Reference > William Shakespeare > The Oxford Shakespeare > Cymbeline
William Shakespeare (1564–1616).  The Oxford Shakespeare.  1914.
Act III. Scene I.
Britain.  A Hall in CYMBELINE’S Palace.
Enter at one door CYMBELINE, QUEEN, CLOTEN, and Lords; and at another CAIUS LUCIUS and Attendants.
  Cym.  Now say what would Augustus Cæsar with us?
  Luc.  When Julius Cæsar—whose remembrance yet
Lives in men’s eyes, and will to ears and tongues        5
Be theme and hearing ever—was in this Britain,
And conquer’d it, Cassibelan, thine uncle,—
Famous in Cæsar’s praises, no whit less
Than in his feats deserving it,—for him
And his succession, granted Rome a tribute,        10
Yearly three thousand pounds, which by thee lately
Is left untender’d.
  Queen.        And, to kill the marvel,
Shall be so ever.
  Clo.        There be many Cæsars        15
Ere such another Julius. Britain is
A world by itself, and we will nothing pay
For wearing our own noses.
  Queen.        That opportunity,
Which then they had to take from ’s, to resume,        20
We have again. Remember, sir, my liege,
The kings your ancestors, together with
The natural bravery of your isle, which stands
As Neptune’s park, ribbed and paled in
With rocks unscaleable and roaring waters,        25
With sands, that will not bear your enemies’ boats,
But suck them up to the topmast. A kind of conquest
Cæsar made here, but made not here his brag
Of ‘came, and saw, and overcame:’ with shame—
The first that ever touch’d him—he was carried        30
From off our coast, twice beaten; and his shipping—
Poor ignorant baubles!—on our terrible seas,
Like egg-shells mov’d upon their surges, crack’d
As easily ’gainst our rocks: for joy whereof
The fam’d Cassibelan, who was once at point—        35
O giglot fortune!—to master Cæsar’s sword,
Made Lud’s town with rejoicing-fires bright,
And Britons strut with courage.
  Clo.  Come, there’s no more tribute to be paid. Our kingdom is stronger than it was at that time; and, as I said, there is no moe such Cæsars; other of them may have crooked noses, but to owe such straight arms, none.
  Cym.  Son, let your mother end.        40
  Clo.  We have yet many among us can gripe as hard as Cassibelan; I do not say I am one, but I have a hand. Why tribute? why should we pay tribute? If Cæsar can hide the sun from us with a blanket, or put the moon in his pocket, we will pay him tribute for light; else, sir, no more tribute, pray you now.
  Cym.  You must know,
Till the injurious Romans did extort
This tribute from us, we were free; Cæsar’s ambition—
Which swell’d so much that it did almost stretch        45
The sides o’ the world—against all colour here
Did put the yoke upon ’s; which to shake off
Becomes a war-like people, whom we reckon
Ourselves to be. We do say then to Cæsar
Our ancestor was that Mulmutius which        50
Ordain’d our laws, whose use the sword of Cæsar
Hath too much mangled; whose repair and franchise
Shall, by the power we hold, be our good deed,
Though Rome be therefore angry. Mulmutius made our laws,
Who was the first of Britain which did put        55
His brows within a golden crown, and call’d
Himself a king.
  Luc.        I am sorry, Cymbeline,
That I am to pronounce Augustus Cæsar—
Cæsar, that hath more kings his servants than        60
Thyself domestic officers—thine enemy.
Receive it from me, then: war and confusion
In Cæsar’s name pronounce I ’gainst thee: look
For fury not to be resisted. Thus defied,
I thank thee for myself.        65
  Cym.        Thou art welcome, Caius.
Thy Cæsar knighted me; my youth I spent
Much under him; of him I gather’d honour;
Which he, to seek of me again, perforce,
Behoves me keep at utterance. I am perfect        70
That the Pannonians and Dalmatians for
Their liberties are now in arms; a precedent
Which not to read would show the Britons cold:
So Cæsar shall not find them.
  Luc.        Let proof speak.        75
  Clo.  His majesty bids you welcome. Make pastime with us a day or two, or longer; if you seek us afterwards in other terms, you shall find us in our salt-water girdle; if you beat us out of it, it is yours; if you fall in the adventure, our crows shall fare the better for you; and there’s an end.
  Luc.  So, sir.
  Cym.  I know your master’s pleasure and he mine:
All the remain is ‘Welcome!’  [Exeunt.
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