Scene ii Delius (Sh. Jahrbuch, V, 267): The frivolous conversation of Cleopatra's court, expressive of the thoughtless life there, is carried on in prose. The soothsayer, in expounding the value of his prophecies, is the only one who uses blank verse. On the appearance of the impassioned Cleopatra language assumes a higher strain and blank verse is then used by the others. In the dialogue, at the conclusion of the Scene, between Antony and his trusty Enobarbus, the latter as the representative of the more elevated humour of the play, speaks in prose, in which his satirical remarks on Cleopatra and Fulvia are certainly appropriate. Antony himself barely responds to this mood and style of his friend.
Lamprius, . . . Rannius, Lucillius Steevens: It is not impossible, indeed, that ‘Lamprius, Rannius, Lucillius,’ might have been speakers in this scene as it was first written down by Shakespeare, who afterwards thought proper to omit their speeches, though at the same time he forgot to erase their names as originally announced at their collective entrance. [In Much Ado, there is a character, Innogen, who is set down in the Dramatis Personæ, and enumerated among those who enter at the beginning of the Second Act, and yet she speaks no word throughout the play. See Appendix, Wyndham, p. 487.—Ed.]
sweet Alexas Collier (ed. ii) reads ‘most sweet Alexas,’ in accordance with a marginal note in his Second Folio; ‘by what follows,’ he says, ‘“most” is clearly required, and we may be sure that it had, in some way, escaped in the press.’ [It cannot be denied that the addition, most, is an improvement; not absolutely necessary, but still an improvement. The next words ‘most anything Alexas’ seem almost to demand it. To improve Shakespeare, however, is no more justifiable than to deface him.—Ed.]
which you say, must change his Hornes with Garlands Theobald: We must restore, ‘must charge his horns,’ that is, must be an honourable cuckold, must have his horns hung with garlands. Charge and ‘change’ frequently usurp each other's place in our Author's old editions. [Theobald hereupon adds, with his characteristic scrupulous honesty,—an honesty Warburton knew not,—‘I ought to take notice, that Mr Warburton likewise started this emendation.’ In Warburton's own edition, no such scruples harassed him. He gave the emendation as wholly his own.] Upton (p. 304) quotes this passage as an instance where Shakespeare uses ‘change’ in its secondary sense of new dress and adorn. Capell (i, 27, adopting charge): That is, dress them up ‘with garlands,’ set them forth gayly; a wanton thought, that suits perfectly the person it comes from, and is expressed in words equally wanton. [Theobald's] very slight change is necessary. Johnson: I am in doubt whether to ‘change’ is not merely to dress, or to dress with changes of garlands. Malone: I think the reading, originally introduced by Theobald [charge], is the true one, because it affords a clear sense; whilst, on the other hand, the reading of the old copy affords none: for supposing change with to mean exchange for, what idea is conveyed by this passage? and what other sense can these words bear? The substantive change being formerly used to signify variety (as change of clothes, of honours, etc.) proves nothing: change of clothes or linen necessarily imports more than one; but the thing sought for is the meaning of the verb to ‘change,’ and no proof is produced to show that it signified to dress; or that it had any other meaning than to exchange. Charmian is talking of her future husband, who certainly could not change his horns, at present, for garlands, or any thing else, having not yet obtained them; nor could she mean, that when he did get them, he should ‘change’ or part with them, for garlands: but he might charge his horns, when he should marry Charmian, with garlands: for having once got them, she intended, we may suppose, that he should wear them contentedly for life. The same mistake happened in Cor. V, iii, 152, where the same correction was made by Warburton, and adopted by all subsequent editors: ‘And yet to charge thy sulphur with a bolt.’ Steevens: ‘To change his horns with (i. e. for) garlands’ signifies, to be a triumphant cuckold; a cuckold who will consider his state as an honourable one. We are not to look for serious argument in such a ‘skipping dialogue’ as that before us. Knight stands loyally by the First Folio, and interprets ‘change’ by ‘vary—give a different appearance to.’ Staunton follows Knight, and suggests that ‘change’ ‘may mean to vary or garnish. Charge is certainly very plausible.’ W. W[illiams] (Parthenon, 17 May, 1862): It seems to me that when Warburton offered an explanation of Shakespeare's meaning, he also well-nigh restored, unconsciously, the very words of the dramatist. He says the horns of Charmian's husband must be ‘hung about’ with garlands. Now hang was anciently spelt hange, and, although this orthography was dying out at the date of this tragedy, the omission or insertion of the final e depended pretty much on the caprice of the compositor. It can scarcely then be deemed unreasonable to conclude that the play-house copy from which this tragedy was probably printed would have shown Shakespeare's words to have been ‘must hange his Horns with Garlands.’ . . . The insertion of a superfluous initial letter was equally likely as a source of error . . . We find in the old copies of this play, ‘'tis well,’ where Shakespeare must have written ‘is well,’ and ‘stow me after’ for ‘tow me after.’ Staunton (Athenæum, 12 April, 1873): ‘Change’ is unquestionably a misprint for chain—of old spelt chayne. The allusion is to the sacrificial ox, whose horns were wreathed with flowers. [It is to be regretted that Staunton did not know that he was herein anticipated by Zachary Jackson; else, rather than be seen in such company, he would have withheld his hand. Inasmuch as two editors, as eminently respectable as Knight and Staunton, have decided that ‘change’ is intelligible, the obscurity cannot be so desperate as to demand the substitution of another word, nor is there a sufficient reason to disregard the wholesome rule that the more difficult reading is to be preferred. We must remember that the thought, whatever may be the words, is not that of Charmian, but of Alexas, who has evidently taunted the giddy girls with indulging in frivolity to its extremest limit,—even to the unparalleled limit of indifferently changing the symbols of disgrace with the chaplets of marriage. I cannot see any reason for adopting Theobald's emendation, which, moreover, seems to make the husband an active agent in loading his horns with flowers,—a task which is not generally supposed to fall to his share.—Ed.] 15. Enob. Bring in the Banket, etc.] Wilhelm Koenig (Sh. Jhrb. x, 381) calls attention to the fact that no one pays any heed either to the entrance or to the command of Enobarbus, and that we hear nothing further from him for more than thirty lines,—until he says that it will be his fortune to go drunk to bed. Koenig suggests, therefore, that the entrance of Enobarbus be transposed to follow Charmian's exclamation, ‘Wrinkles forbid,’ line 23, and that Alexas's command, ‘Vex not his prescience,’ etc. is addressed to him.
my Liuer M. Mason: The liver was considered as the seat of desire. In answer to the Soothsayer, who tells her she shall be very loving, she says, ‘she had rather heat her liver by drinking, if it was to be heated.’
Let mee bc married . . . Octauius Cæsar Th. Zielinski (Philologus, p. 19): Shakespeare imagined Charmion as younger than her mistress; the age of fifty, then, would bring her to the birth of Christ. Is it clear who that child is ‘to whom Herode of Iewry may do homage’? In Matthew, ii, 8, Herod himself says ‘Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.’ And to whom does he say this? To the ‘Holy Three Kings.’ Are not these the same that are included in the list of Charmion's wishes? The fancy deserves a Mystery:—wife to the Holy Three Kings, the mother of God, and, withal, Empress of Rome. [It is by no means easy to disprove this interpretation, which at first decidedly shocks us. It is unavailing to appeal to the text of the Scriptures, where, in the Bishop's Bible of 1568,—the Version used by Shakespeare,—the Magi are termed, not Kings but ‘Wise men’; these Wise men had been called ‘Kings’ centuries before Shakespeare was born, and as such had been familiar characters in Christmas carols throughout England, and, possibly, are so, to this day. It is also possible that any allusion whatever to ‘Three Kings’ would at once have suggested to Shakespeare's audience the ‘three wise men.’ Furthermore, the ‘Three Kings’ must here be considered as a unit or as a single group; Charmian was to be married to them all at once or in one forenoon. This play opens in b.c. 40 and extends to b.c. 32; if Charmian be now eighteen or twenty, she will be fifty in the year when Christ was born. The references to Herod and the verse in Matthew are a little staggering. I do not like this interpretation; it more than grates me. It imparts to Charmian's words an air of frivolous irreverence, which is to me un-Shakespearian. But there is never anything uttered at random by any of Shakespeare's characters, and the chances are many against this wish of Charmian's being spoken at haphazard and tallying at the same time so exactly with dates. Whenever an allusion is thrown out, we must catch it of ourselves; Shakespeare will not point it out to us. It is to be feared that there is many an allusion in his plays, less pointed than this, which critics have accepted and approved.—Ed.]
Herode of Iewry Steevens: Herod paid homage to the Romans, to procure the grant of the kingdom of Judea: I believe there is an allusion here to the theatrical character of this monarch, and to a proverbial expression founded on it. Herod was always one of the personages in the Mysteries of our early stage, on which he was constantly represented as a fierce, haughty, blustering tyrant, so that ‘Herod of Jewry’ became a common proverb, expressive of turbulence and rage. Thus, Hamlet says of a ranting player, that he ‘out-herods Herod.’ And, in this tragedy, Alexas tells Cleopatra [III, iii, 6] that ‘not even Herod of Jewry dare look upon her when she is angry;’ i. e. not even a man as fierce as Herod. According to this explanation, the sense of the present passage will be—Charmian wishes for a son who may arrive at such power and dominion that the proudest and fiercest monarchs of the earth may be brought under his yoke. [That this is the specific, theatrical Herod to whom Charmian refers has been universally accepted, and will probably so remain, in spite of the preceding ingenious note.—Ed.]
Octauius Cæsar She could not aspire to Anthony without being a rival to her mistress. She, therefore, elects the next highest potentate.—Ed.
Oh excellent Capell (p. 27): It has been observed by a gentleman,— that this is ‘one of those ominous speeches, in which the ancients were so superstitious,’ and the observation is just; for the Poet deals largely in them. [Very doubtful.] I loue long life better than Figs Steevens says that this is a proverbial expression.
my Children shall haue no names Johnson: If I have already had the best of my fortune, then I suppose ‘I shall never name children,’ that is, I am never to be married. However, tell me the truth, tell me, ‘how many boys and wenches?’ Steevens: A ‘fairer fortune,’ I believe, means—a more reputable one. Her answer then implies, that belike all her children will be bastards, who have no right to the name of their father's family. Thus says Launce: ‘That's as much as to say, bastard virtues; that, indeed, know not their fathers, and therefore have no names.’ —Two Gent. III, i, 321. Malone: Compare R. of L. ‘Thy issue blurr'd with nameless bastardy.’—line 522.
euery For other examples of ‘every’ equivalent to every one, see Franz, § 219, c.; or Abbott, § 12. fore-tell Theobald: The poet certainly wrote ‘And fertil every wish.’ [I make no question that this is Theobald's own emendation, albeit that Warburton repeated it in his edition and made no allusion whatever to him. Consequently, to Warburton has the credit pretty generally been given.] Johnson: The emendation of Dr Warburton is made with great acuteness; yet the original reading may, I think, stand. ‘If you had as many wombs as you will have wishes, and I should ſoretel all those wishes, I should foretel a million of children.’ ‘And’ is for and if, which was anciently, and is still provincially, used for if. [Thiselton (p. 8) says that ‘and’ is here illative,—a somewhat unusual function, but the topic is unusual.—Ed.] Malone will not listen to untold millions of ‘wishes’ unless accompanied by fertility. Collier (ed. ii) adopts fruitful, the emendation of his MS corrector, and Dyce (Strictures, p. 201) tells him that the ductus literarum is not favourable to it.
for a Witch For an analysis of shades of meaning of this ‘for,’ meaning in the quality of, in the capacity of, as, which is far more common in Shakespeare than in modern usage, see Franz, § 329. Witch Walker (Crit. ii, 88): ‘Witch’ in the sense of a male sorcerer, or without any specific reference to sex, frequently occurs in the old writers [whereof many examples follow. In Wint. Tale, Leontes calls Paulina a ‘witch’ and to add to it an especial roughness, calls her a ‘mankind witch.’ Walker concludes his article with a quotation from Minsheu's Guide into the tongues, 1617 (s. v. Coniuration) where the difference is set forth ‘betueene Conjuration, Witchcraft, and Inchantment;’—‘the Coniurer seemeth by praiers and inuocation of Gods powerfull names, to compell the Diuell to say or doe what he commandeth him: The Witch dealeth rather by a friendly and voluntarie conference or agreement betweene him or her and the Diuell or Familiar, to haue his or her turne serued in lieu or stead of blood, or other gift offered vnto him, especially of his or her soule: So that a Coniurer compacts for curiositie to know secrets, and worke maruels; and the Witch of meere malice to doe mischiefe: And both these differ from Inchaunters or Sorcerers, because the former two haue personall conference with the Diuell, and the other meddles but with Medicines and ceremoniall formes of words called Charmes, without apparition.’ Walker quotes only a portion of the foregoing, but the whole of it seems interesting. J. Churton Collins (Note in The Pinner of Wakefield, III, ii, 703) quotes from Latimer: ‘We run hither and thither to witches or sorcerers whom we call wise men.’—Sermons preached in Lincolnshire, V. (ed. not given). In the edition of 1572, however, this passage runs, ‘we runne hither and thither to wyssardes, or sorcerers, whome we call wyse men.’—Fol. 98, verso.—Ed.]
There's . . . Soothsay Walker (Crit. i, 18) reads ‘There is’ and divides the lines thus:—‘chastity,’ ‘Nilus’—‘bedfellow.’ ‘Nilus,’ he observes, ‘surely indicates verse.’ But why does he begin and end with these two or three lines?—an oasis of verse in a desert of prose. Is it to be imagined that Shakespeare would have contemplated with pleasure such patchwork? Especially, since, in order to be appreciated, it must be seen on the printed page, a pleasure, which, in this play, Shakespeare probably never enjoyed. And in the meantime what becomes of Delius's fine-spun theory in regard to prose and verse? Every line of this portion of the scene must be stark prose, or for poor Delius, ‘all's had, nought's spent.’ We have read our Shakespeare to little advantage unless we have acquired from him a liberality as free as the air, that chartered libertine, and these theories (the very word becomes repulsive!) are sent to put that liberality to the test.—Ed.
oyly Palme There is a parallel thought in Oth. III, iv, 36-38.
I . . . scratch mine eare F. Bradnack (Medical Record, N. Y., 1 Feb., 1879, p. 116) in an amusing list of proofs, drawn from the plays, that Shakespeare was at home in matters of physic, quotes the present phrase as evidence that he was familiar with ‘Brachial Paralysis.’ 64. Alexas. Come, etc.] This sophistication of the compositor, after having been adopted in the Folios, by Rowe, and Pope, Theobald was the first to detect and expose in his Shakespeare Restored, whereof the full title reads:—or, A Specimen of the Many Errors, as well Committed, as Unamended, by Mr. Pope in his late Edition of this Poet. Designed Not only to correct the said Edition, but to restore the True Reading of Shakespeare in all the Editions ever yet publish'd. The volume which followed did not belie this unfortunate title-page; it achieved Pope's undying enmity, and, for its author, a chief place in The Dunciad. In reference to the present passage Theobald says (p. 157) in substance:—‘The fact is evidently this: Alexas brings a fortune-teller to Iras and Charmian, and says himself, “We'll know all our fortunes.” Well; the Soothsayer begins with the women; and some jokes pass upon the subject of husbands and chastity: after which, the women hoping for the satisfaction of having something to laugh at in Alexas's fortune, call him to hold out his hand, and wish heartily that he may have the prognostication of cuckoldom upon him. The whole speech, therefore, must be placed to Charmian. There needs no stronger proof of this being a true correction, than the observations which Alexas immediately subjoins on their wishes and zeal to hear him abused.’ Theobald's Shakespeare Restored was published in 1726; two years afterward appeared Pope's Second Edition wherein the Editor was forced to adopt many, very many of Theobald's corrections. It looks, in the present passage, as though Pope, smarting under the judicious slashes which Theobald administered, was determined to adopt as little of Theobald's emendation as possible. He therefore omitted the name ‘Alexas’ altogether, and by Italics tried to make Charmian's speech apply to him, thus: ‘Char. Our worser thoughts heav'ns mend. Come, his fortune, his fortune.’—Ed.
that cannot go That is, that cannot have children. See N. E. D. s. v. 7.
prayer of the people Thiselton (p. 9): This seems to mean ‘that universal prayer.’
decorum Both here and in V, ii, 21, the compositors give this word in Italics, as an indication that it had not yet been adopted into the language. Herein they seem to have followed the prevailing fashion. In a majority of the examples, gathered by the N. E. D. extending from Ascham's Scholemaster, in 1568, down to Shakespeare's time, the word is similarly italicised; and the Text. Notes above, show that the practice was kept up in all the early editions down to, and including, Johnson's.—Ed.
heere comes Anthony A veiled sneer. Enobarbus knew well enough that it was Cleopatra.—Ed.
We will not looke vpon him Possibly, because he was ‘disposed to mirth;’ moreover, she was jealous of every thought that he gave to Rome.—Ed.
the times state This phrase, when expressed as ‘the state of the times,’ is familiar enough.—Ed.
warre from Italy, This comma after ‘Italy’ Hanmer was the first to place properly after ‘warre.’ 111. (this is stiffe-newes）] Capell (i, 27): If this be meant of the style in which the Messenger couches his news,—and no other meaning presents itself,—there was never a greater truth: The words are expunged in [Hanmer's] edition; and had been so in this, had they appeared in the light which they now do; which is that of —a gloss on the other words, put by heedlessness into the manuscript, and creeping thence into print.
Extended Bradley (N. E. D. s. v.): 11. Law. To take possession of by a writ of extent; to seize upon (land, etc.) in satisfaction for a debt; to levy upon. b. transferred sense. To seize upon, take possession of, by force. [As in the present line.] Euphrates The Text. Notes give Keightley's division of these lines, but it is not easy to understand from them that it is in order to avoid the pronunciation ‘Euphrătes’ that he reads ‘Euphrates and.’ Walker (Vers. 172) shows by examples from Drayton, Spenser, Fairfax, and Sylvester that Eúphrates, with the accent on the first syllable, was the common Elizabethan pronunciation. [See Appendix, Plutarch.]
our quicke windes Warburton: We should read minds. The m was accidentally turned the wrong way at the press. The sense is this: While the active principle within us lies immerged in sloth and luxury, we bring forth vices instead of virtues, weeds instead of flowers and fruits: But the laying before us our ill condition plainly and honestly is, as it were, the first culture of the mind, which gives hope of a future harvest. This he says to encourage the messenger to hide nothing from him. Capell (i, 27): By ‘winds’ are meant—friends; persons so truly such, as to remind those they love of their faults; the observation is certainly just; and the metaphor in which it is wrap'd, a physical truth; and that this is a true interpretation, is clear from what immediately follows,—‘and our ills told us, Is as our earing;’ i. e.—and the telling us our ills or ill actions, is a kind of culture to minds that lie waste;—still pursuing the image he had borrowed from husbandry. Johnson [reading ‘winds’]: The sense is, that man, not agitated by censure, like soil not ventilated by quick winds, produces more evil than good. Blackstone: I suspect that quick winds is, or is a corruption of, some provincial word, signifying either arable lands, or the instruments of husbandry used in tilling them. Steevens:
Is Abbott (§ 337): The real nominative is not the noun ‘ills,’ but the whole noun clause. Thus, ‘The telling us of our faults is like ploughing us.’
From Scicion how the newes? Possibly, the reason why Capell did not change this ‘how’ into ho, as he wisely converted the ‘How’ of line 153 (thereby anticipating Dyce), was because the sense may here be, ‘how is the news from Sicyon?’—Ed.
vpon For other examples of the use of ‘upon’ involving the idea of waiting on, attending to, etc. see Franz § 344, a. See also II, i, 52, post. Steevens quotes ‘Worthy Macbeth, we stay upon your leisure.’—I, iii, 148.
Spirit Walker (Crit. i, 201) includes this ‘Spirit’ in his list of numerous passages ‘in which the disyllabic pronunciation of spirit renders a line positively unmetrical or inharmonious to a degree beyond what the poet's ear could possibly have tolerated.’ [From childhood we have been so accustomed to regard sprite as the name of a goblin, that its introduction in a solemn line like the present could hardly fail to have a jarring effect, for which metrical smoothness would be hardly a sufficient compensation.—Ed.]
from vs Walker (Crit. iii, 294): I suspect a word has dropt out:—‘do often hurl from's, gone We wish it ours again.’ [Walker does not quote the preceding line; had he done so, he would have seen at once that his repetition of ‘gone’ renders his proposed change extremely doubtful.—Ed.
we wish it ours again Theobald refers to ‘Virtutem incolumen odimus, Sublatam ex oculis quaerimus invidi.’—Horace, Odes, III, xxiv, 31. Steevens: Compare, ‘We mone that lost, which had we did bemone.’—Sidney's Arcadia, ii. [p. 148, closing line of chant of Basilius; ed. 1598. Compare, for the sentiment, 209-211, infra.—Ed.] 145. The present pleasure, etc.] Warburton: The allusion is to the sun's diurnal course; which rising in the east, and by revolution lowering, or setting in the west, becomes the opposite of itself. [Rolfe thinks that there is an allusion rather to the turning of a wheel, probably suggested by the familiar ‘wheel of Fortune.’] Johnson: This is an obscure passage. The explanation which Dr Warburton has offered is such, that I can add nothing to it; yet, perhaps, Shakespeare, who was less learned than his commentator, meant only, that our pleasures, as they are revolved in the mind, turn to pain. Capell (i, 28): The sentiment contained in the passage that begins with these words is, in the main, no other than that contain'd in the general maxim preceding it, and in the reflections with which it is followed. Tollet: I rather understand the passage thus: ‘What we often cast from us in contempt we wish again for, and what is at present our greatest pleasure, lowers in our estimation by the revolution of time; or by a frequent return of possession becomes undesirable and disagreeable.’ Steevens: I believe revolution means change of circumstances. This sense appears to remove every difficulty from the passage.—‘The pleasure of to-day, by revolution of events and change of circumstances, often loses all its value to us, and becomes to-morrow a pain.’ [Knight and Deighton adopt this interpretation of Steevens.]
By reuolution lowring Collier (ed. ii. Reading ‘By repetition souring’): Our text has been furnished here by the MS and we cannot doubt that it is what the poet wrote. The meaning of course is, that pleasure, souring by repetition, becomes the reverse of itself. The old compositor misread ‘repetition’ revolution, and ‘sowering’ (as the word was then often spelt) lowering, and thus made almost nonsense of the whole passage. The restoration by the old annotator can hardly have been a mere guess. [We are willing, all of us, upon a compelling occasion, to listen with condescending benignity to almost any emendation of the text of Shakespeare, but—we must draw the line at souring,—a repulsive word, and worse than a wilderness of flies in the apothecary's ointment. In his Third Edition Collier returned to the received text, but remarked in a footnote that the reading of the MS ‘is perhaps right.’ See note on Daniel's Cleopatra, Appendix, p. 515.—Ed.]
could plucke Heath: The verb could hath a peculiar signification in this place; it doth not denote power but inclination. The sense is, ‘the hand that drove her off would now willingly pluck her back again.’
harmes, more I doubt the propriety of this comma, which has been uniformly adopted, I believe. I think the sense is: My idleness hatches ten thousand more unknown harms than the ills I see at hand.—Ed.
How now Dyce (Notes, p. 150): It would be impossible, I presume, to point out, in any old writer, an instance of ‘How now!’ used as the exclamation of a person summoning another into his presence. Here the right reading is indubitably, —‘Ho, Enobarbus!’ I have already shewn [in a note on Love's Lab. Lost, V, ii, 45, quoted ad loc. in this edition—Ed.] that ‘ho’ was very frequently spelt ‘how:’ and the probability is that in the present passage the author's manuscript had ‘how:’ to which either some transcriber or the original compositor, who did not understand what was meant, added ‘now’ (making the line over-measure). [Dyce in his edition, printed four years after his Notes, acknowledged that he was unaware, when he wrote the foregoing note, that he had been therein anticipated by Capell.]
the word Deighton: That is, the watch-word on every lip. Compare Jul. Cæs. V, v, 4;—‘slaying is the word;’ Cor. III, ii, 142: ‘The word is “mildly.”’ [See also, ‘you were the word of warre,’ II, ii, 57.]
poorer moment Johnson: For less reason; upon meaner motives. mettle Thiselton (p. 9): The metaphor is probably taken from the loadstone. ‘Aimant’ is the French word for magnet.
her winds and waters, sighes and teares Malone: I once idly supposed that Shakespeare wrote—‘We cannot call her sighs and tears, winds and waters;’—which is certainly the phraseology we should now use. . . . The passage, however, may be understood without any inversion. ‘We cannot call the clamourous heavings of her breast, and the copious streams which flow from her eyes, by the ordinary name of sighs and tears; they are greater storms,’ etc. [It is doubtful that Zachary Jackson, or his copesmate Andrew Becket, or Lord Chedworth, who makes a good third, ever wrote a more trying note than this of Malone. In supposing this sentence of Enobarbus to be inverted, Malone betrayed his misapprehension of its meaning, and I think that he made his feeble conjecture before he had read the rest of the speech. If, in speaking of Mont Blanc we should say ‘we cannot call Mont Blanc a molehill’ is there any phraseology of any time or of any people in which this expression would be termed an inversion? However, before he finished his comment Malone discovered his error, but he should have cancelled the first portion of his note.—Ed.]
Almanackes can report Halliwell quotes at length Sordido's consultation of a ‘prognostication’ wherein the wind and rain and blustering storms are duly foretold for each day of the month, in Jonson's Every man out of his Humour, I, i.
peece of worke Note the critical eye which appreciates Cleopatra as a piece of mechanism to be classed with other wonders.—Ed. 186. it shewes, etc.] Johnson: I have printed this after the original, which, though harsh and obscure, I know not how to amend. I think the passage, with less alteration [than Hanmer's], for alteration is always dangerous, may stand thus— ‘It shows to men the tailors of the earth, comforting them,’ etc. Capell (i, 28): ‘It’ stands for—this action of theirs: His ‘tailors’ are women, the artificers of other women; and in that lies the comfort he speaks of; for ‘when old robes are worn out,’ that is—when an old wife is carried to her grave, ‘there are members’ (videlicet, of the community) still left ‘to make’ newer and fresher. Malone: When the deities are pleased to take a man's wife from him, this act of theirs makes them appear to man like the tailors of the earth: affording this comfortable reflection, that the deities have made other women to supply the place of his former wife; as the tailor, when one robe is worn out, supplies him with another. Anon. [Var. '21]: The meaning is this—‘As the gods have been pleased to take away your wife Fulvia, so they have provided you with a new one in Cleopatra; in like manner as the tailors of the earth, when your old garments are worn out, accommodate you with new ones. Hudson: ‘Shews’ them to him in the sense, probably, of sending him to them, or putting him upon using their service. The shrewd humourist means to insinuate, I take it, that a wife of long standing is something like an out-worn dress; and that a change every little while in that behalf is as pleasant as having a new suit of clothes. Was the naughty wag an advocate of free-love? Antony winces under the cutting irony of his talk. Deighton detects in ‘there are members’ a ‘probable allusion to the scriptural narrative of Eve being made out of one of Adam's ribs. Orger (p. 96): Enobarbus, I fancy, is alluding to the Destinies or Fates with their shears and thread, and grotesquely calls them the ‘Tailors of the Earth,’ whose business it is to mend old clothes, or make new. This, I think, is further supported by words following, ‘Then had you a cut indeed.’ I would accordingly propose menders for ‘members.’
a cut Thiselton (p. 9): This word has here a double meaning: (1) stroke or blow; (2) shape or fashion.
teares liue Walker in his Article, xci, on ‘Lie and live confounded’ (Crit. ii, 209) quotes this line, and adds, ‘Surely lie.’ [Can there be detected an improvement in lie over ‘live’? Indeed, lie lacks the active vitality which seems inherent in ‘live.’ Enobarbus seems to be unusually familiar with the effect of an onion on the lachrymal glands. He refers to it again in IV, ii, 47.—Ed.]
Expedience Schmidt (Lex.) gives to this word the two meanings of 1) haste and 2) expedition, enterprise, campaign and under each meaning gives two examples, namely, under 1): ‘are making hither with all due expedience.’—Rich. II: II, i, 287; and ‘will with all expedience charge on us.’—Hen. V: IV, iii, 70. Under 2): ‘what our council did decree in forwarding this dear expedience.’—1 Hen. IV: I, i, 33; and the present line. So nice is the distinction between these two meanings that it is not easy to decide that the present instance does not come under the head of haste.—Ed.
loue Capell (i, 28): They who alter'd ‘love’ into leave had not reflected sufficiently, who the person is that they gave it to: the person is Antony; Antony coming to himself, and beginning to think rather seriously; who, in that disposition, must be suppos'd to consider his own dignity, of which the word leave is an evident breach; it seems indeed to have been avoided with some study; and ‘love,’ a less natural expression, substituted for it: the sense we must take the words in, is as follows:—and get her, whose love is so great for me, to consent to my parting. Malone: If the old copy be right, the words must mean, I will get her love to permit and endure our separation. But the word get connects much more naturally with the word leave than with love. The same error has happened in Tit. And. and therefore I have no longer any doubt that leave was Shakespeare's word. In that play we find: ‘He loves his pledges dearer than his life,’ instead of—‘He leaves.’—[III, i, 292. Dyce adopts this conclusion of Malone.] Steevens: The old reading may mean:—‘And prevail on her love to consent to our separation.’ [Thus Knight substantially. The original text is not, to me, sufficiently obscure to justify a change. Capell's reason is weighty, and, in addition, it seems somewhat absurd in Anthony to send notice to his officers of his intention, and to all his subordinates of his ‘quicke remoue from hence,’ and then to say that he would get Cleopatra's leave to depart. ‘Durior lectio preferenda est.’—Ed.]
more vrgent touches Johnson: Things that touch me more sensibly, more pressing motives.
our contriuing Friends Walker (Crit. i, 163): ‘Contriving’ here is not managing or plotting, but sojourning; conterentes tempus. See Tam. Shr. I, ii. Murray (N. E. D. s. v. Contrive, v2. obs.): Apparently irregularly formed on Latin contrivi, pret. of conterere to wear away; cf. contrite, contrition; perhaps associated by translators with ‘contrive’ to invent, etc. Transitive. To wear down, wear away, consume, spend; to pass, employ (time). Cf. ‘Please ye we may contrive this afternoon.’—Tam. Shr. I, ii, 276. [The context is not, I think, in Walker's favour. It was not for the sake of Anthony's company that his friends, who happened to be sojourning in Rome, petitioned him at home, but much was breeding that might endanger the sides of the world, and Anthony's presence was needed to encourage those friends, who were looking after his interests. This seems, I think, to favour the usual meaning of ‘contriving.’—Ed.] Rome Walker (Crit. i, 163): Pronounce ‘Rome,’ as usual, Room; this removes the jingle between ‘Rome’ and ‘home.’
Petition vs at home Johnson: Wish us at home; call for us to reside at home.
Whose Loue . . . deserts are past See line 145, above.
stands vp For the maine Souldier ‘Stands up’ is here used as in ‘We stand up peerless,’ I, i, 53. For other instances of ‘main,’ in the sense of first in importance, chief, see Schmidt, Lex.
sides o'th'world This same phrase is used in Cymb. III, i, 51, also, to express the vastness of the Roman empire.
Coursers heire Theobald: Holinshed in his Description of England, [Third booke, Chap. iii, p. 224, ed. 1587] has this remark: ‘yet it is beleeued with no lesse assurance of some, than that an horse haire laid in a pale full of the like water will in short time stirre and become a liuing creature. But sith the certeintie of these things is rather prooued by few than the certeintie of them knowne vnto manie, I let it passe at this time.’ Coleridge (p. 317): This is so far true to appearance, that a horse-hair, ‘laid,’ as Holinshed says, ‘in a pail of water,’ will become the supporter of seemingly one worm, though probably of an immense number of small shiny water-lice. The hair will twirl round a finger, and sensibly compress it. It is a common experiment with school boys in Cumberland and Westmoreland. Hudson (p. 20): I remember very well when the same thing was believed by children in Vermont.
places An error of the ear, not of the eye.—Ed.
Our quicke remoue Johnson: I believe we should read: ‘Their quick remove.’ Tell our design of going away to those, who, being by their places obliged to attend us, must remove in haste.