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O, rare for Antony! Eno. Her gentlewomen, like the Nereides, So many mermaids, tended her i’ the eyes, And made their bends adornings ;? at the helm A seeming mermaid steers; the silken tackle Swell with the touches of those flower-soft hands, That yarely frames the office. From the barge A strange, invisible perfume hits the sense Of the adjacent wharfs. The city cast Her people out upon her; and Antony, Enthroned in the market-place, did sit alone, Whistling to the air ; which, but for vacancy, Had gone to gaze on Cleopatra too, And made a gap in nature. Agr.
I saw her once
Mec. Now Antony must leave her utterly.
1 i. e. waited upon her looks, discovered her will by her looks.
26 Made their bends adornings.” On this passage there are several pages of notes in the variorum Shakspeare, which, as Steevens remarks, supply a powerful instance of the uncertainty of verbal criticism ; for the same phrase is there explained with reference to four different imagesbows, groups, eyes, and tails. “The plain sense of the passage seems to be, ' each inclined her person so gracefully, that the very act of humiliation kas an improvement of her own beauty.'
3 “ Yarely frame,” i. e. readily perform.
Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale
Mec. If beauty, wisdom, modesty can settle
Agr. Let us go
Humbly, sir, 1 thank you.
SCENE III. The same. A Room in Cæsar's House.
Enter CÆSAR, ANTONY, OCTAVIA between them ;
Attendants, and a Soothsayer.
All which time
Good night, sir.—My Octavia,
Octa. Good night, sir.
you can, your reason? Sooth.
I see't in
1 Riggish is wanton, immodest.
2 Lottery for allotment. 3 The same construction is found in Coriolanus, Act i. Sc. 1, “ Shouting their emulation."
My motion, have it not in my tongue. But yet,
Say to me,
Sooth. Casar's ;
Speak this no more.
Get thee gone;
1 A Fear was a personage in some of the old moralities. 2 So in Macbeth, “light thickens."
3 The ancients used to match quails as we match cocks. Julius Pollux relates, that a circle was made in which the birds were placed, and he whose quail was first driven out of this circle lost the stake.
Enter LEPIDUS, MECÆNAS, and AGRIPPA. Lep. Trouble yourselves no further; pray you,
hasten Your generals after. Agr.
Sir, Mark Antony
Lep. Till I shall see you in your soldier's dress,
Your way is shorter;
Sir, good success!
SCENE V. Alexandria. A Room in the Palace.
Enter CLEOPATRA, CHARMIAN, IRAS, and ALEXAS.
Cleo. Give me some music; music, moody' food Of us that trade in love. Attend.
The music, ho !
Cleo. Let it alone; let us to billiards.3 Come, Charmian.
Char. My arm is sore; best play with Mardian.
Cleo. As well a woman with an eunuch played, As with a woman:-Come, you'll play with me, sir ?
1 Mount Misenum.
3 It is scarcely necessary to remark that this is an anachronism. Billiarils were not known to the ancients.
Mar. As well as I can, madam.
come too short,
-We'll to the river; there,
'Twas merry, when
That time! O times !
Enter a Messenger.
First, madam, he's well. Cleo. Why, there's more gold. But, sirrah, mark :
1 This circumstance is from Plutarch.
2 The battle of Philippi being the greatest action of Antony's life, it was an adroit piece of flattery to name his sword from it.
3 The old copy reads " Ram thou,” &c. Rain agrees better with the epithets fruitful and barren. So in Timon :
“ Rain sacrificial whisperings in his ear.”