Britain. A hall in CYMBELINE'S palace
Enter in state, CYMBELINE, QUEEN, CLOTEN, and LORDS at one door,
and at another CAIUS LUCIUS and attendants
Now say, what would Augustus Caesar with us?
When Julius Caesar- whose remembrance yet
Lives in men's eyes, and will to ears and tongues
Be theme and hearing ever- was in this Britain,
And conquer'd it, Cassibelan, thine uncle,
Famous in Caesar's praises no whit less
Than in his feats deserving it, for him
And his succession granted Rome a tribute,
Yearly three thousand pounds, which by thee lately
Is left untender'd.
And, to kill the marvel,
Shall be so ever.
There be many Caesars
Ere such another Julius. Britain is
A world by itself, and we will nothing pay
For wearing our own noses.
Which then they had to take from 's, to resume
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, ribb'd and pal'd in
With rocks unscalable and roaring waters,
With sands that will not bear your enemies' boats
But suck them up to th' top-mast. A kind of conquest
Caesar 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
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-
O, giglot fortune!- to master Caesar's sword,
Made Lud's Town with rejoicing fires bright
And Britons strut with courage.
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 Caesars. Other of them may have crook'd noses; but to
owe such straight arms, none.
Son, let your mother end.
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 Caesar 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.
You must know,
Till the injurious Romans did extort
This tribute from us, we were free. Caesar's ambition-
Which swell'd so much that it did almost stretch
The sides o' th' world- against all colour here
Did put the yoke upon's; which to shake of
Becomes a warlike people, whom we reckon
Ourselves to be.
Say then to Caesar,
Our ancestor was that Mulmutius which
Ordain'd our laws- whose use the sword of Caesar
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
His brows within a golden crown, and call'd
Himself a king.
I am sorry, Cymbeline,
That I am to pronounce Augustus Caesar-
Caesar, that hath moe kings his servants than
Thyself domestic officers- thine enemy.
Receive it from me, then: war and confusion
In Caesar's name pronounce I 'gainst thee; look
For fury not to be resisted. Thus defied,
I thank thee for myself.
Thou art welcome, Caius.
Thy Caesar 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
That the Pannonians and Dalmatians for
Their liberties are now in arms, a precedent
Which not to read would show the Britons cold;
So Caesar shall not find them.
Let proof speak.
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.
I know your master's pleasure, and he mine;
All the remain is, welcome.