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Cymbeline: Act 5, Scene 3

Cymbeline
Act 5, Scene 3

Another part of the field of battle between the British and Roman camps.

  1. Enter Posthumus and a British Lord.

British Lord

2
  1. Cam’st thou from where they made the stand?

Posthumus

3 - 4
  1.                                             I did,
  2. Though you it seems come from the fliers?

British Lord

5
  1.                                           I did.

Posthumus

6 - 16
  1. No blame be to you, sir, for all was lost
  2. But that the heavens fought; the King himself
  3. Of his wings destitute, the army broken,
  4. And but the backs of Britains seen, all flying
  5. Through a strait lane; the enemy full-hearted,
  6. Lolling the tongue with slaught’ringhaving work
  7. More plentiful than tools to do’tstruck down
  8. Some mortally, some slightly touch’d, some falling
  9. Merely through fear, that the strait pass was damm’d
  10. With dead men hurt behind, and cowards living
  11. To die with length’ned shame.

British Lord

17
  1.                               Where was this lane?

Posthumus

18 - 55
  1. Close by the battle, ditch’d, and wall’d with turf,
  2. Which gave advantage to an ancient soldier
  3. (An honest one, I warrant), who deserv’d
  4. So long a breeding as his white beard came to,
  5. In doing this for ’s country. Athwart the lane,
  6. He, with two striplings (lads more like to run
  7. The country base than to commit such slaughter,
  8. With faces fit for masks, or rather fairer
  9. Than those for preservation cas’d, or shame),
  10. Made good the passage, cried to those that fled,
  11. Our Britain’s harts die flying, not our men.
  12. To darkness fleet souls that fly backwards. Stand,
  13. Or we are Romans and will give you that
  14. Like beasts which you shun beastly, and may save
  15. But to look back in frown. Stand, stand!” These three,
  16. Three thousand confident, in act as many
  17. For three performers are the file when all
  18. The rest do nothingwith this word Stand, stand!”
  19. Accommodated by the place, more charming
  20. With their own nobleness, which could have turn’d
  21. A distaff to a lance, gilded pale looks;
  22. Part shame, part spirit renew’d, that some, turn’d coward
  23. But by example (O, a sin in war,
  24. Damn’d in the first beginners!), gan to look
  25. The way that they did, and to grin like lions
  26. Upon the pikes o’ th’ hunters. Then began
  27. A stop i’ th’ chaser; a retire; anon
  28. A rout, confusion thick. Forthwith they fly
  29. Chickens, the way which they stoop’d eagles; slaves,
  30. The strides they victors made: and now our cowards,
  31. Like fragments in hard voyages, became
  32. The life o’ th’ need. Having found the back door open
  33. Of the unguarded hearts, heavens, how they wound
  34. Some slain before, some dying, some their friends
  35. O’erborne i’ th’ former wave. Ten chas’d by one
  36. Are now each one the slaughter-man of twenty.
  37. Those that would die or ere resist are grown
  38. The mortal bugs o’ th’ field.

British Lord

56 - 57
  1.                               This was strange chance.
  2. A narrow lane, an old man, and two boys!

Posthumus

58 - 63
  1. Nay, do not wonder at it; you are made
  2. Rather to wonder at the things you hear
  3. Than to work any. Will you rhyme upon’t,
  4. And vent it for a mock’ry? Here is one:
  5. Two boys, an old man (twice a boy), a lane,
  6. Preserv’d the Britains, was the Romans’ bane.”

British Lord

64
  1. Nay, be not angry, sir.

Posthumus

65 - 69
  1.                         ’Lack, to what end?
  2. Who dares not stand his foe, I’ll be his friend;
  3. For if he’ll do as he is made to do,
  4. I know he’ll quickly fly my friendship too.
  5. You have put me into rhyme.

British Lord

70
  1.                             Farewell, you’re angry.
  1. Exit.

Posthumus

72 - 91
  1. Still going? This is a lord! O noble misery,
  2. To be i’ th’ field, and ask what news?” of me!
  3. Today how many would have given their honors
  4. To have sav’d their carcasses! Took heel to do’t,
  5. And yet died too! I, in mine own woe charm’d,
  6. Could not find death where I did hear him groan,
  7. Nor feel him where he struck. Being an ugly monster,
  8. ’Tis strange he hides him in fresh cups, soft beds,
  9. Sweet words; or hath more ministers than we
  10. That draw his knives i’ th’ war. Well, I will find him;
  11. For being now a favorer to the Britain,
  12. No more a Britain, I have resum’d again
  13. The part I came in. Fight I will no more,
  14. But yield me to the veriest hind that shall
  15. Once touch my shoulder. Great the slaughter is
  16. Here made by th’ Roman; great the answer be
  17. Britains must take. For me, my ransom’s death.
  18. On either side I come to spend my breath;
  19. Which neither here I’ll keep nor bear again,
  20. But end it by some means for Imogen.
  1. Enter two British Captains and Soldiers.

First British Captain

93 - 94
  1. Great Jupiter be prais’d! Lucius is taken.
  2. ’Tis thought the old man and his sons were angels.

Second British Captain

95 - 96
  1. There was a fourth man, in a silly habit,
  2. That gave th’ affront with them.

First British Captain

97 - 98
  1.                                  So ’tis reported;
  2. But none of ’em can be found. Stand! Who’s there?

Posthumus

99 - 101
  1. A Roman,
  2. Who had not now been drooping here, if seconds
  3. Had answer’d him.

Second British Captain

102 - 105
  1.                   Lay hands on him; a dog!
  2. A leg of Rome shall not return to tell
  3. What crows have peck’d them here. He brags his service
  4. As if he were of note. Bring him to th’ King.
  1. Enter Cymbeline, Belarius, Guiderius, Arviragus, Pisanio,
  2. and Roman captives.
  1. The Captains present Posthumus to Cymbeline, who delivers
  2. him over to a Jailer.
  1. Then exeunt omnes.
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