We, ignorant of ourselves, Beg often our own harms, which the wise powers Deny us for our good; so find we profit,

By losing of our prayers.


I shall do well:

The people love me, and the sea is mine;

My power 's a crescent, and my auguring hope
Says, it will come to the full. Mark Antony

In Egypt sits at dinner, and will make

No wars without doors: Cæsar gets money, where
He loses hearts: Lepidus flatters both,

Of both is flatter'd; but he neither loves,
Nor either cares for him.


Cæsar and Lepidus Are in the field; a mighty strength they carry. Pom. Where have you this? 'tis false.


From Silvius, sir. Pom. He dreams; I know, they are in Rome together, Looking for Antony: But all charms of love,

Salt Cleopatra, soften thy wan'd lip!"

5 My power's a crescent, &c.] In old editions:

My powers are crescent, and my auguring hope
Says it will come to the full.

What does the relative it belong to? It cannot in sense relate to hope, nor in concord to powers. The poet's allusion is to the moon, and Pompey would say, he is yet but a half moon, or crescent; but his hopes tell him, that crescent will come to a full orb. Theobald.

6 charms-] Old copy-the charms —. The article is here omitted, on account of metre. Steevens.

7 thy wan'd lip!] In the old edition it is-

-thy wand lip!

Perhaps, for fond lip, or warm lip, says Dr. Johnson. Wand, if it stand, is either a corruption of wan, the adjective, or a contraction of wanned, or made wan, a participle. So, in Hamlet: "That, from her working, all his visage wan'd.” Again, in Beaumont and Fletcher's Queen of Corinth :

"Now you look wan and pale; lips' ghosts you are." Again, in Marston's Antonio and Mellida:


a cheek

"Not as yet wan'd.”

Or perhaps waned lip, i. e. decreased, like the moon, in its beauty. So, in The Tragedy of Mariam, 1613:

"And Cleopatra then to seek had been

"So firm a lover of her wained face."

Again, in The Skynner's Play, among the Chester collection of Mysteries, MS. Harl. 1013, p. 152:

Let witchcraft join with beauty, lust with both!
Tie up the libertine in a field of feasts,
Keep his brain fuming; Epicurean cooks,
Sharpen with cloyless sauce his appetite;
That sleep and feeding may prorogue his honour,
Even till a Lethe'd dulness. How now Varrius?

"O blessed be thou ever and aye;

"Now wayned is all my woo."

Yet this expression of Pompey's, perhaps, after all, implies a wish only, that every charm of love may confer additional softness on the lips of Cleopatra : i. e. that her beauty may improve to the ruin of her lover: or, as Mr. Ritson expresses the same idea, that "her lip, which was become pale and dry with age, may recover the colour and softness of her sallad days." The epithet wan might indeed have been added, only to show the speaker's private contempt of it. It may be remarked, that the lips of Africans and Asiaticks are paler than those of European nations. Steevens.

Shakspeare's orthography [or that of his ignorant publishers] often adds a d at the end of a word. Thus, vile is (in the old editions) every where spelt vild. Laund is given instead of lawn : why not therefore wan'd for wan here?

If this however should not be accepted, suppose we read with the addition only of an apostrophe, wan'd; i. e. waned, declined, gone off from its perfection; comparing Cleopatra's beauty to the moon past the full. Percy.

That sleep and feeding may prorogue his honour,

Even till a Lethe'd dulness.] I suspect our author wrote:
That sleep and feeding may prorogue his hour, &c.

So, in Timon of Athens:

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let not that part of nature,

"Which my lord paid for, be of any power

"To expel sickness, but prolong his hour."

The words honour and hour have been more than once confounded in these plays. What Pompey seems to wish is, that Antony should still remain with Cleopatra, totally forgetful of every other object.

"To prorogue his honour," does not convey to me at least any precise notion. If, however, there be no corruption, I suppose Pompey means to wish, that sleep and feasting may prorogue to so distant a day all thoughts of fame and military achievement, that they may totally slide from Antony's mind. Malone.

Even till a Lethe'd dulness.] i. e. to a Lethe'd dulness. That till was sometimes used instead of to, may be ascertained from the following passage in Chapman's version of the eighteenth Iliad:

"They all ascended, two and two; and trod the honor'd


"Till where the fleet of myrmidons, drawn up in heaps,

it bore."


Var. This is most certain that I shall deliver:
Mark Antony is every hour in Rome
Expected; since he went from Egypt, 'tis
A space for further travel.


I could have given1 less matter

A better ear.Menas, I did not think,

This amorous surfeiter would have don'd his helm
For such a petty war: his soldiership

Is twice the other twain: But let us rear
The higher our opinion, that our stirring
Can from the lap of Egypt's widow3 pluck
The ne'er lust-wearied Antony.

I cannot hope,1

Cæsar and Antony shall well greet together:
His wife, that 's dead, did trespasses to Cæsar;
His brother warr'd upon him;5 although, I think,

Again in Candlemas Day, 1512, p. 13:

"Thu lurdeyn, take hed what I sey the tyll." To prorogue his honour, &c. undoubtedly means, to delay his sense of honour from exerting itself till he is become habitually sluggish. Steevens.


since he went from Egypt, 'tis

A space for further travel.] i. e. since he quitted Egypt, a space of time has elapsed in which a longer journey might have been performed than from Egypt to Rome. Steevens.

1 I could have given &c.] I cannot help supposing, on account of the present irregularity of metre, that the name of Menas is au interpolation, and that the passage originally stood as follows: could have given Steevens.



Less matter better ear.-I did not think 2 would have don'd his helm-] To don is to do on, to put on. So, in Webster's Dutchess of Malfy, 1623:


"Call upon our dame aloud,

"Bid her quickly don her shrowd." Steevens.

Egypt's widow-] Julius Cæsar had married her to young Ptolemy, who was afterwards drowned. Steevens.

I cannot hope, &c.] Mr. Tyrwhitt, the judicious editor of The Canterbury Tales, of Chaucer, in five vols. 8vo. 1775, &c. observes, that to hope, on this occasion, means to expect. So, in The Reve's Tale, v. 4027:

"Our manciple I hope, he wol be ded." Steevens.

5 warr'd upon him;] The old copy has-wan'd. The emendation, which was made by the editor of the second folio, is supported by a passage in the next scene, in which Cæsar says to Antony:

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Not mov'd by Antony.


I know not, Menas,

How lesser enmities may give way to greater.
Were 't not that we stand up against them all,
"Twere pregnant they should square between themselves;
For they have entertained cause enough

To draw their swords: but how the fear of us
May cement their divisions, and bind up
The petty difference, we yet not know.
Be it as our gods will have it! It only stands
Our lives upon, to use our strongest hands.
Come, Menas.



Rome. A Room in the House of Lepidus.

Lep. Good Enobarbus. 'tis a worthy deed,
And shall become you well, to entreat your captain
To soft and gentle speech.


I shall entreat him

To answer like himself: if Cæsar move him,

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6 square] That is, quarrel. So, in The Shoemaker's Holiday, or the gentle Craft, 1600:

"What? square they, master Scott?"

66 Sir, no doubt:

"Lovers are quickly in, and quickly out." Steevens.

See Vol II, p. 264, n. 3.


It only stands


Our lives upon, &c.] i. e. to exert our utmost force, is the only consequential way of securing our lives,

So, in King Richard III:


for it stands me much upon

"To stop all hopes" &c.

i. e. is of the utmost consequence to me. See Vol. XI, p. 129,
n. 1.

8 This play is not divided into Acts by the author or first editors and therefore the present division may be altered at pleasure. I think the first Act may be commodiously continued to this place, and the second Act opened with the interview of the chief persons, and a change of the state of action. Yet it must be confessed, that it is of small importance, where these uncon. nected and desultory scenes are interrupted. Johnson.

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Let Antony look over Cæsar's head,
And speak as loud as Mars. By Jupiter,
Were I the wearer of Antonius' beard,
I would not shave to-day.”


For private stomaching.


"Tis not a time

Every time

Serves for the matter that is then born in it.

Lep. But small to greater matters must give way.
Eno. Not if the small come first.


Your speech is passion:

But, pray you, stir no embers up. Here comes

The noble Antony.



And yonder, Cæsar.

Enter CESAR, MECENAS, and AGRIPPA. Ant. If we compose well here,1 to Parthia: Hark you, Ventidius.


I do not know,

Noble friends,

Mecænas; ask Agrippa.


That which combin'd us was most great, and let not
A leaner action rend us. What 's amiss,

May it be gently heard: When we debate
Our trivial difference loud, we do commit

Murder in healing wounds: Then, noble pariners,
(The rather, for I earnestly beseech,)

Touch you the sourest points with sweetest terms,
Nor curstness grow to the matter.2


9 Were I the wearer of Antonius' beard,

'Tis spoken well:

I would not shave to-day.] I believe he means, I would meet him undressed, without show of respect. Johnson.

Plutarch mentions that Antony, "after the overthrow he had at Modena, suffered his beard to grow at length, and never clipt it, that it was marvellous long." Perhaps this circumstance was in Shakspeare's thoughts. Malone.

1 If we compose well here,] i. e. if we come to a lucky composition, agreement. So afterwards:

"I crave our composition may be written -" i. e. the terms on which our differences are settled.


2 Nor curstness grow to the matter.] Let not ill-humour be added

to the real subject of our difference. Johnson.

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