Imagens da página
PDF
ePub

So great weight in his lightness.? If he fillid
His vacancy with his voluptuousness,
Full surfeits, and the dryness of his bones,
Call on him for 't:1 but, to confound such time,2
That drums him from his sport, and speaks as loud
As his own state, and ours,-'tis to be chid
As we rate boys;' who, being mature in knowledge,
Pawn their experience to their present pleasure,
And so rebel to judgment.

Enter a Messenger.
Lep.

Here 's more news. Mess. Thy biddings have been done; and every hour, Most noble Cæsar, shalt thou have report How 'tis abroad. Pompey is strong at sea; And it appears, he is belov’d of those That only have fear'd Cæsar:4 to the ports The discontents repair,5 and men's reports

“ For all the soil of the achievement goes

“ With me into the earth.” In the last Act of the play before us we find an expression nearly synonymous:

His taints and honours « Wag'd equal in him." Again, in Act II, sc. ii :

“Read not my blemishes in the world's reports." Malone. 9 So great weight in his lightness,] The word light is one of Shakspeare's favourite play-things. The sense is–His trifling levity throws so much burden upon us. Fohnson.

1 Call on him for 't:) Call on him, is, visit him. Says CæsarIf Antony followed his debaucheries at a time of leisure, I should leave him to be punished by their natural consequences, hy surfeits and dry bones. Johnson.

? — to confound such time,] See p. 191, n. 8. Malone.

3 — boys ; who, being mature in knowledge,] For this Hanmer, who thought the maturity of a boy an inconsistent idea, has put:

- who, immature in knowledge : but the words experience and judgment require that we read mature : though Dr. Warburton has received the emendation. By boys inature in knowledge, are meant, boys old enough to know their duty. Yohnson.

4 That only have fear'd Cæsar:] Those whom not love but fear made adherents to Cæsar, now show their affection for Pompey.

Fohnson. •5 The discontents repair, ] That is, the malecontents. So, in King Henry IV, P. I:

VOL. XIII.

Give him much wrong'd.
Cas.

I should have known no less:-
It hath been taught us from the primal state,
That he, which is, was wish’d, until he were;
And the ebb’d man, ne'er lov'd, till ne'er worth love,
Comes dear’d, by being lack’d. This common body,
Like a vagabond flag upon the stream,
Goes to, and back, lackeying the varying tide,
To rot itself with motion.8

i " that may please the eye

“Of fickle changelings and poor discontents." See Vol. VIII, p. 315, n. 1. Malone. 6 he, which is, was wishd, until he were ;

And the ebb'd man, ne'er lovd, till ne'er worth love,

Comes dear'd, by being lack'd.] [Old copy-fear'd.) Let us examine the sense of this as it stood] in plain prose. The earliest histories inform us, that the man in supreme command was always wish'd to gain that command, till he had obtain'd it. And he, whom the multitude has contentedly seen in a low condition, when he begins to be wanted by them, becomes to be fear'd by them. But do the multitude fear a man because they want him? Certainly, we must read :

- Comes dear'd, by being lack'd. i. e. endear'd, a favourite to them. Besides, the context requires this reading; for it was not fear, but love, that made the people flock to young Pompey, and what occasioned this reflection. So, in Coriolanus :

“ I shall be lovd, when I am lack'd.Warburton. The correction was made in Theobald's edition, to whom it was communicated by Dr. Warburton. Something, however, is yet wanting. What is the meaning of “ne'er lov'd till neer worth love?” I suppose that the second ne'er was inadvertently repeated at the press, and that we should read-till not worth love. Malone.

7 - rot itself] The word-itself, is, I believe, an interpolation, being wholly useless to the sense, and injurious to the measure. Steevens. 8 Goes to, and back, lackeying the varying tide,

To rot itself with motion.] [Old copy-lashing. ] But how can a flag, or rush, foating upon a stream, and that has no motion but what the fluctuation of the water gives it, be said to lash the tide ? This is making a scourge of a weak ineffective thing, and giving it an active violence in its own power. 'Tis true, there is no sense in the old reading; but the addition of a single letter will not only give us good sense, but the genuine word of our author into the bargain :

- lackeying the varying tide, i. e. floating backwards and forwards with the variation of the tide, like a page, or lackey, at his master's heels. Theobald.

Me88.

Cæsar, I bring thee word,
Menecrates and Menas, famous pirates,
Make the sea serve them; which they earg and wound
With keels of every kind: Many hot inroads
They make in Italy; the borders maritime
Lack blood to think on 't, and flush youth? revolt:
No vessel can peep forth, but ’tis as soon
Taken as seen; for Pompey's name strikes more,
Than could his war resisted.
Cæs.

Antony,
Leave thy lascivious wassels.3 When thou once
Wast beaten from Modena, where thou slew'st
Hirtius and Pansa, consuls, at thy heel
Did famine follow; whom thou fought'st against,
Though daintily brought up, with patience more

Theobald's conjecture may be supported by a passage in the fifth Book of Chapman's translation of Homer's Odyssey:

“ who would willingly

Lacky along so vast a lake of brine?” Again, in his version of the 24th Iliad:

“ My guide to Argos either ship'd or lackying by thy side." Again, in the Prologue to the second part of Antonio and Melilda, 1602:

“ O that our power

“ Could lacky or keep pace with our desires!" Again, in The whole magnificent Entertainment given to King James, Queen Anne his Wife, &c. March 15, 1603, by Thomas Decker, 4to. 1604: “ The minutes (that lackey the heeles of time) run not faster away than do our joyes.”

Perhaps another messenger should be noted here, as entering with fresh news. Steevens.

' which they ear-] To ear, is to plough; a common metaphor. Yohnson.

To ear, is not, however, at this time, a common word. I meet with it again in Turberville's Falconry, 1575:

“ because I have a larger field to ear." See also Vol. V, p. 181, n. 9. Steevens. Lack blood to think on 't,] Turn pale at the thought of it.

Fohnson, 2 and flush youth - Flush youth is youth ripened to man. hood; youth whose blood is at the flow. So, in Timon of Athens :

« Now the time is flush, ---,” Steevens. 3 t hy lascivious wassels.] Wassel is here put for intempe. rance in general. For a more particular account of the word, see Macbeth, Vol. VII, p. 74, n. 8. The old copy, however, reads-vassailes. Steevens.

Vassals is, without question, the true reading. Henley.

Than savages could suffer: Thou didst drink
The stale of horses, and the gilded puddles
Which beasts would cough at: thy palate then did deign
The roughest berry on the rudest hedge;
Yea, like the stag, when snow the pasture sheets,
The barks of trees thou browsed'st; on the Alps,
It is reported, thou didst eat strange flesh,
Which some did die to look on: and all this
(It wounds thine honour, that I speak it now,)
Was borne so like a soldier, that thy cheek
So much as lank'd not.
Lep.

It is pity of him.
Cæs. Let his shames quickly
Drive him to Rome: 'Tis time we twains
Did show ourselves i' the field; and, to that end,
Assemble we immediate council:? Pompey

4 - Thou didst drink

The stale of horses,] All these circumstances of Antony's distress, are taken literally from Plutarch. Steevens.

5.- gilded puddle -o] There is frequently observable on the surface of stagnant pools that have remained long undisturbed, a reddish gold-coloured slime: to this appearance the poet here refers. Henley.

6 Drive him to Rome: 'Tis time we twain &c.] The defect of the metre induces me to believe that some word has been inadvertently omitted. Perhaps our author wrote:

Drive him to Rome disgrac’d: 'Tis time we twain &c. So, in Act III, sc. xi: “

So she “ From Egypt drive her all-rlisgraced friend.” Malone. I had rather perfect this defective line, by the insertion of an adverb which is frequently used by our author, and only enforces what he apparently designed to say, than by the introduction of an epithet which he might not have chosen. I would therefore read:

'Tis time indeed we twain Did show ourselves &c. Steevens. 7 Assemble we immediate council:7 sold copy--assemble me. Shakspeare frequently uses this kind of phraseology, but I do not recollect any instance where he has introduced it in solemn dialogue, where one equal is speaking to another. Perhaps therefore the correction made by the editor of the second folio is right: Assemble we &c. So, afterwards :

“ Haste we for it:

“ Yet, ere we put ourselves in arms, despatch we,” &c. Since this note was written, I have observed the same phrase. ology used by our poet in grave dialogue. See Troilus and Cressida, Act III, sc. iï:

Thrives in our idleness.
Lepi

To-morrow, Cæsar,
I shall be furnish’d to inform you rightly
Both what by sea and land I can be able,
To 'front this present time.
Cæs.

Till which encounter,
It is my business too. Farewel.

Lep. Farewel, my lord: what you shall know mean time Of stirs abroad, I shall beseech you, sir, To let me be partaker. Cæs.

Doubt not, sir; I knew it for my bond.8

[Exeunt.
SCENE V.
Alexandria. A Room in the Palace.
Enter CLEOPATRA, CHARMIAN, IRAs, and MARDIAN.
Cleo. Charmian,
Char. Madam.

Cleo. Ha, ha!-
Give me to drink mandragora.'

“— A strange fellow here
Writes me, that man, however dearly parted,” &c.

Malone. I adhere to the reading of the second folio. Thus, in King Henry IV, P. II, King Henry V, says:

“ Now call we our high court of parliament.” Steevens. 8 — I knew it for my bond.] That is, to be my bounden duty.

M. Mason. 19- mandragora.] A plant of which the infusion was sup. posed to procure sleep. Shakspeare mentions it in Othello:

“ Not poppy, nor mandragora,
“ Nor all the drowsy syrups of the world,
“ Shall ever med'cine thee to that sweet sleep ."

Johnson. So, in Webster's Dutchess of Malfy, 1623:

“Come violent death,

“ Serve for mandragora, and make me sleep.” Steevens. Gerard, in his Herbal, says of the mandragoras : « Dioscorides doth particularly set downe many faculties hereof, of which notwithstanding there be none proper unto it, save those that de. pend upon the drowsie and sleeping power thereof."

In Adlington's Apuleius (of which the epistle is dated 1566) reprinted 1639, 4to. bl. 1. p. 187, Lib. X: “ I gave him no poyson, but a doling drink of mandragoras, which 'is of such force, that it will cause any man to sleepe, as though he were dead.”

Percy.

« AnteriorContinuar »