Page images

Creatures may be alike: were 't he, I am sure
He would have spoke to us.

But we saw *him dead.
BEL. Be silent; let's see further.
PIS. [Aside.]

It is my mistress :
Since she is living, let the time run on
To good, or bad.


[CYMBELINE and IMOGEN come forward. Come, stand thou by our side; Make thy demand aloud.-Sir [To IACHIMO.], step you forth;

Give answer to this boy, and do it freely;
Or, by our greatness, and the grace of it,
Which is our honour, bitter torture shall
Winnow the truth from falsehood.-On,† speak to

IMO. My boon is, that this gentleman may render Of whom he had this ring.

POST. [Aside.] What's that to him? CVM. That diamond upon your finger, say How came it yours?

IACH. Thou'lt torture me to leave unspoken that, Which, to be spoke, would torture thee.


How! me? IACH. I am glad to be constrain'd to utter that Which torments me to conceal. By villainy I got this ring; 't was 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. IACH. That paragon, thy daughter,— For whom my heart drops blood, and my false spirits

Quail to remember,-give me leave; I faint.
CYм. My daughter! what of her? Renew thy

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!-'t was at a feast,-0
Our viands had been poison'd, or, at least,
Those which I heav'd to head !—the good Post-

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

(*) First folio, see

(f) Old text, One.

a Which tormenis me to conceal.] Which is usually an appendage of the preceding line; we adopt the arrangement of the folio, but agree with Mr. Dyce in considering the word an impertinent addition of the transcriber or printer.

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 :


Come to the matter.

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


Pieces of gold 'gainst this, which then he wore
Upon his honour'd finger, to attain

I stand on fire:

In suit the place of 's bed, and win this ring By hers 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 Phoebus' 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,
With tokens thus, and thus; averring notes
Of chamber-hanging, pictures, this her bracelet,--
O, 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,

[blocks in formation]

you ?

How now, my


scornful page,

I having ta'en the forfeit. Whereupon,

Was of more danger, did compound for her Methinks, I see him now,

A certain stuff, which, being ta'en, would cease Post. [Rushing forward.] Ay, so thou dost, The present power of life; but, in short time, Italian fiend !-Ay me, most credulous fool, All offices of nature should again Egregious murderer, thief, any thing

Do their due functions.—Have you ta’en of it? That's due to all the villains past, in being,

Imo. Most like I did, for I was dead. To come !—0, give me cord, or knife, or poison, BEL.

My boys, Some upright justicer! Thou, king, send out There was our error. For torturers ingenious : it is I


This is, sure, Fidele. That all the abhorred things o' the earth amend, Imo. Why did you


your wedded lady from By being worse than they. I am Posthumus, That kill'd thy daughter :-villain-like, I lie ;- Think that

you are upon a rock, and now That caus'd a lesser villain than myself,

Throw me again.

[Embracing him. A sacrilegious thief, to do't :the temple


Hang there like fruit, my soul, Of virtue was she; yea, and she herself.

Till the tree die ! Spit, and throw stones, cast mire upon me, set Cym.



child ? The dogs o' the street to bay me: every villain What, mak'st thou me a dullard in this act ? * Be called Posthumus Leonatus; and

Wilt thou not speak to me? Be villainy less than 'twas !-O Imogen!


Your blessing, sir. [Kneeling. My queen, my life, my wife ! O Imogen,

BEL. Though you did love this youth, I blame Imogen, Imogen !

ye not; Imo.

Peace, my lord; hear, hear! You had a motive for't. Post. Shall's have a play of this ? Thou


My tears that fall There lie thy part.

[Striking her : she falls. Prove holy water on thee! Imogen, Pis.

O, gentlemen, help Thy mother's dead. Mine and your mistress :-0, my lord Posthumus! Imo.

I am sorry for't, my lord. You ne'er kill'd Imogen till now :- help, help! Cym. O, she was naught; and 'long of her it Mine honour'd lady! Сүм.

Does the world go round ? That we meet here so strangely: but her son Post. How come these staggers on me? Is gone, we know not how, nor where. Pis. Wake, my mistress ! Pis.

My lord, Cym. If this be so, the gods do mean to strike Now fear is from me, I'll speak troth. Lord

Cloten, To death with mortal joy.

Upon my lady's missing, came to me Pis,

How fares my mistress ? With his sword drawn; foam'd at the mouth, and Imo. O, get thee from my sight; Thou gav'st me poison : dangerous fellow, hence ! If I discover'd not which way she was gone, Breathe not where princes are !

It was my instant death: by accident, Сүм.

The tune of Imogen ! I had a feigned letter of my master's Pis. Lady, the gods throw stones of sulphur Then in my pocket, which directed him on me, if

To seek her on the mountains near to Milford ; That box I gave you was not thought by me Where, in a frenzy, in my master's garments, A precious thing; I had it from the queen. Which he inforc'd from me, away he posts Cym. New matter still?

With unchaste purpose, and with oath to violate Imo..

It poison’d me. My lady's honour : what became of him, COR.

O gods ! - I further know not. I left out one thing which the queen confess’d, GUI.

Let me end the story: Which must approve thee honest: if Pisanio I slew him there. Have, said she, given his mistress that confection Сүм.

Marry, the gods forefend ! Which I gave him for cordial, she is serv'd I would not thy good deeds should from my lips As I would serve a rat.

Pluck a hard sentence : pr’ythee, valiant youth, Сүм.

What's this, Cornelius? | Deny't again.
Cor. The queen, sir, very oft importun'd me Gui. I have spoke it, and I did it.
To temper poisons for her; still pretending

Cym. He was a prince.
The satisfaction of her knowledge only
In killing creatures vile, as cats and dogs

a What, mak'st thou me a dullard in this act?) Do you gire

me, in this scene, the part only of a looker-on? Shakespeare was Of no esteem : I, dreading that her purpose thinking of the stage,



[ocr errors]

GUI. 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 his 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'rt dead!


That headless man

I thought had been my lord.
Bind the offender,
And take him from our presence.
Stay, sir king:
This man is better than the man he slew,
As well descended as thyself; and hath
More of thee merited than a band of Clotens
Had ever scar for.-Let his arms alone;

[To the Guard.

They were not born for bondage.
Why, old soldier,
Wilt thou undo the worth thou art unpaid for,
By tasting of our wrath? How of descent
As good as we?

(*) First folio, sorrow.

a By tasting of our wrath ?] "The consequence," Johnson says, is taken for the whole action; by tasting is by forcing us to make thee taste." This may be the true sense of the expression; but we have always conceived tasting, in this place, to

ARV. In that he spake too far. CYм. And thou shalt die for't. BEL. We will die all three; But I will prove, that two on's are as good As I have given out him.-My sons, I must, For mine own part, unfold a dangerous speech, Though, haply, well for you.


Your danger's ours.

GUI. And our good, his. BEL. Have at it then, by leave. Thou hadst, great king, a subject who Was call'd Belarius.

What of him? he's


A banish'd traitor.

BEL. He it is that hath Assum'd this age: indeed, a banish'd man ; I know not how a traitor. CYM.

Take him hence; The whole world shall not save him. BEL. Not too hot: First pay me for the nursing of thy sons; And let it be confiscate all, so soon As I've receiv'd it.


Nursing of my sons!

mean trying, testing, &c., as in "Twelfth Night," Act III. Sc. 1:"Taste your legs, sir."

And again in Act III. Sc. 4:-"I have heard of some kind of men that put quarrels purposely on others, to taste their valour." See also note (a), p. 256.

[blocks in formation]


Itself, and all my treason; that I suffered
Was all the harm I did. These gentle princes,-
For such and so they are,-these twenty years
Have I train'd up: those arts they have, as I
Could put into them; my breeding was, sir, as
Your highness knows. Their nurse, Euriphile,
Whom for the theft I wedded, stole these children
Upon my banishment: I mov'd her to't;
Having receiv'd the punishment before,
For that which I did then beaten for loyalty,
Excited me to treason. Their dear loss,
The more of you 't was felt, the more it shap'd
Unto my end of stealing them. But, gracious sir,
Here are your sons again; and I must lose
Two of the sweet'st companions in the world:-
The benediction of these covering heavens
Fall on their heads like dew! for they are worthy
To inlay heaven with stars.

CYM. Thou weep'st, and speak'st.The service that you three have done, is more Unlike than this thou tell'st: I lost my children; If these be they, I know not how to wish

A pair of worthier sons.

BEL. Be pleas'd awhile.— This gentleman, whom I call Polydore, Most worthy prince, as yours, is true Guiderius: This gentleman, my Cadwal, Arviragus, Your younger princely son; he, sir, was lapp'd In a most curious mantle, wrought by the hand Of his queen-mother, which, for more probation, I can with ease produce.


Guiderius had Upon his neck a mole, a sanguine star; It was a mark of wonder.


(*) First folio, neere.

a Prefer-] Advance.

This is he;
Who hath upon him still that natural stamp :
It was wise Nature's end in the donation,

To be his evidence now.


O, what am I

A mother to the birth of three? Ne'er mother Rejoic'd deliverance more.-Bless'd pray you be,

[ocr errors]

That, after this strange starting from your orbs, You may reign in them now!-O, Imogen, Thou hast lost by this a kingdom.

IMO. No, my lord; I have got two worlds by 't.-O, my gentle brothers, Have we thus met? O, never say hereafter But I am truest speaker: you call'd me brother, When I was but your sister; I you, brothers, When you' * were so indeed.

Did you e'er meet?

CYM. ARV. Ay, my good lord. GUI. And at first meeting lov'd; Continued so, until we thought he died. COR. By the queen's dram she swallow'd. CYM. O rare instinct ! When shall I hear all through? This fierce abridgment

Hath to it circumstantial branches, which Distinction should be rich in.-Where? how liv'd you?

And when came you to serve our Roman captive ? How parted with your brothers?† how first met them?

Why fled you from the court? and whither? These,

And your three motives to the battle, with

I know not how much more, should be demanded, And all the other by-dependencies,

From chance to chance; but nor the time, nor place,
Will serve our long inter'gatories. See,
Posthumus anchors upon Imogen ;

And she, like harmless lightning, throws her eye
On him, her brothers, me, her master, hitting
Each object with a joy; the counterchange
Is severally in all. Let's quit this ground,
And smoke the temple with our sacrifices.—
Thou art my brother: so we'll hold thee ever.
IMO. You are my father too; and did relieve me,
To see this gracious season.

All o'erjoy'd,
Save these in bonds; let them be joyful too,
For they shall taste our comfort.


I will yet do you service.

My good master,

Luc. Happy be you! CYM. The forlorn soldier that so nobly fought, He would have well becom'd this place, and grac'd The thankings of a king.

POST. I am, sir, The soldier that did company these three In poor beseeming; 'twas a fitment for The purpose I then follow'd:-that I was he, Speak, Tachimo: I had you down, and might Have made you finish.

(*) Old text, we.

(†) Old text, brother?

As you


I am down again : We term it mulier : which mulier I divine

[Kneeling. Is this most constant wife; who, even now, But now my heavy conscience sinks my knee, Answering.the letter of the oracle, As then your force did. Take that life, beseech you, Unknown to you, unsought, were clipp'd about Which I so often owe: but your ring first ; With this most tender air. And here the bracelet of the truest princess


This hath some seeming. That ever swore her faith.

Sooth. The lofty cedar, royal Cymbeline, Post.

Kneel not to me;

Personates thee: and thy lopp'd branches point The power that I have on you is to spare you ; Thy two sons forth : who, by Belarius stolen, The malice towards you to forgive you: live, For many years thought dead, are now reviv'd, And deal with others better.

To the majestic cedar join’d; whose issue СҮм.

Nobly doom'd; Promises Britain peace and plenty. We'll learn our freeness of a son-in-law;


Well, Pardon's the word to all.

My peace we will begin :—and, Caius Lucius, ARV.

You holp us, sir, Although the victor, we submit to Cæsar, did mean indeed to be our brother ; And to the Roman empire; promising Joy'd are we that you are.

(Rome, To pay our wonted tribute, from the which Post. Your servant, princes.—Good my lord of We were dissuaded by our wicked queen : Call forth your soothsayer: as I slept, methought, Whom heavens, in justice, both on her and Great Jupiter, upon his eagle back'd,

hers, Appear'd to me, with other spritely shows Have laid most heavy hand. Of mine own kindred: when I wak’d, I found Sooth. The fingers of the powers above do This label on my bosom ; whose containing

tune Is so from sense in bardness, that I can

The harmony of this peace. The vision Make no collection of it; let him show

Which I made known to Lucius, ere the stroke His skill in the construction.

Of this yet * scarce-cold battle, at this instant Luc.

Philarmonus ! Is full accomplish’d: for the Roman eagle, Sooth. Here, my good lord.

From south to west on wing soaring aloft, Luc. Read, and declare the meaning. Lessen'd herself, and in the beams o' the sun

Sooth. [Reads.] Whenas a lion's whelp shall, So vanish'd : which foreshow'd our princely eagle, to himself unknown, without seeking find, and be The imperial Cæsar, should again unite embraced by a piece of tender air; and when His favour with the radiant Cymbeline, from a stately cedar shall be lopped branches, Which shines here in the west. which, being dead many years, shall after revive, Сүм.

Laud we the gods ; be jointed to the old stock, and freshly grow; then And let our crooked smokes climb to their nostrils shall Posthumus end his miseries, Britain be fortu- From our bless'd altars ! Publish we this peace nate, and flourish in peace and plenty."

To all our subjects. Set we forward : let

A Roman and a British ensign wave Thou, Leonatus, art the lion's whelp;

Friendly together : so through Lud's town march ; The fit and apt construction of thy name,

And in the temple of great Jupiter Being Leo-natus, doth import so much :

Our peace we'll ratify; seal it with feasts.The piece of tender air, thy virtuous daughter, Set on there !—Never was a war did cease,

[To CYMBELINE. Ere bloody hands were wash’d, with such a peace. Which we call mollis aer; and mollis aer


a And flourish in peace and plenty.) This precious scroll, and its equally ridiculous exposition, form an appropriate sequel to the vision, and were doubtless the work of the same accomplished hand. Mr. Collier suggests, what is extremely probable, itas both scroll and vision formed part of an older play; and

(*) Old text, yet this. such riddles being extremely popular on the early stage, Shakespeare may not have liked to omit them.

« PreviousContinue »