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The itch of his affection should not then
Ay, my lord.
Eup. He says so.
Let her know it.6
4 Have nick'd his captainship;] i. e. set the mark of folly on it. So, in The Comedy of Errors :
and the while “ His man with scissars nicks him like a fool.” Steevens.
The mered question:] The mered question is a term I do not understand. I know not what to offer, except
The mooted question.That is, the disputed point, the subject of debate. Mere is in deed a boundary, and the meered question, if it can mean any thing, may, with some violence of language, mean, the disputed boundary.
Fohnson. So, in Stanyhurst's translation of Virgil, B. III, 1582:
“Whereto joinctlye mearing a cantel of Itayle neereth." Barrett, in his Alvearie, or Quadruple Dictionary, 1580, interprets a meere-stone by lapis terminalis. Question is certainly the true reading. So, in Hamlet, Act I, sc. i:
the king “That was and is the question of these wars.” Steevens. Possibly Shakspeare might have coined the word meered, and derived it from the adjective mere or meer. In that case, the mered question might mean, the only cause of the dispute-the only subject of the quarrel. M. Mason.
Mered is, I suspect, a word of our author's formation, from mere: he being the sole, the entire subject or occasion of the war.
Malone. 6 Let her know it.] To complete the verse, we might add Let her know it then. Steevens.
That head, my lord? Ant. To him again; Tell him, he wears the rose of youth upon him; from which, the world should note Something particular: his coin, ships, legions, May be a coward's; whose ministers would prevail Under the service of a child, as soon As i' the command of Cæsar: I dare him therefore To lay his gay comparisons apart, And answer me declin’d,? sword against sword, Ourselves alone: I'll write it ; follow me.
[Exeunt ANT. and EUP.
his gay comparisons apart, And answer me declin'd,] I require of Cæsar not to depend on that superiority which the comparison of our different fortunes may exhibit to him, but to answer me man to man, in this decline of my age or power. Johnson. I have sometimes thought that Shakspeare wrote
his gay caparisons. Let him “unstate his happiness," let him divest himself of the splendid trappings of power, his coin, ships, legions, &c. and meet me in single combat.
Caparison is frequently used by our author and his contempo. raries, for an ornamental dress. So, in As You Like It, Act III, sc. ii:
though I am caparison'd like a man, Again, in The Winter's Tale, Act IV, sc. ii :
“ With die and drab I purchas'd this caparison." The old reading however is supported by a passage in Macbeth:
“Till that Bellona's bridegroom, lapp'd in proof,
“ Point against point, rebellious." His gay comparisons may mean, those circumstances of splendour and power in which he, when compared with me, so much exceeds me.
Dr. Johnson's explanation of declin'd is certainly right. So, in Timon of Athens :
Not one accompanying his declining foot.”.
What the declind is,
As feel in his own fall.”
“ Before she had declining fortune prov'd.” Malone. The word gay seems rather to favour Malone's conjecture, that we should read caparisons. On the other hand, the following paşsage in the next speech, appears to countenance the present reading:
that he should dream,
Eno. Yes, like enough, high-battled Cæsar will
Enter an Attendant.
A messenger from Cæsar. Cleo. What, no more ceremony?-_See, my women! Against the blown rose may they stop their nose, That kneeld unto the buds.-Admit him, sir.
Eno. Mine honesty, and I, begin to square. [.Aside. The loyalty, well held to fools, does make Our faith mere folly :-Yet, he, that can endure To follow with allegiance a fallen lord, Does conquer him that did his master conquer, And earns a place i’ the story.
be stag'd to the show,] So, Goff, in his Raging 'Turk, 1631:
as if he stag'd
Steevens. Be stag'd to show,—that is, exhibited, like conflicting gladiators, to the public gaze. Henley.
A parcel of their fortunes ;] i. e. as we should say at present, are of a piece with them. Steevens.
to square.] i. e. to quarrel. See A Midsummer Night's Dream, Vol. II, p. 264, n. 3. Steevens.
2 The loyalty, well held to fools, &c.] After Enobarbus has said, that his honesty and he begin to quarrel, he immediately falls into this generous reflection: “Though loyalty, stubbornly preserv'd to a master in his declined fortunes, seems folly in the eyes of fools ; yet he, who can be so obstinately loyal, will make as great a figure on record, as the conqueror." I therefore read:
Though loyalty, well held to fools, does make
Our faith mere folly Theobald. I have preserved the old reading: Enobarbus is deliberating upon desertion, and finding it is more prudent to forsake a fool, and more reputable to be faithful to him, makes no positive conclusion. Sir T. Hanmer follows Theobald. Dr. Warburton re. tains the old reading. Fohreon.
None but friends ;3 say boldly.
Eno. He needs as many, sir, as Cæsar has; Or needs not us. If Cæsar please, our master Will leap to be his friend: For us, you know, Whose he is, we are; and that 's, Cæsar's. Thyr.
So. Thus then, thou most renown'd; Cæsar entreats, Not to consider in what case thou stand'st, Further than he is Cæsar.4
3 None but friends ;] I suppose, for the sake of measure, we ought to read in this place with Sir Thomas Hanmer:
“ None here but friends." Steevens.
Further than he is Cæsar. ] Thus the second folio; and on this reading
the subsequent explanation by Dr. Warburton is founded. The first folio, which brings obscurity with it, has
than he is Cesar's." See Mr. Malone's note. Steevens. i. e. Cæsar entreats, that at the same time you consider your des. perate fortunes, you would consider he is Cæsar : That is, generous and forgiving, able and willing to restore them. Warburton.
It has been just said, that whatever Antony is, all his followers are ; “that is, Cesar's." Thyreus now informs Cleopatra that Cæsar entreats her not to consider herself in a state of subjection, further than as she is connected with Antony, who is Cæsar's : intimating to her, (according to the instructions he had received from Cæsar, to detach Cleopatra from Antony-see p. 314,) that she might make separate and advantageous terms for herself.
I suspect that the preceding speech belongs to Cleopatra, not to Enobarbus. Printers usually keep the names of the persons who appear in each scene, ready composed; in consequence of which, speeches are often attributed to those to whom they do not belong. Is it probable that Enobarbus should presume to interfere here? The whole dialogue naturally proceeds between Cleopatra and Thyreus, till Enobarbus thinks it necessary to attend to his own interest, and says what he speaks when he goes out. The plural number, (us) which suits Cleopatra, who throughout the play assumes that royal style, strengthens my conjecture. The words, our master, it may be said, are incon. sistent with this supposition ; but I apprehend, Cleopatra might have thus described Antony, with sufficient propriety. They are afterwards explained: “ Whose he is, we are.” Antony was the master of her fate. Malone.
Go on : Right royal.
He is a god, and knows
To be sure of that, [Aside.
[Exit Eno. Thyr.
Shall I say to Cæsar
What 's your name?
Most kind messenger,
Enobarbus, who is the buffoon of the play, has already presumed (see p. 238,] to interfere between the jarring Triumvirs, and might therefore have been equally flippant on the occasion before us. For this reason, as well as others, I conceive the speech in question to have been rightly appropriated in the old copy.-- What a diminution of Shakspeare's praise would it be, if four lines that exactly suit the mouth of Enobarbus, could come with equal propriety from the lips of Cleopatra! Steevena.
you embrace not - ] The author probably wroteembracd. Malone.
thou 'rt so leaky, &c.
the very rats
Say to great Cæsar this, In deputation