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He is married, madam. Cleo. The gods confound thee! dost thou hold there
still? Mess. Should I lie, madam? Cleo.
0, I would, thou didst;
Mess. I crave your highness' pardon.
He is married?
Cleo. O, that his fault should make a knave of thee; That art not!What? thou 'rt sure of 't?3--Get thee
6 were submerg'd,] Submerg'd is whelmed under water. So, in The Martial Maid, by Beaumont and Fletcher:
" spoil'd, lost, and submerg'd in the inundation,” &c. Again, in Reynold's God's Revenge against Murder, Book III. Hist. xiv: “ -- as the cataracts of Nilus make it submerge and wash Egypt with her inundation.” Steevens. 7
to me Thou would'st appear most ugly.] So, in King Fohn, Act III, sc. i :
“ Fellow, be gone; I cannot brook thy sight;
“ This news hath made thee a most ugly man.” Steevens. & That art not !What? thou 'rt sure of 't?] Old copy:
That art not what thou 'rt sure of. Steevens. For this, which is not easily understood, Sir Thomas Hanmer has given:
That say'st but what thou’rt sure of! I am not satisfied with the change, which, though it affords sense, exhibits little spirit. I fancy the line consists only of abrupt starts:
O that his fault should make a knave of thee,
That art-not what ?-Thou’rt sure on 't. Get thee hence: That his fault should make a knave of thee that art-but what shall I say thou art not? Thou art then sure of this marriage.-Get thee hence. Dr. Warburton has received Sir T. Hanmer's emendation.
Fohnson. In Measure for Measure, Act II, sc. ii, is a passage so much resembling this, that I cannot help pointing it out for the use of some future commentator, though I am unable to apply it with success to the very difficult line before us :
The merchandise which thou hast brought from Rome,
[Exit Messenger. Char.
Good your highness, patience.
· I am paid for 't now.
“ Drest in a little brief authority,
“ His glassy essence.” Steevens. That art not what thou ’rt sure of!] i. e. Thou art not an honest man, of which thou art thyself assured, but thou art, in my opinion, a knave by thy master's fault alone. Tollet.
A proper punctuation, with the addition of a single letter, will make this passage clear; the reading of sure of’t, instead of sure of:
O, that his fault should make a rogue of thee
That art not! What? thou’rt sure of't? That is, What? are you sure of what you tell me, that he is married to Octavia ? M. Mason.
I suspect, the editors have endeavoured to correct this passage in the wrong place. Cleopatra begins now a little to recollect herself, and to be ashamed of having struck the servant for the fault of his master. She then very naturally exclaims:
O, that his fault should make a knave of thee,
Thou art not what thou’rt sore of !? for so I would read, with the change of only one letter --Alas, is it not strange, that the fault of Antony should make thee appear to me a knave, thee, that art innocent, and art not the cause of that ill news, in consequence of which thou art yet sore with my blows!
If it be said, that it is very harsh to suppose that Cleopatra means to say to the Messenger, that he is not himself that infor. mation which he brings, and wbich has now made him smart, let the following passage in Coriolanus answer the objection:
“ Lest you should chance to whip your information,
“ Of what is to be dreaded.”
If the old copy be right, the meaning is-Strange, that his fault should make thee appear a knave, who art not that information of which thou bringest such certain assurance. Malone.
I have adopted the arrangement, &c. proposed, with singular acuteness, by Mr. M. Mason ; and have the greater confidence in it, because I received the very same emendation from a gentleman who had never met with the work in which it first occurred. Steevens.
Report the feature of Octavia, her years,
9— the feature of Octavia,] By feature seems to be meant, the cast and make of her face. Feature, however, anciently appears to have signified beauty in general.
So, in Greene's Farewell to Folly, 1617: “— rich thou art, featured thou art, feared thou art.”
Spenser uses feature for the whole turn of the body. Fairy Queen, B. I, c. viii:
“ Thus when they had the witch disrobed quite,
“ And all her filthy feature open shown.” Again, in B. III, c. ix:
“ She also doft her heavy haberjeon,
“ Which the fair feature of her limbs did hide.” Steevens. Our author has already, in As You Like It, used feature for the general cast of face. See Vol. V, p. 88, n. 4. Malone. 1- let him not leave out
The colour of her hair:] This is one of Shakspeare's masterly touches. Cleopatra, after bidding Charmian to enquire of the Messenger concerning the beauty, age, and temperament of Octavia, immediately adds, let him not leade out the colour of her hair; as from thence she might be able to judge for herself, of her rival's propensity to those pleasures, upon which her passion for Antony was founded. Henley.
Verily, I would, for the instruction of mine ignorance, that the commentator had dealt more diffusedly on this delectable subject, for I can in no wise divine what coloured hair is to be regarded as most indicative of venereal motions : perhaps indeed the xómar xpucean; and yet, without experience, certainty may still be wanting to mine appetite for knowledge. Cuncta prius tentanda, saith that waggish poet Ovidius Naso. Amner.
2 Let him for ever go:] She is now talking in broken sentences, not of the Messenger, but Antony. Johnson.
3 Tother way he's a Mars:] In this passage the sense is clear, but, I think, may be much improved by a very little alteration.
Cleopatra, in her passion upon the news of Antony's marriage, says :
“ Let him for ever go :-Let him not-Charmian,-
“ T other way he's a Mars."
Let him for ever gomlet him-10,-Charmian;
Bring me word, how tall she is.- Pity me, Charmian, But do not speak to me.-Lead me to my chamber.
Exeunt. į SCENE VI. Near Misenum.
Enter POMPEY, and MENAS, at one side, with Drum and
Trumpet: at another, CÆSAR, LEPIDUS, ANTONY, Eno-
Pom. Your hostages I have, so have you mine;
To you all three,
Take your time.
4 the good Brutus ghosted,] This verb is also used by Burton, in his Anatomy of Melancholy. Prefire, p. 22, edit. 1632. " What madnesse ghosts this old man? but what madnesse ghosts us all ?” Steevens.
5 Made the - 1 Thus the second folio. In the first, the article the is omitted, to the manifest injury of the metre. Steevens. VOL. XIIL
Ant. Thou canst not fear us, Pompey, with thy sails,
At land, indeed,
Be pleas'd to tell us,
There's the point.
And what may follow,
You have made me offer
6 Thou canst not fear us, ] Thou canst not affright us with thy numerous navy. Johnson. So, in Measure for Measure :
“Setting it up, to fear the birds of prey." Steevens. 7 At land, indeed,
Thou dost o'er-corint one of my father's house :] At land indeed thou dost exceed me in possessions, liaving added to thy own my father's house. O’er-count seems to be used equivocally, and Pompey perhaps meant to insinuate that Antony not only outnumbered, but had over-reached, him. The circumstance here alluded to our author found in the old translation of Plutarch: “ Afterwards, when Pompey's house was put to open sale, Antonius bought it; but when they asked him money for it, he made it very straunge, and was offended with them.”
Again: “Whereupon Antonius asked him, Sextus Pompeius And where shall we sup? There, sayd Pompey; and showed him his admiral galley, which had six benches of owers: that said he is my father's house they have left me. He spake it to taunt Antonius, because he had his father's house, that was Pompey the Great." See p. 278, n. 9. Malone.
8 But, since the cuckoo builds not for himself, &c.] Since, like the cuckoo, that seizes the nests of other birds, you have invaded a house which you could not build, keep it while you can. Fohnson, So, in P. Holland's translation of Pliny, B. X, ch. ix: " These (cuckows) lay alwaies in other birds' nests."
Steevens. 9. this is from the present,] i. e. foreign to the object of our present discussion. See Vol. II, p. 10, n. 8. Stecvens.