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This youth, howe'er distress'd 2, appears, he hath had Good ancestors.
How angel-like he sings!
GUI. But his neat cookery! He cut our roots in characters *;
And sauc'd our broths, as Juno had been sick,
A smiling with a sigh as if the sigh
Was that it was, for not being such a smile ;
And so shall be ever.] The adverb-so, was supplied by Sir Thomas Hanmer for the sake of metre. STEEVENS.
2 Imo. Well or ill
I am bound to you.
Bel. And so shalt be ever.
This youth, howe'er distressed, &c.] These speeches are improperly distributed between Imogen and Belarius; and I flatter myself that every reader of attention will approve of my amending the passage, and dividing them in the following manner: "Imo. Well, or ill,
"I am bound to you; and shall be ever,
"Bel. This youth, howe'er distress'd," &c. M. MASON. "And shall be ever." That is, you shall ever receive from me the same kindness that you do at present: you shall thus only be bound to me for ever. MALONE.
3 Gui. But his neat cookery! &c.] Only the first four words of this speech are given in the old copy to Guiderius: The name of Arviragus is prefixed to the remainder, as well as to the next speech. The correction was made by Mr. Steevens. MALone. Mr. Steevens adopted the correction; it was made by Mr. Capell. Boswell.
- He CUT our roots IN CHARACTERS ;] So, in Fletcher's Elder Brother, Act IV:
"And how to cut his meat in characters."
From so divine a temple, to commix
I do note,
That grief and patience, rooted in him both 5,
Grow, patience! And let the stinking elder, grief, untwine
His perishing root, with the increasing vine'! BEL. It is great morning. Come; away.-Who's there?
rooted in HIM both,] Old copy-in them. Corrected by Mr. Pope, MALONE.
6 Mingle their SPURS together.] fibres of a tree. POPE.
Spurs, an old word for the
Spurs are the longest and largest leading roots of trees. Our poet has again used the same word in The Tempest:
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.
7 And let the stinking ELDER, GRIEF, UNTWINE
His perishing root, with the increasing VINE!] Shakspeare had only seen English vines which grow against walls, and therefore may be sometimes entangled with the elder. Perhaps wẹ should read-untwine-from the vine. JOHNSON.
Surely this is the meaning of the words without any change. May patience increase, and may the stinking elder, grief, no longer twine his decaying [or destructive, if perishing is used actively,] root with the vine, patience thus increasing!-As to untwine is here used for to cease to twine, so, in King Henry VIII. Act III. Sc. II. the word uncontemned having been used, the poet has constructed the remainder of the sentence as if he had written not contemned. See vol. vi. p. 374, n. 7. MALONE.
Sir John Hawkins proposes to read-entwine. He says the stinking elder [Grief] entwine his root with the vine [Patience] and in the end Patience must outgrow Grief." STEEVENS. There is no need of alteration. The elder is a plant whose roots are much shorter lived than the vine's, and as those of the vine swell and outgrow them, they must of necessity loosen their hold. HENLEY.
8 It is great morning.] A Gallicism. Grand jour. See the same phrase vol. viii. p. 369. STEEVENS.
CLO. I cannot find those runagates; that villain Hath mock'd me :-I am faint.
Means he not us? I partly know him; 'tis
Cloten, the son o' the queen. I fear some ambush.
I know 'tis he :-We are held as outlaws:-Hence.
[Exeunt BELARIUS and ARVIRAgus.
That fly me thus? some villain mountaineers?
Thou art a robber,
More slavish did I ne'er, than answering
A law-breaker, a villain: Yield thee, thief.
GUI. To who? to thee? What art thou? Have not I
An arm as big as thine? a heart as big?
Thy words, I grant, are bigger; for I wear not My dagger in my mouth'. Say, what thou art; Why I should yield to thee?
A SLAVE without a knock.] Than answering that abusive word slave. Slave should be printed in Italicks. M. MASON. Mr. M. Mason's interpretation is supported by a passage in
Romeo and Juliet:
"Now, Tybalt, take the villain back again."
for I wear not
My dagger in my mouth,] So, in Solyman and Perseda,
I fight not with my tongue: this is my oratrix."
Thou villain base,
Know'st me not by my clothes ?
GUI. Who is thy grandfather; he made those clothes, Which, as it seems, make thee 3.
No, nor thy tailor, rascal,
What's thy name?
Hear but my name, and tremble.
CLO. Cloten, thou villain.
GUI. Cloten, thou double villain, be thy name, I cannot tremble at it: were it toad, or adder,
"Twould move me sooner.
Nay, to thy mere confusion, thou shalt know
I'm son to the queen.
So worthy as thy birth.
To thy further fear,
I'm sorry for't; not seeming
Art not afeard?
GUI. Those that I reverence, those I fear, the
At fools I laugh, not fear them.
So Macduff says to Macbeth :
I have no words,
My voice is in my sword." Boswell.
2 No,] This negation is at once superfluous and injurious to
3 No, nor thy TAILOR, rascal,
Who is thy GRANDFATHER; he made those clothes,
Which as it seems, make thee.]
passage in a former scene, p. 117, n. 9.
See a note on a similar
Die the death 4
When I have slain thee with my proper hand,
And on the gates of Lud's town set your heads :
Enter BELARIUS and ARviragus.
BEL. No company's abroad.
ARV. None in the world: You did mistake him,
BEL. I cannot tell: Long is it since I saw him, But time hath nothing blurr'd those lines of favour Which then he wore; the snatches in his voice,
4 Die the death:] See vol. ix. p. 92, n. 1; and vol. v. p. 179, n. 3. STEEVENS.
5 Yield, rustick mountaineer.] I believe, upon examination, the character of Cloten will not prove a very consistent one. Act I. Sc. IV. the Lords who are conversing with him on the subject of his rencontre with Posthumus, represent the latter as having neither put forth his strength or courage, but still advancing forwards to the prince, who retired before him; yet at this his last appearance, we see him fighting gallantly, and falling by the hand of Guiderius. The same persons afterwards speak of him as of a mere ass or ideot; and yet, Act III. Sc. I. he returns one of the noblest and most reasonable answers to the Roman envoy and the rest of his conversation on the same occasion, though it may lack form a little, by no means resembles the language of folly. He behaves with proper dignity and civility at parting with Lucius, and yet is ridiculous and brutal in his treatment of Imogen. Belarius describes him as not having sense enough to know what fear is (which he defines as being sometimes the effect of judgment); and yet he forms very artful schemes for gaining the affection of his mistress, by means of her attendants; to get her person into his power afterwards; and seems to be no less acquainted with the character of his father, and the ascendancy the Queen maintained over his uxorious weakness. We find Cloten, in short, represented at once as brave and dastardly, civil and brutish, sagacious and foolish, without that subtilty of distinction, and those shades of gradation between sense and folly, virtue and vice, which constitute the excellence of such mixed characters as Polonius in Hamlet, and the Nurse in Romeo and Juliet. STEEVENS.