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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.
Enter, at one side, Lucius, IACHIMO, and the Roman
Army; at the other side, the British Army; LEONATUS
POSTHUMUS following it, like a poor Soldier. They
march over, and go out. Alarums. Then enter again
in skirmish, IACHIMO and POSTHUMUS: he vanquisheth
and disarmeth IACHIMO, and then leaves him.
Iach. The heaviness and guilt within my
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, 8
A very drudge of nature's, have subdu'd me,
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. (Erit.
this carl,] Carl or churl, (ceonl, Sax.) is a clown or hus, bandman.
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, LACHIMO, 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. lach.
'Tis their fresh supplies. Luc. It is a day turn'd strangely : Or betimes Let's re-enforce, or fly.
Another part of the Field.
Enter PostHUMUS and a British Lord. Lord. Cam'st thou from where they made the stand ? Post.
Though you, it seems, come from the fliers.
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 lengthen'd shame.
Where was this lane? Post. Close by the battle, ditch'd, and walls with
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 turn'd
A distaff to a lance,) gilded pale looks,
Part, shame, part, spirit renew'd; that some, turn'd
But by example (О, 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
9 The country base,] i. e. a rustick game called prison-bars, vulgarly prison-base.
- for preservation cas'd, or shame,)] Shame for modesty.
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 bugso'the field.
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,
Preservd the Britons, was the Romans' bane.
Lord. Nay, be not angry, sir.
'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.
Farewell; you are angry.
[Exit. Post. Still going? - This is a lord ! O noble misery! To be i'the field, and ask, what news, of me ! To-day, how many would have given their honours To have sav'd their carcasses ? took heel to do't, And yet died too? I, in mine own woe charm’d, *
bugs - ] Terrors. 9 Nay, do not wonder at it :) Posthumus first bids him not wonder, then tells him in another mode of reproach, that wonder is all that he was made for.
1, in mine own woe, charm’d,] Alluding to the common superstition of charms being powerful enough to keep men unhurt in battle. It was derived from our Saxon ancestors, and so is common
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 more ministers than we
That draw his knives i'the war.- Well, I will find him:
For being now a favourer to the Roman,
No more a Briton, I have resum'd again
The part I came in: Fight I will no more,
But yield me to the veriest hind, that shall
Once touch my shoulder. Great the slaughter is
Here made by the Roman; great the answer bes
Britons must take; For me, my ransome's death;
On either side I come to spend my breath;
Which neither here I'll keep, nor bear again,
But end it by some means for Imogen.
Enter Two British Captains, and Soldiers. 1 Cap. Great Jupiter be prais'd! Lucius is taken : 'Tis thought, the old man and his sons were angels.
2 Cap. There was a fourth man, in a silly habit, That gave the affront with them.” 1 Cap.
So 'tis reported:
But none of them can be found. Stand! who is there?
Post. A Roman;
Who had not now been drooping here, if seconds
Had answer'd him.
Lay hands on him; a dog!
A leg of Rome shall not return to tell
to us with the Germans, who are above all other people given to this superstition.
great the answer be — ] Answer, as once in this play before, is retaliation.
- a silly habit,] Silly is simple or rustick. ? That gave the affront with them.] That is, that turned their faces to the enemy.