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Which, like the courser's hair", hath yet but life,
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. Pope.
So, in Holinshed's Description of England, p. 224 : “-A horse-haire laid in a pale full of the like water will in a short time stirre and become a living creature. But sith the certaintie of these things is rather proved by few," &c. Again, in Churchyard's Discourse of Rebellion, &c. 1570:
“ Hit is of kinde much worsse then horses heare
Steevens. Dr. Lister, in the Philosophical Transactions, showed that what were vulgarly called animated horse-hairs, are real insects. It was also affirmed, that they moved like serpents, and were poisonous to swallow. Tollet.
Say, our pleasure,
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. The old copy has—“whose places under us,” and “ require.” The correction, which is certainly right, was made by the editor of the second folio.
Malone. I should read the passage thus :
Say our pleasure
“ Our quick remove," &c. The amendment is as slight as that adopted by the editor, and makes the sense more clear. M. Mason.
I concur with Mr. Malone. Before I had seen his note I had explained these words exactly in the same manner.
I learn, from an ancient Collection of Ordinances and Regulations for the Government of the Royal Household, &c. published by the Society of Antiquaries, 1790, that it was the office of “ Gentlemen Ushers to give the whole house warning upon a remove." STEEVENS. I believe we should read :
Their quick remove from hence.” Tell our design of going away to those who being by their places obliged to attend us, must remove in haste. Johnson.
Enter CLEOPATRA, CHARMIAN, IRAs, and ALEXAS.
Cleo. Where is he' ?
I did not see him since. Cleo. See where he is, who's with him, what he
[Erit Alex. Char. Madam, methinks, if you did love him
What should I do, I do not? CHAR. In each thing give him way, cross him in
nothing. Cleo. Thou teachest like a fool : the way to lose
him. Char. Tempt him not so too far: I wish, for
bear; In time we hate that which we often fear.
I am sick, and sullen.
9 Where is he?] The present defect of metre might be supplied, by reading :
- Where is he now?" So, in Macbeth: “ The thane of Fife had a wife; where is she now? STEEVENS.
I did not send you ;) You must go as if you came without my order or knowledge. Johnson. So, in Troilus and Cressida :
“We met by chance; you did not find me here.” Malone.
Ant. I am sorry to give breathing to my pur
Now, my dearest queen,-
What's the matter ? Cleo. I know, by that same eye, there's some
good news. What says the married woman ?—You may go ; 'Would, she had never given you leave to come ! Let her not say, 'tis I that keep you here, I have no power upon you ; hers you are.
Ant. The gods best know,-
O, never was there queen
Cleopatra, Cleo. Why should I think, you can be mine,
and true, Though you in swearing shake the throned gods, Who have been false to Fulvia ? Riotous madness, To be entangled with those mouth-made vows, Which break themselves in swearing ! Ant.
Most sweet queen, — Cleo. Nay, pray you, seek no colour for your
the sides of nature
“ Can bide the beating of so strong a passion.” Steevens. 3 Though you in swearing shake the throned gods,] So, in Timon of Athens :
Although, I know, you'll swear, terribly swear,
But bid farewell, and go: when you sued staying,
How now, lady!
Hear me, queen:
- in our BROWS' Bent;] i. e. in the arch of our eye-brows. So, in King John: Why do
you bend such solemn brows on me?” STEEVENS. a race of heaven :] i. e. had a smack or flavour of heaven.
WARBURTON. This word is well explained by Dr. Warburton ; the race of wine is the taste of the soil. Sir T. Hanmer, not understanding the word, reads, ray.
Johnson. I am not sure that the poet did not mean, was of heavenly origin. Malone.
Remains in use ---] The poet seems to allude to the legal distinction between the use and absolute possession. Johnson.
The same phrase has already occurred in The Merchant of Venice :
“ I am content, so he will let me have
" The other half in use." STEEVENS VOL. XII.
And quietness, grown sick of rest, would purge
going?, Is Fulvia's death. Cleo. Though age from folly could not give me
Ant. She's dead, my queen :
7 should safe my going,] i, e. should render my going not dangerous, not likely to produce any mischief to you. Mr. Theobald, instead of safe, the reading of the old copy, unnecessarily reads salve. Malone.
safe my going, is the true reading. So, in a subsequent scene, a soldier says to Enobarbus :
“ — Best you safed the bringer
“ Out of the host." STEEVENS. 8 It does from childishness :-Can Fulvia die ?] That Fulvia was mortal, Cleopatra could have no reason to doubt; the meaning therefore of her question seems to be : “ Will there ever be an end of your excuses ? As often as you want to leave me, will not some Fulvia, some new pretext be found for your
She has already said that though age could not exempt her from follies, at least it frees her from a childish belief in all he says. Steevens.
I am inclined to think, that Cleopatra means no more thanIs it possible that Fulvia should die ? I will not believe it.
Ritson. Though age has no 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. 9. The GARBOILS she awak'd ;] i. e. the commotion she occasioned. The word is used by Heywood, in The Rape of Lucrece, 1638:
thou Tarquin, dost alone survive, “ The head of all those garboiles.” Again, by Stanyhurst, in his translation of the first book of Virgil's Æneid, 1582:
“Now manhood and garboils I chaunt and martial horror."