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ACT III SCENE III Wales. A mountainous country with a cave. 
 Enter, from the cave, BELARIUS; GUIDERIUS, and ARVIRAGUS following. 
BELARIUS A goodly day not to keep house, with such 
 Whose roof's as low as ours! Stoop, boys; this gate 
 Instructs you how to adore the heavens and bows you 
 To a morning's holy office: the gates of monarchs 5
 Are arch'd so high that giants may jet through 
 And keep their impious turbans on, without 
 Good morrow to the sun. Hail, thou fair heaven! 
 We house i' the rock, yet use thee not so hardly 
 As prouder livers do. 10
GUIDERIUS Hail, heaven! 
ARVIRAGUS Hail, heaven! 
BELARIUS Now for our mountain sport: up to yond hill; 
 Your legs are young; I'll tread these flats. Consider, 
 When you above perceive me like a crow, 15
 That it is place which lessens and sets off; 
 And you may then revolve what tales I have told you 
 Of courts, of princes, of the tricks in war: 
 This service is not service, so being done, 
 But being so allow'd: to apprehend thus, 20
 Draws us a profit from all things we see; 
 And often, to our comfort, shall we find 
 The sharded beetle in a safer hold 
 Than is the full-wing'd eagle. O, this life 
 Is nobler than attending for a cheque, 25
 Richer than doing nothing for a bauble, 
 Prouder than rustling in unpaid-for silk: 
 Such gain the cap of him that makes 'em fine, 
 Yet keeps his book uncross'd: no life to ours. 
GUIDERIUS Out of your proof you speak: we, poor unfledged, 30
 Have never wing'd from view o' the nest, nor know not 
 What air's from home. Haply this life is best, 
 If quiet life be best; sweeter to you 
 That have a sharper known; well corresponding 
 With your stiff age: but unto us it is 35
 A cell of ignorance; travelling a-bed; 
 A prison for a debtor, that not dares 
 To stride a limit. 
ARVIRAGUS What should we speak of 
 When we are old as you? when we shall hear 40
 The rain and wind beat dark December, how, 
 In this our pinching cave, shall we discourse 
 The freezing hours away? We have seen nothing; 
 We are beastly, subtle as the fox for prey, 
 Like warlike as the wolf for what we eat; 45
 Our valour is to chase what flies; our cage 
 We make a quire, as doth the prison'd bird, 
 And sing our bondage freely. 
BELARIUS How you speak! 
 Did you but know the city's usuries 50
 And felt them knowingly; the art o' the court 
 As hard to leave as keep; whose top to climb 
 Is certain falling, or so slippery that 
 The fear's as bad as falling; the toil o' the war, 
 A pain that only seems to seek out danger 55
 I' the name of fame and honour; which dies i' 
 the search, 
 And hath as oft a slanderous epitaph 
 As record of fair act; nay, many times, 
 Doth ill deserve by doing well; what's worse, 60
 Must court'sy at the censure:--O boys, this story 
 The world may read in me: my body's mark'd 
 With Roman swords, and my report was once 
 First with the best of note: Cymbeline loved me, 
 And when a soldier was the theme, my name 65
 Was not far off: then was I as a tree 
 Whose boughs did bend with fruit: but in one night, 
 A storm or robbery, call it what you will, 
 Shook down my mellow hangings, nay, my leaves, 
 And left me bare to weather. 70
GUIDERIUS Uncertain favour! 
BELARIUS My fault being nothing--as I have told you oft-- 
 But that two villains, whose false oaths prevail'd 
 Before my perfect honour, swore to Cymbeline 
 I was confederate with the Romans: so 75
 Follow'd my banishment, and this twenty years 
 This rock and these demesnes have been my world; 
 Where I have lived at honest freedom, paid 
 More pious debts to heaven than in all 
 The fore-end of my time. But up to the mountains! 80
 This is not hunters' language: he that strikes 
 The venison first shall be the lord o' the feast; 
 To him the other two shall minister; 
 And we will fear no poison, which attends 
 In place of greater state. I'll meet you in the valleys. 85
 How hard it is to hide the sparks of nature! 
 These boys know little they are sons to the king; 
 Nor Cymbeline dreams that they are alive. 
 They think they are mine; and though train'd 
 up thus meanly 90
 I' the cave wherein they bow, their thoughts do hit 
 The roofs of palaces, and nature prompts them 
 In simple and low things to prince it much 
 Beyond the trick of others. This Polydore, 
 The heir of Cymbeline and Britain, who 95
 The king his father call'd Guiderius,--Jove! 
 When on my three-foot stool I sit and tell 
 The warlike feats I have done, his spirits fly out 
 Into my story: say 'Thus, mine enemy fell, 
 And thus I set my foot on 's neck;' even then 100
 The princely blood flows in his cheek, he sweats, 
 Strains his young nerves and puts himself in posture 
 That acts my words. The younger brother, Cadwal, 
 Once Arviragus, in as like a figure, 
 Strikes life into my speech and shows much more 105
 His own conceiving.--Hark, the game is roused! 
 O Cymbeline! heaven and my conscience knows 
 Thou didst unjustly banish me: whereon, 
 At three and two years old, I stole these babes; 
 Thinking to bar thee of succession, as 110
 Thou reft'st me of my lands. Euriphile, 
 Thou wast their nurse; they took thee for 
 their mother, 
 And every day do honour to her grave: 
 Myself, Belarius, that am Morgan call'd, 115
 They take for natural father. The game is up. 

Cymbeline, Act 3, Scene 4


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