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Taurus, Lieutenant-General to Cæsar.
Canidius, Lieutenant-General to Antony.
Silius, an Officer in Ventidius's Army.
Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt.
Octavia, Sister to Cæsar, and Wife to Antony.
Officers, Soldiers, Messengers, and other Attendants.
SCENE, dispersed; in several Parts of the Roman
ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA.
ACT I. SCENE I.
Alexandria. A Room in Cleopatra's Palace.
Enter DEMETRIUS and PHILO.
PHI. Nay, but this dotage of our general's,' O'erflows the measure: those his goodly eyes, That o'er the files and musters of the war Have glow'd like plated Mars, now bend, now turn, The office and devotion of their view
Upon a tawny front: his captain's heart,
Which in the scuffles of great fights hath burst The buckles on his breast, reneges all temper;
-of our general's,] It has already been observed that this phraseology (not, of our general,) was the common phraseology of Shakspeare's time. MALONE.
An erroneous reference in Mr. Malone's edition, prevents me from doing complete justice to his remark. STEEVENS.
reneges-] Renounces. POPE.
So, in King Lear: "Renege, affirm," &c. This word is likewise used by Stanyhurst, in his version of the second Book of Virgil's Æneid:
"To live now longer, Troy burnt, he flatly reneageth."
And is become the bellows, and the fan,
Look, where they come!
And is become the bellows, and the fan,
To cool a gipsy's lust.] In this passage something seems to be wanting. The bellows and fan being commonly used for contrary purposes, were probably opposed by the author, who might perhaps have written:
is become the bellows, and the fan,
To kindle and to cool a gypsy's lust. JOHNSON.
In Lyly's Midas, 1592, the bellows is used both to cool and to kindle: "Methinks Venus and Nature stand with each of them a pair of bellows, one cooling my low birth, the other kindling my lofty affections." STEEVENS.
The text is undoubtedly right. The bellows, as well as the fan, cools the air by ventilation; and Shakspeare considered it here merely as an instrument of wind, without attending to the domestick use to which it is commonly applied. We meet with a similar phraseology in his Venus and Adonis:
"Then, with her windy sighs, and golden hairs,
"To fan and blow them dry again, she seeks." The following lines in Spenser's Fairy Queen, B. II. c. ix. at once support and explain the text:
"But to delay the heat, lest by mischaunce
"It might breake out, and set the whole on fyre,
"A huge great payre of bellowes, which did styre "Continually, and cooling breath inspyre." MALONE. Johnson's amendment is unnecessary, and his reasons for it ill founded. The bellows and the fan have the same effects. When applied to a fire, they increase it; but when applied to any other warm substance, they cool it. M. MASON.
gipsy's lust.] Gipsy is here used both in the original meaning for an Ægyptian, and in its accidental sense for a bad woman. JOHNSON.
Enter ANTONY and CLEOPATRA, with their Trains; Eunuchs fanning her.
Take but good note, and you shall see in him
CLEO. If it be love indeed, tell me how much. ANT. There's beggary in the love that can be reckon❜d.5
CLEO. I'll set a bourn how far to be belov'd.
The triple pillar-] Triple is here used improperly for third, or one of three. One of the triumvirs, one of the three masters of the world. WARBURTON.
So, in All's well that ends well:
"Which, as the dearest issue of his practice,
"He bade me store up as a triple eye." MALONE. To sustain the pillars of the earth is a scriptural phrase. Thus, in Psalm 75: "The earth and all the inhabitants thereof are dissolved. I bear up the pillars of it." STEEVENS.
There's beggary in the love that can be reckon'd.] So, in Romeo and Juliet:
They are but beggars that can count their worth." "Basia pauca cupit, qui numerare potest."
Mart. L. VI. Ep. 36. Again, in the 13th Book of Ovid's Metamorphosis; as translated by Golding, p. 172:
Pauperis est numerare pecus.
"Tush! beggars of their cattel use the number for to know." STEEVENS.
Again, in Much Ado about Nothing:
"I were but little happy, if I could say how much."
bourn-] Bound or limit. POPE.
So, in The Winter's Tale:
one that fixes
"No bourn 'twixt his and mine." STEEVENS.
ANT. Then must thou needs find out new hea
ven, new earth."
Enter an Attendant.
ATT. News, my good lord, from Rome.
Grates me:-The sum."
CLEO. Nay, hear them," Antony:
Fulvia, perchance, is angry; Or, who knows
How, my love!
CLEO. Perchance,-nay, and most like, You must not stay here longer, your dismission Is come from Cæsar; therefore hear it, Antony.Where's Fulvia's process? Cæsar's I would say?Both?
Call in the messengers.-As I am Egypt's queen,
7 Then must thou needs find out new heaven, &c.] Thou must set the boundary of my love at a greater distance than the present visible universe affords. JOHNSON.
The sum.] Be brief, sum thy business in a few words.
Nay, hear them,] i. e. the news. This word, in Shakspeare's time, was considered as plural. So, in Plutarch's Life of Antony: "Antonius hearing these newes," &c. MALONE. Take in &c.] i. e. subdue, conquer. See Vol. IX.
n. 9; and Vol. XVI. p. 27, n. 9. REED.
2 Where's Fulvia's process?] Process here means summons. M. MASON.
"The writings of our common lawyers sometimes call that the processe, by which a man is called into the court and no more." Minsheu's Dict. 1617, in v. Processe.-" To serve with processe. Vide to cite, to summon." Ibid. MALONE.