« PreviousContinue »
Enter ANTONY and CLEOPATRA, with their Trains; Eunuchs fanning her.
Take but good note, and you shall see in him
CLEO. If it be love indeed, tell me how much. ANT. There's beggary in the love that can be reckon❜d.5
CLEO. I'll set a bourn how far to be belov'd.
The triple pillar-]
Triple is here used improperly for third, or one of three. One of the triumvirs, one of the three masters of the world.
So, in All's well that ends well:
"Which, as the dearest issue of his practice,
"He bade me store up as a triple eye." MALONE.
To sustain the pillars of the earth is a scriptural phrase. in Psalm 75: "The earth and all the inhabitants thereof are dissolved. I bear up the pillars of it."
There's beggary in the love that can be reckon'd.] So, in Romeo and Juliet:
They are but beggars that can count their worth." "Basia pauca cupit, qui numerare potest."
Mart. L. VI. Ep. 36. Again, in the 13th Book of Ovid's Metamorphosis; as translated by Golding, p. 172:
Pauperis est numerare pecus.
"Tush! beggars of their cattel use the number for to know." STEEVENS.
Again, in Much Ado about Nothing:
"I were but little happy, if I could say how much.”
bourn-] Bound or limit. POPE.
So, in The Winter's Tale :
one that fixes
"No bourn 'twixt his and mine." STEEvens.
ANT. Then must thou needs find out new heaven, new earth."
Enter an Attendant.
ATT. News, my good lord, from Rome.
CLEO. Nay, hear them," Antony:
Grates me:-The sum.'
How, my love! CLEO. Perchance,-nay, and most like, You must not stay here longer, your dismission Is come from Cæsar; therefore hear it, Antony.Where's Fulvia's process?? Cæsar's I would say?Both ?Call in the messengers.-As I am Egypt's queen,
7 Then must thou needs find out new heaven, &c.] Thou must set the boundary of my love at a greater distance than the present visible universe affords. JOHNSON.
n.] Be brief, sum thy business in a few words. JOHNSON.
9 Nay, hear them,] i. e. the news. This word, in Shakspeare's time, was considered as plural. So, in Plutarch's Life of Antony: "Antonius hearing these newes," &c. MALONE.
Take in &c.] i. e. subdue, conquer. See Vol. IX. p. 374, n. 9; and Vol. XVI. p. 27, n. 9. REED.
2 Where's Fulvia's process?] Process here means summons. M. MASON.
"The writings of our common lawyers sometimes call that the processe, by which a man is called into the court and no more." Minsheu's Dict. 1617, in v. Processe.—“ To serve with processe. Vide to cite, to summon." Ibid. MALONE.
Thou blushest, Antony; and that blood of thine Is Cæsar's homager: else so thy cheek pays shame, When shrill-tongu'd Fulvia scolds.-The messengers.
ANT. Let Rome in Tyber melt! and the wide arch Of the rang'd empire fall! Here is my space; Kingdoms are clay: our dungy earth alike Feeds beast as man: the nobleness of life Is, to do thus; when such a mutual pair,
And such a twain can do't, in which, I bind
Excellent falshood! Why did he marry Fulvia, and not love her?
and the wide arch
Of the rang'd empire fall!] Taken from the Roman custom of raising triumphal arches to perpetuate their victories. Extremely noble. WARBURTON.
I am in doubt whether Shakspeare had any idea but of a fabrick standing on pillars. The later editions have all printed the raised empire, for the ranged empire, as it was first given.
JOHNSON. The rang'd empire is certainly right. Shakspeare uses the same expression in Coriolanus:
bury all which yet distinctly ranges,
"In heaps and piles of ruin."
Again, in Much Ado about Nothing, Act ii. sc. ii: "Whatsoever comes athwart his affection, ranges evenly with mine."
The term range seems to have been applied, in a peculiar sense, to mason-work, in our author's time. So, in Spenser's Fairy Queen, B. II. c. ix:
"It was a vault y-built for great dispence,
"With many raunges rear'd along the wall." MALONE. What, in ancient masons' or bricklayers' work, was denominated a range, is now called a course. STEEVENS.
to weet,] To know. POPE.
I'll seem the fool I am not; Antony
ANT. But stirr'd by Cleopatra.5Now, for the love of Love, and her soft hours," Let's not confound the time' with conference harsh: There's not a minute of our lives should stretch Without some pleasure now: What sport to-night? CLEO. Hear the ambassadors.
ANT. Fye, wrangling queen! Whom every thing becomes, to chide, to laugh,
• Antony Will be himself.
But stirr'd by Cleopatra.] But, in this passage, seems to have the old Saxon signification of without, unless, except. Antony, says the queen, will recollect his thoughts. Unless kept, he replies, in commotion by Cleopatra. JOHNSON.
What could Cleopatra mean by saying Antony will recollect his thoughts? What thoughts were they, for the recollection of which she was to applaud him? It was not for her purpose that he should think, or rouse himself from the lethargy in which she wished to keep him. By Antony will be himself, she means to say, "that Antony will act like the joint sovereign of the world, and follow his own inclinations, without regard to the mandates of Cæsar, or the anger of Fulvia." To which he replies, If but stirr'd by Cleopatra; that is, if moved to it in the slightest degree by her. M, MASON.
Now, for the love of Love, and her soft hours,] of Love, means, for the sake of the queen of love. Comedy of Errors:
"Let Love, being light, be drowned if she sink." Mr. Rowe substituted his for her, and this unjustifiable alteration was adopted by all the subsequent editors. MALONE.
For the love
So, in The
"Let's not confound the time-] i. e. let us not consume the time. So, in Coriolanus:
"How could'st thou in a mile confound an hour,
• Whom every thing becomes,]
"Quicquid enim dicit, seu facit, omne decet."
To weep; whose every passion fully strives1
• Whom every thing becomes, to chide, to laugh,
"Whence hast thou this becoming of things ill,
whose every passion fully strives-] The folio reads. who. It was corrected by Mr. Rowe; but "whose every passion" was not, I suspect, the phraseology of Shakspeare's time. The text however is undoubtedly corrupt. MALone.
Whose every, is an undoubted phrase of our author. So, in The Tempest:
"A space, whose every cubit
See Vol. IV. p. 74. Again, in Cymbeline, Act I. sc. vii;
"Whose every touch" &c.
The same expression occurs again in another play, but I have my reference to it. STEEVENS.
No messenger; but thine and all alone, &c.] Cleopatra has said, "Call in the messengers," and afterwards, “Hear the ambassadors." Talk not to me, says Antony, of messengers; I am now wholly thine, and you and I unattended will to-night wander through the streets. The subsequent words which he utters as he goes out, "Speak not to us," confirm this interpretation. MALONE.
To-night, we'll wander through the streets, &c.] So, in Sir Thomas North's translation of The Life of Antonius:-Sometime also when he would goe up and downe the citie disguised like a slave in the night, and would peere into poore mens' windowes and their shops, and scold and brawl with them within the house; Cleopatra would be also in a chamber maides array, and amble up and down the streets with him," &c.