A line-by-line translation

Cymbeline

Cymbeline Translation Act 1, Scene 1

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Enter two Gentlemen

FIRST GENTLEMAN

You do not meet a man but frowns: our bloods No more obey the heavens than our courtiers Still seem as does the king.

FIRST GENTLEMAN

Every man you meet these days is frowning. Our bodies are in agreement with the planetary influences just as the courtiers's moods seem to reflect the king's.

SECOND GENTLEMAN

But what's the matter?

SECOND GENTLEMAN

What's wrong?

FIRST GENTLEMAN

His daughter, and the heir of's kingdom, whom He purposed to his wife's sole son—a widow That late he married—hath referr'd herself Unto a poor but worthy gentleman: she's wedded; Her husband banish'd; she imprison'd: all Is outward sorrow; though I think the king Be touch'd at very heart.

FIRST GENTLEMAN

The king wanted his daughter, the only heir to his kingdom, to marry his wife's only son. By his wife, I mean a widow he recently married. But the daughter decided to marry a poor but honest man instead. She's married, her husband is banished, she's imprisoned: everything seems terrible. I think the king is overwhelmed with sadness.

SECOND GENTLEMAN

None but the king?

SECOND GENTLEMAN

Only the king?

FIRST GENTLEMAN

He that hath lost her too; so is the queen, That most desired the match; but not a courtier, Although they wear their faces to the bent Of the king's look's, hath a heart that is not Glad at the thing they scowl at.

FIRST GENTLEMAN

So is the man who was supposed to marry her. So is the queen, who really wanted the marriage to happen. But all the courtiers, although they frown like the king, are secretly happy about the thing they frown at.

SECOND GENTLEMAN

And why so?

SECOND GENTLEMAN

Why?

FIRST GENTLEMAN

He that hath miss'd the princess is a thing Too bad for bad report: and he that hath her— I mean, that married her, alack, good man! And therefore banish'd—is a creature such As, to seek through the regions of the earth For one his like, there would be something failing In him that should compare. I do not think So fair an outward and such stuff within Endows a man but he.

FIRST GENTLEMAN

The man who lost the princess is so bad it's impossible to describe him accurately. And the man who has her—I mean the man who married her, oh, poor good man!—and is banished because of this, is a man so good that even if you searched through the whole world for his equal, anyone you found to compare with him would still be a little less good. I don't think any man is as attractive inside and out as he is.

SECOND GENTLEMAN

You speak him far.

SECOND GENTLEMAN

You speak highly of him.

FIRST GENTLEMAN

I do extend him, sir, within himself,Crush him together rather than unfoldHis measure duly.

FIRST GENTLEMAN

I cannot speak highly of him enough. What I say is too low and his virtue cannot be accurately measured.

SECOND GENTLEMAN

What's his name and birth?

SECOND GENTLEMAN

What's his name and family?

FIRST GENTLEMAN

I cannot delve him to the root: his father Was call'd Sicilius, who did join his honour Against the Romans with Cassibelan, But had his titles by Tenantius whom He served with glory and admired success, So gain'd the sur-addition Leonatus; And had, besides this gentleman in question, Two other sons, who in the wars o' the time Died with their swords in hand; for which their father, Then old and fond of issue, took such sorrow That he quit being, and his gentle lady, Big of this gentleman our theme, deceased As he was born. The king he takes the babe To his protection, calls him Posthumus Leonatus, Breeds him and makes him of his bed-chamber, Puts to him all the learnings that his time Could make him the receiver of; which he took, As we do air, fast as 'twas minister'd, And in's spring became a harvest, lived in court— Which rare it is to do—most praised, most loved, A sample to the youngest, to the more mature A glass that feated them, and to the graver A child that guided dotards; to his mistress, For whom he now is banish'd, her own price Proclaims how she esteem'd him and his virtue; By her election may be truly read What kind of man he is.

FIRST GENTLEMAN

I don't know his whole family tree. His father was called Sicilius. Sicilius fought against the Romans with Cassibelan, but was granted nobility under Tenantius. He served Tenantius so gloriously and was so well-known for his achievements that he was given the additional name "Leonatus." He had two other sons, in addition to this man we are talking about, who died fighting in the wars taking place at the time. Their father, who was old and fond of his children, was so sad that he died. His sensitive wife, pregnant with this man who is the theme of our conversation, died as he was born. The king took the baby under his protection, called him Posthumus Leonatus, raised him, and made him one of his closest attendants. He gave him as much of an education as Posthumus could find time for. Posthumus took to this education as naturally as people take to air, that is, he took it in as quickly as it was given to him. He fulfilled his potential when he grew up, and lived in court—a rare thing to do—greatly praised and greatly loved. He was an example to the youngest, to the full-grown a model for their own behavior, and seemed to serious observers like a child leading old people. As for his wife, who is the reason he is now banished, her own excellence shows how much she valued him and his virtue. By the fact that she chose him you can clearly understand what kind of man he is.

SECOND GENTLEMAN

I honour himEven out of your report. But, pray you, tell me,Is she sole child to the king?

SECOND GENTLEMAN

I respect him just from hearing you describe him. But tell me, is she the king's only child?

FIRST GENTLEMAN

His only child. He had two sons: if this be worth your hearing, Mark it: the eldest of them at three years old, I' the swathing-clothes the other, from their nursery Were stol'n, and to this hour no guess in knowledge Which way they went.

FIRST GENTLEMAN

Yes, his only child. He had two sons. Pay attention, if this is something you want to hear about. When the older one was three and the other one was still in his swaddling clothes, they were stolen from their nursery, and to this day no one has any idea where they went.

SECOND GENTLEMAN

How long is this ago?

SECOND GENTLEMAN

How long ago was this?

FIRST GENTLEMAN

Some twenty years.

FIRST GENTLEMAN

About twenty years.

SECOND GENTLEMAN

That a king's children should be so convey'd,So slackly guarded, and the search so slow,That could not trace them!

SECOND GENTLEMAN

How could it be that a king's children were taken in this way? And that they were so badly guarded? And that the search for them was so slow and found no trace of them?

FIRST GENTLEMAN

Howsoe'er 'tis strange,Or that the negligence may well be laugh'd at,Yet is it true, sir.

FIRST GENTLEMAN

However strange it is and however much you could laugh at the incompetence, it's true, sir.

SECOND GENTLEMAN

I do well believe you.

SECOND GENTLEMAN

I believe you.

FIRST GENTLEMAN

We must forbear: here comes the gentleman,The queen, and princess.

FIRST GENTLEMAN

We have to stop talking: here come this man, the queen, and the princess.

Exeunt

Enter the QUEEN, POSTHUMUS LEONATUS, and IMOGEN

QUEEN

No, be assured you shall not find me, daughter, After the slander of most stepmothers, Evil-eyed unto you: you're my prisoner, but Your gaoler shall deliver you the keys That lock up your restraint. For you, Posthumus, So soon as I can win the offended king, I will be known your advocate: marry, yet The fire of rage is in him, and 'twere good You lean'd unto his sentence with what patience Your wisdom may inform you.

QUEEN

My daughter, you can be sure I will not scheme against you despite the lies they tell about most stepmothers. You're my prisoner, but although I am your jailer I will give you the keys that keep you locked in here. As for you, Posthumus, as soon as I can calm the upset king, I will speak in your defense. He is still burning with anger, and it would be best for you to go along with his sentence of banishment as patiently as you can manage.

POSTHUMUS LEONATUS

Please your highness,I will from hence to-day.

POSTHUMUS LEONATUS

Yes your highness, I will leave today.

QUEEN

You know the peril. I'll fetch a turn about the garden, pitying The pangs of barr'd affections, though the king Hath charged you should not speak together.

QUEEN

You know the risk. I'll take a walk around the garden, since I pity how sad you are to be separated from the person you love, even though the king commanded that you should not be allowed to speak to each other.

Exit

IMOGEN

O Dissembling courtesy! How fine this tyrant Can tickle where she wounds! My dearest husband, I something fear my father's wrath; but nothing— Always reserved my holy duty—what His rage can do on me: you must be gone; And I shall here abide the hourly shot Of angry eyes, not comforted to live, But that there is this jewel in the world That I may see again.

IMOGEN

What lying kindness! She's a bully who wounds you then tickles the wound. My dear husband, I am sometimes afraid of my father's anger, but not at all—except that it is my god-given duty not to make him angry—what he could do to me because of it. You must go, and I will be here suffering from the glares shot at me by angry eyes. I can't bear to stay alive, except that I have this hope, as though it is a precious jewel I own, that I might see you again. 

POSTHUMUS LEONATUS

My queen! my mistress! O lady, weep no more, lest I give cause To be suspected of more tenderness Than doth become a man. I will remain The loyal'st husband that did e'er plight troth: My residence in Rome at one Philario's, Who to my father was a friend, to me Known but by letter: thither write, my queen, And with mine eyes I'll drink the words you send, Though ink be made of gall.

POSTHUMUS LEONATUS

My queen! My wife! Don't cry any more, or I'll show more weakness than is proper for a man. I will keep being the most loyal husband who ever married anyone. I am staying in Rome at a man called Philario's house. He was a friend of my father's, but I have only communicated with him by writing. Send your letters there, my queen, and I'll drink the words you send me with my eyes, even though ink is made of that bitter material, gall.

Re-enter QUEEN

QUEEN

Be brief, I pray you:If the king come, I shall incur I know notHow much of his displeasure.

QUEEN

Keep this short, please. If the king comes, I don't know how angry at me he will be.

Aside

Yet I'll move himTo walk this way: I never do him wrong,But he does buy my injuries, to be friends;Pays dear for my offenses.

I'll convince the king to walk this way. Not only do I do him wrong, but I make him reward me for it: he doesn't know I'm the person who causes the problems he pays me to solve. He's bribing the wrongs I do to him as though they're people and he wants to make them his friends.

POSTHUMUS LEONATUS

Should we be taking leaveAs long a term as yet we have to live,The loathness to depart would grow. Adieu!

POSTHUMUS LEONATUS

Even if we kept saying goodbye for the rest of our lives, it would keep getting harder to leave. Goodbye!

IMOGEN

Nay, stay a little: Were you but riding forth to air yourself, Such parting were too petty. Look here, love; This diamond was my mother's: take it, heart; But keep it till you woo another wife, When Imogen is dead.

IMOGEN

No, stay a little longer. Even if you were just going on a ride to get some air, that would not be enough of a goodbye. Look, my love, this diamond ring was my mother's. Take it, sweetheart. Keep it only until you ask another woman to marry you, when I, Imogen, am dead.

POSTHUMUS LEONATUS

How, how! another? You gentle gods, give me but this I have, And sear up my embracements from a next With bonds of death!

POSTHUMUS LEONATUS

What? Another woman? Kind gods, just give me this one I have, and if I try to kiss another one then stop me by burning me to death!

Putting on the ring

POSTHUMUS LEONATUS

Remain, remain thou here While sense can keep it on. And, sweetest, fairest, As I my poor self did exchange for you, To your so infinite loss, so in our trifles I still win of you: for my sake wear this; It is a manacle of love; I'll place it Upon this fairest prisoner.

POSTHUMUS LEONATUS

[To the ring] Stay, stay there  

[To Imogen]
 while I am alive enough to keep it on. And, sweetest, most beautiful woman, just as I exchanged myself for you, which was such a bad bargain for you, I'm still getting a better deal in this exchange of presents. Wear this for my sake. It is a handcuff of love. I'll put it on this most beautiful of prisoners.

Putting a bracelet upon her arm

IMOGEN

O the gods!When shall we see again?

IMOGEN

Oh gods! When will we see each other again?

Enter CYMBELINE and Lords

POSTHUMUS LEONATUS

Alack, the king!

POSTHUMUS LEONATUS

Oh no, the king!

CYMBELINE

Thou basest thing, avoid! hence, from my sight! If after this command thou fraught the court With thy unworthiness, thou diest: away! Thou'rt poison to my blood.

CYMBELINE

You lowest of things, go away! Go, out of my sight! If after being commanded to do this you still weigh the court down with your undeserving presence, you will die. Go away! You are like poison in my blood.

POSTHUMUS LEONATUS

The gods protect you!And bless the good remainders of the court! I am gone.

POSTHUMUS LEONATUS

May the gods protect you! And bless those who stay in the court! I am gone.

Exit

IMOGEN

There cannot be a pinch in deathMore sharp than this is.

IMOGEN

Death can't hurt worse than this.

CYMBELINE

O disloyal thing,That shouldst repair my youth, thou heap'stA year's age on me.

CYMBELINE

You disloyal thing, you should make me feel young again but you make me feel a year older. 

IMOGEN

I beseech you, sir, Harm not yourself with your vexation I am senseless of your wrath; a touch more rare Subdues all pangs, all fears.

IMOGEN

Please, sir, don't hurt yourself with your anger. I can't feel it. An even worse pain overcomes all hurts, all fears.

CYMBELINE

Past grace? Obedience?

CYMBELINE

So you are past showing me grace? Past obedience?

IMOGEN

Past hope, and in despair; that way, past grace.

IMOGEN

I am past hope, and in despair. In that way I am past grace.

CYMBELINE

That mightst have had the sole son of my queen!

CYMBELINE

You could have married my wife, the queen's, only son!

IMOGEN

O blest, that I might not! I chose an eagle,And did avoid a puttock.

IMOGEN

I'm lucky I didn't! I chose an eagle and avoided a vulture.

CYMBELINE

Thou took'st a beggar; wouldst have made my throneA seat for baseness.

CYMBELINE

You married a beggar. You wanted to make my throne a resting-place for lowness.

IMOGEN

No; I rather addedA lustre to it.

IMOGEN

No, I made it shine more brightly.

CYMBELINE

O thou vile one!

CYMBELINE

You disgusting person!

IMOGEN

Sir, It is your fault that I have loved Posthumus: You bred him as my playfellow, and he is A man worth any woman, overbuys me Almost the sum he pays.

IMOGEN

Sir, it's your fault I fell in love with Posthumus. You brought him up to be my playmate, and he is a man who would deserve any woman. He is worth almost twice as much as me.

CYMBELINE

What, art thou mad?

CYMBELINE

Are you crazy?

IMOGEN

Almost, sir: heaven restore me! Would I were A neat-herd's daughter, and my Leonatus Our neighbour shepherd's son!

IMOGEN

Nearly, sir. May the gods make me sane again! I wish I were a cattle-herder's daughter and that my Leonatus were the son of another cattle-herder who lived nearby!

CYMBELINE

Thou foolish thing!

CYMBELINE

You foolish thing!

Re-enter QUEEN

CYMBELINE

They were again together: you have doneNot after our command. Away with her,And pen her up.

CYMBELINE

They were together again. You didn't obey my order. Take her away and lock her up.

QUEEN

Beseech your patience. Peace, Dear lady daughter, peace! Sweet sovereign, Leave us to ourselves; and make yourself some comfort Out of your best advice.

QUEEN

Please forgive me. Calm down, dear daughter, calm down! Dear king, leave us alone, and comfort yourself as best you can.

CYMBELINE

Nay, let her languish A drop of blood a day; and, being aged, Die of this folly!

CYMBELINE

No, let her suffer as though she sheds a drop of blood every day and finally, when she is old, let her die of this foolishness!

Exeunt CYMBELINE and Lords

QUEEN

Fie! you must give way.

QUEEN

Come on! You have to give up.

Enter PISANIO

QUEEN

Here is your servant. How now, sir! What news?

QUEEN

Here is your servant. Hey, sir, what's the news?

PISANIO

My lord your son drew on my master.

PISANIO

Your son drew his sword against my master Posthumus.

QUEEN

Ha!No harm, I trust, is done?

QUEEN

What! I hope no one was hurt?

PISANIO

There might have been, But that my master rather play'd than fought And had no help of anger: they were parted By gentlemen at hand.

PISANIO

They could have been except that my master didn't fight back, just played around without feeling any anger. Some gentlemen who were nearby separated them.

QUEEN

I am very glad on't.

QUEEN

I am very glad to hear that.

IMOGEN

Your son's my father's friend; he takes his part. To draw upon an exile! O brave sir! I would they were in Afric both together; Myself by with a needle, that I might prick The goer-back. Why came you from your master?

IMOGEN

Your son is my father's friend. He defends him. Drawing his sword against an exile! What a brave man! I wish they were both in Africa together, and that I were near them with a needle, to poke whichever one retreated from the fight. Why did you leave your master?

PISANIO

On his command: he would not suffer me To bring him to the haven; left these notes Of what commands I should be subject to, When 't pleased you to employ me.

PISANIO

On his orders. He wouldn't let me accompany him to the port. He left these notes about what my duties should be, if you want to employ me.

QUEEN

This hath beenYour faithful servant: I dare lay mine honourHe will remain so.

QUEEN

He has been a faithful servant to you. I bet my honor he will remain faithful.

PISANIO

I humbly thank your highness.

PISANIO

Thank you, your highness.

QUEEN

Pray, walk awhile.

QUEEN

Please, walk with me awhile.

IMOGEN

About some half-hour hence, I pray you, speak with me: you shall at least Go see my lord aboard: for this time leave me.

IMOGEN

Talk to me in about half an hour. You will at least watch my husband get on his ship. Leave me alone for now.

Exeunt

Cymbeline
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