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ACT III SCENE VI Wales. Before the cave of Belarius. 
 Enter IMOGEN, in boy's clothes. 
IMOGEN I see a man's life is a tedious one: 
 I have tired myself, and for two nights together 
 Have made the ground my bed. I should be sick, 
 But that my resolution helps me. Milford, 5
 When from the mountain-top Pisanio show'd thee, 
 Thou wast within a ken: O Jove! I think 
 Foundations fly the wretched; such, I mean, 
 Where they should be relieved. Two beggars told me 
 I could not miss my way: will poor folks lie, 10
 That have afflictions on them, knowing 'tis 
 A punishment or trial? Yes; no wonder, 
 When rich ones scarce tell true. To lapse in fulness 
 Is sorer than to lie for need, and falsehood 
 Is worse in kings than beggars. My dear lord! 15
 Thou art one o' the false ones. Now I think on thee, 
 My hunger's gone; but even before, I was 
 At point to sink for food. But what is this? 
 Here is a path to't: 'tis some savage hold: 
 I were best not to call; I dare not call: 20
 yet famine, 
 Ere clean it o'erthrow nature, makes it valiant, 
 Plenty and peace breeds cowards: hardness ever 
 Of hardiness is mother. Ho! who's here? 
 If any thing that's civil, speak; if savage, 25
 Take or lend. Ho! No answer? Then I'll enter. 
 Best draw my sword: and if mine enemy 
 But fear the sword like me, he'll scarcely look on't. 
 Such a foe, good heavens! 
 Exit, to the cave. 
BELARIUS You, Polydote, have proved best woodman and 30
 Are master of the feast: Cadwal and I 
 Will play the cook and servant; 'tis our match: 
 The sweat of industry would dry and die, 
 But for the end it works to. Come; our stomachs 
 Will make what's homely savoury: weariness 35
 Can snore upon the flint, when resty sloth 
 Finds the down pillow hard. Now peace be here, 
 Poor house, that keep'st thyself! 
GUIDERIUS I am thoroughly weary. 
ARVIRAGUS I am weak with toil, yet strong in appetite. 40
GUIDERIUS There is cold meat i' the cave; we'll browse on that, 
 Whilst what we have kill'd be cook'd. 
BELARIUS Looking into the cave 
 Stay; come not in. 
 But that it eats our victuals, I should think 
 Here were a fairy. 45
GUIDERIUS What's the matter, sir? 
BELARIUS By Jupiter, an angel! or, if not, 
 An earthly paragon! Behold divineness 
 No elder than a boy! 
 Re-enter IMOGEN. 
IMOGEN Good masters, harm me not: 50
 Before I enter'd here, I call'd; and thought 
 To have begg'd or bought what I have took: 
 good troth, 
 I have stol'n nought, nor would not, though I had found 
 Gold strew'd i' the floor. Here's money for my meat: 55
 I would have left it on the board so soon 
 As I had made my meal, and parted 
 With prayers for the provider. 
GUIDERIUS Money, youth? 
ARVIRAGUS All gold and silver rather turn to dirt! 60
 As 'tis no better reckon'd, but of those 
 Who worship dirty gods. 
IMOGEN I see you're angry: 
 Know, if you kill me for my fault, I should 
 Have died had I not made it. 65
BELARIUS Whither bound? 
IMOGEN To Milford-Haven. 
BELARIUS What's your name? 
IMOGEN Fidele, sir. I have a kinsman who 
 Is bound for Italy; he embark'd at Milford; 70
 To whom being going, almost spent with hunger, 
 I am fall'n in this offence. 
BELARIUS Prithee, fair youth, 
 Think us no churls, nor measure our good minds 
 By this rude place we live in. Well encounter'd! 75
 'Tis almost night: you shall have better cheer 
 Ere you depart: and thanks to stay and eat it. 
 Boys, bid him welcome. 
GUIDERIUS Were you a woman, youth, 
 I should woo hard but be your groom. In honesty, 80
 I bid for you as I'd buy. 
ARVIRAGUS I'll make't my comfort 
 He is a man; I'll love him as my brother: 
 And such a welcome as I'd give to him 
 After long absence, such is yours: most welcome! 85
 Be sprightly, for you fall 'mongst friends. 
IMOGEN 'Mongst friends, 
 If brothers. 
 Would it had been so, that they 
 Had been my father's sons! then had my prize 90
 Been less, and so more equal ballasting 
 To thee, Posthumus. 
BELARIUS He wrings at some distress. 
GUIDERIUS Would I could free't! 
ARVIRAGUS Or I, whate'er it be, 95
 What pain it cost, what danger. God's! 
BELARIUS Hark, boys. 
IMOGEN Great men, 
 That had a court no bigger than this cave, 
 That did attend themselves and had the virtue 100
 Which their own conscience seal'd them--laying by 
 That nothing-gift of differing multitudes-- 
 Could not out-peer these twain. Pardon me, gods! 
 I'd change my sex to be companion with them, 
 Since Leonatus's false. 105
BELARIUS It shall be so. 
 Boys, we'll go dress our hunt. Fair youth, come in: 
 Discourse is heavy, fasting; when we have supp'd, 
 We'll mannerly demand thee of thy story, 
 So far as thou wilt speak it. 110
GUIDERIUS Pray, draw near. 
ARVIRAGUS The night to the owl and morn to the lark 
 less welcome. 
IMOGEN Thanks, sir. 
ARVIRAGUS I pray, draw near. 115

Cymbeline, Act 3, Scene 7


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