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I know, you are more clement than vile men,
[He sleeps. Solemn Music Enter, as an Apparition, Sicilius
LEONATUS, Father to PosthumUS, an old Man, attired like a Warrior; leading in his hand an ancient Matron, his Wife, and Mother to PosTHUMUS, with Music before them. Then, after other Music, follow the Two young Leonati, Brothers to POSTHUMUS, with wounds, as they died in the Wars. They circle Posthumus round,
as he lies sleeping. Sici. No more, thou thunder master, show
Thy spite on mortal flies :
contrition be sufficient atonement for guilt. Then, to satisfy the offended gods, he desires them to take no more than his present all, that is, his life, if it is the main part, the chief point, or priocipal condition of his freedom, i. e. of his frecdom from future punishment.' 3 So in Macbeth :
• Cancel and tear to pieces that great bond
That keeps me pale.' There is an equivoque between the legal instrument and bonds of steel; a little out of its place in a passage of pathetic excla- ' mation.
4 This Scene is supposed not to be Shakspeare's, but foisted in by the players for mere show. The great poet, who has conducted his fifth Act with such matchless skill, could never have designed the vision to be twice described by Posthumus, had this contemptible nonsense been previously delivered on the stage. It appears that the players indulged themselves sometimes in anwarrantable liberties of the game kind. Nashe, in his Lenten Stuffe, 1599, assures us that in a play of bis, called the Isle of Dogs, four 'acts, without his consent, or the least guess of his drift or scope, were applied by the players. See the Prolegomena to Malonc's Sbakepeare, vol. ii. ; article Shakspeare, Ford, and Jonson.
With Mars fall out, with Juno chide,
Rates and revenges.
Whose face I never saw ?
Attending Nature's law.
Thou orphans' father art),
From this earth-vexing smart.
But took me in my throes;
A thing of pity!
Moulded the stuff so fair,
As great Sicilius' heir.
In Britain where was he
Or fruitful object be
Could deem his dignity?
To be exil'd and thrown
Slight thing of Italy,
With needless jealousy:
O'the other's villany?
• The fool.
2 Bro. For this, from stiller seats we came,
Our parents, and us twain,
Fell bravely, and were slain ;
With honour to maintain. 1 Bro. Like hardiment Posthumus hath
To Cymbeline' perform'd : Then Jupiter, thou king of gods,
Why hast thou thus adjourn'd
Being all to dolours turn'd?
No longer exercise,
And potent injuries:
Take off his miseries.
Or we poor ghosts will cry To the shining synod of the rest,
Against thy deity. 2 Bro. Help, Jupiter; or we appeal,
And from thy justice fly. JUPITER descends in Thunder and Lightning, sitting
upon an Eagle: he throws Thunder-bolt.
The Ghosts fall on their knees.
Offend our hearing; hush!-How dare you, ghosts, Accuse the thunderer, whose bolt, you know,
Sky-planted, batters all rebelling coasts? Poor shadows of Elysium, hence; and rest
Upon your never withering banks of flowers : Be not with mortal accidents opprest;
No care of yours it is, you know, 'tis ours. Whom best I love, I cross; to make my gift,
The more delay'd, delighted. Be content;
6 Delighted for delightful, or causing delight. See vol. p. II. 51, note 22.
Your low-laid son our god-head will uplift:
His comforts thrive, his trials well are spent. Our Jovial star reign'd at his birth, and in
Our temple was he married. - Rise, and fade! He shall be lord of lady Imogen,
And happier much by his affliction made. This tablet lay upon his breast; wherein
Our pleasure his full fortune doth confine; And so, away: no further with your din
Express impatience, lest you stir up mine.Mount, eagle, to my palace crystaline. (Ascends.
Sici. He came in thunder; his celestial breath Was sulphurous to smell: the holy eagle Stoop'd, as to foot us?: his ascension is More sweet than our bless'd fields; his royal bird Prunes the immortal wing, and cloys his beak, As when his god is pleas'd. All.
Thanks, Jupiter ! Sici. The marble pavement closes, he is enter'd His radiant roof:-Away! and, to be blest, Let us with care perform his great behest.
(Ghosts vanish. Post. [Waking]. Sleep, thou hast been a grand
sire, and begot A father to me: and thou hast created A mother and two brothers: But (0 scorn!) Gone! they went hence so as they were
born. And so I am awake.- Poor wretches that depend On greatness' favour, dream as I have done; Wake, and find nothing. But, alas, I swerve: Many dream not to find, neither deserve, And yet are steep'd in favours; so am I, That have this golden chance, and know not why.
7 i. e. to grasp us in his pounces.
Herbert. 8 lu ancient language the cleys or clees of a bird or beast are the same with claws in mudern speech. To claw their beaks is an accustomed action with hawks and eagles.
What fairies haunt this ground? A book? 0, rare one!
unknown, without seeking find, and be embraced
be fortunate, and flourish in peace and plenty. '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, which I'll keep, if but for sympathy.
Gaol. Hanging is the word, sir; if you be ready for that, you are well cooked.
Post. So, if I prove a good repast to the spectators, the dish pays the shot.
Gaol. A heavy reckoning for you, sir: But the comfort is, you shall be called to no more payments, fear no
more tavern bills; which are often the sadness of parting, as the procuring of mirth: yon come in faint for want of meat, depart reeling with too much drink; sorry that you have paid too much, and sorry that you are paid10 too much;
9 i. e. trising. Hence new-fangled, still in use for new toys or trifles. 10 Paid here means subdued or overcome by the liquor. Vol. IX.