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“Or this, or perish" — Pisanio, in giving Cloten a let
ACT IV.-SCENE I. ter which is to mislead him, means to say, I must either adopt this stratagem or perish by his fury. Johnson
- this IMPERSEVERANT thing”—“Imperseveran;" thinks that the words should be part of Cloten's speech,
must be taken in a more intense sense for persereres, and addressed as a threat.
like impassioned. Hanmer reads “ill-perseverant." “ To him that is MOST TRUE"--"Pisanio, notwithstand
“ — before the face”—Some would read, before her ing his master's letter, commanding the murder of Imo
face, Imogen's face; but Cloten, in his brutal way, gen, considers him as true, supposing, as he has already
thinks it a satisfaction that, after he has cut off his said to her, that Posthumus was abused by some villain,
rival's head, the face will still be present at the deequally an enemy w them both."-- MALONE.
struction of the garments. SCENE VI.
SCENE II. “Take, Or LEND"--I agree with Johnson and Malone,
“ But his neat cookery'- Mrs. Lennox, a lady edethat the sense is—- If any one resides here that is accus
cated in New York, under the old colonial system, tomed to the modes of civil life, answer me; but if this
with very extravagant notions of noble and princely be the habitation of wild and uncultivated man, or of
lite, has the following very natural but very inaccurate one banished from society, that will enter into no con- comment upon these lines :verse, let him at least silently furnish me with enough “ This princess, forgetting that she had put on boy's to support me, accepting a price for it, or giving it to clothes to be a spy upon the actions of her husband, me without a price, in consideration of future recom- commences cook to two young foresters and their pense. Dr. Johnson's interpretation of the'words take, father, who live in a cave; and we are told how or lend, is supported by what linogen says afterwards :- nicely she sauced the broths. Certainly this princess Before I enter'd here, I call'd; and thought
had a most economical education." To have begg'd, or bought, what I have took.
Douce thus comments upon Mrs. Lennor's critiCiril is here used, not in its modern sense, but for
cism :-civilized, and opposed to savage, or wild.
“ Now what is this but to expose her own ignorance
of ancient manners ? If she had missed the adran. * Gold strew'd i the floor"--O' the floor, or on the tage of qualitying herself as a commentator on Shakefoor, as we should now say. In the time of Shakespeare speare's plots by a perusal of our old romances, she in was frequently used as we now use on. Thus, in the ought at least to have remembered (what every wellLord's Prayer, in the English Liturgy, we have “Thy informed woman of the present age is acquainted with) will be done in earth," altered in this country, and in
the education of the princesses in Homer's “Odysser.' modern use, to “ on earth." To alter it to “o' the
It is idle to attempt to judge of ancient simplicity by a Foor,'' with Hanmer, Malone, and others, is to sacrifice
mere knowledge of modern manners; and such fas. the characteristic language of the Poet and his contem
tidious critics had better close the book of SHAKESPEARE poraries.
for ever." “ That nothing gift of DIFFERING multitudes"--Some
“Mingle their spurs together"_“Spurs are the dispute has arisen respecting the word “differing," but
Our Poet bas no commentator has taken what appears to be the plain longest and largest leading roots of trees.
again used the same word in THE TEMPEST:sense of the author : " differing multitudes" does not
- the strong-bas'd promontory mean “deferring multitudes," with Theobald, Hanmer,
Have I made shake, and by the spur's and Warburton; nor many-headed, with Johnson; nor
Pluck'd up the pipe and cedar. unsteady, with Monck Mason and Stevens; but merely,
Hence, probably, the spur of a post; the short wooden as it seems to us, differing in respect of rank from the
buttress atlixed to it, to keep it firm in the ground.”— persons upon whom the multitudes bestow the "nothing
MALONE. gift” of reputation. The Poet is contrasting the givers with the persons to whom the gift is made.--COLLIER. “ It is Great morning"-An old English phrase, now
We submit Mr. Collier's interpretation to the reader's obsolete, answering to the French one still in use judgment. But our own opinion is decidedly with M. Il est grand matin—The morning is well advanced. Mason, Stevens, and others, who understand“ differing multitude" here in the same sense as
« — for DEFECT of judgment
Is oft the core of fear."
The original edition has-
– for defect of judgment
Is oft the cause of fear :“Since Lconatus falsc"--i. e. Since Leonatus is which is evidently wrong, and the question is, whether false ; an unusual, but not an unprecedented form of ex- we shall read “th' effect," with Theobald, or, with Hanpression. M. Mason makes an ingenious conjecture, mer, cure for “cause,” in the next line. Johnson prewhich deserves to be true. He would read, “Since ferred Theobald's slight change, giving “the play of Leonate is false." Leonate might be meant as a tender effect and cause, more resembling the manner of Shake abbreviation of her husband's name, and such an error speare.” The other emendation gives an equally good of the press might have easily occurred. But as the sense, with greater probability as to the printer's error. sense is good as it is, the present text has not been Knight readschanged upon mere conjecture.
- for defect of judgment
As oft the cause of fear.
“ – Though his HUMOUR"_In the folios, honour is " 'Gainst the Pannonians and Dalmatians"--The evidently misprinted for“ humour,” meaning disposition. revolt of the Pannonians and Dalmatians has been al. Honour and humour are several times misprinted for ready mentioned, in act in. scene 1. Malone correctly
each other in the old folios and quartos. observes, that this occurred, not in the reign of Cymbe
6- The bird is dead, line, but in that of his father, Tenantius, whose name was introduced in the beginning of this play. Tenan
That we have mude so much on." tius was nephew to Cassibelan. These were niceties The sweet pathos of this scene has been thus noted of history, to which Shakespeare did not think it neces- by Mrs. Radcliffe :-"No master ever knew how to sary to attend: he adapted history to his drama, not his touch the accordant springs of sympathy by small cirdrama to history.--('ollier.
cumstances, like our own Shakespeare. in CYMBELINE, for instance, how finely such circumstances are
Oh, thou soft natural death! thou art joint-twin inade use of to awaken, at once, solemn expectation
To sweetest slumber! no rough-bearded comet
Stares on thy mild departure: the dull ow! and tenderness, and, by recalling the softened remem
Beats not against thy casement: the hoarse wolf brance of a sorrow long past, to prepare the mind to
Scents not thy carrion :-pity winds thy corse, melt at one that was approaching; mingling at the
While horror waits on princes! same time, by means of a mysterious occurrence, a
Cornelia's distraction over her dead son, again, owes slight tremour of awe with our pity. Thus, when Bela- || something to the last scene of LEAR; while the funeral rius and Arviragus return to the cave where they had dirge for yomg Marcello, sung by her, is still more dileft the unhappy and worn-out Imogen to repose, while recily borrowed from this scene :they are yet standing before it, and Arviragus-speak
Call for the robin-red-breast and the wren, ing of her with tenderest pity as poor sick Fidele'
Since o'er shady grove they hover,
And with leaves and flowers do cover goes out to inquire for her, solemn music is heard from
The friendiess bodies of upburied men. the cave, sounded by that harp of which Guiderius says,
Call unto his funeral dole, • Since the death of my dearest mother, it did not speak
The ant, the field-mouse, and the mole, before. All solemn things should answer solemn acci
To raise him hillocks that shall keep him warm,
And (when gay tombs are robb’d) sustain no harm; dents. Immediately, Arviragus enters with Fidele
But keep the wolf far hence, that's foe to men, senseless in his arms :
For with his nails he'll dig them up again, ete. The bird is dead that we have made so much on
The last generation of critics perceived the resemGuu. Why, be but sleeps. * * * *
blance, but were perplexed by the fact that Webster's Are. With tairest flowers, While summer lasts, AND I LIVE HERE, FIDELE,
play was printed in 1612, eleven years before the first I'll sweeten thy sad grave.
edition of CYMBELINE; so that it was not quite clear Tears alone can speak the touching simplicity of the
to them whether Shakespeare had not himself borrowed
from the two last-quoted passages. whole scene.”
But since their day,
we have learned from Dr. Forman that CYMBELINE “ – thy sluggish crare”—The original reads care ; was acted at least one year before Webster's “ White but the image is incomplete unless we adopt the cor- Devil," so that Webster, who was originally an actor, rection. Crare or craier is a small vessel; and the was doubtless familiar with its poetry as represented, word is often used by Hollingshed, and by Drayton, and had, perhaps, himself delivered the lament of Arviand other writers of that age; as, in Sir T. North's ragus. Indeed, his imitations are not direct copies, like « Plutarch”- little fisher-boats and small crayers.” those of a plagiarist from the book, but are rather the
vivid results of the impression made upon the younger “ Jore knows what man thou mightst hare made ; but I, poet, by the other's fancy and feeling thus reproducing Thou diedst a most rare boy, of melancholy.”
themselves, mingled with the new canceptions of a We print the passage as in the original, as meaning- congenial mind. Jove knows what man thou might'st have made, but I
" – the ruddock would”—Percy asks, “Is this an alluknow thou diedst, etc. Malone thinks that the pronoun sion to the babes of the wood ? or was the notion of I was probably substituted by mistake for the inter
the red-breast covering dead bodies general before the jection Ah, which is commonly printed ay in the old
writing of that ballad ?” It has been shown that the copies; ay being also as commonly printed I.
notion has been found in an earlier book of natural “ My clouted brogues" — i. e. My nailed shoes. history; and there can be no doubt that it was an old “ Brogue” seems to be derived from the Irish brog, a popular belief. The red-breast has always been a fashoe; and perhaps because“ brogues” were chiefly worn vourite with the poets, andby the Irish, we have, in modern times, applied to their
Robin the mean, that best of all loves men, speech what properly belongs to their feet.-COLLIER. as Browne sings, was naturally employed in the last * And worms will not come to THEE"— Douce says,
offices of love. Drayton says, directly imitating Shake“ Stevens imputes great violence to this change of per
speare :son, and wonld read • come to him ;' but there is no im
Covering with moss the dead's unclosed eye,
The red-breast teacheth charity, propriety in Guiderius's sudden address to the body it.
In the beautiful stanza which Gray has omitted from self. It might, indeed, be ascribed to our anthor's careless manner, of which an instance like the present
his “ Elegy" the idea is put with his usual exquisite
refinement :occurs at the beginning of the next act, where Posthu
There scattered oft, the earliest of the year, mus says you married ones,
By hands unseen, are showers of violets found;
The red-breast loves to build and warble there,
And little footsteps lightly print the ground.
“ TO WINTER-GROUND thy corse"-"To winter-ground Whilst summer lasts," etc.
a plant is to protect it from the the winter's cold by straw “ The White Devil, or Vittoria Corombona, a tragedy
or other covering, as is done to tender plants." This is
Stevens's explanation; and, if he is right as to such a by John Webster," is one of the most remarkable productions of Shakespeare's contemporaries. The prin
a word as winter-ground, there can be no doubt as to cipal character is a bold and beautiful conception of
the text or its meaning. Yet I have not been able to daring female guilt, which may almost vie with Lady
find, either in English authority or in Scotch or Ameri
can use (where old English, forgotten at home, is someMacbeth, and may have been suggested by her, though
times preserved) any such compound. I therefore susin no respect a copy. But the play contains several
pect an early error of the press. Warburton proposed passages in which the author is certainly indebted to
winter-gown, as suggested by the “furred moss.' My his recollections of “ Master Shakespeare," whose “right
own emendation would behappy and copieous indnstry” he commends in his
furred moss, when flowers are scarce, preface. One passage is directly from HAMLET. A lady,
To winter-green thy corse. resembling Ophelia in her grief and distraction, thus addresses her friends
Winter-green” is good colloquial English (just as we
say Christmas-greens) for all plants, shrubs, and vines, you're very welcome. Here's rosemary for you, and rue for you;
green in wiuter, as ever-greens, although it is now Heart's-ease for you: I pray you make much of it:
specially limited to a particular one. I have left more for myself.
The conversion of green into a verb has high poetical Imogen's apparent soft and smiling death, as de. anthority, from Chaucer down to Thomson, whose scribed in the text, has been supposed to be the origin · Spring, greens all the year." of the following beautiful lines
From the doubt whether winter-ground may not
have been a familiar word, in the sense asserted by
ACT V.-SCENE I. Stevens, I have not ventured to insert my conjecture in the text; but if there be no authority for thus ex
“ For WRYING but a little”—The use of try as a plaining the folio reading, I have no doubt that my own
verb is not uncommon in old English. Thus, in Sud. conjecture is the true reading.
ney's “ Arcadia"-" That from the right line of pinue
are wryed to these crooked shifts.” "— where shall's lay him"--The use of the accusative instead of the nominative, as here, us for is a “ Had liv'd to put on this”—To “put on" is to isfrequent usage of old glish, to be found not only else- cite or instigate. So in HAMLET where in SHAKESPEARE, (as, in the Winter's Tale,
Of deaths put on by cunning. “Shall us attend you ?") but also in King James's
- each elder worse; Euglish Bible, and even in the writings of educated and correct authors almost a century later. Instances of this
And make them DREAD IT, to the doer's THRIFT," ete. nise have been collected by Lowth, in his “Grammar,”
Shakespeare, Johnson well explains, calls the deeds and by Pegge, in his amusing “ Anecdotes of the Eng- of an elder man an elder deed; as it might be paralish Language.” The idiom, now obsolete among cor
phrased in modern language-Our corruptions grow with rect writers and speakers, is still retained, with much our years. other idiomatic Saxon, among the vulgarisms of the
Many commentators believe that there is a misprint cockney dialect.
somewhere near this "dread." Theobald would read
dreaded; Johnson deeded. Stevens interprets-To “As once our mother”-i. e. As once we sang our make them “dread it” is to make them persevere in mother: the folio, 1623, reads, “ to our mother;" the
the commission of dreadful action. “Dread it" being preposition having been accidentally introduced from
here used in the same manner as Pope has “to sianet the preceding line.
it" or "to saint it."
And make them do each to the doer's thrift, “ This,” says Warburton, “is the topic of consolation
referring cach to the successive crimes or ills" of the that nature dictates to all men on these occasions. The preceding line. same farewell we have over the dead body in Lucian.”
Singer conjectures that it should beIn the same strain of regret and tender envy, it may be
And make them dread it to the doer's shrift. added, Macbeth speaks of the slaughtered Duncan: Shrift is the old word for confession and re pentance. feeling, at the very instant when he should rejoice in
Yet, the old reading may well be understood as exthe consummation of his wishes, the utter nothingness
pressing (harshly, it is true, from Shakespeare's usual of perturbed earthly pleasures, when compared with
effort to compress his weighty moralities into the shortthe peaceful slumbers of the innocent dead.
est and most sententious form) the idea explained by Collins has given an imitation, rather than a version,
M. Mason-Some, you snatch' hence for small faults ; of this beautiful dirge. It exhibits his usual exquisite
this is done in love, that they may sin no more. Others taste and felicity of expression, although inferior to the
you suffer to follow up one sin with another, each inoriginal in condensation and characteristic simplicity:- creasing in guilt with years, and then you make them
dread it, i. e. make them fear the consequences; and To fair Fidele's grassy tomb Soft maids and village hinds shall bring
this dread is for the sinners' welfare. Each opening sweet of earliest bloom,
“Thrift" is here used for future and eternal advanAnd rifle all the breathing spring.
tage, in the same scriptural figure by which “ to die" No wailing ghost shall dare appear
is called by the apostle his “gain.” This understand. To vex with shrieks this quict grove;
ing of the passage also applies equally well to the ser. But shepherd lads assemble here,
eral emendations of Singer, and of Knight. And melting virgins own their love.
“It” in “dread it" is used absolutely, according to a No withered witch shall here be seen;
common idiomatic use now employed only colloquially, No goblins lead their nightly crew : The female fays shall haunt the green,
as we find in LEAR, to “monster it," for being inooAnd dress thy grave with pearly dew.
strous. So, “ to walk it," “ to fight it out," " to saint The red-breast oft, at evening hours,
it,” “to coy it," may all be found in old authors, though Shall kindly lend his little aid,
now rarely used except in the language of conversation.
Throughout this act the stage-directions are extremely
full, and the action of the drama at the close of the The tender thought on thee shall dwell :
third scene is entirely dumb-show. The drama, preEach lonely scene shall thee restore;
ceding Shakespeare's time, was full of such examples. For thee the tear be truly shed; Beloved till life can charm no more,
But he rejected the practice, except in this instance. And mourned till pity's self be dead.
Knight expresses the opinion that this, combined with
other circumstances, presents some evidence that Cym. “No exorciser harm thee"-Monck Mason has shown
BELINE was a rifacciamento of an early play. Pope, that Shakespeare invariably uses “exorciser" to express Malone, Ritson, and Stevens, however, all insist upon one who can raise spirits; not in its later sense of one
this masque or vision being interpolated by the players. who can lay them, or cast out evil ones.
Coleridge and the later critics incline to the other " — but his JovIAL face” –His face like Jove: opinion, that this is a remnant of Shakespeare's ju« Jovial” was not unfrequently used in this manner. venile drama. We meet with it again in this play, act v. scene 4, where Jupiter says :
« – athwart the lane, “ Jovial hand” is an expression common in T. Heywood's He, with two striplings, (lads more like to run," etc. plays.—COLLIER.
Shakespeare, who, like Scott, knew the superior effect « — that IRREGULous devil-No other instance has of actual historical incident, interwoven in narrative, to been found of the use of the word “irregulous,” which give the character of truth and nature, has here adapted Johnson supposed to be a misprint for irreligious. But to his purpose a well-known incident of old Scotch hisin another writer of this age we find “irregulated lust,” tory, which he found in his favourite Hollingshed's and the meaning of “irregulous" in this place is obvious. « History of Scotland :"
“ There was, near to the place of the battle, a long than this. In the scene before us all the surviving charlane, fenced on the sides with ditches and walls made acters are assembled; and at the expense of whatever of turf, through the which the Scots which fled were incongruity the former events may have been produced, beaten down by the enemies on heaps. Here Hay, perhaps little can be discovered on this occasion to offend with his sons, supposing they might best stay the flight, the most scrupulous advocate for regularity: and, I think, placed themselves overthwart the lane, beat them back as little is found wanting to satisfy the spectator by a whom they met fleeing, and spared neither friend nor catastrophe which is intricate without contusion, and not foe, but down they went all such as came within their
more rich in ornament than in nature."-STEVENS. reach; wherewith divers hardy personages cried unto " — whom she BORE IN HAND to love”-i. e. Whom their fellows to return back unto the battle.”
she pretended to love, or led to beliere that she loved. • The country BASE”-i. e. The rustic game of prison
In MEASURE FOR MEASURE, we have the expressionbase, or prison-bars, mentioned by many old writers by
Bore many gentlemen, myself being one,
In hand, and hope of action. the name of base ; but by Drayton in his “ Polyolbion,"
Macbeth uses the same words in his scene with the song 30, called “ prison-base.”
Murderers. “ The mortal buGS o the field”-i. e. The mortal terrors of the field. In HAMLET,“ bugs” and “goblins” it also sometimes means fine or brave, according to
“SO FEAT”–So neat, ready, clever, in this instance : are coupled.
Minshew. “ 1, in mine own woe CHARM’D"-Warburton remarks
" --straight-pight Minerva”—“Pight” is pitched or that this alludes to the common superstition of charms
fixed. “ Straight-pight" therefore seems to mean, having power to keep men unhurt in battle. Macbeth
standing upright in a fixed posture, and with this sense says “I bear a charmed life;" Posthumus, “I, in mine
the compound epithet has great appropriateness.own woe charm’d," etc.
COLLIER. - Well, I will find him;
“ Some upright JUSTICER”—Is a word found in anFor being now a favourer to the Briton," etc. cient law-books, which have “justicers of the peace," We give the original reading, which, on the recom- “ justicers of the king's courts,” etc. It had become mendation of Hanmer, has been changed in most edi- nearly obsolete in ordinary use in Shakespeare's time, tions to
who has preserved an excellent word for poetry and For being now a favourer to the Roman,
eloquence. No more a Briton.
“ Your pleasure was my MERE offence”—The meanThis alters the sense. In the original reading, I under.
ing of “ mere" in this place is, the mere offence I comstand Posthumus as continuing his figurative search of Death. As a Briton, he could not find Death where
mitted was what your pleasure considered a crime: the he "did hear him groan," etc. But, he will find him,"
first folio having misprinted it neere, it became wear in for he (Death) is now a favourer of the Britons, and
the later folios, and Johnson proposed to substitute dear. therefore Posthumus, “no more a Briton," resumes
The reading of the text has the sanction of all the ediagain his Roman character, in order thus to reach his
tors since the time of Tyrwhitt, who suggested the emenwished-for death.
“ Bless'd pray you be”-i. e. I pray that you may be SCENE IV.
blessed. Rowe and most later editors needlessly change " -- to satisfy,
“ pray” of the old copies into may. If of my freedom 'tis the main part," etc.
“This FIERCE abridg ment”-Shakespeare as well as Malone and others think there is some line or word Ben Jonson sometimes uses “fierce” for veheinent, rapid, wanting. The meaning to me seems not to demand excessive in any way. In Love's LABOUR Lost we any change of the text. Posthumus sighs for freedom, have "fierce endeavour;” and in TIMON OF ATHENS, but it is freedom from his fettered conscience. He
“fierce wretchedness :” and Jonson, in his “Poelaster," pleads sorrow and repentance; and then adds—If satis
has fierce credulity.” faction to heaven for my crime is the main part or condition of my freedom, then, take in satisfaction my all,
“ Will serve our long INTER’GATORIES”- Apparently so pronounced in the time of Shakespeare, and some
times so printed; as in the MERCHANT OF VENICE, “ And to become the GECK and scorn"--" Geck” is
where the word occurs in verse twice. fool ; and is used by Shakespeare in TWELFTH Night.
upon his eagle Back’D"_So all the folios; but “ – as to Foot us”-i. e. To grasp us in his talons.
modern editors strangely prefer "upon his eagle back :" Herbert says
if they thought fit to make this change in the text, And till they foot and touch their prey.
they ought to have printed “upon his eagle's back.". " — as is our FANGLED world”-“Fangled” is now
COLLIER. invariably found with new before it, and only in this instance, as far as discoveries of the kind have gone, without it: the meaning seems to be the same as new- Schlegel pronounces CYMBELINE to be one of Shakefangled, and it has been derived from fengan, Saxon, speare's most wonderful compositions, in which the to undertake or attempt. The substantive fangle was Poet has contrived to blend together, into one harmoin use by Shakespeare's contemporaries, meaning trifles, nious whole, the social manners of the latest times with new toys, or follies; as, in Drayton
heroic deeds, and even with appearances of the gods. What fangle now thy thronged guests to win?
In the character of Imogen not a feature of female ex
cellence is forgotten :-her chaste tenderness, her soft“ — Or jump the after-ing viry on your own peri!”- ness, and her virgin pride; her boundless resignation, i. e. risk the after-inquiry; like Macbeth's “We'd
and her magnanimity towards her mistaken husband, jump the life to come.”
by whom she is unjustly persecuted; her adventures in
disguise, her apparent death, and her recovery,--form SCENE V.
altogether a picture equally tender and affecting. “Let those who talk so confidently about the skill of “The two princes, Guiderius and Arviragus, both Shakespeare's contemporary, Jonson, point out the con- educated in the wilds, form a noble contrast to Miranda clusion of any one of his plays which is wrought with and Perdita. In these two young men, to whom the more artifice and yet a less degree of dramatic violence chase has imparted vigour and hardihood, but who are
unacquainted with their high destination, and have enjoyment. The outline of his piece, in such a poem always been kept far from human society, we are en- as CYMBELINE, will at once show that the scene : chanted by a naire heroism, which leads them to an- placed remotely as to time, in order to soften its inticipate and to dream of deeds of valour, till an occa- probabilities to the imagination by the effect of distante. sion is offered which they are irresistibly impelled to We all know that in landscapes and landscape-paiali.. embrace. When Imogen comes in disguise to their the undefined appearance of objects resulting from dis cave; when Guiderius and Arviragus form an impas- tance has a charm different from that of their distinessioned friendship, with all the innocence of childhood, ness in the foreground; and the same principle bois for the tender boy, (in whom they neither suspect a true in the romantic drama, when the poet afore female nor their own sister;) when, on returning from leaves the scenes open to the objection of improbabilis, the chase, they find her dead, sing her to the ground, owing to the very nature of romantic fiction. and cover the grave with flowers ;—these scenes might “Of all plays in the world, I think these remarks give a new life for poetry to the most deadened imagi- are particularly applicable to Shakespeare's CYMBELIVE nation.
With my heart open to romantic belief, I conscientionsis “The wise and virtuous Belarius, who, after living suppose all the boldly imagined events of the dramalong as a hermit, again becomes a hero, is a venerable I am rewarded with the delightful conceptions of Im figure;--the dexterous dissimulation and quick presence gen, of her arrival at the cave of her banished brothers, of mind of the Italian, Iachimo, is quite suitable to the with its innumerable beauties, and with its happy conbold treachery he plays;--Cymbeline, the father of clusion. Imogen, (and even her husband, Posthumus,) during “ This play is perhaps the fittest in Shakespeare's the first half of the piece, are somewhat sacrificed, but whole theatre to illustrate the principle, that great dra. this could not be otherwise;—the false and wicked matic genius can occasionally venture on bold improba. Queen is merely an instrument of the plot; she and her bilities, and yet not only shrive the offence, but leare stupid son Cloten, whose rude arrogance is pourtrayed us enchanted with the offender. The wager of Posthuwith much humour, are got rid of, by merited punish- mus, in CYMBELINE, is a very unlikely one. Bu* let ment, before the conclusion.”
us deal honestly with this objection, and admit the Dr. Johnson has dismissed this play with brief and wager to be improbable; still we have enough in the dogmatic censure on the improbability of the plot, the play to make us forget it, and more than forgive it
. folly of the fiction, the confusion of names and man- Shakespeare foresaw that from this license he could ners,” etc., such as shows that he had but little com- deduce delightful scenes and situations, and he scrupled prehension of its character, spirit, and peculiar beau- not to hazard it. The faulty incident may thus ties. This great critic, (for with all his defects I can- || compared to a little fountain, which, though impreznot deny him that title,) was at once the ablest in som nated with some unpalatable mineral, gives birth to a respects, and in others among the most incompetent of large stream; and that stream, as it proceeds, soon Shakespeare's commentators. Admirable in vigorous loses its taint of taste in the sweet and many waters common-sense, in sagacity, in mastery of the language, that join its course. alive to his author's moral feeling, his pathos, his wit, “ Be the wager what it may, it gives birth to charmhis humour, his true painting of social life, he was by ing incidents. It introduces us to a feast of the chastest nature and habits incapacitated to judge of the more luxury, in the sleeping-scene, when we gaze on the delicate beauties of imaginative poetry-whether of shut eyelids of Imogen; and that scene (how ineffably description, of invention, or of wilder passion. His rich as well as modest!) is followed by others that own poetry, and that of others which he chiefly relished, swell our interest to enchantment. Imogen hallows 10 is noble and animating versified declamation, but not the imagination every thing that loves her, and that poetry in the sense of CYMBELINE or the TEMPEST. she loves in return; and when she forgives Posthumus,
Johnson has found more than one congenial critic who may dare to refuse him pardon? Then, in her upon CYMBELINE. Thomas Campbell, aster answering friendship with her unconscious brothers of the moun all these objections, in two or three brief sentences, tain-cave, what delicious touches of romance! I think which contain a volume of philosophical criticism, pours I exaggerate not, in saying that Shakespeare has noout his own admiration in the true spirit of a poet :- where breathed more pleasurable feelings over the mind,
“In order to enjoy the romantic drama, we must ac- as an antidote to tragic pain, than in CYMBELINE."cept of the terms on which the romantic poet offers us T, CAMPBELL.