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Unknown to you, unfought, were clipp'd about
This hath fome feeming.
SOOTH. The lofty cedar, royal Cymbeline, Perfonates thee: and thy lopp'd branches point Thy two fons forth: who, by Belarius fiolen, For many years thought dead, are now reviv'd, To the majestick cedar join'd; whose issue Promises Britain peace and plenty.
My peace we will begin :'-And, Caius Lucius,
To pay our wonted tribute, from the which
My peace we will begin :] I think it better to read:
I have no doubt but Johnson's amendment is right. The Soothfayer fays, that the label promifed to Britain" peace and plenty." To which Cymbeline replies: "We will begin with peace, to fulfil the prophecy." M. MASON.
Whom heavens, in juftice, (both on her, and hers,)
Have laid moft heavy hand.] i. e. have laid moft heavy hand Thus the old copy, and thus Shakspeare certainly wrote, many fuch elliptical expreffions being found in his works. So, in The Rape of Lucrece:
Only he hath an eye to gaze on beauty,
"And dotes on whom he looks [on], 'gainft law and duty."
Again, in King Richard III:
"Men fhall deal unadvifedly fometimes,
"Which after hours give leisure to repent [of]."
Again, in The Winter's Tale:
SOOTH. The fingers of the powers above do tune The harmony of this peace. The vifion
Which I made known to Lucius, ere the stroke
His favour with the radiant Cymbeline,
Laud we the gods;
And let our crooked fmokes climb to their noftrils
Friendly together: fo through Lud's town march:
The queen is fpotlefs
"In that which you accufe her [of]."
Again, in King Henry VIII:
whoever the king removes,
"The cardinal inftantly will find employment [for]." Again, in Othello:
"What conjurations and what mighty magick
Mr. Pope, instead of the lines in the text, fubftituted-
Hath lay'd moft heavy hand.
and this capricious alteration was adopted by all the fubfequent editors. MALONE.
this yet fcarce-cold battle,] Old copy-yet this &c. The correction was made by Mr. Rowe. MALONE.
Our peace we'll ratify; feal it with feasts.-
This play has many just sentiments, fome natural dialogues, and fome pleafing fcenes, but they are obtained at the expence of much incongruity. To remark the folly of the fiction, the abfurdity of the conduct, the confufion of the names, and manners of different times, and the impoffibility of the events in.any fyftem of life, were to wafte criticifm upon unrefifting imbecility, upon faults too evident for detection, and too grofs for aggravation. JOHNSON,
A book entitled Weftward for Smelts, or the Waterman's Fare of mad Merry Western Wenches, whofe Tongues albeit, like Bell-clappers, they never leave ringing, yet their Tales are sweet, and will much content you: Written by kinde Kitt of Kingfione, was published at London in 1603; and again, in 1620. To the fecond tale in that volume Shakspeare seems to have been indebted for two or three of the circumftances of Cymbeline. [See p. 400.] It is told by the Fishwife of Stand on the Green, and is as follows:
"In the troublesome raigne of king Henry the Sixt, there dwelt in Waltam (not farre from London) a gentleman, which had to wife a creature most beautifull, fo that in her time there were few found that matched her, none at all that excelled her; fo excellent were the gifts that nature had bestowed on her. In body was the not onely fo rare and unparaleled, but also in her gifts of minde, fo that in this creature it seemed that Grace and Nature ftrove who should excell each other in their gifts toward her. The gentleman, her husband, thought himfelfe fo happy in his choife, that he believed, in choofing her, he had tooke holde of that bleffing which Heaven proffereth every man once in his life. Long did not this opinion hold for currant ; for in his height of love he began fo to hate her, that he fought her death: the cause I will tell you.
"Having bufineffe one day to London, he tooke his leave very kindly of his wife, and, accompanied with one man, he rode to London: being toward night, he tooke up his inne, and to be
briefe, he went to fupper amongst other gentlemen. Among other talke at table, one tooke occafion to fpeake of women, and what excellent creatures they were, fo long as they continued loyal to man. To whom anfwered one, faying, This is truth, fir; fo is the divell good fo long as he doth no harme, which is meaner his goodness and women's loyaltie will come both in one yeere; but it is fo farre off, that none in this age fhall live to fee it.
"This gentleman loving his wife dearely, and knowing her to be free from this uncivill generall taxation of women, in her behalf, faid, Sir, you are too bitter against the fexe of women, and doe ill, for fome one's fake that hath proved falfe to you, to taxe the generalitie of women-kinde with lightneffe; and but I would not be counted uncivill amongft thefe gentlemen, I would give you the reply that approved untruth deferveth :-you know my meaning, fir; conftrue my words as you please. Excufe me, gentlemen, if I be uncivil; I answere in the behalfe of one who is as free from difloyaltie as is the funne from darknes, or the fire from cold. Pray, fir, faid the other, fince wee are oppofite in opinions, let us rather talke like lawyers, that wee may be quickly friends againe, than like fouldiers, which end their words with blowes. Perhaps this woman that you answere for, is chafte, but yet against her will; for many women are honeft, 'cause they have not the meanes and opportunitie to be dishoneft; fo is a thief true in prifon, because he hath nothing to fteale. Had I but opportunitie and knew this fame faint you fo adore, I would pawne my life and whole eftate, in a fhort while to bring you fome manifeft token of her difloyaltie. Sir, you are yong in the knowledge of women's flights; your want of experience makes you too credulous: therefore be not abused. This speech of his made the gentleman more out of patience than before, so that with much adoe he held himfelfe from offering violence; but his anger being a little over, he faid,-Sir, I doe verily beleeve that this vaine fpeech of yours proceedeth rather from a loose and illmanner'd minde, than of any experience you have had of women's loosenefs: and fince you think yourfelfe fo cunning in that divelith art of corrupting women's chaftitie, I will lay down heere a hundred pounds, againft which you fhall lay fifty pounds, and before thefe gentlemen I promife you, if that within a month's space you bring me any token of this gentlewoman's difloyaltie, (for whofe fake I have spoken in the behalfe of all women,) I doe freely give you leave to injoy the fame; conditionally, you not performing it, I may enjoy your money. If that it be a match, speake, and I will acquaint you where the dwelleth and befides I vow, as I am a gentleman, not to give her notice of any fuch intent that is toward her. Sir, quoth the man, your proffer is faire, and I accept the fame. So the money
was delivered in the oaft of the houfe his hands, and the fitters by were witnesses; fo drinking together like friends, they went every man to his chamber. The next day this man, having knowledge of the place, rid thither, leaving the gentleman at the inne, who being affured of his wife's chaftitie, made no other account but to winne the wager; but it fell out otherwife: for the other vowed either by force, policie, or free will, to get some jewell or other toy from her, which was enough to perfuade the gentleman that he was a cuckold, and win the wager he had laid. This villaine (for he deserved no better ftile) lay at Waltam a whole day before he came at the fight of her; at last he eípied her in the fields, to whom he went, and kiffed her (a thing no modeft woman can deny); after his falutation, he faid, Gentlewoman, I pray, pardon me, if I have beene too bold: I was intreated by your husband, which is at London, (I riding this way) to come and fee you; by me he hath fent his commends to you, with a kind intreat that you would not be discontented for his long abfence, it being ferious business that keepes him from your fight. The gentlewoman very modeftlie bade him welcome, thanking him for his kindnes; withall telling him that her hufband might command her patience fo long as he pleased. Then intreated thee him to walke homeward, where the gave him fuch entertainment as was fit for a gentleman, and her husband's friend.
"In the time of his abiding at her houfe, he oft would have fingled her in private talke, but the perceiving the fame, (knowing it to be a thing not fitting a modeft woman,) would never come to his fight but at meales, and then were there fo many at boord, that it was no time for to talke of love-matters: therefore he faw he must accomplish his defire fome other way; which he did in this manner. He having laine two nights at her houfe, and perceiving her to be free from luftful defires, the third night he fained himself to bee fomething ill, and fo went to bed timelier than he was wont. When he was alone in his chamber, he began to thinke with himselfe that it was now time to do that which he determined: for if he tarried any longer, they might have cause to think that he came for fome ill intent, and waited opportunity to execute the fame. With this refolution he went to her chambre, which was but a paire of ftaires from his, and finding the doore open, he went in, placing himfelf under the bed. Long had he not lyne there, but in came the gentlewoman with her maiden; who, having been at prayers with her houthold, was going to bed. She preparing herself to bedward, laid her head-tyre and thofe jewels fhe wore, on a little table thereby at length he perceived her to put off a little crucifix of gold, which daily the wore next to her heart; this jewell he thought fitteft for his turne, and therefore obferved where the did lay the fame.