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So great weight in his lightness. If he fill'd
Full surfeits, and the dryness of his bones,
As we rate boys; who, being mature in knowledge,
Enter a Messenger.
Here's more news.
In the last Act of the play before us we find an expression nearly synonymous :
His taints and honours
"Wag'd equal in him."
Again, in Act II. Sc. III.:
"Read not my blemishes in the world's reports."
If foils be inadmissible, (which I question,) we might readfails. In The Winter's Tale, we meet with this substantive, which signifies omission, or non-performance:
"Mark, and perform it. See'st thou ? for the fail
Of any point in't, shall not only be "Death to thyself," &c.
Yet, on the whole, I prefer Mr. Malone's conjecture.
So great weight in his lightness.] The word light is one of Shakspeare's favourite play-things. The sense is-His trifling levity throws so much burden upon us. JOHNSON.
1 Call on him for't :] 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. JOHNSON.
to CONFOUND such time,] See p. 170, n. 7. MALONE. 3 boys; who, being mature in knowledge,] For this Hanmer, who thought the maturity of a boy an inconsistent idea, has put:
but the words experience and judgment require that we read mature: though Dr. Warburton has received the emendation. By boys mature in knowledge, are meant, boys old enough to know their duty. JOHNSON.
MESS. Thy biddings have been done; and every
Most noble Cæsar, shalt thou have report
Comes dear'd, by being lack'd. This common
4 That only have fear'd Cæsar:] Those whom not love but fear made adherents to Cæsar, now show their affection for Pompey. JOHNSON.
5 The DISCONTENTS repair,] That is, the malecontents. So, in King Henry IV. Part I. Act V. Sc. I.:
that may please the eye
"Of fickle changelings and poor discontents."
6 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.] [Old copy-fear'd.] Let us examine the sense of this [as it stood] in plain prose. earliest histories inform us, that the man in supreme command was always wish'd to gain that command, till he had obtain'd it, And he, whom the multitude has contentedly seen in a low condition, when he begins to be wanted by them, becomes to be fear'd by them." But do the multitude fear a man because they want him? Certainly, we must read:
"Comes dear'd, by being lack'd."
i. e. endear'd, a favourite to them. Besides, the context requires this reading; for it was not fear, but love, that made the people flock to young Pompey, and what occasioned this reflection. So, in Coriolanus:
"I shall be lov'd, when I am lack'd." WARBURTON. The correction was made in Theobald's edition, to whom it was communicated by Dr. Warburton, Something, however, is yet
Like a vagabond flag upon the stream,
Goes to, and back, lackeying the varying tide,
Cæsar, I bring thee word, Menecrates and Menas, famous pirates,
Make the sea serve them; which they ear and wound
wanting. What is the meaning of " ne'er lov'd till ne'er worth love?" I suppose that the second ne'er was inadvertently repeated at the press, and that we should read-till not worth love. MALONE.
- rot ITSELF] The word-itself, is, I believe, an interpolation, being wholly useless to the sense, and injurious to the measure. STEEVENS.
8 Goes to, and back, LACKEYING the varying tide,
To rot itself with motion.] [Old copy-lashing.] But how can a flag, or rush, floating upon a stream, and that has no motion but what the fluctuation of the water gives it, be said to lash the tide? This is making a scourge of a weak ineffective thing, and giving it an active violence in its own power. 'Tis true, there is no sense in the old reading; but the addition of a single letter will not only give us good sense, but the genuine word of our author into the bargain:
"lackeying the varying tide," i. e. floating backwards and forwards with the variation of the tide, like a page, or lackey, at his master's heels. THEOBALD.
Theobald's conjecture may be supported by a passage in the fifth book of Chapman's translation of Homer's Odyssey: who would willingly
Lacky along so vast a lake of brine?"
Again, in his version of the 24th Iliad:
"My guide to Argos either ship'd or lackying by thy side." Again, in the Prologue to the second part of Antonio and Melilda, 1602:
"O that our power
"Could lacky or keep pace with our desires!"
Again, in The Whole Magnificent Entertainment given to King James, Queen Anne his Wife, &c. March 15, 1603, by Thomas Decker, 4to. 1604 : "The minutes (that lackey the heeles of time) run not faster away than do our joyes."
Perhaps another messenger should be noted here, as entering with fresh news. STEEVENS.
which they EAR] To ear, is to plough; a common metaphor. JOHNSON.
With keels of every kind: Many hot inroads
Taken as seen; for Pompey's name strikes more,
Leave thy lascivious wassals3.
When thou once
Wast beaten from Modena, where thou slew'st
Did famine follow; whom thou fought'st against,
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
To ear, is not, however, at this time, a common word. I meet with it again in Turbervile's Falconry, 1575:
because I have a larger field to ear."
See p. 182. MALONE.
I Lack blood to think on't,] Turn pale at the thought of it. JOHNSON.
2 and FLUSH youth-] Flush youth is youth ripened to manhood; youth whose blood is at the flow. So, in Timon of Athens:
"Now the time is flush-." STEEVENS.
3 - thy lascivious WASSELS,] Wassel is here put for intemperance in general. For a more particular account of the word, see Macbeth, vol. xi. p. 85. The old copy, however, readsvaissailes. STEEVENS.
Vassals is, without question, the true reading. Henley. 4- Thou didst drink
The stale of horses,] All these circumstances of Antony's distress, are taken literally from Plutarch. STEEVENS.
gilded puddle-] 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.
It is reported, thou didst eat strange flesh,
'Tis pity of him. CES. 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.
I shall be furnish'd to inform you rightly
Till which encounter,
It is my business too. Farewell.
6 Drive him to Rome: 'Tis time we twain, &c.] The defect of the metre induces me to believe that some word has been inadvertently omitted. Perhaps our author wrote:
"Drive him to Rome disgrac'd: 'Tis time we twain," &c. So, in Act III. Sc. XI. :
"From Egypt drive her all-disgraced friend." MALONE. I had rather perfect this defective line, by the insertion of an adverb which is frequently used by our author, and only enforces what he apparently designed to say, than by the introduction of an epithet which he might not have chosen. I would therefore read :
66 'Tis time indeed we twain
"Did show ourselves," &c. STEEVENS.
7 Assemble WE immediate council:] [Old copy-assemble me.] Shakspeare frequently uses this kind of phraseology, but I do not recollect any instance where he has introduced it in solemn dialogue, where one equal is speaking to another. Perhaps therefore the correction made by the editor of the second folio is right: "Assemble we," &c. So, afterwards :
Haste we for it: MALONE.
I adhere to the reading of the second folio. Thus, in King Henry IV. Part II. King Henry V. says:
"Now call we our high court of parliament." STeevens.