Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

I know you are more clement than vile men,
Who of their broken debtors take a third,
A sixth, a tenth, letting them thrive again
On their abatement; that's not my desire.
For Imogen’s dear life, take mine; and though
'Tis not so dear, yet ’tis a life; you coined it.
'Tween man and man, they weigh not every stamp;
Though light, take pieces for the figure's sake.
You rather mine, being yours; and so, great powers,
If

you will take this audit, take this life, And cancel these cold bonds. O Imogen! I'll speak to thee in silence.

[He sleeps.

Solemn music. Enter, as an apparition, Sicilius

LEONATUS, father to Posthumus, an old man, attired like a warrior ; leading in his hand an ancient matron, his wife, and mother to POSTHUMUS, with music before them. Then, after other music, follow the two young Leonati, brothers to PosthumUS, with wounds, as they died in the wars.

They circle
Posthumus round, as he lies sleeping.
Sici. No more, thou thunder-master, show

Thy spite on mortal flies;
With Mars fall out, with Juno chide,
That thy adulteries

Rates and revenges.
Hath my poor boy done aught but well,

Whose face I never saw ?
I died, whilst in the womb he staid

Attending Nature's law.

if it is the main part, the chief point, or principal condition of his freedom, i. e. of his freedom from future punishment." 1 So in Macbeth :

Cancel and tear to pieces that great bond

That keeps me pale.” 2. This scene is supposed not to be Shakspeare's, but foisted in by the players for mere show. The great Poet, who has conducted his fifth act with such matchless skill, could never have designed the vision to be twice described by Posthumus, had this nonsense been previously delivered on the stage. It appears that the players indulged themselves, sometimes, in unwarrantable liberties of the same kind.

Whose father then, (as men report,

Thou orphans' father art,)
Thou shouldst have been, and shielded him

From this earth-vexing smart.
Moth. Lucina lent not me her aid,

But took me in my throes;
That from me was Posthumus ripped,
Came crying ’mongst his foes,

A thing of pity!
Sici. Great nature, like his ancestry,

Moulded the stuff so fair,
That he deserved the praise o’the world,

As great Sicilius' heir.
1 Bro. When once he was mature for man,

In Britain where was he
That could stand up his parallel ;

Or fruitful object be
In
eye of Imogen, that best

Could deem his dignity ?
Moth. With marriage wherefore was he mocked,

To be exiled and thrown
From Leonati' seat, and cast
From her his dearest one,

Sweet Imogen?
Sici. Why did you suffer Iachimo,

Slight thing of Italy,
To taint his nobler heart and brain

With needless jealousy ;
And to become the geck and scorn

O'the other's villany?
2 Bro. For this, from stiller seats we came,

Our parents, and us twain,
That, striking in our country's cause,

Fell bravely, and were slain ;
Our fealty, and Tenantius' right,

With honor to maintain.
1 Bro. Like hardiment Posthumus hath

To Cymbeline performed.

1 The fool. 40

VOL. VI.

Then, Jupiter, thou king of gods,

Why hast thou thus adjourned
The graces for his merits due ;

Being all to dolors turned ?
Sici. Thy crystal window ope; look out;

No longer exercise,
Upon a valiant race, thy harsh

And potent injuries.
Moth. Since, Jupiter, our son is good,

Take off his miseries.
Sici. Peep through thy marble mansion, help;

Or we, poor ghosts, will cry
To the shining synod of the rest,

Against thy deity. 2 Bro. Help, Jupiter; or we appeal,

And from thy justice fly.

JUPITER descends in thunder and lightning, sitting upon

an eagle: he throws a thunderbolt. The ghosts fall

on their knees. Jup. No more, you petty spirits of region low,

Offend our hearing; hush! How dare you, ghosts, Accuse the thunderer, whose bolt, you know,

Sky-planted, batters all rebelling coasts? Poor shadows of Elysium, hence; and rest

Upon your never-withering banks of flowers. Be not with mortal accidents oppressed;

No care of yours it is, you know, 'tis ours. Whom best I love, I cross; to make my gift,

The more delayed, delighted. Be content; Your low-laid son our godhead will uplift;

His comforts thrive, his trials well are spent. Our Jovial star reigned at his birth, and in

Our temple was he married.-Rise, and fade! He shall be lord of lady Imogen,

And happier much by his affliction made.

1 Delighted for delightful, or causing delight.

This tablet lay upon his breast; wherein

Our pleasure his full fortune doth confine; And so, away: no further with

your

din Express impatience, lest you stir up mine.Mount, eagle, to my palace crystalline. [Ascends.

Sici. He came in thunder; his celestial breath
Was sulphurous to smell; the holy eagle
Stooped, as to foot us :1 his ascension is
More sweet than our blessed fields; his royal bird
Prunes the immortal wing, and cloys ? his beak,
As when his god is pleased.
All.

Thanks, Jupiter!
Sici. The marble pavement closes; he is entered
His radiant roof.—Away! and, to be blessed,
Let us with care perform his great behest.

[Ghosts vanish. Post. [Waking.) Sleep, thou hast been a grandsire, A father to me, and thou hast created A mother and two brothers. But (O scorn!) Gone! they went hence so soon as they were born. And so I am awake.-Poor wretches that depend On greatness' favor, dream as I have done ; Wake, and find nothing.--But, alas, I swerve. Many dream not to find, neither deserve, And yet are steeped in favors; so am I, That have this golden chance, and know not why. What fairies haunt this ground ? A book ? O rare

and begot

one!

Be not, as is our fangled' world, a garment
Nobler than that it covers ; let thy effects
So follow, to be most unlike our courtiers,
As a good promise.

1 i. e. to grasp us in his pounces.

“ And till they foot and clutch their prey."Herbert. 2 In ancient language, the cleys or clees of a bird or beast are the same with claws in modern speech. To claw their beaks, is an accustomed action with hawks and eagles.

3 i. e. trifling. Hence, new-fangled, still in use for new toys or trifles. 1 Paid here means subdued or overcome by the liquor.

[Reads.] When as a lion's whelp shall, to himself un

known, without seeking find, and be embraced by a piece of tender air; and when from a stately cedar shall be lopped branches, which, being dead many years, shall after revive, be jointed to the old stock, and freshly grow; then shall Posthumus end his miseries, Britain be fortunate, and flourish in peace and

plenty
'Tis still a dream ; or else such stuff as madmen
Tongue, and brain not; either both, or nothing;
Or senseless speaking, or a speaking such
As sense cannot untie. Be what it is,
The action of my life is like it, which
I'll keep, if but for sympathy.

Re-enter Jailers.
Jail. Come, sir, are you ready for death?
Post. Over-roasted rather; ready long ago.

Jail. Hanging is the word, sir; if you be ready for that, you are well cooked.

Post. So, if I prove a good repast to the spectators, the dish pays the shot.

Jail. A heavy reckoning for you, sir. But the comfort is, you shall be called to no more payments, fear no more tavern bills; which are often the sadness of parting, as the procuring of mirth. You come in faint for the want of meat, depart reeling with too much drink; sorry that you have paid too much, and sorry that you are paidi too much; purse and brain both empty ; the brain the heavier for being too light, the purse too light, being drawn of heaviness. 0 of this contradiction you shall now be quit.-0 the charity of a penny cord! it sums up thousands in a trice; you have no true debitor and creditor but it; of what's past, is, and to come, the discharge.—Your neck, sir, is pen, book, and counters; so the acquittance follows.

Post. I am merrier to die, than thou art to live.

« VorigeDoorgaan »