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Which, to be spoke, would torture thee.
Iach. I am glad to be constrain’d to utter that, which
Torments me to conceal'. By villainy
I got this ring: 'twas Leonatus' jewel,
Whom thou didst banish; and (which more may grieve thee,
As it doth me) a nobler sir ne'er liv'd
'Twixt sky and ground. Wilt thou hear more, my lord ?
Cym. All that belongs to this.
That paragon, thy daughter,
For whom my heart drops blood, and my false spirits
Quail to remember,Give me leave; I faint.
Cym. My daughter! what of her ? Renew thy strength:
I had rather thou shouldst live while nature will,
Than die ere I hear more. Strive man, and speak.
Iach. Upon a time, (unhappy was the clock
That struck the hour) it was in Rome, (accurs'd
The mansion where) 'twas at a feast, oh! would
Our viands had been poison’d, or at least
Those which I heav'd to head) the good Posthumus,
(What should I say? he was too good to be
Where ill men were, and was the best of all
Amongst the rar'st of good ones) sitting sadly,
Hearing us praise our loves of Italy
For beauty, that made barren the swell’d boast
Of him that best could speak : for feature, laming
The shrine of Venus, or straight-pight Minerva
Postures beyond brief nature; for condition,
A shop of all the qualities that man
Loves woman for; besides that hook of wiving,
Fairness, which strikes the eye:
I stand on fire.
Come to the matter.
9 Torments me to conceal.] We may be confident that the word "which," before “ Torments," made its way into the text by corruption : it is not required for meaning or measure: the poet must have written,
“I am glad to be constrain'd to utter that
Torments me to conceal."
A most usual poetical elision, but we have no warrant to omit " which."
straight-Pight Minerva,) " Pight” is pitched or fixed. See Vol. iv. p. 594, and Vol. v. p. 649 : “ straight-pight" therefore seems to mean, standing upright in a fixed posture, and with this sense the compound epithet has great appropriateness to Minerva. “ Brief nature,” in the next line, means brieflyworking nature-nature hasty in her composition of mere human beings.
All too soon I shall,
Unless thou wouldst grieve quickly.—This Posthumus,
(Most like a noble lord in love, and one
That had a royal lover) took his hint;
And, not dispraising whom we prais’d, (therein
He was as calm as virtue) he began
His mistress' picture; which by his tongue being made,
And then a mind put in't, either our brags
Were crack'd of kitchen trulls, or his description
Prov'd us unspeaking sots.
Nay, nay, to the purpose.
Iach. Your daughter's chastity—there it begins.
He spake of her as Dian had hot dreams,
And she alone were cold: whereat, I, wretch,
Made scruple of his praise; and wager'd with him
Pieces of gold 'gainst this, which then he wore
Upon his honour'd finger, to attain
In suit the place of his bed, and win this ring
By her's and mine adultery. He, true knight,
No lesser of her honour confident
Than I did truly find her, stakes this ring;
And would so, had it been a carbuncle
Of Phæbus' wheel"; and might so safely, had it
Been all the worth of his car. Away to Britain
Post I in this design: well may you, sir,
Remember me at court, where I was taught,
Of your chaste daughter, the wide difference
'Twixt amorous and villainous. Being thus quench'd
Of hope, not longing, mine Italian brain
'Gan in your duller Britain operate
Most vilely; for my vantage, excellent;
And, to be brief, my practice so prevail'd,
That I return’d with simular proof, enough
To make the noble Leonatus mad,
By wounding his belief in her renown
And would so, had it been a carbuncle
Of Phoebus' wheel ;] In “Antony and Cleopatra,” A. iv. sc. 8 (this Vol. p. 220), we read of the carbuncles " in Phoebus' holy car," which, in the corr. fo. 1632, is “ Phoebus' glowing car," but we have continued the original epithet in our text. It is singular that Mr. Singer, very appositely quoting the passage in “ Antony and Cleopatra," as a note here to “Cymbeline," omits both “ holy " and glowing, merely giving “Like Phoebus' car.” Perhaps he did not approve of "holy” (though he inserts it elsewhere), and could not make up his mind to print glowing, as it stands in the corr. fo. 16:32.
With tokens thus, and thus; averring notes
Of chamber-hanging, pictures, this her bracelet,
(Oh cunning, how I got it?!) nay, some marks
Of secret on her person, that he could not
But think her bond of chastity quite crack'd,
I having ta'en the forfeit. Whereupon,-
Methinks, I see him now,-
Ay, so thou dost,
Italian fiend !-Ah me! most credulous fool,
Egregious murderer, thief, any thing
That's due to all the villains past, in being,
To come !—Oh, give me cord, or knife, or poison,
Somé 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 call's, Posthumus Leonatus, and
Be villainy less than 'twas !-Oh Imogen!
My queen, my life, my wife! Oh 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 5. Pis.
Oh, gentlemen! help,
Mine, and your mistress. -Oh, 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?
Wake, my mistress ! !
Cym. If this be so, the gods do mean to strike me
To death with mortal joy.
How fares my mistress?
Imo. Oh! get thee from my sight;
Thou gav'st me poison : dangerous fellow, hence !
Breathe not where princes are.
The tune of Imogen!
The gods throw stones of sulphur on me, if
That box I gave you was not thought by me
A precious thing: I had it from the queen.
Cym. New matter still ?
It poison'd me.
I left out one thing which the queen confess'd,
Which must approve thee honest : if Pisanio
Have, said she, given his mistress that confection
Which I gave him for a cordial, she is serv'd
As I would serve a rat.
What's this, Cornelius ?
Cor. The queen, sir, very oft importun’d me
To temper poisons for her o; still pretending
The satisfaction of her knowledge, only
In killing creatures vile, as cats and dogs
Of no esteem: I, dreading that her purpose
Was of more danger, did compound for her
A certain stuff, which, being ta’en, would cease
The present power of life; but, in short time,
All offices of nature should again
Do their due functions.-Have you ta'en of it?
Imo. Most like I did, for I was dead.
There was our error.
This is, sure, Fidele.
Imo. Why did you throw your wedded lady from you?
Think, that you are upon a rock; and now
Throw me again.
[Embracing him. Post.
Hang there like fruit, my soul, Till the tree die !
How now! my flesh, my child?
What! mak'st thou me a dullard in this act'?
Wilt thou not speak to me?
Your blessing, sir. [Kneeling.
Bel. Though you did love this youth, I blame ye not;
You had a motive for't. [To GUIDERIUS and ARVIRAGUS.
My tears that fall
Prove holy water on thee! Imogen,
Thy mother's dead.
Cym. Oh! she was naught; and ’long of her it was,
That we meet here so strangely: but her son
Is gone, we know not how, nor where.
Now fear is from me, I'll speak troth. Lord Cloten,
Upon my lady's missing, came to me
With his sword drawn; foam'd at the mouth, and swore,
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 farther 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,
I have spoke it, and I did it.
Cym. He was a prince.
Gui. A most uncivil one. The
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's head ;
And am right glad he is not standing here
7 What! mak'st thou me a duLLARD in this act?] i.e. Do you treat me in this business as if I were a doll (perhaps the same word as “dullard”).
-a person without sense or interest? VOL. VI.