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Post. A Roman;
Who had not now been dropping here, if seconds
Had answer'd him.
2 Cap.

Lay hands on him; a dog!
A leg of Rome shall not return to tell
What crows have peck'd hem here: He brags his ser-

vice As if he were of note: bring him to the king. Enter CYMBELINE, * attended ; BELARIUS, GUIDERIUS, ARVIRAGUS, PISANIO,

and Roman Captives. The Captains present PostHUMUS to CYMBELINE, who delivers him over to a Gaoler: after which, all go out.


A Prison.

Enter Pos'rĦUMUS, and Two Gaolers. 1 Gaol. You shall not now be stolen,5 you have locks

upon you; So graze, as you find pasture. 2 Gaol.

Ay, or a stomach.

[Exeunt Gaolers. Post. Most welcome, bondage! for thou art a way, I think, to liberty: Yet am I better Than one that's sick o' the gout; since he had rather Groan so in perpetuity, than be cur'd By the sure physician, death; who is the key To unbar these locks. My conscience! thou art fetter'd More than my shanks, and wrists: You good gods, give me The penitent instrument, to pick that bolt,


Stand!] I would willingly, for the sake of metre, omit this useless word, and read the whole passage thus:

But none of them can be found.-Who's there?

A Roman; Steedens. 4 Enter Cymbeline, &Sc.] This is the only instance in these plays of the business of the scene being entirely performed in dumb show. The direction must have proceeded from the players, as it is perfectly unnecessary, and our author has elsewhere [in Hamlet] expressed his contempt of such mummery. Ritson.

5 You shall not now be stolen,] The wit of the Gaolor alludes to the custom of putting a lock on a horse's leg, when he is turned to pasture. Johnson. VOL. XVI.


Then, free for ever! Is 't enough, I am sorry?
So children temporal fathers do appease;
Gods are more full of mercy. Must I repent?
I cannot do it better than in gyves,
Desir'd, more than constrain'd: to satisfy,
If of my freedom 'tis the main part, take
No stricter render of me, than my all.“
I know, you are more clement than vile men,
Who of their broken debtors take a third,
A sixth, a tenth, letting them thrive again
On their abatement; that's not my desire:
For Imogen's dear life, take mine; and though
'Tis not so dear, yet 'tis a life; you coin'd it:
'Tween man and man, they weigh not every stamp;
Though light, take pieces for their figure's sake;
You rather mine, being yours: And so, great powers,
If you will take this audit, take this life,
And cancel these cold bonds.? O Imogen!
I'll speak to thee in silence.

[He sleeps.



to satisfy,
If of my freedom 'tis the main part, take

No stricter render of me, than my all.] Posthumus questions whether contrition be sufficient atonement for guilt. Then, to sa. tisfy the offended gods, he desires them to take no more than his present all, that is, his life, if it is the main part, the chief point, or principal condition of his freedom, i. e. of his freedom from future punishment. This interpretation appears to be warranted by the former part of the speech. Sir T. Hanmer reads:

I doff my freedom, Steevens. I believe Posthumus means to say, “Since for my crimes I have been deprived of my freedom, and since life itself is more valuable than freedom, let the gods take my life, and by this let bea. ven be appeased, how small soever the atonement may be.” I sus. pect, however, that a line has been lost, after the word satisfy. If the text be right, to satisfy means, by way of satisfaction. Malone.

- cold bonds.) This equivocal use of bonds is another in. stance of our author's infelicity in pathetick speeches. Johnson.

An allusion to the same legal instrument has more than once debased the imagery of Shakspeare. So, in Macbeth:

Cancel and tear to pieces that great bond
“That keeps me pale.” Steevens.

Solemn musick.8 Enter, as in an apparition, Sicilius Leo

natus, father to Posthumus, an old man, attired like a warrior; leading in his hand an ancient matron, his wife, and mother to Posthumus, with musick before them. Then, after other musick, follow the two young Leonati, brothers to Posthumus, with wounds as they died in the wars. They circle Posthumus round, as he lies sleeping.

Sici. No more, thou thunder-master, show

Thy spite on mortal flies:
With Mars fall out, with Juno chide,
That thy adulteries

Rates, and revenges.
Hath my poor boy done aught but well,

Whose face I never saw ?
I died, whilst in the womb he stay'd

Attending Nature's law.

8 Solemn musick. &c.] Here follow a vision, a masque, and a prophesy, which interrupt the fable without the least necessity, and unmeasurably lengthen this Act. I think it plainly foisted in afterwards for mere show, and apparently not of Shakspeare.

Pope. Every reader must be of the same opinion. The subsequent narratives of Posthumus, which render this masque, &c. unnecessary, (or perhaps the scenical directions supplied by the poet himself) seem to have excited some manager of a theatre to disgrace the play by the present metrical interpolation. Shakspeare, who has conducted his fifth Act with such matchless skill, could never have designed the vision to be twice described by Posthu. mus, had this contemptible nonsense been previously delivered on the stage. The following passage from Dr. Farmer's Essay will show that it was no unusual thing for the players to indulge themselves in making additions equally unjustifiable:-“We have a sufficient instance of the liberties taken by the actors, in an old pamphlet by Nash, called Lenten Stuffe, with the Prayse of the Red Herring, 410. 1599, where he assures us, that in a play of his call. ed The Isle of Dogs, foure Acts, without his consent, or the least guess of his drift or scope, were supplied by the players."

Steevens. One would think that, Shakspeare's style being too refined for his audiences, the managers had employed some playwright of the old school to regale them with a touch of “ King Cambyses’ vein." The margin would be too honourable a place for so impertinent an interpolation. Ritson.

Whose father then (as men report,

Thou orphans' father art,)
Thou should’st have been, and shielded him

From this earth-vexing smart.
Moth. Lucina lent not me her aid,

But took me in my throes;
That from me was Posthúmus ript,
Came crying ’mongst his foes,

A thing of pity!
Sici. Great nature, like his ancestry,

Moulded the stuff so fair,
That he deserv’d the praise o'the world,

As great Sicilius' heir.
| Bro. When once he was mature for man,

In Britain where was he
That could stand up his parallel;

Or fruitful object be
In eye of Imogen, that best

Could deem his dignity?
Moth. With marriage wherefore was he mock'd, 2

To be exil'd, and thrown
From Leonati' seat and cast
From her his dearest one,

Sweet Imogen?
Sici. Why did you suffer Iachimo,

Slight thing of Italy,
To taint his nobler heart and brain

With needless jealousy;
And to become the geck2 and scorn

O'the other's villainy?

9 That from me was Posthumus ript,) Perhaps we should read:

That froin my womb Posthumus ript,

Came crying 'mongst his foes. Fohnson.
This circumstance is met with in The Devil's Charter, 1607.
The play of Cymbeline did not appear in print till 1623:

“ What would'st thou run again into my womb?
“ If thon wert there, thou should'st be Posthumus,

“ And ript out of my sides,” &c. Steevens. 1 With marriage wherefore was he mock’d,] The same phrase occurs in Measure for Measure:

“ I hope you will not mock me with a husband.Steevens. 2 And to become the geck-] And permit Posthumus to become the geck, &c. Malone.

2 Bro. For this, from stiller seats we came,

Our parents, and us twain,
That, striking in our country's cause,

Fell bravely, and were slain ;
Our fealty, and Tenantius's right,

With honour to maintain.
1 Bro. Like hardiment Posthumus hath

To Cymbeline perform’d:
Then, Jupiter, thou king of gods,

Why hast thou thus adjourn'd
The graces for his merits due;

Being all to dolours turn’d?
Sici. Thy chrystal window ope; look out;

No longer exercise,
Upon a valiant race, thy harsh

And potent injuries:
Moth. Since, Jupiter, our son is good,

Take off his miseries.
Sici. Peep through thy marble mansion; help!

Or we poor ghosts will cry
To the shining synod of the rest,

Against thy deity.
2 Bro. Help, Jupiter; or we appeal,

And from thy justice fly.
JUPITER descends in Thunder and Lightning, sitting upia-

on an Eagle: he throws a Thunder-bolt. The Ghosts, fall on their Knees.


A geck is a fool. Steevens.

Tenantius' -] See p. 8, n. 7. Steevens. 4 Jupiter descends -] It appears from Acolastus, a comedy by: T. Palsgrave, chaplain to King Henry VIII, bl. 1. 1540, that the descent of deities was common to our stage in its earliest state: “Of whyche the lyke thyng is used to be shewed now a days in stage-plaies, when some God or some Saynt is made to apper forth of a cloude, and succoureth the parties which seemed to be towardes some great danger, through the Soudan's crueltie.” The author, for fear this description should not be supposed to extend: itself to our theatres, adds in a marginal note, “the lyke maner. used. nowe at our days in stage playes.” Steevens

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