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Three kings I had newly feasted, and did want
You have broken
Cæs. To lend me arms, and aid, when I requir'd them;
• 5 I told him of myself;] i. e. told him the condition I was in, when he had his last audience. Warburton. • 6 The honour's sacred-] Sacred, for unbroken, unviolated.
Warburton. Dr. Warburton seems to understand this passage thus; The honour which he talks of me as lacking, is unviolated. I never lacked it. This, perhaps, may be the true meaning; but, before I read the note, I understood it thus : Lepidus interrupts Cæsar, on the supposition that what he is about to say will be too harsh to be endured by Antony; to which Antony replies-No, Lepidus, let him speak; the security of honour on which he now speaks, on which this conference is held now, is sacred, even supposing that I lacked honour before. Johnson.
Antony, in my opinion, means to say—The theme of honour which he now speaks of, namely, the religion of an oath, for which he supposes me not to have a due regard, is sacred; it is a tender point, and touches my character nearly. Let him there. fore urge his charge, that I may vindicate myself. Malone.
I do not think that either Johnson's or Malone's explanation of this passage is satisfactory. The true meaning of it appears to be this:-“ Cæsar accuses Antony of a breach of honour in denying to send him aid when he required it, which was contrary to his oath. Antony says, in his defence, that he did not deny his aid, but, in the midst of dissipation, neglected to send it: that hay. ing now brought his forces to join him against Pompey, he had redeemed that error; and that therefore the honour which Ca. sar talked of, was now sacred and inviolate, supposing that he had been somewhat deficient before, in the performance of that engagement.”—The adverb now refers to is, not to talks on; and the line should be pointed thus :
The honour's sacred that he talks on, now,
The which you both denied.
'Tis nobly spoken.8
Worthily spoke, Mecænas. Eno. Or, if you borrow one another's love for the instant, you may, when you hear no more words of Pompey, return it again: you shall have time to wrangle in, when you have nothing else to do.
Ant. Thou art a soldier only; speak no more.
nor my power Work without it:] Nor my greatness work without mine honesty. Malone. 8 'Tis nobly spoken.] Thus the second folio. The first-noble.
Steevens. 9 The griefs —] i. e. grievances. See Vol. VIII, p. 306, n. 8.
Malone. i t o atone you.] i. e. reconcile you. See Cymbeline, Vol. XVI, p. 23, n. 1. Steevens.
2 That truth should be silent, ] We find a similar sentiment in King Lear : “ Truth 's a dog that must to kennel,-" Steevens.
3- your considerate stone.] This line is passed by all the editors, as if they understood it, and believed it universally intelligible. I cannot find in it any very obvious, and hardly any possible, meaning. I would therefore read:
Go to then, you considerate ones. You who dislike my frankness and temerity of speech, and are go considerate and discreet, go to, do your own business. Fohnson.
I beliere, Go to then ; your considerate stone, means only this: If I must be chidden, henceforward I will be mute as a marble
Cæs. I do not much dislike the matter, but The manner of his speech :4 for it cannot be, We shall remain in friendship, our conditions So differing in their acts. Yet, if I knew What hoop should hold us staunch, from edge to edge O'the world I would pursue it. Agr.
Give me leave, Cæsar,
Agr. Thou hast a sister by the mother's side,
Сез. - Say not so, Agrippa;6
statue, which seems to think, though it can say nothing. As silent as a stone, however, might have been once a common phrase. So, in the interlude of Jacob and Esau, 1598:
“ Bring thou in thine, Mido, and see thou be a stone.
“ Rebecca.] I meant thou should'st nothing say." Again, in the old metrical romance of Syr Guy of Warwick, bl. 1. no date :
“ Guy let it passe as still as stone,
“ And to the steward word spake none." Again, in Titus Andronicus, Act III, sc. i:
“ A stone is silent and offendeth not.” Mr. Tollet explains the passage in question thus: “ I will henceforth seem senseless as a stone, however I may observe and consider your words and actions.” Steevens.
The metre of this line is deficient. It will be perfect, and the sense rather clearer, if we read (without altering a letter):
- your consideratest one. I doubt, indeed, whether this adjective is ever used in the superlative degree ; but in the mouth of Enobarbus it might be pardoned. Blackstone. 4 I do not much dislike the matter, but
The manner of his speech:] I do not, says Cæsar, think the man wrong, but too free of his interposition ; for it cannot be, we shall remain in friendship: yet if it were possible, I would endeavour it. Johnson.
5 What hoop should hold us staunch,] So, in King Henry IV, Part II:
“A hoop of gold, to bind thy brothers in —.” Steevens. 6 Say not so, Agrippa;] The old copy has-Say not say. Mr. Rowe made this necessary correction. Malone.
7_ your reproof e Were well desero'd - ] In the old edition:
Ant. I am not married, Cæsar: let me hear
Agr. To hold you in perpetual amity,
Will Cæsar speak?
your proof Were well deserved -. which Mr. Theobald, with his usual triumph, changes to approof, which he explains, allowance. Dr. Warburton inserted reproof very properly into Hanmer's edition, but forgot it in his own.
Johnson. Your réproof &c.] That is, you might be reproved for your rashness, and would well deserve it. - Your reproof, means, the reproof you would undergo. The expression is rather licentious; but one of a similar nature occurs in The Custom of the Country, where Amoldo, speaking to the Physician, says:
“ And by your success
“ Your great opinion in the world.” Here, your opinion means, the opinion conceived of you. M. Mason.
Dr. Warburton's emendation is certainly right. The error was one of many which are found in the old copy, in consequence of the transcriber's ear deceiving him. So, in another scene of this play, we find in the first copy-mine nightingale, instead of my nightingale ; in Coriolanus, news is coming, for news is come in; in the same play, higher for hire, &c. &c. Malone.
8 but tales, 7 The conjunction-but, was supplied by Sir Thomas Hanmer, to perfect the metre. We might read, I think, with less alliteration-as tales. Steevens.
9 — already. ] This adverb may be fairly considered as an interpolation. Without enforcing the sense, it violates the measure. Steevens.
What power is in Agrippa,
The power of Cæsar, and
May I never
There is my hand.
For he hath laid strange courtesies, and great,
Time calls upon us:
And where3 lies he?
What's his strength By land?
Cæs. Great, and increasing: but by sea
So is the fame.
* Lest my remembrance suffer ill report ;] Lest I be thought too willing to forget benefits, I must barely return him thanks, and then I will defy him. Fohnson.
2 Of us &c.] In the language of Shakspeare's time, meansby us. Malone.
3 And where -] And was supplied by Sir Thomas Hanmer, for the sake of metre. Steevens.