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So does it no man else.-Met'st thou my posts ? ALEX. Ay, madam, twenty several messengers: Why do you send so thick ??
Who's born that day
When I forget to send to Antony,
Shall die a beggar.-Ink and paper, Charmian.— Welcome, my good Alexas.-Did I, Charmian, Ever love Cæsar so?
CLEO. By Isis, I will give thee bloody teeth,
If thou with Cæsar paragon again
My man of men.
I sing but after you.
By your most gracious pardon,
My sallad days;
When I was green in judgment:-Cold in blood,
He shall have every day a several greeting,
SO THICK?] i. e. in such quick succession. So, in Mac
As thick as tale,
"Came post with post-,"
See vol. xi. p. 43. STEEVENS.
1 My sallad days;
When I was green in judgment:-Cold in blood,
To say, as I said then!] Cold in blood, is an upbraiding expostulation to her maid. "Those, (says she,) were my sallad days, when I was green in judgment; but your blood is as cold as my judgment, if you have the same opinion of things now as I had then." WARBURTON.
"When I was green in judgment, cold in blood
Warburton's reading is more spirited, but cold and green seem to be suggested by the metaphor sallad days. BosWELL.
2-unpeople Egypt.] By sending out messengers. JOHNSON.
ACT II. SCENE I.
Messina. A Room in POMPEY'S House.
Enter POMPEY, Menecrates, and MENAS3.
Poм. If the great gods be just, they shall assist The deeds of justest men.
Know, worthy Pompey, That what they do delay, they not deny.
POм. Whiles we are suitors to their throne, de
The thing we sue for *.
We, ignorant of ourselves,
Beg often our own harms, which the wise powers Deny us for our good; so find we profit,
By losing of our prayers.
I shall do well:
3 The persons are so named in the first edition; but I know not why Menecrates appears; Menas can do all without him.
All the speeches in this scene that are not spoken by Pompey and Varrius, are marked in the old copy, Mene, which must stand for Menecrates. The course of the dialogue shows that some of them at least belong to Menas; and accordingly they are to him attributed in the modern editions; or, rather, a syllable [Men.] has been prefixed, that will serve equally to denote the one or the other of these personages. I have given the first two speeches to Menecrates, and the rest to Menas. It is a matter of little consequence. Malone.
4 Whiles we are suitors to their throne, DECAYS
The thing we sue for.] The meaning is, "While we are praying, the thing for which we pray is losing its value."
5 My POWER's a crescent, &c.] In old editions:
"My powers are crescent, and my auguring hope
What does the relative it belong to? It cannot in sense relate
Says, it will come to the full.
In Egypt sits at dinner, and will make
No wars without doors: Cæsar gets money, where He loses hearts: Lepidus flatters both,
Of both is flatter'd ; but he neither loves,
Nor either cares for him.
Cæsar and Lepidus
Are in the field; a mighty strength they carry.
From Silvius, sir. POм. He dreams; I know, they are in Rome to
gether, Looking for Antony: But all the charms of love, Salt Cleopatra, soften thy wan'd lip' !
to hope, nor in concord to powers. moon; and Pompey would say, crescent; but his hopes tell him, full orb.
The poet's allusion is to the he is yet but a half moon, or that crescent will come to a
charms-] Old copy-" the charms-." The article is here omitted, on account of metre. STEEVENS.
- thy wAN'D lip!] In the old edition it is
Perhaps, for fond lip, or warm lip, says Dr. Johnson. Wand, if it stand, is either a corruption of wan, the adjective, or a contraction of wanned, or made wan, a participle. So, in Hamlet : That, from her working, all his visage wan'd." Again, in Beaumont and Fletcher's Queen of Corinth : "Now you look wan and pale; lips' ghosts you are." Again, in Marston's Antonio and Mellida:
"Not as yet wan'd.”
Or perhaps waned lip, i. e. decreased, like the moon, in its beauty. So, in The Tragedy of Mariam, 1613:
"And Cleopatra then to seek had been
"So firm a lover of her wained face."
Again, in The Skynner's Play, among the Chester collection of Mysteries, MS. Harl. 1013, p. 152:
"O blessed be thou ever and
"Now wayned is all my woo."
Yet this expression of Pompey's, perhaps, after all, implies a wish only, that every charm of love may confer additional softness on the lips of Cleopatra: i. e. that her beauty may improve to the
Let witchcraft join with beauty, lust with both!
That sleep and feeding may prorogue his honour,
ruin of her lover: or, as Mr. Ritson expresses the same idea, that "her lip, which was become pale and dry with age, may recover the colour and softness of her sallad days." The epithet wan might indeed have been added, only to show the speaker's private contempt of it. It may be remarked, that the lips of Africans and Asiaticks are paler than those of European nations.
Shakspeare's orthography often adds a d at the end of a word. Thus, vile is (in the old editions) every where spelt vild. Laund is given instead of lawn: why not therefore wan'd for wan here?
If this however should not be accepted, suppose we read with the addition only of an apostrophe, wan'd; i. e. waned, declined, gone off from its perfection; comparing Cleopatra's beauty to the moon past the full. PERCY.
8 That sleep and feeding may prorogue HIS HONOur,
Even TILL a Lethe'd dulness.] I suspect our author wrote: "That sleep and feeding may prorogue his hour," &c.
So, in Timon of Athens:
- let not that part of nature,
"Which my lord paid for, be of any power
"To expel sickness, but prolong his hour."
The words honour and hour have been more than once confounded in these plays What Pompey seems to wish is, that Antony should still remain with Cleopatra, totally forgetful of every other object.
"To prorogue his honour," does not convey to me at least any precise notion. If, however, there be no corruption, I suppose Pompey means to wish, that sleep and feasting may prorogue to so distant a day all thoughts of fame and military achievement, that they may totally slide from Antony's mind. MALONE.
"Even till a Lethe'd dulness." i. e. to a Lethe'd dulness. That till was sometimes used instead of to, may be ascertained from the following passage in Chapman's version of the eighteenth Iliad:
They all ascended, two and two; and trod the honor'd shore
"Till where the fleete of myrmidons, drawn up in heaps, it bore."
VAR. This is most certain that I shall deliver: Mark Antony is every hour in Rome
Expected; since he went from Egypt, 'tis
A space for further travel.
I could have given' less matter
A better ear.-Menas, I did not think,
This amorous surfeiter would have don'd his helm 2 For such a petty war: his soldiership
Is twice the other twain: But let us rear
Again, in Candlemas Day, 1512, p. 13:
I cannot hope *,
"Thu lurdeyn, take hed what I sey the tyll."
To "prorogue his honour," &c. undoubtedly means, to delay his sense of honour from exerting itself till he is become habitually sluggish. STEEVENS.
- since he went from Egypt, 'tis
A space for further travel.] i. e. since he quitted Egypt, a space of time has elapsed in which a longer journey might have been performed than from Egypt to Rome. STEEVENS.
I could have given, &c.] I cannot help supposing, on account of the present irregularity of metre, that the name of Menas is an interpolation, and that the passage originally stood as follows:
I could have given
"Less matter better ear.-I did not think—."
would have DON'D his helm-] To don is to do on, to put So, in Webster's Dutchess of Malfy, 1623:
"Call upon our dame aloud,
"Bid her quickly don her shrowd." STEEVENS. Egypt's WIDOW-] Julius Cæsar had married her to young Ptolemy, who was afterwards drowned. STEEVENS.
cannot HOPE, &c.] Mr. Tyrwhitt, the judicious editor of The Canterbury Tales of Chaucer, in five vols. 8vo. 1775, &c. observes, that to hope, on this occasion, means to expect. So, in The Reve's Tale, v. 4027 :