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Being so near the truth, as I will make them, Must first induce you to believe: whose strength I will confirm with oath; which, I doubt not, You'll give me leave to spare, when you shall find You need it not.




First, her bed-chamber,

(Where, I confess, I slept not; but, profess,
Had that was well worth watching ',) It was hang'd
With tapestry of silk and silver; the story
Proud Cleopatra, when she met her Roman,
And Cydnus swell'd above the banks, or for
The press of boats, or pride: A piece of work
So bravely done, so rich, that it did strive

In workmanship, and value; which, I wonder'd,
Could be so rarely and exactly wrought,
Since the true life on't was-



This is true;

5 Had that was well worth watching,] i. e. that which was well worth watching, or lying awake for. See p. 73, n. 3.

6 And Cydnus swell'd above the banks, or for


The press of boats, or pride:] Iachimo's language is such as a skilful villain would naturally use, a mixture of airy triumph and serious deposition. His gaiety shows his seriousness to be without anxiety, and his seriousness proves his gaiety to be without art. JOHNSON.

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Could be so rarely and exactly wrought,

SINCE the true life on't was] This passage is nonsense as it stands, and therefore the editors have supposed to be an imperBut I believe we should amend it by reading"Such the true life on't was."

fect sentence.

instead of since.


We frequently say the life of a picture, or of a and without alteration the sentence is not complete. M. MASON.

8 This is true;] The present deficiency in the metre, shows that some word has been accidentally omitted in this or in the preceding hemistich. Sir Thomas Hanmer reads:


Why this is true." STEEVENS.

And this you might have heard of here, by me,

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Is south the chamber; and the chimney-piece,
Chaste Dian, bathing: never saw I figures
So likely to report themselves: the cutter
Was as another nature, dumb'; outwent her,
Motion and breath left out.

This is a thing,

Which you might from relation likewise reap;
Being, as it is, much spoke of.

LACH. With golden cherubins is fretted 2: Her andirons (I had forgot them,) were two winking Cupids

The roof o' the chamber

9 So likely to report themselves :] So near to speech. The Italians call a portrait, when the likeness is remarkable, a speaking picture. JOHNSON.

I Was as another nature, DUMB ;] The meaning is this: The sculptor was as nature, but as nature dumb; he gave every thing that nature gives, but breath and motion. In breath is included speech. JOHNSON.

2 With GOLDEN CHERUBINS is FRETTED:] The same tawdry image occurs again in King Henry VIII. :


their dwarfish pages were

"As cherubins, all gilt."

The sole recommendation of this Gothick idea, which is tritically repeated by modern artists, seems to be, that it occupies but little room on canvas or marble; for chubby unmeaning faces, with ducks' wings tucked under them, are all the circumstances that enter into the composition of such infantine and absurd representatives of the choirs of heaven. STEEVENS.


fretted:" So again, in Hamlet: "this majestical roof, fretted with golden fire." So, Spenser's Fairy Queen, b. ii. ch. ix. :

"In a long purple pall, whose skirt with gold

"Was fretted all about, she was array'd.' MALONE.

Of silver, each on one foot standing, nicely
Depending on their brands 3.



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Let it be granted, you have seen all this, (and


Be given to your remembrance,) the description
Of what is in her chamber, nothing saves
The wager you have laid.




Then, if you can, [Pulling out the Bracelet.

Depending on their BRANDS.]

I am not sure that I understand this passage. Perhaps Shakspeare meant that the figures of the Cupids were nicely poized on their inverted torches, one of the legs of each being taken off the ground, which might render such a support necessary. STEEVENS.

I have equal difficulty with Mr. Steevens in explaining this passage. Here seems to be a kind of tautology. I take brands to be a part of the andirons, on which the wood for the fire was supported, as the upper part, in which was a kind of rack to carry a spit, is more properly termed the andiron. These irons, on which the wood lies across, generally called dogs, are here termed brands. WHALLEY.

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It should seem from a passage in The Black Book, a pamphlet published in 1604, that andirons in our author's time were sometimes formed in the shape of human figures: " ever and anon turning about to the chimney, where he sawe a paire of corpulent gigantick andirons, that stood like two burgomasters at both corners." Instead of these corpulent burgomasters, Imogen had Cupids.

The author of the pamphlet might, however, only have meant that the andirons he describes were uncommonly large.


4 This is her honour!] The expression is ironical. Iachimo relates many particulars, to which Posthumus answers with impatience :

"This is her honour!

That is, And the attainment of this knowledge is to pass for the corruption of her honour. JOHNSON.

5 Let it be granted, &c.] Surely, for the sake of metre, we should read, with some former editor [Mr. Capell] :

"Be it granted." STEEVENS.

Be pale; I beg but leave to air this jewel: See !And now 'tis up again: It must be married

To that your diamond; I'll keep them.


Once more let me behold it: Is it that

Which I left with her?


Jove !

Sir, (I thank her,) that: She stripp'd it from her arm; I see her yet;

Her pretty action did outsell her gift,

And yet enrich'd it too: She gave it me, and said,

She priz'd it once.


To send it me.


May be, she pluck'd it off,

She writes so to you? doth she? POST. O, no, no, no; 'tis true. Here, take this [Gives the Ring.


It is a basilisk unto mine eye,

Kills me to look on't:-Let there be no honour, Where there is beauty; truth, where semblance;


Where there's another man: The vows of women Of no more bondage be, to where they are made,

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BE PALE;] If you can forbear to flush your cheek with rage.

I rather think it means-if you can controul your temper, if you can restrain yourself within bounds. To pale is commonly used for to confine or surround. Thus, in Antony and Cleopatra : "Whate'er the ocean pales, or sky enclips." The adjective is, I think, employed in the sense which I have ascribed to it, in Macbeth :

"Cancel and tear in pieces that great bond
"Which keeps me pale." BoSWELL.

7 And yet enrich'd it Too:] The adverb-too, which hurts the metre, might safely be omitted, the expression being sufficiently forcible without it.



The vows of women-] The love vowed by women no more abides with him to whom it is vowed, than women adhere to their virtue. JOHNSON.

Than they are to their virtues; which is nothing:-
O, above measure false !

Have patience, sir,
And take your ring again; 'tis not yet won:

It may be probable, she lost it; or,

Who knows if one of her women, being cor


Hath stolen it from her1.


Very true;

And so, I hope, he came by't :-Back my ring ;-
Render to me some corporal sign about her,
More evident than this; for this was stolen.

IACH. By Jupiter, I had it from her arm.

POST. Hark you, he swears; by Jupiter he swears. 'Tis true ;-nay, keep the ring-'tis true: I am sure, She would not lose it: her attendants are All sworn, and honourable 2 :-They induc'd to steal it!

And by a stranger!-No, he hath enjoy'd her:


-if one of her women,] Of was supplied by the editor of the second folio. MALONE.

I HATH stolen it from her.] Sir Thomas Hanmer (for some words are here deficient) has perfected the metre by reading: I Might not have stolen it from her." STEEVENS.


2 her attendants are

All SWORN, and honourable :] It was anciently the custom for the attendants on our nobility and other great personages (as it is now for the servants of the king) to take an oath of fidelity, on their entrance into office. In the household book of the 5th Earl of Northumberland (compiled A. D. 1512) it is expressly ordered [p. 49] that "what person soever he be that commyth to my Lordes service, that incontynent after he be intred in the chequyrroull [check-roll] that he be sworn in the countynge-hous by a gentillman-usher or yeman-usher in the presence of the hede officers; and on theire absence before the clerke of the kechynge either by such an oath as is in the Book of Othes, yff any such [oath] be, or ells by such an oth as thei shall seyme beste by their discretion."

Even now every servant of the king's, at his first appointment is sworn in, before a gentleman usher, at the lord chamberlain's office. PERCY.

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