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Cymbeline, King of Britain.
, } Italians.
Iachimo, friend to Philario,
Queen, wife to Cymbeline.
Lords, Ladies, Roman Senators, Tribunes, Apparitions,
a Soothsayer, a Dutch Gentleman, a Spanish Gentleman, Musicians, Officers, Captains, Soldiers, Messengers, and other Attendants.
Scene, sometimes in Britain; sometimes in Italy.
1 Gent. You do not meet a man, but frowns:
our bloods No more obey the heavens, than our courtiers; Still seem, as does the king's. 2 Gent.
But what's the matter? 1 Gent. His daughter, and the heir of his king
dom, whom He purpos’d to his wife's sole son, (a widow, That late he married) hath referr'd herself Unto a poor, but worthy, gentleman: She's wedded; Her husband banish’d; she imprison'd: all Is outward sorrow; though, I think, the king Be touch'd at very heart. 2 Gent.
None but the king? i Gent. He, that hath lost her, too: so is the
queen, That most desir'd the match: But not a courtier, Although they wear their faces to the bent
Of the king's looks, hath a heart that is not
And why so? 1 Gent. He that hath miss'd the princess, is a thing Too bad for bad report: and he that hath her, (I mean, that married her,-alack, good man! And therefore banishd,) is a creature such As, to seek through the regions of the earth For one his like, there would be something failing In him that should compare. I do not think, So fair an outward, and such stuff within, Endows a man but he. 2 Gent.
You speak him far. i Gent. I do extend him, sir, within himself; Crush him together, rather than unfold His measure duly. 2 Gent.
What's his name, and birth: 1 Gent. I cannot delve him to the root: His
father Was call’d Sicilius, who did join his honour, Against the Romans, with Cassibelan; But had his titles by Tenantius, whom He serv'd with glory and admir’d success; So gain’d the sur-addition, Leonatus: And had, besides this gentleman in question, Two other sons; who, in the wars o'the time, Died with their swords in hand; for which, their
father (Then old and fond of issue,) took such sorrow, That he quit being; and his gentle lady, Big of this gentleman, our theme, deceas'd As he was born. The king, he takes the babe
To his protection; calls him Posthumus;
I honour him
His only child. He had two sons, (if this be worth your hearing, Mark it,) the eldest of them at three years old, l'the swathing clothes the other, from their nursery Were stolen; and to this hour, no guess in know
ledge Which way they went. 2 Gent.
How long is this ago? 1 Gent. Some twenty years. 2 Gent. That a king's children should be so
convey’d! So slackly guarded! And the search so slow, That could not trace them! 1 Gent.
Howsoe'er 'tis strange, Or that the negligence may well be laugh’d at,