Sidor som bilder

If that thy gentry, Britain, go before
This lout, as he exceeds our lords, the odds
Is, that we scarce are men, and you are gods. [Erit.
The Battle continues; the Britons fly; CYMBELINE

is taken: then enter to his rescue, BELARIUS,

Bel. Stand, stand! We have the advantage of

the ground;
The lane is guarded: nothing routs us, but
The villany of our fears.
Gui. Arv.

Stand, stand, and fight! Enter POSTHUMUS, and seconds the Britons: They

rescue CYMBELINE, and exeunt. Then, enter

Lucius, LACHIMO, and IMOGEN. Luc. Away, boy, from the troops, and save thyself: For friends kill friends, and the disorder's such As war were hood-wink’d. Iach.

'Tis their fresh supplies. Luc. It is a day turn'd strangely: or betimes Let's reinforce, or fly.


SCENE III. Another Part of the Field.

Enter Posthumus and a British Lord. Lord. Cam’st thou from where they made the stand? Post.

I did: Though you, it seems, come from the fliers. Lord.

I did. Post. No blame be to you, sir; for all was lost, But that the heavens fought: The king himself Of his wings destitutel, the army broken,

· The stopping of the Roman 'army by three persons is an allusion to the story of the Hays, as related by Holinshed in his Higtory of Scotland, p. 155 ; upon which Milton once intended to have forined a drama. Shakspeare was evidently acquainted with it :• Haie beholding the king, with the most part of the nobles fighting with great valiancie in the middle-ward, now dcstitute of the wings,'&c.

all flying

And but the backs of Britons seen,
Through a strait lane; the enemy full-hearted,
Lolling the tongue with slaughtering, having work
More plentiful than tools to do't, struck down
Some mortally, some slightly touch'd, some falling
Merely through fear; that the strait pass was damm'd
With dead men, hurt behind, and cowards living
To die with lengthen'd shame.

Where was this lane ? Post. Close by the battle, ditch'd, and wall’d

with turf;
Which gave advantage to an ancient soldier,-
An honest one, I warrant; who deserv’d
So long a breeding, as his white beard came to,
In doing this for his country ;-athwart the lane,
He, with two striplings (lads more like to run
The country base, than to commit such slaughter;
With faces fit for masks, or rather fairer
Than those for preservation cas'd, or shame)
Made good the passage; cry'd to those that fled,
Our Britain's hearts die flying, not our men;
To-darkness fleet, souls that fly backwards! Stand!
Or we are Romans, and will give you that
Like beasts, which you shun beastly; and may save,
But to look back in frown: stand, stand.These three,
Three thousand confident, in act as many
(For three performers are the file, when all
The rest do nothing), with this word, stand, stand,
Accommodated by the place, more charming,
With their own nobleness (which could have turn'd
A distaff to a lance), gilded pale looks,
Part, shame, part, spirit renew'd ; that some, turn'd

But by example (0, a sin in war,
Damn'd in the first beginners!) 'gan to look
The way that they did, and to grin like lions

? A country game called prison bars, vulgarly prison-base. See vol. i. p. 103, note 9.

3 Shame for modesty, or shamefacedeness.

Upon the pikes o’the hunters. Then began:
A stop i'the chaser, a retire; anon,
A rout, confusion thick : Forthwith they fly
Chickens, the way which they stoop'd eagles; slaves,
The strides they victors made: and now our cowards
(Like fragments in hard voyages), became
The life o’the need; having found the back-door open
Of the unguarded hearts, Heavens, how they wound!
Some, slain before; some, dying; some, their friends,
O’erborne i'the former wave: ten, chas'd by one,
Are now each one the slaughter-man of twenty:
Those, that would die or ere resist, are grown
The mortal bugs4 o'the field.

This was strange chance.: A narrow lane! an old man, and two boys!

Post. Nay, do not wonder at it: You are made
Rather to wonder at the things you hear,
Than to work any. Will you rhyme upon't,
And vent it for a mockery? Here is one:
Two boys, an old man twice a boy, a lane,
Preserv'd the Britons, was the Romans' bane.

Lord. Nay, be not angry, sir.

’Lack, to what end?
Who dares not stand his foe, I'll be his friend :
For if he'll do, as he is made to do,
I know, he'll quickly fly my friendship too.
You have put me into rhyme.

Farewell, you are angry. [Exit. Post. Still going ? — This is a lord ! O noble

misery! To be i'the field, and ask, what news, of me! To-day, how many would have given their honours To have sav'd their carcasses ? took heel to do't, And yet died too? I, in mine own woe charm’dó, Could not find death, where I did hear him groan;

4 i. e. terrors, bugbears. See King Henry VI. Part. III. Act v. Sc. 2, p. 343 :

'For Warwick was a bug that fear'd us all. 5 Alluding to the common superstition of charms being powerful enough to keep men unhurt in battle. See vol. iv. p, 299, note 6.

Nor feel him, where he struck: Being an ugly monster,
"Tis strange, he hides him in fresh cups, soft beds,
Sweet words; or hath more ministers than we
That draw his knives i'the war.–Well, I will find

For being now a favourer to the Roman,
No more a Briton, I have resum'd again
The part I came in: Fight I will no more,
But yield me to the veriest hind, that shall
Once touch my shoulder. Great the slaughter is
Here made by the Roman; great the answer6 be
Britons must take; For me, my ransome's death;
On either side I come to spend my breath;
Which neither here I'll keep, nor bear again,
But end it by some means for Imogen.

Enter Two British Captains, and Soldiers. 1 Cap. Great Jupiter be prais'd! Lucius is taken: 'Tis thought, the old man and his sons were angels.

2 Cap. There was a fourth man, in a silly habit?, That gave the affronts with them. 1 Cap.

So 'tis reported : But none of them can be found.--Stand! who is

there? Post. A Roman; Who had not now been drooping here, if seconds Had answer'd him. 2 Cap.

Lay hands on him; a dog! A leg of Rome shall not return to tell What crows have peck'd them here. He brags his

service As if he were of note: bring him to the king.

6 i, e, retaliation. As in a former scene, p. 108, line 6:

'That which we've done, whose answer would be death.' 7 Silly is simple or rustic. Thus in the novel of Boccaccio, on which this play is formed:- The servant, who had no great good will to kill her, very easily grew pitifull, took off her upper garment, and gave her a poore ragged doublet, a silly chapperone.'

8 i. e, the encounter. See vol. iv. p. 101, note 5.


ARVIRAGUS, PISANIO, and Roman Captives. The Captains present PostHUMUS to CYMBELINE, who delivers him over to a Gaoler: after which, all

go out'.

SCENE IV. A Prison.

Enter POSTHUMUS, and Two Gaolers. 1 Gaol. You shall not now be stolen, you have

locks upon youl; So graze, as you find pasture.

2 Gaol. Ay, or å stomach. [Exeunt Gaolers.

Post. Most welcome, bondage! for thou art a way, I think, to liberty: Yet am I better Than one that's sick o'the gout: since he had rather Groan so in perpetuity, than be cur'd By the sure physician, death; who is the key To unbar these locks. My conscience! thou art

fetter'd More than my shanks, and wrists: You good gods,

give me
The penitent instrument, to pick that bolt,
Then, free for ever! Is't enough, I am sorry?
So children temporal fathers do appease;
Gods are more full of mercy. Must I repent?
I cannot do it better than in gyves,
Desir'd, more than constrain’d: to satisfy,
If of my freedom 'tis the main part, take
No stricter render of me, than my all2.

9 This stage direction for inexplicable dumb show' is probably an interpolation by the players. Shakspeare has expressed his contempt for such mummery in Hamlet.

i The wit of the Gaoler alludes to the custom of putting a lock on a horse's leg when he is turned out to pasture.

2. This passage is very obscure, and I must say with Malone that I think it is so rendered either by the omission of a line, or some other corruption of the text. I have no faith in Malone's explanation: that which Steevens offers is not much more satisfactory; bat I have nothing better to offer. • Posthuinus questions whether

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