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SCENE I.-A Field between the British and Roman Camps.
Enter POSTHUMUS, with a bloody Handkerchief.
Post. Yea, bloody cloth, I'll keep thee; for I wished
Thou shouldst be coloured thus. You married ones,
If each of you would take this course, how many
Must murder wives much better than themselves,
For wrying but a little !-O, Pisanio!
Every good servant does not all commands:
No bond, but to do just ones.-Gods! if you
Should have ta'en vengeance on my faults, I never
Had liv'd to put on this: so had you sav'd
The noble Imogen to repent; and struck
Me wretch, more worth your vengeance. But, alack,
You snatch some hence for little faults; that's love,
To have them fall no more: you some permit
To second ills with ills, each elder worse;
And make them dread it to the doer's thrift.
But Imogen is your own: Do your best wills,
And make me bless'd to obey!-I am brought hither
Among the Italian gentry, and to fight
Against my lady's kingdom: 'Tis enough
That, Britain, I have killed thy mistress; peace!
I'll give no wound to thee. Therefore, good heavens, Hear patiently my purpose: I'll disrobe me
Of these Italian weeds, and suit myself
As does a Briton peasant: so I'll fight
Against the part I come with; so I'll die
For thee, O Imogen, even for whom my life
Is, every breath, a death: and thus, unknown,
Pitied, nor hated, to the face of peril
Myself I'll dedicate. Let me make men know
More valour in me than my habits show.
Gods, put the strength o'the Leonati in me!
To shame the guise o'the world, I will begin
The fashion, less without, and more within.
SCENE II.-The same.
Enter at one Side, LUCIUS, IACHIMO, and the Roman
Army; at the other Side, the British Army; LEONA-
TUS POSTHUMUS following it, like a poor Soldier.
They march over, and go out. Alarums. Then enter
again in skirmish, IACHIMO and POSTHUMUS: he van-
quisheth and disarmeth IACHIMO, and then leaves him.
Iach. The heaviness and guilt within my bosom
Takes off my manhood: I have belied a lady,
The princess of this country, and the air on't
Revengingly enfeebles me; Or could this carl,
A very drudge of nature's, have subdu'd me,
In my profession? Knighthoods and honours, borne
As I wear mine, are titles but of scorn.
If that thy gentry, Britain, go before
This lout, as he exceeds our lords, the odds
Is, that we scarce are men, and you are gods. [Exit.
The Battle continues; the Britons fly; CYMBELINE is taken; then enter, to his rescue, BELARIUS, GUIDERIUS, and ARVIRAGUS.
Bel. Stand, stand! We have the advantage of the ground;
The lane is guarded: nothing routs us, but
The villainy of our fears.
Gui. Arv. Stand, stand, and fight!
Enter POSTHUMUS, and seconds the Britons: They rescue CYMBELINE, and exeunt. Then, enter LUCIUS, IA
CHIMO, and IMOGEN.
Luc. Away, boy, from the troops, and save thyself: For friends kill friends, and the disorder's such As war were hood-wink'd.
Iach. "Tis their fresh supplies.
Luc. It is a day turn'd strangely: Or betimes Let's re-enforce, or fly.
Though you, it seems, come from the fliers.
Lord. I did.
SCENE III.-Another Part of the Field.
Enter POSTHUMUS and a British Lord.
Lord. Cam'st thou from where they made the stand! Post. I did:
Post. 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 strait lane; the enemy full-hearted,
Lolling the tongue with slaughtering, having work
More plentiful than tools to do't, struck down
Some mortally, some slightly touch'd, some falling
Merely through fear; that the strait pass was damm'd
With dead men, hurt behind, and cowards living
To die with lengthened shame.
Lord. Where was this lane?
Post. Close by the battle, ditch'd, and wall'd with turf;
Which gave advantage to an ancient soldier,-
An honest one, I warrant; who deserv'd
So long a breeding, as his white beard came to,
In doing this for his country;-athwart the lane,
He, with two striplings, (lads more like to run
The country base, than to commit such slaughter;
With faces fit for masks, or rather fairer
Than those for preservation cas'd, or shame,)
Made good the passage: cry'd to those that fled,
Our Britain's harts die flying, not our men:
To darkness fleet, souls that fly backwards! Stand;
Or we are Romans, and will give you that
Like beasts, which you shun beastly; and may save
But to look back in frown; stand, stand.—These three,
Three thousand confident, in act as many,
(For three performers are the file, when all
The rest do nothing,) with this word, stand, stand,
Accommodated by the place, more charming,
With their own nobleness, (which could have turned
A distaff to a lance,) gilded pale looks,
Part, shame, part, spirit renew'd; that some, turn'd coward
But by example (O, a sin in war,
Damn'd in the first beginners!) 'gan to look
The way that they did, and to grin like lions.
Upon the pikes o'the hunters. Then began
A stop i'the chaser, a retire; anon,
A rout, confusion thick: Forthwith, they fly
Chickens, the way which they stoop'd eagles; slaves,
The strides they victors made: And now our cowards
(Like fragments in hard voyages,) became
The life o'the need; having found the back-door open
Of the unguarded hearts, Heavens, how they wound!
Some, slain before; some, dying; some, their friends
O'er-borne i'the former wave: ten, chac'd by one,
Are now each one the slaughter-man of twenty:.
Those, that would die or ere resist, are grown
The mortal bugs o'the field.
Lord. This was strange chance:
A narrow lane! an old man, and two boys!
Post. 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,
And vent it for a mockery? Here is one :
Two boys, an old man twice a boy, a lane,
Preserv'd the Britons, was the Romans' bane.
Lord. Nay, be not angry, sir.
Post. 'Lack, to what end?
Who dares not stand his foe, I'll be his friend:
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.
Lord. Farewell; you are angry.
Post. Still going?-This is a lord! O noble misery!