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I am conqueror of myself. Thou art sworn, Eros, That, when the exigent should come, (which now
me that he had some peculiar inaccuracies, which it is very idle to endeavour to amend. For these the poet, not his editor, must answer. We have the same inaccurate phraseology in The Winter's Tale :
I ne'er heard yet,
“ Than to perform it first." Again, in Macbeth :
• Who cannot want the thought, how monsterous
“ To kill their gracious father ? ” Again, in King Lear, Act II. Sc. IV.:
I have hope,
“ Than she to scant her duty." See vol. xi. p. 85; Winter's Tale, Act I. Sc. II. and Act III. Sc. II.
The passage in North's translation of Plutarch, which Shakspeare has here copied, shows that, however inaccurate, the text is not corrupt : “When he had sayd these words, he went into a chamber, and unarmed himselfe, and being naked say'd thus : 0 Cleopatra, it grieveth me not that I have lost thy companie, for I will not be long from thee; but I am sorrie that having been so great a captaine and emperour, I am indeede condemned to be judged of lesse corage and noble Minde than a woman.” Instead of “ to be judged of less,” which applies equally well to courage, and to mind, Shakspeare substituted the word lack, which is applicable to courage, but cannot without a solecism be connected with « less noble mind." Malone.
“ Condemn myself to lack," &c. however licentiously, may have been employed to signify-condemn myself for lacking even the courage of a woman.'
To mind, in this instance, may be a verb, signifying to intend, incline, or be disposed. So, in Spenser's State of Ireland: “When one of them mindeth to go into rebellion, he will convey away all his lordships," &c. Again, in Chapman's version of the 24th Iljad:
As for me; be sure, I mind no harme “ To thy grave person.” Again, in the Third Part of our author's King Henry VI. :
“ Belike, she minds to play the Amazon." Again, ibid. :
“ But if you mind to hold your true obedience."
Is come, indeed,) when I should see behind me
The gods withhold me !
Eros, Would'st thou be window'd in great Rome, and see Thy master thus with pleach'd arms, bending down His corrigible neck , his face subdued To penetrative shame; whilst the wheel'd seat Of fortunate Cæsar, drawn before him, branded His baseness that ensued ? EROS.
I would not see't. Ant. Come then; for with a wound I must be
cur'd. Draw that thy honest sword, which thou hast worn Most useful for thy country.
There may still, however, remain a slight corruption, viz. noble instead of nobly. I would therefore read
condemn myself to lack The courage of a
woman; less nobly mind “ Than she," &c. i. e. am less nobly inclined than she is. Steevens.
7 — pleach'd arms,] Arms folded in each other. Johnson.
A passage very like this occurs in Thomas Kyd's translation of Robert Garnier's Cornelia, published in 1594 :
“ Now shalt thou march (thy hands fast bound behind thee,)
“ With crowned front triumphing follows thee.” Steevens. 8 His CORRIGIBLE neck,] Corrigible for corrected, and afterwards penetrative for penetrating. So Virgil has a penetrabile frigus" for "penetrans frigus," in his Georgicks. Steevens.
9 His baseness that ensued ?] The poor conquered wretch that followed. Johnson.
O, sir, pardon me. Ant. When I did make thee free, swor'st thou
not then To do this when I bade thee? Do it at once ; Or thy precedent services are all But accidents unpurpos’d. Draw, and come. EROS. Turn from me then that noble counte
nance, Wherein the worship of the whole world ’ lies. ANT. Lo thee.
[Turning from him. Eros. My sword is drawn. Ant.
Then let it do at once The thing why thou hast drawn it. EROS.
My dear master, My captain, and my emperor ! let me say, Before I strike this bloody stroke, farewell.
1 When I did make thee free, &c.] So, in the old translation of Plutarch: “ Now he had a man of his called Eros, whom he loued and trusted much, and whom he had long before caused to sweare vnto him, that he should kill him when he did commaunde him : and then he willed him to keepe his promise. His man drawing his sworde, lift it vp, as though he had ment to haue striken his maister: but turning his head at one side, he thrust his sword into him selfe, and fell downe dead at his maister's foote. Then said Antonius, ( noble Eros, I thanke thee for this, and it is valiantly done of thee, to show me what I should do to my selfe, which thou couldest not doe for me. Therewithall he tooke his sword, and thrust it into his bellie, and so fell downe vpon a little bed. The wounde he had, killed him not presently, for the blood stinted a little when he was layed : and when he came somewhat to him selfe again, he praied them that were about him to dispatch him. But they all Åed out of the chamber, and left him crying out and tormenting him selfe: vntil at last there came a secretarie vnto him called Diomedes, who was commaunded to bring him into the tombe or monument where Cleopatra was. When he heard that she was aliue, he verie earnestlie prayed his men to carie his bodie thither, and so he was caried in his men's armes into the entry of the monument.” Steevens.
the worship of the whole world - ] The worship, is the dignity, the authority. Johnson. So, in King John:
“ By giving it the worship of revenge." STEEYENS.
Ant. 'Tis said, man ;-and farewell.
Now, Eros. Eros. Why, there then :- [Falls on his Sword, .
Thus do I escape the sorrow Of Antony's death.
Thrice nobler than myself! Thou teachest me, O valiant Eros, what I should, and thou could'st not. My queen and Eros Have, by their brave instruction, got upon me A nobleness in record : But I will be A bridegroom in my death, and run into't As to a lover's bed. Come then; and, Eros, Thy master dies thy scholar; to do thus
[Falling on his Sword. I learn'd of thee. How! not dead ? not dead?
— The guard !-ho'!-0, despatch me.
3 — but I will be
A bridegroom in my death, &c.] This thought has occurred before in Measure for Measure :
“ I will encounter darkness as a bride,
“ And hug it in my arms." Dryden's Don Sebastian has the same image, though more luxuriantly expressed :
“The sprightly bridegroom on his wedding night
Why, 'tis enjoyment to be summond thus.” Steevens. Stowe, describing the execution of Sir Charles Davers, one of the Earl of Essex's associates, says, that “ having put off his gown and doublet in a most cheerful manner, rather like a bridegroom than a prisoner appointed for death, he prayed very devoutly." Malone.
4 — not yet dead?] Yet, which is wanting in the old copy, was supplied by Mr. Pope. Steevens.
The guard !-Ho!] [Old copy-guard how.) I suspect the poet wrote:
“The guard, ho! O, despatch me!" So, afterwards :
“What, ho! the emperor's guard!” In the last scene of the third Act, he has said
Enter DERCETAS and Guard. I GUARD.
What's the noise ? Ant. I have done my work ill, friends ; 0, make
Of what I have begun. 2 GUARD.
The star is fallen. 1 Guard. And time is at his period. ALL.
Alas, and woe! Ant. Let him that loves me, strike me dead. 1 GUARD.
Not I. 2 GUARD. Nor I. 3 Guard. Nor any one. [Exeunt Guard. DER. Thy death and fortunes bid thy followers
fly. This sword but shown to Cæsar, with this tidings, Shall enter me with him.
Dio. Lives he?
“ Authority melts from me. Of late, when I cried ho, “ Like boys unto a muss, kings would start forth,
“ And cry, your will ? ” The same mistake has happened in The Merchant of Venice. See vol. v. p. 143, n. 2. And twice in the original copy of Hamlet, 1604 :
“ Queen. Help, how !
“ Pol. What how, help." Again, in the last Act :
“ O villainy ! how, let the door be lock'd." The emendation which I have proposed, ought therefore certainly to be admitted into the text. Malone.
I find this emendation already admitted into the text of edition 1785. STEEVENS.
Mr. Steevens should have added that it was so admitted in consequence of my having suggested it. Malone.