« VorigeDoorgaan »
The princess of this country, and the air on't
The battle continues; the Britons fly; Cymbeline is
taken: then enter, to his rescue, BELARIUS, GUIDERIUS,
Stand, stand, and fight!
Enter Posthumus, and seconds the Britons: They
rescue CYMBELINE, and exeunt. Then enter Lucius, Iachimo, and IMOGEN.
Luc. Away, boy, from the troops, and save thyself; For friends kill friends, and the disorder's such As war were hoodwinked. Iach.
'Tis their fresh supplies. Luc. It is a day turned strangely; or betimes Let's reinforce, or fly.
SCENE III. Another Part of the Field.
Enter PostHUMUS and a British Lord.
Lord. Cam'st thou from where they made the stand ? Post.
I did; Though you, it seems, come from the fliers.
1 Carl, or churl, is a clown or countryman, and is used by our old writers in opposition to a gentleman.
I did. Post. No blame be to you, sir ; for all was lost, But that the Heavens fought. The king himself Of his wings destitute, the army broken, And but the backs of Britons seen, all flying Through a strait lane ; the enemy full-hearted, Lolling the tongue with slaughtering, having work More plentiful than tools to do't, struck down Some mortally, some slightly touched, some falling Merely through fear; that the strait pass was dammed With dead men, hurt behind, and cowards living To die with lengthened shame. Lord.
Where was this lane? Post. Close by the battle, ditched, and walled with
cried to those that fled,
1 The stopping of the Roman army by three persons is an allusion to the story of the Hays, as related by Holinshed in his History of Scotland, p. 155; upon which Milton once intended to have formed a drama. Shakspeare was evidently acquainted with it :-“Haie beholding the king, with the most part of the nobles fighting with great valiancie in the middleward, now destitute of the wings," &c.
2 A country game called prison-bars ; vulgarly, prison-base.
A distaff to a lance,) gilded pale looks,
This was strange chance. A narrow lane! an old man, and two boys !
Post. Nay, do not wonder at it. You are made
Lord. Nay, be not angry, sir.
'Lack, to what end?
, you are angry. [Exit. Post. Still going ?- This is a lord ! O noble misery! To be i'the field, and ask, what news, of me! To-day, how many would have given their honors To have saved their carcasses ? took heel to do't,
1 i. e. terrors, bugbears.
And yet died too? I, in mine own woe charmed,
ster, 'Tis strange, he hides him in fresh cups, soft beds, Sweet words; or hath more ministers than we That draw his knives i’the war.-Well, I will find
For being now a favorer to the Roman,
I came in. Fight I will no more,
Enter two British Captains and Soldiers. 1 Cap. Great Jupiter be praised! Lucius is taken. 'Tis thought the old man and his sons were angels.
2 Cap. There was a fourth man, in a silly habit,3 That gave the affront“ with them.
So 'tis reported; But none of them can be found.-Stand! who is
there? Post. A Roman; Who had not now been drooping here, if seconds Had answered him. 2 Cap. .
Lay hands on him; a dog ! A leg of Rome shall not return to tell What crows have pecked them here. He brags his
service As if he were of note; bring him to the king.
1 Alluding to the common superstition of charms being powerful enough to keep men unhurt in battle. 2 i. e. retaliation.
3 Silly is simple or rustic. 4 i. e. the encounter.
Enter CYMBELINE, attended : BELARIUS, GUIDERIUS,
ARVIRAGUS, PISANIO, and Roman Captives. The Captains present PosthumUS to CYMBELINE, who delivers him over to a Jailer : after which, all go out."
SCENE IV. A Prison.
Enter PostHUMUS and two Jailers. 1 Jail. You shall not now be stolen, you have locks
upon you; So graze, as you find pasture. 2 Jail.
Ay, or a stomach. [Exeunt Jailers. Post. Most welcome, bondage! for thou art a way, I think, to liberty. Yet am I better Than one that's sick o'the gout; since he had rather Groan so in perpetuity, than be cured By the sure physician, death ; who is the key To unbar these locks. My conscience! thou art
fettered More than my shanks and wrists. You good gods,
1 This stage direction for “ inexplicable dumb show” is probably an interpolation by the players. Shakspeare has expressed his contempt for such mummery in Hamlet.
2 The jailer alludes to the custom of putting a lock on a horse's leg when he is turned out to pasture.
3 This passage is very obscure, and is so rendered either by the omission of a line, or some other corruption of the text. The explanation which Steevens offers is not very satisfactory. Posthumus questions whether contrition be sufficient atonement for guilt. Then, to satisfy the offended gods, he desires them to take no more than his present all, that is, his life,