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Britain. The Garden behind Cymbeline's Palace.
Enter Two Gentlemen.

1 Gent. You do not meet a man, but frowns: our bloods

No more obey the heavens, than our courtiers;
Still seem, as does the king's.1

1 You do not meet a man, but frowns: our bloods

No more obey the heavens than our courtiers;

Still seem, as does the king s.] The thought is this: we are not now (as we were wont) influenced by the weather, but by the king's looks. We no more obey the heavens [the sky] than our courtiers obey the heavens [God] B which it appears that the reading-our bloods, is wrong. For though the blood may be affected with the weather, yet that affection is discovered not by change of colour, but by change of countenance. And it is the outward not the inward change that is here talked of, as appears from the word We should read therefore:


our brows

No more obey the heavens, &c.

which is evident from the precedent words:

You do not meet a man but frowns.

And from the following:

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"Although they wear their faces to the bent

"Of the king's look, but hath a heart that is
"Glad at the thing they scowl at."

The Oxford editor improves upon this emendation, and reads:

our looks

No more obey the heart, ev'n than our courtiers.

But by venturing too far, at a second emendation, he has stript it of all thought and sentiment. Warburton.

This passage is so difficult, that commentators may differ concerning it without animosity or shame. Of the two emendations proposed, Sir Thomas Hanmer's is the most licentious; but he makes the sense clear, and leaves the reader an easy passage. Dr. Warburton has corrected with more caution, but less improvement his reasoning upon his own reading is so obscure and perplexed, that I suspect some injury of the press. I am now to tell my opinion, which is, that the lines stand as they were originally written, and that a paraphrase, such as the licentious and


2 Gent.

But what 's the matter?

1 Gent. His daughter, and the heir of his kingdom,


abrupt expressions of our author too frequently require, will make emendation unnecessary. We do not meet a man but frowns; our bloods -our countenances, which, in popular speech, are said to be regulated by the temper of the blood,-no more obey the laws of heaven,-which direct us to appear what we really are,-than our courtiers-that is than the bloods of our courtiers; but our bloods, like theirs, still seem as doth the king's. Johnson.

In The Yorkshire Tragedy, 1608, which has been attributed to Shakspeare, blood appears to be used for inclination:

"For 'tis our blood to love what we are forbidden." Again, in King Lear, Act IV, sc. ii:


Were it my fitness

"To let these hands obey my blood."


In King Henry VIII, Act III, sc. iv, is the same thought: subject to your countenance, glad, or sorry, Steevens.

"As I saw it inclin'd."

I would propose to make this passage clear by a very slight alteration, only leaving out the last letter:

You do not meet a man but frowns: our bloods

No more obey the heavens, than our courtiers
Still seem, as does the king.

That is, Still look as the king does; or, as he expresses it a little differently afterwards:


-wear their faces to the bent

"Of the king's look." Tyrwhitt.

The only error that I can find in this passage is, the mark of the genitive case annexed to the word courtiers, which appears to be a modern innovation, and ought to be corrected. The meaning of it is this:-"Our dispositions no more obey the heavens than our courtiers do; they still seem as the king's does." The obscurity arises from the omission of the pronoun they, by a common poetical licence. M. Mason.

Blood is so frequently used by Shakspeare for natural disposition, that there can be no doubt concerning the meaning here. So, in All's Well that Ends Well:

"Now his important blood will nought deny
"That she 'll demand."

See also Timon of Athens, Act IV, sc. ii, Vol. XV.

I have followed the regulation of the old copy, in separating the word courtiers from what follows, by placing a semicolon after it. "Still seem," for "they still seem," or "our bloods still seem," is common in Shakspeare. The mark of the genitive case, which has been affixed in the late editions to the word courtiers, does not appear to me necessary, as the poet might intend to say"than our courtiers obey the heavens:" though, it must be owned, the modern regulation derives some support from what follows:

He purpos'd to his wife's sole son, (a widow,
That late he married,) hath referr'd herself
Unto a poor but worthy gentleman: She's wedded;
Her husband banish'd; she imprison'd: all

Is outward sorrow ;2 though, I think, the king
Be touch'd at very heart.

2 Gent.

None but the king?

1 Gent. He, that hath lost her, too: so is the queen, That most desir'd the match: But not a courtier, Although they wear their faces to the bent

Of the king's looks, hath a heart that is not
Glad at the thing they scowl at.

2 Gent.

And why so?

1 Gent. He that hath miss'd the princess, is a thing Too bad for bad report: and he that hath her, (I mean, that married her,―alack, good man!And therefore banish'd,) is a creature such As, to seek through the regions of the earth For one his like, there would be something failing In him that should compare. I do not think, So fair an outward, and such stuff within,

Endows a man but he.

2 Gent.

You speak him far.3

1 Gent. I do extend him, sir, within himself;4

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but not a courtier,

Although they wear their faces to the bent "Of the king's looks,

We have again, in Antony and Cleopatra, a sentiment similar to that before us:



for he would shine on those

"That made their looks by his." Malone.

She's wedded;

Her husband banish'd; she imprison'd: all

Is outward sorrow; &c ] I would reform the metre as follows:
She's wed; her husband banish'd, she imprison'd:

All's outward sorrow; &c.

Wed is used for wedded, in The Comedy of Errors:

"In Syracusa was I born, and wed,


3 You speak him far.] i. e. you praise him extensively. Steevens. You are lavish in your encomiums on him: your eulogium has a wide compass. Malone.

I do extend him, sir, within himself;] I extend him within himself; my praise, however extensive, is within his merit.


Crush him together, rather than unfold

His measure duly.

2 Gent.

What's his name, and birth?

1 Gent. I cannot delve him to the root: His father Was call'd Sicilius, who did join his honour, Against the Romans, with Cassibelan;6 But had his titles by Tenantius, whom

My eulogium, however extended it may seem, is short of his real excellence: it is rather abbreviated than expanded.-We have again the same expression in a subsequent scene: "The approbation of those that weep this lamentable divorce, are wonderfully to extend him." Again, in The Winter's Tale: "The report of her is extended more than can be thought." Malone.

5 Crush him —] So, in King Henry IV, P. II:


"Crowd us and crush us in this monstrous form." Steevens.

who did join his honour

Against the Romans, with Cassibelan;] I do not understand what can be meant by "joining his honour against &c. with &c." Perhaps our author wrote:

did join his banner

Against the Romans &c.

In King John, says the bastard, let us

Part our mingled colours once again."

and in the last speech of the play before us, Cymbeline proposes that " a Roman and a British ensign should wave together."




- Tenantius,] was the father of Cymbeline, and nephew of Cassibelan, being the younger son of his elder brother Lud, king of the southern part of Britain; on whose death Cassibelan was admitted king. Cassibelan repulsed the Romans on their first attack, but being vanquished by Julius Cæsar on his second invasion of Britain, he agreed to pay an annual tribute to Rome. Af. ter his death, Tenantius, Lud's younger son, (his elder brother Androgeus having fled to Rome) was established on the throne, of which they had been unjustly deprived by their uncle. cording to some authorities, Tenantius quietly payed the tribute stipulated by Cassibelan; according to others, he refused to pay it, and warred with the Romans. Shakspeare supposes the latter to be the truth. Holinshed, who furnished our poet with these facts, furnished him also with the name of Sicilius, who was admitted king of Britain, A. M 3659 The name of Leonatus he found in Sidney's Arcadia Leonatus is there the legitimate son of the blind King of Paphlagonia, on whose story the episode of Gloster, Edgar, and Edmund, is formed in King Lear. See Arcadia, p. 69, edit. 1593. Malone.

Shakspeare, having already introduced Leonato among the characters in Much Ado about Nothing, had not far to go for Leonatus.


He serv'd with glory and admir'd success;
So gain'd the sur-addition, Leonatus:

And had, besides this gentleman in question,

Two other sons; who, in the wars o' the time,

Died with their swords in hand; for which their father
(Then old and fond of issue) took such sorrow,
That he quit being; and his gentle lady,
Big of this gentleman, our theme, deceas'd
As he was born. The king, he takes the babe
To his protection; calls him Posthumus:
Breeds him, and makes him of his bed-chamber:
Puts him to all the learnings that his time
Could make him the receiver of; which he took,
As we do air, fast as 'twas minister'd; and
In his spring became a harvest: Liv'd in court,
(Which rare it is to do) most prais'd, most lov'd:9
A sample to the youngest; to the more mature,
A glass that feated them; and to the graver,
A child that guided dotards: to his mistress,2
For whom he now is banish'd, her own price
Proclaims how she esteem'd him and his virtue;


Posthumus;] Old copy-Posthumus Leonatus. Reed.
Liv'd in court,

(Which rare it is to do,) most prais'd, most lov'd:] This encomium is high and artful. To be at once in any great degree loved and praised, is truly rare. Johnson.

A glass that feated them;] A glass that formed them; a model, by the contemplation and inspection of which they formed their manners. Johnson.

This passage may be well explained by another in The First Part of King Henry IV:


He was indeed the glass

"Wherein the noble youths did dress themselves." Again, Ophelia describes Hamlet, as—

"The glass of fashion, and the mould of form."

To dress themselves, therefore, may be to form themselves. Dresser, in French, is to form. To dress a spaniel is to break him in.

Feat is nice, exact. So, in The Tempest:


-look, how well my garments sit upon me,

"Much feater than before."

To feat, therefore, may be a verb meaning—to render nice, exact. By the dress of Posthumus, even the more mature courtiers condescended to regulate their external appearance. Steevens.

2 to his mistress,] means-as to his mistress. M. Mason. VOL. XVI.


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