« ZurückWeiter »
tator. Or, if he be moved by any concern about them, it is with hatred, at the inhuman boasting of Guiderius, that he has— cut off one Cloten's head, son to the queen, and sent it down the river, to tell his mother,” &c. Whoever Cloten was, or whatever ill he might threaten, yet, for the author to make this youthful forester lay his foolish enemy dead at his feet, and then be facetious over the horrid act, was sinking him beneath the common bravo, who is ever pourtrayed grim and gloomy, as the good sign that he is still a man, and has a conscience capable of remorse.
Johnson concludes his commentaries on the tragedy of “ Cymbeline" (in which he bestows little praise, except on the soliloquy of Posthumus, when he supposes Imogen has been put to death) with this general criticism.
“ This play has many just sentiments, some natural dialogues, and some pleasing scenes ; but they are obtained at the expence of much incongruity. mark the folly of the fiction, the absurdity of the conduct, the confusion of the names, and manners of different times, and the impossibility of the events, in any system of life, were to waste criticism upon unresisting imbecillity, upon faults too evident for detection, and too gross for aggravation."
How would a modern author writhe under a critique that should accuse his drama, of only one half of these failings !-Yet “Cymbeline" survives this just attack-and will live admired, and esteemed, to the end of time.
CYMBELINE GUIDERIUS ARVIRAGUS CLOTEN BELARIUS POSTHUMUS LOCRINE MADAN CORNELIUS PISANIO IACHIMO CAIUS LUCIUS VARUS PHILARIO LEWIS
Mr C. Kemble.
Mrs St Ledger
Miss Smith. Miss Campbell. Miss Waddy.
ACT THE FIRST,
The Garden of CYMBELINE's Palace.
Enter PISANIO and MADAN. Pisanio. You do not meet a man, but frowns: our
bloods No more obey the heavens, than our courtiers; Still seem, as does the king's.
Mad. But what's the matter?
Pisanio. Are you so fresh a stranger, to ask that?
Mad. None but the king ?
Although they wear their faces to the bent
Mad. And why so?
Pisanio. He, that hath miss’d the princess, is a thing
Mad. His name and birth?
Pisanio. His father
Mad. I honour him
Pisanio. His only child.
He had two sons (if this be worth your hearing,
Mad. How long is this ago?
Pisanio. Howsoe'er 'tis strange,
[Exit MADAN. Enter the Queen, IMOGEN, and POSTHUMUS. Queen. No, be assu
sured, you shall not find me, daughter, After the slander of most step-mothers, Evil-eyed unto you: you are my prisoner, but Your gaoler shall deliver you the keys, That lock up your restraint. For you, Posthumus, So soon as I can win the offended king, I will be known
advocate: marry, yet The fire of rage is in him: and 'twere good You lean'd unto his sentence, with what patience Your wisdom may
Post. 'Please your highness, I will from hence to-day.
Queen. You know the peril:I'll fetch a turn about the garden, pitying The pangs of barr'd affections ; though the king Hath charged you should not speak together. (Exit.
Imog. O, Dissembling courtesy ! How fine this tyrant Can tickle where she wounds ! My dearest husband,