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ACT 1.

Could make him the receiver of; which he took,
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':
A sample to the youngest; to the more mature,
A glass that feated them1; and to the graver,
A child that guided dotards: to his mistress 2,


Liv'd in court,

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

A glass that FEATED them ;] A glass that formed them; a model, by the contemplation and inspection of which they formed their manners. JOHNSON.

This passage 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 describes Hamlet as

"The glass of fashion, and the mould of form."

To dress themselves, therefore, may be to form themselves.
Dresser, in French, is to form. To dress a spaniel is to break

him in.

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


look, how well my garments sit upon me, "Much feater than before."

To feat, therefore, may be a verb meaning-to render nice, exact. By the dress of Posthumus, even the more mature courtiers condescended to regulate their external appearance.


Feat Minsheu interprets, fine, neat, brave. See also Barrett's Alvearie, 1580: " Feat and pleasant, concinnæ et venustæ sen


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

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


I should blush

"To see you so attir'd; sworn, I think,

"To show myself a glass."

Again, more appositely in Hamlet:

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"He was the mark and glass, copy and book,

"That fashion'd others."


To his mistress,] Means-as to his mistress. M. MASON.

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.


Even out of your report.

I honour him

But, 'pray you, tell me,

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 know


Which way they went.


How long is this ago?

1 GENT. Some twenty years.

2 GENT. That a king's children should be so con

vey'd !

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


Howsoe'er 'tis strange,

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


I do well believe you.

1 GENT. We must forbear: Here comes the

queen, and princess.



The Same.

Enter the Queen, POSTHUMUS, and IMOGEN3. QUEEN. NO, be assur'd, you shall not find me, daughter,

3 - Imogen.] Holinshed's Chronicle furnished Shakspeare

After the slander of most step-mothers,
Evil-ey'd unto you: you are my prisoner, but
Your gaoler shall deliver you the keys

That lock up your restraint. For you, Posthúmus,
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 patience
Your wisdom may inform you.


I will from hence to-day.


Please your highness,

You know the peril :

I'll fetch a turn about the garden, pitying

The pangs of barr'd affections; though the king Hath charg'd you should not speak together.


[Exit Queen.

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


I something fear my father's wrath; but nothing, (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; not comforted to live,
But that there is this jewel in the world,
That I may see again.


My queen! my mistress! O, lady, weep no more; lest I give cause

with this name, which in the old black letter is scarcely distinguishable from Innogen, the wife of Brute, King of Britain. There too he found the name of Cloten, who, when the line of Brute was at an end, was one of the five kings that governed Britain. Cloten, or Cloton, was King of Cornwall, and father of Mulmutius, whose laws are mentioned in Act III. Sc. I.


4 (Always reserv'd my holy duty,)] I say I do not fear my father, so far as I may say it without breach of duty. JOHNSON.


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 send,
Though ink be made of gall 5.


Re-enter Queen.

Be brief, I pray you:

If the king come, I shall incur I know not
How much of his displeasure:-Yet I'll move him

To walk this way: I never do him wrong,
But he does buy my injuries, to be friends
Pays dear for my offences.






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 :

Were you but riding forth to air yourself,

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.


How! how! another?

5 Though ink be made of GALL.] Shakspeare, even in this poor conceit, has confounded the vegetable galls used in ink, with the animal gall, supposed to be bitter. JOHNSON.

The poet might mean either the vegetable or the animal galls with equal propriety, as the vegetable gall is bitter; and I have seen an ancient receipt for making ink, beginning, "Take of


the black juice of the gall of oxen two ounces," &c. STEEVENS. he does buy my injuries, to be friends ;] He gives me a valuable consideration in new kindness (purchasing, as it were, the wrong I have done him,) in order to renew our amity, and make us friends again. MALONE.

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


6 And SEAR up my embracements from a next

With bonds of death!] Shakspeare may poetically call the cere-cloths in which the dead are wrapped, "the bonds of death." If so, we should read cere instead of sear :


'Why thy canoniz'd bones hearsed in death, "Have burst their cerements?

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To sear up, is properly to close up by burning; but in this passage the poet may have dropped that idea, and used the word simply for to close up. STEEVENS.

May not sear up, here mean solder up, and the reference be to a lead coffin? Perhaps cerements, in Hamlet's address to the Ghost, was used for searments in the same sense. HENLEY.

I believe nothing more than close up was intended. In the spelling of the last age, however, no distinction was made between cere-cloth and sear-cloth. Cole, in his Latin Dictionary, 1679, explains the word cerot by sear-cloth. Shakspeare therefore certainly might have had that practice in his thoughts. MALONE.

7 While sense can keep IT on!] This expression, I suppose, means, "while sense can maintain its operations; while sense continues to have its usual power." That to keep on signifies to continue in a state of action, is evident from the following passage in Othello:


keeps due on

"To the Propontick," &c.

The general sense of Posthumus's declaration, is equivalent to the Roman phrase,—dum spiritus hos regit artus. STEEVENS. The poet [if it refers to the ring] ought to have written-can keep thee on, as Mr. Pope and the three subsequent editors read. But Shakspeare has many similar inaccuracies. So, in Julius


"Casca, you are the first that rears your hand." instead of his hand. Again, in The Rape of Lucrece : "Time's office is to calm contending kings,

"To unmask falsehood, and bring truth to light,-
"To ruinate proud buildings with thy hours."

instead of his hours. Again, in the third Act of the play before

us :

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