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Of these thy compounds on such creatures as
Allayments to their act; and by them gather
Shall from this practice but make hard your heart ® Besides, the seeing these effects will be
Both noisome and infectious.
O, content thee.
Here comes a flattering rascal; upon him [Aside.
And enemy to my son.-How now, Pisanio?—
Hark thee, a word.-
COR. [Aside.] I do not like her. She doth think,
So, in Antony and Cleopatra:
"She hath pursued conclusions infinite
"Of easy ways to die." MALONE.
8 Your highness
Shall from this practice but make hard your heart:] There is in this passage nothing that much requires a note, yet I cannot forbear to push it forward into observation. The thought would probably have been more amplified, had our author lived to be shocked with such experiments as have been published in later times, by a race of men who have practised tortures without pity, and related them without shame, and are yet suffered to erect their heads among human beings.
Cape saxa manu, cape robora, pastor. JOHNSON.
9 I do not like her.] This soliloquy is very inartificial. The speaker is under no strong pressure of thought; he is neither resolving, repenting, suspecting, nor deliberating, and yet makes a long speech to tell himself what himself knows. JOHNSON.
Strange lingering poisons: I do know her spirit,
Which first, perchance, she'll prove on cats, and dogs;
Then afterward up higher; but there is
Until I send for thee.
No further service, doctor,
I humbly take my leave.
QUEEN. Weeps she still, say'st thou? Dost thou
She will not quench; and let instructions enter
This soliloquy, however inartificial in respect of the speaker, is yet necessary to prevent that uneasiness which would naturally arise in the mind of an audience on recollection that the Queen had mischievous ingredients in her possession, unless they were undeceived as to the quality of them; and it is no less useful to prepare us for the return of Imogen to life. STEEVENS.
-a time,] So the old copy. All the modern editionsfor a time. So, in the novel printed at the end of this play: "She appointing the other to be at the court the same time.” MALONE.
2 So to be false WITH HER.] The two last words may be fairly considered as an interpolation, for they hurt the metre, without enforcement of the sense.
"For thee," in the next line but one, might on the same account be omitted. STEEVENS.
quench;] i. e. grow cool. STEEVENS.
Is at last gasp: Return he cannot, nor
[The Queen drops a box: PISANIO takes it up. So much as but to prop him ?-Thou tak'st up Thou know'st not what; but take it for thy labour: It is a thing I made, which hath the king
Five times redeem'd from death: I do not know
That I mean to thee. Tell thy mistress how
As thou'lt desire; and then myself, I chiefly,
to shift his being,] To change his abode.
7 Think what a CHANCE thou CHANGEST on ;] Such is the reading of the old copy, which by succeeding editors has been altered into
"Think what a chance thou chancest on-;"
"Think what a change thou chancest on―; but unnecessarily. The meaning is: "Think with what a fair prospect of mending your fortunes you now change your present service." STEEVENS.
A line in our author's Rape of Lucrece adds some support to the reading-thou chancest on, which is much in Shakspeare's
"Let there bechance him pitiful mis-chances.” MALONE.
Not to be shak'd: the agent for his master;
The hand-fast to her lord.-I have given him that,
Of liegers for her sweet; and which she, after,
Re-enter PISANIO, and Ladies.
To taste of too.
So, so ;-well done, well done:
The violets, cowslips, and the primroses,
Bear to my closet:-Fare thee well, Pisanio;
Think on my words.
[Exeunt Queen and Ladies.
And shall do 9:
But when to my good lord I prove untrue,
I'll choke myself: there's all I'll do for you. [Exit.
Another Room in the Same.
IMO. A father cruel, and a step-dame false; A foolish suitor to a wedded lady,
That hath her husband banish'd;-O, that husband! My supreme crown of grief1! and those repeated
8 Of LIEGERS for her sweet;] A lieger ambassador is one that resides in a foreign court to promote his master's interest.
So, in Measure for Measure :
"Lord Angelo, having affairs to heaven,
"Where you shall be an everlasting lieger." STEEVENS. 9 And shall do:] Some words, which rendered this sentence less abrupt, and perfected the metre of it, appear to have been omitted in the old copies. STEEvens.
I - O, that husband!
My supreme CROWN of grief!] Imogen means to say, that
Vexations of it! Had I been thief-stolen,
As my two brothers, happy! but most miserable
her separation from her husband is the completion of her distress. So, in King Lear:
"This would have seem'd a period
"To such as love not sorrow; but another,
"To amplify too much, would make much more,
Again, in Coriolanus:
the spire and top of praise."
Again, more appositely, in Troilus and Cressida :
"Make Cressid's name the very crown of falsehood." Again, in The Winter's Tale :
"The crown and comfort of my life, your favour,
"I do give lost." MALONE.
but most miserable
Is the desire that's glorious:] Her husband, she says, proves her supreme grief. She had been happy had she been stolen as her brothers were, but now she is miserable, as all those are who have a sense of worth and honour superior to the vulgar, which occasions them infinite vexations from the envious and worthless part of mankind. Had she not so refined a taste as to be content only with the superior merit of Posthumus, but could have taken up with Cloten, she might have escaped these persecutions. This elegance of taste, which always discovers an excellence and chooses it, she calls with great sublimity of expression, “The desire that's glorious;" which the Oxford editor not understanding, alters to-" The degree that's glorious." WARburton. 3 - Blessed be those,
How mean soe'er, that have their honest wills,
Which seasons comfort.] The last words are equivocal; but the meaning is this: who are beholden only to the seasons for their support and nourishment; so that, if those be kindly, such have no more to care for, or desire. WARBURTON.
I am willing to comply with any meaning that can be extorted from the present text, rather than change it, yet will propose, but with great diffidence, a slight alteration:
- Bless'd be those,
"How mean soe'er, that have their honest wills,