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Cymbeline, king of Britain.
} of Polydore and Cadwal, supposed sons to
Philario, friend to Posthumus, 2
Queen, wife to Cymbeline.
Lords, ladies, Roman senators, tribunes, apparitions, a
soothsayer, a Dutch gentleman, a Spanish gentleman musicians, officers, captains, soldiers, messengers, and other attendants.
ACT I.....SCENE I.
Britain. The Garden behind Cymbeline's Palace.
Enter. Two Gentlemen. i Gent. You do not meet a man, but frowns: our
bloods No more obey the heavens, than our courtiers; Still seem, as does the king's.1
i You do not meet a man, but frowns: our bloods No more obey the heavens than our courtiers;
Still seem, as does the king s ] The thought is this: we are not now (as we were wont) influenced by the weather, but by the king's looks. We no more obey the heavens (the sky) than our courtiers obey the heavens God). By which it appears that the read. ing-our bloods, is wrong. For though the blood may be affected with the weather, yet that affection is discovered not by change of colour, but by change of countenance. And it is the outward not the inward change that is here talked of, as appears from the word seem. We should read therefore:
our brow's No more obey the heavens, &c. which is evident from the precedent words :
You do not meet a man but frowns.
But not a courtier,
“Glad at the thing they scowl at.” The Oxford editor improves upon this emendation, and reads:
our looks No more obey the heart, ev'n than our courtiers. But by venturing too far, at a second emendation, he has stript it of all thought and sentiment. Warburton.
This passage is so difficult, that commentators may differ con. cerning it without animosity or shame. Of the two emendations proposed, Sir Thomas Hanmer's is the most licentious; but he makes the sense clear, and leaves the reader an easy passage. Dr. Warburton has corrected with more caution, but less improve. ment: his reasoning upon his own reading is so obscure and perplexed, that I suspect some injury of the press.-I am now to tell my opinion, which is, that the lines stand as they were origi. nally written, and that a paraphrase, such as the licentious and
But what's the matter? I Gent. His daughter, and the heir of his kingdom,
abrupt expressions of our author too frequently require, will make emendation unnecessary. We do not meet a man but frowns; our bloods
our countenances, which, in popular speech, are said to be regulated by the temper of the blood,o-no more obey the laws of heaven, which direct us to appear what we really are,--than our courtiers :- that is than the bloods of our courtiers; but our bloods, like theirs,- still seem as doth the king's. Johnson.
In The Yorkshire Tragedy, 1608, which has been attributed to Shakspeare, blood appears to be used for inclination:
“ For 'tis our blood to love what we are forbidden.” Again, in King Lear, Act IV, sc. ii:
- Were it my fitness
“To let these hands obey my blood.” In King Henry VIII, Act III, sc. iv, is the same thought:
" subject to your countenance, glad, or sorry,
« As I saw it inclin'd.” Steevens. I would propose to make this passage clear by a very slight al. teration, only leaving out the last letter:
You do not meet a man but frowns : our bloods
Still seem, as does the king. That is, Still look as the king does; or, as he expresses it a little differently afterwards:
- wear their faces to the bent "Of the king's look.” Tyrwhitt. The only error that i can find in this passage is, the mark of the genitive case annexed to the word courtiers, which appears to be a modern innovation, and ought to be corrected. The mean. ing of it is this:-"Our dispositions no more obey the heavens than our courtiers do; they still seem as the king's does.” The obscurity arises from the omission of the pronoun they, by a common poetical licence. M. Mason.
Blood is so frequently used by Shakspeare for natural disposition, that there can be no doubt concerning the meaning here. So, in All's Well that Ends Well:
“Now his important blood will nought deny
6. That she 'll demand.” See also Timon of Athens, Act IV, sc. ii, Vol. XV.
I have followed the regulation of the old copy, in separating the word courtiers from what follows, by placing a semicolon after it. “ Still seem,” for “ they still seem,” or “our bloods still seem," is common in Shakspeare. The mark of the genitive case, which has been affixed in the late editions to the word courtiers, does not appear to me necessary, as the poet might intend to say “ than our courtiers obey the beavens:” though, it must be owned, the modern regulation derives some support from what follows:
He purpos'd to his wife's sole son, (a widow,
None but the king? I Gent. He, that hath lost her, too: so is the queen, That most desir'd the match: But not a courtier, Although they wear their faces to the bent Of the king's looks, hath a heart that is not . Glad at the thing they scowl at. 2 Gent,
And why so?
You speak him far.3
but not a courtier,
“Of the king's looks, " We bave again, in Antony and Cleopatra, a sentiment similar te that before us:
" for he would shine on those
She's wed; her husband banish’d, she imprison'd:
All's outward sorrow; &c.
“ In Syracusa was I born, and wed, — .” Steevens.
You are lavish in your encomiums on him: your eulogium has a wide compass. Malone.
4 I do extend him, sir, within himself ;) I extend him within himself; my praise, however extensive, is within his merit.
Crush him together, rather than unfold
2 Gent. . What 's his name, and birth?
i Gent. I cannot delve him to the root: His father
My eulogium, however extended it may seem, is short of his real excellence: it is rather abbreviated than expanded. We have again the same expression in a subsequent scene: “ The approbation of those that weep this lamentable divorce, are wonderfully to extend him.” Again, in The Winter's Tale: “ The report of her is extended more than can be thought.” Malone. 5 Crush him -) So, in King Henry IV, P. II:
“ Crowd us and crush us in this monstrous form.” Steevens. 6 who did join his honour
Against the Romans, with Cassibelan;] I do not understand what can be meant by “joining his honour against &c. with &c.” Perhaps our author wrote:
did join his banner Against the Romans &c. In King John, says the bastard, let us
“ Part our mingled colours once again.” and in the last speech of the play before us, Cymbeline proposes that “ a Roman and a British ensign should wave together.”
Stcevens. 7 T enantius,] was the father of Cymbeline, and nephew of Cassibelan, being the younger son of his elder brother Lud, king of the southern part of Britain; on whose death Cassibelan was admitted king. Cassibelan repulsed the Romans on their first attack, but being vanquished by Julius Cæsar on his second inva. sion of Britain, he agreed to pay an annual tribute to Rome. Af. ter his death, Tenantius, Lud's younger son, (his elder brother Androgeus having fled to Rome) was established on the throne, of which they had been unjustly deprived by their uncle. Ac. cording to some authorities, Tenantius quietly payed the tribute stipulated by Cassibelan; according to others, he refused to pay it, and warred with the Romans. Shakspeare supposes the latter to be the truth. Holinshed, who furnished our poet with these facts, furnished him also with the name of Sicilius, who was ad. mitted king of Britain, A. M. 3659. The name of Leonatus he found in Sidney's Arcadia. Leonatus is there the legitimate son of the blind King of Paphlagonia, on whose story the episode of Gloster, Edgar, and Edmund, is formed in King Lear. See Arca. dia, p. 69, edit. 1593. Malone.
Shakspeare, having already introduced Leonato among the characters in Much Ado about Nothing, had not far to go for Leonatus.