Imatges de pÓgina
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Or murmuring, "where's my ferpent of old Nile 7"
(For fo he calls me ;) now I feed myfelf
With most delicious poifon; think on me
That am with Phoebus' amorous pinches black,
And wrinkled deep in time? Bald-fronted Cafar,
When thou wait here above the ground, I was
A morfel for a monarch; and great Pompey
Would ftand and make his eyes grow in my brow ;
There would he anchor his afpect, and die
With looking on his life.

Meffengers from Lovers, grateful.

How much unlike art thou Mark Antony!
Yet coming from him, that great med'cine hath
With his tinct gilded thee. (16)

Antony's

made an alteration in a following line, which I have admitted into the text it is commonly read,

Broad-fronted Cafar

“Is there,” says he," the least ground from medals, statues, or history, for fuch a defcription of him? No; but the very reverfe. Look on his medals, and particularly the fine bronze at Dr. Mead's, and you'll find that he has a remarkably sharp forehead. But there is a peculiarity in Cafar's forehead, mentioned by all his hiftorians, and confirmed by medals and statues. He was bald, and boasted that he would cover his temples with laurels instead of hair; and for that purpose, after he was dictator, conftantly wore his laurel crown. I read, therefore,

Bald-fronted Cæfar.

It is perfectly in character for Cleopatra to mention a blemish in Cafar; for fhe a little below fhews a contempt for his memory, in comparison of her Antony." W. See Beaumont and Fletcher's works, preface, p. 66.

(16) With his tinct gilded thee.] Alluding to the philofophers ftone, which by its touch converts bafe metal into gold the alchymifts call the matter, whatever it be, by which they perform tranfmutation, a medicine. J.

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Antony's Love and Difpofition.

Ale. Good friend, quoth he,
Say, "the firm Roman to great Egypt fends
This treasure of an oifter: at whole foot,
To mend the petty prefent, I will piece
Her opulent throne with kingdoms: all the east
Say thou, fhall call her mistress." So he nodded,
And foberly did mount an arm-gaunt (17) fteed,
Who neigh'd fo high, that what I would have spoke,
Was beaftly dumb'd by him.

Cle. What, was he fad, or merry ?

Ale. Like to the time-o' the year, between the

extremes

Of hot and cold; he was nor fad nor merry.

Cle. O well-divided difpofition !-Note him, Note him, good Charmian, 'tis the man; but note him,

He was not fad; for he would fhine on those
That make their looks by his: he was not merry;
Which feem'd to tell them, his remembrance lay
In Egypt with his joy: but between both :
O heavenly mingle!-Be'ft thou fad, or merry,
The violence of either thee becomes;
So does it no man else.

ACT II.

SCENE I.

The Vanity of human Wishes.

Pom. If the great gods be juft, they shall affift
The deeds of justest men.

Men. Know, worthy Pompey,

That what they do delay they not deny.

Pom.

(17) Arm-gaunt.] i. e. fays W. a steed worn lean and thin by much fervice in war. Hanmer reads arm-girt feed.

Pom. Whilst we are suitors to their throne, decays, (18)

The thing we fue for.

Men. We, (19) ignorant of ourfelves,
Beg often our own harms, which the wife powers
Deny us for our good: fo find we profit
By lofing of our prayers.

Pom

(18) Decays.] i. e. while we are praying, the thing for which we pray, is lofing its value. J. W. reads delays, the thing we fue for.

(19) We, &c.] Theobald has well observed, that if this be not an imitation of the following incomparable lines of Juvenal, they breathe fo much of the fame fpirit and energy, as if the foul of the Roman fatyrift had been transfus'd into our poet. In the beginning of the fatyr [the 10th] the poet obferves;

Look round the habitable world, how few
Know their own good, or knowing it, purfue!
How void of reafon are our hopes and fears!
What in the conduct of our life appears
So well defign'd, fo luckily begun,

But, when we've got our with, we wish undone !
Whole houfes of their whole defires poffeft,
Are often ruin'd at their own request.

In wars and peace, things hurtful we require,
When made obnoxious to our own defire.
With laurels fome have fatally been crown'd;
Some who the depths of cloquence have found,
In that unnavigable stream were, drown'd, &c.
And towards the end, he advises thus :

Intrust thy fortune to the powers above,
Leave them to manage for thee, and to grant
What their unerring wifdom fees thee want:
In goodness as in greatnefs they excel;
Ah, that we lov'd ourselves but half fo well!
We blindly, by our headftrong paffions led,
Are hot for action and defire to wed;
Then with for heirs: but to the gods alone
Our future offspring, and our wives are known,
Th' audacious ftrumpet, and ungracious fon.

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Pompey's Wish for Antony's Captivity in Pleafure.

Pomp. I know they are in Rome together,
Looking for Antony: but all the charms of love,
Salt Cleopatra, foften thy wan lip; (20)
Let witchcraft join with beauty, luft with both!
Tie up the libertine in a field of fealts,
Keep his brain fuming; Epicurean cooks,
Sharpen with cloylefs fauce his appetite;
That fleep and feeding may prorogue his honour,
Even till a Lethe'd dulnefs.

Antony's Soldiership.

Pomp.

Menas, I did not think,

This amorous furfeiter would have don'd his helm,
For fuch a petty war: his foldiership

Is twice the other twain: but let us rear
The higher our opinion, that our stirring
Can from the lap of Egypt's widow pluck
The ne'er luft-weary'd Antony.

SCENE II. Antony's ingenuous Acknowledgment.

Ant. The article of my oath

Caf. To lend me arms, and aid, when I requir'd them;

The which you both deny'd.

Ant. Neglected, rather;

And then, when poifon'd hours had bound me up
From mine own knowledge. As nearly as I may,
I'll play the penitent to you: but mine honefty
Shall not make poor my greatnefs, nor my power
Work, without it: Truth is, that Fulvia,
To have me out of Egypt, made wars here;

For

(20) Wan lip.] This is evidently a term of contempt in the fpeaker, as he calls her falt Cleopatra. It may be remarked, however, that the lips of Africans and Afiatics are paler than thofe of European nations. See St.

I

For which myself, the ignorant motive, do
So far afk pardon, as befits mine honour
To ftoop in fuch a cafe.

Lep. 'Tis nobly spoken.

Defcription of Cleopatra's failing down the Cydnus.

The barge (21) fhe fat in, like a burnish'd throne, Burnt on the water; the poop was beaten gold, Purple the fails, and fo perfumed, that

The winds were love-fick with them : th' oars were filver,

Which to the tune of flutes kept ftroke, and made

The

(21) The barge, &c.] As Dryden plainly entered the lifts with S. in defcribing this magnificent appearance of Cleopatra, it is but just the descriptions fhould appear together, that the reader may decide the victory. Partiality, perhaps, may incline me to think S's much the greateft; though I am pleafed with hearing it from Antony's own mouth, in Dryden's play.

Her galley down the filver Cydnus row'd,

The tackling filk, the ftreamers wav'd with gold,
The gentle winds were lodg'd in purple fails,

Her nymphs like Nereids round her couch were plac'd,
Where the, another fea-born Venus lay.

She lay, and lent her cheek upon her hand,
And caft a look so languishingly sweet,
As if fecure of all beholders hearts,
Neglecting the cou'd take 'em. Boys, like Cupids,
Stood fanning with their painted wings the winds
That play'd about her face; but if the smil'd,
A darting glory feem'd to blaze abroad,
That mens defiring eyes were never weary'd,
But hung upon the object. To foft flutes
The filver oars kept time; and while they play'd,
The hearing gave new pleasure to the fight,
And both to thought: 'twas heav'n (or fomewhat

more)

For the fo charm'd all hearts, that gazing crowds
Stood panting on the fhore, and wanted breath
To give their welcome Voice.

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