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I having ta'en the forfeit. Whereupon,— Methinks, I see him now,

POST. [Rushing forward.] Ay, so thou dost, Italian fiend !—Ay me, most credulous fool, Egregious murderer, thief, any thing That's due to all the villains past, in being, To come!-O, give me cord, or knife, or poison, Some upright justicer! Thou, king, send out For torturers ingenious: it is I

That all the abhorred things o' the earth amend,
By being worse than they. I am Posthumus,
That kill'd thy daughter:-villain-like, I lie ;-
That caus'd a lesser villain than myself,
A sacrilegious thief, to do 't:-the temple
Of virtue was she; yea, and she herself.
Spit, and throw stones, cast mire upon me, set
The dogs o' the street to bay me: every villain
Be called Posthumus Leonatus; and
Be villainy less than 'twas!-O Imogen !
My queen, my life, my wife! O Imogen,
Imogen, Imogen!


Peace, my lord; hear, hear! POST. Shall's have a play of this? Thou scornful page, There lie thy part. [Striking her: she falls. PIS. O, gentlemen, help Mine and your mistress :-O, my lord Posthumus! You ne'er kill'd Imogen till now:- help, help!— Mine honour'd lady!


Does the world go round? POST. How come these staggers on me? PIS. Wake, my mistress ! CYM. If this be so, the gods do mean to strike

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If I discover'd not which way she was gone,
It was my instant death: by accident,
I had a feigned letter of my master's
Then in my pocket, which directed him
To seek her on the mountains near to Milford;
Where, in a frenzy, in my master's garments,
Which he inforc'd from me, away he posts
With unchaste purpose, and with oath to violate
My lady's honour: what became of him,
I further know not.


Let me end the story:

I slew him there.


Marry, the gods forefend!

I would not thy good deeds should from my lips Pluck a hard sentence: pr'ythee, valiant youth, Deny't again.

I have spoke it, and I did it.
CYм. He was a prince.

a What, mak'st thou me a dullard in this act?] Do you give me, in this scene, the part only of a looker-on? Shakespeare was thinking of the stage.


GUI. A most incivil one: the wrongs he did me Were nothing prince-like; for he did provoke me With language that would make me spurn the sea, If it could so roar to me: I cut off his head; And am right glad he is not standing here To tell this tale of mine.

CYM. I am sorry for thee. By thine own tongue thou art condemn'd, and must Endure our law: thou'rt dead!


That headless man

I thought had been my lord.
Bind the offender,
And take him from our presence.
Stay, sir king:
This man is better than the man he slew,
As well descended as thyself; and hath
More of thee merited than a band of Clotens
Had ever scar for.-Let his arms alone;

[To the Guard.

They were not born for bondage.
Why, old soldier,
Wilt thou undo the worth thou art unpaid for,
By tasting of our wrath? How of descent
As good as we?

(*) First folio, sorrow.


a By tasting of our wrath?] "The consequence," Johnson says, is taken for the whole action; by tasting is by forcing us to make thee taste." This may be the true sense of the expression; but we have always conceived tasting, in this place, to

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ARV. In that he spake too far. CYм. And thou shalt die for't. BEL. We will die all three; But I will prove, that two on's are as good As I have given out him.-My sons, I must, For mine own part, unfold a dangerous speech, Though, haply, well for you.


Your danger's ours.

GUI. And our good, his. BEL. Have at it then, by leave. Thou hadst, great king, a subject who Was call'd Belarius.

What of him? he's


A banish'd traitor.
Assum'd this age:

He it is that hath
indeed, a banish'd man ;
I know not how a traitor.
Take him hence;
The whole world shall not save him.
Not too hot:
First pay me for the nursing of thy sons;
And let it be confiscate all, so soon
As I've receiv'd it.


Nursing of my sons!

mean trying, testing, &c., as in "Twelfth Night," Act III. Sc. 1:"Taste your legs, sir."

And again in Act III. Sc. 4:-"I have heard of some kind of men that put quarrels purposely on others, to taste their valour." See also note (a), p. 256.

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Itself, and all my treason; that I suffered
Was all the harm I did. These gentle princes,-
For such and so they are,-these twenty years
Have I train'd up: those arts they have, as I
Could put into them; my breeding was, sir, as
Your highness knows. Their nurse, Euriphile,
Whom for the theft I wedded, stole these children
Upon my banishment: I mov'd her to't;
Having receiv'd the punishment before.
For that which I did then: beaten for loyalty,
Excited me to treason. Their dear loss,
The more of you 't was felt, the more it shap'd
Unto my end of stealing them. But, gracious sir,
Here are your sons again; and I must lose
Two of the sweet'st companions in the world:-
The benediction of these covering heavens
Fall on their heads like dew! for they are worthy
To inlay heaven with stars.

Thou weep'st, and speak'st.—
The service that you three have done, is more
Unlike than this thou tell'st: I lost my children;
If these be they, I know not how to wish

A pair of worthier sons.

BEL. Be pleas'd awhile.— This gentleman, whom I call Polydore, Most worthy prince, as yours, is true Guiderius: This gentleman, my Cadwal, Arviragus, Your younger princely son; he, sir, was lapp'd In a most curious mantle, wrought by the hand Of his queen-mother, which, for more probation, I can with ease produce.


Guiderius had Upon his neck a mole, a sanguine star; It was a mark of wonder.


This is he; Who hath upon him still that natural stamp : It was wise Nature's end in the donation, To be his evidence now.


O, what am I

A mother to the birth of three? Ne'er mother Rejoic'd deliverance more.-Bless'd pray you be,

(*) First folio, neere.

Prefer-] Advance.

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And your three motives to the battle, with

I know not how much more, should be demanded, And all the other by-dependencies,

From chance to chance; but nor the time, nor place, Will serve our long inter'gatories. See, Posthumus anchors upon Imogen;

And she, like harmless lightning, throws her eye
On him, her brothers, me, her master, hitting
Each object with a joy; the counterchange
Is severally in all. Let's quit this ground,
And smoke the temple with our sacrifices.-
Thou art my brother: so we'll hold thee ever.
IMO. You are my father too; and did relieve me,
To see this gracious season.

All o'erjoy'd,
Save these in bonds; let them be joyful too,
For they shall taste our comfort.
I will
yet do you service.

My good master,

Happy be you! CYM. The forlorn soldier that so nobly fought, He would have well becom❜d this place, and grac'd The thankings of a king.

POST. I am, sir, The soldier that did company these three In poor beseeming; 'twas a fitment for The purpose I then follow'd:-that I was he, Speak, Iachimo: I had you down, and might Have made you finish.

(*) Old text, we.

(†) Old text, brother!

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Kneel not to me;
The power
that I have on you is to spare you;
The malice towards you to forgive you: live,
And deal with others better.


Nobly doom'd;
We'll learn our freeness of a son-in-law;
Pardon's the word to all.

You holp us, sir,
As you did mean indeed to be our brother;
Joy'd are we that you are.


POST. Your servant, princes. Good my lord of Call forth your soothsayer: as I slept, methought, Great Jupiter, upon his eagle back'd, Appear'd to me, with other spritely shows Of mine own kindred: when I wak'd, I found This label on my bosom; whose containing Is so from sense in hardness, that I can Make no collection of it; let him show His skill in the construction.



SOOTH. Here, my good lord. Luc. Read, and declare the meaning. SOOTH. [Reads.] Whenas a lion's whelp shall, to himself unknown, without seeking find, and be embraced by a piece of tender air; and when from a stately cedar shall be lopped branches, which, being dead many years, shall after revive, be jointed to the old stock, and freshly grow; then shall Posthumus end his miseries, Britain be fortunate, and flourish in peace and plenty."

Thou, Leonatus, art the lion's whelp;
The fit and apt construction of thy name,
Being Leo-natus, doth import so much:
The piece of tender air, thy virtuous daughter,
Which we call mollis aer; and mollis aer

We term it mulier: which mulier I divine
Is this most constant wife; who, even now,
Answering the letter of the oracle,
Unknown to you, unsought, were clipp'd about
With this most tender air.

a And flourish in peace and plenty.] This precious scroll, and its equally ridiculous exposition, form an appropriate sequel to the vision, and were doubtless the work of the same accomplished hand. Mr. Collier suggests, what is extremely probable, that both scroll and vision formed part of an older play; and

This hath some seeming.
SOOTH. The lofty cedar, royal Cymbeline,
Personates thee: and thy lopp'd branches point
Thy two sons forth: who, by Belarius stolen,
For many years thought dead, are now reviv'd,
To the majestic cedar join'd; whose issue
Promises Britain peace and plenty.

My peace we will begin :-and, Caius Lucius,
Although the victor, we submit to Cæsar,
And to the Roman empire; promising
I pay our wonted tribute, from the which
We were dissuaded by our wicked queen:

Whom heavens, in justice, both on her and hers,

Have laid most heavy hand.

SOOTH. The fingers of the powers above do


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(1) SCENE I.-Cymbeline.] The historical incidents in this piece Shakespeare derived from his old authority, the pages of Holinshed; and they are supposed to occur about the twenty-fourth year of Cymbeline's reign and the forty-second year of the reign of Augustus:

"After the death of Cassibelane, Theomantius or Tenantius the yoongest sonne of Lud, was made king of Britaine in the yeere of the world 3921, after the building of Rome 706, and before the comming of Christ 45. He is named also in one of the English chronicles Tormace: in the same chronicle it is conteined, that not he, but his brother Androgeus was king, where Geffrey of Monmouth and others testifie that Androgeus abandoned the land clerelie, and continued still at Rome, because he knew the Britains hated him for treason he had committed in aiding Julius Cesar against Cassibelane. Theomantius ruled the land in good quiet, and paid the tribute to the Romans which Cassibellane had granted, and finallie departed this life after he had reigned 22 yeares, and was buried at London.

"Kymbeline or Cimbeline the sonne of Theomantius was of the Britains made king after the deceasse of his father, in the yeare of the world 3944, after the building of Rome 728, and before the birth of our Saviour 33. This man (as some write) was brought up at Rome and there made knight by Augustus Cesar, under whome he served in the warres, and was in such favour with him, that he was at libertie to pay his tribute or not. *** Touching the continuance of the yeares of Kymbelines reigne, some writers doo varie, but the best approoved affirme, that he reigned 35 yeares and then died, and was buried at London, leaving behind him two sonnes, Guiderius and Arviragus.

"But here it is to be noted, that although our histories doo affirme, that as well this Kymbeline, as also his father Theomantius, lived in quiet with the Romans, and continuallie to them paied the tributes which the Britains had covenanted with Julius Cesar to pay, yet we find in the Romane writers, that after Julius Cesar's death, when Augustus had taken upon him the rule of the empire, the Britains refused to paie that tribute: whereat as Cornelius

Tacitus reporteth, Augustus (being otherwise occupied) was contented to winke, howbeit through earnest calling upon to recover his right by such as were desirous to see the uttermost of the British kingdome; at length, to wit, in the tenth yeare after the death of Julius Cesar, which was about the thirteenth yeare of the said Theomantius, Augustus made provision to passe with an armie over into Britaine, and was come forward upon his iourney into Gallia Celtica: or as we maie saie, into these hither parts of France. ***

"Whether this controversie which appeareth to fall forth betwixt the Britans and Augustus, was occasioned by Kymbeline, or some other prince of the Britains, I have not to avouch for that by our writers it is reported, that Kymbeline being brought up in Rome, and knighted in the court of Augustus, ever shewed himselfe a friend to the Romans, and chieflie was loth to breake with them, because the youth of the Britaine nation should not be deprived of the benefit to be trained and brought up among the Romans, whereby they might learne both to behave themselves like civill men, and to atteine to the knowledge of feats of warre."-HOLINSHED.

(1) SCENE II.—

A mole cinque-spotted, like the crimson drops
I' the bottom of a cowslip.]

This particular circumstance is only found in the Italian novel, of which the following is Skottowe's abstract:"Several Italian merchants met accidentally in Paris at supper, and conversed freely of their absent wives. 'I know not,' one jestingly remarked, how my wife conducts herself in my absence, but of this I am certain, that whenever I meet with an attractive beauty,

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"She lifting up her watry eyes behild her husband stand

Uppon the Hatches making signes by beckening with his hand :
And she made signes to him againe. And after that the land
Was farre remooved from the ship, and that the sight began
To be unable to discerne the face of any man,

As long as ere she could she lookt upon the rowing keele
And when she could no longer time for distance ken it weele,
She looked still upon the sailes that flasked with the winde
Upon the mast. And when she could the sailes no longer find,
She gate her to her emptie bed with sad and sorie hart."
GOLDING'S Ovid, b. xi. (1567).

I make the best advantage I can of the opportunity.' 'And so do I,' quoth another, 'for whether I believe my wife unfaithful or not, she will be so, if she pleases.' A third said the same, and all readily coincided in the licentious opinion, except Bernabo Lomellia, of Genoa, who maintained that he had a wife perfectly beautiful, in the flower of youth, and of such indisputable chastity, that he was convinced ir he were absent for ten years, she would preserve her fidelity. A young merchant of Piacenza, Ambrogiulo, was extremely facetious on the subject,

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