Abbildungen der Seite

Enter Antony, borne by the guard. Cleo. . O sun, Burn the great sphere thou mov'st in !- darkling

The varying shore o' the world ! O Antony !
Antony, Antony !
Help, Charmian, help; Iras, help; help, friends,
Below ; let's draw him hither.

Ant. Peace.
Not Cæsar's valour hath o'erthrown Antony, .
But Antony's hath triumph'd on itself.

Cleo. So it should be, that none but Antony
Should conquer Antony; but, woe, 'tis fo!

Ant. I am dying, Ægypt, dying; only
'I here importune death a while, until
Of many thousand kisses the poor last
I lay upon thy lips.-
Cleo. I dare not.

Dear .fun Burn the great sphere i ból mov's in!-darkling fand

The varying fhore o' tb' world! The varying fhore o' :b' world! i. e. of the certh, where light and darkneis make an incessant variation. But then, if the sun Tould set on fire the whole sphere, in which he was supposed to move, how could the earth fand darkling? On the contrary, it would be in perpetual light. Therefore, if we will allow Cleopatra not to be quite mad, we must believe she said,

TURN FROM th’great spherei. e. forsake it, fly off from it : and then indeed the consequence would be, that the varying fhore would become invariably dark.

WARBURTON. She desires the sun to burn his own orb, the vehicle of light, and then the earth will be dark.

Johnson. "1 bere importune death I folicit death to delay; or, I arouble death by keeping him waiting.

I here importune dea:h a while, until
Of many thonfond kisses the poor laft
I lay upon thy lips. Come down.


Dear, dear, my lord, pardon, I dare not,
Left I be taken. Not the imperious shew
Of the full-fortun'd Cæsar ever shall
Be brooch'd with me*; if knife, drugs, serpents, have
Edge, fting, or operation, I am safe.
Your wife Octavia, with her modeft eyes
And ? still conclusion, shall acquire no honour
Demuring upon me. But come, come, Antony.
Help me, my women ;-We must draw thee up ;
Aliit, good friends.

Ant. On, quick, or I am gone,
Cleo. ? Here's sport, indeed !-How heavy weighs

my lord!

Cleo, I dare not,
Dear, dear, my lord, your pardon ; that I dare not,

Left I be taken. What curious hobbling versification do we encounter here in the last line but one? Besides, how inconfiftently is the lady made to reply? Antony says, he only holds life, till he can give her one latt kiss : and she cries, lhe dares not : What dares the not do? kiss Antony? But how should she? she was above, lock'd in her monument; and he below, on the outside of it. With a very flight addition, I think, I can cure the whole; and have a war. rant from Plutarch for it into the bargain.

Now Plutarch says, that “Antony was carried in his men's “ arms into the entry of the monument : Notwithstanding Cleopa. “ tra would not open the gates, but came to the high windows, and “ cast out certain chains and ropes, &c.”-So that Antony might very reasonably defire her to come down, and he as reasonably excuse herself, for fear of being insnared by Cæsar. THEOB.

Mr. Theobald's emendation is received by the fucceeding editors ; but it seems not necessary that a dialogue so distressful hould be nicely regular. I have therefore preserved the original reading in the text, and the emendation below.

JOHNS. * Be brooch'd with me.) Be brooch'd, i. e. adorn'd. A brooch was an ornament formerly worn in the hair. Steevens.

-fill conclusion, --] Sedate determination ; filent coolness of resolution.

JOHNSON. 3 Here's sport, indeed !-] I suppose the meaning of these strange words is, here's trifling, you do not work in earnest.



Our strength is all gone into heaviness,
That makes the weight. Had I great Juno's power,
The strong-wing’d Mercury should fetch thee up,
And set thee by Jove's side. Yet come a little,
Wishers were ever fools:-Oh come, come, come;-

[Tbey draw Antony up to Cleopatra. And welcome, welcome! Die, where thou hast liv’d: *Quicken with kissing :-Had my lips that power, Thus would I wear them out.

All. A heavy sight!

Ant. I am dying, Ægypt, dying.
Give me some wine, and let me speak a little.s

Cleo. No, let me speak; and let me rail so high,
That the false huswife Fortune break her wheel,
Provok'd by my offence.

Ant. One word, sweet queen. Of Cæsar seek your honour with your safety.--Oh!

Cleo. They do not go together.

Ant. Gentle, hear me:-
None about Cæsar trust, but Proculeius.

Cleo. My resolution and my hands I'll trust;
None about Cæfar.
Ant. The miserable change, now at my end,


* Quicken with kisling.] That is, Revive by my kiss.

JOHNSON. s Give me some wine, &c.] This circumstance, like almost every other, Shakespeare adopted from Plutarch. Sir Tho. 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.".

STBEVENS. 6-bufwife Fortune] This despicable line has occurred be. fore.

JOHNSON. ? The miserable change, &c.] This speech ftands thus in fir Tho., North’s translation of Plutarch.-" As for himself, the should not “ lament nor sorrow for the miserable change of his fortune at " the end of his days; but rather, that she should think him the “ more fortunate, for the former triumphs and honours he had re“ceived, considering that while he lived, he was the noblest and


[ocr errors]

Lament nor sorrow at: but please your thoughts
In feeding them with these my fortunes,
Wherein I liv'd the greatest prince o' the world,
The noblest : and do now not basely die,
Nor cowardly; put


helmet to
My countryman, a Roman, by a Roman
Valiantly vanquish'd. Now, my spirit is going;
I can no more.-

(Antony dies Cleo. Noblest of men, woo't die ? Hast thou no care of me? shall I abide In this dull world, which in thy absence is No better than a stye? O see, my women, The crown o' the earth doth melt :-My lord ! Oh, wither'd is the garland of the war, 8 The foldier's pole is fallen ; young boys and girls Are level now with men : the odds is

gone; And there is nothing left remarkable, Beneath the visiting moon.

[She faints. Char. Oh, quietness, lady ! Iras. She is dead too, our sovereign. Char. Lady! Iras. Madam! Char. Oh madam, madam, nadam,Iras. Royal Ægypt! empress! Char. » Peace, peace, Iras. Cleo. No more-but e'en a woman, and coinmanded

Ву “ greatest prince of the world, and that now he was overcome, not cowardly, but valiantly, a Roman, by another Roman.”—

STEEVENS: $ The soldier's pole -] He at whom the soldiers pointed, as at a pageant held high for observation.

JOHNSON. 9 The common copies,

Peace, peace, Iras.

Cleo. No more but a meer woman, Cleopatra is fallen into a swoon ; her maids endeavour to recover her by invoking her by her several titles. At length, Charmian says to the other, Peace, prace, Iras; on which Cleopatra comes to herself, and replies to these last words, No, you are mistaker.

By such poor passions as the maid that milks,
And does the meanest chares.-It were for me
To throw my scepter at the injurious Gods;


one ;

I am a mere woman like yours:lf. Thus stands this senseless dialogue. But Shakespeare never wrote it so: we must observe then, that the two women call her by several titles, to see which beft pleased her; and this was highly in character : the ancients thought that not only men, but Gods too, had some names, which above others they much delighted in, and would soonest answer to; as we may see by the hymns of Orpheus, Homer, and Callimachus. . The poet, conforming to this notion, makes the maids say, Sovereign lady, madam, royal AEgypt, empress. And now we come to the place in question : Charmian, when she saw none of these titles had their effect, invokes her by a fill more flattering

Peace, peace, Isis ! for so it should be read and pointed : i. e. Peace, we can never move her by these titles : let us give her her favourite name of the Goddess Isis. And now Cleopatra's answer becomes pertinent and fine :

No more but a mere woman; and commanded

By such poor passion as the maid ibat milks. i. e. I now see the folly of assuming to myself these flattering titles of divinity. My misfortunes, and my impotence in bearing them, convince me I am a mere woman, and subject to all the passions of the meanest of my species. Here the poet has followed history exactly, and, what is more, his author Plutarih in Antonio ; who says that Cleopatra assumed the habit and attributes of that God. defs, and gave judgments or rather oracles to her people under the quality of the NEW ISIS. Κλεοπάτρα μεν γας και τότε και τον άλλον χρόνον εις πλήθG- εξιώσα, στολήν ετέραν Ιεραν 1ΣΙΔΟΣ ελάμβανε, και ΝΕΑ ΙΣΙΣ εχρημάτιζε. .

WARBURTON. Of this note it


be truly said, that it at least deserves to be right, nor can he, that hall question the justness of the emendation, refuse his esteem to the ingenuity and learning with which it is proposed.

Hanmer had proposed another emendation, not injudiciously, He reads thus,

Iras. Royal Ægypt! empress!
Cleo. Peace, peace, I as.

No more but a mere w man, &c.
That is, no more an empress, but a mere woman.
Vol. VIII.


« ZurückWeiter »