Imatges de pÓgina

That yarely frame the office. From the barge
A strange invisible pérfume hits the sense
Of the adjacent wharfs. The city cast
Her people out upon her; and Antony,
Enthron'd in the market-place, did sit alone,
Whistling to the air; which, but for vacancy,
Had gone to gaze on Cleopatra too,
And made a gap in nature."

Agr. Rare Egyptian!

every principle of grammar. Besides, when our poet had once absolutely declared these women were like Nereides or Mermaids, would it have been necessary for him to subjoin that they appeared in the form or with the ac coutrements of such beings? for how else could they have been distinguished?

Yet, whatever grace the tails of legitimate mermaids might boast of in their native element, they must have produced but aukward effects when ta ken out of it, and exhibited on the deck of a galley. Nor can I conceive that our fair representatives of these nymphs of the sea were much more adroit and picturesque in their motions; for when their legs were cramped within the fictitious tails the commentator has made for them, I do not discover how they could have undulated their hinder parts in a lucky imitation of semi-fishes. Like poor Elkanah Settle, in his dragon of green leather, they could only wag the remigium caude without ease, variety, or even a chance of labouring into a graceful curve. I will undertake, in short, the expense of providing characteristic tails for any set of mimic Nereides, if my opponent will engage to teach them the exercise of these adscititious terminations, so as to render them a grace instead of a deformity." In such an attempt a party of British chambermaids would prove as docile as an equal number of Egyptian maids of honour.

It may be added also, that the Sirens ar d descendants of Nereus, are understood to have been complete and beautiful women, whose breed was uncrossed by the salmon or dolphin tribes; and as such they are uniformly described by Greek and Roman poets. Antony, in a future scene. (though perhaps with reference to this adventure on the Cydnus,) has styled Cleopatra his Thetis, a goddess whose train of Nereids is circumstantially depicted by Homer, though without a hint that the vertebræ of their backs were lengthened into tails. Extravagance of shape is only met with in the lowest orders of oceanick and terrestrial deities. Tritons are furnished with fins and tails, and Satys have horns and hoofs. But a Nereid's tail is an unclassical image adopted from modern sign-posts, and happily exposed to rid. icule by Hogarth, in his print of Strolling Actresses dressing in a Barn. What Horace too has reprobated as a disgusting combination, can never hope to be received as a pattern of the graceful:

"ut turpiter atrum

Desinat in piscem mulier formosa superne."

I allow that the figure at the helm of the vessel was likewise a Mermaid or Nereid; but all mention of a tail is wanting there, as in every other passage throughout the dramas of our author, in which a Mermaid is introduced.

The plain sense of the contested passage seems to be-that these Ladies rendered that homage which their assumed characters obliged them to pay to their Queen, a circumstance ornamental to themselves. Each inclined her person so gracefully, that the very act of humiliation was an improvement of her own beauty. STEEV.

[3] rarely, that is, readily and dexterously perform the task they undertake. STEEV.

[4] Alluding to an axiom in the Peripatetic philosophy then in vogue that Nature abhors a vacuum. WARB.

Eno. Upon her landing, Antony sent to her, Invited her to supper: she replied,

It should be better, he became her guest;
Which she entreated: Our courteous Antony,
Whom ne'er the word of No woman heard speak,
Being barber'd ten times o'er, goes to the feast;
And, for his ordinary, pays his heart,

For what his eyes eat only.

Agr. Royal wench !

She made great Cæsar lay his sword to bed;
He plough'd her, and she cropp'd.

Eno. I saw her once

Hop forty paces through the public street:

And having lost her breath, she spoke, and panted,
That she did make defect, perfection,

And, breathless, power breathe forth.

Mec. Now Antony must leave her utterly.
Eno. Never; he will not;

Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale

Her infinite variety: Other women cloy

Th' appetites they feed; but she makes hungry,
Where most she satisfies. For vilest things
Become themselves in her; that the holy priests 5
Bless her, when she is riggish.

[1] Such is the praise bestowed by Shakspeare on his heroine; a praise that well deserves the consideration of our female readers. Cleopatra, as ap pears from the tetradrachms of Antony, was no Venus; and indeed the majority of ladies who most successfully enslaved the hearts of princes, are known to have been less remarkable for personal than mental attractions. The reign of insipid beauty is seldom lasting; but permanent must be the rule of a woman who can diversify the sameness of life by an inexhausted variety of accomplishments. STEEV.

[5] In this, and the foregoing description of Cleopatra's passage down the Cydnus, Dryden seems to have emulated Shakspeare, and not without suc


"she's dangerous :

Her eyes have power beyond Thessalian charms,
To draw the moon from heaven For eloquence,
The sea-green sirens taught her voice their flattery;
And, while she speaks, night steals upon the day,

Unmark'd of those that hear: Then, she's so charming,

Age buds at sight of her, and swells to youth:

The holy priests gaze on her when she smiles;

And with heav'd hands, forgetting gravity,

They bless her wanton eyes. Even I who hate her,
With a malignant joy behold such beauty,
And while I curse desire it."

Be it remembered however, that, in both instances, without a spark from

Shakspeare, the blaze of Dryden might not have been enkindled.

[6] Rigg is an antient word meaning a strumpet.



Mec. If beauty, wisdom, modesty, can settle The heart of Antony, Octavia is

A blessed lottery to him.

Agr. Let us go.

Good Enobarbus, make yourself my guest,

Whilst you abide here.

Eno. Humbly, sir, I thank you.

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NY, OCTAVIA between them; Attendants and a Soothsayer.

Ant. The world, and my great office, will sometimes Divide me from your bosom.

Oct. All which time

Before the gods my knee shall bow prayers

To them for you.

Ant. Good night, sir.-My Octavia,

Read not my blemishes in the world's report:

I have not kept my square ; but that to come

Shall all be done by the rule. Good night, dear lady.—

Oct. Good night, sir.

Cas. Good night.

[Exeunt CAS. and OCTA.

Ant. Now, sirrah! you do wish yourself in Egypt? Sooth. 'Would I had never come from thence, nor you Thither!

Ant. If you can, your reason ?

Sooth. I see't in

My motion, have it not in my tongue : But yet
Hie you again to Egypt.

Ant. Say to me,

Whose fortunes shall rise higher, Cæsar's, or mine?
Sooth. Cæsar's.

Therefore, O Antony, stay not by his side:

Thy dæmon, that's thy spirit which keeps thee, is

Noble, courageous, high, unmatchable,

Where Cæsar's is not; but, near him, thy angel
Becomes a Fear, as being o'erpower'd; therefore
Make space enough between you.

[1] Motion, that is, the divinitory agitation.


[2] A Fear was a personage in some of the old moralities. In the sacred writings, Fear is also a person : "I will put a Fear in the land of Egypt." Exodus. STEEV.

Ant. Speak this no more.

Sooth. To none but thee; no more, but when to thee.

If thou dost play with him at any game,

Thou art sure to lose; and, of that natural luck,

He beats thee 'gainst the odds; thy lustre thickens,
When he shines by : I say again, thy spirit

Is all afraid to govern thee near him ;

But, he away, 'tis noble.

Ant. Get thee gone :

Say to Ventidius, I would speak with him:-[Exit Sooth..
He shall to Parthia.-Be it art, or hap,

He hath spoken true: The very dice obey him;
And, in our sports, my better cunning faints
Under his chance : if we draw lots, he speeds:
His cocks do win the battle still of mine,
When it is all to nought; and his quails ever
Beat mine, inhoop'd, at odds.4 I will to Egypt :
And though I make this marriage for my peace,

I'the east my pleasure lies :-O, come, Ventidius,
You must to Parthia; your commission's ready :
Follow me, and receive it.



The same. A Street. Enter LEPIDUS, MECENAS, and


Lep. Trouble yourselves no further: pray you, hasten

Your generals after.

Agr. Sir, Mark Antony

Will e'en but kiss Octavia, and we'll follow.

Lep. Till I shall see you in your soldier's dress,

Which will become you both, farewell.

Mec. We shall,

As I conceive the journey, be at the mount5

Before you, Lepidus.

Lep. Your way is shorter,

My purposes do draw me much about;

You'll win two days upon me.

Mec. Agr. Sir, good success!

Lep. Farewell.

[3] The ancients used to match quails as we match cocks. [4] Inhoop'd-is inclosed that they may fight. JOHNS, [3] i. e. Mount Misenum.





Alexandria. A Room in the Palace.



Cleo. Give me some music; music, moody food Of us that trade in love.

Attend. The music, ho!


Cleo. Let it alone; let us to billiards:

Come, Charmian.

Char. My arm is sore, best play with Mardian. Cleo. As well a woman with an euruch play'd, As with a woman ;-Come, you'll play with me, sir? Mar. As well as I can, madam.

Cleo. And when good-will is show'd, though it come too short,

The actor may plead pardon. I'll none now :-
Give me mine angle,-We'll to the river: there,
My music playing far off, I will betray

Tawny-finn'd fishes; my bended hook shall pierce
Their slimy jaws; and, as I draw them up,
I'll think them every one an Antony,

And say, Ah, ha! you're caught.

Char. 'Twas merry, when

You wager'd on your angling; when your diver
Did hang a salt-fish on his hook, which he
With fervency drew up.

Cleo. That time !-0 times!

I laugh'd him out of patience; and that night
I laugh'd him into patience : and next morn,
Ere the ninth hour, I drunk him to his bed ;
Then put my tires and mantles on him, whilst
I wore his sword Philippan. O! from Italy;—

Enter a Messenger.


Ram thou thy fruitful tidings in mine ears,
That long time have been barren.

Mes. Madam, madam,

[6] The mood is the mind, or mental disposition. Van Haaren's panegyric on the English begins, Groot moedig Volk, (great-minded nation.) Perhaps here is a poor jest intended between mood the mind, and moods of music. JOHNS,

[7] Ram is a vulgar word, never used in our author's plays, but once By Falstaff, where he describes his situation in the buck-basket. In the passage before us, it is evidently a misprint for rain. RITSON.

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