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The miserable have no other medicine,
But only hope.
The Vanity of Life.
Reason thus with life,
If I do lose thee, I do lose a thing
That none but fools would keep; a breath thou art
(Servile to all the skyey influences.)
That dost this habitation, where thou keep’st,
Hourly afflict: merely, thou art death's fool ;
For him thou labourest by thy flight to shun,
And yet runs't toward him still : thou art not noble ;
For all the accommodations that thou bear'st
Are nursed by baseness: thou art by no means valiant ;
For thou dost fear the soft and tender fork
Of a poor worm: thy best of rest is sleep,
And that thou oft provok’st, yet grossly fear’st
Thy death, which is no more : thou art not thyself ;
For thou exist'st on many a thousand grains
That issue out of dust : happy thou art not ;
For what thou hast not, still thou strivest to get ;
And what thou hast, forget'st : thou art not certain ;
For thy complexion shifts to strange effects,*
After the moon : if thou art rich, thou art poor ;
For, like an ass, whose back with ingots bows,
Thou bear'st thy heavy riches but a journey,
And death unloads thee : friend hast thou none ;
For thine own bowels, which do call thee sire,
The mere effusion of thy proper loins,
Do curse the gout, serpigo,t and the rheum,
† A Leprous disease.
For ending thee no sooner : thou hast nor youth nor age:
But, as it were, an after-dinner's sleep,
Dreaming on both : for all thy blessed youth
Becomes as aged, and doth beg the arms
Of palsied eld ; * and when thou art old and rich,
Thou hast neither heat, affection, limb, nor beauty,
To make thy riches pleasant. What's yet in this
That bears the name of life. Yet in this life
Lie hid more thousand deaths : yet death we fear,
That makes these odds all even.
The Terrors of Death chiefly in Apprehension.
0, I do fear thee, Claudio ; and I quake
Lest thou a feverous life shouldst entertain,
And six or seven winters more respect
Than a perpetual honour. Darest thou die ?
The sense of death is most in apprehension ;
And the poor beetle that we tread upon,
In corporal sufferance finds a pang as great
As when a giant dies.
The Fear of Death.
Ay, but to die, and go we know not where ;
To lie in cold obstruction, and to rot;
This sensible warm motion to become
A kneaded clod; and the delighted spirit
To bathe in fiery floods, or to reside
In thrilling regions of thick-ribb’d ice ;
To be imprison'd in the viewless † winds,
And blown with restless violence about
The pendent world ; or to be worse than worst
Of those, that lawless and incertain thoughts
Imagine howling !-'tis too horrible!
The weariest and most loathed worldly life
That age, ache, penury, and imprisonment
Can lay on nature, is a paradise
To what we fear of death.
Virtue and Goodness.
Virtue is bold, and goodness never fearful.
Leonatus Posthumus has secretly married Imogen, daughter of Cymbeline, King of Britain, and his deceased queen. Cymbeline marries a second wife, who is a widow, having a son named Cloten, whom they design as a husband for Imogen. The king, incensed at the discovery of his daughter's marriage, orders her to be confined in the palace, whilst Posthumus is banished, and departs for Rome, where he takes up his abode in the house of his friend Philario. Belarius, a lord of Britain, in former years belonging to the court, has been unjustly banished, and retires into the mountains of Wales, taking with him Guiderius and Arviragus, the two infant sons of the king, whom he brings up as his own children. In the meantime war breaks out between the Romans and the Britons and a battle ensues, in which the former are at first successful, but Belarius and his two foster-sons, being joined by Posthumus, who has returned to Britain, rally their soldiers, and obtain the victory. Belarius, to the great joy of Cymbeline, restores to him his long-lost sons, and Imogen and Posthumus receive pardon for their surreptitious marriage. The queen, who has been, amongst other crimes, guilty of plotting against her husband's life, dies confessing her wickedness, and her son Cloten is slain hy Guiderius in single combat. Iachimo, an Italian who has behaved treacherously to Posthumus, confesses his offences, and is forgiven, and the play concludes with a declaration of peace with the Romans.
Imugen reading in bed.
Mine eyes are weak :
Fold down the leaf where I have left : to bed :
Take not away
the taper, leave it burning ;
And if thou canst awake by four o’ the clock,
I prythee, call me. Sleep hath seized me wholly.
To your protection, I commend me, gods !
From fairies, and the tempters of the night,
Guard me, beseech ye !
'T'is her breathing that Perfumes the chamber thus : the flame o' the taper Bows towards her, and would underpeep her lids, To see the enclosed lights, now canopied Under these windows, white and azure, laced With blue, of heaven's own tinct.*
On her left breast
A mole cinque-spotted, like the crimson drops
I'the bottom of a cowslip.
Hark! hark! the lark at heaven's gate sings,
And Phæbus 'gins arise,
His steeds to water at those springs
On chalic'd flowers that lies;
And winking Mary-buds begin
To ope their golden eyes ;
With every thing that pretty bin ;
My lady sweet, arise ;
* The blue veins intersecting the white skin.
'Tis gold Which makes the true man kill'd, and saves the thief; Nay, sometime, hangs both thief and true man : what Can it not do, and undo?
Impatience of Imogen to meet her husband Posthumus.
O, for a horse with wings !-Hear'st thou, Pisanio,
He is at Milford-Haven : read, and tell me
How far 'tis thither. If one of mean affairs
May plod it in a week, why may not I
Glide thither in a day ?—Then, true Pisanio,
(Who long'st, like me, to see thy lord; who long'st-
O, let me 'bate,—but not like me :-
But in a fainter kind ;-0, not like me;
For mine's beyond beyond), say, and speak thick *
(Love's counsellor should fill the bores of hearing,
To the smothering of the sense), how far it is
To this same blessed Milford ; and, by the way,
Tell me how Wales was made so happy, as
To inherit such a haven. But, first of all,
How we may steal from hence; and, for the gap
That we shall make in time, from our hence-going,
And our return, to excuse.
Belarius' Description of his Banishment.
Two villains, whose false oaths prevail'd
Before my perfect honour, swore to Cymbeline,
I was confederate with the Romans : so,
banishment; and, this twenty years,