Imatges de pÓgina
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Rome.

SCENE IV.

An Apartment in CASAR's House. Enter OCTAVIUS
CESAR, LEPIDUS, and Attendants.

Cas. You may see, Lepidus, and henceforth know, It is not Cæsar's natural vice to hate

One great competitor.6 From Alexandria

This is the news; He fishes, drinks, and wastes
The lamps of night in revel; is not more manlike
Than Cleopatra; nor the queen Ptolemy

More womanly than he hardly gave audience, or
Vouchsaf'd to think he had partners: you shall find there
A man, who is the abstract of all faults

That all men follow.

Lep. I must not think, there are

Evils enough to darken all his goodness:

His faults, in him, seem as the spots of heaven,
More fiery by night's blackness ;7 hereditary,
Rather than purchas'd; what he cannot change,
Than what he chooses.

Cas. You are too indulgent: Let us grant, it is not Amiss to tumble on the bed of Ptolemy;

To give a kingdom for a mirth; to sit

And keep the turn of tippling with a slave;

To reel the streets at noon, and stand the buffet

With knaves that smell of sweat: say, this becomes him, (As his composure must be rare indeed,

Whom these things cannot blemish,) yet must Antony No way excuse his soils, when we do bear

So great weight in his lightness. If he fill'd

His vacancy with his voluptuousness,

Full surfeits, and the dryness of his bones,

[6] Perhaps-Our great competitor.

JOHNS.

[7] If by spots are meant stars, as night has no other fiery spots, the comparison is forced and harsh, stars having been always supposed to beautify the night; nor do I comprehend what there is in the counterpart of this simile, which answers to night's blackness. Hanmer reads,

-spots on ermine,

Or fires by night's blackness.

JOHNS.

It is objected, that stars rather beautify than deform the night. But the poet considers them here only with respect to their prominence and splendor. It is sufficient for him that their scintillations appear stronger in consequence of darkness, as jewels are more resplendent on a black ground than on ay other. MAL.

[8] Purchas'd-Procured by his own fault or endeavour. JOHNS. [9] The word light is one of Shakspeare's favourite play-things. The sense is, His trifing levity throws so much burden upon us. JOHNS.

Call on him for't: but, to confound such time,
That drums him from his sport, and speaks as loud
As his own state, and ours,-'tis to be chid
As we rate boys; who, being mature in knowledge,
Pawn their experience to their present pleasure,
And so rebel to judgment.

Enter a Messenger.

Lep. Here's more news.

2

Mes. Thy biddings have been done; and every hour, Most noble Cæsar, shalt thou have report

How 'tis abroad. Pompey is strong at sea;

And it appears, he is belov'd of those

That only have fear'd Cæsar :3 to the ports
The discontents repair, 4 and men's reports
Give him much wrong'd.

Cas. I should have known no less :

It hath been taught us from the primal state,
That he, which is, was wish'd, until he were ;

And the ebb'd man, ne'er lov'd, till ne'er worth love,
Comes dear'd, by being lack'd. This common body,
Like a vagabond flag upon the stream,

Goes to, and back, lackeying the varying tide,
To rot itself with motion.

Mes. Cæsar, I bring thee word,

Menecrates and Menas, famous pirates,

Make the sea serve them; which they ear and wound With keels of every kind :5 Many hot inroads

They make in Italy; the borders maritime

6

Lack blood to think on't, and flush youth revolt :7

No vessel can peep forth, but 'tis as soon

Taken as seen; for Pompey's name strikes more,
Than could his war resisted.

Cas. Antony,

Leave thy lascivious wassals. When thou once
Wast beaten from Modena, where thou slew'st

[1] Call on him, is, visit him. Says Cæsar-If Antony followed his debaucheries at a time of leisure, I should leave him to be punished by their natural consequences, by surfeits and dry bones. JOHNS

JOHNS.

adherents to Cæsar, now show [4] i.e. the malcontents. MAL.

[2] Boys old enough to know their [3] Those whom not love but fear made their affection for Pompey. JOHNS. [5] To ear, is to plough.

JOH.

[6] Turn pale at the thought of it.

JOH.

[7] Youth ripened to manhood; youth whose blood is at the flow. STEE. [8] Wassel is here put for intemperance in general. See Macbeth, p. 25. The old copy, however, reads vaissailes.. STEEV.

Vassals is, without question, the true reading. HENLEY.

Hirtius and Pansa, consuls, at thy heel

Did famine follow; whom thou fought'st against,
Though daintily brought up, with patience more
Than savages could suffer: Thou didst drink
The stale of horses, and the gilded puddle3
Which beasts would cough at: Thy palate then did deign
The roughest berry on the rudest hedge;

Yea, like the stag, when snow the pasture sheets,
The barks of trees thou browsed'st; on the Alps,
It is reported, thou didst eat strange flesh,
Which some did die to look on: And all this
(It wounds thine honour, that I speak it now,)
Was borne so like a soldier, that thy cheek
So much as lank'd not.

Lep. It is pity of him.

Cas. Let his shames quickly

Drive him to Rome: 'Tis time we twain
Did show ourselves i'the field; and, to that end,
Assemble we immediate council: Pompey
Thrives in our idleness.

Lep. To-morrow, Cæsar,

I shall be furnish'd to inform you rightly
Both what by sea and land I can be able,

To 'front this present time.

Cas. Till which encounter,

It is my business too.

Farewell.

Lep. Farewell, my lord: What you shall know

mean time

Of stirs abroad, I shall beseech you, sir,

To let me be partaker.

Cas. Doubt not, sir ;

I knew it for my bond.4

[Exeunt.

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[3] There is frequently observable on the surface of stagnant pools that have remained long undisturbed, a reddish gold coloured slime; to this appearance the poet here refers. HENLEY.

143 That is, to be my boundem duty. MASON.

Give me to drink mandragora.9

Char. Why, madam ?

Cleo. That I might sleep out this great gap of time,

My Antony is away.

Char. You think of him

Too much.

Cleo. O, treason!

Char. Madam, I trust, not so.

Cleo. Thou, eunuch, Mardian !

Mar. What's your highness' pleasure?

Cleo. Not now to hear thee sing; I take no pleasure In aught an eunuch has: 'Tis well for thee,

That, being unseminar'd, thy freer thoughts

May not fly forth of Egypt. Hast thou affections?
Mar. Yes, gracious madam.

Cleo. Indeed?

Mar. Not in deed, madam; for I can do nothing
But what in deed is honest to be done :

Yet have I fierce affections, and think,
What Venus did with Mars.

Cleo. O Charmian,

Where think'st thou he is now? Stands he, or sits he? Or does he walk? or is he on his horse?

O happy horse, to bear the weight of Antony !

Do bravely, horse! for wot'st thou whom thou mov'st? The demi-Atlas of this earth, the arm

And burgonet of men.'-He's speaking now,

Or murmuring, Where's my serpent of old Nile?

For so he calls me ; Now 1 feed myself

With most delicious poison :-Think on me,
That am with Phoebus' amorous pinches black,

And wrinkled deep in time? Broad-fronted Cæsar,2
When thou wast here above the ground, I was
A morsel for a monarch: and great Pompey
Would stand, and make his eyes grow in my brow;
There would he anchor his aspect, and die
With looking on his life.

Enter ALEXAS.

Alex. Sovereign of Egypt, hail !

[9] Mandragora-a plant of which the infusion was supposed to procure sleep. Shakspeare mentions it in Othello:

"Not poppy, nor mandragora,

Nor all the drowsy syrups of the world,

Shall ever med'cine thee to that sweet sleep-."

JOHN'S.

[] A burgonet-is a kind of helmet.

[2] In allusion to Cæsar's baldness.

STEEV.
HENLEY.

Cleo. How much unlike art thou Mark Antony !
Yet, coming from him, that great medicine hath
With his tinct gilded thee. 3.

How goes it with my brave Mark Antony?
Alex. Last thing he did, dear queen,

He kiss'd, the last of many doubled kisses,-
This orient pearl ;-His speech sticks in my heart.
Cleo. Mine ear must pluck it thence.

Alex. Good friend, quoth he,

Say, the firm Roman to great Egypt sends
This treasure of an oyster; at whose foot
To mend the petty present, I will piece

Her opulent throne with kingdoms: All the east,
Say thou, shall call her mistress. So he nodded,
And soberly did mount a termagant steed,

Who neigh'd so high, that what I would have spoke
Was beastly dumb'd by him.

Cleo. What, was he sad, or merry?

Alex.Like to the time o'the year between the extremes Of hot and cold; he was nor sad, nor merry.

Cleo. O well-divided disposition !-Note him,
Note him, good Charmian, 'tis the man; but note him:
He was not sad; for he would shine on those
That make their looks by his he was not merry;
Which seem'd to tell them, his remembrance lay
In Egypt with his joy : but between both :

O heavenly mingle-Be'st thou sad, or merry,
The violence of either thee becomes;

So does it no man else.-Met'st thou my posts?
Alex. Ay, madam, twenty several messengers :
Why do you send so thick?

Cleo. Who's born that day

When I forget to send to Antony,

Shall die a beggar.-Ink and paper, Charmian.-
Welcome, my good Alexas.-Did I, Charmian,
Ever love Cæsar so?

Char. O that brave Cæsar !

Cleo. Be chok'd with such another emphasis ! Say, the brave Antony.

Char. The valiant Cæsar !

Cleo. By Isis, I will give thee bloody teeth,

If thou with Cæsar paragon again

[3] Alluding to the philosopher's stone, which, by its touch, converts base metal into gold. The alchemists call the matter, whatever it be, by which they perform transmutation, a medicine. JOHNS.

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