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“0, let the VILE WORLD end, And the premisèd flames of the last day
Knit earth and heaven together !” Fourthly, That “nide”—which, "if any change were made, Mr. Collier would prefer to vile”-has no propriety here, not being (what is obviously required) a vituperative epithet.
P. 596. (224)
“ Your crown's awry;
I'll mend it, and then play." The folio has “
your Crownes away,” &c.—After “play” the folio has a break.—“and then play] i.e. play her part in this tragic scene by destroying herself: or she may mean, that, having performed her last office for her mistress, she will accept the permission given her, in p. 594, to 'play till doomsday.'” STEEVENS.
1865. On the words “ Your crown's anry,” Steevens observes ; “So in Daniel's Tragedy of Cleopatra, 1594 ;
* And, senseless, in her sinking down, she wryes
For Eras now was dead.'' And Malone remarks; “The correction ['arry'] was made by Mr. Pope. The author has here as usual followed the old translation of Plutarch [North's] ; “They found Cleopatra starke dead layed upon a bed of gold, attired and arrayed in her royal robes, and one of her two women, which was called Iras, dead at her feete; and her other woman called Charmian half dead, and trembling, trimming the diadem which Cleopatra wore upon her head.'”—The addition I have now made to my original note on this passage has been called forth by the thrice-foolish attempt to defend the blunder of the folio, “away," in Notes on Shakespeare, No, II, By James Nichols, M.R.C.P., Engl. p. 33.
P. 597. (226)
“ external" Walker (Crit. Exam. &c. vol. iii. p. 312) queries “extern," citing from Othello, act i. sc. 1, "compliment extern."
First printed in the folio of 1623.-Malone is probably not far from the truth when he conjectures that Cymbeline was written in 1609; and he certainly is right when he observes, " the versification of this play bears, I think, a much greater resemblance to that of The Irinter's Tale and The Tempest than to any of our author's earlier plays.” Life of Shakespeare, p. 453.—Some incidents in this drama have been traced to two old French metrical romances and an early French miracle-play ; but that Shakespeare was acquainted with the said romances and play seems very unlikely. ** The general scheme of Cymbeline," says Malone, “is, in my opinion, formed on Boccace's novel (Day 2. Nov. 9:"_"Bernabò da Genora, da Ambrogiuolo ingannato, perde il suo, e comanda che la moglie innocente sia uccisa. Ella scampa, e in abito d' uomo serve il Soldano: ritrova lo ingannatore ; e Bernabò conduce in Alessandria, dove lo ingannatore punito, ripreso abito femminile, col marito ricchi si tornano a Genova :" and in Shakespeare's time there may have been other translations of that novel (though they have not come down to us) besides the very rude version, or rather imitation of it, printed in 1518. A much later imitation of Boccaccio's novel (with the scene laid in England during the reigns of Henry the Sixth and Edward the Fourth) is the second Tale in a tract entitled Westward for Smelts, or the Waterman's Fare of Mad Merry Western Wenches, &c. : which both Steevens and Malone state was first published in 1603 ; but no edition earlier than that of 1620 is at present known; and in 1620 Shakespeare had been four years dead. On the passage, act ii. sc. 2,
“On her left breast
A mole cinque-spotted,”' &c., Malone remarks ; “Our author certainly took this circumstance from some translation of Boccaccio's novel; for it does not occur in the imitation printed in Westward for Smelts.” (It occurs in one of the French romances before mentioned.) Mr. Collier observes (Introd. to this play); “The materials in Holinshed for the historical portion of 'Cymbeline' are so imperfect and scanty, that a belief may be entertained that Shakespeare resorted to some other more fertile source, which the most diligent inquiries have yet failed to discover. The names of Cymbeline and of his sons, Guiderius and Arviragus, occur in the old Chronicle, and there we hear of the tribute demanded by the Roman emperor, but nothing is said of the stealing of the two young princes, nor of their residence with Belarius among the mountains, and final restoration to their father.” That the vision in act v. sc. 4 (whencesoever it was derived, or by whomsoever it was introduced) is not from Shakespeare's pen, may be considered as certain. (A particular account of the above - mentioned French romances and play, an English abridgment of Boccaccio's novel by Skottowe, and the tale from Westward for Smelts, &c., may be seen in Collier's Shakespeare's Library, vol. ii.)
CYMBELINE, king of Britain.
Queen, wife to Cymbeline.
Lords, Ladies, Roman Senators, Tribunes, a Soothsayer, a Dutch Gentleman,
a Spanish Gentleman, Musicians, Officers, Captains, Soldiers, Messengers, and Attendants.
SCENE-sometimes in Britain, sometimes in Italy.
“Imogen seems a misreading for Innogen, the fabulous British heroine.” Walker's Crit. Exam. &c. vol. ii. p. 31. Shakespeare originally intended to introduce an Innogen in Much Ado about Nothing: see note i on that play, vol. ii. p. 147.