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CES. You take from me a great part of myself3; Use me well in't.-Sister, prove such a wife
As my thoughts make thee, and as my furthest band 4
Shall pass on thy approof.-Most noble Antony,
To keep it builded, be the ram, to batter
Have loved without this mean, if on both parts
Though you be therein curious', the least cause For what you seem to fear: So, the gods keep you, And make the hearts of Romans serve your ends! We will here part.
CES. Farewell, my dearest sister, fare thee well;
3 You take from me a great part of myself;] So, in The Tempest:
"I have given you here a third of my own life. STEEVENS. Again, in Troilus and Cressida :
"I have a kind of self resides in you." MALONE.
as my furthest BAND-] As I will venture the greatest pledge of security, on the trial of thy conduct. JOHNSON. Band and bond, in our author's time, were synonymous, See Comedy of Errors, vol. iv. p. 228. MALONE.
-the PIECE OF VIRTUE,] So, in The Tempest:
Thy mother was a piece of virtue —.'
Again, in Pericles :
"Thou art a piece of virtue," &c. STEEVENS.
the cement of our LOVE,
To keep it BUILDED,] So, in our author's 119th Sonnet : "And ruin'd love, when it is built anew,
"Grows fairer than at first." MALONE.
7therein CURIOUS,] i. e. scrupulous. So, in The Taming
of the Shrew:
"For curious I cannot be with you,"
See vol. v. p. 493, n. 8. STEEVENS.
The elements be kind to thee 8, and make
8 The ELEMENTS be kind, &c.] This is obscure. It seems to mean, "May the different elements of the body, or principles of life, maintain such proportion and harmony as may keep you cheerful." JOHNSON.
"The elements be kind," &c. I believe means only, 'May the four elements of which this world is composed, unite their influences to make thee cheerful.'
There is, however, a thought, which seems to favour Dr. Johnson's explanation, in The Two Noble Kinsmen, by Fletcher and Shakspeare:
"My precious maid,
"Those best affections that the heavens infuse
"In their best temper'd pieces, keep enthron'd
Again, in Twelfth-Night: "Does not our life consist of the four elements?-Faith, so they say."
And another, which may serve in support of mine:
"That know not what or why, yet do effect,
"Rare issues by their operance."
These parting words of Cæsar to his sister, may indeed mean no more than the common compliment which the occasion of her voyage very naturally required. He wishes "that serene weather and prosperous winds may keep her spirits free from every apprehension that might disturb or alarm them." STEEVENS.
"The elements be kind to thee," (i. e. the elements of air and water.) Surely this expression means no more than, "I wish you a good voyage;❞ Octavia was going to sail with Antony from Rome to Athens. HOLT WHITE.
Dr. Johnson's explanation of this passage is too profound to be just. Octavia was about to make a long journey both by land and by water. Her brother wishes that both these elements may prove kind to her; and this is all.
So, Cassio says, in Othello :
Ö, let the heavens
"Give him defence against the elements,
"For I have lost him on a dangerous sea." M. MASON. In the passage just quoted, the elements must mean, not earth and water, (which Mr. M. Mason supposes to be the meaning here,) but air and water; and such, I think, (as an anonymous commentator has also suggested,) is the meaning here. The following lines in Troilus and Cressida likewise favour this interpretation:
OCTA. My noble brother!
ANT. The April's in her eyes: It is love's spring, And these the showers to bring it on.-Be cheerful. OCTA. Sir, look well to my husband's house;
CES. Octavia ?
OCTA. I'll tell you in your ear.
ANT. Her tongue will not obey her heart, nor
Her heart inform her tongue: the swan's down
That stands upon the swell at full of tide,
And neither way inclines".
ENO. Will Cæsar weep?
Aside to AGRIPPA.
He has a cloud in's face.
ENO. He were the worse for that, were he a
So is he, being a man.
When Antony found Julius Cæsar dead,
"The strong-ribb'd bark through liquid mountains cut, Bounding between the two moist elements,
"Like Perseus' horse." MALONE.
stands upon the swell at full of tide,
And neither way inclines.] This image has already occurred in The Second Part of King Henry IV.:
"As with the tide swell'd up unto its height,
-were he a horse ;] A horse is said to have a cloud in his face, when he has a black or dark-coloured spot in his forehead between his eyes. This gives him a sour look, and being supposed to indicate an ill-temper, is of course regarded as a great blemish.
The same phrase occurs in Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy, edit. 1632, 524: "Every lover admires his mistress, though she be very deformed of her selfe-thin leane, chitty face, have clouds in her face, be crooked," &c. STEEVENS.
He cried almost to roaring: and he wept,
ENO. That year, indeed, he was troubled with a rheum ;
What willingly he did confound, he wail'd2:
Believe it, till I weep too 3.
No, sweet Octavia,
CES. You shall hear from me still; the time shall not
Out-go my thinking on you.
Come, sir, come;
Adieu; be happy! LEP. Let all the number of the stars give light
To thy fair way!
Farewell, farewell! [Kisses OCTAVIA,
[Trumpets sound. Exeunt.
2 What willingly he did CONFOUND, he WAIL'D :] So, in Macbeth:
"Whom I myself struck down.”
To confound is to destroy. See Minsheu's Dict. in voce.
3 Believe it, till I WEEP too.] I have ventured to alter the tense of the verb here, against the authority of all the copies. There was no sense in it, I think, as it stood before. THEOBALD.
I am afraid there was better sense in this passage as it originally stood, than Mr. Theobald's alteration will afford us. "Believe it, (says Enobarbus,) that Antony did so, i. e. that he wept over such an event, till you see me weeping on the same occasion, when I shall be obliged to you for putting such a construction on my tears, which, in reality, (like his) will be tears of joy." I have replaced the old reading. Mr. Theobald reads "till I wept too." STEEVENS.
I should certainly adopt Theobald's amendment, the meaning of which is, that Antony wailed the death of Brutus so bitterly, that I [Enobarbus] was affected by it, and wept also.
Mr. Steevens's explanation of the present reading is so forced, that I cannot clearly comprehend it. M. MASON.
Alexandria. A Room in the Palace.
Enter CLEOPATRA, CHARMIAN, IRAs, and Alexas. CLEO. Where is the fellow?
CLEO. Go to, go to:-Come hither, sir.
Half afeard to come.
Enter a Messenger.
That Herod's head
Herod of Jewry dare not look upon you,
I'll have: But how? when Antony is gone Through whom I might command it.-Come thou
I look'd her in the face; and saw her led
4 Is she as tall as me? &c. &c. &c.] This scene (says Dr. Grey) is a manifest allusion to the questions put by Queen Elizabeth to Sir James Melvil, concerning his mistress the Queen of Scots. Whoever will give himself the trouble to consult his Memoirs, may probably suppose the resemblance to be more than accidental. STEEVENS.
I see no probability that Shakspeare should here allude to a conversation that passed between Queen Elizabeth and a Scottish ambassador in 1564, the very year in which he was born, and does not appear to have been made publick for above threescore