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What, was he sad, or merry?
ALEX. Like to the time o' the year between the
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
tected by armour as well as his rider. But I prefer Hanmer's reading. Boswell.
8 Was beastly DUMB'D by him.] The old copy has dumbe. The correction was made by Mr. Theobald. Alexas means (says he) the horse made such a neighing, that if he had spoke, he could not have been heard." MALONE.
The verb which Mr. Theobald would introduce, is found in Pericles, Prince of Tyre, 1609 :
Deep clerks she dumbs," &c. STEEVENS.
"Who neighed so high, that what I would have spoken,
i. e. the sense of what I would have spoke, the horse declared, though in inarticulate sounds. The case was this: Alexas came to take leave of Antony, who recommended a message to him to his mistress; Alexas then had no more to do but to make his compliments: but in that instant Antony mounted his war-horse, long accustomed to bear him, who no sooner felt his master's weight, but, as is usual for horses of service, neighed in a very sprightly manner. This circumstance (such a one as poets and romancers, when they speak of their hero's adventures, never fail to improve,) Alexas is made to turn to a compliment on Antony, which could not but please Cleopatra. I was going (says he,) to pay my farewell compliments to Antony, to predict his future successes, and to salute him with the usual appellations of victory, when the horse got the start of me; and by his neighing so high and sprightly, showed him to be sensible that he had a hero on his back whom he was bearing to conquest. WARBURton. I have restored the above very ingenious note. BOSWELL.
So does it no man else.-Met'st thou my posts? ALEX. Ay, madam, twenty several messengers: Why do you send so thick ?
Who's born that day
CLEO. 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?
O that brave Cæsar! CLEO. Be chok'd with such another emphasis ! Say, the brave Antony.
The valiant Cæsar! CLEO. By Isis, I will give thee bloody teeth, If thou with Cæsar paragon again
My man of men.
I sing but after you.
My sallad days;
When I was green in judgment:-Cold in blood,
He shall have every day a several greeting,
By your most gracious pardon,
SO THICK?] i. e. in such quick succession. So, in Mac
See vol. xi. p. 43. STEEVENS. 'My sallad days;
When I was green in judgment:-Cold in blood,
To say, as I said then!] Cold in blood, is an upbraiding expostulation to her maid. "Those, (says she,) were my sallad days, when I was green in judgment; but your blood is as cold as my judgment, if you have the same opinion of things now as I had then." WARBURTON.
"When I was green in judgment, cold in blood
Warburton's reading is more spirited, but cold and green seem to be suggested by the metaphor sallad days. BoSWELL.
unpeople Egypt.] By sending out messengers. JOHNSON.
ACT II. SCENE I.
Messina. A Room in POMPEY'S House.
Enter POMPEY, MENECRATES, and MENAS3. POм. If the great gods be just, they shall assist The deeds of justest men.
MENE. Know, worthy Pompey, That what they do delay, they not deny. POм. Whiles we are suitors to their throne, decays
The thing we sue for *.
We, ignorant of ourselves, Beg often our own harms, which the wise powers Deny us for our good; so find we profit,
By losing of our prayers.
3 The persons are so named in the first edition; but I know not why Menecrates appears; Menas can do all without him.
All the speeches in this scene that are not spoken by Pompey and Varrius, are marked in the old copy, Mene, which must stand for Menecrates. The course of the dialogue shows that some of them at least belong to Menas; and accordingly they are to him attributed in the modern editions; or, rather, a syllable [Men.] has been prefixed, that will serve equally to denote the one or the other of these personages. I have given the first two speeches to
It is a matter of little con
Menecrates, and the rest to Menas. sequence. Malone.
4 Whiles we are suitors to their throne, DECAYS
The thing we sue for.] The meaning is, "While we are praying, the thing for which we pray is losing its value.”
5 My POWER's a crescent, &c.] In old editions :
What does the relative it belong to? It cannot in sense relate
Says, it will come to the full. Mark Antony
MEN. Cæsar and Lepidus Are in the field; a mighty strength they carry. POм. Where have you this? 'tis false. MEN. From Silvius, sir. POм. He dreams; I know, they are in Rome together,
Looking for Antony: But all the charms of love, Salt Cleopatra, soften thy wan'd lip' !
to hope, nor in concord to powers. moon; and Pompey would say, crescent; but his hopes tell him, full orb. THEOBALD.
6 charms-] Old copy- "the charms-." The article is here omitted, on account of metre. STEEVENS. thy WAN'D lip!] In the old edition it is
thy wand lip!"
Perhaps, for fond lip, or warm lip, says Dr. Johnson. Wand, if it stand, is either a corruption of wan, the adjective, or a contraction of wanned, or made wan, a participle. So, in Hamlet : That, from her working, all his visage wan'd."
Again, in Beaumont and Fletcher's Queen of Corinth :
The poet's allusion is to the he is yet but a half moon, or that crescent will come to a
"Now you look wan and pale; lips' ghosts you are." Again, in Marston's Antonio and Mellida:
"Not as yet wan'd.”
Or perhaps waned lip, i. e. decreased, like the moon, in its beauty. So, in The Tragedy of Mariam, 1613:
"And Cleopatra then to seek had been
Again, in The Skynner's Play, among the Chester collection of Mysteries, MS. Harl. 1013, p. 152:
"O blessed be thou ever and aye;
Yet this expression of Pompey's, perhaps, after all, implies a wish only, that every charm of love may confer additional softness on the lips of Cleopatra: i. e. that her beauty may improve to the
Let witchcraft join with beauty, lust with both!
ruin of her lover: or, as Mr. Ritson expresses the same idea, that "her lip, which was become pale and dry with age, may recover the colour and softness of her sallad days." The epithet wan might indeed have been added, only to show the speaker's private contempt of it. It may be remarked, that the lips of Africans and Asiaticks are paler than those of European nations.
Shakspeare's orthography often adds a d at the end of a word. Thus, vile is (in the old editions) every where spelt vild. Laund is given instead of lawn: why not therefore wan'd for wan here?
If this however should not be accepted, suppose we read with the addition only of an apostrophe, wan'd; i. e. waned, declined, gone off from its perfection; comparing Cleopatra's beauty to the moon past the full. PERCY.
8 That sleep and feeding may prorogue HIS HONOur,
Even TILL a Lethe'd dulness.] I suspect our author wrote: "That sleep and feeding may prorogue his hour," &c. So, in Timon of Athens:
let not that part of nature,
"Which my lord paid for, be of any power
The words honour and hour have been more than once confounded in these plays What Pompey seems to wish is, that Antony should still remain with Cleopatra, totally forgetful of every other object.
"To prorogue his honour," does not convey to me at least any precise notion. If, however, there be no corruption, I suppose Pompey means to wish, that sleep and feasting may prorogue to so distant a day all thoughts of fame and military achievement, that they may totally slide from Antony's mind. MALONE.
66 Even till a Lethe'd dulness." i. e. to a Lethe'd dulness. That till was sometimes used instead of to, may be ascertained from the following passage in Chapman's version of the eighteenth Iliad :
They all ascended, two and two; and trod the honor'd shore
"Till where the fleete of myrmidons, drawn up in heaps, it bore."