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Post. What lady would you choose to assail?
Iach. Yours; whom in constancy, you think, stands so safe. I will lay you ten thousand ducats to your ring, that, commend me to the court where your lady is, with no more advantage than the opportunity of a second conference, and I will bring from thence that honour of hers, which you imagine so reserved.
Post. I will wage against your gold, gold to it: my ring I hold dear as my finger; 'tis part of it.
Iach. You are a friend, and therein the wiser.3 If f you buy ladies’ flesh at a million a dram, you cannot preserve it from tainting : But, I see, you have some religion in you, that you fear.
Post. This is but a custom in your tongue; you bear a graver purpose, I hope.
3 You are a friend, and therein the wiser.] I correct it:
You are afraid, and therein the wiser. What Iachimo says, in the close of his speech, determines this to have been our poet's reading:
But, I see, you have some religion in you, that
you fear.” Warburton. You are a friend to the lady, and therein the wiser, as you will not expose her to hazard; and that you fear is a proof of your religious fidelity. Johnson.
A friend in our author's time often signified a lover. Iachimo therefore might mean that Posthumus was wise in being only the lover of Imogen, and not having bound himself to her by the indissoluble ties of marriage. But unluckily Posthumus has already said he is not her friend, but her adorer: this therefore could hardly have been Jachimo's meaning.
I cannot say that I am entirely satisfied with Dr. Johnson's interpretation; yet have nothing better to propose. “You are a friend to the lady, and therefore will not expose her to hazard." This surely is not warranted by what Posthumus has just said. He is ready enough to expose her to hazard. He has actually exposed her to hazard by accepting the wager. He will not indeed risk his diamond, but has offered to lay a sum of money, that Iachimo, “ with all appliances and means to boot,” will not be able to corrupt her. I do not therefore see the force of lachimo's observation. It would have been more “german to the matter” to have said, in allusion to the former words of Posthumus-You are not a friend, i. e. a lover, and therein the wiser: for all wo. men are corruptible. Malone.
See p. 25 and 26, n. 6. Though the reply of lachimo may not have been warranted by the preceding words of Posthumus, it was certainly meant by the speaker as a provoking circumstances, a circumstance of incitation to the wager. Steevens.
Iach. I am the master of my speeches;- and would undergo what's spoken, I swear.
Post. Will you?-I shall but lend my diamond till your return :- Let there be covenants drawn between us: My mistress exceeds in goodness the hugeness of your unworthy thinking: I dare you to this match: here's my ring.
Phi. I will have it no lay.
Iach. By the gods it is one:If I bring you no sufficient testimony that I have enjoyed the dearest bodily part of your mistress, my ten thousand ducats are yours; so is your diamond too. If I come off, and leave her in such honour as you have trust in, she your jewel, this your jewel, and my gold are yours :-provided, I have your commendation, for my more free entertainment.
Post. I embrace these conditions ;5 let us have articles betwixt us:-only, thus far you shall answer. If you make your voyage upon her, and give me directly to understand you have prevailed, I am no further your enemy, she is not worth our debate: if she remain unse
4 I am the master of my speeches;] i. e. I know what I have said; I said no more than I meant. Steevens.
5 Iach. If I bring you no sufficient testimony that I have enjoyed the dearest bodily part of your mistress, my ten thousand ducats are yours; so is your diamond too. If I come off, and leave her in such honour as you have trust in, she your jewel, this your jewel, and my gold are yours, &c.
Post. 1 embrace these conditions ; &c.] This was a wager between the two speakers. Iachimo declares the conditions of it; and Posthumus embraces them, as well he might; for Iachimo mentions only that of the two conditions which was favourable to Posthumus: namely, that if his wife preserved her honour he should win: concerning the other, in case she preserved it not, Iachimo, the accurate expounder of the wager, is silent. To make him talk more in character, for we find him sharp enough in the prosecution of his bet: we should strike out the negative, and read the rest thus: If I bring you sufficient testimony that I have enjoyed, &c. my ten thousand ducats are mine; so is your diamond too. If I come off, and leave her in such honour, &c. she your jewel, &c. and my gold are yours. Warburton.
I once thought this emendation right, but am now of opinion, that Shakspeare intended that Iachimo having gained his pur. pose, should designedly drop the invidious and offensive part of the
wager, and to flatter Posthumus, dwell long upon the more pleasing part of the representation. One condition of a wager implies the other, and there is no need to mention both. Johnson.
duced, (you not making it appear otherwise) for your ill opinion, and the assault you have made to her chastity, you shall answer me with your sword.
Iach. Your hand; a covenant: We will have these things set down by lawful counsel, and straight away for Britain; lest the bargain should catch cold, and starve: I will fetch my gold, and have our two wagers recorded. Post. Agreed.
[Exeunt Post. and Iach. French. Will this hold, think you?
Phi. Signior Iachimo will not from it. Pray, let us follow 'em.
[Exeunt. SCENE VI. Britain. A Room in Cymbeline's Palace.
Enter Queen, Ladies, and CORNELIUS. Queen. Whiles yet the dew's on ground, gather those
flowers; Make haste: Who has the note of them? -1 Lady.
1, madam. Queen. Despatch.
[Exeunt Ladies. Now, master doctor; have you brought those drugs? Cor. Pleaseth your highness, ay: here they are, madam:
[Presenting a small Box,
I do wonder, doctor, 6
6 I do wonder, doctor,] I have supplied the verb do for the sake of measure, and in compliance with our author's practice when he designs any of his characters to speak emphatically: Thus, in Much Ado about Nothing: “I do much wonder, that one man, seeing how much another man is a fool” &c. Steevens.
Of these thy compounds on such creatures as
O, content thee.
Enter PISANIO. Here comes a flattering rascal; upon
[.Aside. Will I first work: he 's for his master, And enemy to my
I do suspect you, madam;
Hark thee, a word.- [To Pis. Cor. [aside] I do not like her.. She doth think, she has
7 Other conclusions.?) Other experiments. I commend, says Walton, an angler that trieth conclusions, and improves his art.
Fohnsor. So, in Antony and Cleopatra:
“ She hath pursued conclusions infinite
“Of easy ways to die.” Malone. 8 Your highness
Shall from this practice but make hard your heart:) There is in this passage nothing that much requires a note, yet I cannot forbear to push it forward into observation. The thought would probably have been more amplified, had our author lived to be shocked with such experiments as have been published in later times, by a race of men who have practised tortures without pi. ty, and related them without shame, and are yet suffered to erect their heads among human beings.
“ Cape saxa manu, cape robora, pastor.” Fohnson. 9 I do not like her.] This soliloquy is very inartificial. The speaker is under no strong pressure of thought; he is neither resolving, repenting, suspecting, nor deliberating, and yet makes a long speech to tell himself what himself knows. Fohnson.
The soliloquy, however inartificial in respect of the speaker, is yet necessary to prevent that uneasiness which would naturally arise in the mind of an audience on recollection that the Queen had mischievous ingredients in her possession, unless they were undeceived as to the quality of them; and it is no less useful to prepare us for the return of Imogen to life. Steevens.
Strang e lingering poisons: I do know her spirit,
No further service, doctor,
I humbly take my leave. [Exit.
[The Queen drops a Box: Pis. takes it 1132.
1 So to be false with her.] The two last words may be fairly considered as an interpolation, for they hurt the metre, without en. forcement of the sense.
For thee, in the next line but one, might on the same account be omitted. Steevens.
quench;] i. e. grow cool. Steevens.