Gary Taylor, John Jowett, Terri Bourus, and Gabriel Egan (eds), The New Oxford Shakespeare: Modern Critical Edition

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pg 30485.5

Editor’s NoteEnter Posthumus [like a poor soldier,] and a Briton Lord
1

lord Cam'st thou from where they made the stand?

posthumus I did,

2Though you it seems come from the fliers?

lord Ay.

Editor’s Note3

posthumus No blame be to you, sir, for all was lost,

4But that the heavens fought. The King himself

Editor’s Note5Of his wings destitute, the army broken,

6And but the backs of Britons seen, all flying

Editor’s Note7Through a strait lane; the enemy full-hearted,

Editor’s Note8Lolling the tongue with slaught'ring, having work

Editor’s Note9More plentiful than tools to do't, struck down

Editor’s Note10Some mortally, some slightly touched, some falling

11Merely through fear, that the strait pass was dammed

12With dead men hurt behind, and cowards living

Editor’s Note13To die with lengthened shame.

lord Where was this lane?

14

posthumus Close by the battle, ditched, and walled with turf;

Editor’s Note15Which gave advantage to an ancient soldier,

16An honest one, I warrant, who deserved

Editor’s Note17So long a breeding as his white beard came to,

Editor’s Note18In doing this for's country. Athwart the lane

Editor’s Note19He with two striplings—lads more like to run

20The country base than to commit such slaughter;

Editor’s Note21With faces fit for masks, or rather fairer

Editor’s Note22Than those for preservation cased, or shame—

Editor’s Note23Made good the passage, cried to those that fled

Editor’s Note24'Our Britain's harts die flying, not her men.

Editor’s Note25To darkness fleet souls that fly backwards. Stand,

Editor’s Note26Or we are Romans, and will give you that

Editor’s Note27Like beasts which you shun beastly, and may save

28But to look back in frown. Stand, stand!' These three,

Editor’s Note29Three thousand confident, in act as many—

Editor’s Note30For three performers are the file when all

31The rest do nothing—with this word 'Stand, stand',

Editor’s Note32Accommodated by the place, more charming

33With their own nobleness, which could have turned

Editor’s Note34A distaff to a lance, gilded pale looks;

pg 304935Part shame, part spirit renewed, that some turned coward

Editor’s Note36But by example—O, a sin in war,

Editor’s Note37Damned in the first beginners!—'gan to look

38The way that they did and to grin like lions

Editor’s Note39Upon the pikes o'th' hunters. Then began

Editor’s Note40A stop i'th' chaser, a retire. Anon

Editor’s Note41A rout, confusion thick; forthwith they fly

Editor’s Note42Chickens the way which they stooped eagles; slaves,

43The strides they victors made; and now our cowards,

Editor’s Note44Like fragments in hard voyages, became

Editor’s Note45The life o'th' need. Having found the back door open

46Of the unguarded hearts, heavens, how they wound!

Editor’s Note47Some slain before, some dying, some their friends

Editor’s Note48O'erborne i'th' former wave, ten chased by one,

49Are now each one the slaughterman of twenty.

Editor’s Note50Those that would die or ere resist are grown

Editor’s Note Link 51The mortal bugs o'th' field.

lord This was strange chance:

52A narrow lane, an old man, and two boys!

53

posthumus Nay, do not wonder at it; you are made

54Rather to wonder at the things you hear

Editor’s Note55Than to work any. Will you rhyme upon't,

Editor’s Note56And vent it for a mock'ry? Here is one:

Editor’s Note57'Two boys, an old man twice a boy, a lane,

Editor’s Note58Preserved the Britons, was the Romans' bane.'

59

lord Nay, be not angry, sir.

posthumus 'Lack, to what end?

Editor’s Note60Who dares not stand his foe, I'll be his friend,

Editor’s Note61For if he'll do as he is made to do,

62I know he'll quickly fly my friendship too.

Editor’s Note63You have put me into rhyme.

lord Farewell; you're angry.

Exit
Editor’s Note64

posthumus Still going? This is a lord! O noble misery

65To be i'th' field and ask 'What news?' of me!

66Today how many would have given their honours

Editor’s Note67To have saved their carcasses—took heel to do't,

Editor’s Note68And yet died too! I, in mine own woe charmed,

69Could not find death where I did hear him groan,

70Nor feel him where he struck. Being an ugly monster,

Editor’s Note71'Tis strange he hides him in fresh cups, soft beds,

pg 3050Editor’s Note72Sweet words, or hath more ministers than we

73That draw his knives i'th' war. Well, I will find him;

Editor’s Note74For being now a favourer to the Briton,

75No more a Briton, I have resumed again

76The part I came in. Fight I will no more,

Editor’s Note77But yield me to the veriest hind that shall

Editor’s Note78Once touch my shoulder. Great the slaughter is

79Here made by'th' Roman; great the answer be

Editor’s Note80Britons must take. For me, my ransom's death,

Editor’s Note81On either side I come to spend my breath,

82Which neither here I'll keep nor bear again,

83But end it by some means for Innogen.

Enter two [Briton] Captains, and soldiers
84

first captain Great Jupiter be praised, Lucius is taken.

85'Tis thought the old man and his sons were angels.

Editor’s Note86

second captain There was a fourth man, in a seely habit,

Editor’s Note87That gave th'affront with them.

first captain So 'tis reported,

88But none of 'em can be found. Stand, who's there?

89

posthumus A Roman,

Editor’s Note90Who had not now been drooping here if seconds

Editor’s Note91Had answered him.

second captain Lay hands on him, a dog!

92A leg of Rome shall not return to tell

93What crows have pecked them here. He brags his service

Editor’s Note94As if he were of note. Bring him to th' King.

Enter Cymbeline, Belarius, Guiderius, Arviragus, Pisanio, and Roman captives. The Captains present Posthumus to Cymbeline, who delivers Editor’s Notehim over to a Jailer. [Two Jailers lock gyves on his legs. Exeunt all but] Posthumus and [the two Jailers]
95

first jailer You shall not now be stol'n; you have locks upon you.

Editor’s Note96So graze as you find pasture.

second jailer Ay, or a stomach.

[Exeunt Jailers]
Editor’s Note97

posthumus Most welcome, bondage, for thou art a way,

98I think, to liberty. Yet am I better

99Than one that's sick o'th' gout, since he had rather

100Groan so in perpetuity than be cured

101By th' sure physician, death, who is the key

102T'unbar these locks. My conscience, thou art fettered

103More than my shanks and wrists. You good gods give me

Editor’s Note104The penitent instrument to pick that bolt,

105Then free for ever. Is't enough I am sorry?

Editor’s Note106So children temporal fathers do appease;

Editor’s Note107Gods are more full of mercy. Must I repent,

pg 3051108I cannot do it better than in gyves

Editor’s Note109Desired more than constrained. To satisfy,

Editor’s Note110If of my freedom 'tis the main part, take

Editor’s Note111No stricter render of me than my all.

Editor’s Note112I know you are more clement than vile men

Editor’s Note113Who of their broken debtors take a third,

114A sixth, a tenth, letting them thrive again

Editor’s Note115On their abatement. That's not my desire.

116For Innogen's dear life take mine, and though

117'Tis not so dear, yet 'tis a life; you coined it.

Editor’s Note118'Tween man and man they weigh not every stamp;

Editor’s Note119Though light, take pieces for the figure's sake,

120You rather mine, being yours. And so, great powers,

Editor’s Note121If you will make this audit, take this life,

Editor’s Note122And cancel these cold bonds. O Innogen,

123I'll speak to thee in silence!

Editor’s NoteSolemn music. Enter, as in an apparition, Sicilius Leonatus (father to Posthumus, an old man), attired like a warrior, leading in his hand an ancient matron, his wife, and mother to Posthumus, with music before them. Then, after other music, follows the two young Leonati, brothers Editor’s Noteto Posthumus, with wounds as they died in the wars. They circle Posthumus round as he lies sleeping
Editor’s Note124

sicilius No more, thou thunder-master, show

125    Thy spite on mortal flies.

Editor’s Note126With Mars fall out, with Juno chide,

127    That thy adulteries

Editor’s Note128Rates and revenges.

129Hath my poor boy done aught but well,

130    Whose face I never saw?

131I died whilst in the womb he stayed,

Editor’s Note132    Attending nature's law,

133Whose father then—as men report

134    Thou orphan's father art—

135Thou shouldst have been, and shielded him

Editor’s Note136    From this earth-vexing smart.

Editor’s Note137

mother Lucina lent not me her aid,

Editor’s Note138    But took me in my throes,

Editor’s Note139That from me was Posthumus ripped,

Editor’s Note140    Came crying 'mongst his foes,

141A thing of pity.

pg 3052 Editor’s Note142

sicilius Great nature like his ancestry

Editor’s Note143    Moulded the stuff so fair

144That he deserved the praise o'th' world

145    As great Sicilius' heir.

Editor’s Note146

first brother When once he was mature for man,

147    In Britain where was he

148That could stand up his parallel,

Editor’s Note149    Or fruitful object be

150In eye of Innogen, that best

Editor’s Note151    Could deem his dignity?

152

mother With marriage wherefore was he mocked,

153    To be exiled, and thrown

Editor’s Note154From Leonati seat and cast

155    From her his dearest one,

156Sweet Innogen?

Editor’s Note157

sicilius Why did you suffer Giacomo,

Editor’s Note158    Slight thing of Italy,

159To taint his nobler heart and brain

160    With needless jealousy,

Editor’s Note161And to become the geck and scorn

162    O'th' other's villainy?

Editor’s Note163

second brother For this from stiller seats we come,

164    Our parents and us twain,

165That striking in our country's cause

166    Fell bravely and were slain,

Editor’s Note167Our fealty and Tenantius' right

168    With honour to maintain.

Editor’s Note169

first brother Like hardiment Posthumus hath

170    To Cymbeline performed.

171Then, Jupiter, thou king of gods,

Editor’s Note172    Why hast thou thus adjourned

173The graces for his merits due,

Editor’s Note174    Being all to dolours turned?

Editor’s Note175

sicilius Thy crystal window ope; look out,

176    No longer exercise

177Upon a valiant race thy harsh

178    And potent injuries.

179

mother Since, Jupiter, our son is good,

180    Take off his miseries.

181

sicilius Peep through thy marble mansion. Help,

182    Or we poor ghosts will cry

Editor’s Note183To th' shining synod of the rest

184    Against thy deity.

pg 3053 Editor’s Note185

brothers Help, Jupiter, or we appeal,

186    And from thy justice fly.

Editor’s NoteJupiter descends in thunder and lightning, sitting upon an eagle. He Editor’s Notethrows a thunderbolt. The ghosts fall on their knees
187

jupiter No more, you petty spirits of region low,

188    Offend our hearing. Hush! How dare you ghosts

189Accuse the thunderer, whose bolt, you know,

Editor’s Note190    Sky-planted, batters all rebelling coasts?

Editor’s Note191Poor shadows of Elysium, hence, and rest

192    Upon your never-withering banks of flowers.

Editor’s Note193Be not with mortal accidents oppressed;

194    No care of yours it is; you know 'tis ours.

195Whom best I love, I cross, to make my gift,

Editor’s Note196    The more delayed, delighted. Be content.

197Your low-laid son our godhead will uplift.

198    His comforts thrive, his trials well are spent.

Editor’s Note199Our Jovial star reigned at his birth, and in

200    Our temple was he married. Rise, and fade.

201He shall be lord of Lady Innogen,

202    And happier much by his affliction made.

Editor’s Note203This tablet lay upon his breast, wherein

Editor’s Note204    Our pleasure his full fortune doth confine.

Editor’s Note[Jupiter gives the ghosts a tablet which they lay upon Posthumus' chest]

205And so away. No farther with your din

206    Express impatience, lest you stir up mine.

207    Mount, eagle, to my palace crystalline.

Ascends [into the heavens]
208

sicilius He came in thunder. His celestial breath

Editor’s Note209Was sulphurous to smell. The holy eagle

Editor’s Note210Stooped, as to foot us. His ascension is

211More sweet than our blest fields. His royal bird

212Preens the immortal wing and claws his beak

213As when his god is pleased.

all the ghosts Thanks, Jupiter.

214

sicilius The marble pavement closes, he is entered

215His radiant roof. Away, and, to be blest,

Editor’s Note216Let us with care perform his great behest.

Editor’s Note[The Ghosts] vanish [Posthumus awakes]
217

posthumus Sleep, thou hast been a grandsire, and begot

218A father to me; and thou hast created

Editor’s Note219A mother and two brothers. But, O scorn,

220Gone! They went hence so soon as they were born,

221And so I am awake. Poor wretches that depend

222On greatness' favour dream as I have done,

Editor’s Note223Wake and find nothing. But, alas, I swerve.

pg 3054Editor’s Note224Many dream not to find, neither deserve,

225And yet are steeped in favours; so am I,

Editor’s Note226That have this golden chance and know not why.

227What fairies haunt this ground? A book? O rare one,

Editor’s Note228Be not, as is our fangled world, a garment

229Nobler than that it covers. Let thy effects

Editor’s Note230So follow to be most unlike our courtiers,

231As good as promise.

He reads

Editor’s Note232'Whenas a lion's whelp shall, to himself unknown, without seeking Editor’s Note233find, and be embraced by a piece of tender air; and when from a 234stately cedar shall be lopped branches which, being dead many years, 235shall after revive, be jointed to the old stock, and freshly grow, then 236shall Posthumus end his miseries, Britain be fortunate and flourish in 237peace and plenty.

Editor’s Note238'Tis still a dream, or else such stuff as madmen

Editor’s Note239Tongue, and brain not; either both, or nothing,

Editor’s Note240Or senseless speaking, or a speaking such

Editor’s Note241As sense cannot untie. Be what it is,

242The action of my life is like it, which I'll keep,

Editor’s Note243If but for sympathy.

Editor’s NoteEnter Jailer
244

jailer Come, sir, are you ready for death?

245

posthumus Over-roasted rather; ready long ago.

Editor’s Note246

jailer Hanging is the word, sir. If you be ready for that, you are well 247cooked.

Editor’s Note248

posthumus So, if I prove a good repast to the spectators, the dish pays 249the shot.

Editor’s Note250

jailer A heavy reckoning for you, sir. But the comfort is you shall 251be called to no more payments, fear no more tavern bills, which are as 252often the sadness of parting as the procuring of mirth. You come in 253faint for want of meat, depart reeling with too much drink, sorry Editor’s Note254that you have paid too much and sorry that you are paid too much; Editor’s Note255purse and brain both empty: the brain the heavier for being too light, Editor’s Note256the purse too light being drawn of heaviness. Of this contradiction Editor’s Note257you shall now be quit. O, the charity of a penny cord! It sums up Editor’s Note258thousands in a trice. You have no true debitor and creditor but it: of Editor’s Note259what's past, is, and to come the discharge. Your neck, sir, is pen, Editor’s Note260book, and counters; so the acquittance follows.

pg 3055 261

posthumus I am merrier to die than thou art to live.

262

jailer Indeed, sir, he that sleeps feels not the toothache; but a man 263that were to sleep your sleep, and a hangman to help him to bed, I Editor’s Note264think he would change places with his officer; for look you, sir, you 265know not which way you shall go.

266

posthumus Yes, indeed do I, fellow.

Editor’s Note267

jailer Your death has eyes in's head, then; I have not seen him so 268pictured. You must either be directed by some that take upon them 269to know, or to take upon yourself that which I am sure you do not know, Editor’s Note270or jump the after-enquiry on your own peril; and how you shall speed 271in your journey's end I think you'll never return to tell on.

Editor’s Note272

posthumus I tell thee, fellow, there are none want eyes to direct them Editor’s Note273the way I am going but such as wink and will not use them.

274

jailer What an infinite mock is this, that a man should have the best Editor’s Note275use of eyes to see the way of blindness! I am sure hanging's the way of 276winking.

Enter a Messenger
277

messenger Knock off his manacles, bring your prisoner to the King.

Editor’s Note278

posthumus Thou bring'st good news: I am called to be made free.

Editor’s Note279

jailer I'll be hanged then.

Editor’s Note Link 280

posthumus Thou shalt be then freer than a jailer; no bolts for the dead.

Editor’s Note281

jailer aside Unless a man would marry a gallows and beget young Editor’s Note282gibbets, I never saw one so prone. Yet, on my conscience, there are verier Editor’s Note283knaves desire to live, for all he be a Roman; and there be some of them, 284too, that die against their wills; so should I if I were one. I would we Editor’s Note285were all of one mind, and one mind good. O, there were desolation of 286jailers and gallowses! I speak against my present profit, but my wish Editor’s Note287hath a preferment in't.

Exeunt

Notes Settings

Notes

Editor’s Note
5.5.0 a Briton Lord He might, initially at least, look down upon Posthumus in his humble clothing.
Editor’s Note
5.5.3 was would have been
Editor’s Note
5.5.5 wings military divisions
Editor’s Note
5.5.7, 11 strait narrow
Editor’s Note
5.5.8 Lolling the tongue with their tongues hanging out
Editor’s Note
5.5.9 to do't (with which) to do it
Editor’s Note
5.5.10 touched wounded
Editor’s Note
5.5.13 lengthened perpetual
Editor’s Note
5.5.15 ancient seasoned, well-descended warrior (Belarius)
Editor’s Note
5.5.17 So … to obscure—perhaps to live as long again as his white beard showed he had already lived
Editor’s Note
5.5.18 Athwart across
Editor’s Note
5.5.19 like likely
Editor’s Note
5.5.19–20 run … base play the children's game of prisoner's base (running between two bases or camps)
Editor’s Note
5.5.21 faces … masks complexions so delicate that their faces (like those of fashionable ladies) might have been protected from the sun by masks
Editor’s Note
5.5.22 for … shame covered for preservation (of their complexions) or out of modesty
Editor’s Note
5.5.23 Made good the passage blocked the exit
Editor’s Note
5.5.24 harts (timid) deer
Editor’s Note
5.5.25 To … backwards souls of deserters fly to hell
Editor’s Note
5.5.26 are will behave like
Editor’s Note
5.5.27 beastly like cowardly animals
Editor’s Note
5.5.27–8 save … frown prevent only by turning and taking the enemy fiercely
Editor’s Note
5.5.29 Three thousand confident as confident as if they had been three thousand
Editor’s Note
5.5.30 file entire army
Editor’s Note
5.5.32 Accommodated assisted
Editor’s Note
5.5.32 more charming
Editor’s Note
5.5.34 A distaff to a lance a spinning-pole into a weapon (i.e. women into warriors)
Editor’s Note
5.5.34 gilded gave colour to
Editor’s Note
5.5.36 But by example only because they saw others do so
Editor’s Note
5.5.37 first beginners i.e. the original cowards
Editor’s Note
5.5.37 'gan began
Editor’s Note
5.5.39 pikes spears
Editor’s Note
5.5.40 stop i'th' chaser halt by the pursuer
Editor’s Note
5.5.40 retire retreat
Editor’s Note
5.5.41–2 they … eagles the Romans ran away like hens along the route they had swooped down on like eagles
Editor’s Note
5.5.42–3 slaves … made now they retrace as slaves the strides that before they had made as victors
Editor’s Note
5.5.44 fragments scraps of food
Editor’s Note
5.5.45 life o'th' need means of sustaining life at a time of need
Editor’s Note
5.5.45–6 found … hearts i.e. found the backs of the fleeing Romans unprotected
Editor’s Note
5.5.47 before previously
Editor’s Note
5.5.48 O'erborne overcome
Editor’s Note
5.5.50 or ere before they would
Editor’s Note
5.5.51 mortal … field death-dealing terrors of the battle-field
Editor’s Note
5.5.51–2 This … boys! This might be expressed with wonder or some sarcasm; compare 1.1.66–8 for the Second Gentleman's light sarcasm about the absurdity of the series of events in this romance plot.
Editor’s Note
5.5.55 work any perform any yourself
Editor’s Note
5.5.56 vent … mock'ry publish what you write as a satire
Editor’s Note
5.5.56 one i.e. a sample rhyme
Editor’s Note
5.5.57 twice a boy i.e. in his second childhood
Editor’s Note
5.5.58 bane ruin
Editor’s Note
5.5.60 stand confront, stand up to
Editor’s Note
5.5.61 made created
Editor’s Note
5.5.63 Farewell; you're angry. The lord might exit fearfully or nonchalantly.
Editor’s Note
5.5.64 Still going fleeing
Editor’s Note
5.5.67 took heel taken to their heels, fled
Editor’s Note
5.5.68 in … charmed leading a charmed life even in my despair
Editor’s Note
5.5.71 fresh cups refreshing (though poisoned) drinks
Editor’s Note
5.5.72 ministers agents
Editor’s Note
5.5.74–6 being … in having once ('now') been on the British side, I am no longer a Briton but have resumed my previous identity (as a Roman)
Editor’s Note
5.5.77 veriest hind lowest peasant
Editor’s Note
5.5.78 touch my shoulder (like an officer making an arrest)
Editor’s Note
5.5.80 ransom's ransom in death
Editor’s Note
5.5.81 spend my breath expire
Editor’s Note
5.5.86 seely habit rustic costume rustic
Editor’s Note
5.5.87 gave th'affront made the attack
Editor’s Note
5.5.90 seconds reinforcements
Editor’s Note
5.5.91 answered followed
Editor’s Note
5.5.94 As … note. It might seem incongruous that someone so ill-costumed is 'of note'; the Captains might say this mockingly (though they still note their intention to bring him before the King).
Editor’s Note
5.5.94.3 gyves fetters
Editor’s Note
5.5.96 stomach appetite
Editor’s Note
5.5.97 bondage Posthumus' legs are locked in gyves making movement difficult, but it might also seem as though he is imprisoned by the 'jailers' and that the stage is now his cell.
Editor’s Note
5.5.104 penitent instrument to penitence so that I may
Editor’s Note
5.5.104 bolt lock
Editor’s Note
5.5.106 temporal human
Editor’s Note
5.5.107 Must I if I must
Editor’s Note
5.5.109 constrained forced on me
Editor’s Note
5.5.109 satisfy atone
Editor’s Note
5.5.110 If … part if that is the most important element in freeing me from guilt
Editor’s Note
5.5.111 render of repayment from
Editor’s Note
5.5.112 clement merciful
Editor’s Note
5.5.113 broken bankrupt
Editor’s Note
5.5.115 abatement little that remains of their fortunes
Editor’s Note
5.5.118 weigh (to test for true value)
Editor’s Note
5.5.118 stamp coin (stamped with an image)
Editor’s Note
5.5.119 take … sake accept coins because of the image stamped on them
Editor’s Note
5.5.121 make this audit settle this account
Editor’s Note
5.5.122 cancel … bonds cancel these old debts; take my life; remove these iron fetters
Editor’s Note
5.5.123.1 as in an apparition Sicilius, the Mother, and the two brothers might appear 'ghostly' (e.g. heavy white make-up, slow movement as they encircle Posthumus, etc.).
Editor’s Note
5.5.123.5–6 circle Posthumus round The ghosts might continue to move around Posthumus throughout the subsequent passage.
Editor’s Note
5.5.124 thunder-master Jupiter
Editor’s Note
5.5.124–5 show … spite demonstrate your power to harm
Editor’s Note
5.5.126 Mars god of war
Editor’s Note
5.5.126 Juno Jupiter's wife, to whom he was often unfaithful
Editor’s Note
5.5.128 Rates berates, rebukes
Editor’s Note
5.5.132 Attending nature's law awaiting nature's decree (that he should be born)
Editor’s Note
5.5.136 earth-vexing smart earth-shattering harm
Editor’s Note
5.5.137 Lucina goddess of childbirth
Editor’s Note
5.5.138 throes labour pains
Editor’s Note
5.5.139 That with the result that
Editor’s Note
5.5.139 ripped i.e. taken by Caesarean section
Editor’s Note
5.5.140 'mongst his foes into a hostile world
Editor’s Note
5.5.142 like his ancestry as well as his forebears
Editor’s Note
5.5.143 stuff substance
Editor’s Note
5.5.146 mature for man grown up
Editor’s Note
5.5.149 fruitful life-giving
Editor’s Note
5.5.151 deem his dignity judge his value
Editor’s Note
5.5.154 Leonati seat family seat of the Leonati (here used figuratively to mean 'family honour' or 'family favour' and not a specific place)
Editor’s Note
5.5.157 suffer allow
Editor’s Note
5.5.158 Slight worthless
Editor’s Note
5.5.161 geck dupe
Editor’s Note
5.5.163 stiller seats calmer regions (referring to the Elysian fields of classical mythology)
Editor’s Note
5.5.167 fealty allegiance
Editor’s Note
5.5.167 Tenantius Cymbeline's father—see 1.1.31
Editor’s Note
5.5.169 Like hardiment similar bold deeds
Editor’s Note
5.5.172 adjourned delayed
Editor’s Note
5.5.174 dolours sorrows
Editor’s Note
5.5.175 crystal transparent
Editor’s Note
5.5.175 ope open
Editor’s Note
5.5.183 synod of the rest assembly of the remaining gods
Editor’s Note
5.5.185 appeal protest
Editor’s Note
5.5.186.1 Jupiter … eagle. A 'floating deity' was a theatrical convention in early modern drama. The actor playing Jupiter would have been raised and lowered in a harness using a pulley system. The sound of 'thunder' could be created by rolling a cannonball down a chute; 'lightning' would have been sounded through a type of fireworks (note the mention of the 'smell' of sulphur at 5.5.209). Famously, in a 1962 RSC production (dir. William Gaskill), Jupiter descended on a giant copper eagle.
Editor’s Note
5.5.186.2 throws a thunderbolt This could be simply a gesture accompanied by sound, or Jupiter could throw a physical 'thunderbolt' also accompanied by sound.
Editor’s Note
5.5.190 Sky-planted rooted in the heavens
Editor’s Note
5.5.191 shadows of ghosts from
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5.5.191 Elysium the classical heaven
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5.5.193 mortal accidents human events
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5.5.196 delighted (the more) delighted in
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5.5.199 Jovial star the planet Jupiter
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5.5.203 tablet inscription
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5.5.204 Our … confine it is our pleasure to set out his great fortune
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5.5.204.1 gives One or more of the ghosts must rise from their knees to receive the tablet.
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5.5.209 sulphurous to smell smelled like sulphur (wrongly supposed to be linked with lightning)
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5.5.210 Stooped … us swooped as if it would seize us with its talons
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5.5.216 behest command
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5.5.216.1 vanish In early theatre, they might simply exited quickly, though it is possible they used a trapdoor.
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5.5.219 scorn bitter mockery
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5.5.223 swerve go astray
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5.5.224 dream … deserve neither dream of finding something nor deserve to do so
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5.5.226 golden chance wonderful happening (the vision)
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5.5.228 fangled novelty-obsessed
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5.5.230 to be as to be
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5.5.232 Whenas when
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5.5.232 lion's whelp (alluding to Posthumus' name, 'Leonatus'; born of a lion)
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5.5.233–4 piece of tender air (cryptically alluding to Innogen)
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5.5.238 'Tis … dream perhaps uncomprehendingly or with bewilderment
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5.5.239 Tongue … not speak but do not understand
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5.5.240 Or senseless speaking either meaningless speech
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5.5.241 sense cannot untie reason cannot explain
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5.5.243 If … sympathy if only because of the similarity
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5.5.243.1 Jailer The solitary Jailer could be either the First (more typically) or Second Jailer from earlier in the scene. The Jailer is a comic part, perhaps played as a rustic 'clown' character in early performances. An actor might usefully double in the roles of Cloten and the Jailer.
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5.5.246 Hanging (joke on the sense of hanging up meat to mature)
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5.5.248 prove … to make a good meal for
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5.5.248–9 dish … shot food (Posthumus) will be worth the cost
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5.5.250 reckoning bill or repayment (quibbling on atonement for past actions)
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5.5.254 are paid are punished
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5.5.255 heavier … light more overwhelmed for being too thoughtless
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5.5.256 drawn of heaviness emptied of what makes it heavy
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5.5.257 quit acquitted
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5.5.257 cord (the hangman's rope)
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5.5.258 a trice an instant
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5.5.258 debitor and creditor i.e. account book
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5.5.259 discharge repayment
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5.5.260 counters (metal) tokens
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5.5.260 acquittance deliverance
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5.5.264 officer (the hangman)
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5.5.267 death death's-head, skull
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5.5.270 jump risk
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5.5.270 speed succeed
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5.5.272 want who lack
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5.5.273 wink shut their eyes
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5.5.275–6 way of winking best way of shutting one's eyes
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5.5.278 made free liberated in death. He assumes he is to be taken to execution.
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5.5.279 I'll be hanged then. The jailer might seem annoyed by this news—jailers were paid for the custody of prisoners—or secretly pleased.
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5.5.280 bolts fetters
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5.5.281 aside Alternatively, the Jailer's final speech might be a soliloquy if Posthumus exits with the Messenger after 5.5.280.
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5.5.282 prone ready (to die)
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5.5.283 for all even though
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5.5.285 there were desolation that would be the ruin
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5.5.287 preferment promotion
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