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Enter DERCETAS, with the Sword of ANTONY. CES. Wherefore is that? and what art thou, that dar'st
Appear thus to us 7?
I am call'd Dercetas ;
To take me to thee, as I was to him
A greater crack: The round world should have shook
Lions into civil streets
makes," is as follows: He plays wantonly with the intervals of time which he should improve to his own preservation. Or the meaning may be-Being thus defeated in all his efforts, and left without resource, tell him that these affected pauses and delays of his in yielding himself up to me, are mere idle mockery. mocks the pauses," may be a licentious mode of expression for"he makes a mockery of us by these pauses ;" i. e. he trifles with us. STEEVENS.
6 Cæsar, I shall.] I make no doubt but it should be marked here, that Dolabella goes out. 'Tis reasonable to imagine he should presently depart upon Cæsar's command; so that the speeches placed to him in the sequel of this scene, must be transferred to Agrippa, or he is introduced as a mute. Besides, that Dolabella should be gone out, appears from this, that when Cæsar asks for him, he recollects that he had sent him on busi
- thus to us ?] With a drawn and bloody sword in thy hand. STEEVENS.
The round world should have shook
Lions into civil streets, &c.] I think here is a line lost, after which it is in vain to go in quest. The sense seems to have been this: "The round world should have shook," and this great
And citizens to their dens :-The death of Antony
alteration of the system of things should send "lions into streets, and citizens into dens." There is sense still, but it is harsh and violent. JOHNSON.
I believe we should read-" A greater crack than this: The ruin'd world," i. e. the general disruption of elements should have shook, &c. Shakspeare seems to mean that the death of so great a man ought to have produced effects similar to those which might be expected from the dissolution of the universe, when all distinctions shall be lost. To shake any thing out, is a phrase in common use among our ancient writers. So Holinshed, p. 743: "God's providence shaking men out of their shifts of supposed safetie," &c.
Perhaps, however, Shakspeare might mean nothing more here than merely an earthquake, in which the shaking of the round world was to be so violent as to toss the inhabitants of woods into cities, and the inhabitants of cities into woods. STEEVENS.
The sense, I think, is complete and plain, if we consider shook (more properly shaken) as the participle past of a verb active. The metre would be improved if the lines were distributed thus:
66 -The round world should have shook
"Lions into civil streets, and citizens
"Into their dens." TYRWHITT.
The defect of the metre strongly supports Dr. Johnson's conjecture, that something is lost. Perhaps the passage originally
"The breaking of so great a thing should make
"A greater crack. The round world should have shook ; "Thrown hungry lions into civil streets,
"And citizens to their dens."
In this very page, five entire lines between the word shook in my note, and the same word in Mr. Tyrwhitt's note, were omitted by the compositor, in the original proof sheet [of edition 1790.]
That the words-" The round world should have shook," contain a distinct proposition, and have no immediate_connection with the next line, may be inferred from hence; that Shakspeare, when he means to describe a violent derangement of nature, almost always mentions the earth's shaking, or being otherwise convulsed and in these passages constantly employs the word shook, or some synonymous word, as a neutral verb. Thus, in Macbeth:
The obscure bird
"Clamour'd the live-long night: some say, the earth
He is dead, Cæsar;
DER. Not by a publick minister of justice, Nor by a hired knife; but that self hand, Which writ his honour in the acts it did, Hath, with the courage which the heart did lend it, Splitted the heart.-This is his sword,
I robb'd his wound of it; behold it stain'd
With his most noble blood.
CES. Look you sad, friends? The gods rebuke me, but it is tidings To wash the eyes of kings'.
And strange it is,
"Our lodging standing bleak upon the sea,
as if the world
Again, in King Henry IV. Part I.:
66 I say, the earth did shake, when I was born.
O, then the earth shook, to see the heavens on fire, "And not in fear of your nativity."
Again, in King Lear:
thou all-shaking thunder,
"Strike flat the thick rotundity of the world,
This circumstance, in my apprehension, strongly confirms Dr. Johnson's suggestion that some words have been omitted in the next line, and is equally adverse to Mr. Tyrwhitt's emendation. The words omitted were perhaps in the middle of the line, which originally might have stood thus in the MS.:
Lions been hurtled into civil streets,
"And citizens to their dens." MALONE.
The reader should be told that the old copy gives the passage thus:
The round world
"Should have shook lions into civil streets," &c.
-A tidings] Thus the second folio. In the first, the article had been casually omitted. STEEVENS.
BUT it is a tidings
To wash the eyes of kings.] That is, May the gods rebuke me, if this be not tidings to make kings weep." But, again, for if not.
That nature must compel us to lament
Waged equal with him 2.
A rarer spirit never Did steer humanity: but you, gods, will give us Some faults to make us men. Cæsar is touch'd. MEC. When such a spacious mirror's set before him,
He needs must see himself.
I have follow'd thee to this ;-But we do lance
His taints and honours
2 WAGED equal with him.] For waged, [the reading of the first folio,] the modern editions have weighed. JOHNSON.
It is not easy to determine the precise meaning of the word wage. In Othello, it occurs again :
"To wake and wage a danger profitless."
It may signify to oppose. The sense will then be, "his taints and honours were an equal match; i. e. were opposed to each other in just proportions, like the counterparts of a wager.
Read-weigh, with the second folio, where it is only mis-spelled way. So, in Shore's Wife, by A. Chute, 1593:
notes her myndes disquyet
"To be so great she seemes downe wayed by it." RITSON. But we do LANCE
Diseases in our bodies:]
[Old copy-launch.] Launch was the ancient, and is still the vulgar pronunciation of lance. Nurses always talk of launching the gums of children, when they have difficulty in cutting teeth.
"I have followed thee, (says Cæsar), to this;" i. e. I have pursued thee, till I compelled thee to self-destruction. But, adds the speaker, (at once extenuating his own conduct, and considering the deceased as one with whom he had been united by the ties of relationship as well as policy, as one who had been a part of himself,) the violence, with which I proceeded, was not my choice; I have done but by him as we do by our own natural bodies. I have employed force, where force only could be effectual. I have shed the blood of the irreclaimable Antony, on the same principle that we lunce a disease incurable by gentler means. STEEVENS. When we have any bodily complaint, that is curable by scari
Have shown to thee such a declining day,
Unreconciliable, should divide
Our equalness to this ".-Hear me, good friends,But I will tell you at some meeter season;
Enter a Messenger.
The business of this man looks out of him,
fying, we use the lancet; and if we neglect to do so, we are destroyed by it. Antony was to me a disease; and by his being cut off, I am made whole. We could not both have lived in the world together.
So also Daniel, in one of his Sonnets:
Launch, the word in the old copy, is only the old spelling of launce. See Minsheu's Dictionary, in v.
- sorrow's tooth ne'er rankles more,
"Than when it bites, but launcheth not the sore."
HIS thoughts-] His is here used for its. M. MASON. 5 Our equalness to this.] That is, should have made us, in our equality of fortune, disagree to a pitch like this, that one of us must die. JOHNSON.
Whence are you?] The defective metre of this line, and the irregular reply to it, may authorize a supposition that it originally stood thus:
"We'll hear him what he says.-Whence, and who are you?” STEEVENS. 7 A poor Ægyptian yet. The queen my mistress, &c.] If this punctuation be right, the man means to say, that he is "yet an