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1 Art. The man from Sicyon.- Is there such an
2 Art. He stays upon your will *. Ant.
Let him appear, These strong Egyptian fetters I must break,
Enter another Messenger.
2 Mess. Fulvia thy wife is dead.
Where died she ? 2 Mess. In Sicyon : Her length of sickness, with what else more serious Importeth thee to know, this bears.
[Gives a Letter.
note we substitute, not cultivated, instead of—“ not ventilated by quick winds," we have a true interpretation of Antony's words as now exhibited. Our quick minds, means, our lively, apprehensive minds. So, in King Henry IV. Part II. : “ It ascends me into the brain ;-makes it apprehensive, quick, forgetive."
Again, in this play: “The quick comedians," &c.
“While the active principle within us lies immerged in sloth and luxury, we bring forth vices, instead of virtues, weeds instead of flowers and fruits; but the laying before us our ill condition plainly and honestly, is, as it were, the first culture of the mind, which gives hope of a future harvest."
Being at all times very unwilling to depart from the old copy, I should not have done it in this instance, but that the word winds, in the only sense in which it has yet been proved to be used, affords no meaning; and I had the less scruple on the present occasion, because the same error is found in King John, Act V. Sc. VII. where we have, in the only authentick copy :
“ Death, having prey'd upon the outward parts,
Against the wind."
“ Let it be call’d the mild and wand'ring flood." Malone. The observations of six commentators are here exhibited. To offer an additional line on this subject, (as the Messenger says to Lady Macduff,) were fell cruelty" to the reader. Steevens.
4 He stays upon your will.] We meet with a similar phrase in Macbeth :
[Exit Messenger. There's a great spirit gone! Thus did I desire it: What our contempts do often hurl from us, We wish it ours again; the present pleasure, By revolution lowering, does become The opposite of itself ©: she's good, being gone ; The hand could pluck her back?, that shov'd her on. I must from this enchanting queen break off ; Ten thousand harms, more than the ills I know, My idleness doth hatch.-How now! Enobarbus !
Worthy Macbeth, we stay upon your
STEEVENS. s We wish it ours again.] Thus, in Sidney's Arcadia, lib. ii. : “ We mone that lost which had we did bemone.”
STEEVENS. the present pleasure By REVOLUTION LOWERING, does become
The OPPOSITE of itself:] The allusion is to the sun's diurnal course; which rising in the east, and by revolution lowering, or setting in the west, becomes the opposite of itself. WARBURTON.
This is an obscure passage. The explanation which Dr. Warburton has offered is such, that I can add nothing to it; yet, perhaps, Shakspeare, who was less learned than his commentator, meant only, that our pleasures, as they are revolved in the mind, turn to pain. Johnson.
I rather understand the passage thus: “What we often cast from us in contempt we wish again for, and what is at present our greatest pleasure, lowers in our estimation by the revolution of time; or by a frequent return of possession becomes undesirable and disagreeable." TOLLET.
I believe revolution means change of circumstances. This sense appears to remove every difficulty from the passage.-" The pleasure of to-day, by revolution of events and change of circumstances, often loses all its value to us, and becomes to-morrow a pain."
STEEVENS. 7 The hand could pluck her back, &c.] The verb could has a peculiar signification in this place; it does not denote power but inclination. The sense is, “ the hand that drove her off would now willingly pluck her back again.” Heath.
Could, would, and should, are a thousand times indiscriminately used in the old plays, and yet appear to have been so employed rather by choice than by chance. Steevens.
Enter ENOBARBUS. Eno. What's your pleasure, sir ? Ant. I must with haste from hence.
Eno. Why, then, we kill all our women: We see how mortal an unkindness is to them; if they suffer our departure, death's the word.
Ant. I must be gone.
Exo. Under a compelling occasion, let women die: It were pity to cast them away for nothing; though, between them and a great cause, they should be esteemed nothing. Cleopatra, catching but the least noise of this, dies instantly ; I have seen her die twenty times upon far poorer momento: I do think, there is mettle in death, which commits some loving act upon her, she hath such a celerity in dying
Ant. She is cunning past man's thought.
Eno. Alack, sir, no ; her passions are made of nothing but the finest part of pure love: We cannot call her winds and waters, sighs and tears '; they poorer moment:] For less reason ; upon meaner motives.
Johnson. 9 We cannot call her winds and waters, sighs and tears ;] I once idly supposed that Shakspeare wrote—“We cannot call her sighs and tears, winds and waters ;”—which is certainly the phraseology we should now use. I mention such idle conjectures, however plausible, only to put all future commentators on their guard against suspecting a passage to be corrupt, because the diction is different from that of the present day. The arrangement of the text was the phraseology of Shakspeare, and probably of his time. So, in King Henry VIII. :
You must be well contented,
“ To make your house our Tower.” We should certainly now write-to make our Tower Again, in Coriolanus :
“What good condition can a treaty find,
“ l' the part that is at mercy ?". i. e. how can the party that is at mercy or in the power of another, expect to obtain in a treaty terms favourable to them ?-See also a similar inversion in vol. v. p. 68, n. 4.
are greater storms and tempests that almanacks can report: this cannot be cunning in her; if it be, she makes a shower of rain as well as Jove.
Avt. 'Would I had never seen her!
Evo. 0, sir, you had then left unseen a wonderful piece of work; which not to have been blessed withal, would have discredited your travel.
Ant. Fulvia is dead.
Evo. Why, sir, give the gods a thankful sacrifice. When it pleaseth their deities to take the wife of a man from him, it shows to man the tailors of the earth: comforting therein', that when old robes
The passage, however, may be understood without any inversion. * We cannot call the clamorous heavings of her breast, and the copious streams which flow from her eyes, by the ordinary name of sighs and tears; they are gr ter storms," &c.
Malone. Dr. Young has seriously employed this image, though suggested as a ridiculous one by Enobarbus:
Sighs there are tempests here,” says Carlos to Leonora, in The Revenge. Steevens.
i-it shows to man the tailors of the earth ; comforting therein, &c.] I have printed this after the original, which, though harsh and obscure, I know not how to amend. Sir Thomas Hanmer reads-“ They show to man the tailors of the earth ; comforting him therein,” &c. I think the passage, with somewhat less alteration, for alteration is always dangerous, may stand thus" It shows to men the tailors of the earth, conforting them,” &c.
Johnson. When the deities are pleased to take a man's wife from him, this act of theirs makes them appear to man like the tailors of the earth : affording this comfortable reflection, that the deities have made other women to supply the place of his former wife ; as the tailor, when one robe is worn out, supplies him with another. MALONE.
The meaning is this—" As the gods have been pleased to take away your wife Fulvia, so they have provirled you with a new one in Cleopatra ; in like manner as the tailors of the earth, when are worn out, there are members to make new. If there were no more women but Fulvia, then had you indeed a cut, and the case to be lamented: this grief is crowned with consolation; your old smock brings forth a new petticoat :-and, indeed, the tears live in an onion”, that should water this sorrow. Ant. The business she hath broached in the
state, Cannot endure my absence.
Eno. And the business you have broached here cannot be without you; especially that of Cleopatra's, which wholly depends on your abode.
Ant. No more light answers. Let our officers Have notice what we purpose.
I shall break The cause of our expedience to the queen, And get her love to part*. For not alone
your old garments are worn out, accommodate you with new
ANONYMOUS. 2 – the tears live in an onion, &c.] So, in The Noble Soldier, 1634 : “ So much water as you might squeeze out of an onion had been tears enough,” &c. i. e. yonr sorrow should be a forced one. In another scene of this play we have onion-eyed ; and, in The Taming of a Shrew, the Lord says:
- If the boy have not a woman's gift “ To rain a shower of commanded tears,
“ An onion will do well." Again, in Hall's Vigidemiarum, lib. vi. : “Some strong-smeld onion shall stirre his
eyes “ Rather than no salt tears shall then arise." VENS. 3 The cause of our expedience —] Expedience, for etpedition, WARBURTON. So, in King Henry IV. First Part, Act I. Sc. I. :
Then let me hear
“In forwarding this dear expedience." MALONE. * And get her love to part.] I suspect the author wrote:
“And get her leave to part." The greater part of the succeeding scene is employed by Antony, in an endeavour to obtain Cleopatra's permission to depart, and