Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

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.

To re

DRAMATIS PERSONÆ.

CYMBELINE GUIDERIUS ARVIRAGUS CLOTEN BELARIUS POSTHUMUS LOCRINE MADAN CORNELIUS PISANIO IACHIMO CAIUS LUCIUS VARUS PHILARIO LEWIS

DRURY-LANE. COVENT-GARDEN.
Mr Raymond.

Mr Creswell.
Mr Bartley

Mr C. Kemble.
Mr De Camp

Mr Brunton.
Mr Palmer. Mr Farley.
Mr Wroughton. Mr Murray.
Mr Pope.

Mr Kemble.
Mr Fisher. MrW.Murray.
Mr Holland.

Mr Menage.
Mr Maddocks.

Mr Thompson.
Mr Packer. Mr Claremont.
Mr Barrymore. Mr Cooke.
Mr Cooke. Mr Chapman.
Mr Evans. Mr Jefferies.
Mr Waldron. Mr Davenport.
Mr Sparks.

Mr Treby.
Mrs Sparks.

Mrs St Ledger
Mrs Young:

Miss Smith. Miss Campbell. Miss Waddy.

QUEEN
IMOGEN
HELEN

CYMBELINE.

ACT THE FIRST,

SCENE I.

Britain.

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?
His daughter, and the heir of his kingdom, whom
He purposed to his wife's sole son (a widow,
That late he married,) hath referred herself
Unto a poor, but worthy gentleman : She's wedded ;
Her husband banish’d-she imprison'd: all
Is outward sorrow; though, I think, the king
Be touch'd at very heart.

Mad. None but the king ?
Pisanio. Not a courtier,

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

Although they wear their faces to the bent
Of the king's looks, hath a heart that is not
Glad at the thing they scowl at.

Mad. And why so?

Pisanio. He, that hath miss’d the princess, is a thing
Too bad for bad report; and he, that hath her
(I mean, that married her, alack, good man!
And therefore banish’d,) is a creature, such
As, to seek through the regions of the earth
For one his like, there would be something failing
In him, that should compare.

Mad. His name and birth?

Pisanio. His father
Was call'd Sicilius, who did join his honour
Against the Romans, with Cassibelan;
So gaind the sur-addition, Leonatus :
He had, besides this gentleman in question,
Two other sons, who, in the wars o' the time,
Died with their swords in hand; for which, their fa-

ther,
Then old and fond of issue, took such sorrow,
That he quit being; and his gentle lady,
Big of this gentleman, our theme, deceased
As he was born. The king, he takes the babe
To his protection; calls him Posthumus;
Breeds him, and makes him of his bed-chamber :
Puts to him all the learnings, that his time
Could make him the receiver of which he took,
As we do air, fast as 'twas minister'd; and
In his spring became a harvest : Lived in court,
Which rare it is to do, most praised, most loved;
A sample to the youngest ; to the more mature,
A glass that feated them; and to the graver,
A child that guided dotards.

Mad. I honour him
Even out of your report. But, 'pray you, tell me,
Is she sole child to the king?

Pisanio. His only child.

He had two sons (if this be worth your hearing,
Mark it;) the eldest of them, at three years old,
l' the swathing clothes, the other from their nursery,
Were stolen ; and, to this hour, no guess in knowledge
Which way they went.

Mad. How long is this ago?
Pisanio. Some twenty years.
Mad. That a king's children should be so con-

vey'd !
So slackly guarded! And the search so slow,
That could not trace them!

Pisanio. Howsoe'er 'tis strange,
Or that the negligence may well be laugh'd at,
Yet is it true, sirom
We must forbear: Here comes the gentleman,
The queen, and princess.

[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

your

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,

inform you.

« ZurückWeiter »