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Most heavy day!
ANT. Nay, good my fellows, do not please sharp fate
To grace it with your sorrows: bid that welcome
[Exeunt, bearing ANTONY.
The Same. A Monument.
Enter above, CLEOPATRA, CHARMIAN, and IRAS. CLEO. O Charmian, I will never go from hence. CHAR. Be comforted, dear madam.
CLEO. No, I will not: All strange and terrible events are welcome, But comforts we despise; our size of sorrow, Proportion'd to our cause, must be as great
As that which makes it.-How now? is he dead?
Enter ANTONY, borne by the Guard. CLEO. O sun,
Burn the great sphere thou mov'st in!-darkling
his death's upon him, but not dead.] The defective measure, and want of respect in the speaker, induce me to suppose, that this line originally stood thus:
"His death's upon him, madam, but not dead." STEEVENS.
The varying shore o' th' world 2. O Antony, Antony, Antony,
Help, Charmian, help, Iras, help: help, friends
Not Cæsar's valour hath o'erthrown Antony,
CLEO. So it should be, that none but Antony
I-darkling-] i. e. without light. So, in The Two Angry Women of Abington, 1599:
my mother hath a torch, your wife "Goes darkling up and down." STEEVENS. 20 THOU sun,
Burn the great sphere thou mov'st in !-darkling stand
The VARYING shore o' the world!] Thou is wanting in the old copy, and was supplied by Mr. Pope, whose reading may be justified on the authority of a similar passage in Timon of Athens: "Thou sun, that comfort'st, burn! STEEVENS. She desires the sun to burn his own orb, the vehicle of light, and then the earth will be dark. JOHNSON.
"The varying shore o' the world!" i. e. of the earth, where light and darkness make an incessant variation. WARBURTON.
According to the philosophy which prevailed from the age of Aristotle to that of Shakspeare, and long since, the sun was a planet, and was whirled round the earth by the motion of a solid sphere in which it was fixed.-If the sun therefore was to set fire to the sphere, so as to consume it, the consequence must be, that itself, for want of support, must drop through, and wander in endless space; and in this case the earth would be involved in endless night. HEATH.
3 - Charmian, help, &c.] Mr. Steevens has thus altered this passage:
"The varying shore o' the world-O Antony!
Antony, Antony!-Charmian, help; help, Iras;
Help, friends below; let's draw him hither." Boswell. For the sake of somewhat like metre, one word has been omitted and others transposed. STEEVENS.
Egypt, DYING ;] Perhaps this line was originally completed by a further repetition of the participle; and stood thus: "I am dying, Egypt, dying, dying; only," &c. STEEVENS.
I here impórtune death a while, until
I dare not, dear,
Lest I be taken": not the imperious show
Be brooch'd with me; if knife, drugs, serpents,
5 I here IMPÓRTUNE death, &c.] I solicit death to delay; or, I trouble death by keeping him in waiting. JOHNSON. 6 Cleo. I dare not, dear,
(Dear my lord, pardon,) I dare not,
Lest I be taken :] Antony is supposed to be at the foot of the monument, and tells Cleopatra that he there importunes death, till he can lay his last kiss upon her lips, which was intimating to her his desire that she should come to him for that purpose. She considers it in that light, and tells him that she dares not.
Mr. Theobald, to cure what he supposed to be a defect in the metre, amends the passage, by adding to the end of Antony's speech-Come down. MALONE.
Theobald's insertion seems misplaced, and should be made at the end of the next line but one. I would therefore read:
"I lay upon thy lips.
I dare not, dear,
(Dear my lord, pardon,) I dare not come down." RITSON. 7 Of the FULL-FORTUN'D Cæsar -] So, in Othello:
"What a full-fortune doth the thick-lips owe?"
8 Be BROOCH'D with me:] Be brooch'd, i. e. adorn'd. A brooch was an ornament formerly worn in the hat. So, in Ben Johnson's Poetaster: " Honour's a good brooch to wear in a man's hat at all times." Again, in his Staple of News:
66 The very brooch o' the bench, gem of the city." Again, in The Magnetick Lady:
"The brooch to any true state cap in Europe."
The Rev. Mr. Lambe observes, in his notes on the ancient metrical History of Floddon Field, that brooches, in the North, are buckles set with stones, such as those with which shirtbosoms and handkerchiefs are clasped. STEEVENS.
"Be brooch'd with me;
Brooch is properly a bodkin, or some such instrument, (originally a spit,) and ladies' bodkins being headed with gems, it some
Edge, sting, or operation, I am safe:
O, quick, or I am gone. CLEO. Here's sport, indeed!-How heavy weighs my lord!
times stands for an ornamental trinket or jewel in general, in which sense it is perhaps used at present; or as probably in its original one, for pinned up, as we now say, pin up the basket.' "Brooch'd with me," i. e. pinned up, completed with having me to adorn his triumph. PERCY.
Our author, in All's Well That Ends Well, vol. x. p. 320, speaks of the brooch and the tooth-pick, as at one time constantly worn by those who affected elegance. MALONE.
A brooch is always an ornament; whether a buckle or pin for the breast, hat, or hair, or whatever other shape it may assume. A broach is a spit: the spires of churches are likewise so called in the northern counties, as Darnton broach. Brooch'd, in the text, certainly means adorn'd, as it has been properly explained by Mr. Steevens. RITSON.
if knife, drugs, serpents, have
Edge, sting, or operation,] Here is the same irregular position of the words, that Mr. Warner would avoid or amend in Hamlet; and yet Shakspeare seems to have attended to this matter in the very play before us, Act III. Sc. II. TOLlet.
This thought occurs in Queen Elizabeth's Entertainment in Suffolke and Norfolke, by Churchyard, no date, 4to. where Beautie says
"If he do dye, by mightie Jove I sweare
"I will not live, if sword or knife be found," &c. Again, in Pericles, Prince of Tyre:
"If fires be hot, knives sharp, or waters deep,
still conclusion,] Sedate determination: silent coolness of resolution. JOHNSON.
2 Here's sport, indeed!] I suppose the meaning of these strange words is, here's trifling, you do not work in earnest. JOHNSON.
Cleopatra, perhaps, by this affected levity, this phrase which has no determined signification, only wishes to inspire Antony
Our strength is all gone into heaviness 3,
Quicken with kissing; had my lips that
CLEO. No, let me speak; and let me rail so high, That the false housewife Fortune break her wheel, Provok'd by my offence.
with cheerfulness, and encourage those who are engaged in the melancholy task of drawing him up into the monument. STEEVENS.
She is contrasting the melancholy task in which they are now engaged with their former sports. BOSWELL.
3 - into HEAVINESS,] Heaviness is here used equivocally for sorrow and weight. MALONE.
4 — WHERE thou hast liv'd:] Old copy-when thou, &c. Corrected by Mr. Pope. MALONE.
5 Quicken with kissing;] That is, Revive by my kiss.
So, in Heywood's Royal King, 1637:
"And quickens most where he would most destroy." STEEVENS. 6 Give me some wine, &c.] This circumstance, like almost every other, Shakspeare adopted from Plutarch. Sir Thomas North, in his translation, says-" Antony made her cease from lamenting, and called for wine, either because he was athirst, or else for that thereby to hasten his death. When he had dronke, he earnestly prayed her, and persuaded that she would seeke to save her life, if she could possible, without reproache and dishonour and that she should chiefly trust Proculeius above any man else about Cæsar." STEEVENS.
housewife Fortune-] This despicable line has occurred before. JOHNSON.