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Enter POSTHUMUS, disguised, and seconds the Britons: they rescue CYMBELINE, and exeunt: then, enter LUCIUS, IACHIMO, and IMOGEN.

Luc. Away, boy, from the troops, and save thyself;

For friends kill friends, and the disorder's such,

As war were hood-wink'd.


'Tis their fresh supplies.


Luc. It is a day turn'd strangely: or betimes Let's re-enforce, or fly.


Another Part of the Field.

Enter POSTHUMUS and a British Lord.

Lord. Cam'st thou from where they made the stand?

Though you, it seems, come from the fliers.


I did.

Post. No blame be to you, sir; for all was lost,
But that the heavens fought. The king himself
Of his wings destitute, the army broken,
And but the backs of Britons seen, all flying
Through a strait lane: the enemy full-hearted,
Lolling the tongue with slaughtering, having work
More plentiful than tools to do't, struck down
Some mortally, some slightly touch'd, some falling
Merely through fear; that the strait pass was damm'd
With dead men hurt behind, and cowards living
To die with lengthen'd shame.


Where was this lane?

I did;

Post. Close by the battle, ditch'd, and wall'd with turf';

Which gave advantage to an ancient soldier,

An honest one, I warrant; who deserv'd

So long a breeding, as his white beard came to,

In doing this for's country: athwart the lane,
He, with two striplings, (lads more like to run

3- ditch'd, and wall'd with turf;] Malone refers to Holinshed's Scotland for a similar incident, where Hay and his sons actually performed the parts assigned to Belarius, Guiderius, and Arviragus in saving the king.

The country base, than to commit such slaughter;
With faces fit for masks, or rather, fairer
Than those for preservation cas'd, or shame)
Made good the passage; cry'd to those that fled,
"Our Britain's harts die flying, not our men:

To darkness fleet, souls that fly backwards! Stand ;
Or we are Romans, and will give you that

Like beasts, which you shun beastly, and may save,
But to look back in frown: stand, stand!"-These three,
Three thousand confident, in act as many,

(For three performers are the file, when all

The rest do nothing) with this word, "stand, stand!”
Accommodated by the place, more charming,

With their own nobleness (which could have turn'd
A distaff to a lance) gilded pale looks,

Part shame, part spirit renew'd; that some, turn'd coward
But by example (Oh, a sin in war,

Damn'd in the first beginners!) 'gan to look
The way that they did, and to grin like lions
Upon the pikes o' the hunters. Then began
A stop i' the chaser, a retire; anon,

A rout, confusion thick: forthwith they fly,
Chickens, the way which they stoop'd eagles; slaves,
The strides they victors made. And now our cowards
(Like fragments in hard voyages) became

The life o' the need: having found the back-door open
Of the unguarded hearts, Heavens, how they wound!
Some slain before; some dying; some, their friends,
O'er-borne i' the former wave: ten chas'd by one,
Are now each one the slaughter-man of twenty:
Those that would die or ere resist are grown
The mortal bugs o' the field'.


This was strange chance:

A narrow lane, an old man, and two boys!

Post. Nay, do not wonder at it: you are made Rather to wonder at the things you hear,

The country BASE,] i. e. The country game of prison-base, or prison-bars, mentioned by many old writers by the name of base; but by Drayton in his "Polyolbion," Song 30, called "prison-base." See also "The Two Gentlemen of Verona," A. i. sc. 2.

5 The mortal BUGS o' the field ] The mortal terrors or bugbears of the field. See Vol. ii. p. 467; Vol. iii. p. 52; Vol. iv. p. 199. In "Hamlet," A. v. sc. 2, Vol. v. p. 596, "bugs" and "goblins" are coupled. According to etymologists "bug" is only another form of Puck, which Ben Jonson spells Pug.

Than to work any. Will you rhyme upon't,
And vent it for a mockery? Here is one :
"Two boys, an old man twice a boy, a lane,
Preserv'd the Britons, was the Romans' bane."
Lord. Nay, be not angry, sir.


'Lack! to what end?

Who dares not stand his foe, I'll be his friend;

For if he'll do, as he is made to do,

I know, he'll quickly fly my friendship too.

You have put me into rhyme.


Farewell; you are angry.


Post. Still going?—This is a lord. Oh noble misery!
To be i' the field, and ask, what news, of me.
To-day, how many would have given their honours
To have sav'd their carcases? took heel to do't,
And yet died too? I, in mine own woe charm'd,
Could not find death where I did hear him groan,
Nor feel him where he struck: being an ugly monster,
'Tis strange he hides him in fresh cups, soft beds,
Sweet words; or hath more ministers than we

That draw his knives i' the war.-Well, I will find him;
For being now a favourer to the Roman",

No more a Briton, I have resum'd again
The part I came in. Fight I will no more,
But yield me to the veriest hind, that shall

Once touch my shoulder. Great the slaughter is
Here made by the Roman; great the answer be
Britons must take; for me, my ransom's death :
On either side I come to spend my breath,
Which neither here I'll keep, nor bear again,
But end it by some means for Imogen.

Enter two British Captains, and Soldiers.

1 Capt. Great Jupiter be prais'd! Lucius is taken. "Tis thought, the old man and his sons were angels. 2 Capt. There was a fourth man, in a silly habit",


a favourer to the ROMAN,] Posthumus has put off his disguise as a Briton, in which he aided in the rescue of Cymbeline, and now again appears in his Italian costume, seeking death at the hands of the Britons. For "Roman" the folios read Britaine, and Sir T. Hanmer first made the change.


in a SILLY habit,] i. e. In a simple habit. The commentators say that 'silly" or sely means also rustic, but that can only be in the sense of simple: in our day it has been almost restricted to foolish.

That gave th' affront with them.

1 Cap.

So 'tis reported;

But none of them can be found.-Stand! who is there?

Post. A Roman,


Who had not now been drooping here, if seconds

Had answer'd him.

2 Capt.

Lay hands on him; a dog!

A leg of Rome shall not return to tell

What crows have peck'd them here. He brags his service As if he were of note: bring him to the king.

Enter CYMBELINE, BELARIUS, GUIDERIUS, ARVIRAGUS, PISANIO, and Roman Captives. The Captains present POSTHUMUS to CYMBELINE, who delivers him over to a Jailor; after which, all go out.


A Prison.

Enter POSTHUMUS in fetters, and two Jailors.

1 Jail. You shall not now be stolen; you have locks upon


So, graze as you find pasture'.


after which, all go out.] These are the only words not in the old direction. It was not unusual on our early stage to begin a scene with a dumb show, as scene 2 of this Act; but it was by no means common so to terminate a scene. Ritson was evidently mistaken, when he said that "the business of this scene was entirely performed in dumb show," unless he considered this dumb show a scene by itself. Dumb shows were commonly resorted to for the purpose of briefly dismissing a portion of the story, that would have occupied an inconvenient amount of time, if represented in dialogue.

9 So, GRAZE as you find pasture.] To "graze" and grass have clearly the same etymology, A. S. graes, but they are not the same word; and the Rev. Mr. Dyce has confounded them in a passage in Webster's "White Devil" (Works, i. 126), where Cornelia is made to say of one of her sons, who has been killed,

"One arrow's graz'd already."

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This does not mean that "one arrow" has only "graz'd," because the contrary is the fact; but it is a figure from archery, where "to grass an arrow is technical for losing it in the grass: Cornelia has lost one son, and, anxious to save the life of the other, she adds,

"it were vain

T' lose this for that will ne'er be found again." The whole passage must indisputably be read as follows:


A a

2 Jail.

Ay, or a stomach.

[Exeunt Jailors.

Post. Most welcome, bondage, for thou art a way

I think, to liberty. Yet am I better

Than one that's sick o' the gout; since he had rather
Groan so in perpetuity, than be cur'd

By the sure physician, death, who is the key

T'unbar these locks.

My conscience, thou art fetter'd More than my shanks, and wrists: you good gods, give me

The penitent instrument to pick that bolt,

Then, free for ever! Is't enough, I am sorry?
So children temporal fathers do appease;
Gods are more full of mercy. Must I repent?
I cannot do it better than in gyves,
Desir'd, more than constrain'd: to satisfy",
If of my freedom 'tis the main part, take
No stricter render of me, than my all.
I know, you are more clement than vile men,
Who of their broken debtors take a third,
A sixth, a tenth, letting them thrive again
On their abatement: that's not my desire.
For Imogen's dear life, take mine; and though
'Tis not so dear, yet 'tis a life; you coin'd it:
"Tween man and man they weigh not every stamp,
Though light, take pieces for the figure's sake:
You rather mine, being your's; and so, great powers,
If you will take this audit, take this life,
And cancel these cold bonds. Oh Imogen!
I'll speak to thee in silence.

[He sleeps.

Solemn music, &c. Enter, as in an apparition, SICILIUS LEONATUS, father to POSTHUMUS, an old man, attired like a Warrior; leading in his hand an ancient Matron, his Wife and Mother to POSTHUMUS, with music before them: then, after other music, follow the two young LEONATI, Brothers to

"One arrow's grass'd already: it were vain

T' lose this for that will ne'er be found again."

It is clearly no fault of the Rev. Mr. Dyce, that he is not an archer.

10 Desir'd, more than constrain'd: to satisfy,] In the old copies there is only a comma after "constrain'd," but the meaning seems to be, "If my freedom be the main part of what I possess, take no stricter render of me, in order to satisfy you, than my all." This is, of course, addressed to the gods, and "my all" must mean his life, since his freedom, the main part, was already gone. The passage is obscure and probably corrupt.

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