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ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA.
ACT I. SCENE I.
10. —gipsy's lust.] Gipsy is here used both in the ori ginal meaning for an Egyptian, and in its accidental sense for a bad woman. JOHNSON.
Line 12. The triple pillar-] Triple is here used improperly for third, or one of three. One of the triumvirs, one of the three masters of the world. WARBURTON.
Line 18. Then must thou needs find out new heaven, &c.] Thou must set the boundary of my love at a greater distance than the present visible universe affords. JOHNSON
Line 21. words.
Line 22. Nay, hear them,] i. e. the news.
-to weet,] To know.
-The sum.] Be brief, sum thy business in a few
Will be himself.
But stirr'd by Cleopatra.] But,
in this passage, seems to have the old Saxon signification of without, unless, except. Antony, says the queen, will recollect his thoughts. Unless kept, he replies, in commotion by Cleopatra.
JOHNSON. Line 54. Let's not confound the time-] i. e. let us not consume the time. MALONE.
Line 62. No messenger; but thine and all alone, &c.] Cleopatra has said, "Call in the messengers ;" and afterwards, "Hear the ambassadors." Talk not to me, says Antony, of messengers; I am now wholly thine, and you and I unattended will to-night wander through the streets. The subsequent words which he utters as he goes out, "Speak not to us," confirm this interpretation. MALONE.
Line 72. That he approves the common liar,] Fame. That he proves the common liar, fame, in his case to be a true reporter. MALONE.
ACT I. SCENE II.
Line 79. change his horns with garlands !] I am in doubt whether to change is not merely to dress, or to dress with changes of garlands. JOHNSON.
Line 99. I had rather heat my liver &c.] To know why the lady is so averse from heating her liver, it must be remembered, that a heated liver is supposed to make a pimpled face. JOHNS. Line 103. to whom Herod of Jewry may do homage:] Herod paid homage to the Romans, to procure the grant of the kingdom of Judea. STEEVENS.
Line 114. Then, belike, my children shall have no names :] 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?
Line 117. If every of your wishes had a womb,
And fertile every wish, a million.] If every one of your wishes, says the Soothsayer, had a womb, and each wombinvested wish were likewise fertile, you then would have a million of children. MALONE.
Line 131. Nay, if an oily palm be not a fruitful prognostication, &c.] So, in Othello:
-This hand is moist, my lady :
"This argues fruitfulness and liberal heart." MALONE. Line 195. Extended Asia from Euphrates ;] i. e. widened or extended the bounds of the Lesser Asia. WARBURTON.
To extend, is a term used for to seize; I know not whether this be not the sense here. JOHNSON.
Line 207. When our quick winds lie still ;] The sense is, that man, not agitated by censure, like soil not ventilated by quick winds, produces more evil than good. JOHNSON.
the present pleasure
By revolution lowering does become
The opposite of itself:] 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. WARBURTON.
Perhaps, Shakspeare, who was less learned than his commentator, meant only, that our pleasures, as they are recolved in the mind, turn to pain. JOHNSON,
Line 229. The hand could pluck her back, &c.] The verb could has a peculiar signification in this place; it does not denote power but inclination. The sense is, the hand that drove her off would now willingly pluck her back again. HEATH. -poorer moment:] For less reason; upon meaner JOHNSON.
Line 250. We cannot call her winds and waters, sighs and tears ;} i. e. "We cannot call the clamorous 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," &c.
Line 266. -it shows to man the tailors of the earth; comforting therein, &c.] 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. MALONE.
Line 282. The cause of our expedience-] Expedience for expedition. WARBURTON.
Line 284. -more urgent touches,] Things that touch me more sensibly, more pressing motives. JOHNSON. Line 287. Petition us at home :] Wish us at home; call for us to reside at home. JOHNSON.
the courser's hair, &c.] Alludes to an old idle notion that the hair of a horse dropt into corrupted water, will turn to an animal.
Say, our pleasure,
To such whose place is under us, requires
Our quick remove from hence.] Say to those whose place is under us, i. e. to our attendants, that our pleasure requires us to remove in haste from hence. MALONE.
ACT I. SCENE III.
Line 307. I did not send you ;] You must go as if you came without my order or knowledge. JOHNSON. • Line 357. - a race of heaven:] i. e. had a smack or flavour of heaven. WARBURTON.
Line 367. Remains in use- -] The poet seems to allude to the legal distinction between the use and absolute possession.
Line 379. should safe my going,] i. e. should render my going not dangerous, not likely to produce any mischief to you. MALONE.
. Line 383. It does from childishness:-Can Fulvia die?] "Though age has not exempted me from folly, I am not so childish, as to have apprehensions from a rival that is no more. And is Fulvia dead indeed?" Such, I think, is the meaning.
MALONE. Line 386. The garboils she awak'd;] Garboil means hurlyburly.
Line 388. O most false love!
Where be the sacred vials thou should'st fill
With sorrowful water?] Alluding to the lachrymatory vials, or bottles of tears, which the Romans sometimes put into the urn of a friend.
-to Egypt:] To me, the Queen of Egypt.
424. But that your royalty,
Holds idleness your subject, I should take you
me, who am the greatest fool on earth, in chains, I should have adjudged you to be the greatest. That this is the sense is shown by her answer:
'Tis sweating labour,
To bear such idleness so near the heart,
As Cleopatra this.
ACT I. SCENE IV.
-as the spots of heaven,
More fiery by night's blackness;] The meaning seems to be-As the stars or spots of heaven are not obscured, but rather rendered more bright, by the blackness of the night, so neither is the goodness of Antony eclipsed by his evil qualities, but, on the contrary, his faults seem enlarged and aggravated by bis virtues. MALONE. -purchas'd;] Procured by his own fault or enJOHNSON. Line 470. So great weight in his lightness.] The word light is one of Shakspeare's favourite play-things. The sense is-His trifling levity throws so much burden upon us. JOHNSON.
Line 456. deavour.
Line 473. Cail on him for't:] Call on him, is, visit him. Says Cæsar-If Antony followed his debaucheries at a time of leisure, I should leave him to be punished by their natural consequences, by surfeits and dry bones. JOHNSON.
Line 476. -boys; who, being mature in knowledge,] By boys mature in knowledge, are meant, boys old enough to know their duty. JOHNSON.
Line 485. That only have fear'd Cæsar:] Those whom not love but fear made adherents to Cæsar, now show their affection for Pompey. JOHNSON.
Line 496. Goes to, and back, lackeying the varying tide,
: →lackeying the varying tide,