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461. And things unlikely charge my fantasy.-Instead of unlikely the old text has unluckily. Unlikely, which appears for the first time in Mr. Collier's one volume edition, may be presumed to be the restoration of his MS. annotator. Here, then, is another of those remarkable corrections, which at once, and in the most satisfactory manner, turns nonsense into sense, and which yet in the Notes and Emendations is strangely passed over without a word of notice!
461. I have no will, etc.—Very well illustrated by Steevens in a quotation from The Merchant of Venice, ii. 5, where Shylock says:
"I have no mind of feasting forth to night :
But I will go."
The only stage direction here in the original edition is before this speech: -"Enter Cinna the Poet, and after him the Plebeians."
469. Ay, and truly, you were best.-This is strictly equivalent to "You would be best," and might perhaps be more easily resolved than the more common idiom, "You had best." But all languages have phraseologies coming under the same head with this, which are not to be explained upon strictly logical principles. Witness the various applications of the Greek exe, the French il y a, etc.
470. Wisely, I say, I am a bachelor.-Cinna's meaning evidently is, Wisely I am a bachelor. But that is not conveyed by the way in which the passage has hitherto been always pointed-"Wisely I say."
471. You'll bear me a bang for that.-You'll get a bang for that (from some one). The me goes for nothing. Vid. 89 and 205.
483. Cin. I am not, etc.-This speech was carelessly
omitted in the generality of the modern texts, including that of the standard edition of Malone and Boswell, till restored by Mr. Knight. It is given, however, in Jennens's collation (1774), and he does not note its omission by any preceding editor.
484. Turn him going.–Turn him off; let him go. So in Sir Thomas Urquhart's translation of Rabelais, B. i. ch. 35;“ Avoid hence, and get thee going.” This story of Cinna is told by Plutarch in his Life of Cæsar. He says, the people, falling upon him in their rage, slew him outright in the market-place.
The stage direction with which the Act terminates in the original edition is, “Exeunt all the Plebeians.”
The Same. A Room in Antony's House.--The original heading is only, “ Enter Antony, Octavius, and Lepidus." The Same, meaning at Rome, was supplied by Rowe. It is evident (especially from 492 and 493) that the scene is placed at Rome, although in point of fact the triumvirs held their meeting in a small island in the river Rhenus (now the Reno) near Bononia (Bologna), where, Plutarch says, they remained three days together.
486. These many.--An archaic form for so many, this number.
486. Their names are pricked-Vid. 352.
490. Who is your sister's son, Mark Antony. This is a mistake. The person meant is Lucius Cæsar, who was Mark Antony's uncle, the brother of his mother.
491. Look, with a spot I damn him.-Note him as condemned, by a mark or stigma (called pricking his name in 486, and pricking him down in 489, and pricking him in 495).
491. Fetch the will hither, and we shall determine. -This is the reading of all the old copies, and is properly retained by Mr. Knight. In the Variorum edition we have (and without warning) will substituted for shall; and this alteration Mr. Collier also adopts. Is it one of the corrections of his manuscript annotator?
494. This is a slight unmeritable man.—So afterwards in 535, “Away, slight man!” said by Brutus, in momentary anger, to Cassius. Vid. 522.-Unmeritable should mean incapable of deserving.
494. Meet to be sent on errands.- Errand is an A. Saxon word, ærend (perhaps from ær, or ar, before, whence also ere and early). It has no connexion with errant, wandering (from the Latin erro, whence also err, and error, and erroneous).
496. To groan and sweat under the business.-Business is commonly only a dissyllable with Shakespeare ; and it
no more here upon the principle explained in the note on “She dreamt to night she saw my statue” in 246.
496. Either led or driven, etc.-The three last Folios, and also Rowe, have "print the way.” The we of this line, and the our and the we of the next, are all emphatic. There is the common irregularity of a single short superfluous syllable (the er of either).
496. And graze in commons.-- This is the reading of all the old copies. Mr. Collier prints on for in.
498. Store of provender.-Provender, which John
son explains to mean “ dry food for brutes," is immediately from the French provende, having the same signification; but the origin of the French word is not so clear. The Italian, indeed, has provianda, a feminine substantive in the singular; but this signifies victuals in general, or flesh-meat in particular, and is the same word with the French viande and the Eng. lish viands, which are commonly traced to the Latin vivere (quasi vivenda), an etymology which receives some support from the existence of vivanda in the Italian as apparently only another form of provianda. Another derivation of the French provende brings it from provenire and proventus, in which case it would signify properly increase, growth, crop; and another would bring it from provideo, making it only a variation or corruption of provision. The parentage of the word, therefore, may be said to be contested between -vivo, venio, and video. Possibly vendo might also put in a claim. Webster has :-“It is said that provend, provender, originally signified a vessel containing a measure of corn daily given to a horse or other beast.” By whom this is stated, or in what language the words are said to have this meaning, he does not inform us. He also adduces the Norman provender, a prebendary, and provendre, a prebend, and the Dutch prove, a prebend. The Latin præbenda (from præbeo), the undoubted original of prebend, may have got confounded with provende in the obscurity enveloping the origin and proper meaning of the latter term.
498. And in some taste.--It might seem at first that this phrase, as it may be said to be equivalent in effect to our common “in some sense,” so is only another wording of the same conception or figure, what is
called a sense in the one form being called a taste in the other. But, although taste is reckoned one of the senses, this would certainly be a wrong explanation. The expression “in some sense” has nothing to do with the powers of sensation or perception; sense here is signification, meaning, import. Neither does taste stand for the sense of taste in the other expression. The taste which is here referred to is a taste in contradistinction to a more full enjoyment or participation, a taste merely. "In some taste" is another way of saying, not “in some sense,” but “in some measure, or degree.”
498. On objects, arts, and imitations, etc.—This passage, as it stands in the Folios, with the sentence terminating at “imitations," has much perplexed the commentators, and, indeed, may be said to have proved quite inexplicable, till a comma was substituted for the full point by Mr. Knight, which slight change makes everything plain and easy. Antony's assertion is, that Lepidus feeds, not on objects, arts, and imitations generally, but on such of them as are out of use and staled (or worn out: Vid. 50) by other people, which, notwithstanding, begin his fashion (or with which his following the fashion begins). Theobald reduces the full point to a comma, as other editors do to a colon or a semicolon; but it is evident, nevertheless, from his note that he did not regard the relative clause as a qualification or limitation of what precedes it.
498. Listen great things.—Listen has now ceased to be used as an active verb.
498. Our best friends made, and our best means stretched out.-This is the reading of the Second Folio.