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CLEO. Sooth, la, I'll help : Thus it must be.
Well, well; We shall thrive now.-Seest thou, my good fellow? Go, put on thy defences.
CLEO. Is not this buckled well?
He that unbuckles this, till we do please
That thou could'st see my wars to-day, and knew'st The royal occupation! thou should'st see
Enter an Officer, armed.
A workman in't.-Good morrow to thee; welcome: Thou look'st like him that knows a warlike charge: To business that we love, we rise betime,
And go to it with delight. 1 OFF.
A thousand, sir,
the other editions are only one, and given to Cleopatra, were happily disentangled by Sir T. Hanmer. JOHNSON.
In the old copy the words stand thus: "Cleo. Nay I'll help too, Antony. What's this for? Ah let be, let be; &c. Sooth, la, I'll help Thus it must be."
Sir Thomas Hanmer gave the words-" What's this for?" to Antony: but that they belong to Cleopatra, appears clearly, I think, from the subsequent words, which have been rightly attributed to Antony. What's this piece of your armour for? says the queen. Let it alone, replies Antony: "false, false; this, this." This is the piece that you ought to have given me, and not that of which you asked the use. MALONE.
3 BRIEFLY, Sir.] That is, quickly, sir. JOHNSON.
4 TO DOFF'T-] To doff is to do off, to put off. See vol. xi. p. 232, n. 1. STEEVENS.
5 More TIGHT at this, than thou:] Tight is handy, adroit. So, in The Merry Wives of Windsor: "bear you these letters tightly." In the country, a tight lass still signifies a handy one.
Early though't be, have on their riveted trim o,
Enter other Officers, and Soldiers.
2 OFF. The morn is fair.-Good morrow, general 7.
ALL. Good morrow, general. ANT. 'Tis well blown, lads. This morning, like the spirit of a youth That means to be of note, begins betimes.So, so; come, give me that: this way; well said. Fare thee well, dame, whate'er becomes of me: This is a soldier's kiss: rebukable, [Kisses her. And worthy shameful check it were, to stand On more mechanick compliment; I'll leave thee Now, like a man of steel.-You, that will fight, Follow me close; I'll bring you to't.-Adieu. [Exeunt ANTONY, EROS, Officers, and Sol
CHAR. Please you, retire to your chamber? CLEO. Lead me. He goes forth gallantly. That he and Cæsar might Determine this great war in single fight! Then, Antony,-But now,-Well, on.
- have on their RIVETED trim,] So, in King Henry V.: "The armourers accomplishing the knights,
"With busy hammers closing rivets up." MALONE.
7 The morn is fair.-Good morrow, general.] This speech, in the old copy, is erroneously given to Alexas. STEEVENS.
Alexas had now revolted, and therefore could not be the speaker. See p. 350. MALONE.
ANTONY'S Camp near Alexandria.
Trumpets sound. Enter ANTONY and EROS; a Soldier meeting them.
SOLD. The gods make this a happy day to Antony !
ANT. 'Would, thou and those thy scars had once prevail'd
To make me fight at land!
Had'st thou done so, The kings that have revolted, and the soldier That has this morning left thee, would have still Follow'd thy heels.
Who's gone this morning?
One ever near thee: Call for Enobarbus,
What say'st thou ?
Say, I am none of thine.
He is with Cæsar.
He has not with him.
Sir, his chests and treasure
Is he gone?
8 Sold. The gods make this a happy day to Antony!] 'Tis evident, as Dr. Thirlby likewise conjectured, by what Antony immediately replies, that this line should not be placed to Eros, but to the Soldier, who, before the battle of Actium, advised Antony to try his fate at land. THEOBALD.
The same mistake has, I think, happened in the next two speeches addressed to Antony, which are also given in the old copy to Eros. I have given them to the Soldier, who would naturally reply to what Antony said. Antony's words, "What sayst thou? compared with what follows, show that the speech beginning, "Who? One ever near thee:" &c. belongs to the Soldier. This regulation was made by Mr. Capell. MALONE.
ANT. Go, Eros, send his treasure after; do it; Detain no jot, I charge thee: write to him (I will subscribe) gentle adieus, and greetings: Say, that I wish he never find more cause To change a master.-O, my fortunes have Corrupted honest men :-Despatch:-Enobarbus9!
CESAR'S Camp before Alexandria.
Flourish. Enter CESAR, with AGRIPPA, ENOBARBUS, and Others.
CES. Go forth, Agrippa, and begin the fight:
9-Eros, despatch.] Thus the second folio; except that these two words are here, for the sake of metre, transposed. The first folio has
Dr. Johnson would read
Despatch! To Enobarbus;
And Mr. Holt White supposes that " Antony, being astonished at the news of the desertion of Enobarbus, merely repeats his name in a tone of surprize."
In my opinion, Antony was designed only to enforce the order he had already given to Eros. I have therefore followed the second folio. STEEVENS.
It will be evident to any person who consults the second folio with attention and candour, that many of the alterations must have been furnished by some corrected copy of the first folio, or an authority of equal weight, being such as no person, much less one so ignorant and capricious as the editor has been represented, could have possibly hit upon, without that sort of information. Among these valuable emendations is the present, which affords a striking improvement both of the sense and of the metre, and should of course be inserted in the text, thus :
Corrupted honest men. Ercs, despatch."
The same transposition, which is a mere, though frequent, inadvertence of the press, has happened in a subsequent scene: "Unarm, Eros; the long days task is done:
Where the measure plainly requires, as the author must have written," Eros, unarm." RITSON.
Our will is, Antony be took alive ';
AGR. Cæsar, I shall.
[Exit AGRIPPA. CAS. The time of universal peace is near: Prove this a prosperous day, the three-nook'd world Shall bear the olive freely 2.
Our will is, Antony be took alive;] It is observable with what judgment Shakspeare draws the character of Octavius. Antony was his hero; so the other was not to shine: yet being an historical character, there was a necessity to draw him like. But the ancient historians, his flatterers, had delivered him down so fair, that he seems ready cut and dried for a hero. Amidst these difficulties Shakspeare has extricated himself with great address. He has admitted all those great strokes of his character as he found them, and yet has made him a very unamiable character, deceitful, mean-spirited, narrow-minded, proud, and revengeful. WARBURTON.
-the THREE-NOOK'D WORLD
Shall bear the olive freely.] So, in King John:
"Now these her princes are come home again,
So, Lyly, in Euphues and his England, 1580: "The island is in fashion three-corner'd," &c. MALONE.
"Shall bear the olive freely," i. e. shall spring up every where spontaneously and without culture. WARBURTON.
Dr. Warburton mistakes the sense of the passage. To bear does not mean to produce, but to carry; and the meaning is, that the world shall then enjoy the blessings of peace, of which olive-branches were the emblem. The success of Augustus could not so change the nature of things, as to make the olive-tree grow without culture in all climates, but it shut the gates of the temple of Janus. M. MASON.
I doubt whether Mr. M. Mason's explication of the word bear be just. The poet certainly did not intend to speak literally; and might only mean, that, should this prove a prosperous day, there would be no occasion to labour to effect a peace throughout the world; it would take place without any effort or negociation. MALONE.
My explanation of this passage is supported by the following lines in The Second Part of King Henry IV. Act IV. Sc. IV. where Westmoreland says―
"There is not now a rebel's sword unsheath'd,
"But peace puts forth her olive every where." M. MASON.