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Enter a Gentleman.
GENT. One that gives out himself prince Florizel, Son of Polixenes, with his princess, (she The fairest I have yet beheld,) desires access To your high presence.
LEON. What with him? he comes not Like to his father's greatness: his approach, So out of circumstance, and sudden, tells us, 'Tis not a visitation fram'd, but forc'd By need, and accident. What train?
And those but mean.
His princess, say you, with him? GENT. Ay; the most peerless piece of earth, I think,
That e'er the sun shone bright on.
O Hermione, As every present time doth boast itself Above a better, gone; so must thy grave Give way to what's seen now. Sir, you yourself Have said, and writ so," (but your writing now Is colder than that theme,'), She had not been, Nor was not to be equall'd;-thus your verse
so must thy grave
Give way to what's seen now.] Thy grave here means-thy beauties, which are buried in the grave; the continent for the EDWARDS.
Sir, you yourself
Have said, and writ so,] The reader must observe, that so relates not to what precedes, but to what follows; that she had not been-equall'd. JOHNSON.
1 Is colder than that theme,] i. e. than the lifeless body of Hermione, the theme or subject of your writing. MALONE.
Flow'd with her beauty once; 'tis shrewdly ebb'd, To say, you have seen a better.
Pardon, madam: The one I have almost forgot; (your pardon,) The other, when she has obtain❜d your eye, Will have your tongue too. This is such a creature,2 Would she begin a sect, might quench the zeal Of all professors else; make proselytes Of who she but bid follow.
How? not women? GENT. Women will love her, that she is a woman More worth than any man; men, that she is The rarest of all women.
Go, Cleomenes; Yourself, assisted with your honour'd friends, Bring them to our embracement.-Still 'tis strange, Exeunt CLEOMENES, Lords, and Gentleman. He thus should steal upon us.
PAUL. Had our prince, (Jewel of children,) seen this hour, he had pair'd Well with this lord; there was not full a month Between their births.
LEON. Pr'ythee, no more; thou know'st,3 He dies to me again, when talk'd of: sure, When I shall see this gentleman, thy speeches Will bring me to consider that, which may Unfurnish me of reason.-They are come.
This is such a creature,] The word such, which is wanting in the old copy, was judiciously supplied by Sir T. Hanmer, for the sake of metre. STEEVENS.
Pr'ythee, no more; thou know'st,] The old copy redundantly reads
"Pr'ythee, no more; cease; thou know'st,"
Cease, I believe, was a mere marginal gloss or explanation of -no more, and, injuriously to the metre, had crept into the text.
Re-enter CLEOMENES, with FLORIZEL, PERDITA, and Attendants.
Your mother was most true to wedlock, prince;
By his command
Though bearing misery, I desire my life
For this incorrectness our author must answer. many others of the same kind to be found in his writings. See p. 268, n. 9. Mr. Theobald, with more accuracy, but without necessity, omitted the word him, and to supply the metre, reads in the next line-" Sir, by his command," &c. in which he has been followed, I think, improperly, by the subsequent editors.
As I suppose this incorrect phraseology to be the mere jargon of the old players, I have omitted-him, and (for the sake of metre) instead of―on, read-upon. So, in a former part of the present scene:
"I might have look'd upon my queen's full eyes—.” Again, p. 418:
"Strike all that look upon with marvel." STEEVEns.
Have I here touch'd Sicilia: and from him
His wish'd ability, he had himself
The lands and waters 'twixt your throne and his
O, my brother, (Good gentleman!) the wrongs I have done thee, stir Afresh within me; and these thy offices, So rarely kind, are as interpreters
Of my behind-hand slackness!-Welcome hither,
Good my lord,
She came from Libya.
LEON. Where the warlike Smalus, That noble honour'd lord, is fear'd, and lov'd? FLO. Most royal sir, from thence; from him, whose daughter
- that a king, at friend,] Thus the old copy; but having met with no example of such phraseology, I suspect our author wrote--and friend. At has already been printed for and in the play before us. MALONE.
At friend, perhaps means, at friendship. So, in Hamlet, we have "the wind at help." We might, however, read, omitting only a single letter a friend. STEEVENS.
His tears proclaim'd his, parting with her: thence (A prosperous south-wind friendly,) we have cross'd,
To execute the charge my father gave me,
For which the heavens, taking angry note,
His tears proclaim'd his, parting with her:] This is very ungrammatical and obscure. We may better read:
His tears proclaim'd her parting with her.
The Prince first tells that the lady came from Libya; the King, interrupting him, says, from Smalus? from him, says the Prince, whose tears, at parting, showed her to be his daughter. JOHNSON.
The obscurity arises from want of proper punctuation. By placing a comma after his, I think the sense is cleared.
• The blessed gods-] Unless both the words here and where were employed in the preceding line as dissyllables, the metre is defective. We might read-The ever-blessed gods;-but whether there was any omission, is very doubtful, for the reason already assigned. MALONE.
I must confess that in this present dissyllabic pronunciation I have not the smallest degree of faith. Such violent attempts to produce metre should at least be countenanced by the shadow of examples. Sir T. Hanmer reads
Here, where we happily are. STEEVENS.
A graceful gentleman ;] i. e. full of grace and virtue.