« PoprzedniaDalej »
And question'dst every sail: if he should write,
As offer'd mercy is1. What was the last
Imo. Then wav'd his handkerchief?
"Twas, His queen, his queen!
And kiss'd it, madam
Imo. Senseless linen! happier therein than I!— And that was all?
Thou should'st have made him
As little as a crow, or less3, ere left
To after-eye him.
Madam, so I did.
Imo. I would have broke mine eye-strings; crack'd them, but
To look upon him; till the diminution
Of space had pointed him sharp as my needle:
The smallness of a gnat to air; and then
Have turn'd mine eye, and wept.-But, good Pisanio, When shall we hear from him?
1 Its loss would be as fatal as the loss of intended mercy to a condemned criminal.' A thought resembling this occurs in All's Well that Ends Well:
'Like a remorseful pardon slowly carried.'
2 The old copy reads, his eye or ear.' 6 Warburton made the emendation; who observes, that the expression is deixrixos, as the Greeks term it, the party speaking points to the part spoken The description seems imitated from the eleventh book of Ovid's Metamorphosis. See Golding's Translation, f. 146, b._&c. 2 This comparison may be illustrated by the following in King Lear:
the crows and choughs that wing the midway air Seem scarce so gross as beetles.'
The diminution of space is the diminution of which space is the cause.
With his next vantage5.
Be assur'd, madam,
Imo. I did not take my leave of him, but had Most pretty things to say: ere I could tell him, How I would think on him, at certain hours, Such thoughts, and such; or I could make him swear The shes of Italy should not betray
Mine interest, and his honour; or have charg'd him,
I am in heaven for him6: or ere I could
Enter a Lady.
The queen, madam,
Desires your highness' company.
Imo. Those things I bid you do, get them despatch'd.
I will attend the queen.
Madam, I shall. [Exeunt.
6 i. e. to meet me with reciprocal prayer, for then my solicitations ascend to heaven on his behalf.'
7 i e. our buds of love likened to the buds of flowers. So in Romeo and Juliet:
This bud of love, by summer's ripening breath,
May prove a beauteous flower when next we meet.'
And in Shakspeare's 18th Sonnet :
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May.'
The following beautiful lines in The Two Noble Kinsmen, probably written by Shakspeare, as he assisted Fletcher in writing that play, have a similar train of thought:
It is the very emblem of a maid:
For when the west wind courts her gentily,
How modestly she blows and paints the sun
With her chaste blushes ?-when the north comes
Rude and impatient, then, like chastity,
An Apartment in Philario's House.
Enter PHILARIO, IACHIMO, a Frenchman, a Dutchman, and a Spaniard1.
Iach. Believe it, sir: I have seen him in Britain: he was then of a crescent note, expected to prove so worthy, as since he hath been allowed the name of: but I could then have looked on him without the help of admiration; though the catalogue of his endowments had been tabled by his side, and I to peruse him by items.
Phi. You speak of him when he was less furnished, than now he is, with that which makes2 him both without and within.
French. I have seen him in France: we had very many there, could behold the sun with as firm eyes as he.
Iach. This matter of marrying his king's daughter (wherein he must be weighed rather by her value, than his own), words him, I doubt not, a great deal from the matter3.
French. And then his banishment:
Iach. Ay, and the approbation of those, that weep this lamentable divorce, under her colours, are wonderfully to extend him; be it but to fortify her judgment, which else an easy battery might lay flat, for taking a beggar without more quality. But how comes it, he is to sojourn with you? How creeps acquaintance?
1 This enumeration of persons is from the old copy; but Mynheer and the Don are mute characters.
2 i. e. accomplishes him.
3 Words him-a great deal from the matter,' makes the description of him very distant from the truth.
4 i. e. to magnify his good qualities. See Act i. Sc. 1, note 3, p. 8. 5 The old copy reads, less. The poet has in other places entangled himself with the force of this word in construction. Thus in the Winter's Tale :
Phi. His father and I were soldiers together; to whom I have been often bound for no less than my life:
Here comes the Briton: Let him be so entertained amongst you, as suits, with gentlemen of your knowing, to a stranger of his quality.-I beseech you all, be better known to this gentleman; whom I commend to you, as a noble friend of mine: How worthy he is, I will leave to appear hereafter, rather than story him in his own hearing.
French. Sir, we have known together in Orleans. Post. Since when I have been debtor to you for courtesies, which I will be ever to pay, and yet pay still.
French. Sir, you o'er-rate my poor kindness: I was glad I did atone6 my countryman and you; it had been pity, you should have been put together with so mortal a purpose, as then each bore, upon importance of so slight and trivial a nature.
Post. By your pardon, sir, 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: but, upon my mended judgment (if I offend not to say it is mended), my quarrel was not altogether slight.
French. 'Faith, yes, to be put to the arbitrement of swords; and by such two, that would, by all likelihood, have confounded one the other, or have fallen both.
See vol. iv. p. 47.
6 i. e. reconcile. Vide vol. iii. p. 197.
1 Importance is importunity. See vol. i. p. 366.
8 Rather studied to avoid conducting himself by the opinions of others, than to be guided by their experience.'
9 i. e. destroyed. So in Antony and Cleopatra, Act iii. Sc. 2, p. 418:
'What willingly he did confound he wail'd.'
Iach. Can we, with manners, ask what was the difference?
French. Safely, I think: 'twas a contention in public, which may, without contradiction, suffer the report. It was much like an argument that fell out last night, where each of us fell in praise of our country mistresses: This gentleman at that time vouching (and upon warrant of bloody affirmation), his to be more fair, virtuous, wise, chaste, constant-qualified, and less attemptible, than any the rarest of our ladies in France.
Iach. That lady is not now living; or this gentleman's opinion, by this, worn out.
Post. She holds her virtue still, and I my mind. Iach. You must not so far prefer her 'fore ours of Italy.
Post. Being so far provoked as I was in France, I would abate her nothing; though I profess myself her adorer, not her friend10.
Iach. As fair, and as good (a kind of hand-inhand comparison), had been something too fair, and too good, for any lady in Britany. If she went before others I have seen, as that diamond of yours out-lustres many I have beheld, 1 could not but believe she excelled many: but I have not seen the most precious diamond that is, nor you the lady. Post. I praised her, as I rated her: so do I my
Iach. What do you esteem it at?
10 Friend and lover were formerly synonymous. Posthumus means to bestow the most exalted praise on Imogen, a praise the more valuable as it was the result of reason, not of amorous dotage. make my avowal, says he, in the character of her adorer, not of her possessor. I speak of her as a being I reverence, not as a beauty I enjoy. I rather profess to describe her with the devotion of a worshipper, than the raptures of a lover. This sense of the word also appears in a subsequent remark of Jachimo:
'You are a friend, and therein the wiser.'
i. e. you are a lover, and therefore show your wisdom in opposing all experiments that may bring your lady's chastity into question. The old copy reads, I could not believe she excell'd many.' Mr. Heath proposed to read, 'I could but believe,' &c. The emendation in the text is Malone's.