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A vapour, sometime, like a bear, or lion,
It does, my lord.
Ay, my lord.
Perhaps, however, Shakspeare had the following passage in A Treatise of Spectres, &c. quarto, 1605, particularly in his thoughts: “ The cloudes sometimes will seem to be monsters, lions, bulls, and wolves ; painted and figured : albeit in truth the same be nothing but a moyst humour mounted in the ayre, and drawne up from the earth, not having any figure or colour, but such as the ayre
is able to give unto it." MALONE.
blue promontory With trees UPON'T,) Thus, says Commodore Byron, (speaking of the deceptions of a fog-bank,) the master of a ship, not long since, made oath, that he had seen an island between the west end of Ireland and Newfoundland, and even distinguished the trees that
grew upon it. Yet it is certain that no such island exists,” &c. Byron's Voyage, 4to. p. 10. Steevens.
4 They are black vesper's pageants.] The beauty both of the expression and the allusion is lost, unless we recollect the frequency and the nature of these shows in Shakspeare's age.
T. WARTON. s The rack dislimns ;] i. e. The feeting away of the clouds destroys the picture. Steevens.
6 My good knave, Eros,] Knave is servant. So, in A Mery Geste of Robyn Hoode, bl. 1. no date :
" I shall thee lende lyttle John my man,
“ For he shall be thy knave.” Again, in the old metrical romance of Syr Degore, bl. 1. no date:
“ He sent the chylde to her full rathe,
“ With much money by his knave.” Steevens. VOL. XII.
Yet cannot hold this visible shape, my knave.
7 Pack'D CARDS with Cæsar, and False Play'd my glory
Unto an enemy's TRIUMPH.] Shakspeare has here, as usual, taken his metaphor from a low trivial subject ; but has enobled it with much art, by so contriving that the principal term in the subject from whence the metaphor was taken, should belong to, and suit the dignity of the subject to which the metaphor is transferred : thereby providing at once for the integrity of the figure, and the nobleness of the thought. And this by the word triumph, which either signifies Octavius's conquest, or what we now call, contractedly, the trump at cards, then called the triumph or the triumphing sort. WARBURTON.
This explanation is very just; the thought did not deserve so good an annotation. Johnson.
This use of the word triumph comes to us from the French, who at this day call the trump at cards, le triomphe. STEEVENS.
It is evident that Ben Jonson did not consider the word trump as derived from triumph, but from the French tromper, to deceive, as appears from the following passage in his New Inn :
“ Yet all, sir, are not sons of the white hen;
“ Out in the game, which all the world is.” M. Mason. I believe Dr. Warburton here, as in many other places, saw more than his author meant. Shakspeare, I think, only intended to say, that Cleopatra, by collusion, played the great game they were engaged in falsely, so as to sacrifice Antony's fame to that of his enemy. The playing false to the adversary's trump card (as Dr. Warburton explains the words) conveys no distinct idea. The plain sense of the passage will appear from the following dialogue in Florio's Second Frutes, 1591 : “S. What a shoufiling do you keepe with those cardes ?-A. I plaie fair playe, and shooffel them as I ought. S. Methinks you packe, and set them.”
Nay, weep not, gentle Eros; there is left us
No, Antony; My mistress lov’d thee, and her fortunes mingled With thine entirely. Ant.
Hence, saucy eunuch; peace ; She hath betray'd me, and shall die the death.
Mar. Death of one person can be paid but once; And that she has discharg‘d : What thou would'st
Dead then ?
Dead. Ant. Unarm, Eros * ; the long day's task is done, And we must sleep :-That thou depart'st hence
safe, Does pay thy labour richly; Go.-Off, pluck off ;
[Exit MARDIAN. The seven-fold shield of Ajax cannot keep The battery from my heart', 0, cleave, my sides !
8 Eros, unarm ;] Old copy, in defiance of metre-Unarm, Eros. STEEVENS.
See the Essay on Shakspeare's Versification. Boswell.
9 The seven-FOLD Shield of Ajax cannot keep, &c.] This thought might have been taken from the Epistle prefixed to Wit's Commonwealth, 1598: “ Which neyther a seaven-fold shielde, nor Pallas' Ægis can avoyde.” Steevens. The battery from my heart.] I would read :
“ This battery from my heart—" Johnson. “ The battery from my heart” means, I apprehend, 'the battery proceeding from my heart, which is strong enough to break
Heart, once be stronger than thy continent",
hand, And with our sprightly port make the ghosts gaze: Dido and her Æneas shall want troops',
through the seven-fold shield of Ajax ; I wish it were strong enough to cleave my sides and destroy me.' See the notes on “ Pray you, undo this button :” King Lear, vol. x. p. 286.
BOSWELL. thy continent,] i. e. the thing that contains thee. So, in Hamlet : “ You shall find in him the continent of what part a genileman would see.” STEEVENS.
3 All length is torture :) I strongly suspect that, instead of length, our author wrote-life. STEEVENS.
4 - Seal then, and all is done.) Metaphor taken from civil contracts, where, when all is agreed on, the sealing compleats the contract; so he hath determined to die, and nothing remained but to give the stroke. WARBURTON. I believe the reading is :
seel then, and all is done." To seel hawks, is to close their eyes. The meaning will be: • Close thine eyes for ever, and be quiet.' Johnson. In a former scene we have :
the wise gods seel our eyes " In our own filth."
Malone. The old reading is the true one. Thus, in King Henry V.:
“ And so, espous'd to death, with blood he sealed
“ A testament of noble-ending love." Steevens. s Dido and her Æneas shall want troops,] Dr. Warburton has justly observed that the poet seems not to have known that Dido and Æneas were not likely to be found thus lovingly associated,
And all the haunt be ours.-Come, Eros, Eros !
Re-enter Eros. Eros. What would my lord ? Ant.
Since Cleopatra died I have liv'd in such dishonour, that the gods Detest my baseness. I, that with my sword Quarter'd the world, and o’er green Neptune's back With ships made cities, condemn myself, to lack The courage of a woman ; less noble mind Than she", which, by her death, our Cæsar tells,
“ where souls do couch on flowers.” He undoubtedly had read Phaer's translation of Virgil, but probably had forgot the celebrated description in the sixth book :
Talibus Æneas ardentem et torva tuentem
In nemus umbriferum. MALONE. Dr. Warburton has also observed that Shakspeare most probably wrote-Sichæus. At least, I believe, he intended to have written so, on the strength of the passage immediately following the lines already quoted :
conjux ubi pristinus illi
Respondet curis, æquatque Sichæus amorem. Thus rendered by Phaer, edit. 1558 :
where ioynt with her, her husband old, Sycheus doth complayne, and equall loue with her doth
holde." But Eneas being the more familiar name of the two, our author inadvertently substituted the one for the other. Steevens.
condemn myself, to LACK
Than she,] Antony is here made to say, that he is destitute of even the courage of a woman, that he is destitute of a less noble mind than Cleopatra. But he means to assert the very contrary: that he must acknowledge he has a less noble mind than she. I therefore formerly supposed that Shakspeare might have written :
condemn myself to lack
“ Than she," &c. But a more intimate acquaintance with his writings has shown