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And burst of speaking, were as his : I am abso
'Twas very Cloten.
In this place we left them: I wish my brother make good time with him, You say he is so fell.
Being scarce made up,
6 the snatches in his voice, And burst of speaking.]
This is one of our author's strokes of observation. An abrupt and tumultuous utterance very frequently accompanies a confused and cloudy understanding.
for THE EFFECT of judgment
Is oft the CAUSE of fear:] [Old copy-defect of judgement-] If I understand this passage, it is mock reasoning as it stands, and the text must have been slightly corrupted. Belarius is giving a description of what Cloten formerly was; and in answer to what Arviragus says of his being so fell. "Ay, (says Belarius) he was so fell; and being scarce then at man's estate, he had no apprehension of roaring terrors, i. e. of any thing that could check him with fears." But then, how does the inference come in, built upon this? For defect of judgment is oft the cause of fear." I think the poet meant to have said the mere contrary. Cloten was defective in judgment, and therefore did not fear. Apprehensions of fear grow from a judgment in weighing dangers. And a very easy change, from the traces of the letters, gives us this sense, and reconciles the reasoning of the whole passage:
for the effect of judgment
"Is oft the cause of fear."
Sir T. Hanmer reads with equal justness of sentiment:
for defect of judgment
"Is oft the cure of fear.”
But, I think, the play of effect and cause more resembling the manner of our author. JOHNSON.
If fear, as in other passages of Shakspeare, be understood in an active signification for what may cause fear, it means that Cloten's defect of judgment caused him to commit actions to the terror of others, without due consideration of his own danger therein. Thus, in King Henry IV. Part II.:
Re-enter GUIDERIUS, with CLOTEN'S Head. GUI. This Cloten was a fool; an empty purse, There was no money in't: not Hercules
Could have knock'd out his brains, for he had none 8:
Yet I not doing this, the fool had borne
My head, as I do his.
What hast thou done?
GUI. I am perfect, what: cut off one Cloten's
"Thou see'st with peril I have answered." TOLLET.
The objection to this interpretation is, that in this clause of the sentence it was evidently the poet's intention to assign a reason for Cloten's being himself free from apprehension, not to account for his terrifying others.
It is undoubtedly true, that defect of judgment, or not rightly estimating the degree of danger, and the means of resistance, is often the cause of fear: the being possessed of judgment also may occasion fear, as he who maturely weighs all circumstances will know precisely his danger; while the inconsiderate is rash and fool-hardy but neither of these assertions, however true, can account for Cloten's having no apprehension of roaring terrors; and therefore the passage must be corrupt. Mr. Theobald amends the text by reading:
for the effect of judgment
"Is oft the cause of fear.'
but, though Shakspeare has in King Richard III. used effect and cause as synonymous, I do not think it probable he would say the effect was the cause; nor do I think the effect and the defect likely to have been confounded: besides, the passage thus amended is liable to the objection already stated. I have therefore adopted Sir Thomas Hanmer's emendation. MALONE.
Could have knock'd out his brains, for he had none:] This thought had occurred before in Troilus and Cressida :
if he knock out either of your brains, a' were as good crack a fusty nut with no kernel." STEEVENS.
9 I am PERFECT, what :] I am well informed, what.
So, in this
"I am perfect, the Pannonians are in arms." JOHNSON.
Son to the queen, after his own report;
Who call'd me traitor, mountaineer; and swore,
Displace our heads, where (thank the gods 2!) they
And set them on Lud's town.
We are all undone.
GUI. Why, worthy father, what have we to lose, But, that he swore to take, our lives? The law Protects not us3: Then why should we be tender, To let an arrogant piece of flesh threat us; Play judge, and executioner, all himself; For we do fear the law? What company Discover you abroad?
take us in,] To take in, was the phrase in use for to apprehend an out-law, or to make him amenable to publick justice. JOHNSON. To take in means, simply, to conquer, to subdue. So, in Antony and Cleopatra:
cut the Ionian seas,
"And take in Toryne." STEEVENS.
That Mr. Steevens's explanation of this phrase is the true one, appears from the present allusion to Cloten's speech, and also from the speech itself in the former part of this scene. He had not threatened to render these outlaws amenable to justice, but to kill them with his own hand:
"Die the death:
"When I have slain thee with my proper hand," &c. "He'd fetch us in," is used a little lower by Belarius, in the sense assigned by Dr. Johnson to the phrase before us.
(thank the gods !)] The old copies have" (thanks the gods.)" Mr. Rowe, and other editors after him," thanks to the gods." But by the present omission of the letter s, and the restoration of the parenthesis, I suppose this passage, as it now stands in the text, to be as our author gave it. STEEvens.
Protects not us:] We meet with the same sentiment in Romeo and Juliet:
"The world is not thy friend, nor the world's law." STEEVENS.
4 FOR we do fear the law ?] For is here used in the sense of because. So, in Marlowe's Jew of Malta, 1633:
No single soul
Can we set eye on, but, in all safe reason,
Though his hu
Was nothing but mutation 5; ay, and that
"See the simplicity of these base slaves!
Who, for the villains have no faith themselves, "Think me to be a senseless lump of clay."
Again, in Othello :
And, for I know thou art full of love," &c. MAlone. 5 Though his HUMOUR
Was nothing but mutation; &c.] [Old copy-his honour.] What has his honour to do here, in his being changeable in this sort? in his acting as a madman, or not? I have ventured to substitute humour, against the authority of the printed copies : and the meaning seems plainly this: Though he was always fickle to the last degree, and governed by humour, not sound sense; yet not madness itself could make him so hardy to attempt an enterprize of this nature alone, and unseconded." THEOBALD. The text is right, and means, that the only notion he had of honour, was the fashion, which was perpetually changing.
This would be a strange description of honour; and appears to me in its present form to be absolute nonsense. The sense indeed absolutely requires that we should adopt Theobald's amendment, and read humour instead of honour.
Belarius is speaking of the disposition of Cloten, not of his principles and this account of him agrees with what Imogen says in the latter end of the scene, where she calls him "that irregulous devil Cloten." M. MASON.
I am now convinced that the poet wrote-his humour, as Mr. Theobald suggested. The context strongly supports the emendation; but what decisively entitles it to a place in the text is, that the editor of the folio has, in like manner printed honour instead of humour in The Merry Wives of Windsor, Act I. Sc. III. : "Falstaff will learn the honour of the age."
The quarto reads rightly-" the humour of the age."
Again, in the quarto edition of Romeo and Juliet, 1597, we
66 Pursued my honor not pursuing his.”
And again, immediately afterwards :
"Black and portentous must this honor prove."
From one bad thing to worse; not frenzy, not
Cave here, hunt here, are outlaws, and in time May make some stronger head: the which he
(As it is like him,) might break out, and swear He'd fetch us in; yet is't not probable
To come alone, either he so undertaking,
Or they so suffering: then on good ground we fear, If we do fear this body hath a tail
More perilous than the head.
Come as the gods foresay it: howsoe'er,
I had no mind
Did make my way long forth".
GUI. With his own sword, Which he did wave against my throat, I have ta'en His head from him: I'll throw't into the creek
Behind our rock; and let it to the sea,
And tell the fishes, he's the queen's son, Cloten : That's all I reck.
I fear, 'twill be reveng'd: 'Would, Polydore, thou had'st not done't! though
Becomes thee well enough.
'Would I had done't,
So the revenge alone pursued me !-Polydore,
I love thee brotherly; but envy much,
Did make my way long forth.] Fidele's sickness made my walk forth from the cave tedious. JOHNSON.
So, in King Richard III. :