Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

5

For one his like, there would be something failing
In him that should compare. I do not think,
So fair an outward, and such stuff within,
Endows a man but he.
2 GENT.

You speak him far'. 1 Gent. I do extend him, sir, within himself 4 ; Crush him together, rather than unfold His measure duly. 2 GENT.

What's his name, and birth ? 1 GENT. I cannot delve him to the root : His

father Was call’d Sicilius, who did join his honour, Against the Romans, with Cassibelan;

66

The ap

3 You speak him FAR.] You are lavish in your encomiums on him : your eulogium has a wide compass. Malone. “ You speak him far," i. e. you praise him extensively.

STEEVENS. 4 I do EXTEND him, sir, within himself;] I extend him within himself: my praise, however extensive, is within his merit.

Johnson. 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 : probation 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.

Perhaps this passage may be somewhat illustrated by the following lines in Troilus and Cressida, Act III. Sc. III. :

no man is the lord of any thing,
“ Till he communicate his parts to others :
“ Nor doth he of himself know them for aught,
“ Till he behold them form'd in the applause

“Where they are extended," &c. Steevens.
s Crush him -] So, in King Henry IV. Part II. :
Craud 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 he meant by "joining his honour against, &c. with, &c," Perhaps our author wrote:

did join his banner “ Against the Romans,” &c,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

But had his titles by Tenantius?, whom
He serv'd with glory and admir'd success :
So gaind the sur-addition, Leonatus:
And had, besides this gentleman in question,
Two other sons, who, in the wars o' the time,
Died with their swords in hand; for which their

father
(Then old and fond of issue,) took such sorrow,
That he quit being; and his gentle lady,
Big of this gentleman, our theme, deceas'd
As he was born. The king, he takes the babe
To his protection; calls him Posthumus 8 ;
Breeds him, and makes him of his bed-chamber:
Puts him to all the learnings that his time

8

a

a

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."

STEEVENS. 7 — Tenantius,] 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 invasion of Britain, he agreed to pay an annual tribute to Rome. After 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. According to some authorities, 'Tenantius quietly paid 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 admitted 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 Arcadia, 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. STEEVENS.

8. Posthumus ;] Old copy-Posthumus Leonatus. Reed.

9

66

Could make him the receiver of; which he took,
As we do air, fast as 'twas minister'd; and
In his spring became a harvest : Liv'd in court,
(Which rare it is to do,) most prais'd, most lov'd':
A sample to the youngest ; to the more mature,
A glass that feated them'; and to the graver,
A child that guided dotards: to his mistress?,

-Liv'd in court, (Which rare it is to do,) most prais'd, most lov'd :] This encomium is high and artful.” To be at once in any great degree loved and praised, is truly rare. Johnson.

* A glass that FEATED them ;) A glass that formed them; a model, by the contemplation and inspection of which they formed their manners. JOHNSON.

This passage may be well explained by another in The First Part of King Henry IV.:

He was indeed the glass “ Wherein the noble youths did dress themselves." Again, Ophelia describes Hamlet as

The glass of fashion, and the mould of form.” To dress themselves, therefore, may be to form themselves.

Dresser, in French, is to form. To dress a spaniel is to break him in. Feat is nice, exact. So, in The Tempest :

look, how well my garments sit upon me, “ Much feater than before.” To feat, therefore, may be a verb meaning—to render nice, exact. By the dress of Posthumus, even the more mature courtiers condescended to regulate their external appearance.

STEEVENS. Feat Minsheu interprets, fine, neat, brave. See also Barrett's Alvearie, 1580: “ Feat and pleasant, concinnæ et venustæ sententiæ."

The poet does not, I think, mean to say merely, that the more mature regulated their dress by that of Posthumus. A glass that feated them, is a model, by viewing which their form became more elegant, and their manners more polished. We have nearly the same image in The Winter's Tale :

I should blush
“To see you so attir'd; sworn, I think,

“ To show myself a glass." Again, more appositely in Hamlet :

“ He was the mark and glass, copy and book,

“ That fashiond others." MALONE. to his mistress,] Means as to his mistress. M. Mason.

66

2

[ocr errors]

For whom he now is banish’d,-her own price
Proclaims how she esteem'd him and his virtue;
By her election may be truly read,
What kind of man he is.
2 GENT.

I honour him
Even out of your report. But, 'pray you, tell me,
Is she sole child to the king ?
1 GENT.

His only child. He had two sons, (if this be worth your hearing, Mark it,) the eldest of them at three years old, ' the swathing clothes the other, from their

nursery Were stolen ; and to this hour, no guess in know

ledge Which way they went. 2 GENT.

How long is this ago ? 1 Gent. Some twenty years. 2 Gent. That a king's children should be so con

vey'd ! So slackly guarded ! And the search so slow, That could not trace them! 1 GENT.

Howsoe'er 'tis strange, Or that the negligence may well be laugh'd at, Yet is it true, sir. 2 GENT.

I do well believe you. 1 GENT. We must forbear: Here comes the queen, and princess.

[Exeunt.

SCENE II.

The Same.

Enter the Queen, POSTHUMUS, and InoGEN. Queen. No, be assur'd, you shall not find me,

daughter, 3 – Imogen.) Holinshed's Chronicle furnished Shakspeare

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

After the slander of most step-mothers,
Evil-ey'd unto you: you are my prisoner, but
Your gaoler shall deliver you the keys
That lock up your restraint. For

For you, Posthumus,
So soon as I can win the offended king,
I will be known your advocate : marry, yet
The fire of rage is in him; and 'twere good,
You lean'd unto his sentence, with what patience
Your wisdom may inform you.
Post.

Please your highness,
I will from hence to-day.
QUEEN.

You know the peril :-
I'll fetch a turn about the garden, pitying
The pangs of barr'd affections; though the king
Hath charg'd you should not speak together.

[Exit Queen. Імо

O
Dissembling courtesy ! How fine this tyrant
Can tickle where she wounds !—My dearest hus-

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

band,

[ocr errors]

I something fear my father's wrath; but nothing,
(Always reserv'd my holy duty ^,) what
His rage can do on me : You must be gone;
And I shall here abide the hourly shot
Of angry eyes; not comforted to live,
But that there is this jewel in the world,
That I may see again.
Post.

My queen! my mistress!
O, lady, weep no more; lest I give cause

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

with this name, which in the old black letter is scarcely distinguishable from Innogen, the wife of Brute, King of Britain. T'here too he found the name of Cloten, who, when the line of Brute was at an end, was one of the five kings that governed Britain. Cloten, or Cloton, was King of Cornwall, and father of Mulmutius, whose laws are mentioned in Act III. Sc. I.

MALONE. 4 (Always reserv'd my holy duty,)] I say I do not fear my father,

I so far as I'may say it without breach of duty. Johnson.

« AnteriorContinua »