« AnteriorContinuar »
Cleo. This is my treasurer ; let him speak, my lord, Upon his peril, that I have reserv'd To myself nothing. Speak the truth, Seleucus.
Sel. Madam, 1 had rathers feel my lips,
Cleo. What have I kept back?
Caf. Nay, bluih not, Cleopatra; I approve
Cleo. See, Cæsar! Oh, behold, How pomp is follow'd! mine will now be yours; And, should we shift estates, yours would be mine. The ingratitude of this Seleucus does Even make me wild. Oh save, of no more trust Than love that's hir'd !-What, goest thou back?
thou shalt Go back, I warrant thee: but I'll catch thine eyes, Though they had wings. Slave, soul-less villain, dog, O rarely bale ! *
[Striking bim. Cæs. Good queen, let us intreat you.
Cleo. O Cæsar, what a wounding shame is this; That thou, vouchsafing here to visit me, Doing the honour of thy lordliness To one so meek, that mine own servant should
S-fel my lips,] Sew up my mouth.
JOHNSON. o Cæfar, &c.] This speech of Cleopatra is taken from fir Thomas North's translation of Plutarch, where it stands as follows, "O Cæsar, is not this great shame and reproach, that thou “having vouchsafed to take the pains to come unto me, and halt “ done me this honour, poor wretch and caitiff creature, brought “into this pitiful and miserable estate, and that mine own fer
vant should come now to accuse me. Though it may be that I " have reserved some jewels and trifles meet for women, but not " for me (poor soul) to set out myself withal; but meaning to give " fome pretty presents unto Octavia and Livia, that they making “means and intercession for me to thee, thou mightest yet extend " thy favour and mercy upon me,” &c.
STEEVENS. *Obrarely base!] i e. base in an uncommon degree. STBEVENS. Vol. VIII.
? Parcel the sum of my disgraces by
(To Seleucus. Or I shall fhew the cinders of my spirits & Through the ashes of my chance. - Wert thou a man, Thou wouldst have mercy on me. Caf. Forbear, Seleucus.
[Exit Seleucus. Cleo. 'Be't known, that we, the greatest, are mil
Cæf ? To parcel her disgraces, might be expressed in vulgar language, to bundle up her calamities.
Johnson, * Through the afhes of my chance.] Or fortune. The meaning is, Begone, or I Ihall exert that royal spirit which I had in my prosperity, in spite of the imbecillity of my present weak condition. This taught the Oxford editor to alter it to mischance.
Are therefore to be pitied.] This false pointing has rendered the sentiment, which was not very easy at belt, altogether unintelligible. The lines thould be pointed thus,
B.'l known, that we, the greatest, are misthought
i. e. We
Cef. Cleopatra, Not what you have reserv'd, nor what acknowledg'd, Put we i' the roll of conqueft: still be it yours; Bestow it at your pleasure; and believe, Cæsar's no merchant to make prize with you Of things that merchants sold. Therefore, be cheer'd; 'Make not your thoughts your prisons : no, dear
queen; i. e. We monarchs, while in power, are. accused and blamed for the miscarriages of our ministers; and when any misfortune bath subjeated us to obe power of our enemies, we are sure to be punished for thoje faults. As this is the case, it is but reasonable that we should have the merit of our minifteri' good actions, as well as bear the blame of their bad. But he softens the word merit into piry. The reason of her making the reflexion was this: her former conduct was liable to much censure from O&avius, which she would hereby artfully insinuate was owing to her evil minifters. And as her present conduct, in concealing her treasures, appeared to be her own act, the being detected by her minister ; the begs, that as the now answers for her former minister's miscarriages, fo her present minister's merit in this discovery might likewise be placed to her account : which the thinks but reasonable. The Oxford editor is here again at his old work of altering what he did not understand, and so transforms the passage thus,
and when we fall,
WARBURTON. I do not think that either of the criticks have reached the fenfe of the author, which may be very commodiously explained thus;
We suffer at our highest state of elevation in the thoughts of mankind for that which others do, and when we fall, those that contented themselves only to think ill before, call us to answer in our own names for the merits of others. We are therefore to be piried. Merits is in this place taken in an ill sense, for actions meriting censure. If any alteration be necessary, I should only propose, Be't known, that we at greates, &c.
JOHNSON. 'Make not your thoughts your prisons ;-) I once wished to read,
Make not your thoughts your poison :-
For we intend fo to dispose you, as
Cleo. My master, and my lord !
[Exeunt Cæfar and bis train. Cleo. He words me, girls, he words me, that I
should not Be noble to myself: but hark thee, Charmian.
[Whispers Charmian. Iras. Finish, good lady.—The bright day is done, And we are for the dark.
Cleo. Hie thee again.
Re-enter Dolabella. Dol. Where is the
? Char. Behold, fir. Cieo. Dolabella ?
Dol. Madam, as thereto sworn, by your command,
Dol. I your servant.
. Cleo. Farewel, and thanks. Now, Iras, what
think'st thou? Thou, an Ægyptian puppet, shalt be shewn
In Rome, as well as I: mechanic Naves
Iras. The Gods forbid!
Cleo. Nay, 'tis most certain, Iras : saucy lictors
Iras. O the good Gods !
Iras. I'll never see it ; for I am sure my nails
Cleo. Why, that's the way To fool their preparation, and to conquer s Their most absurd intents. Now, Charmian?
Enter Scald rbimers] Sir T. Hanmer reads,
ftall'd rbimers. Scald was a word of contempt, implying poverty, disease, and filth.
JOHNSON. 3 -quick comedians) The gay inventive players. Johnson,
* - boy my greatness,] The parts of women were acted on the stage by boys.
HANMER. Nah, in Pierce Pennyleffe his Supplication, &c. 1595, says “Our players are not as the players beyond sea, a sort of squirt
ing bawdy comedians, that have whores and common courte“ fans to play women's parts, &c.”
STEEVENS. 5 Their mojt absurd intents.-) Why should Cleopatra call Cæfar's defigns absurd ? She could not think his intent of carrying her in triumph, such, with regard to his own g'ory: and her finde ing an expedient to disappoint him, could not bring it under that predicament. I much rather think the poet wrote, Their most assur'd intents