Page images

Were crack'd of kitchen trulls, or his description Prov'd us unspeaking sots.

Cym. Nay, nay, to the purpose.

lach. 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 hers and mine adultery: he, true knight, No leffer of her honour confident Than I did truly find her, stakes this ring; And would so, had it been a carbuncle 2 Of Phæbus' wheel; and might so safely, had it Been all the worth of his car. Away to Britain Poft 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, inine Italian brain 'Gan in your duller Britain operate Most vilely; for my vantage, excellent; And, to be brief, my practice so prevailid, That I return’d with simular proof enough To make the noble Leonatus mad, By wounding his belief in her renown With tokens thus, and thus; } averring notes Of chamber-hanging, pictures, this her bracelet, (0, 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's,

a carbuncle, &c.] So in Antony and Cleopatra :
“ He has deserv'd it, were it carbuncled
« Like Phæbus car.” Steevens.

-averring notes] Such marks of the chamber and pictures, as averred or confirmed my report. JOHNSON,


I having

I having ta'en the forfeit. Whereupon,
Methinks, I see him now,

Poft. Ay, so thou do'st. [Coming forward.
Italian fiend !-Ah me, most credulous fool,
Egregious murderer, thief, any thing
That's due to all the villains paft, in being,
To come!--, give me cord, or knife, or poison,
Some upright justicer 4! 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 lefser villain than myself,
A sacrilegious thief, to do't :--the temple
Of virtue was she, yea, 5 and she herself.
Spit, and throw stones, caft mire upon me, fet
The dogs o' the street to bay me: every

Be call’d, Posthumus Leonatus; and
Be villainy less than 'twas !- Imogen!
My queen, my life, my wife! O Imogen,
Imogen, Imogen!

Imo. Peace, my lord; hear, hear
Poft. Shall's have a play of this ? Thou scornful

page, There lie thy part.

[Striking her, she falls. Pif. O, gentlemen, help Mine, and your mistress--0, my lord Posthumus!

this day,

* Some upright justicer !) I meet with this antiquated word in The Tragedy of Darius, 1603 :

“ Th' eternal justicer sees through the stars." Again, in Law Tricks, &c. 1608 :

« No: we must have an upright jufficer.Again, in Warner's Albion's England, 1602, book x. chap. 54. “ Precelling his progenitors, a justicer upright.”

STEEVENS. and she herself.] That is, She was not only the temple of virtue, but virtue herself. JOHNSON. Vol. IX.

A a


[ocr errors]

You ne'er kill'd Imogen 'till now:-Help, help!
Mine honour'd lady!

Cym. Does the world go round?
Post. How come these staggers on me?
Pif. Wake, my mistress!

Cym. If this be so, the gods do mean to strike me To death with mortal joy.

Pif. How fares my mistress?

Imo. O, get thee from my sight;
Thou gav'st me poison: dangerous fellow, hence!
Breathe not where princes are.

Cym. The tune of Imogen!
Pil. Lady, 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.

Cyın. New matter still ?
Imo. It poison'd me.

Cor. O gods !
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 cordial, she is serv'd
As I would serve a rat.

Cym. What's this, Cornelius?

Cor. The queen, fir, very oft importun'd me
To temper poisons for her; 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 fort time,
All offices of nature should again
Do their due functions.-Have you ta'en of it?

.these flaggers-] This wild and delirious perturbazion. Staggers is the horse's apoplexy. JOHNSON.


Imo. Most like I did, for I was dead.

Bel. My boys, There was our error.

Guid. This is sure Fidele.

Imo. Why did you throw your wedded lady from ? Think, that you are upon a rock; and now Throw me again.

Poft. Hang there like fruit, my soul, 'Till the tree die !

Cym. How now, my flesh, my child ?
What, mak'st thou me a dullard & in this act?
Wilt thou not speak to me?
Imo. Your blessing, sir.

[Kneeling Bel. Though you did love this youth, I blame you

not; You had a motive for't. [To Guiderius and Arviragus.

Cym. My tears, that fall,
Prove holy water on thee! Imogen,
Thy mother's dead.

[ocr errors]

7 Think, that you are upon a rock ;-] In this speech, or in the answer, there is little meaning. I suppose, she would say, Consider such another act as equally fatal to me with precipitation from a rock, and now let me see whether you will repeat it.

JOHNSON. Perhaps only a stage direction is wanting to clear this paffage from obscurity. Imogen first upbraids her husband for the violent treatment she had just experienced; then confident of the rcturn of passion which she knew must succeed to the discovery of her innocence, the poet might have meant her to rush into his arms, and while the clung about him faft, to dare him to throw her off a second time, lest that precipitation should prove as fatal to them both, as if the place where they stood had been a rock. To which he replies, hang there, i. e. round my neck, till the frame that now supports you thall decay. STEEVENS.

-a dullard-] In this place means a person stupidly unconcern'd. So in Hifriomaflix, or the Player whipt, 1610 :

“ What dullard! would'st thou doat in rusty art ?" Again, Stanyhurst in his version of the first book of Virgil, 1592: “ We Moores, lyke dullards, are not to wytles abyding.”.



Aa 2

[ocr errors]

Imo. I'm sorry for’t, my lord.

Cym. O, 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.

Pif. My lord,
Now fear is from me, I'll speak troch.' Lord Cloten,
Upon my lady's missing, caine to me
With his sword drawn; foam'd at the mouth, and

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 unchafte purpose, and with oath toʻviolate
My lady's honour : what became of him,
I further know not.

Guid. Let me end the story :
I New him there.

Cym. Marry, the gods forefend !
I would not thy good deeds should from

lips Pluck a hard sentence: pr’ythee, valiant youth, Deny't again.

Guid. I have spoke it, and I did it.
Cym. He was a prince.

Guid. A most incivil one : The wrongs 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
To tell this tale of mine.

Cym. I am sorry for thee:
By thine own tongue thou art condemn'd, and must
Endure our law : Thou art dead,

Imo. That headless man
I thought had been
my lord.

Сут. .

[ocr errors]


« PreviousContinue »