You do not meet a man, but frowns: our bloods No more obey the heavens, than our courtiers' Still seen, as does the king's]
[W: brows/No more] This passage is so difficult, that commentators may differ concerning it without animosity or shame. Of the two emendations proposed, Hanmer's is the more licentious; but he makes the sense clear, and leaves the reader an easy passage. Dr. Warburton has corrected with more caution, but less improvement: his reasoning upon his own reading is so obscure and perplexed, that I suspect some injury of the press.--I am now to tell my opinion, which is, that the lines stand as they were originally written, and that a paraphrase, such as the licentious and abrupt expressions of our author too frequently require, will make emendation unnecessary. We do not meet a man but frowns; our bloods--our countenances, which, in popular speech, are said to be regulated by the temper of the blood,--no more obey the laws of heaven,--which direct us to appear what we really are,--than our courtiers;--that is, than the bloods of our courtiers; but our bloods, like theirs,--still seem, as doth the king's.
I.i.25 (155,3) I do extend him, Sir, within himself] I extend him within himself: my praise, however extensive, is within his merit.
I.i.46 (156,4) 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.
I.i.49 (156,5) A glass that feated them] A glass that featur'd them] Such is the reading in all the modern editions, I know not by whom first substituted, for
A glass that feared them;--
I have displaced featur'd, though it can plead long prescription, because I am inclined to think that feared has the better title. Mirrour was a favourite word in that age for an example, or a pattern, by noting which the manners were to be formed, as dress is regulated by looking in a glass. When Don Bellianis is stiled The Mirrour of Knighthood, the idea given is not that of a glass in which every knight may behold his own resemblance, but an example to be viewed by knights as often as a glass is looked upon by girls, to be viewed, that they may know, not what they are, but what they ought to be. Such a glass may fear the more mature, as displaying excellencies which they have arrived at maturity without attaining. To fear is here, as in other places, to fright. [I believe Dr. Johnson is mistaken as to the reading of the folio, which is feated. The page of the copy which he consulted is very faintly printed; but I have seen another since, which plainly gives this reading. STEEVENS.] If feated be the right word, it must, I think, be explained thus; a glass that formed them; a model, by the contemplation and inspection of which they formed their manners. (see 1765, VII, 260, 4)
I something fear my father's wrath; but nothing (Always reserv'd my holy duty) what His rage can do on me]
I say I do not fear my father, so far as I may say it without breach of duty.
I.i.101 (158,2) Though ink be made of gall] Shakespeare, even in this poor conceit, has confounded the vegetable galls used in ink, with the animal gall, supposed to be bitter.
I.i.132 (160,4) then heapest/A year's age on me] Dr. WARBURTON reads,
A yare age on me.
It seems to me, even from SKINNER, whom he cites, that yare is used only as a personal quality. Nor is the authority of Skinner sufficient, without some example, to justify the alteration. HANMER's reading is better, but rather too far from the original copy:
--thou heapest many A year's age on me.
--thou heap'st Years, ages on me.
I.i.135 (160,5) a touch more rare/Subdues all pangs, all fears] Rare is used often for eminently good; but I do not remember any passage in which it stands for eminently bad. May we read,
--a touch more near.
Cura deam propior luctusque domesticus angit. Ovid.
Shall we try again,
--a touch more rear.
Crudum vulnus. But of this I know not any example. There is yet another interpretation, which perhaps will remove the difficulty. A touch more rare, may mean a nobler passion.
I.i.140 (161,6) a puttock] A kite.
I.ii.31 (163,1) her beauty and her brain go not together] I believe the lord means to speak a sentence, "Sir, as I told you always, beauty and brain go not together."
I.ii.32 (164,2) She's a good sign] [W: shine] There is acuteness enough in this note, yet I believe the poet meant nothing by sign, but fair outward shew.
for so long As he could make me with this eye, or ear, Distinguish him from others]
[W: this eye] Sir T. HANMER alters it thus:
--for so long As he could mark me with his eye, or I Distinguish--
The reason of Hanmer's reading was, that Pisanio describes no address made to the ear.
I.iii.18 (165,3) till the diminution/Of space had pointed him sharp as my needle] The diminution of space, is the diminution of which space is the cause. Trees are killed by a blast of lightning, that is, by blasting, not blasted lightning.
I.iii.24 (166,4) next vantage] Next opportunity.
I.iii.37 (166,6) Shakes all our buds from growing] A bud, without any distinct idea, whether of flower or fruit, is a natural representation of any thing incipient or immature; and the buds of flowers, if flowers are meant, grow to flowers, as the buds of fruits grow to fruits.
I.iv.9 (167,1) makes him] In the sense in which we say, This will make or mar you.
I.iv.16 (167,2) words him, I doubt not, a great deal from the matter] Makes the description of him very distant from the truth.
I.iv.20 (167,3) under her colours] Under her banner; by her influence.
I.iv.47 (168,6) I was then a young traveller; rather shunn'd to go even with what I heard, than in my every action to be guided by others' experiences] This is expressed with a kind of fantastical perplexity. He means, I was then willing to take for my direction the experience of others, more than such intelligence as I had gathered myself.
I.iv,58 (169,7) 'Twas a contention in publick, which may, without contradiction, suffer the report] Which, undoubtedly, may be publickly told.
I.iv.73 (169,8) tho' I profess myself her adorer, not her friend] Though I have not the common obligations of a lover to his mistress, and regard her not with the fondness of a friend, but the reverence of an adorer.
I.iv.77 (169,9) If she went before others I have seen, as that diamond of yours out-lustres many I have beheld, I could not believe she excelled many] [W: could believe] I should explain the sentence thus: "Though your lady excelled, as much as your diamond, I could not believe she excelled many; that is, I too could yet believe that there are many whom she did not excel." But I yet think Dr. Warburton right. (1773)
I.iv.104 (171,l) to convince the honour of my mistress] [Convince, for overcome. WARBURTON.] So in Macbeth,
--their malady convinces "The great essay of art."
I.iv.124 (171,2) abus'd] Deceiv'd.
I.iv.134 (172,3) approbation] Proof.
I.iv.148 (172,4) You are a friend, and therein the wiser. If 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] 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. (see 1765, VII, 276, 1)
I.iv.l60 (173,5) Iach. If I bring you no sufficient testimony that I have enjoy'd the dearest bodily part of your mistress, my ten thousand ducats are yours, so is my 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--
Post. I embrace these conditions]
[W: bring you sufficient] I once thought this emendation right, but am now of opinion, that Shakespeare intended that Iachimo, having gained his purpose, 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.
I.v.18 (176,1) Other conclusions] Other experiments. I commend, says WALTON, an angler that tries conclusions, and improves his art.
I.v.23 (175,2) Your highness/Shall from this practice but make hard your heart] Thare 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 that have practised tortures without pity, and related then without shame, and are yet suffered to erect their heads among human beings.
"Cape saxa manu, cape robora, pastor."
I.v.33-44 (175,3) 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.
I.v.54 (176,4) to shift his being] To change his abode.
I.v.58 (118,5) What shalt thou expect,/To be depender on a thing that leans?] That inclines towards its fall.
I.v.80 (177,7) Of leigers for her sweet] A leiger ambassador, is one that resides at a foreign court to promote his master's interest.
Bless'd be those, How mean soe'er, that have their honest wills, Which seasons comfort]
I am willing to comply with any meaning that can be extorted from the present text, rather than change it, yet will propose, but with great diffidence, a slight alteration:
--Bless'd be those, How mean soe'er, that have their honest wills, With reason'scomfort.--
Who gratify their innocent wishes with reasonable enjoyments.
I.vi.35 (180,2) and the twinn'd stones/Upon the number'd beach?] I know not well how to regulate this passage. Number'd is perhaps numerous. Twinn'd stones I do not understand. Twinn'd shells, or pairs of shells, are very common. For twinn'd, we might read twin'd; that is, twisted, convolved; but this sense is more applicable to shells than to stones.
Sluttery, to such neat excellence oppos'd, Should make desire vomit emptiness, Not so allur'd to feed]
[i.e. that appetite, which is not allured to feed on such excellence, can have no stomach at all; but, though empty, must nauseate every thing. WARB.] I explain this passage in a sense almost contrary. Iachimo, in this counterfeited rapture, has shewn how the eyes and the judgment would determine in favour of Imogen, comparing her with the present mistress of Posthumus, and proceeds to say, that appetite too would give the same suffrage. Desire, says he, when it approached sluttery, and considered it in comparison with such neat excellence, would not only be not so allured to feed, but, seized with a fit of loathing, would vomit emptiness, would feel the convulsions of disgust, though, being unfed, it had nothing to eject. [Tyrwhitt: vomit, emptiness ... allure] This is not ill conceived; but I think my own explanation right. To vomit emptiness is, in the language of poetry, to feel the convulsions of eructation without plenitude. (1773)
I.vi.54 (182,4) He's strange, and peevish] He is a foreigner, easily fretted.
I.vi.97 (184,5) timely knowing] Rather timely known.
I.vi.99 (184,6) What both you spur and stop] What it is that at once incites you to speak, and restrains you from it. [I think Imogen means to enquire what is that news, that intelligence, or information, you profess to bring, and yet with-hold: at least, I think Dr. JOHNSON's explanation a mistaken one, for Imogen's request supposes Iachimo an agent, not a patient. HAWKINS.] I think my explanation true. (see 1765, VII, 286, 7)
join gripes with hands Made hard with hourly falshood (falshood as With labour) then lye peeping in an eye]
The old edition reads,
--join gripes with hands Made hard with hourly falshood (falshood as With labour) then by peeping in an eye, &c.
--then lye peeping--
The author of the present regulation of the text I do not know, but have suffered it to stand, though not right. Hard with falshood is, hard by being often griped with frequent change of hands.
I.vi.122 (185,8) With tomboys, hir'd with that self-exhibition/Which your own coffers yield!] Gross strumpets, hired with the very pension which you allow your husband.
I.vi.152 (186,9) As in a Romish stew] The stews of Rome are deservedly censured by the reformed. This is one of many instances in which Shakespeare has mingled in the manners of distant ages in this play.
II.i.2 (188,1) kiss'd the jack upon an up-cast] He is describing his fate at bowls. The jack is the small bowl at which the others are aimed. He who is nearest to it wins. To kiss the jack is a state of great advantage. (1773)
II.i.15 (189,2) 2 Lord. No, my lord; nor crop the ears of them. [Aside.] This, I believe, should stand thus:
1 Lord. No, my lord. 2 Lord. Nor crop the ears of them, [Aside.
II.i.26 (189,3) you crow, cock, with your comb on] The allusion is to a fool's cap, which hath a comb like a cock's.
II.i.29 (189,4) every companion] The use of companion was the same as of fellow now. It was a word of contempt.
II.ii.12 (191,1) our Tarquin] The speaker is an Italian.
II.ii.13 (191,2) Did softly press the rushes] It was the custom in the time of our author to strew chambers with rushes, as we now cover them with carpets. The practice is mentioned in Caius de Ephemera Britannica.
II.iii.24 (194,2) His steeds to water at those springs On chalic'd flowers that lies]
Each chalic'd flower supplies;
to escape a false concord: but correctness must not be obtained by such licentious alterations. It may be noted, that the cup of a flower is called calix, whence chalice.
II.iii.28 (195,3) With, every thing that pretty bin] is very properly restored by Hanmer, for pretty is; but he too grammatically reads,
With all the things that pretty bin.
II.iii.102 (197,5) one of your great knowing/Should learn, being taught, forbearance] i.e. A man who is taught forbearance should learn it.
II.iii.111 (198,7) so verbal] Is, so verbose, so full of talk.
II.iii.118-129 (199,8) The contract you pretend with that base wretch] Here Shakespeare has not preserved, with his common nicety, the uniformity of character. The speech of Cloten is rough and harsh, but certainly not the talk of one,
Who can't take two from twenty, for his heart, And leave eighteen.--
His argument is just and well enforced, and its prevalence is allowed throughout all civil nations: as for rudeness, he seems not to be mach undermatched.
II.iii.124 (199,9) in self-figur'd knot] [This is nonsense. We should read,
WARBURTON.] But why nonsense? A self-figured knot is a knot formed by yourself. (see 1765, VII, 301, 8)
II.iv.71 (204,4) And Cydnus swell'd above the banks, or for/The press of boats, or pride] [This is an agreeable ridicule on poetical exaggeration, which gives human passions to inanimate things: and particularly, upon what he himself writes in the foregoing play on this very subject:
"--And made The water, which they beat, to follow faster, As amorous of their strokes."
WARBURTON.] It is easy to sit down and give our author meanings which he never had. Shakespeare has no great right to censure poetical exaggeration, of which no poet is more frequently guilty. That he intended to ridicule his own lines is very uncertain, when there are no means of knowing which of the two plays was written first. The commentator has contented himself to suppose, that the foregoing play in his book was the play of earlier composition. Nor is the reasoning better than the assertion. If the language of Iachimo be such as shews him to be mocking the credibility of his hearer, his language is very improper, when his business was to deceive. But the truth is, that his language is such as a skilful villain would naturally use, a mixture of airy triumph and serious deposition. His gaiety shews his seriousness to be without anxiety, and his seriousness proves his gaiety to be without art.
II.iv.83 (205,5) never saw I figures/So likely to report themselves] So near to speech. The Italians call a portrait, when the likeness is remarkable, a speaking picture.
II.iv.84 (205,6) the cutter/Was as another nature, dumb, out-went her;/Motion and breath left out] [W: done; out-went her.] This emendation I think needless. The meaning is this, The sculptor was as nature, but as nature dumb; he gave every thing that nature gives, but breath and motion. In breath is included speech.
II.iv.91 (205,7) Post. This is her honour!] [T: What's this t'her honour?] This emendation has been followed by both the succeeding editors, but I think it must be rejected. The expression is ironical. Iachimo relates many particulars, to which Posthumus answers with impatience, This is her honour! That is, And the attainment of this knowledge is to pass for the corruption of her honour.
II.iv.95 (206,8) if you can/Be pale] If you can forbear to flush your cheek with rage.
The vows of women Of no more bondage be, to where they are made, Than they are to their virtues]
The love vowed by women no more abides with him to whom it is vowed, than women adhere to their virtue.
II.iv.127 (207,2) The cognizance] The badge; the token; the visible proof.
III.i.26 (211,2) and his shipping,/(Poor ignorant baubles!) on our terrible seas] [Ignorant, for of no use. WARB.] Rather, unacquainted with the nature of our boisterous seas.
III.i.51 (212,3) against all colour] Without any pretence of right.
III.i.73 (213,5) keep at utterance] [i.e. At extreme distance. WARB.] More properly, in a state of hostile defiance, and deadly opposition.
III.i.73 (213,6) I am perfect] I am well informed. So, in Macbeth, "--in your state of honour I am perfect." (see 1765, VII, 314,7)
III.ii.4 (214,2) What false Italian (As poisonous tongu'd as handed)] About Shakespeare's time the practice of poisoning was very common in Italy, and the suspicion of Italian poisons yet more common.
III.ii.9 (214,3) take in some virtue] To take in a town, is to conquer it.
III.ii.34 (215,6) For it doth physic love] That is, grief for absence, keeps love in health and vigour.
III.ii.47 (215,8) loyal to his vow, and your increasing in love] I read, Loyal to his vow and you, increasing in love.
III.ii.79 (216,1) A franklin's housewife] A franklin is literally a freeholder, with a small estate, neither villain nor vassal.
I see before me, man, nor here, nor here, Nor what ensues; but have a fog in them, That I cannot look thro']
This passage may, in my opinion, be very easily understood, without any emendation. The lady says, "I can see neither one way nor other, before me nor behind me, but all the ways are covered with an impenetrable fog." There are objections insuperable to all that I can propose, and since reason can give me no counsel, I will resolve at once to follow my inclination.
III.iii.5 (218,2) giants may jet through/And keep their impious turbans on] The idea of a giant was, among the readers of romances, who were almost all the readers of those times, always confounded with that of a Saracen.
III.iii.16 (218,3) This service it not service, so being done,/But being so allow'd] In war it is not sufficient to do duty well; the advantage rises not from the act, but the acceptance of the act.
III.iii.23 (219,5) Richer, than doing nothing for a babe] I have always suspected that the right reading of this passage is what I had not in my former edition the confidence to propose: Richer, than doing nothing for a brabe.
Brabium is a badge of honour, or the ensign of an honour, or any thing worn as a mask of dignity. The word was strange to the editors as it will be to the reader: they therefore changed it to babe; and I am forced to propose it without the support of any authority. Brabium is a word found in Holyoak's Dictionary, who terms it a reward. Cooper, in his Thesaurus, defines it to be a prize, or reward for any game. (1773) (rev. 1778, IX, 248, 8)
III.iii.35 (219,6) To stride a limit] To overpass his bound.
III.iii.35 (220,7) What should we speak of,/When we are as old as you?] This dread of an old age, unsupplied with matter for discourse and meditation, is a sentiment natural and noble. No state can be more destitute than that of him who, when the delights of sense forsake him, has no pleasures of the mind.
tho' trained up thus meanly I' the cave, wherein they bow, their thoughts do hit The roof of palaces]
[W: wherein they bow] HANMER reads,
I' the cave, here in this brow.-- I think the reading is this: I' the cave, wherein the BOW, &c.
That is, they are trained up in the cave, where their thoughts in hitting the bow, or arch of their habitation, hit the roofs of palaces. In other words, though their condition is low, their thoughts are high. The sentence is at last, as THEOBALD remarks, abrupt, but perhaps no less suitable to Shakespeare. I know not whether Dr. WARBURTON's conjecture be not better than mine.
III.iii.101 (223,2) I stole these babes] Shakespeare seems to intend Belarius for a good character, yet he makes him forget the injury which he has done to the young princes, whom he has robbed of a kingdom only to rob their father of heirs.--The latter part of this soliloquy is very inartificial, there being no particular reason why Belarius should now tell to himself what he could not know better by telling it.
III.iv.15 (224,2) drug-damn'd Italy] This is another allusion to Italian poisons.
III.iv.39 (225,4) Kings, queens, and states] Persons of highest rank.
III.iv.52 (225,6) Some jay of Italy,/Whose mother was her painting] Some jay of Italy, made by art the creature, not of nature, but of painting. In this sense painting may be not improperly termed her mother. (see 1765, VII, 325, 9)
III.iv.63 (226,7) So thou, Posthumus,/Wilt lay the leaven on all proper men] HANMER reads,
--lay the level--
without any necessity.
III.iv.97 (228,1) That now thou tir'st on] A hawk is said to tire upon that which he pecks; from tirer, French.
I'll wake mine eye-balls blind first. Imo. Wherefore then]
This is the old reading. The modern editions for wake read break, and supply the deficient syllable by ah, wherefore. I read, I'll wake mine eye-balls out first, or, blind, first.
III.iv.111 (228,3) To be unbent] To have thy bow unbent, alluding to a hunter.
Now, if you could wear a mind Dark as your fortune is, and but disguise That, which, to appear itself, must not yet be, But by self-danger]
To wear a dark mind, is to carry a mind impenetrable to the search of others. Darkness applied to the mind is secrecy, applied to the fortune is obscurity. The next lines are obscure. You must, says Pisanio, disguise that greatness, which, to appear hereafter in its proper form, cannot yet appear without great danger to itself. (see 1765, VII, 329, 6)
III.iv.149 (230,5) full of view] With opportunities of examining your affairs with your own eyes.
III.iv.155 (230,6) Though peril to my modesty, not death on't,/I would adventure] I read,
I would for such means adventure through peril of my modesty; I would risque every thing but real dishonour.
nay, you must Forget that rarest treasure of your cheek; Exposing it (but, oh, the harder heart! Alack, no remedy)]
I think it very natural to reflect in this distress on the cruelty of Posthumus. Dr. WARBURTON proposes to read,
--the harder hap!--
III.iv.177 (231,8) which you'll make him know] This is HANMER's reading. The common books have it,
--which will make him know.
Mr. THEOBALD, in one of bit long notes, endeavours to prove, that it should be,
--which will make him so.
He is followed by Dr. WARBURTON.
III.iv.184 (231,9) we'll even/All that good time will give us] We'll make our work even with our time; we'll do what time will allow.
And that she hath all courtly parts more exquisite Than lady, ladies, woman; from every one The best she hath]
[The second line is intolerable nonsense. It should be read and pointed thus,
Than lady ladies; winning from each one.
I cannot perceive the second line to be intolerable, or to be nonsense. The speaker only rises in his ideas. She has all courtly parts, says he, more exquisite than any lady, than all ladies, than all womankind. Is this nonsense?
III.v.101 (236,3) Pia. Or this, or perish] These words, I think, belong to Cloten, who, requiring the paper, says,
Let's see't: I will pursue her Even to Augustus' throne. Or this, or perish.
Then Pisanio giving the paper, says to himself,
She's far enough, &c.
III.vi.12 (239,1) To lapse in fullness/Is sorer, than to lye for need] Is a greater, or heavier crime.
III.vi.23 (239,3) If any thing that's civil, speak; if savage,/Take, or lend] [W: Take 'or 't end.] I suppose the emendation proposed will not easily be received; it is strained and obscure, and the objection against Hanmer's reading is likewise very strong. I question whether, after the words, if savage, a line be not lost. I can offer nothing better than to read,
--Ho! who's here? If any thing that's civil, take or lend, If savage, speak.
If you are civilised and peaceable, take a price for what I want, or lend it for a future recompence; if you are rough inhospitable inhabitants of the mountain, speak, that I may know my state.
III.vi.77 (242,4) then had my prize/Been less; and so more equal ballasting] HANMER reads plausibly, but without necessity, price, for prize, and balancing, for ballasting. He is followed by Dr. WARBURTON. The meaning is, Had I been a less prize, I should not have been too heavy for Posthumus.
III.vi.86 (243,5) That nothing-gift of differing multitudes] [T: deferring] He is followed by Sir T. HANMER and Dr. WARBURTON; but I do not see why differing may not be a general epithet, and the expression equivalent to the many-headed rabble.
and to you, the tribunes, For this immediate levy, he commands His absolute commission]
The plain meaning is, he commands the commission to be given to you. So we say, I ordered the materials to the workmen.
IV.ii.10 (245,1) Stick to your journal course: the breach of custom/ Is breach of all] Keep your daily course uninterrupted; if the stated plan of life is once broken, nothing follows but confusion.
IV.ii.17 (246,2) How much the quantity] I read, As much the quantity.--
IV.ii.38 (247,3) I could not stir him] Not move him to tell his story.
IV.ii.39 (247,4) gentle, but unfortunate] Gentle, is well born, of birth above the vulgar.
IV.ii.59 (248,6) And let the stinking elder, Grief, untwine/ His perishing root, with the encreasing vine!] Shakespeare had only seen English vines which grow against walls, and therefore may be sometimes entangled with the elder. Perhaps we should read untwine from the vine.
IV.ii.105 (251,9) the snatches in his vice,/And burst of speaking] This is one of our author's strokes of observation. An abrupt and tumultuous utterance very frequently accompanies a confused and cloudy understanding.
IV.ii.111 (251,1) for the effect of judgment/Is oft the cause of fear] HANMER reads, with equal justness of sentiment,
--for defect of judgment Is oft the cure of fear.--
But, I think, the play of effect and cause more resembling the manner of our author.
IV.ii.118 (252,2) I am perfect, what] I am well informed, what. So in this play,
I'm perfect, the Pannonians are in arms.
IV.ii.121 (252,3) take us in] To take in, was the phrase in use for to apprehend an out-law, or to make him amenable to public justice.
IV.ii.148 (253,5) the boy Fidele's sickness/Did make my way long forth] Fidele's sickness made my walk forth from the cave tedious.
IV.ii.159 (254,6) revenges/That possible strength might meet] Such pursuit of vengeance as fell within any possibility of opposition.
IV.ii.168 (254,7) I'd let a parish of such Clotens blood] [W: marish] The learned commentator has dealt the raproach of nonsense very liberally through this play. Why this is nonsense, I cannot discover. I would, says the young prince, to recover Fidele, kill as many Clotens as would fill a parish.
IV.ii.246 (258,1) He was paid for that] HANMER reads,
He has paid for that:--
rather plausibly than rightly. Paid is for punished. So JONSON,
"Twenty things more, my friend, which you know due, For which, or pay me quickly, or I'll pay you."
(see 1765, VII, 356, 3)
IV.ii.247 (258,2) reverence,/(That angel of the world)] Reverence, or due regard to subordination, is the power that keeps peace and order in the world.
IV.ii.268 (259,4) The scepter, learning, physic, must/ All follow this, and come to dust] The poet's sentiment seems to have been this. All human excellence is equally the subject to the stroke of death: neither the power of kings, nor the science of scholars, nor the art of those whose immediate study is the prolongation of life, can protect then from the final destiny of man. (1773)
IV.ii.272 (260,5) Fear not slander, censure rash] Perhaps, Fear not slander's censure rash.
IV.ii.275 (260,6) Consign to thee] Perhaps, Consign to this. And in the former stanza, for all follow this, we might read, all follow thee.
IV.ii.280 (260,7) Both. Quiet consummation have;/ And renowned be thy grave!] For the obsequies of Fidele, a song was written by my unhappy friend, Mr. William Collins of Chichester, a man of uncommon learning and abilities. I shall give it a place at the end in honour of his memory.
IV.ii.315 (262,1) Conspired with] The old copy reads thus,
--thou Conspir'd with that irregulous divel, Cloten.
I suppose it should be,
Conspir'd with th' irreligious devil, Cloten.
IV.ii.346 (263,2) Last night the very gods shew'd me a vision] [W: warey] Of this meaning I know not any example, nor do I see any need of alteration. It was no common dream, but sent from the very gods, or the gods themselves.
who was he, That, otherwise than noble nature did, Hath alter'd that good figure?]
Here are many words upon a very slight debate. The sense is not much cleared by either critic [Theobald and Warburton]. The question is asked, not about a body, but a picture, which is not very apt to grow shorter or longer. To do a picture, and a picture is well done, are standing phrases; the question therefore is, Who has altered this picture, so as to make it otherwise than nature did it.
IV.ii.389 (266,5) these poor pickaxes] Meaning her fingers.
IV.iii (266,1) Cymbeline's palace] This scene is omitted against all authority by Sir T. HANMER. It is indeed of no great use in the progress of the fable, yet it makes a regular preparation for the next act.
IV.iii.22 (267,3) our jealousy/Does yet depend] My suspicion is yet undetermined; if I do not condemn you, I likewise have not acquitted you. We now say, the cause is depending.
IV.iii.29 (267,4) Your preparation can affront no less/Than what you hear of] Your forces are able to face such an army as we hear the enemy will bring against us.
IV.iii.44 (268,6) to the note o' the king] I will so distinguish myself, the king shall remark my valour.
IV.iv.11 (269,1) a render/Where we have liv'd] An account of our place of abode. This dialogue is a just representation of the superfluous caution of an old man.
IV.iv.13 (269,2) That which we have done, whose answer would be death] The retaliation of the death of Cloten would be death, &c.
IV.iv.18 (269,3) their quarter'd fires] Their fires regularly disposed.
V.i (271,1) Enter Posthumus, with a bloody handkerchief] The bloody token of Imogen's death, which Pisanio in the foregoing act determined to send.
V.i.1-33 (271,2) Yea, bloody cloth, I'll keep thee] This is a soliloquy of nature, uttered when the effervescence of a mind agitated and perturbed spontaneously and inadvertently discharges itself in words. The speech, throughout all its tenor, if the last conceit be excepted, seems to issue warm from the heart. He first condemns his own violence; then tries to disburden himself, by imputing part of the crime to Pisanio; he next sooths his mind to an artificial and momentary tranquility, by trying to think that he has been only an instrument of the gods for the happiness of Imogen. He is now grown reasonable enough to determine, that having done so much evil he will do no more; that he will not fight against the country which he has already injured; but as life is not longer supportable, he will die in a just cause, and die with the obscurity of a man who does not think himself worthy to be remembered.
V.i.9 (271,3) to put on] Is to incite, to instigate.
V.i.14 (272,4) To second ills with ills, each elder worse] For this reading all the later editors have contentedly taken,
--each worse than other,
without enquiries whence they have received it. Yet they know, or might know, that it has no authority. The original copy reads,
--each elder worse,
The last deed is certainly not the oldest, but Shakespeare calls the deed of an elder man an elder deed.
V.i.15 (272,5) And make them dread it, to the doers' thrift] [T: dreaded, to] This emendation ia followed by HANMER. Dr. WARBURTON reads, I know not whether by the printer's negligence,
And make them dread, to the doers' thrift.
There seems to be no very satisfactory sense yet offered. I read, but with hesitation,
And make them deeded, to the doers' thrift.
The word deeded I know not indeed where to find; but Shakespeare has, in another sense undeeded, in Macbeth:
"--my sword "I sheath again undeeded."--
I will try again, and read thus,
--others you permit To second ills with ills, each other worse, And make them trade it, to the doers' thrift.
Trade and thrift correspond. Our author plays with trade, as it signifies a lucrative vocation, or a frequent practice. So Isabella says,
"Thy sins, not accidental, but a trade."
V.i.16 (273,9) Do your best wills,/And make me blest to obey!] So the copies. It was more in the manner of our author to have written,
--Do your blest wills, And make me blest t' obey.--
V.iii.41 (276,3) A rout, confusion thick] [W: confusion-thick] I do not see what great addition is made to fine diction by this compound. Is it not as natural to enforce the principal event in a story by repetition, as to enlarge the principal figure in a figure?
V.iii.51 (276,4) bugs] Terrors.
V.iii.53 (277,5) Nay, do not wonder at it] [T: do but] There is no need of alteration. Posthumus first bids him not wonder, then tells him in another mode of reproach, that wonder is all that he was made for.
V.iii.79 (278,8) great the answer be] Answer, as once in this play before, is retaliation.
V.iii.87 (278,9) That gave the affront with them] That is, that turned their faces to the enemy.
V.iv.1 (279,1) You shall not now be stolen, you have locks upon you;/So, graze, as you find pasture] This wit of the gaoler alludes to the custom of putting a lock on a horse's leg, when he is turned to pasture.
V.iv.27 (280,3) If you will take this audit, take this life,/And cancel those cold bonds] This equivocal use of bonds is another instance of our author's infelicity in pathetic speeches.
V.iv.45 (281,5) That from me my Posthumus ript] The old copy reads,
That from me was Posthumus ript.
Perhaps we should read,
That from my womb Posthumus ript, Came crying 'mongst his foes.
'Tis still a dream; or else such stuff, as madmen Tongue, and brain not: either both or nothing: Or senseless speaking, or a speaking such As sense cannot untie. Be what it is, The action of my life is like it]
The meaning, which is too thin to be easily caught, I take to be this: This is a dream or madness, or both--or nothing--but whether it be a speech without consciousness, as in a dream, or a speech unintelligible, as in madness, be it as it is, it is like my course of life. We might perhaps read,
Whether both, or nothing--
V.iv,164 (285,8) sorry that you have paid too much, and sorry that you are paid too much] Tavern bills, says the gaoler, are the sadness of parting, as the procuring of mirth--you depart reeling with too much drink; sorry that you have paid too much, and--what? sorry that you are paid too much. Where is the opposition? I read, And merry that you are paid so much. I take the second paid to be paid, for appaid, filled, satiated.
V.iv.171 (286,9) debtor and creditor] For an accounting book.
V.iv.188 (286,1) jump the after-enquiry] That is, venture at it without thought. So Macbeth,
"We'd jump the life to come." (see 1765, VII, 382, 7)
V.v.9 (288,1) one that promis'd nought/But beggary and poor looks] To promise nothing but poor looks, may be, to give no promise of courageous behaviour.
V.v.88 (291,2) So feat] So ready; so dextrous in waiting.
V.v.93 (291,3) His favour is familiar to me] I am acquainted with his countenance.
V.v.120 (292,4) One sand another/Not more resembles. That sweet rosy lad] [W: resembles, than be th' sweet] There was no great difficulty in the line, which, when properly pointed, needs no alteration.
V.v.203 (296,8) averring notes/Of chamber-hanging, pictures] Such marks of the chamber and pictures, as averred or confirmed my report.
V.v.220 (297,9) the temple/Of virtue was she; yea, and she herself] That is, She was not only the temple of virtue, but virtue herself.
V.v.233 (297,1) these staggers] This wild and delirious perturbation. Staggers is the horse's apoplexy.
V.v.262 (298,2) Think, that you are upon a rock; and now/Throw me again] In this speech, or in the answer, there is little meaning. I suppose, she would say, Consider such another act as equally fatal to me with precipitation from a rock, and now let me see whether you will repeat it.
V.v.308 (300,3) By tasting of our wrath] [W: hasting] There is no need of change; the consequence is taken for the whole action; by tasting is by forcing us to make thee taste.
V.v.334 (301,5) Your pleasure was my near offence, my punishment,/ Itself, and all my treason] I think this passage may better be read thus,
Your pleasure was my dear offence, my punishment Itself was all my treason; that I suffer'd, Was all the harm I did.--
The offence which cost me so dear was only your caprice. My sufferings have been all my crime.
Thou weep'st, and speak'st. The service that you three have done is more Unlike than this thou tell'st]
"Thy tears give testimony to the sincerity of thy relation; and I have the less reason to be incredulous, because the actions which you have done within my knowledge are more incredible than the story which you relate." The king reasons very justly.
V.v.378 (303,7) When ye were so, indeed] The folio gives,
When we were so, indeed.
If this be right, we must read,
Imo. I, you brothers. Arv. When we were so, indeed.
V.v.382 (303,8) fierce abridgment] Fierce, is vehement, rapid.
V.v.459 (306,1) My peace we will begin] I think it better to read,
By peace we will begin.--
(307) General Observation. This play has many just sentiments, some natural dialogues, and some pleasing scenes, but they are obtained at the expence of much incongruity. To remark the folly of the fiction, the absurdity of the conduct, the confusion of the names, and manners of different times, and the impossibility of the events in any system of life, were to waste criticism upon unresisting imbecility, upon faults too evident for detection, and too gross for aggravation.