ページの画像
PDF
ePub

the simple-minded swain, Costard, finds himself projected. It is a hunting scene consisting of the Princess and the ladies of her train. Excepting the huntsman who acts as their guide, the only representative of the stronger sex is Boyet. But presently, in the midst of the play of wit, another son of man appears in the person of Costard who has been sent to deliver a letter, and it is not long until this interested spectator is putting in an occasional word of his own. And when Boyet gracefully withdraws from Maria's parting shot and Costard is left standing alone, he is mightily puffed up with the idea that he and the ladies have vanquished such a personage as Boyet. It is right in this connection that the stubborn passage

comes.

What Costard now does is very natural. Like all of us he wishes to set full value upon the qualities of the enemy, for thus we magnify our own prowess in the encounter. He therefore sets about characterizing Boyet, who, as we have seen, is both a fine courtier and a wit; and it immediately appears to Costard that in putting down such a man he has outdone an Armado and a Moth together, all in one person. As his rustic mind has little facility in abstract characterization, he goes about it somewhat after the fashion of those who describe a neighbor as being a Jones o'one side of the family and a Smith o' t'other. Boyet is "Armado o' th' one side” and “his page o't'other side.” Such

is the man he has worsted, a gentleman and a scholar; and it is none the less humorous that he considers the specious Armado and the precocious Moth as the beaux ideals of the two qualifications, separately considered.

Finally, having taken full account of the enemy and set him at a high value, he proceeds to look down upon him from his own point of view — the true formula for setting off our own superiority. Boyet may be all this, but as compared with Costard he is nothing — "Ah, heavens, it is a most pathetical nit! Sola, sola."

A humble clodhopper like Costard naturally takes pride in being a connoisseur of that which he has not — bearing and brains, aristocracy and wit. The incident itself is funny in the connection in which it occurs, not to speak of the way it is worded. I think that future editors should be careful to let the passage remain where it is in the Folio. The last lines of a scene are an important position with Shakespeare.

DEFECT OF JUDGMENT

Belarius. .

I am absolute
’T was very Cloten.

Arviragus. In this place we left them;
I wish my brother make good time with him,
You say he is so fell.

Belarius. Being scarse made up,
I meane to man; For defect of judgement
Is oft the cause of Feare.

(First Folio, Cymbeline, iv, 2)

Clark and Wright and the generality of editors today adopt Theobald's emendation “effect of judgment” for “defect of judgment.' Those who have retained the “defect" of the original change cause to cure, like Hanmer, or to sauce, like Staunton, or loss, like Nicholson, or cease, like Dowden. Or else, if they keep these two words of the Folio they change Is to As, like Knight. Of modern editors, Hudson changes defect to act, and the Elzevir edition puts fearlessness in place of fear. Altogether, commentators have not been able to see sense in the original text; and emendation has gone on continually because each editor has been equally unable to get satisfactory meaning out of the other emendations. After a great deal of this sort of effort, the best scholars have gone back to Theobalds' emendation - effect.

At first I was very much puzzled to under

1

stand why so many men of ability should think emendation necessary; but after I had read Knight's note I saw. They have been trying to straighten it out on the supposition that this passage refers to Cloten.

This is a misconception; it refers to the young Guiderius. There has been a general failure to follow Belarius' drift of thought. A few words of explanation will, I believe, make the matter plain.

The nobleman Belarius has for many years lived in hiding in the mountains, his home being a cave; and there he has brought up the two princes, Arviragus and Guiderius, from infancy. They are now strong, healthy-minded youths on the verge of manhood.

. One day, to Belarius' consternation, there appears in the vicinity of the cave a fellow from the court — Cloten. He is the new queen's son. This Cloten is a brainless, blatant, swaggering sort of a bull-calf of a man. He always expected an opponent to be cowed by his mere announcement that he was the queen's son; and he accompanied this selfimportance with a seeming ripeness for fight, a bluster and abandon, which, to anyone who had no experience with human nature, would

be very fearsome.

By a turn of events the young Guiderius, who does not know Cloten, is left to cope with him while Belarius and Arviragus hurry away to look for other foes. Now, at the present point in the play these two are coming back,

and Arviragus is beginning to have fears for his brother. He does not know how he may have fared in combat with Cloten. He says to Belarius,

I wish my brother make good time with him,
You
say

he is so fell.

Evidently Belarius has said something, as they came along, which led Arviragus to conclude that Cloten was a dangerous sort of man for his brother to encounter: “You say he is so fell.” When Arviragus says this, Belarius sees at once that the boy has misunderstood his remarks. Cloten is not a dangerous man so far as bravery and swordsmanship are concerned; but he is dangerous to one who does not know him, because, being a blusterer and a “roaring terror,” he has a way of putting an enemy into a fright before he starts to fight. All through the play we see that Cloten is that sort of wind-bag - a “roaring terror.” He is not nearly as brave a man, nor as able a fighter, as young Guiderius; but Belarius, who knows Cloten of old, has been worrying, nevertheless, for he reasons that the boy, knowing little of human nature and never having come across a bully before, will be frightened by such bluster. The boys, not being cowards themselves, naturally take such show of valor to be genuine; and so, when Arviragus remarks, You say he is so fell,” Belarius immediately explains, as best he can, just what it is that has

« 前へ次へ »