Imatges de pÓgina

Be nothing of our strife; if we contend,
Out of our question wipe him.

Ces. You have broken

The article of your oath; which you shall never
Have tongue to charge me with.

Lep. Soft, Cæsar.

Ant. No, Lepidus, let him speak ;

The honour's sacred which he talks on now,
Supposing that I lack'd it: But on, Cæsar;

The article of my oath,

Cas. To lend me arms, and aid, when I requir'd them; The which you both denied.

Ant. Neglected, rather;

And then, when poison'd hours had bound me up
From mine own knowledge. As nearly as I may,
I'll play the penitent to you: but mine honesty
Shall not make poor my greatness, nor my power
Work without it: Truth is, that Fulvia,
To have me out of Egypt, made wars here;
For which myself, the ignorant motive, do
So far ask pardon, as befits mine honour
To stoop in such a case.

Lep. 'Tis nobly spoken.

Mec. If it might please you, to enforce no further The griefs between you; to forget them quite,

Were to remember that the present need

Speaks to atone you.

Lep. Worthily spoken, Mecenas.

Eno. Or, if you borrow one another's love for the instant, you may, when you hear no more words of Pom-c pey, return it again: you shall have time to wrangle in, when you have nothing else to do.

Ant. Thou art a soldier only; speak no more.

Eno. That truth should be silent, I had almost forgot.
Ant. You wrong this presence, therefore speak no more.
Eno. Go to then; your considerate stone. 3
Cæs. I do not much dislike the matter, but

The manner of his speech ;4 for it cannot be,


[1] Nor my greatness work without mine honesty. [2] Atone, reconcile. STEEV.--Griefs, grievances. MAL. 3) If I must be chidden, henceforward I will be mute as a marble statue, which seems to think, though it can say nothing. "As silent as a stone, however, might have been once a common phrase. STEEV.

[4] I do not, says Cesar, think the man wrong, but too free of his interposition; for it cannot be, we shall remain in friendship: yet if it were pos sible, I would endeavour it. JOHNS.

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

Agr. Give me leave, Cæsar,—

Cas. Speak, Agrippa.

Agr. Thou hast a sister by the mother's side, Admir'd Octavia: great Mark Antony

Is now a widower.

Cæs. Say not so, Agrippa ;

If Cleopatra heard you, your reproof
Were well deserv'd of rashness. 5

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 but 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.

Ant. Will Cæsar speak?

Cas. Not till he hears how Antony is touch'd

With what is spoke already.

Ant. What power is in Agrippa,

If I would say, Agrippa, be it so,

To make this good?

Cas. The power of Cæsar, and

His power unto Octavia.

Ant. 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!

[5] i.e. you might be reproved for your rashness, and would well deserve it.-Your reproof, means, the reproof you would undergo. MASON.



Cas. 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!

Lep. Happily, amen!

Ant. I did not think to draw my sword 'gainst Pompey;

For he hath laid strange courtesies, and great,

Of late upon me: I must thank him only,

Lest my remembrance suffer ill report ;6
At heel of that, defy him.

Lep. Time calls upon us :

Of us must Pompey presently be sought,
Or else he seeks out us.

Ant. And where lies he?

Cas. About the mount Misenum.

Ant. What's his strength

By land?

Cas. Great, and increasing: but by sea He is an absolute master.

Ant. 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.

Cas. With most gladness;

And do invite you to my sister's view,
Whither straight I will lead you.

Ant. Let us, Lepidus,

Not lack your company.

Lep. Noble Antony,

Not sickness should detain me.

[Flourish. Exeunt CESAR, ANT. and LEP.

Mec. Welcome from Egypt, sir.

Eno. Half the heart of Cæsar, worthy Mecanas !my honourable friend, Agrippa !—

Agr. Good Enobarbus !

Mec. We have cause to be glad, that matters are so well digested. You staied 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?

[6] Lest I be thought too willing to forget benefits, I must barely return high thanks, and then I will defy him.


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. 7

Eno. When she first met Mark Antony, she pursed up his heart, upon the river of Cydnus.

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

The winds were love-sick with them the oars were


Which to the tune of flutes kept stroke, and made
The water, which they beat, to follow faster,
As amorous of their strokes. For her own person,
It beggar'd all description: she did lie

In her pavilion, (cloth of gold, of tissue)
O'er-picturing that Venus, where we see

The fancy out-work nature :9 on each side her,
Stood pretty dimpled boys, like smiling Cupids,
With diverse-colour'd fans, whose wind did seem
To glow the delicate cheeks which they did cool,
And what they undid, did.

Agr. O, rare for Antony !

[7] ie. if report quadrates with her, or suits with her merits. STEEV. [8] The reader may not be displeased with the present opportunity of comparing our author's description with that of Dryden :

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"Her galley down the silver Cydnus row'd,

The tackling, silk, the streamers wav'd with gold,

The gentle winds were lodg'd in purple sails:

Her nymphs, like Nereids, round her couch were plac'd,

Where she, another sea-born Venus, lay.

She lay, and leant her cheek upon her hand,

And cast a look so languishingly sweet,

As if, secure of all beholders' hearts,

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 more;

For she so charm'd all hearts, that gazing crowds

Stood panting on the shore, and wanted breath
To give their welcome voice." REED.

[9] Meaning the Venus of Protogenes mentioned by Pliny,1. 35. WARB.

Eno. Her gentlewomen, like the Nereides,
So many mermaids, tended her i'the eyes,'
And made their bends adornings:2 at the helm
A seeming Mermaid steers; the silken tackle
Swell with the touches of those flower-soft hands,

[1] Perhaps, tended her by th' eyes, discovered her will by the eyes.

JOHNSON. The whole passage is taken from the following in sir Thos. North's translation of Plutarch." She disdained to set forward otherwise, but to take her barge in the riuer of Cydrus, the poope whereof was of golde, the sailes of purple, and the owers of siluer, whiche kept stroke in rowing after the sounde of the musicke of flutes, howboyes, citherns, violls, and such other instruments as they played vpon in the barge. And now for the person of her selfe: she was layed vnder a pauillion of cloth of gold of tissue, apparelled and attired like the Goddesse Venus, commonly drawn in picture: and hard by her, on either hand of her, pretie faire boyes apparelled as painters do set forth God Cupide, with little fannes in their hands, with the which they fanned wind vpon her. Her ladies and gentlewomen also, the fairest of them was apparelled like the nymphes Nereides (which are the mermaides of the waters) and like the Graces, some stearing the helme, others tending the tackle and ropes of the barge, out of the which there came a worderfull passing sweet sauor of perfumes, that perfumed the wharfes side, pestered with innumerable multitudes of people. Some of them followed the barge all alongst the riuer's side: other's also ranne out of he cirie to see her coming in. So that in thend, there ranne such multitudes of people one after another to see her, that Antonius was left post alone in the market place, in his imperiali seate to geve audience :" &c. STEEV.

[2] This passage, as it stands, appears to me wholly unintelligible; but it may be amended by a very slight deviation from the text, by reading, the guise, instead of the eyes, and then it will run thus :

Her gentlewomen, like the Nereides,

So many mermaids, tended her i' the guise,

And made their bends, adornings.

In the guise, means in the forms of mermaids, who were supposed to have the head and body of a beautiful woman, concluding in a fish's tail and by the bends which they made adornings, Enobarbus means the flexure of the fictitious fisnes' tails, in which the limbs of the women were necessarily involved, in order to carry on the deception, and which it seems they adapted with so much art as to make them an ornament, instead of a deformity. This conjecture is supported by the very next sentence, where Enobarbus, proceeding in his description, says:

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at the heim,

A seeming mermaid steers."


In many of the remarks of Mr. M. Mason I perfectly concur, though they are subversive of opinions I had formerly hazarded. On the present occasion, I have the misfortune wholly to disagree with him.

His deviation from the text cannot be received; for who ever employed the phrase he recommends, without adding somewhat immediately after it, that would determine its precise meaning? We may properly say-in the guise of a shepherd, of a friar, or of a Nereid. But to tell us that Cleopatra's women attended her in the guise," without subsequently informing us what that guise was, is phraseology unauthorized by the practice of any writer I have met with. In Cymbeline, Posthumus says:

"To shame the guise of the world, I will begin
The fashion, less without, and more within."

If the word the commentator would introduce had been genuine, and had referred to the antecedent, Nereides. Shakspeare would most probably have said- tended her in that guise :"-at least would have employed some expression to connect his supplement with the foregoing clause of his description. But in the guise" seems unreducible to sense, and unjustifiable on

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