Page images
PDF
EPUB

And set them on Lud's town.
Bel.

We are all undone.
Gui. Why, worthy father, what have we to lose,
But, that he swore, to take our lives? The law
Protects not us:Then why should we be tender,
To let an arrogant piece of flesh threat us;
Play judge, and executioner, all himself;
For we do fear the law? What company
Discover you abroad?
Bel.

No single soul
Can we set cye on, but, in all safe reason,
He must have some attendants. Though his huinour
Was nothing but mutation ;3 ay, and that

9

1

(thank the gods!)] The old copies have-(thanks the gods). Mr. Rowe, and other editors after him,--thanks to the gods. But by the present omission of the letter s, and the restoration of the parenthesis, I suppose this passage, as it now stands in the text, to be as our author gave it. Steevens.

The law Protects not us:] We meet with the same sentiment in Romeo and Juliet:

“ The world is not thy friend, nor the world's law.Steevens. 2 For we do fear the law.?] For is here nsed in the sense of because. So, in Marlowe's Few of Malta, 1633 :

" See the simplicity of these base slaves !
“ Who, for the villains have no faith themselves,

“ Think me to be a senseless lump of clay.” Again, in Othello:

“ And, for I know thou art full of love,” &c. Malone.

Though his humour Was nothing but mutation ; &c.] (Old copy-bis honour.) What has his honour to do here, in his being changeable in this sort ? in his acting as a madman, or not? I have ventured to substi. tute humour, against the authority of the printed copies: and the meaning seems plainly this: Though he was always fickle to the last degree, and governed by humour, not sound sense; yet not madness itself could make him so hardy to attempt an enterprize of this nature alone, and unseconded ”s Theobald.

The text is right, and means, that the only notion he had of ho. nour, was the fashion which was perpetually changing. Warburton.

This would be a strange description of honour; and appears to me in its present form to be absolute nonsense. The sense indeed absolutely requires that we should adopt Theobald's amendment, and read humour instead of honour.

Belarius is speaking of the disposition of Cloten, not of his principles :-and this account of him agrees with what Imogen

3

From one bad thing to worse; not frenzy, not
Absolute madness could so far have rav’d,
To bring him here alone: Although, perhaps,
It may be heard at court, that such as we
Cave here, hunt here, are outlaws, and in time
May make some stronger head: the which he hearing,
(As it is like him) might break out, and swear
He'd fetch us in; yet is 't not probable
To come alone, either be so undertaking,
Or they so suffering: then on good ground we fear,
If we do fear this body hath a tail
More perilous than the head.
Arv.

Let ordinance
Come as the gods foresay it: howsoe'er,
My brother hath done well.
Bel.

I had no mind
To hunt this day: the boy Fidele's sickness
Did make my way long forth.”
Gui.

With his own sword,
Which he did wave against my throat, I have ta’en
His head from him: I'll throw't into the creek
Behind our rock; and let it to the sea,
And tell the fishes, he's the queen's son, Cloten:
That's all I reck.

[Exit. Bel.

I fear, 'twill be reveng’d: 'Would, Polydore, thou had'st not done 't! though valour Becomes thee well enough. Aru.

'Would I had done 't, So the revenge alone pursued me!-Polydore, I love thee brotherly; but envy much,

says in the latter end of the scene, where she calls him “ that ire regulous devil Cloten.” M. Mason.

I am now convinced that the poet wrote his humour, as Mr. Theobald suggested. The context strongly supports the emenda. tion; but what decisively entitles it to a place in the text is, that the editor of the folio has, in like manner printed honour instead of humour in The Merry Wives of Windsor, Act I, sc. iii:

“ Falstaff will learn the honour of the age." The quarto reads rightly—“ the humour of the age."

On the other hand in the quarto, signat. A 3, we find,“ – - Sir, my honour is not for many words," instead of “ – Sir, my hu. mour,” &c. Malone.

4 Did make my way long forth.] Fidele's sickness made my walk forth from the cave tedious. Johnson.

Thou hast robb'd me of this deed: I would, revenges, That possible strength might meet,s would seek us

through,
And put us to our answer.
Bel.

Well, 'tis done:-
We'll hunt no more to-day, nor seek for danger
Where there's no profit. I pr’ythee, to our rock;
You and Fidele play the cooks: I'll stay
Till hasty Polydore return, and bring him
To dinner presently.
Aru.

Poor sick Fidele!
I'll willingly to him: To gain his colour,
I'd let a parish of such Clotens blood,?
And praise myself for charity.

[Exit. Bel.

O thou goddess,
Thou divine Nature, how thyself thou blazon'st
In these two princely boys! They are as gentle
As zephyrs, blowing below the violet,
Not wagging his sweet head; and yet as rough,
Their royal blood enchaf'd, as the rud'st wind, 8
That by the top doth take the mountain pine,
And make him stoop to the vale. 'Tis wonderful,

5

6

revenges, That possible strength might meet,] Such pursuit of vengeance as fell within any possibility of opposition. Johnson.

To gain his colour,] i. e. to restore him to the bloom of health, to recall the colour of it into his cheeks. Steevens.

7 I'd let a parish of such Clotens blood, I would, says the young prince, to recover Fidele, kill as many Clotens as would fill a parish. Fohnson.

His visage, (says Fenner of a catchpole,) was almost eaten through with pock-holes, so that half a parish of children might have played at cherry-pit in his face." Farmer.

They are as gentle
As zephyrs, blowing below the violet,
Not wagging his sweet head; and yet as rough,

Their royal blood enchaf’d, as the rud'st wind, &c.] So, in our author's Lover's Complaint :

“ His qualities were beauteous as his form,
“For maiden tongu'd he was, and thereof free;
“ Yet, if men mov'd him, was he such a storm
“ As oft 'twixt May and April is to see,
• When winds breathe sweet, unruly though they be."

Malone. - 'Tis wonderful,] Old copies--wonder. The correction

8

That an invisible instinct should frame them
To royalty unlearn'd; honour untaught;
Civility not seen from other; valour,
That wildly grows in them, but yields a crop
As if it had been sow'd! Yet still it's strange,
What Cloten’s being here to us portends;
Or what his death will bring us.

Re-enter GUIDERIUS.
Gui.

Where's my brother?
I have sent Cloten's clotpoll down the stream,
In embassy to his mother; his body's hostage
For his return.

[Solemn Musick. Bel.

My ingenious instrument!
Hark, Polydore, it sounds! But what occasion
Hath Cadwal now to give it motion! Hark!

Gui. Is he at home?
Bel.

He went hence even now.
Gui. What does he mean? since death of my dear'st

mother
It did not speak before. All solemn things
Should answer solemn accidents. The matter?
Triumphs for nothing, and limenting toys, 1
Is jollity for apes, and grief for boys,
Is Cadwal mad?
Re-enter ARVIRAGUS, bearing IMOGEN as dead,

in his Arms. Bel.

Look, here he comes,
And brings the dire occasion in his arms,
Of what we blame him for!
Arv.

The bird is dead,
That we have made so much on. I had rather
Have skipp'd from sixteen years of age to sixty,
To have turn'd my leaping time into a crutch,
Than have seen this.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

1

is Mr. Pope's. So, in The Merry Wives of Windsor : “ Keep a good student from his book, and it is wonderful.Steevens.

lamenting toys,] Toys formerly signified freaks, or frolicks. One of N. Breton's poetical pieces, printed in 1577, is called, “The toyes of an idle head.” See Vol. XI, p. 14, n. 6. Malone. Toys are trifles. So, in King Henry VI, P. I:

“ That for a toy, a thing of no regard." Again, in Hamlet:

“Each toy seems prologue to some great amiss." Steevens.

Gui.

O sweetest, fairest lily!
My brother wears thee not the one half so well,
As when thou grew'st thyself.
Bel.

O, melancholy !
Who ever yet could sound thy bottom ?? find
The ooze, to show what coast thy sluggish crare
Might easiliest harbour in ?3— Thou blessed thing!
Jove knows what man thou might'st have made; but I,“

3

20, melanchco'y!

Who ever yet could sound thy bottom?] So, in Alba, the Monthes Mind of a Melancholy Lover, by RT. 1598:

“ This woeful tale, where sorrow is the ground,
“Whose bottom 's such as nere the depth is found.”

Malone. - what coast thy sluggish crare Might easiliest harbour in?] The folio reads:

- thy sluggish re? which Dr. Warburton allows to be a plausible reading, but sub. stitutes carrack in its room; and with this, Dr. Johnson tacitly acquiesced, and inserted it in the text. Mr. Simpson, among his notes on Beaumont and Fletcher, has retrieved the true reading, which is

thy sluggish crare. See The Captain, Act I, sc. ii:

let him venture “ In some decay'd crare of his own." A crare, says Mr. Heath, is a small trading vessel, called in the Latin of the middle ages crayera. The same word, though somewhat differently spelt, occurs in Harrington's translation of Ari. osto, Book XXXIX, Stanza 28:

To ships, and barks, with gallies, bulks and crayes,” &c. Again, in Heywood's Golden Age, 1611:

“ Behold a form to make your craers and barks.". Again, in Amintas for his Phillis, published in England's Heli

“ Till thus my soule dooth passe in Charon's crare." Mr. Tollet observes that the word often occurs in Holinshed, ag twice, p. 906, Vol. II. Steevens.

Perhaps Shakspeare wrote-thou, sluggish crare, might'st, &c. The epithet sluggish is used with equal propriety, a crayer being a very slow-sailing unwieldly vessel. See Florio's Italian Dict. 1598, Vurchio. A hulke, a crayer, a lyter, a wherrie, or such vessel of burthen.” Malone.

but 1,] This is the reading of the first folio, which later editors not understanding, have changed into but ah! The mean. ing of the passage I take to be this:--Fove knows, what man thou mightst have made, but I know, thou died'st, &c. Tyrwhitt.

I believe, “ but ah!" to be the true reading. Ay is through the

con, 1600:

« PreviousContinue »