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MALONE supposes that Shakspeare wrote Cymbeline in the year 1603. The main incidents upon which the p ot turns, occur in a novel of Boccaccio's; but our poet obtained them in a different shape, from an old storybook entitled Westward for Smelts. Cymbeline, who gives name to the play, but is a cipher of royalty, began to reign over Britain in the 19th year of Augustus Cæsar. He filled the throne during thirty-five years, leaving two sons, Guiderius and Arviragus. The play commences in the 16th year of the Christian era, which was the 24th year of Cymbeline's reign, and the 42nd of Augustus's. The subject of the piece is disjointed and much too diffuse it exhibits some monstrous breaches of dramatic unity, and several very languid and make-shift scenes. But the part of Imogen is most delicately and delightfully drawn; her ideas are remarkably luxuriant, yet restrained; and the natural warmth of her affections is, in many instances, most beautifully expressed. Cloten is an incongruous animal, with some strong points about him; and a fine contrast to Posthumus, who is sketched with great judgment, feeling, and consistency. The Queen is an unfinished character, desirous of producing mischief, but possessing neither energy nor ability to accomplish her schemes; and though lachimo's cunning is portrayed with uncommon skill in his first attempt upon Imogen's virtue, yet his subse quent penitence and candour (however conducive to the moral) are not consistent with the usual hardihood of so thorough-paced a villain. Notwithstanding its fine passages and affecting incidents, this play was lost to the stage until Garrick undertook to revise it, by the abridgment of some scenes, and the transposition of others, it was reduced within the compass of a night's performance; and has since continued a periodical favourite with the public. Dr. Johnson decides the merits of this historical drama in the following summary manner: "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." No one can deny the elegance or point of the Doctor's critical sentences, nor their murderous efficiency when meant to despatch an adversary at a single blow; but the greatest fault of our poet consists in his having christened some characters of the first century with names which belonged to the fifteenth; and in his having seasoned their antique Roman honesty with a smattering of modern Italian villany.

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1 Gent. His daughter, and the heir of his
kingdom, whom

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

2 Gent. None but the king?

1 Gent. He, that hath lost her, too: so is the queen, [tier, That most desir'd the match: But not a courAlthough they wear their faces to the bent of the king's looks, bath a heart that is not Glad at the thing they scowl at.

2 Gent. And why so?

1 Gent. He that hath miss'd the princess, is a

Too bad for bad report: and he that hath her,
(I mean, that married her, alack, good man!
And therefore banish'd) is a creature such
As, to seek through the relgions of the earth
For one his like, there would be something

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, Sir, within himself; Crush him together, rather than unfold His measure duly.

2 Gent. What's his name, and birth?

1 Gent. I cannot delve him to the reot: His

Was call'd Şicilius, who did join his honour
Against the Romans, with Cassibelan;
But had his titles by Tenantius,+ whom
He serv'd with glory and admir'd success;
So gain'd the sur-addition, Leonatus:
And had, besides this gentleman in question,
Two other sons, who, in the wars o'the time,
Died with their swords in hand; for which their


(Then old and fond of issue,) took such sorrow,
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 Posthumus;
Breeds him, and makes him of his bed-chamber:
Puts him to all the learnings that his time
Could make him the receiver of; which he

As we do air, fast as 'twas minister'd; and
In his spring became a harvest: Liv'd in court,
(Which rare it is to do,) most prais'd, most
lov'd: t
A sample to the youngest; to the more ma-
A glass that feated them; and to the graver,
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

So soon as I can win the offended king,
I will be known your advocate: marry, yet
The fire of rage is in him; and 'twere good
You lean'd unto his sentence, with what pa

Your wisdom may inform you.
Post. Please your highness,
I will from hence to-day.

Queen. You know the peril :

I'll fetch a turn about the garden, pitying

The pangs of barr'd affections; though the

Hath charg'd you should not speak together.
[Exit QUEEN.

Imo. O

Dissembling courtesy! How fine this tyrant
Can tickle where she wounds!-My dearest

I something fear my father's wrath; but no-
(Always reserv'd my holy duty,) what

His rage can do on me: You must be gone;
And I shall here abide the hourly shot

Of angry eyes; nor comforted to live,
But that there is this jewel in this world,
That I may see again.

Post. My queen! my mistress!
O lady, weep no more; lest I give cause
To be suspected of more tenderness
Than doth become a man! I will remain
The loyal'st husband that did e'er plight troth.
My residence in Rome at one Philario's ;
Who to my father was a friend, to me
Known but by letter: thither write, my queen,
And with mine eyes I'll drink the words you
Though ink be made of gall.

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Post. Should we be taking leave
As long a term as yet we have to live,
The loathness to depart would grow: Adieu !
Imo. Nay, stay a little :

Even out of your report. But, 'pray you, tell me, Were you but riding forth to air yourself,
Is she sole child to the king?

1 Gent. His only child.

He had two sons, (if this be worth your hearing,
Mark it,) the eldest of them at three years old,
I'the swathing clothes the other, from their
Were stolen and, to this hour, no guess in
Which way they went.

2 Gent. How long is this ago?

1 Gent. Some twenty years.

2 Gent. That a king's children should be so
convey'd !

So slackly guarded! And the search so slow,
That could not trace them!

1 Gent. Howsoe'er 'tis strange,

Or that the negligence may well be laugh'd at,

Yet is it true, Sir.

2 Gent. I do well believe you.

Such parting were too petty. Look here, love;
This diamond was my mother's: take it, heart;
But keep it till you woo another wife,
When Imogen is dead.

Post. How! how! another?-
You gentle gods give me but this I have,
And sear up my embracements from a next
With bonds of death !-Remain thou here
[Putting on the Ring.
While sense + can keep it on! And sweetest,

As I my poor self did exchange for you,
To your so infinite loss; so, in our trifles
I still win of you: For my sake, wear this;

It is a manacle of love: I'll place it

Upon this fairest prisoner.

[Putting a Bracelet on her Arm. Imo. O the gods!

I Gent. We must forbear: Here come the When shall we see again? queen and princess.

SCENE 11.-The same.


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Post. Alack, the king!

Cym. Thou basest thing, avoid! hence, from

my sight!

If, after this command, thou fraught the court
With thy unworthiness, thou diest: Away!
Thou art poison to my blood.

Post. The gods protect you!
And bless the good remainders of the court!
I am gone.

Imo. There cannot be a pinch in death
More sharp than this is.

Cym. O disloyal thing,

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SCENE 11.-A Public Place.

That should'st repair my youth; thou heapest

A year's age on me!

Imo. I beseech you, Sir,

Harm not yourself with your vexation; I

Am senseless of your wrath; a touch more


Subdues all pangs, all fears.

Cym. Past grace? obedience

Imo. Past hope, and in despair: that way, past grace.

Cym. That might'st have had the sole son of my queen!

Imo. O bless'd, that I might not! I chose an eagle,

And did avoid a puttock. +

Cym. Thou took'st a beggar; would'st have made my throne

A seat for baseness.

Imo. No; I rather added

A lustre to it.

Cym. O thou vile one!

Imo. Sir,

It is your fault that I have lov'd Posthumus:
You bred him as my playfellow; and he is
A man, worth any woman; overbuys me
Almost the sum he pays.

Cym. What!-art thou mad?

Imo. Almost, Sir: Heaven restore me!-
'Would I were

A neat-herd's daughter! and my Leonatus
Our neighbour shepherd's son !

Re-enter QUEEN.

Cym. Thou foolish thing!--
They were again together: you have done

Enter CLOTEN, and two LORDS.

1 Lord. Sir, I would advise you to shift a shirt; the violence of action bath made you reek as a sacrifice: Where air comes out, air comes in: there's none abroad so wholesome as that you vent.

Clo. If my shirt were bloody, then to shift it -Have I hurt him?

2 Lord. No, faith; not so much as his patience. [Aside. 1 Lord. Hurt him? his body's a passable carcass, if he be not hurt: it is a thoroughfare for steel if it be not hurt.

2 Lord. His steel was in debt; it went o'the backside the town. [Aside.

Clo. The villain would not stand me. 2 Lord. No; but he fled forward still, toward your face. [Aside.

1 Lord. Stand you! You had land enough of your own but he added to your having; gave you some ground.

2 Lord. As many inches as you have oceans: Puppies! [Aside.

Clo. I would, they had not come between us. 2 Lord. So would 1, till you had measured how long a fool you were upon the ground.

[Aside. Clo. And that she should love this fellow, and refuse me!

2 Lord. If it be a sin to make a true election, she is damned. [Aside.

1 Lord. Sir, as I told you always, her beauty and her brain go not together: She's a [To the QUEEN.good sign, but I have seen small reflection of her wit. +

Not after our command. Away with her,
And pen her up.

Queen. 'Beseech your patience :-Peace,
Dear lady daughter, peace;-Sweet sovereign,
Leave us to ourselves; and make yourself some


Out of your best advice.

Cym. Nay, let her languish

A drop of blood a day; and, being aged,
Die of this folly!


Queen. Fie !-you must give way:

2 Lord. She shines not upon fools, lest the reflection should hurt her. [Aside. Clo. Come, I'll to my chamber: 'Would there had been some hurt done!

2 Lord. I wish not so; unless it bad been the fall of an ass, which is no great hurt.

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Have turn'd mine eye, and wept.-But, good for courtesies, which I will be ever to pay, anc Pisanio, yet pay still.

When shall we hear from him?

Pis. Be assur'd, madam, With his next vantage. *

Imo. I did not take my leave of him, but had Most pretty things o say: ere I could tell him, How I would think on him, at certain hours, Such thoughts, and such; or I could make him


The shes of Italy should not betray
Mine interest, and his honour; or have charg'd
At the sixth hour of morn, at noon, at mid-
To encounter me with orisons, † for then
I am in heaven for him: or ere I could
Give him that parting kiss, which I bad set
Betwixt two charming words, comes in


And, like the tyrannous breathing of the north,
Shakes all our buds from growing.

Enter a LADY.

Lady. The queen, madam,

Desires your highness' company.

French. Sir, you o'er-rate my poor kindness: I was glad I did atone my countryman and you; it had been pity you should have been put together with so mortal a purpose as then each bore, upon importance of so slight and trivial a


Post. By your pardon, Sir, I was then a young traveller : rather shunned to go even with what I heard, than in my every action to be guided by others' experiences: but, upon my mended judgment, (if I offend not to say it is mended,) my quarrel was not altogether slight.

French. 'Faith, yes, to be put to the arbitrement of swords; and by such two, that would, by all likelihood, have confounded one the other, or have fallen both.

Iach. Can we, with manners, ask what was the difference?

French. Safely, I think: 'twas a contention in public, which may, without contradiction, suffer the report. It was much like an argument that fell out last night, where each of us

Imo. Those things I bid you do, get them fell in praise of our country mistresses: This


I will attend the queen.

Pis. Madam, I shall.


SCENE V.-Rome.-An Apartment in PHI-
LARIO'S House.

gentleman at that time vouching, (and upon warrant of bloody affirmation,) his to be more fair, virtuous, wise, chaste, constant-qualified, and less attemptible, than any the rarest of our ladies in France.

lach. That lady is not now living; or this gentleman's opinion by this worn out. Post. She holds her virtue still, and I my


Iach. You must not so far prefer her 'fore our's of Italy.

Post. Being so far provoked as I was in

Iach. Believe it, Sir, I have seen him in Britain he was then of a crescent note, § expected to prove so worthy, as since he hath been al-France, I would abate her nothing: though I prolowed the name of: but I could then have fess myself her adorer, not her friend. looked on him without the help of admiration; though the catalogue of his endowments had been tabled by his side, and I to peruse him by items.

Phi. You speak of him when he was less furnished, than now he is, with that which makes him both without and within.

French. I have seen him in France: we had very many there, could behold the sun with as firm eyes as he.

Iach. This matter of marrying his king's daughter, (wherein he must be weighed, rather by her value than his own,) words him, I doubt uot, a great deal from the matter.

French. And then his banishment :lach. Ay, and the approbation of those that weep this lamentable divorce, under her colours, are wonderfully to extend him: be it but to fortify her judgment, which else an easy battery might lay flat, for taking a beggar without more quality. But how comes it, he is to sojourn with you? How creeps acquaintance?

Phi. His father and I were soldiers together; to whom I have been often bound for no less than my life :---


Here comes the Briton: Let him be so enter

tained amongst you, as suits, with gentlemen of your knowing, to a stranger of quality.-1 beseech you all, be better known to this gentleman; whom I commend to you as a noble friend of mine: How worthy he is, I will leave to appear hereafter, rather than story him in his own hearing.

French. Sir, we have known together in Or

Post. Since when I have been debtor to you

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hand comparison,) had been something too fair Iach. As fair and as good (a kind of hand-inand too good for any lady in Britany. If she

went before others I have seen, as that diamond of your's outlustres many I have beheld, I could not but believe she excelled many but I have not seen the most precious diamond that is, nor you the lady.

Post. I praised her, as I rated her: so do I my stone.

Iach. What do you esteem it at ?
Post. More than the world enjoys.
Iach. Either your unparagoned mistress is dead,
or she's outpriz'd by a tride.

Post. You are mistaken: the one may be sold, or given; if there were wealth enough for the purchase, or merit for the gift: the other is not a thing for sale, and only the gift of the gods.

Iach. Which the gods have given you?
Post. Which by their graces, I will keep.

Iach. You may wear her in title your's: but, you know, strauge fowl light upon neighbouring ponds. Your ring may be stolen too: so, of your brace of unprizable estimations, the one is but fail, and the other casual; a cunning thief, or a that-way accomplished courtier, would bazard the winning both of first and last.

Post. Your Italy contains none so accom. plished a courtier, to convince the honour of my mistress; if, in the hoiding or loss of that have store of thieves; notwithstanding I fear you term ber frail. I do nothing doubt you

not my ring.

Phi. Let us leave here, gentlemen.

nior, I thank him, makes no stranger of me; we

Post. Sir, with all heart. This worthy sig

are familiar at first.

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