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On him, her brothers, me, her master; hitting
My good master,
Happy be you!
I am, sir,
I am down again: [Kneeling. But now my heavy conscience sinks
knee, As then
force did. Take that life, 'beseech you, Which I so often owe: but, your ring first; And here the bracelet of the truest princess, That ever swore her faith. Post.
Kneel not to me;
that I have on you, is to spare you;
You holp us, sir,
did mean indeed to be our brother; Joy'd are we, that Post. Your servant, princes.-Good my lord of
Read, and declare the meaning. Sooth. [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. Thou, Leonatus, art the lion's whelp; The fit and apt construction of thy name, Being Leo-natus, doth import so much :
28 Spritely shows are groups of sprites, ghostly appearances.
29 A collection is a corollary, a consequence deduced from premises. So in Davies's poem on The Immortality of the Soul :
• When she from sundry arts one skill doth draw;
Gath’ring from divers sights one act of war;
These ber collections, not the senses are.'
Her speech is nothing,
The hearers to collection.'
The piece of tender air, thy virtuous daughter,
[To CYMBELINE. Which we call mollis aer; and mollis aer We term it mulier : which mulier I divine, Is this most constant wife: who, even now, Answering the letter of the oracle, Unknown to you, unsought, were clipp'd about With this most tender air. Cym.
This hath some seeming. Sooth. The lofty cedar, royal Cymbeline, Personates thee: and thy lopp'd branches point Thy two sons forth : who, by Belarius stolen, For many years thought dead, are now reviv'd, To the majestic cedar join'd; whose issue Promises Britain peace and plenty. Сут. .
Well, My peace we will begin 30:-And, Caius Lucius, Although the victor, we submit to Cæsar, And to the Roman empire; promising To pay our wonted tribute, from the which We were dissuaded by our wicked
queen; Whom heavens, in justice (both on her and hers), Have laid most heavy hand 31.
Sooth. The fingers of the powers above do tune The harmony of this peace. The vision Which I made known to Lucius, ere the stroke Of this yet scarce-cold battle, at this instant
30 It should apparently be, ‘By peace we will begin.' The Soothsayer says, that the label promised to Britain ' peace and plenty. To which Cymbeline replies, 'We will begin with peace, to fulfil the prophecy.'
31 i. e. have laid most heavy hand on. Many such elliptical passages are found in Shakspeare. Thus in The Rape of Lu
• Only he hath an eye to gaze on beauty,
And dotes on whom he looks [on] gainst law and duty.' So in The Winter's Tale :
The queen is spotless.
Is full accomplish'd : For the Roman eagle,
Laud we the gods;
peace we'll ratify; seal it with feasts.Set on there :-Never was a war did cease, Ere bloody hands were wash’d, with such a peace.
This play has many just sentiments, some natural dialogues, and some pleasing scenes, but they are obtained at the expense of much incongruity. To remark the folly of the fiction, the absurdity of the conduct, the confusion of the names and manners of different times, and the impossibility of the events in any system of life, were to waste criticism upon unresisting imbecility, upon faults too evident for detection, and too gross for aggravation *.
* Johnson's remark on the gross incongruity of names and manners in this play is just, but it was the common error of the age; in The Wife for a Month, of Beaumont and Fletcher, we have Frederick and Alphonso among a host of Greek names, not to mention the firing of a pistol by Demetrius Poliocortes in The Humorous Lieutenant. PYE.
It is hardly necessary to point out the extreme injustice of the unfounded severity of Johnson's animadversions upon this exquisite drama. The antidote will be found in the reader's appeal to his own feelings after reiterated perusal. It is with satisfaction I refer to the more just and discriminative opinion of a foreign critic, to whom every lover of Shakspeare is deeply indebted, cited in the preliminary remarks.
S. W. S.
SUNG BY GUIDERIUS AND ARVIRAGUS OVER FIDELE,
SUPPOSED TO BE DEAD.
BY MR. WILLIAM COLLINS.
To fair Fidele's grassy tomb,
Soft maids and village hinds shall bring Each opening sweet, of earliest bloom,
And rifle all the breathing spring. No wailing ghost shall dare appear
To vex with shrieks this quiet grove; But shepherd lads assemble here,
And melting virgins own their love.
No goblins lead their nightly crew :
And dress thy grave with pearly dew.
Shall kindly lend his little aid,
To deck the ground where thou art laid.
In tempests shake the sylvan cell;
The tender thought on thee shall dwell.
For thee the tear be duly shed;
And mourn'd till pity's self be dead.