40 So out of thought, and thereto so o’ergrown,
 Cannot be questioned.
ARVIRAGUS, as Cadwal  By this sun that shines,
 I’ll thither. What thing is ’t that I never
 Did see man die, scarce ever looked on blood
45 But that of coward hares, hot goats, and venison!
 Never bestrid a horse save one that had
 A rider like myself, who ne’er wore rowel
 Nor iron on his heel! I am ashamed
 To look upon the holy sun, to have
50 The benefit of his blest beams, remaining
 So long a poor unknown.
GUIDERIUS, as Polydor  By heavens, I’ll go!
 If you will bless me, sir, and give me leave,
 I’ll take the better care, but if you will not,
55 The hazard therefore due fall on me by
 The hands of Romans.
ARVIRAGUS, as Cadwal  So say I. Amen.
BELARIUS, as Morgan 
 No reason I—since of your lives you set
 So slight a valuation—should reserve
60 My cracked one to more care. Have with you, boys!
 If in your country wars you chance to die,
 That is my bed, too, lads, and there I’ll lie.
 Lead, lead. Aside. The time seems long; their
 blood thinks scorn
65 Till it fly out and show them princes born.
They exit.