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ACT II. SCENE V.
Line 439. musick, moody food-] The mood is the mind, or mental disposition. Van Haaren's panegyrick on the English begins, Grootmoedig Volk, [great-minded nation.] Perhaps here is a poor jest intended between mood the mind and moods of musick. JOHNSON.
Line 443. let us to billiards :] This is one of the numer ous anachronisms that are found in these plays. This game was not known in ancient times.
I wore his sword Philippan.] We are not to suppose, nor is there any warrant from history, that Antony had any particular sword so called. The dignifying weapons, in this sort, is a custom of much more recent date. This therefore seems a compliment à posteriori. THEOBALD.
Line 469. Ram thou thy fruitful tidings-] Shakspeare probably wrote, (as Sir T. Hanmer observes,) Rain thou &c. Rain agrees better with the epithets fruitful and barren. STEEVENS.
Line 491. Not like a formal man.] Decent, regular. JOHNS. By a formal man, Shakspeare means, a man in his senses. Informal women, in Measure for Measure, is used for women beside themselves. STEEVENS,
Line 497. I'll set thee in a shower of gold, and hail
Rich pearls upon thee.] That is, I will give thee a kingdom: it being the eastern ceremony, at the coronation of their kings, to powder them with gold-dust and seed-pearl. So, Milton:
-the gorgeous east with liberal hand
"Showers on her kings barbaric pearl and gold."
Line 549. These hands do lack nobility, that they strike
A meaner than myself;] This thought seems to be borrowed from the laws of chivalry, which forbad a knight to engage with his inferior. STEEVENS.
Line 594. Let him for ever go:] She is now talking in broken sentences, not of the Messenger, but Antony.
ACT II. SCENE VI,
Line 626. Thou canst not fear us,] Thou canst not affright us
with thy numerous navy.
Line 630. At land, indeed,
Thou dost o'er-count me of my father's house :] At land indeed thou dost exceed me in possessions, having added to thy own my father's house. MALONE. Line 632. But, since the cuckow builds not for himself, &c.] Since, like the cuckoo, that seizes the nests of other birds, you have invaded a house which you could not build, keep it while you can. JOHNSON. Line 669. What counts harsh fortune casts &c.] Metaphor from making marks or lines in casting accounts in arithmetick. WARBURTON.
Line 718. I will praise any man that will praise me:] The poet's art in delivering this humorous sentiment (which gives so very true and natural a picture of the commerce of the world) can never be sufficiently admired. The confession could come from none but a frank and rough character, like the speaker's and the moral lesson insinuated under it, that flattery can make its way through the most stubborn manners, deserves our serious reflection. WARBURTON.
ACT II. SCENE VII.
Line 772. -with a Banquet.] A banquet, in our author's time, frequently signified what we now call a desert.
Line 773. Some o' their plants-] Plants, besides its common meaning, is here used for the foot, from the Latin.
Line 777. They have made him drink alms-drink.] A phrase amongst good fellows, to signify that liquor of another's share which his companion drinks to ease him. But it satirically alludes to Cæsar and Antony's admitting him into the triumvirate, in order to take off from themselves the load of envy.
Line 778. As they pinch one another by the disposition,] A phrase equivalent to that now in use, of Touching one in a sore place. WARBURTON. JOHNSON.
Line 78.5.a partizan-] A pike.
-787. To be called into a huge sphere, and not to be seen to move in't, are the holes where eyes should be, which pitifully disaster the cheeks.] This speech seems to be mutilated; to supply the deficiencies is impossible, but perhaps the sense was originally approaching to this:
To be called into a huge sphere, and not to be seen to move in it, is a very ignominious state; great offices are the holes where eyes should be, which, if eyes be wanting, pitifully disaster the cheeks. JOHNSON.
Line 810. I have heard the Ptolemies' pyramises are very goodly things;] Pyramis for pyramid was in common use in our author's MALONE.
Line 873. thy pall'd fortunes-] Palled is capid, past its time of excellence; palled wine, is wine that has lost its original 'sprightliness. JOHNSON. Line 888.
That it might go on wheels!] The World goes upon -Wheels, is the title of a pamphlet written by Taylor the water
struck ;] alludes to darting. Thou whose darts
have so often struck others, art struck now thyself. Line 33. That without which a soldier, and his sword,
Grants scarce distinction.] The sense is this: Thou hast that, Ventidius, which if thou didst want, there would be no distinction between thee and thy sword. You would be both equally cutting and senseless.
ACT III. SCENE II.
-Arabian bird! The phoenix.
-67.bards, poets,] Not only the tautology of bards
and poets, but the want of a correspondent action for the poet, whose business in the next line is only to number, makes me suspect some fault in this passage, which I know not how to mend. JOHNSON.
Line 80. -as my furthest band-] As I will venture the greatest pledge of security, on the trial of thy conduct. JOHNS. Band and bond, in our author's time, were synonymous.
Line 97. The elements be kind &c.] This is obscure. It seems to mean, May the different elements of the body, or principles of life, maintain such proportion and harmony as may keep you cheerful.
Line 155. Is she as tall as me? &c. &c. &c.] This scene (says Dr. Grey) is a manifest allusion to the questions put by Queen Elizabeth to Sir James Melvil, concerning his mistress the Queen of Scots. Whoever will give himself the trouble to consult his Memoirs, may probably suppose the resemblance to be more than accidental.
Line 191. is as low &c.] Low foreheads were, in Shakspeare's age, thought a blemish. So, in The Tempest:
"with foreheads villainous low."
-so I harry'd him.] To harry, is to use roughly.
ACT III, SCENE IV,
-Wars' twixt you twain would be &c.] The sense is, that war between Cæsar and Antony would engage the world between them, and that the slaughter would be great in so extensive a commotion.
ACT III. SCENE V,
Line 262. -rivality;] Equal rank.
upon his own appeal,] To appeal, in Shak
spear, is to accuse; Cæsar seized Lepidus without any other proof
than Cæsar's accusation.
Line 268. Then, world, &c.] i. e. Cæsar and Antony will make war on each other, though they have the world to prey upon between them. JOHNSON.
Line 278. -More, Domitius ;] I have something more to tell you, which I might have told at first, and delayed my news. Antony requires your presence. JOHNSON.
ACT III. SCENE VI.
Line 294. Lydia.! For Lydia, Mr. Upton, from Plutarch, has restored Lybia. JOHNSON.
In the translation from the French of Amyot, by Tho. North, in folio, 1597 *, will be seen at once the origin of this mistake: "First of all he did establish Cleopatra queen of Egypt, of Cyprus, of Lydia, and the lower Syria." FARMER.
Line 369. The kings o'the earth for war:] Mr. Upton remarks, that there are some errors in this enumeration of the auxiliary kings: but it is probable that the author did not much wish to be accurate. JOHNSON. Line 400. authority; he
potent regiment-] Regiment, is government, his power and his empire into the hands of a JOHNSON.
ACT III. SCENE VII.
forspoke my being-] To forspeak, is to contradict, to speak against, as forbid is to order negatively. JOHNS. Line 457. Their ships are yare; yours, heavy.] Yare geneSTEEVENS.
rally signifies dextrous, manageable.
Line 492. Sold. By Hercules, I think, I am i the right.
Can. Soldier, thou art: but his whole action grows Not in the power on't:] That is, his whole conduct becomes ungoverned by the right, or by reason. JOHNS. Line 504. distractions,] Detachments, separate bodies.
I find the character of this work pretty early delineated:
"Thus 'twixt one Plutarch there's more difference,
"Than i' th' same Englishman return'd from France." FARMER.