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Pis.

0, gentlemen, help, help, Mine, and your mistress:~0, my Lord Posthumus! You ne'er kill'd Imogen till now :- Help, help!-Mine honour'd lady! Cym.

Does the world go round ? Post. How come these staggers16 on me ? Pis.

Wake, my mistress? Cym. If this be so, the gods do mean to strike me To death with mortal joy. Pis.

How fares my mistress ? Imo. O, get thee from my sight; Thou gav’st me poison: dangerous fellow, hence! Breathe not where princes are. Сут. .

'The tune of Imogen!
Pis. Lady,
The gods throw stones of sulphur on me, if
That box I gave you was not thought by me
A precious thing; I had it from the queen.

Cym. New matter still?
Imo.

It poison'd me.
Cor.

O gods! I left out one thing which the queen confess’d, Which must approve thee honest: If Pisanio Have, said she, given his mistress that confection Which I gave him for a cordial, she is serv’d As I would serve a rat. Cym.

What's this, Cornelius? Cor. The queen, sir, very oft impórtun’d me To temper17 poisons for her; still pretending The satisfaction of her knowledge, only In killing creatures vile, as cats and dogs Of no esteem: 1, dreading that her purpose Was of more danger, did compound for her A certain stuff, which, being ta'en, would cease The present power of life; but, in short time,

16 i. e. this wild and delirious perturbation It is still common to say it stagger'd me,' wien we have been moved by any sudden emotion of surprise. See vol. iii. p. 246, nute 22.

17 Mix, compound.

All offices of nature should again
Do their due functions.—Have you ta'en of it?

Imo. Most like I did, for I was dead.
Bel.

My boys, 'There was our error. Gui.

This is sure, Fidele. Imo. Why did you throw your wedded lady

from you?

Think, that you are upon a rock; and now
Throw me again18.

[Embracing him. Post.

Hang there like fruit, my soul, Till the tree die! Сут. .

How now, my flesh, my child ? What, mak'st thou me a dullard in this act? Wilt thou not speak to me? Imo.

Your blessing, sir.

[Kneeling. Bel. Though you did love this youth, I blame

ye not; You had a motive for't.

[To Gui. and Arv. Сут.

My tears that fall,
Prove holy water on thee! Imogen,
Thy mother's dead.
Imo.

I am sorry for’t, my lord.
Cym. 0, she was naught; and 'long of her it was,
That we meet here so strangely: But her son
Is gone, we know not how, nor where.
Pis.

My lord,

18 Imogen comes up to Posthumus as soon as she knows that the error is cleared up; and, hanging fondly on him, says, not as upbraiding him, but with kindness and good humour, How could you treat your wife thus ?' in that endearing lone which most readers, who are fathers and husbands, will understand who will a:ld poor to wife. She then adds, Now you know who I am, suppose we were on the edge of a precipice, anıl throve me from you; meaning, in the same cndearing irony, to say, I am sure it is as impossible for you to be intentionally unkind to me, as it is for you to kill me. Perhaps some very wise persons may smile at part of this note; but however much black-letter books may be necessary to elucidate some parts of Shakspeare, there are others which require some acquaintance with those familiar pages of the book of Nature ;

• Which learning may not understand,
And wideom way disdain to hear.

Pye.

Now fear is from me, I'll speak troth. Lord Cloten,
Upon my lady's missing, came to me
With his sword drawn; foam'd at the mouth, and

swore,
If I discover'd not which way she was gone,
It was my instant death: By accident,
I had a feigned letter of my master's
Then in my pocket; which directed him
To seek her on the mountains near to Milford;
Where, in a frenzy, in my master's garments,
Which he inforc'd from me, away he posts
With unchaste purpose, and with oath to violate
My lady's honour: what became of him,
| further know not.
Gui.

Let me end the story:
I slew him there.
Cym.

Marry, the gods forefend!
I would not thy good deeds should from my lips
Pluck a hard sentence: pr’ythee, valiant youth,
Deny't again.

Gui. I have spoke it, and I did it.
Cym. He was a prince.
Gui. A most uncivil

The wrongs he

one :

did me

Were nothing princelike; for he did provoke me
With language that would make me spurn the sea,
If it could roar to me: I cut off's head;
And am right glad, he is not standing here
To tell this tale of mine.
Cym.

I am sorry for thee:
By thine own tongue thou art condemn’d, and must
Eodure our law: Thou art dead.
Imo.

That headless man I thought had been my lord. Cym.

Bind the offender, And take him from our presence. Bel.

Stay, sir king : This man is better than the man he slew, As well descended as thyself; and hath More of thee merited, than a band of Clotens

Had ever scar for.--Let his arms alone;

[To the Guard They were not born for bondage. Cym.

Why, old soldier,
Wilt thou undo the worth thou art unpaid for,
By tasting of our wrath19 ? How of descent
As good as we?
Arv.

In that he spake too far.
Cym. And thou shalt die for't.
Bel.

We will die all three:
But I will prove, that two of us are as good
As I have given out him.-My sons, I must,
For mine own part, unfold a dangerous speech,
Though, haply, well for you.
Arv.

Your danger is
Ours.

Gui. And our good his.
Bel.

Have at it then.
By leave;- Thou hadst, great king, a subject, who
Was call'd Belarius.
Сут.

What of him ? he is
A banish'd traitor.
Bel.

He it is, that hath
Assum'd this age20 : indeed, a banish'd man;
I know not how, a traitor.
Сут.

Take him lience;
The whole world shall not save him.
Bel.

Not too hot:
First pay me for the nursing of thy sons;
And let it be confiscate all, so soon
As I have receiv'd it.
Cym.

Nursing of my sons ? Bel. I am too blunt and saucy: Here's my knee; Ere I arise, I will prefer my sons;

19. The consequence is taken for the whole action ; by tasting is by forcing us to make thee to taste. 20 As there is no

reason to imagine that Belarius had assumed the appearance of being older than he really was, it must have a reference to the different appearance which he now makes in comparison with that when Cymbeline last saw himn.

Then, spare not the old father. Mighty sir,
These two young gentlemen, that call me father,
And think they are my sons, are none of mine;
They are the issue of your loins, my liege,
And blood of your begetting.
Cym.

How! my issue ?
Bel. So sure as you your father's. I, old Morgan,
Am that Belarius whom you sometime banish'd :
Your pleasure was my mere offence21, my punishment
Itself, and all my treason; that I suffer'd,
Was all the harm I did. These gentle princes
(For such, and so they are) these twenty years
Have I train’d up: those arts they have, as 'I
Could put into them; my breeding was, sir, as
Your highness knows. Their nurse, Euriphile,
Whom for the theft I wedded, stole these children
Upon my banishment: I mov'd her to't;
Having receiv'd the punishment before,
For that which I did then: Beaten for loyalty
Excited me to treason : Their dear loss,
The more of you 'twas felt, the more it shap'd
Unto my end of stealing them. But, gracious sir,
Here are your sons again; and I must lose
Two of the sweet'st companions in the world:
The benediction of these covering heavens
Fall on their heads like dew! for they are worthy
To inlay heaven with stars22.
Сут. .

Thou weep'st, and speak’st23. The service, that you three have done, is more Unlike than this thou tellst : I lost my children;

22

21 The old copy reads "neere offence;' the emendation is by Mr. 'Tyrwhitt. Belarius means to say “My crime, my punishment, and all the treason that I committed, originated in, and were founded on, your caprice only.'

Take him and cut him into little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine,' &c.

Romeo and Juliet. 23 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 reasous very justly.

JOHNson.

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