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To be suspected of more tenderness
Than doth become a man! I will remain
The loyal'st husband that did e'er plight troth.
Who to my father was a friend, to me
Be brief, I pray you:
If the king come, I shall incur I know not
To walk this way: I never do him wrong,
Should we be taking leave
As long a term as yet we have to live,
The loathness to depart would grow: Adieu!
Were you but riding forth to air yourself,
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,
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?"
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.
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 Cæsar:
"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,-
instead of his hours. Again, in the third Act of the play before
As I my poor self did exchange for
To your so infinite loss; so, in our trifles
CYM. Thou basest thing, avoid! hence, from my
If, after this command, thou fraught the court
The gods protect you!
"Thou wast their nurse; they took thee for their mother, "And every day do honour to her grave.”
As none of our author's productions were revised by himself as they passed from the theatre through the press; and as Julius Cæsar and Cymbeline are among the plays which originally appeared in the blundering first folio; it is hardly fair to charge irregularities on the poet, of which his publishers alone might have been guilty. I must therefore take leave to set down the present, and many similar offences against the established rules of language, under the article of Hemingisms and Condelisms; and, as such, in my opinion, they ought, without ceremony, to be corrected.
The instance brought from The Rape of Lucrece might only have been a compositorial inaccuracy, like those which have occasionally happened in the course of our present republication. STEEVENS.
8 —a MANACLE-] A manacle properly means what we now call a hand-cuff. STEEVENS.
9 There cannot be a pinch in death,
More sharp than this is.] So, in King Henry VIII.:
O disloyal thing,
That should'st repair my youth'; thou heapest
I beseech you, sir,
Harm not yourself with your vexation ;
I am senseless of your wrath; a touch more rare Subdues all pangs, all fears3.
it is a sufferance, panging
"As soul and body's parting." MALONE.
That should'st REPAIR my youth;] i. e. renovate my youth; make me young again. So, in Pericles, Prince of Tyre, 1609: as for him, he brought his disease hither: here he doth but repair it." Again, in All's Well That End's Well :
it much repairs me,
"To talk of your good father." MALONE.
Again, in Pericles:
"Thou giv'st me somewhat to repair myself." STEEVENS. thou heapest
A YEAR'S AGE on me!]
The obvious sense of this passage,
on which several experiments have been made, is in some degree countenanced by what follows in another scene:
"And every day that comes, comes to decay
Dr. Warburton would read "A yare (i. e. a speedy) age; Sir T. Hanmer would restore the metre by a supplemental epithet:
thou heapest many
"A year's age," &c.
and Dr. Johnson would give us :
Years, ages, on me!
I prefer the additional word introduced by Sir Thomas Hanmer, to all the other attempts at emendation. Many a year's age,' is an idea of some weight: but if Cymbeline meant to say that his daughter's conduct made him precisely one year older, his conceit is unworthy both of himself and Shakspeare.—I would read with Sir Thomas Hanmer. STEEVENS.
Subdues all pangs, all fears.] A touch more rare, may mean a nobler passion. JOHNSON.
is undoubtedly a more exquisite feeling; a superior sensation. So, in Antony and Cleopatra, Act I.
Sc. II. :
"The death of Fulvia, with more urgent touches,
"Do strongly speak to us."
Again, in The Tempest :
Past grace? obedience?
IMO. Past hope, and in despair; that way, past
CYM. That might'st have had the sole son of my
Imo. O bless'd, that I might not! I chose an eagle,
And did avoid a puttock *.
CYM. Thou took'st a beggar; would'st have made my throne
It is your fault that I have lov'd Posthumus:
"Hast thou, which art but air, a touch, a feeling
A touch is not unfrequently used, by other ancient writers, in this sense. So, in Daniel's Hymen's Triumph, a masque, 1623 :
You must not, Philis, be so sensible
"Of these small touches which your passion makes.
Small touches, Lydia! do you count them small ?"
"When pleasure leaves a touch at last
"To show that it was ill."
Again, in Daniel's Cleopatra, 1599:
"So deep we feel impressed in our blood
"That touch which nature with our breath did give." Lastly, as Dr. Farmer observes to me, in Fraunce's Ivychurch. He is speaking of Mars and Venus: "When sweet tickling joyes of tutching came to the highest poynt, when two were one,' &c. STEEVENS.
A passage in King Lear will fully illustrate Imogen's meaning: where the greater malady is fix'd,
"The lesser is scarce felt." MALONE.
4-a PUTTOCK.] A kite. JOHNSON.
A puttock is a mean degenerate species of hawk, too worthless to deserve training. STEEVENS.