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It was thought meet,
you all clapped your hands
TROILUS AND CRESSIDA.— Act II. Scene II.
Troile. On a trouvé à propos que Pâris tirât vengeance des Grecs; vos vœux ont enflé les voiles de son navire; la mer et les vents, ces vieux ennemis, suspendirent leurs querelles et le favorisèrent; il toucha au port désiré, et, en retour d'une vieille tante, que les Grecs tenaient captive, il nous amena une reine grecque, dont la jeunesse et la fraîcheur font pâlir l'Aurore et auprès de la quelle Apollon paraît ridé. Pourquoi la gardons-nous ? parceque les Grecs gardent notre tante. Mérite-t-elle d'être gardée ? oui, car c'est une perle précieuse dont le prix a coûté l'équipement de plusieurs vaisseaux et pour laquelle des rois couronnés se sont transformés en marchands. Si vous avouez que Pâris a eu raison de partir pour ce voyage (et vous ne pouvez faire autrement, car vous lui avez crié tous: Allez, Allez !), si vous avouez qu'il a ramené dans sa patrie une noble conquête (et vous ne pouvez faire autrement, car tous vous avez battu des mains, et vous vous êtes écriés: Inestimable !), pourquoi donc blâmez-vous maintenant le résultat de vos propres conseils et, plus inconstants que ne le fut jamais la Fortune, pourquoi ravalez-vous aujourd'hui ce que vous estimiez naguère plus précieux que la mer et la terre ? O larcin des plus honteux! nous avons dérobé ce que nous avons peur de garder! voleurs, indignes de ce que nous avons volé! le vol commis par nous dans leur pays, nous craignons de l'avouer chez nous.
TROÏLE ET CRESSIDA.—Acte II. Scène II.
“She's fair and royal ;
Outsells them all.” In IMOGEN we have a beautiful instance of womanly devotion and constancy. Shakspeare describes her as daughter of CYMBELINE, King of Britain. Her mother being dead, he marries again, and his second wife has a son, named CLOTEN, whom both the King and Queen desire to unite to IMOGEN. In the court, however, there was a young man, whom CYMBELINE had brought up; and between IMOGEN and POSTHUMUS (for that is his name) a deep affection has arisen, which resulted in their marriage. At this the King is highly incensed, more especially, because his sons, having been stolen when babes, there is no heir to the throne but IMOGEN. Posthumus is instantly banished from the kingdom; and after bidding an affectionate and agonising farewell, he and IMOGEN part, she giving him a ring, and receiving a bracelet from him, as pledges of faith to each other.
Owing to the treachery of IacHimo, an Italian, whom PostHUMUS meets with at Rome, he becomes bitterly incensed against INOGEN, who, with the purest affection, and unconscious of guile, mourns his absence. Having, as he wrongly imagines, the fullest proof of her unfaithfulness to him, he writes to his servant Pisanio, who attends on her, to cause her death. Meanwhile, IMOGEN suffers at the hand of the Queen, and Cloten, her son; and having heard that POSTHUMUS is returning to England, she determines to go to Wales, disguised as a man, and accompanied by PISANIO. On the road, he informs her of her husband's request, which causes her the deepest anguish.
Journeying onwards she becomes weary, and enters a cave, where she meets with her two brothers—all of them, however, being ignorant of their relationship to each other. Here she partakes of a mixture, which the Queen had given Pisanio, with the intent to poison her, but it only has the effect of causing a deep sleep, which her companions imagine to be death. When she awakes, she sees lying by her, what she supposes to be the dead body of her husband, but really CLOTEN, who, having obtained some of the clothes of PosTHUMUS, had followed, thus hoping to deceive her; but he had been slain in a quarrel, by one of the youths. She at last sails for •Rome, and becomes, in her disguise, a favoured page of Lucius, a general of the Roman forces. A war breaking out between Britain and Rome, LUCIUS, with IMOGEN as his attendant, and IACHIMO, land in Britain, and Posthumus, joining the British, fights with IACHIMO, and disarms him. CYMBELINE, having been taken prisoner, is rescued by POSTHUMUS, BELISARIUS, GUIDERIUS, and ARVIRAGUS, the two latter being the sons of CYMBELINE, so long lost to him. LUCIUS, IACHIMO, and IMOGEN, are afterwards taken prisoners, owing to the battle being turned in favour of the British. Shortly after the battle the Queen dies, and confesses her treachery on her death-bed; including her scheme to poison IMOGEN. The prisoners are brought before CYMBELINE, and the “boy, a Briton born” (IMOGEN), is spared. She now discovers herself to her father and husband; the two youths prove to be her brothers, who had been kept for many years by BELISARIUS; and the curtain falls when the family is again united--the guilty Queen and CLOTEN, who had caused all their misfortunes, being alone absent.