Page images


Ay; I said so, sir.

you will make't an action, call witness to’t.
Clo. I will inform your father.

Your mother too:
She's my good lady; and will conceive, I hope,
But the worst of me. So I leave you, sir,
To the worst of discontent.

[Exit. Clo.

I'll be revengd:His meanest garment?-Well.



Rome. An Apartment in Philario's House.

Enter POSTHUMUS and PHILARIO. Post. Fear it not, sir; I would, I were so sure To win the king, as I am bold, her honour Will remain hers. Phi.

What means do you make to him? Post. Not any; but abide the change of time; Quake in the present winter's state, and wish That warmer days would come: In these fear'd hopes, I barely gratify your love; they failing, I must die much your debtor.

Phi. Your very goodness, and your company,
O'erpays all I can do. By this, your king
Hath heard of great Augustus: Caius Lucius
Will do his commission throughly: And, I think,
He'll grant the tribute, send the arrearages,
Or look upon our Romans, whose remembrance

yet fresh in their grief.

I do believe,
(Statist® though I am none, nor like to be,)
That this will prove a war; and you shall hear

Statist-) i. e. Statesman.

The legions, now in Gallia, sooner landed
In our not-fearing Britain, than have tidings
Of any penny tribute paid. Our countrymen
Are men more order'd, than when Julius Cæsar
Smil'd at their lack of skill, but found their courage
Worthy his frowning at: Their discipline
(Now mingled with their courages) will make known
To their approvers, they are people, such
That mend upon the world.



See! Iachimo?
Post. The swiftest harts have posted you by land:
And winds of all the corners kiss'd your sails,
To make your vessel nimble.

Welcome, sir.
Post. I hope, the briefness of your answer made
The speediness of your return.

Your lady
Is one the fairest that I have look'd upon.

Post. And, therewithal, the best; or let her beauty Look through a casement to allure false hearts, And be false with them. Iach.

Here are letters for

you. Post. Their tenour good, I trust. lach.

'Tis very like.
Phi. Was Caius Lucius in the Britain court,
When you were there?

He was expected then,
But not approach'd.

All is well yet.
Sparkles this stone as it was wont? or is't not
Too dull for your good wearing?

If I have lost it, I should have lost the worth of it in gold.

9 To their approvers ) i, e. To those who try them.

I'll make a journey twice as far, to enjoy
A second night of such sweet shortness, which
Was mine in Britain; for the ring is won.

Post. The stone's too hard to come by.

Not a whit,
Your lady being so easy.

Make not, sir,
Your loss your sport: I hope, you know that we
Must not continue friends.

Good sir, we must,
If you keep covenant: Had I not brought
The knowledge of your mistress home, I grant
We were to question further: but I now
Profess myself the winner of her honour,
Together with your ring; and not the wronger
Of her, or you, having proceeded but
By both your wills.

That you have tasted her in bed, my hand,
And ring, is yours: If not, the foul opinion
You had of her pure honour, gains, or loses,
Your sword, or mine; or masterless leaves both
To who shall find them.

Sir, my circumstances, Being so near the truth, as I will make them, Must first induce you to believe: whose strength I will confirm with oath ; which, I doubt not, You'll give me leave to spare, when you shall find You need it not. Post.

Proceed. lach.

First, her bed-chamber, (Where, I confess, I slept not; but, profess, Had that was well worth watching,) It was hang’d With tapestry of silk and silver; the story Proud Cleopatra, when she met her Roman, And Cydnus swell’d above the banks, or for

you can make't

The press of boats, or pride: A piece of work
So bravely done, so rich, that it did strive
In workmanship, and value; which, I wonder'd,
Could be so rarely and exactly wrought,
Since the true life on't was-

This is true;
And this you might have heard of here, by me,
Or by some other.

More particulars
Must justify my knowledge.

So they must,
Or do your honour injury.

The chimney
Is south the chamber; and the chimney-piece,
Chaste Dian, bathing: never saw I figures
So likely to report themselves: the cutter
Was as another nature, dumb;3 outwent her,
Motion and breath left out.

This is a thing,
Which you might from relation likewise reap;
Being, as it is, much spoke of.

The roof o'the chamber
With golden cherubins is fretted: Her andirons
(I had forgot them,) were two winking Cupids
Of silver, each on one foot standing, nicely

And Cydnus swelld above the banks, or for

The press of boats, or pride:] Iachimo's language is such as a skilful villain would naturally use, a mixture of airy triumph and serious deposition. His gaiety shows his seriousness to be without anxiety, and his seriousness proves his gaiety to be without art.

2 So likely to report themselves :) So near to speech. The Italians call a portrait, when the likeness is remarkable, a speaking picture.

Was as another nature, dumb;] The meaning is this : The sculptor was as nature, but as nature dumb; he gave every thing that nature gives, but breath and motion. In breath is included speech.

Depending on their brands.“

This is her honour !
Let it be granted, you have seen all this,(and praise
Be given to your remembrance,) the description
Of what is in her chamber, nothing saves
The wager you have laid.

Then, if you can,

[Pulling out the Bracelet.
Be pale; I beg but leave to air this jewel: See! -
And now 'tis up again: It must be married
To that your diamond; I'll keep them.

Once more let me behold it: Is it that
Which I left with her ?

Sir, (I thank her,) that:
She stripp'd it from her arm; I see her yet;
Her pretty action did outsell her gift,
And yet enrich'd it too: She gave it me, and said,
She priz'd it once.

May be, she pluck'd it off, To send it me. lach.

She writes so to you? doth she? Post. O, no, no, no; 'tis true.' Here, take this too;

[Gives the Ring It is a basilisk unto mine eye,

nicely Depending on their brands.] Here seems to be a kind of tautology. Brands may be a part of the andirons, on which the wood for the fire was supported, as the upper part, in which was a kind of rack to carry a spit, is more properly termed the andiron. These irons, on which the wood lies across, generally called dogs, are here termed brands. * This is her honour !

Let it be granted, you have seen all this, &c.] The expression is ironical. Iachimo relates many particulars, to which Posthumus answers with impatience :

This is her honour !"That is, And the attainment of this knowledge is to pass for the corruption of her honour. Johnson. VOL. IX.


« PreviousContinue »