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CES. I do not much dislike the matter, but The manner of his speech: 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.
CES. Speak, Agrippa.
AGR. Thou hast a sister by the mother's side, Admir'd Octavia: great Mark Antony
Is now a widower.
Give me leave, Cæsar,
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.
As Enobarbus, to whom this line belongs, generally speaks in plain prose, there is no occasion for any further attempt to harmonize it. RITSON.
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. :
Were well deserv'd-] In the old edition :
"Were well deserved -."
"A hoop of gold, to bind thy brothers in -."
Say not so, Agrippa;] The old copy has-" Say not say.” Mr. Rowe made this necessary correction. Malone.
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.
ANT. I am not married, Cæsar: let me hear Agrippa further speak.
AGR. To hold you in perpetual amity, To make you brothers, and to knit your hearts With an unslipping knot, take Antony Octavia to his wife: whose beauty claims. No worse a husband than the best of men; Whose virtue, and whose general graces, speak That which none else can utter. By this marriage, All little jealousies, which now seem great, And all great fears, which now import their dangers, Would then be nothing: truths would be tales, Where now half tales be truths: her love to both, Would, each to other, and all loves to both, Draw after her. Pardon what I have spoke; For 'tis a studied, not a present thought, By duty ruminated.
Will Cæsar speak?
CES. Not till he hears how Antony is touch'd With what is spoke already".
"Your reproof," &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 Arnoldo, speaking to the Physician, says:
And by your success
"In all your undertakings, propagate
Here, your opinion means, the opinion conceived of you.
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,] The conjunction-but, was supplied by Sir Thomas Hanmer, to perfect the metre. We might read, I think, with less alliteration-as tales. STEEVENS.
already.] This adverb may be fairly considered as an interpolation. Without enforcing the sense, it violates the measure.
If I would say, Agrippa, be it so,
What power is in Agrippa,
The power of Cæsar, and
His power unto Octavia.
May I never To this good purpose, that so fairly shows, Dream of impediment !-Let me have thy hand : Further this act of grace; and, from this hour, The heart of brothers govern in our loves, And sway our great designs!
There is my hand. A sister I bequeath you, whom no brother Did ever love so dearly: Let her live
To join our kingdoms, and our hearts; and never Fly off our loves again!
ANT. I did not think to draw my sword 'gainst
For he hath laid strange courtesies, and great,
CES. About the Mount Misenum.
Time calls upon us :
Where lies he?
What's his strength
CES. Great, and increasing: but by sea He is an absolute master.
I 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. JOHNSON.
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.
So is the fame. 'Would, we had spoke together? Haste we for it : Yet, ere we put ourselves in arms, despatch we The business we have talk'd of.
CES. With most gladness *; And do invite you to my sister's view, Whither straight I will lead you.
Not lack your company.
Not sickness should detain me.
Let us, Lepidus,
[Flourish. Exeunt CÆSAR, ANTONY, and LEPIDUS.
MEC. Welcome from Egypt, sir.
ENO. Half the heart of Cæsar, worthy Mecænas! -my honourable friend, Agrippa !—
AGR. Good Enobarbus!
MEC. We have cause to be glad, that matters are so well digested. You stay'd well by it in Egypt.
ENO. Ay, sir; we did sleep day out of countenance, and made the night light with drinking.
MEC. Eight wild boars roasted whole at a breakfast, and but twelve persons there; is this true?
ENO. This was but as a fly by an eagle: we had much more monstrous matter of feast, which worthily deserved noting.
MEC. She's a most triumphant lady, if report be square to her 5.
ENO. When she first met Mark Antony, she pursed up his heart, upon the river of Cydnus".
4 - MOST gladness;] i. e. greatest. So, in King Henry VI. Part I.:
"But always resolute in most extremes." STEEVens.
be SQUARE to her.] i. e. if report quadrates with her, or suits with her merits. .STEEVENS.
6 When she first met Mark Antony, she pursed up his heart, the river of Cydnus.] This passage is a strange instance of
AGR. There she appeared indeed; or my reporter devised well for her.
ENO. I will tell you:
The barge she sat in ', like a burnish'd throne, Burn'd on the water: the poop was beaten gold; Purple the sails, and so perfumed, that
negligence and inattention in Shakspeare. Enobarbus is made say that Cleopatra gained Antony's heart on the river Cydnus ; but it appears from the conclusion of his own description, that Antony had never seen her there; that, whilst she was on the river, Antony was sitting alone, enthroned in the market-place, whistling to the air, all the people having left him to gaze upon her and that, when she landed, he sent to her to invite her to supper. M. MASON.
7 The barge she sat in, &c.] The reader may not be displeased with the present opportunity of comparing our author's description with that of Dryden :
"Her galley down the silver Cydnus row'd,
"The tackling, silk, the streamers wav'd with gold,
"Her nymphs, like Nereids, round her couch were plac'd,
Neglecting she could take 'em : Boys, like Cupids, "Stood fanning with their painted wings the winds "That play'd about her face: But if she smil'd, "A darting glory seem'd to blaze abroad; "That man's desiring eyes were never wearied, "But hung upon the object: To soft flutes "The silver oars kept time; and while they play'd, "The hearing gave new pleasure to the sight, "And both to thought. 'Twas heaven, or somewhat
"For she so charm'd all hearts, that gazing crouds
like a burnish'd THRONE,
BURN'D on the water:] The same idea occurs in Chapman's
translation of the tenth book of the Odyssey:
In a throne she plac'd
My welcome person. Of a curious frame
'Twas, and so bright, I sat as in a flame." STEEVENS