Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

I know, you are more clement than vile men,
Who of their broken debtors take a third,
A sixth, a tenth, letting them thrive again
On their abatement; that's not my desire:
For Imogen's dear life, take mine; and though
"Tis not so dear, yet 'tis a life; you coin'd it:
"I'ween man and man, they weigh not every stamp;
Though light, take pieces for the figure's sake:
You rather mine, being yours: and so, great powers,
If you will take this audit, take this life,
And cancel these cold bond83. 0, Imogen!
I'll speak to thee in silence.

[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,
That thy adulteries

Rates and revenges.
Hath my poor boy done aught but well,

Whose face I never saw ?
I died, whilst in the womb he stay'd

Attending Nature's law.
Whose father then (as men report,

Thou orphans' father art),
Thou should'st have been, and shielded him

From this earth-vexing smart.
Moth. Lucina lent not me her aid,

But took me in my throes;
That from me was Posthumus ript,
Came crying 'mongst his foes,

A thing of pity!
Sici. Great nature, like his ancestry,

Moulded the stuff so fair,
That he deserv'd the praise o'the world,

As great Sicilius' heir.
1 Bro. When once he was mature for man,

In Britain where was he
That could stand up his parallel;

Or fruitful object be
In eye of Imogen, that best

Could deem his dignity?
Moth. With marriage wherefore was he mock'd,

To be exil'd and thrown
From Leonati' seat, and cast
From her his dearest one,

Sweet Imogen?
Sici. Why did you suffer Iachimo,

Slight thing of Italy,
To taint his nobler heart and brain

With needless jealousy:
And to become the gecks and scorn

O'the other's villany?

• The fool.

2 Bro. For this, from stiller seats we came,

Our parents, and us twain,
That, striking in our country's cause,

Fell bravely, and were slain ;
Our fealty, and Tenantius' right,

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
The graces for his merits due;

Being all to dolours turn'd?
Sici. Thy crystal window ope; look out;

No longer exercise,
Upon a valiant race, thy harsh

And potent injuries:
Moth. Since, Jupiter, our son is good,

Take off his miseries.
Sici. Peep through thy marble mansion; help!

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.
Jup. No more, you petty spirits of region low,

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;

a

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.

soon

7 i. e. to grasp us in his pounces.
• And till they foot and clutch their prey.'

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!
Be not, as is our fangled9 world, a garment
Nobler than that it covers : let thy effects
So follow, to be most unlike our courtiers,
As good as promise.
(Reads.] When as a lion's whelp shall, to himself

unknown, without seeking find, and be embraced
by a piece of tender air; and when from a
stately cedar shall be lopped branches, which,
being dead many years, shall after revive, be
jointed to the old stock, and freshly grow;
then shall Posthumus end his miseries, Britain

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.

Re-enter Gaolers.
Gaol. Come, sir, are you ready for death?
Post. Over-roasted rather: ready long ago.

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.

« FöregåendeFortsätt »