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And conquer'd it, Cassibelan, thine uncle",
A world by itself; and we will nothing pay,
For wearing our own noses.
QUEEN. That opportunity, Which then they had to take from us, to resume We have again.-Remember, sir, my liege, The kings your ancestors; together with The natural bravery of your isle; which stands As Neptune's park, ribbed and paled in
With rocks unscaleable, and roaring waters ; With sands, that will not bear your enemies' boats, But suck them up to the top-mast. A kind of
Cæsar made here; but made not here his brag Of, came, and saw, and overcame with shame (The first that ever touch'd him,) he was carried From off our coast, twice beaten; and his shipping,
7 thine uncle,] Cassibelan was great uncle to Cymbeline, who was son to Tenantius, the nephew of Cassibelan. See p. 9, n. 7.
8 With ROCKS unscaleable,] This reading is Sir T. Hanmer's. The old editions have:
"The strength of our land consists of our seamen in their wooden forts and castles; our rocks, shelves, and sirtes, that lye along our coasts; and our trayned bands." From chapter 109 of Bariffe's Military Discipline, 1639, seemingly from Tooke's Legend of Britomart. TOLLEt.
(Poor ignorant baubles!) on our terrible seas, Like egg-shells mov'd upon their surges, crack'd As easily 'gainst our rocks: For joy whereof, The fam'd Cassibelan, who was once at point (0, giglot fortune 1!) to master Cæsar's sword 2, Made Lud's town with rejoicing fires bright, And Britons strut with courage.
CLO. Come there's no more tribute to be paid : Our kingdom is stronger than it was at that time: and, as I said, there is no more such Cæsars: other of them may have crooked noses; but, to owe such straight arms, none.
CYм. Son, let your mother end.
CLO. We have yet many among us can gripe as hard as Cassibelan: I do not say, I am one; but I have a hand. Why tribute? why should we pay tribute? If Cæsar can hide the sun from us with a blanket, or put the moon in his pocket, we will pay him tribute for light; else, sir, no more tribute, pray you now.
CYM. You must know,
9 (Poor IGNORANT baubles!)] Unacquainted with the nature of our boisterous seas. JOHNSON.
I (O, GIGLOT fortune!)] O false and inconstant fortune! A giglot was a strumpet. So, in Measure for Measure, vol. ix. p. 197:
Away with those giglots too."
So, also, in Hamlet:
"Out, out, thou strumpet fortune!" MALONE. 2 The fam'd Cassibelan, who was once at point
to master Cæsar's sword,] Shakspeare has here transferred to Cassibelan an adventure which happened to his brother Nennius. "The same historie (says Holinshed) also maketh mention of Nennius, brother to Cassibellane, who in fight happened to get Cæsar's sword fastened in his shield by a blow which Cæsar stroke at him.-But Nennius died within 15 dayes after the battel, of the hurt received at Cæsar's hand, although after he was hurt he slew Labienus one of the Roman tribunes." Book iii. ch. xiii. Nennius, we are told by Geffrey of Monmouth, was buried with great funeral pomp, and Cæsar's sword placed in his tomb. MALONE.
Till the injurious Romans did extort
This tribute from us, we were free: Cæsar's am
(Which swell'd so much, that it did almost stretch
Shall, by the power we hold, be our good deed, Though Rome be therefore angry;) Mulmutius made our laws 5,
Who was the first of Britain, which did put
3 This tribute FROM US,] The unnecessary words-from us, only derange the metre, and are certainly an interpolation.
+ - against all cCOLOUR,] Without any pretence of right.
So, in King Henry IV. Part I. :
"For, of no right, nor colour like to right—."
5 Mulmutius,] Here the old copy (in contempt of metre, and regardless of the preceding words
"Ordain'd our laws;")
most absurdly adds :
made our laws.”
I have not scrupled to drop these words; nor can suppose our readers will discover that the omission of them has created the smallest chasm in our author's sense or measure. The length of the parenthetical words (which were not then considered as such, or enclosed, as at present, in a parenthesis,) was the source of this interpolation. Read the passage without them, and the whole is clear: Mulmutius, which ordained our laws; "Mulmutius, who was the first of Britain," &c. STEEVENS.
I am sorry, Cymbeline,
That I am to pronounce Augustus Cæsar
(Cæsar, that hath more kings his servants, than Thyself domestick officers,) thine enemy:
Receive it from me, then :-War, and confusion, In Cæsar's name pronounce I 'gainst thee: look For fury not to be resisted :-Thus defied,
I thank thee for myself.
Thou art welcome, Caius. Thy Cæsar knighted me; my youth I spent Much under him'; of him I gather'd honour;
Mulmutius made our laws,
Who was the first of Britain, which did put
His brows within a golden crown, and call'd
Himself a king.] The title of the first chapter of Holinshed's third book of the history of England is-" Of Mulmucius, the first king of Britaine who was crowned with a golden crown, his lawes, his foundations, &c.
Mulmucius, the sonne of Cloten, got the upper hand of the other dukes or rulers; and after his father's decease began his reigne over the whole monarchie of Britaine in the yeare of the world-3529.-He made manie good lawes, which were long after used, called Mulmucius lawes, turned out of the British speech into Latin by Gildas Priscus, and long time after translated out of Latin into English, by Alfred king of England, and mingled in his statutes. After he had established his land,-he ordeined him, by the advice of his lords, a crowne of golde, and caused himself with great solemnity to be crowned ;-and because he was the first that bare a crowne here in Britaine, after the opinion of some writers, he is named the first king of Britaine, and all the other before-rehearsed are named rulers, dukes, or governours.
"Among other of his ordinances, he appointed weights and measures, with the which men should buy and sell. And further he caused sore and streight orders for the punishment of theft." Holinshed, ubi supra. MALONE.
7 Thou art welcome, Caius.
Thy Cæsar knighted me; my youth I spent
Much under him ;] Some few hints for this part of the play are taken from Holinshed:
Kymbeline, says he, (as some write,) was brought up at Rome, and there was made knight by Augustus Cæsar, under
Which he, to seek of me again, perforce, Behoves me keep at utterance; I am perfect 9, That the Pannonians and Dalmatians, for
Their liberties, are now in arms': a precedent Which, not to read, would show the Britons cold: So Cæsar shall not find them.
Let proof speak. CLO. His majesty bids you welcome. Make
whom he served in the wars, and was in such favour with him, that he was at liberty to pay his tribute or not."
-Yet we find in the Roman writers, that after Julius Cæsar's death, when Augustus had taken upon him the rule of the empire, the Britons refused to pay that tribute."
But whether the controversy, which appeared to fall forth betwixt the Britons and Augustus, was occasioned by Kymbeline, I have not a vouch."
"Kymbeline reigned thirty-five years, leaving behind him two sons, Guiderius and Arviragus." STEEVENS.
keep AT UTTERANCE;] Means to keep at the extremity of defiance. Combat à outrance is a desperate fight, that must conclude with the life of one of the combatants. So, in The History of Helyas Knight of the Swanne, bl. 1. no date : Here is my gage to sustaine it to the utteraunce, and befight it to the death." STEEVENS.
So, in Macbeth :
"Rather than so, come, fate, into the list,
"And champion me to the utterance."
Again, in Troilus and Cressida :
"So be it, either to the uttermost,
See vol. xi. p. 143, n. 8. MALONE.
I am perfect,] I am well informed. So, in Macbeth :
in your state of honour I am perfect." JOHNSON.
See vol. xi. p. 214, n. 7. STEEVENS.
the Pannonians and Dalmatians, for
Their liberties, are Now in arms :] The insurrection of the Pannonians and Dalmatians for the purpose of throwing off the Roman yoke, happened not in the reign of Cymbeline, but in that of his father, Tenantius. MALONE.