Imatges de pÓgina

"Or this, or perish"-Pisanio, in giving Cloten a letter which is to mislead him, means to say-I must either adopt this stratagem or perish by his fury. Johnson thinks that the words should be part of Cloten's speech, and addressed as a threat.

"To him that is MOST TRUE"--"Pisanio, notwithstanding his master's letter, commanding the murder of Imogen, considers him as true, supposing, as he has already said to her, that Posthumus was abused by some villain, equally an enemy to them both."--MALONE.


"TAKE, or LEND"--I agree with Johnson and Malone, that the sense is-If any one resides here that is accustomed to the modes of civil life, answer me; but if this be the habitation of wild and uncultivated man, or of one banished from society, that will enter into no converse, let him at least silently furnish me with enough to support me, accepting a price for it, or giving it to me without a price, in consideration of future recompense. Dr. Johnson's interpretation of the words take, or lend, is supported by what Imogen says afterwards:— Before I enter'd here, I call'd; and thought To have begg'd, or bought, what I have took. Civil is here used, not in its modern sense, but for civilized, and opposed to savage, or wild.

"Gold strew'd i' the floor"--O' the floor, or on the floor, as we should now say. In the time of Shakespeare in was frequently used as we now use on. Thus, in the Lord's Prayer, in the English Liturgy, we have "Thy will be done in earth," altered in this country, and in modern use, to "on earth." To alter it to "o' the door," with Hanmer, Malone, and others, is to sacrifice the characteristic language of the Poet and his contemporaries.

"That nothing gift of DIFFERING multitudes"--Some dispute has arisen respecting the word "differing," but no commentator has taken what appears to be the plain sense of the author: "differing multitudes" does not mean "deferring multitudes," with Theobald, Hanmer, and Warburton; nor many-headed, with Johnson; nor unsteady, with Monck Mason and Stevens; but merely, as it seems to us, differing in respect of rank from the persons upon whom the multitudes bestow the "nothing gift" of reputation. The Poet is contrasting the givers with the persons to whom the gift is made.--Collier.

We submit Mr. Collier's interpretation to the reader's judgment. But our own opinion is decidedly with M. Mason, Stevens, and others, who understand "differing multitude" here in the same sense as

The still discordant, wavering multitude

in HENRY IV.--the multitude differing from one another and from themselves, neither unanimous nor constant.

"Since Leonatus false"--i. e. Since Leonatus is false; an unusual, but not an unprecedented form of expression. M. Mason makes an ingenious conjecture, which deserves to be true. He would read, "Since Leonate is false." Leonate might be meant as a tender abbreviation of her husband's name, and such an error of the press might have easily occurred. But as the sense is good as it is, the present text has not been changed upon mere conjecture.


"Gainst the Pannonians and Dalmatians"—The revolt of the Pannonians and Dalmatians has been al

ready mentioned, in act iii. scene 1. Malone correctly observes, that this occurred, not in the reign of Cymbe line, but in that of his father, Tenantius, whose name was introduced in the beginning of this play. Tenantius was nephew to Cassibelan. These were niceties of history, to which Shakespeare did not think it necessary to attend: he adapted history to his drama, not his drama to history.--COLLIER.


"this IMPERSEVERANT thing"-"Imperseverant" must be taken in a more intense sense for perseverant, like impassioned. Hanmer reads ". "ill-perseverant.”

"before THY face"-Some would read, before her face, Imogen's face; but Cloten, in his brutal way, thinks it a satisfaction that, after he has cut off his rival's head, the face will still be present at the destruction of the garments.


"But his neat cookery"-Mrs. Lennox, a lady educated in New York, under the old colonial system, with very extravagant notions of noble and princely life, has the following very natural but very inaccurate comment upon these lines:

"This princess, forgetting that she had put on boy's clothes to be a spy upon the actions of her husband, commences cook to two young foresters and their father, who live in a cave; and we are told how nicely she sauced the broths. Certainly this princess had a most economical education."

Douce thus comments upon Mrs. Lennox's criticism :

"Now what is this but to expose her own ignorance of ancient manners? If she had missed the advantage of qualifying herself as a commentator on Shakespeare's plots by a perusal of our old romances, she ought at least to have remembered (what every wellinformed woman of the present age is acquainted with) the education of the princesses in Homer's Odyssey.' It is idle to attempt to judge of ancient simplicity by a mere knowledge of modern manners; and such fastidious critics had better close the book of SHAKESPEARE for ever."


"Mingle their SPURS together"-"Spurs are the again used the same word in THE TEMPEST:— longest and largest leading roots of trees. Our Poet has -the strong-bas'd promontory Have I made shake, and by the spurs Pluck'd up the pine and cedar.

Hence, probably, the spur of a post; the short wooden buttress affixed to it, to keep it firm in the ground."— MALONE.

"It is GREAT morning"-An old English phrase, now obsolete, answering to the French one still in useIl est grand matin-The morning is well advanced. "-for DEFECT of judgment

Is oft the CURE of fear." The original edition has

- for defect of judgment Is oft the cause of fear;

which is evidently wrong, and the question is, whether we shall read "th' effect," with Theobald, or, with Hanmer, cure for "cause," in the next line. Johnson preferred Theobald's slight change, giving "the play of effect and cause, more resembling the manner of Shakespeare." The other emendation gives an equally good sense, with greater probability as to the printer's error. Knight reads

for defect of judgment As oft the cause of fear.

"Though his HUMOUR"-In the folios, honour is evidently misprinted for "humour," meaning disposition. Honour and humour are several times misprinted for each other in the old folios and quartos.

- The bird is dead,

That we have made so much on."

The sweet pathos of this scene has been thus noted by Mrs. Radcliffe:-"No master ever knew how to touch the accordant springs of sympathy by small eircumstances, like our own Shakespeare. In CYMBE

LINE, for instance, how finely such circumstances are inade use of to awaken, at once, solemn expectation and tenderness, and, by recalling the softened remembrance of a sorrow long past, to prepare the mind to melt at one that was approaching; mingling at the same time, by means of a mysterious occurrence, a slight tremour of awe with our pity. Thus, when Belarius and Arviragus return to the cave where they had left the unhappy and worn-out Imogen to repose, while they are yet standing before it, and Arviragus-speaking of her with tenderest pity as poor sick Fidele'goes out to inquire for her, solemn music is heard from the cave, sounded by that harp of which Guiderius says, 'Since the death of my dearest mother, it did not speak before. All solemn things should answer solemn accidents.' Immediately, Arviragus enters with Fidele senseless in his arms:

The bird is dead that we have made so much on.
Gu. Why, he but sleeps.

Are. With fairest flowers,


While summer lasts, AND I LIVE HERE, FIDELE,
I'll sweeten thy sad grave.

Tears alone can speak the touching simplicity of the whole scene."

- thy sluggish CRARE"-The original reads care; but the image is incomplete unless we adopt the correction. Crare or craier is a small vessel; and the word is often used by Hollingshed, and by Drayton, and other writers of that age; as, in Sir T. North's "Plutarch"-"little fisher-boats and small crayers." "Jove knows what man thou might'st have made; but I, Thou diedst a most rare boy, of melancholy."

We print the passage as in the original, as meaningJove knows what man thou might'st have made, but I know thou diedst, etc. Malone thinks that the pronoun I was probably substituted by mistake for the interjection Ah, which is commonly printed ay in the old copies; ay being also as commonly printed I.

"My clouted brogues"-i. e. My nailed shoes. "Brogue" seems to be derived from the Irish brog, a shoe; and perhaps because "brogues" were chiefly worn by the Irish, we have, in modern times, applied to their speech what properly belongs to their feet.-COLLIER.

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"The White Devil, or Vittoria Corombona, a tragedy by John Webster," is one of the most remarkable productions of Shakespeare's contemporaries. The principal character is a bold and beautiful conception of daring female guilt, which may almost vie with Lady Macbeth, and may have been suggested by her, though in no respect a copy. But the play contains several passages in which the author is certainly indebted to his recollections of "Master Shakespeare," whose "right happy and copieous industry" he commends in his preface. One passage is directly from HAMLET. A lady, resembling Ophelia in her grief and distraction, thus addresses her friends

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Oh, thou soft natural death! thou art joint-twin
To sweetest slumber! no rough-bearded comet
Stares on thy mild departure: the dull owl
Beats not against thy casement: the hoarse wolf
Scents not thy carrion:-pity winds thy corse,

While horror waits on princes!

Cornelia's distraction over her dead son, again, owes something to the last scene of LEAR; while the funeral dirge for young Marcello, sung by her, is still more directly borrowed from this scene:

Call for the robin-red-breast and the wren,
Since o'er shady grove they hover,
And with leaves and flowers do cover
The friendiess bodies of unburied men.
Call unto his funeral dole,

The ant, the field-mouse, and the mole,
To raise him hillocks that shall keep him warm,
And (when gay tombs are robb'd) sustain no harm;
But keep the wolf far hence, that's foe to men,
For with his nails he'll dig them up again, etc.

The last generation of critics perceived the resemblance, but were perplexed by the fact that Webster's play was printed in 1612, eleven years before the first edition of CYMBELINE; So that it was not quite clear to them whether Shakespeare had not himself borrowed from the two last-quoted passages. But since their day,

we have learned from Dr. Forman that CYMBELINE was acted at least one year before Webster's "White Devil," so that Webster, who was originally an actor, was doubtless familiar with its poetry as represented, and had, perhaps, himself delivered the lament of Arviragus. Indeed, his imitations are not direct copies, like those of a plagiarist from the book, but are rather the vivid results of the impression made upon the younger poet, by the other's fancy and feeling thus reproducing themselves, mingled with the new conceptions of a congenial mind.

"the ruddock would"-Percy asks, "Is this an allusion to the babes of the wood? or was the notion of the red-breast covering dead bodies general before the writing of that ballad ?" It has been shown that the notion has been found in an earlier book of natural history; and there can be no doubt that it was an old popular belief. The red-breast has always been a favourite with the poets, and

Robin the mean, that best of all loves men,-

as Browne sings, was naturally employed in the last offices of love. Drayton says, directly imitating Shakespeare:

Covering with moss the dead's unclosed eye,
The red-breast teacheth charity.

In the beautiful stanza which Gray has omitted from his "Elegy" the idea is put with his usual exquisite refinement :

There scattered oft, the earliest of the year,

By hands unseen, are showers of violets found;
The red-breast loves to build and warble there,
And little footsteps lightly print the ground.

"To WINTER-GROUND thy corse"-"To winter-ground a plant is to protect it from the the winter's cold by straw or other covering, as is done to tender plants." This is Stevens's explanation; and, if he is right as to such a a word as winter-ground, there can be no doubt as to the text or its meaning. Yet I have not been able to find, either in English authority or in Scotch or American use (where old English, forgotten at home, is sometimes preserved) any such compound. I therefore suspect an early error of the press. Warburton proposed winter-gown, as suggested by the "furred moss.' My own emendation would be

-furred moss, when flowers are scarce, To winter-green thy corse.

"Winter-green" is good colloquial English (just as we say Christmas-greens) for all plants, shrubs, and vines, green in winter, as ever-greens, although it is now specially limited to a particular one.

The conversion of green into a verb has high poetical authority, from Chaucer down to Thomson, whose Spring, greens all the year."

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From the doubt whether winter-ground may not

have been a familiar word, in the sense asserted by Stevens, I have not ventured to insert my conjecture in the text; but if there be no authority for thus explaining the folio reading, I have no doubt that my own conjecture is the true reading.

"where SHALL 's lay him"--The use of the accusative instead of the nominative, as here, us for we, is a frequent usage of old English, to be found not only elsewhere in SHAKESPEARE, (as, in the WINTER'S TALE, "Shall us attend you?") but also in King James's English Bible, and even in the writings of educated and correct authors almost a century later. Instances of this use have been collected by Lowth, in his "Grammar," and by Pegge, in his amusing "Anecdotes of the English Language." The idiom, now obsolete among correct writers and speakers, is still retained, with much other idiomatic Saxon, among the vulgarisms of the cockney dialect.

"As once our mother"-i. e. As once we sang our mother: the folio, 1623, reads, "to our mother;" the preposition having been accidentally introduced from the preceding line.

"Fear no more the heat o' the sun,

Nor the furious winter's rages," etc. "This," says Warburton, "is the topic of consolation that nature dictates to all men on these occasions. The same farewell we have over the dead body in Lucian." In the same strain of regret and tender envy, it may be added, Macbeth speaks of the slaughtered Duncan: feeling, at the very instant when he should rejoice in the consummation of his wishes, the utter nothingness of perturbed earthly pleasures, when compared with the peaceful slumbers of the innocent dead.

Collins has given an imitation, rather than a version, of this beautiful dirge. It exhibits his usual exquisite taste and felicity of expression, although inferior to the original in condensation and characteristic simplicity:

To fair Fidele's grassy tomb

Soft maids and village hinds shall bring
Each opening sweet of earliest bloom,
And rifle all the breathing spring.

No wailing ghost shall dare appear

To vex with shrieks this quict grove;
But shepherd lads assemble here,

And melting virgins own their love.
No withered witch shall here be seen;
No goblins lead their nightly crew:
The female fays shall haunt the green,
And dress thy grave with pearly dew.
The red-breast oft, at evening hours,
Shall kindly lend his little aid,
With hoary moss and gathered flowers,
To deck the ground where thou art laid.
When howling winds and beating rain
In tempests shake the sylvan cell;
Or, midst the chase, on every plain,
The tender thought on thee shall dwell:-
Each lonely scene shall thee restore;
For thee the tear be truly shed;
Beloved till life can charm no more,

And mourned till pity's self be dead.

"No exorciser harm thee"-Monck Mason has shown that Shakespeare invariably uses "exorciser" to express one who can raise spirits; not in its later sense of one who can lay them, or cast out evil ones.

"but his JOVIAL face"-His face like Jove: "Jovial" was not unfrequently used in this manner. We meet with it again in this play, act v. scene 4, where Jupiter says:—

Our Jovial star reign'd at his birth. "Jovial hand" is an expression common in T. Heywood's plays.-COLLIER.

"that IRREGULOUS devil"-No other instance has been found of the use of the word "irregulous," which Johnson supposed to be a misprint for irreligious. But in another writer of this age we find "irregulated lust," and the meaning of "irregulous" in this place is obvious.


"For WRYING but a little"-The use of wry as a verb is not uncommon in old English. Thus, in Sydney's "Arcadia"-"That from the right line of virtue are wryed to these crooked shifts."

"Had liv'd to PUT ON this"-To "put on" is to incite or instigate. So in HAMLET— Of deaths put on by cunning.

"-each elder worse;

And make them DREAD IT, to the doer's THRIFT," etc. Shakespeare, Johnson well explains, calls the deeds of an elder man an elder deed; as it might be paraphrased in modern language—Our corruptions grow with our years.

Many commentators believe that there is a misprint somewhere near this "dread.” Theobald would read dreaded; Johnson deeded. Stevens interprets-To make them "dread it" is to make them persevere in the commission of dreadful action. Dread it" being here used in the same manner as Pope has "to sinner it" or "to saint it."

Knight proposes―

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ills" of the

And make them do each to the doer's thrift,referring each to the successive crimes or preceding line.

Singer conjectures that it should be

And make them dread it to the doer's shrift. Shrift is the old word for confession and repentance. Yet, the old reading may well be understood as expressing (harshly, it is true, from Shakespeare's usual effort to compress his weighty moralities into the shortest and most sententious form) the idea explained by M. Mason-Some, you snatch hence for small faults; this is done in love, that they may sin no more. Others you suffer to follow up one sin with another, each increasing in guilt with years, and then you make them dread it, i. e. make them fear the consequences; and this dread is for the sinners' welfare.

"Thrift" is here used for future and eternal advantage, in the same scriptural figure by which "to die" is called by the apostle his "gain." This understanding of the passage also applies equally well to the several emendations of Singer, and of Knight.

"It" in "dread it" is used absolutely, according to a common idiomatic use now employed only colloquially, as we find in LEAR, to "monster it," for being monstrous. So, "to walk it," "to fight it out," "to saint it," ," "to coy it," may all be found in old authors, though now rarely used except in the language of conversation.


Throughout this act the stage-directions are extremely full, and the action of the drama at the close of the third scene is entirely dumb-show. The drama, preceding Shakespeare's time, was full of such examples. But he rejected the practice, except in this instance. Knight expresses the opinion that this, combined with other circumstances, presents some evidence that CYMBELINE was a rifacciamento of an early play. Pope, Malone, Ritson, and Stevens, however, all insist upon this masque or vision being interpolated by the players. Coleridge and the later critics incline to the other opinion, that this is a remnant of Shakespeare's juvenile drama.


"-athwart the lane, He, with two striplings, (lads more like to run," etc. Shakespeare, who, like Scott, knew the superior effect of actual historical incident, interwoven in narrative, to give the character of truth and nature, has here adapted to his purpose a well-known incident of old Scotch history, which he found in his favourite Hollingshed's "History of Scotland:"

"There was, near to the place of the battle, a long lane, fenced on the sides with ditches and walls made of turf, through the which the Scots which fled were beaten down by the enemies on heaps. Here Hay, with his sons, supposing they might best stay the flight, placed themselves overthwart the lane, beat them back whom they met fleeing, and spared neither friend nor foe, but down they went all such as came within their reach; wherewith divers hardy personages cried unto their fellows to return back unto the battle."

"The country BASE"-i. e. The rustic game of prisonbase, or prison-bars, mentioned by many old writers by the name of base; but by Drayton in his " 'Polyolbion," song 30, called "prison-base."

"The mortal BUGS o' the field"-i. e. The mortal terrors of the field. In HAMLET, "bugs" and "goblins" are coupled.

"I, in mine own woe CHARM'D"-Warburton remarks that this alludes to the common superstition of charms having power to keep men unhurt in battle. Macbeth says "I bear a charmed life;" Posthumus, "I, in mine own woe charm'd,” etc.

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"--to satisfy,

If of my freedom 'tis the main part," etc. Malone and others think there is some line or word wanting. The meaning to me seems not to demand any change of the text. Posthumus sighs for freedom, but it is freedom from his fettered conscience. He pleads sorrow and repentance; and then adds-If satis faction to heaven for my crime is the main part or condition of my freedom, then, take in satisfaction my all, my life.

"And to become the GECK and scorn"--" Geck" is fool; and is used by Shakespeare in TWELFTH NIght. "—as to FOOT us"-i. e. To grasp us in his talons. Herbert says

And till they foot and touch their prey.

"as is our FANGLED world"-"Fangled" is now invariably found with new before it, and only in this instance, as far as discoveries of the kind have gone, without it: the meaning seems to be the same as newfangled, and it has been derived from fengan, Saxon, to undertake or attempt. The substantive fangle was in use by Shakespeare's contemporaries, meaning trifles, new toys, or follies; as, in Drayton

What fangle now thy thronged guests to win?

"or JUMP the after-ing uiry on your own peril”— i. e. risk the after-inquiry; like Macbeth's "We'd jump the life to come."


"Let those who talk so confidently about the skill of Shakespeare's contemporary, Jonson, point out the conclusion of any one of his plays which is wrought with more artifice and yet a less degree of dramatic violence

than this. In the scene before us all the surviving characters are assembled; and at the expense of whatever incongruity the former events may have been produced, perhaps little can be discovered on this occasion to offend the most scrupulous advocate for regularity: and, I think, as little is found wanting to satisfy the spectator by a catastrophe which is intricate without confusion, and not more rich in ornament than in nature."-STEVENS.

"whom she BORE IN HAND to love"-i. e. Whom she pretended to love, or led to believe that she loved. In MEASURE FOR MEASURE, we have the expressionBore many gentlemen, myself being one,

In hand, and hope of action.

Macbeth uses the same words in his scene with the Murderers.

"So FEAT"-So neat, ready, clever, in this instance: it also sometimes means fine or brave, according to Minshew.

"-straight-PIGHT Minerva"-"Pight" is pitched or fixed. "Straight-pight" therefore seems to mean, standing upright in a fixed posture, and with this sense the compound epithet has great appropriateness.COLLIER.

"Some upright JUSTICER"-Is a word found in ancient law-books, which have "justicers of the peace," "justicers of the king's courts," etc. It had become nearly obsolete in ordinary use in Shakespeare's time, who has preserved an excellent word for poetry and eloquence.

"Your pleasure was my MERE offence"-The meaning of "mere" in this place is, the mere offence I committed was what your pleasure considered a crime: the first folio having misprinted it neere, it became near in the later folios, and Johnson proposed to substitute dear. The reading of the text has the sanction of all the editors since the time of Tyrwhitt, who suggested the emendation.

"Bless'd PRAY you be"-i. e. I pray that you may be blessed. Rowe and most later editors needlessly change "pray" of the old copies into may.

"This FIERCE abridg ment"-Shakespeare as well as Ben Jonson sometimes uses "fierce" for vehement, rapid, excessive in any way. In LOVE'S LABOUR LOST we have "fierce endeavour;" and in TIMON OF ATHENS, "fierce wretchedness:" and Jonson, in his " Poetaster," has "fierce credulity."

"Will serve our long INTER'GATORIES"-Apparently so pronounced in the time of Shakespeare, and sometimes so printed; as in the MERCHANT OF VENICE, where the word occurs in verse twice.

"upon his eagle BACK'D"-So all the folios; but modern editors strangely prefer "upon his eagle back :” if they thought fit to make this change in the text, they ought to have printed "upon his eagle's back."COLLIER.

Schlegel pronounces CYMBELINE to be "one of Shakespeare's most wonderful compositions, in which the Poet has contrived to blend together, into one harmonious whole, the social manners of the latest times with heroic deeds, and even with appearances of the gods. In the character of Imogen not a feature of female excellence is forgotten :-her chaste tenderness, her softness, and her virgin pride; her boundless resignation, and her magnanimity towards her mistaken husband, by whom she is unjustly persecuted; her adventures in disguise, her apparent death, and her recovery,--form altogether a picture equally tender and affecting.

"The two princes, Guiderius and Arviragus, both educated in the wilds, form a noble contrast to Miranda and Perdita. In these two young men, to whom the chase has imparted vigour and hardihood, but who are

unacquainted with their high destination, and have always been kept far from human society, we are enchanted by a naive heroism, which leads them to anticipate and to dream of deeds of valour, till an occasion is offered which they are irresistibly impelled to embrace. When Imogen comes in disguise to their cave; when Guiderius and Arviragus form an impassioned friendship, with all the innocence of childhood, for the tender boy, (in whom they neither suspect a female nor their own sister;) when, on returning from the chase, they find her dead, sing her to the ground, and cover the grave with flowers;-these scenes might give a new life for poetry to the most deadened imagination.

"The wise and virtuous Belarius, who, after living long as a hermit, again becomes a hero, is a venerable figure;--the dexterous dissimulation and quick presence of mind of the Italian, Iachimo, is quite suitable to the bold treachery he plays;-Cymbeline, the father of Imogen, (and even her husband, Posthumus,) during the first half of the piece, are somewhat sacrificed, but this could not be otherwise;-the false and wicked Queen is merely an instrument of the plot; she and her stupid son Cloten, whose rude arrogance is pourtrayed with much humour, are got rid of, by merited punishment, before the conclusion."

Dr. Johnson has dismissed this play with brief and dogmatic censure on "the improbability of the plot, the folly of the fiction, the confusion of names and manners," etc., such as shows that he had but little comprehension of its character, spirit, and peculiar beauties. This great critic, (for with all his defects I cannot deny him that title,) was at once the ablest in some respects, and in others among the most incompetent of Shakespeare's commentators. Admirable in vigorous common-sense, in sagacity, in mastery of the language, alive to his author's moral feeling, his pathos, his wit, his humour, his true painting of social life, he was by nature and habits incapacitated to judge of the more delicate beauties of imaginative poetry-whether of description, of invention, or of wilder passion. His own poetry, and that of others which he chiefly relished, is noble and animating versified declamation, but not poetry in the sense of CYMBELINE or the TEMPEST.

Johnson has found more than one congenial critic upon CYMBELINE. Thomas Campbell, after answering all these objections, in two or three brief sentences, which contain a volume of philosophical criticism, pours out his own admiration in the true spirit of a poet :-

"In order to enjoy the romantic drama, we must accept of the terms on which the romantic poet offers us

enjoyment. The outline of his piece, in such a poem as CYMBELINE, will at once show that the scene is placed remotely as to time, in order to soften its improbabilities to the imagination by the effect of distance. We all know that in landscapes and landscape-painting the undefined appearance of objects resulting from distance has a charm different from that of their distinctness in the foreground; and the same principle holds true in the romantic drama, when the poet avowedly leaves the scenes open to the objection of improbability, owing to the very nature of romantic fiction.

"Of all plays in the world, I think these remarks are particularly applicable to Shakespeare's CYMBELINE. With my heart open to romantic belief, I conscientiously suppose all the boldly imagined events of the dramaI am rewarded with the delightful conceptions of Imogen, of her arrival at the cave of her banished brothers, with its innumerable beauties, and with its happy conclusion.

"This play is perhaps the fittest in Shakespeare's whole theatre to illustrate the principle, that great dramatic genius can occasionally venture on bold improbabilities, and yet not only shrive the offence, but leave us enchanted with the offender. The wager of Posthumus, in CYMBELINE, is a very unlikely one. But let us deal honestly with this objection, and admit the wager to be improbable; still we have enough in the play to make us forget it, and more than forgive it. Shakespeare foresaw that from this license he could deduce delightful scenes and situations, and he scrupled not to hazard it. The faulty incident may thus be compared to a little fountain, which, though impregnated with some unpalatable mineral, gives birth to a large stream; and that stream, as it proceeds, soon loses its taint of taste in the sweet and many waters that join its course.

"Be the wager what it may, it gives birth to charming incidents. It introduces us to a feast of the chastest luxury, in the sleeping-scene, when we gaze on the shut eyelids of Imogen; and that scene (how ineffably rich as well as modest!) is followed by others that swell our interest to enchantment. Imogen hallows to the imagination every thing that loves her, and that she loves in return; and when she forgives Posthumus, who may dare to refuse him pardon? Then, in her friendship with her unconscious brothers of the mountain-cave, what delicious touches of romance! I think I exaggerate not, in saying that Shakespeare has nowhere breathed more pleasurable feelings over the mind, as an antidote to tragic pain, than in CYMBELINE."T. CAMPBELL,

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