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Clo. That man of hers, Pisanio, her old servant,
Go, look after.. [Exit CLO.
'Tis certain, she is filed :
All the better: May
[Exit Queen. Clo. I love, and hate her: for she 's fair and royal ; And that she hath all courtly parts more exquisite Than lady, ladies, woman;' from every one The best she hath, and she, of all compounded, Outsells them all: I love her therefore; But, Disdaining me, and throwing favours on The low Postliúmus, slanders so her judgment, That what's else rare, is chok'd; and, in that point,
? Son, I say, follow the king.) Some word, necessary to the metre, is here omitted. We might reacl : Go, son, I say; follow the king. Steevens.
May This night forestall him of the coming day!] i. e. May his grief this night prevent him from ever seeing another day, by an anticipated and premature destruction! So, in Milton's Masque :
Perhaps fore-stalling night prevented them.” Malone. 9 And that she hath all courtly parts more exquisite
Than lady, ladies, woman;] She has all courtly parts, says he, more exquisite than any lady, than all ladies, than all womankind.
Johnson. There is a similar passage in All's Well that Ends Well, Act II, sc
. iii: “ To any count; to all counts; to what is man." Tollet.
I will conclude to hate her, nay, indeed,
O, good my lord!
Alas, my lord,
Where is she, sir? Come nearer;
Pis. O, my all-worthy lord !
[Presenting a Letter. Clo. .
Let's see 't :- I will pursue her Even to Augustus' throne. Pis.
Or this, or perish.3 (Aside.
- from every one
but you, O you,
Close villain,] A syllable being here wanting to complete the measure, perhaps we ought to read :
Close villain, thou, Steevens. 3 Or this, or perish.] These words, I think, belong to Cloten, who, requiring the paper, says:
Let's see't:- I will pursue her
Aside. May prove his travel, not her danger. Clo.
Clo. Sirrah, is this letter true?
Sir, as I think. Clo. It is Posthumus' hand; I know it.-Sirrah, if thou would'st not be a villain, but do me true service; undergo those employments, wherein I should have cause to use thee, with a serious industry,--that is, what villainy soc'er I bid thee do, to perform it, directly and truly,- I would think.thee an honest man: thou shouldest neither want my means for thy relief, nor my voice for thy preferment.
Even to Augustus' throne. Or this, or perish. *Then Pisanio giving the paper, says to himself:
She's far enough; &c. Johnson. I own I am of a different opinion. Or this, or perish, properly belongs to Pisanio, who says to himself, as he gives the paper into the hands of Cloten, I must either give it him freely, or perish in my attempt to keep it: or else the words may be considered as a reply to Cloten's boast of following her to the throne of Au. gustus, and are added slily: You will either do what you say, or perish, which is the more probable of the two.—The subsequent remark, however, of Mr. Henley, has taught me diffidence in my attempt to justify the arrangement of the old copies. Steevens.
I cannot but think Dr. Johnson in the right, from the account of this transaction Pisanio afterwards gave:
Lord Cloten, “Upon my lady's missing, came to me, “With his sword drawn; foam'd at the mouth, and swore “If I discovered 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 ber on the mountains near to Milford." But if the words, Or this, or perish, belong to Pisanio, as the letter was feigned, they must have been spoken out, not aside.
Henley. Cloten knew not, till it was tendered, that Pisanio had such a letter as he now presents; there could therefore be no question concerning his giving it freely or with-holding it.
These words, in my opinion, relate to Pisanio's present conduct, and they mean, I think, “ I must either practise this deceit apon. Cloten, or perish by his fury." Malone.
Pis. Well, my good lord.
Clo. Wilt thou serve me? For since patiently and constantly thou hast stuck to the bare fortune of that beggar Posthumus, thou canst not in the course of gratitude but be a diligent follower of mine. Wilt thou serve me?
Pis. Sir, I will.
of thy late master's garments in thy possession?
Pis. I have, my lord, at my lodging, the same suit he wore when he took leave of my lady and mistress.
Clo. The first service thou dost me, fetch that suit hither: let it be thy first service; go. Pis. I shall, my lord.
[Erit. Clo. Meet thee at Milford-Haven :-I forgot to ask him one thing; I'll remember 't anon :-Even there, thou villain, Posthumus, will I kill thee.--I would, these garments were come. She said upon a time, (the bitterness of it I now belch from my heart) that she held the very garment of Posthumus in more respect than my noble and natural person, together with the adornment of my qualities. With that suit upon my back, will I ravish her: First kill him, and in her eyes; there shall she see my valour, which will then be a torment to her contempt. He on the ground, my speech of insultment ended on his dead body,—and when my lust hath dined, (which, as I say, to vex her, I will execute in the clothes that she so praised,) to the court I'll knock her back, foot her home again. She hath despised me rejoicingly, and I 'll be merry in my revenge.
Re-enter PISANIO, with the Clothes.
Pis. Ay, my noble lord.
Clo. Bring this apparel to my chamber; that is the second thing that I have commanded thee: the third is, that thou shalt be a voluntary mute to my design. Be but duteous, and true preferment shall tender itself to thee.--My revenge is now at Milford; 'Would I had wings to follow it. Come, and be true. [Exit.
Pis. Thou bidd'st me to my loss: for, true to thee, Were to prove false, which I will never bo,
To him that is most true.*--To Milford go,
Before the Cave of Belarius.
Enter IMOGBN, in Boy's Clothes. Imo. I see, a man's life is a tedious one: I have tir'd myself; and for two nights together Have made the ground my bed. I should be sick, But that my resolution helps me.--Milford, When from the mountain-top Pisanio show'd thee, Thou wast within a ken: () Jove! I think, Foundations fly the wretched: such, I mean, Where they should be reliev'd. Two beggars told me, I could not miss my way: Will poor folks lie, That have afflictions on them; knowing 'tis A punishment, or trial? Yes: no wonder, When rich ones scarce tell true: To lapse in fulness Is sorer, 5 than to lie for need; and falsehood Is worse in kings, than beggars.--My dear lord ! Thou art one o' the false ones: Now I think on thee, My hunger 's gone; but even before, I was At point to sink for food. But what is this? Here is a path to it: 'Tis some savage hold: I were best not call;6 I dare not call: yet famine, Ere clean it o'erthrow nature, makes it valiant. Plenty, and peace, breeds cowards; hardness ever Of hardiness is mother.-Ho! who 's here? If any thing that 's civil, speak; if savage,
• To him that is most true.] Pisanio, notwit hstanding his mas. ter's letter, commanding the murder of Imogen, considers him as true, supposing, as he has already said to her, that Posthumus was abused by some villain, equally an enemy to them both.
Malone. 5 Is sorer,] Is a greater, or heavier crime. Johnson.
o I were best not call;] Mr. Pope was so little acquainted with. the language of Shakspeare's age, that instead of this the original reading, he substituted—'Twere best not call. Malone. 7 If any thing that's civil,] Civil, for human creature.