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O most false love! Where be the sacred vials thou should'st fill With sorrowful water?? Now I see, I see, In Fulvia's death, how mine receiv'd shall be.
Ant. Quarrel no more, but be prepar’d to know The purposes I bear; which are, or cease, As you shall give the advice : By the fire », That quickens Nilus' slime, I go from hence, Thy soldier, servant; making peace, or war, As thou affect'st.
Cleo. Cut my lace, Charmian, come ; But let it be.-I am quickly ill, and well : So Antony loves 4.
Again, in Jarvis Markham's English Arcadia, 1607 : “ Days of mourning by continuall garboiles were, however, numbered and encreased.” The word is derived from the old French garbouil, which Cotgrave explains by hurlyburly, great stir. Steevens.
In Cawdrey's Alphabetical Table of Hard Words, 8vo. 1604, garboile is explained by the word hurlyburly. MALONE.
1 - at the last, best :) This conjugal tribute to the memory of Fulvia, may be illustrated by Malcolm's eulogium on the thane of Cawdor :
nothing in his life “Became him, like the leaving it.” Steevens. Surely it means her death was the best thing I have known of her, as it checked her garboils. Boswell. 2 O most false love!
Where be the sacred vials thou should'st fill
With sorrowful water?] Alluding to the lachrymatory vials, of bottles of tears, which the Romans sometimes put into the urn of a friend.
JOHNSON. So, in the first Act of The Two Noble Kinsmen, said to be written by Fletcher, in conjunction with Shakspeare :
“ Balms and gums, and heavy cheers,
“ Sacred vials, fill'd with tears." STEEVENS. - Now, by the fire, &c.] Some word, in the old copies, being here wanting to the metre, I have not serupled to insert the adverb-Now, on the authority of the following passage in King John, as well as on that of many others in the different pieces of our author :
Now, by the sky that hangs above our heads,
" I like it well-." STEEVENS. 4 So Antony loves.] i. e. uncertain as the state of my
health is the love of Antony. STEEVENS. I believe Mr. Steevens is right ; yet before I read his note, I
My precious queen, forbear;
So Fulvia told me.
You'll heat my blood : no more.
And target, -Still he mends;
Ant. I'll leave you, lady.
Courteous lord, one word.
* First folio, Now by sword. thought the meaning to be" My fears quickly render me ill ; and I am as quickly well again, when I am convinced that Antony has an affection for me." So, for so that. If this be the true sense of the passage, it ought to be regulated thus :
“I am quickly ill, -and well again,
“So Antony loves." Thus, in a subsequent scene :
I would, thou didst;
HERCULEAN Roman -] Antony traced his descent from Anton, a son of Hercules. STEEVENS. 7 O, my oblivion is a very Antony,
And I am all forgotten.] Cleopatra has something to say, which seems to be suppressed by sorrow; and after many attempts to produce her meaning, she cries out : O, this oblivious memory of mine is as false and treacherous to me as Antony is, and I
But that your royalty Holds idleness your subject, I should take you For idleness itself.
forget every thing." Oblivion, I believe, is boldly used for a memory apt to be deceitful.
If too much latitude be taken in this explanation, we might with little violence read, as Mr. Edwards has proposed in his MS. notes :
“ Oh me! oblivion is a very Antony,” &c. Steevens. Perhaps nothing more is necessary here than a change of punctuation ; O my! being still an exclamation frequently used in the West of England. Henley.
“Oh my!" in the provincial sense of it, is only an imperfect exclamation of—“Oh my God!” The decent exclaimer always stops before the sacred name is pronounced. Could such an exclamation therefore have been uttered by the Pagan Cleopatra ?
STEEVENS. The sense of the passage appears to me to be this : “O, my oblivion, as if it were another Antony, possesses me so entirely, that I quite forget myself.” M. Mason.
I have not the smallest doubt that Mr. Steevens's explanation of this passage is just. Dr. Johnson says, that " it was her memory, not her oblivion, that like Antony, was forgetting and deserting her.” It certainly was ; it was her oblivious memory, as Mr. Steevens has well interpreted it ; and the licence is much in our author's manner. MALONE. 8 But that your royalty
Holds idleness your subject, I should take you
For idleness itself.] i. e. But that your charms hold me, who am the greatest fool on earth, in chains, I should have adjudged you to be the greatest. That this is the sense is shown by her answer :
“ 'Tis sweating labour,
“ As Cleopatra this--.” WARBURTON. Dr. Warburton's explanation is a very coarse one. may be :-But that your queenship chooses idleness for the subject of your conversation, I should take you for idleness itself. So Webster, (who was often a close imitator of Shakspeare,) in his Vittoria Corombona, 1612 :
how idle am I
“ To question my own idleness ! ” Or an antithesis may be designed between royalty and subject.But that I know you to be a queen, and that your royalty holds
'Tis sweating labour, To bear such idleness so near the heart, As Cleopatra this. But, sir, forgive me; Since my becomings kill me, when they do not Eye well to you: Your honour calls you hence; Therefore be deaf to my unpitied folly, And all the gods go with you! upon your sword Sit laurel victory'! and smooth success Be strew'd before your feet! ANT.
Let us go. Come; Our separation so abides, and flies, That thou, residing here?, go'st yet with me, And I, hence fleeting, here remain with thee, Away.
[Exeunt. idleness in subjection to you, exalting you far above its influence, I should suppose you to be the very genius of idleness itself.
STLEVENS. Mr. Steevens's latter interpretation is, I think, nearer the truth. But perhaps your subject rather means, whom being in subjection to you, you can command at pleasure, “ to do your bidding,” to assume the airs of coquetry, &c. Were not this coquet one of your attendants, I should suppose you yourself were this capricious being. Malone,
9 Since my BECOMINGS kill me,] There is somewhat of obscurity in this expression. In the first scene of the play Antony had called her
“Whom every thing becomes." It is to this, perhaps, that she alludes. Or she may meanThat conduct, which, in my own opinion, becomes me, as often as it appears ungraceful to you, is a shock to my sensibility.
STEEVENS. – LAUREL'D victory!) Thus the second folio. The inaccurate predecessor of it-laurel victory. Steevens.
This was the language of Shakspeare's time. I have adhered to the old reading. MALONE.
2 That thou, residing here, &c.] This conceit might have been suggested by the following passage in Sidney's Arcadia, book i..
“ She went they staid ; or, rightly for to say,
“ She staid with them, they went in thought with her.” Thus also, in The Mercator of Plautus : “Si domi sum, foris est animus ; sin foris sum, animus domi est." STEEVENS.
Rome. An Apartment in CÆSAR's House. Enter Octavius CÆSAR, Lepidus, and Attendants. Cæs. You may see, Lepidus, and henceforth
I must not think, there are Evils enough up to darken all his goodness
* First folio, Vouchsafe. f First folio, enow. 3 One great competitor :] Perhaps -Our great competitor.
Johnson. Johnson is certainly right in his conjecture that we ought to read~" Our great competitor," as this speech is addressed to Lepidus, his partner in the empire. Competitor means here, as it does wherever the word occurs in Shakspeare, associate or partner.
So Menas says :
“ Are in thy vessel.”
That thou my brother, my competitor,
“ In top of all design, my mate in empire." M. Mason. One competitor is any one of his great competitors. Boswell.
Vouchsafd to think he had partners :) The irregularity of metre in the first of these lines induces me to suppose the second originally and elliptically stood thus :
“ Or vouchsaf'd think he had partners,” &c. So, in Cymbeline, Act II. Sc. II. :
Will force him think I have pick'd the lock,” &c. not to think.' STEEVENS.