« ZurückWeiter »
To look upon the holy sun, to have
By heavens, I'll go :
So say I; Amen.
Have with you, boys :
Till it fly out and show them princes born. The Briton, Posthumus, who has landed with the Roman army, and believes that his lady, Imogen, has been put to death by his own rash commands, through the falsehood of Iachimo, determines to take part with his countrymen :
I am brought hither
The fashion less without, and more within. The contest between the Roman and British armies is, in this play, exhibited in dumb-show. The drama preceding Shakspere was full of such examples. But Shakspere uniformly rejected the practice, except in this instance. The stage directions of the original copy are very curious; and we therefore carry on the narrative by the aid of these stage directions :
Enter at one door LUCIUS, IACHIMO, and the Roman army, and the British army at
another. LEONATUS POSTHUMUS following, like a poor soldier. They march over, and go out. Then enter again, in skirmish, IACHIMO and POSTHUMUS : he vanquisheth and disarmeth IACHIMO, and then leaves him.
Iach. The heaviness and guilt within my bosom
A very drudge of nature's, have subdued me
The battle continues; the Britons fly: CYMBELINE is taken; then enter, to his rescue
BELARIUS, GUIDERIUS, and ARVIRAGUS.
Stand, stand, and fight!
Then, enter, LUCIUE, IACHIMO, and IMOGEN.
'T is their fresh supplies.
Post. I did ;
Where was this lane ?
To darkness fleet souls that fly backwards ! Stand ;
This was strange chance :
Post. Nay, do not wonder at it: You are made
The catastrophe of Cymbeline' has necessarily more immediate reference to the romantic part of the drama than to the historical. Here, it is sufficient to say that the king recovers his sons, and Posthumus his much injured lady. The first movement of the British king, in the spirit of barbarous warfare, is to doom the Roman prisoners to death :
Cym. Thou com’st not, Caius, now for tribute ; that
Luc. Consider, sir, the chance of war: the day
Augustus lives to think on 't : and so much
For my peculiar care. But Cymbeline's hard purpose is changed. Posthumus forgives the arch-traitor Iachimo :
“ The power that I have on you is to spare you." And then the king exclaims,
" Pardon's the word for all." The drama concludes with peace between Britain and Rome.
3.-THE INVASION OF CLAUDIUS.
Milton has described the second Roman invasion, in all the pomp of his Latinized English.
Through civil discord, Bericus, (what he was further, is not known) with others of his party flying to Rome, persuaded Claudius, the emperor, to an invasion. Claudius, now consul the third time, and desirous to do something, whence he might gain the honour of a triumph, at the persuasion of these fugitives, whom the Britians demanding, he had denied to render, and they for that cause had denied further amity with Rome, makes choice of this island for his province : and sends before him Aulus Plautius the prætor, with this command, if the business grew difficult, to give him notice. Plautius with much ado, persuaded the legions to move out of Gallia, murmuring that now they must be put to make war beyond the world's end, for so they counted Britian ; and what welcome Julius the dictator found there, doubtless they had heard. At last prevailed with, and hoisting sail from three several ports, lest their landing should in any one place be resisted, meeting cross winds, they were cast back and disheartened : till in the night a meteor shooting flames from the east, and, as they fancied, directing their course, they took heart again to try the sea, , and without opposition landed. For the Britians having heard of their unwillingness to come, had been negligent to provide against them; and retiring to the woods and moors, intended to frustrate and wear them out with delays, as they had served Cæsar before. Plautius after much trouble to find them out, encountering first with Caractacus, then with Togodumnus, overthrew them; and receiving into conditions part of the Boduni, who then were subject to the Catuellani, and leaving there a garrison, went on toward a river ; where the Britians not imagining that Plautius without a bridge could pass, lay on the farther side careless and secure. But he sending first the Germans, whose custom was, armed as they were, to swim with ease the strongest current, commnands them to strike especially at the horses, whereby the chariots, wherein consisted their chief art of fight, became unserviceable. To second them he sent Vespasian, who in his latter days obtained the empire, and Sabinus his brother ; who unexpectedly assailing those who were least aware, did much execution. Yet not for this were the Britians dismayed ; but re-uniting the next day, fought with such a courage, as made it hard to decide which way hung the victory ; till Caius Sidius Geta, at point to have been taken, recovered himself so valiantly, as brought the day on his side ; for which at Rome he received high honours. After this the Britians drew back toward the mouth of the Thames, and acquainted with those places, crossed over; where the Romans following them through bogs and dangerous fiats, hazarded the loss of all. Yet the Germans getting over, and others by a bridge at some place above, fell on them again with sundry alarms and great slaughter ; but in the heat of pursuit running themselves again into bogs and mires, lost as many of their own. Uponwhich ill success, and seeing the Britians more cnraged at the death of Togodumnus, who in one of these battles had been slain, Plautius fearing the worst, and glad that he could hold what he held, as was enjoined hins, sends to Claudius. He who waited ready with a large preparation, as if not safe enough amidst the flower of all his Romans, like a great eastern king, with armed elephants marches through Gallia. So full of peril was this enterprise esteemed, as not without all this equipage, and stranger terrors than Roman armies to meet the pative and the naked British valour defending their country. Joined with Plautius, who encamping on the back of Thames attended him, he passes the river. The Britians, who had the courage but not the wise conduct of old Cassibelan, laying all strategem aside, in downright manhood scrupled not to affront in open field almost the whole power of the Roman empire. But overcome and vanquished, part by force, others by treaty come in and yield. Claudius therefore, who took Camalodunum, the royal seat of Cunobeline, was often by the army saluted Imperator ; a military title which usually they gave their general after any notable exploit ; but to others, not above once in the same war; as if Claudius, by these acts, had deserved more than the laws of Rome had provided honour to reward. Having therefore disarmed the Britians, but remitted the confiscation of their goods, for which they worshipped him with sacrifice and temple as a god, leaving Plautius to subdue what remained; he returns to Rome, from whence he had been absent only six months, and in Britian but sixteen days ; sending the news before him of his victories, though in a small part of the island. By which is manifestly refuted that which Eutropius and Orosius write of his conquering at that time also the Orcades islands, lying to the north of Scotland ; and not conquered by the Romans, (for aught found in any good author), till above forty years after, as shall appear. To Claudius the senate, as for achievements of highest merit, decreed excessive honours ; arches, triumphs, annual solemnities, and the surname of Britannicus both to him and his son.
Plautius after this, employing his fresh forces to conquer on, and quiet the rebelling countries, found work enough to deserve at his return a kind of triumphant riding into the capitol side by side with the emperor. Vespasian also under Plautius had thirty conflicts with the enemy; in one of which encompassed, and iu great danger, he was valiantly and piously rescued by his son Titus : two powerful nations he subdued here, above twenty towns and the Isle of Wight : for which he received at Rome triumphal ornaments, and other great dignities. For that city in reward of virtue was ever magnificent; and long after when true merit was ceased among them, lest any thing resembling virtue should want honour, the same rewards were yet allowed to the very shadow and ostentation of merit. Ostorius in the room of Plautius vice-prætor, met with turbulent rs; the Britians not ceasing to vex with inroads all those counties that were yielded to the Romans ; and now the more eagerly, supposing that the new general, unacquainted with his army, and on the edge of winter, would not hastily oppose them. But he weighing that first events were most available to breed fear or contempt, with such coherts as were next at hand, sets out against them : whom having routed, so close he follows, as one who meant not to be every day molested with the cavils of a slight peace, or an emboldened enemy. Lest they should make head again, he disarms whom he suspects ; and to surround them, places many garrisons upon the rivers of Antona and Sabrina. But the Icenians, a stout people, untouched yet by these wars, as having before sought alliance with the Romans, were the first that brooked not this. By their example others rise ; and in a chosen place, fenced with high banks of earth, and narrow lanes to prevent the horse, warily encamp. Ostorius, though yet not strengthened with his legions, causes the auxiliar bands, his troops also alighting; to assault the rampart. They within though pestered with their own