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Where their appointment we may best discover,
Enter CESAR, and his Forces, marching.
CES. But being charg'd, we will be still by land, Which, as I take't, we shall5; for his best force Is forth to man his gallies. To the vales, And hold our best advantage.
"Whose whisper o'er the world's diameter,
The words" So viperous slander," which are necessary both to the sense and metre, are not in the old copies. MALONE. 4 Where their APPOINTMENT We may best discover,
And look on their ENDEAVOUR.] i. e. where we may best discover their numbers, and see their motions. WARBURTON.
5 BUT being charg'd, we will be still by land,
Which, as I take't, we shall ;] i. e. unless we be charg'd we will remain quiet at land, which quiet I suppose we shall keep. But being charg'd was a phrase of that time, equivalent to unless we be. WARBURTON.
"But (says Mr. Lambe, in his notes on the ancient metrical history of The Battle of Floddon,) signifies without," in which sense it is often used in the North. Boots but spurs." Vulg. Again, in Kelly's Collection of Scots Proverbs: He could eat me but salt." Again: "He gave me whitings but bones." Again, in Chaucer's Persones Tale, Mr. Tyrwhitt's edit.: Ful oft time I rede, that no man trust in his owen perfection, but he be stronger than Samson, or holier than David, or wiser than Solomon." But is from the Saxon Butan. Thus butan leas; absque falso, without a lie. Again, in The Vintner's Play, in the Chester Collection, British Museum, MS. Harl. 2013, p. 29:
Abraham. Oh comely creature, but I thee kill,
See also Ray's North Country Words; and the MS. version of an ancient French romance, entitled L'Histoire du noble, preux, et vaillant Chevalier Guillaume de Palerne, et de la belle Melior sa mye, lequel Guill. de Palerne fut filz du Roy de Cecille, &c. in the Library of King's College, Cambridge:
"I sayle now in the see as schip boute mast,
"Boute anker, or ore, or ani semlych sayle." P. 86. In ancient writings this preposition is commonly distinguished from the adversative conjunction-but; the latter being usually spelled-bot. STEEVENS.
Re-enter ANTONY and Scarus.
ANT. Yet they're not join'd: Where yonder pine does stand,
I shall discover all: I'll bring thee word
Swallows have built
In Cleopatra's sails their nests: the augurers
And dare not speak their knowledge. Antony
Alarum afar off, as at a Sea Fight.
All is lost;
ANT. This foul Egyptian hath betrayed me : My fleet hath yielded to the foe; and yonder They cast their caps up, and carouse together Like friends long lost.-Triple-turn'd whore"! 'tis
-] The old copy has-auguries. This leads us to what seems most likely to be the true reading-augurers, which word is used in the last Act:
"You are too sure an augurer." MALONE.
– Triple-turn'd whore!] She was first for Antony, then was supposed by him to have turned to Cæsar, when he found his messenger kissing her hand; then she turned again to Antony; and now has turned to Cæsar. Shall I mention what has dropped into my imagination, that our author perhaps might have written triple-tongued? Double-tongued is a common term of reproach, which rage might improve to triple-tongued. But the present reading may stand. JOHNSON.
Cleopatra was first the mistress of Julius Cæsar, then of Cneius Pompey, and afterwards of Antony. To this, I think, the epithet triple-turn'd alludes. So, in a former scene :
Hast sold me to this novice; and my heart
O sun, thy uprise shall I see no more:
That spaniel'd me at heels, to whom I
"I found you as a morsel, cold upon
"Dead Cæsar's trencher; nay, you were a fragment
Mr. Tollet supposed that Cleopatra had been mistress to Pompey the Great; but her lover was his eldest son, Cneius Pompey. MALONE.
She first belonged to Julius Cæsar, then to Antony, and now, as he supposes, to Augustus. It is not likely that in recollecting her turnings, Antony should not have that in contemplation which gave him most offence. M. MASON.
This interpretation is sufficiently plausible, but there are two objections to it. According to this account of the matter, her connection with Cneius Pompey is omitted, though the poet certainly was apprized of it, as appears by the passage just quoted. 2. There is no ground for supposing that Antony meant to insinuate that Cleopatra had granted any personal favour to Augustus, though he was persuaded that she had "sold him to the novice." MALONE.
Mr. M. Mason's explanation is, I think, very sufficient; and Antony may well enough be excused for want of circumstantiality in his invective. The sober recollection of a critick should not be expected from a hero who has this moment lost the one half of the world. STEEVENS.
8 That SPANIEL'D me at heels,] All the editions read: "That pannell'd me at heels.”
Sir T. Hanmer substituted spaniel'd by an emendation, with which it was reasonable to expect that even rival commentators would be satisfied; yet Dr. Warburton proposes pantler'd, in a note, of which he is not injured by the suppression; and Mr. Upton having in his first edition proposed plausibly enough"That paged me at heels
in the second edition retracts his alteration, and maintains pannell'd to be the right reading, being a metaphor taken, he says, from a pannel of wainscot. JOHNSON.
Their wishes, do discandy, melt their sweets
Whose bosom was my crownet, my chief end',
Spaniel'd is so happy a conjecture, that I think we ought to acquiesce in it. It is of some weight with me that spaniel was often formerly written spannel. Hence there is only the omission of the first letter, which has happened elsewhere in our poet, as in the word chear, &c. To dog them at the heels is not an uncommon expression in Shakspeare: and in A Midsummer-Night's Dream, Act II. Sc. II. Helena says to Demetrius :
I am your spaniel,—only give me leave,
Spannel for spaniel is yet the inaccurate pronunciation of some persons, above the vulgar in rank, though not in literature. Our author has in like manner used the substantive page as a verb in Timon of Athens:
"Will these moist trees
"That have out-liv'd the eagle, page thy heels," &c. In King Richard III. we have
"Death and destruction dog thee at the heels." Malone.
9 - this GRAVE charm,] I know not by what authority, nor for what reason, this grave charm, which the first, the only original copy exhibits, has been through all the modern editions changed to this "this charm. By gay grave charm," is meant, "this sublime, this majestick beauty." JOHNSON.
I believe grave charm means only deadly, or destructive piece of witchcraft. In this sense the epithet grave is often used by Chapman, in his translation of Homer. So, in the 19th book: 66 - but not far hence the fatal minutes are "Of thy grave ruin."
Again, in the same translator's version of the 22d Odyssey : and then flew
"Minerva, after every dart, and made
"Some strike the threshold, some the walls invade ;
It seems to be employed in the sense of the Latin word gravis.
was my CROWNET, my chief end,] Dr. Johnson supposes that crownet means last purpose, probably from finis coronat
Like a right gipsy, hath, at fast and loose,
opus. Chapman, in his translation of the second book of Homer, uses crown in the sense which my learned coadjutor would recommend :
all things have their crowne."
"As true as Troilus shall crown up the verse,
So, again, in All's Well That Ends Well:
"All's well that ends well; still the fine's the crown." C. 2 Like a right GIPSY, hath, at FAST AND LOOSE,
Beguil'd me, &c.] There is a kind of pun in this passage, arising from the corruption of the word Egyptian into gipsy. The old law-books term such persons as ramble about the country, and pretend skill in palmistry and fortune-telling, Egyptians. "Fast and loose" is a term to signify a cheating game, of which the following is a description. A leathern belt is made up into a number of intricate folds, and placed edgewise upon a table. One of the folds is made to resemble the middle of the girdle, so that whoever should thrust a skewer into it would think he held it fast to the table; whereas, when he has so done, the person with whom he plays may take hold of both ends, and draw it away. This trick is now known to the common people, by the name of pricking at the belt or girdle, and perhaps was practised by the Gypsies in the time of Shakspeare. SIR J. HAWKINS.
Sir John Hawkins's supposition is confirmed by the following Epigram in an ancient collection called Run and a great Cast, by Thomas Freeman, 1614:
"In Ægyptum suspensum. Epig. 95.
Surely it seem'd he was not his craft's master,
Had you been there, but to have seen the cast,