Слике страница

With such a kind of love, as might become
A lady like me; with a love, even such,

So, and no other, as yourself commanded:

Which not to have done, I think, had been in me
Both disobedience and ingratitude,

To you, and toward your friend; whose love had spoke, Even since it could speak, from an infant, freely,

That it was yours. Now, for conspiracy,

I know not how it tastes; though it be dish'd

For me to try how: all I know of it,

Is, that Camillo was an honest man;

And, why he left your court, the gods themselves,
Wotting no more than I, are ignorant.

Leon. You knew of his departure, as you know
What you have underta'en to do in his absence.
Her. Sir,

You speak a language that I understand not:
My life stands in the level of your dreams,9
Which I'll lay down.


Your actions are my dreams;

You had a bastard by Polixenes,

And I but dream'd it:-As you were past all shame, (Those of your fact are so) so past all truth:1

only know, and I hope will presently reveale. That I lov'd Egist hus, I cannot denie; that I honour'd him, I shame not to confess. But as touching lascivious lust, I say Egisthús is honest, and hope myself to be found without spot. For Franion, [Camillo] I can neither accuse him nor excuse him. I was not privie to his departure. And that this is true which I have here rehearsed, I refer myselfe to the divine oracle." Malone.

9 My life stands in the level of your dreams,] To be in the level is, by a metaphor from archery, to be within the reach. Johnson. This metaphor, (as both Mr. Douce and Mr. Ritson have already observed) is from gunnery. See p. 210, n. 5.

So, in King Henry VIII:

[ocr errors]


I stood i' th' level

"Of a full charg'd confederacy." `Steevens.

As you were past all shame,

(Those of your fact are so) so past all truth:] I do not remember that fact is used any where absolutely for guilt, which must be its sense in this place. Perhaps we should read:

Those of your pack are so.

Pack is a low coarse word well suited to the rest of this royal invective. Johnson.

Which to deny, concerns more than avails:*
For as

Thy brat hath been cast out, like to itself,
No father owning it, (which is, indeed,
More criminal in thee, than it) so thou

Shalt feel our justice; in whose easiest passage,
Look for no less than death.


Sir, spare your threats; The bug, which you would fright me with, I seek. To me can life be no commodity:

The crown and comfort of my life,3 your favour,
I do give lost; for I do feel it gone,

But know not how it went: My second joy,
And first-fruits of my body, from his presence,
I am barr'd, like one infectious: My third comfort,
Starr'd most unluckily, is from my breast
The innocent milk in its most innocent mouth,
Haled out to murder: Myself on every post
Proclaim'd a strumpet; With immodest hatred,
The child-bed privilege denied, which 'longs

I should guess sect to be the right word. See King Henry IV, P. II, Act II, sc. iv.

In Middleton's Mad World, my Masters, a Courtezan says: "It is the easiest art and cunning for our sect to counterfeit sick, that are always full of fits when we are well." Farmer.

Thus, Falstaff, speaking of Dol Tearsheet: "So is all her sect: if they be once in a calm, they are sick." Those of your fact, may, however, mean-those who have done as you do. Steevens.

That fact is the true reading, is proved decisively from the words of the novel, which our author had in his mind, both here, and in a former passage: ["I ne'er heard yet, That any of these bolder vices," &c.] "And as for her [said Pandosto] part to deny such a monstrous crime, and to be impudent in forswearing the fact since she had passed all shame in committing the fault." Malone.

was her

2 Which to deny, concerns more than avails:] It is your business to deny this charge, but the mere denial will be useless; will prove nothing. Malone.

3 The crown and comfort of my life,] The supreme blessing of my life. So, in Cymbeline:

"O that husband!

"My supreme crown of grief." Malone.

▲ Starr'd most unluckily,] i. e. born under an inauspicious planet. So, in Romeo and Juliet:

"And shake the yoke of inauspicious stars

"From this world-wearied flesh." Steevens.

To women of all fashion:-Lastly, hurried
Here to this place, i' the open air, before
I have got strength of limit. Now, my liege,
Tell me what blessings I have here alive,
That I should fear to die? Therefore, proceed.
But yet hear this; mistake me not;- -No! life,
I prize it not a straw:-but for mine honour,
(Which I would free) if I shall be condemn'd
Upon surmises; all proofs sleeping else,
But what your jealousies awake; I tell you,
'Tis rigour, and not law."-Your honours all,
I do refer me to the oracle;

Apollo be my judge.

1 Lord.

This your request Is altogether just: therefore, bring forth, And in Apollo's name, his oracle.

[Exeunt certain Officers.

Her. The emperor of Russia was my father:
O, that he were alive, and here beholding
His daughter's trial! that he did but see
The flatness of my misery; yet with eyes
Of pity, not revenge!

5 I have got strength of limit.] I know not well how strength of limit can mean strength to pass the limits of the child-bed chamber; which yet it must mean in this place, unless we read in a more easy phrase, strength of limb. And now, &c. Johnson.

Mr. M. Mason judiciously conceives strength of limit to mean, the limited degree of strength which it is customary for women to acquire, before they are suffered to go abroad after child-bearing.


I tell you


'Tis rigour, and not law.] This also is from the novel: "Bellaria, no whit dismaid with this rough reply, told her husband Pandosto, that he spake upon choller, and not conscience; for her virtuous life had been such as no spot of suspicion could ever stayne. And if she had borne a friendly countenance to Egisthus, it was in respect he was his friend, and not for any lusting affection: therefore if she were condemned without any farther proofe, it was rigour and not law." Malone.

7 The flatness of my misery;] That is, how low, how flat I am laid by my calamity. Johnson.

So, Milton, Paradise Lost, B. II:

66 Thus repuls'd, our final hope
"Is flat despair." Malone.

[blocks in formation]

Re-enter Officers, with CLEOMENES and DION.

Offi. You here shall swear upon this sword of justice, That you, Cleomenes and Dion, have

Been both at Delphos; and from thence have brought
This seal'd-up oracle, by the hand deliver’d

Of great Apollo's priest; and that, since then,
You have not dar'd to break the holy seal,

Nor read the secrets in 't.

Cleo. Dion.

All this we swear.

Leon. Break up the seals, and read.


Offi. [reads] Hermione is chaste, Polixenes blameless, Camillo a true subject, Leontes a jealous tyrant, his innocent babe truly begotten; and the king shall live without an heir, if that, which is lost, be not found.

Lords. Now, blessed be the great Apollo!

Leon. Hast thou read truth?


As it is here set down.


Ay, my lord; even so

Leon. There is no truth at all i' the oracle:

The sessions shall proceed; this is mere falsehood.

Enter a Servant, hastily.

Serv. My lord the king, the king!


What is the business?

Serv. O sir, I shall be hated to report it:
The prince your son, with mere conceit and fear
Of the queen's speed, is gone.



How! gone?

Is dead.

Leon. Apollo's angry; and the heavens themselves Do strike at my injustice. [HER. faints] How now there? Paul. This news is mortal to the queen:-Look down, And see what death is doing.

8 Hermione is chaste, &c.] This is almost literally from Lodge's [Greene's] novel:

"The Oracle.

"Suspicion is no proofe; jealousie is an unequal judge; Bellaria is chaste; Egisthus blameless; Franion a true subject; Pandosto treacherous; his babe innocent; and the king shall dye without an heire, if that which is lost be not found." Malone.

9 of the queen's speed,] Of the event of the queen's trial: so we still say, he sped well or ill. Johnson.


Take her hence:
Her heart is but o'ercharg'd; she will recover.-
I have too much believ'd mine own suspicion :-
'Beseech you, tenderly apply to her
Some remedies for life.-Apollo, pardon

[Exeunt PAUL. and Ladies, with HER, My great profaneness 'gainst thine oracle!— I'll reconcile me to Polixenes;

New woo my queen; recall the good Camillo;
Whom I proclaim a man of truth, of mercy:
For, being transported by my jealousies
To bloody thoughts and to revenge, I chose
Camillo for the minister, to poison

My friend Polixenes: which had been done,
But that the good mind of Camillo tardied
My swift command, though I with death, and with
Reward, did threaten and encourage him,
Not doing it, and being done: he, most humane,
And fill'd with honour, to my kingly guest
Unclasp'd my practice; quit his fortunes here,
Which you knew great; and to the certain hazard
Of all incertainties himself commended,2
No richer than his honour:-How he glisters

1 But that the good mind of Camillo tardied

My swift command,] Here likewise our author has closely followed Greene: "-promising not only to shew himself a loyal and a loving husband; but also to reconcile himselfe to Egisthus and Franion; revealing then before them all the cause of their secret flight, and how treacherously he thought to have practised his death, if that the good mind of his cup-bearer had not prevented his purpose." Malone.

[blocks in formation]

Of all incertainties himself commended,] In the original copy some word probably of two syllables, was inadvertently omitted in the first of these lines. I believe the word omitted was either doubtful, or fearful. The editor of the second folio endeavoured to cure the defect by reading-the certain hazard; the most improper word that could have been chosen. How little attention the alterations made in that copy are entitled to, has been shown in my Preface. Commended is committed. See p. 219. Malone.

I am of a contrary opinion, and therefore retain the emendation of the second folio.

Certain hazard, &c. is quite in our author's manner. The Comedy of Errors, Act II, sc.ii:

"Until I know this sure uncertainty." Steevens.

So, in

« ПретходнаНастави »