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Arv. 7 What should we speak of When we are as old as you? when we shall hear The rain and wind beat dark December, how, In this our pinching cave, shall we discourse The freezing hours away? We have seen nothing: We are beastly; subtle as the fox for prey; Like warlike as the wolf, for what we eat : Our valour is, to chace what flies; our cage We make a quire, as doth the prison'd bird, And fing our bondage freely.
Bel. 8 How you speak ! Did you but know the city's usuries, And felt them knowingly; the art o' the court, As hard to leave as keep; whose top to climb, Is certain falling, or so slipp’ry, that The fear's as bad as falling: the toil of the war, A pain, that only seems to seek out danger l' the name of fame and honour; which dies i' the
search, And hath as oft a Nanderous epitaph, As record of fair act; nay, many times Doth ill deserve by doing well: what's worse, Must curt'ly at the censure.-Oh, boys, this story The world may read in me: my body's mark'd With Roman swords; and my report was once First with the best of note : Cymbeline lov'd me; And when a soldier was the theme, my name Was not far off: then was I as a tree, Whose boughs did bend with fruit: but, in one night, A storm, or robbery, call it what you will,
'What should we speak of ] This dread of an old age, unfupplied with matter for discourse and meditation, is a fentiment natural and noble. No state can be more deftitute than that of him who, when the delights of sense forsake him, has no pleasures of the mind. JOHNSON,
How you speak!] Otway seems to have taken many hints for the conversation that passes between Acatto and his sons, from the scene before us. STEEVENS.
Shook down my mellow hangings, nay, my leaves, And left me bare to weather.
Guid. Uncertain favour!
Bel. My fault being nothing (as I have told you oft)
How hard it is to hide the sparks of nature !
thus meanly I' the cave, wherein they bow, their thoughts do hit The roof of palaces; and nature prompts them,
' P' the cave, &c.] Mr. Pope reads,
Here in the cave, wherein their thoughts do hit
The roof of palaces ;but the sentence breaks off imperfectly. The old editions read,
l' the cave, whereon the bow their thoughts do hit, &c. Mr. Rowe saw this likewise was faulty; and therefore amended it thus:
l' the cave, where, on the bow, their thoughts do hit, &c. I think it should be only with the alteration of one letter, and the addition of another;
l' the cave, there, on the brow, And so the grammar and syntax of the sentence is complete. We call the arching of a Savern, or wwerhanging of a bill,
In simple and low things, to prince it much
metaphorically, the brow; and in like manner the Greeks and Latins used ozpus, and supercilium. THEOBALD.
tho' train'd up thus meanly, ľthe cave, THERE ON THE BROW, -] The old editions read,
l' the cave whereon the brow; which, though very corrupt, will direct us to the true reading; which, when rightly pointed, is thus,
though train'd up thus meanly l' the cave wherein they bosum i. e. Thus meanly brought up. Yet in this very cave, which is so low that they must bow or bend in entering it, yet are their thoughts so exalted, &c. This is the antithesis. Belarius had spoken before of the lowness of this cave:
A goodly day! not to keep house with such
how to adore the heaven's ; and bows you To morning's holy office. WARBURTON. HANMER reads,
I'the cave, here in this brow. I think the reading is this:
l'the cave, wherein the bow, &c. That is, they are trained up in the cave, where their thoughts in hitting the bow, or arch of their habitation, hit the roofs of palaces. In other words, though their condition is low, their thoughts are high. The sentence is at last, as THEOBALD remarks, abrupt, but perhaps no less suitable to Shakespeare. I know not whether Dr. WARBURTON's conjecture be not better than mine. JOHNSON.
This Polydore,] The old copy of this play (except in this first instance, where it can be only a blunder of the printer) calls this eldest son of Cymbeline, Polidore, as often as the name occurs. I have therefore replaced it. STEEVENS.
Strains his young nerves, and puts himself in posture
Enter Pifanio and Imogen. Imo. Thou told'st me, when we came from horse,
Was near at hand. Ne'er long’d my mother so To see me first, as I have now. Pisanio! man ! 1 Where is Posthumus ? What is in thy mind,
I ftole these babes ;] Shakespeare seems to intend Belarius for a good character, yet he makes him forget the injury which he has done to the young princes, whom he has robbed of a kingdom only to rob their father of heirs. The latter part of this f liloquy is very inartificial, there being no particular reason why Belarius should now tell to himself what he could not know better by telling it. JOHNSON.
"Where is Pofthumus ?--] Shakespeare's apparent ignorance of quantity is not the least, among many, proofs of his want of learning. Throughout this, play 'he calls Pofthứmus, Pofthumus; and Arviragus, Arviragus. STEEVENS.
That makes thee ftare thus? wherefore breaks that figh
Pif. Please you, read;
Imogen reads. THY mistress, Pisanio, hath play'd the strumpet in
my bed; the testimonies whereof lie bleeding in me. I speak not out of weak surmises; but from proof as strong as my grief, and as certain as I expect my revenge. That part tbou, Pisanio, must act for me. If thy faith be not tainted with the breach of bers, let thine bands take eway her life: I fell give thee opportunity at MilfordHaven. She hath my letter for the purpose; where, if thou fear to strike, and to make me certain it is done, thou art the pander to her dishonour, and equally in me disloyal. Pif. What shall I need to draw my sword ? the
paper Hath cut her throat already.----No, 'tis slander
drug-damn'd) This is another allufion to Italian poisons. JOHNSON.