Imágenes de página

He purpos'd to his wife's fole fon, (a widow,
That late he married) hath referr'd herself
Unto a poor, but worthy, gentleman: She's wedded;
Her husband banish'd; the imprifon'd: all
Is outward forrow; though, I think, the king
Be touch'd at very heart.


2. GENT.

None but the king?

1. GENT. He, that hath loft her, too: fo is the


That most defir'd the match: But not a courtier,

courtiers do; they ftill feem as the king's does." The obscurity arifes from the omiffion of the pronoun they, by a common poetical licence. M. MASON.

Blood is fo frequently ufed by Shakspeare for natural difpofition, that there can be no doubt concerning the meaning here. So, in All's well that ends well:

"Now his important blood will nought deny
"That she'll demand."

See alfo Timon of Athens, Vol. XI. p. 578, n. 5.

I have followed the regulation of the old copy, in feparating the word courtiers from what follows, by placing a femicolon after it. "Still feem"-for "they ftill feem," or "our bloods ftill feem," is common in Shakspeare. The mark of the genitive case, which has been affixed in the late editions to the word courtiers, does not appear to me neceffary, as the poet might intend to fay—" than our courtiers obey the heavens:" though, it must be owned, the modern regulation derives fome fupport from what follows:


but not a courtier,

"Although they wear their faces to the bent
"Of the king's looks,"

We have again, in Antony and Cleopatra, a fentiment fimilar to that before us :


for he would fhine on those

"That made their looks by his." MALONE.

[ocr errors]

She's wedded;

Her husband banish'd; fhe imprison'd; all

Is outward forrow; &c.] I would reform the metre as follows:
She's wed; her husband banish'd; fhe imprison'd:
All's outward forrow; &c.

Wed is used for wedded, in The Comedy of Errors:

[ocr errors]

"In Syracufa was I born, and red,-.' STEEVENS

Although they wear their faces to the bent
Of the king's looks, hath a heart that is not
Glad at the thing they fcowl at.

2. GENT.

And why fo?
I. GENT. He that hath mifs'd the princefs, is a thing
Too bad for bad report: and he that hath her,
(I mean, that married her,-alack, good man!—
And therefore banifh'd,) is a creature fuch
As, to feek through the regions of the earth
For one his like, there would be fomething failing
In him that should compare. I do not think,
So fair an outward, and such stuff within,
Endows a man but he.

2. GENT.

You speak him far."


1. GENT. I do extend him, fir, within himself;' Crush him together, rather than unfold His measure duly.

You speak him far.] i. e. you praise him extensively. STEEVENS. You are lavish in your encomiums on him: your elogium has a wide compafs. MALONE.

5 I do extend him, fir, within himself;] I extend him within himfelf: my praise, however extenfive, is within his merit.


My elogium, however extended it may feem, is fhort of his real excellence: it is rather abbreviated than expanded.-We have again the fame expreffion in a subsequent fcene: "The approbation of thofe that weep this lamentable divorce, are wonderfully to extend him." Again, in The Winter's Tale: "The report of her is extended more than can be thought." MALONE.

Perhaps this paffage may be fomewhat illuftrated by the following lines in Troilus and Creffida, A&t III. fc. iii:


no man is the lord of any thing, " 'Till he communicate his parts to others: "Nor doth he of himself know them for aught, ""Till he behold them form'd in the applaufe "Where they are extended," &c. STEEVENS. Crufh him-] So, in King Henry IV. P. II: "Crowd us and crush us in this monftrous form."


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

2. GENT.

What's his name, and birth?

1. GENT. I cannot delve him to the root: His father

Was call'd Sicilius, who did join his honour,
Against the Romans, with Caffibelan;
But had his titles by Tenantius," whom
He ferv'd with glory and admir'd fuccefs;
So gain'd the fur-addition, Leonatus :
And had, befides this gentleman in question,
Two other fons; who, in the wars o'the time,
Died with their fwords in hand; for which, their


(Then old and fond of iffue,) took fuch forrow,
That he quit being; and his gentle lady,
Big of this gentleman, our theme, deceas'd
As he was born. The king, he takes the babe
To his protection; calls him Pofthumus;


7-Tenantius,] was the father of Cymbeline, and nephew of Caffibelan, being the younger fon of his elder brother Lud, king of the fouthern part of Britain; on whofe death Caffibelan was admitted king. Caffibelan repulfed the Romans on their first attack, but being vanquished by Julius Cæfar on his fecond invafion of Britain, he agreed to pay an annual tribute to Rome. After his death, Tenantius, Lud's younger fon, (his elder brother Androgeus having fled to Rome) was established on the throne, of which they had been unjustly deprived by their uncle. According to fome authorities, Tenantius quietly payed the tribute ftipulated by Caf fibelan; according to others, he refused to pay it, and warred with the Romans. Shakspeare fuppofes the latter to be the truth. Holinfhed, who furnished our poet with these facts, furnished him also with the name of Sicilius, who was admitted king of Britain, A. M. 3659. The name of Leonatus he found in Sidney's Arcadia. Leonatus is there the legitimate fon of the blind king of Paphlagonia, on whofe ftory the epifode of Glofter, Edgar, and Edmund, is formed in King Lear. See Arcadia, p. 69, edit. I 1593. MALONE.

Shakspeare, having already introduced Leonato among the characters in Much Ado about Nothing, had not far to go for Leonatus.

8 - Pofthumus ;] Old copy-Pofthumus Leonatus. REED.

Breeds him, and makes him of his bed-chamber:
Puts to him all the learnings that his time
Could make him the receiver of; which he took,
As we do air, faft as 'twas minifter'd; and
In his fpring became a harvest: Liv'd in court,
(Which rare it is to do,) most prais'd, moft lov'd:7
A fample to the youngest; to the more mature,
A glafs that feated them; and to the graver,


Liv'd in court,

(Which rare it is to do,) moft prais'd, moft lov'd:] This 'encomium is high and artful. To be at once in any great degree loved and praised, is truly rare. JOHNSON.


8 A glass that feated them;] A glafs that formed them; a model, by the contemplation and infpection of which they formed their manners. JOHNSON.

This paffage may be well explained by another in the first part of King Henry IV:


He was indeed the glass

"Wherein the noble youths did dress themselves." Again, Ophelia defcribes Hamlet, as

"The glass of fashion, and the mould of form." To dress themselves therefore may be to form themselves. Dreffer, in French, is to form. To drefs a fpaniel is to break him in.

Feat is nice, exact. So, in The Tempest:


look, how well my garments fit upon me,


"Much feater than before.'

To feat, therefore may be a verb meaning-to render nice, exact. By the drefs of Pofthumus, even the more mature courtiers condefcended to regulate their external appearance. STEEVENS.

Feat Minfheu interprets, fine, neat, brave. See also Barret's Alvearie, 1580: " Feat and pleafant, concinnæ et venuftæ fententiæ.”

The poet does not, I think, mean to fay merely, that the more mature regulated their drefs by that of Pofthumus. A glass that feated them, is a model, by viewing which their form became more elegant, and their manners more polished.

We have nearly the fame image in The Winter's Tale :


I fhould blufh

"To fee you fo attir'd; fworn, I think,
"To fhew my self a glass."

Again, more appofitely in Hamlet:

"He was the mark and glafs, copy and book,
"That fashion'd others." MALONE.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

A child that guided dotards: to his mistress,
For whom he now is banish'd,-her own price
Proclaims how she esteem'd him and his virtue;
By her election may be truly read,
What kind of man he is.

2. GENT.

I honour him
Even out of your report. But, 'pray you, tell me,
Is fhe fole child to the king?

1. GENT. His only child. He had two fons, (if this be worth your hearing, Mark it,) the eldest of them at three years old, I' the fwathing clothes the other, from their nursery Were ftolen; and to this hour, no guess in knowledge

Which way they went.

2. GENT.

1. GENT. Some twenty years.

2. GENT. That a king's children should be fo

So flackly guarded! And the fearch fo flow,
That could not trace them!

How long is this ago?

1. GENT.

Howfoe'er 'tis ftrange,

Or that the negligence may well be laugh'd at,
Yet is it true, fir.

2. GENT.

I do well believe you.

I. GENT. We must forbear: Here comes the

The queen, and princess.


« AnteriorContinuar »