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Mr. Pope fuppofed the ftory of this play to have been borrowed from a novel of Boccace; but he was miftaken, as an imitation of it is found in an old ftory-Wook entitled Weftward for Smelts. This imitation differs in as many particulars from the Italian novelift; as from Shakspeare, though they concur in fome material parts of the fable. It was published in a quarto pamphlet 1603. This is the only copy of it which I have hitherto seen.
There is a late entry of it in the books of the Stationers' Com. pany, Jan. 1619, where it is faid to have been written by Kitt öf Kingflon. STEEVENS.
The tale in Weftward for Smells, which I publifhed fome years ago, I shall subjoin to this play. The only part of the fable, however, which can be pronounced with certainty to be drawn from theuce, is, Imogen's wandering about after Pifanio has left her in the foreft; her being almoft famifhed; and being taken, at a subfequent period; into the service of the Roman General as a pagi. The general fcheme of Cymbeline is, in my opinion, formed on Boccace's novel (Day 2, Nov. 9.) and Shakspeare has taken a circumftance from it, that is not mentioned in the other tale. See P.-, n.. It appears from the preface to the old tranflation of the Decamerone, printed in 1620, that many of the novels had before received an English drefs, and had been printed feparately: "I know, moft worthy lord, (fays the printer in his Epifle Dedicatory,) that many of them [the novels of Boccace] have long fince been published before, as ftolen from the original author, and yet not beautified with his fweet ftyle and elocution of phrafe, nei ther favouring of his fingular morall applications."
Cymbeline, I imagine, was written in the year 1665. Attempt to afcertain the Order of Shakspeare's Plays, Vol. II. The king from whom the play takes its title began his reign, according to Holinshed, in the 19th year of the reign of Auguftus Cæfar; and the play commences in or about the twenty-fourth year of Cymbeline's reign, which was the forty-fecond year of tlie reign of Auguftus, and the 16th of the Chriftian era: notwithstanding which, Shakspeare has peopled Rome with modern Italians; Philario lachimo, &c. Cymbeline is faid to have reigned thirty-five years. leaving at his death two fons, Guiderius and Arviragus. MALONE.
I am unable to afcertain this reference, no circumstance attached to the novel of Boccace being difcoverable in p. 364, n. 6, the place to which we are directed by Mr. Malone, in his edition of our author's works, Vol. VII. p. 3og. STEEVENS,
Cymbeline, King of Britain.
Cloten, fon to the Queen by a former husband.
Guiderius,difguifed under the names of Polydore
Iachimo, friend to Philario,
A French Gentleman, friend to Philario.
Cornelius, a Phyfician.
Queen, wife to Cymbeline.
Imogen, daughter to Cymbeline by a former queen. Helen, woman to Imogen.
Lords, Ladies, Roman Senators, Tribunes, Apparitions, a Soothsayer, a Dutch Gentleman, a Spanish Gentleman, Muficians, Officers, Captains, Soldiers, Meffengers, and other Attendants.
SCENE, fometimes in Britain; fometimes in Italy.
ACT I. SCENE I.
Britain, The Garden behind Cymbeline's Palace.
Enter two Gentlemen.
1. GENT. You do not meet a man, but frowns: our bloods
No more obey the heavens, than our courtiers; Still feem, as does the king's. '
You do not meet a man, but frowns: our bloods.
Still feem, as does the king's.] The thought is this: we are not now (as we were wont) influenced by the weather, but by the king's looks. We no more obey the heavens [the sky] than our courtiers obey the heavens [ God ]. By which it appears that the reading our bloods, is wrong. For though the blood may be affected with the weather, yet that affe&ion is difcovered not by change of colour, but by change of countenance. And it is the outward not the inward change that is here talked of, as appears from the word Jeem. We fhould read therefore:
No more obey the heavens, &c.
which is evident from the precedent words:
You do not meet a man but frowns.
And from the following:
"Altho' they wear their faces to the bent
"Of the king's look, but hath a heart that is
"Glad at the thing they cowl at.
The Oxford editor improves upon this emendation, and reads:
No more obey the heart, ev'n than our courtiers.
But by venturing, too far, at a fecond emendation, he has ftript it of all thought and fentiment. WARBURTON.
But what's the matter?
1. GENT. His daughter, and the heir of his king
This paffage is fo difficult, that commentators may cerning it without animofity or shame. Of the two emendations propofed, Sir Thomas Hanmer's is the more licentious; but he makes the fenfe clear, and leaves the reader, an eafy paffage. Dr. Warburton has correded with more caution, but lefs improvement: his reasoning upon his own reading is fo obfcure and perplexed, that I fufpe&t fome injury of the prefs. I am now to tell my opinion, which is, that the lines ftand as they were originally written, and that a paraphrafe, fuch as the licentious and abrupt expreffions of our author too frequently require, will make emendation unneceffary. We do not meet a man but frowns; our bloods our countenances, which, in popular speech, are faid to be regulated by the temper of the blood, no more obey the laws of heaven, which dire& us to appear what we really are, than our courtiers: that is, than the bloods of our courtiers; but our bloods, like theirs, -fill feem, as doth the king's. JOHNSON.
In The Yorkshire Tragedy, 1608, which has been attributed to Shakspeare, blood appears to be used for inclination:
"For 'tis our blood to love what we are forbidden. " Again, in King Lear, A& IV. sc. ii:
Were it my fitness
"To let thefe hands obey my blood."
In King Henry VIII. A& III, fc. iv. is the fame thought:
fabjed to your countenance, gląd, or forry,
"As I faw it inclin'd. "
I would propofe to make this paffage clear by a very flight alteration, only leaving out the laft letter:
You do not meet a man but frowns:
No more obey the heavens, than our courtiers
That is, Still look as the king does; or, as he expreffes it a little differently afterwards:
wear their faces to the bent
"Of the king's look." Tyrwhitt.
The only error that I find in this paffage is,
the mark of the
genitive cafe annexed to the word courtiers, which appears to be a modern innovation, and ought to be corre&ed. The meaning of is this; "Our difpofitions no more obey the heavens than our
He purpos'd to his wife's fole fon, (a widow,
Is outward forrow;3 though, I think, the king
None but the king?
1. GENT. He, that hath loft her, too: fo is the
That moft 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 used 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 alfa Timon of Athens, Vol. XVII. p. 120, 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 fill feem, or our bloods fill feem, is common, in Shakspeare. The mark of the genitive cafe, which bas been affixed in the late editions to the word courtiers, does not appear to me neceffary, as the poet might intend to faythan our courtiers obey the heavens: though, it must be owned, the modern regulation derives some support 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:
Her husband banish'd; fhe imprifon'd; all
Is outward forrow; &c.] I would reform the metre as follows a
All's outward forrow; &c.
Wed is used for wedded, in The Comedy of Errors :
« In Syracusa was I born, and wed,