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And why so ? 1 Gent. 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. 2 Gent.
You speak him far?. 1 Gent. I do extend him, sir, within himself; Crush him together, rather than unfold His measure duly. 2 Gent.
What's his name, and birth ? 1 Gent. I cannot delve him to the root. His father Was call's Sicilius, who did join his honour Against the Romans with Cassibelan, But had his titles by Tenantius, whom He serv'd with glory and admir'd 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, deceas'd 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 his spring became a harvest; liv'd in court, (Which rare it is to do) most prais'd, most lov'd; A sample to the youngest, to the more mature,
? You speak him far.] We might suspect that “far" is a misprint for fair ; but as the sense of “ far is not only clear, but stronger than that afforded by fair, we of course adhere to the old reading. The 1 Gent. does more than speak Posthumus fair ; he speaks him “ far," or carries his praise to an extreme. The next speech confirms this explanation, if confirmation be needed.
3 (Then old and fond of issue)] “ Fond of's issue,"' i. e. fond of his issue, is the altered reading in the corr. fo. 1632 ; but the change is needless.
A glass that feated them'; and to the graver,
I honour him,
His only child.
How long is this ago ? 1 Gent. Some twenty years.
2 Gent. That a king's children should be so convey'd',
Howsoe'er 'tis strange,
I do well believe you. 1 Gent. We must forbear. Here comes the gentleman', The queen, and princess.
* A glass that FEATED them ;] “Feat,” according to Minsheu, is fine, neat, brave. Shakespeare makes a verb out of the adjective, but according to a quotation by Mr. Singer from Palsgrave, he was by no means the first to do so, for we there read, “ I am well feted or shapen of my lymmes; Je suis bien aligné." The only example of the use of feat as a verb in Richardson's Dict., is this place in “ Cymbeline :" the same is the case in Todd's Johnson, and we are therefore the more obliged to Mr. Singer.
to his mistress,] This is amended to "for his mistress” in the corr. fo. 1632, but “to his mistress” has the same meaning as for, viz. “as to his mistress.” “To" and for were often, of old, used almost indifferently.
6 That a king's children should be so convey’d.] The old corrector of the fo. 1632, perhaps to render the sense more clear, and in conformity with the recitation of the passage to which his ear may have been accustomed, gives the line thus :
“ Strange! a king's children should be so convey'd,” &c. The emendation receives some countenance from the next speech, which begins, “ Howsoe'er 'tis strange," &c., as if the 1 Gent. had repeated the word just spoken by the person with whom he was conversing.
7 Here comes the GENTLEMAN,] In Malone's Shakespeare by Boswell, the word “gentleman,” equally necessary to the sense and metre, is omitted.
Enter the Queen, POSTHUMUS, and IMOGEN.
Please your highness,
You know the peril.
Imo. Oh dissembling courtesy'! How fine this tyrant
You must be gone ;
angry eyes; not comforted to live,
My queen! my mistress!
8 Scene II.] Marked as a new scene in the old, as well as in modern impressions; but there is evidently no change of place, which on the English stage was usually necessary in order to constitute such a division of the dialogue.
9 Oh dissembling courtesy !] The Rev. Mr. Dyce occupies nearly a page of his “Remarks” (p. 251) in showing that the interjection “Oh” ought to be placed in a line by itself. All we need say is, that in verse, often so intentionally irregular as that of Shakespeare, we do not see the necessity for it.
Than doth become a man.
I will remain
Be brief, I pray you: If the king come, I shall incur I know not How much of his displeasure. [Aside.] Yet I'll move him To walk this way.
never do him wrong, But he does buy my injuries to be friends, Pays dear for my offences. .
Should we be taking leave
Imo. Nay, stay a little :
How ! how ! another?-
[Putting on the ring.
Oh, the gods ! When shall we see again ?
1 And SEAL up my embracements from a next] The old copies have sear for “seal,” which judicious emendation is made by Mr. Singer, and to him we are indebted for it. We adopt it, although sear is continued unaltered in the corr. fo. 1632 ; and we are glad to acknowledge the obligation.
I am gone.
Enter CYMBELINE and Lords. Post.
Alack! the king. Cym. 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. Post.
The gods protect you, And bless the good remainders of the court !
Oh disloyal thing!
I beseech you, sir,
your wrath; a touch more rare
Past grace ? obedience ? Imo. Past hope, and in despair; that way, past grace. Cym. That mightst have had the sole son of my queen.
Imo. Oh bless'd, that I might not! I chose an eagle, And did avoid a puttock..
Cym. Thou took’st a beggar; wouldst have made my throne A seat for baseness *. Imo.
No! I rather added A lustre to it.
Cym. Oh thou vile ones!
2 That shouldst repair my youth, thou heapest
A year's age on me.] The tirst line is clearly defective, and Sir T. Hanmer would eke it out by the word many after “heapest,” to which there seems little objection, excepting that there is nothing to prove that it proceeded from Shakespeare's pen.
We prefer to leave the imperfection untouched (as indeed it is in the corr. fo. 1632), merely remarking upon it. Surely the sense of “repair” requires no illustration; but the commentators have by no means thought so.
3 And did avoid a PUTTOCK.) A “puttock" is a hawk of a degenerate and worthless breed.
4 A seat for baseness.] In the preceding line the corr. fo. 1632 alters “wouldst" to would ; but thou seems understood, and not who.
5 Oh thou vile one !] No doubt this is the correct reading; but as, in the old copies, “ vile" is here misspelt vilde, we almost wonder that the Rev. Mr. Dyce has not contended that Cymbeline's exclamation (considering the conduct and disposition of his daughter) ought to have been, “Oh thou wild one.” The fact is, as we have before remarked, that the old misprinting of “vile vild, which