Imatges de pÓgina
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SCENE III. Cleopatra's Dream and Defcription of Antony.

Cleo. I dreamt, there was an emperor Antony;
Oh, fuch another fleep, that I might fee
But fuch another man!

Dol. If it might please ye

Cleo. His face was as the heav'ns, and therein ftuck A fun and moon, which kept their course, and lighted The little O o'th'earth.

Dol. Moft fovereign creature

Cleo. His legs bestrid the ocean, his rear'd arm
Crested the world; his voice was propertied
As all the tuned spheres, and that to friends:
But when he meant to quail, and shake the orb,
He was as rattling thunder. For his bounty,
There was no winter in't; an autumn 'twas
That grew the more by reaping; his delights


rally refolve it into its first principles: thus, man is duft and afhes, and the food we eat, the dung, by which first our vegetable, and from thence our animal food is nourish'd. This fentiment has in Shakespear's Antony and Cleopatra, efcaped the obfervation of two that defervedly bear the first names in criticifm, Sir Thomas Hanmer and Mr. Warburton. Cleopatra finding the can no longer riot in the pleasures of life, with the usual workings of a difappointed pride, pretends difguft to them, and thus fpeaks in praife of fuicide-And it is great, c. (as in the text.)

From the obfervation above, nothing can be clearer than this paffage Both the beggar and Cefar are fed and nurfed by the dung of the earth: and in this fenfe it always appeared to me before the following demonftration of it occur'd. In the first scene of the fame play, Antonio says,

Kingdoms are clay, our dungy earth alike
Feeds beafts as man.-

Though I am perfuaded, with Mr. Seward, this is the true fenfe of the paffage; yet we inuft nicely obferve the fenfe of flaps and palates, which are quite peculiar, and may be reckoned amongst the anomalies of Shakespear. "Suicide," fays he" "hackles accidents and bolts up change, fleeps, [i. e, caules us to fleep] and never palaks," [never more to palate, &c.]

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Were dolphin-like; they fhew'd his back above
The elements they liv'd in; in his livery,
Walk'd crowns and coronets; realms and island's were
As plates dropt from his pocket.

SCENE V. Firm Refolution.

How poor an instrument

May do a noble deed! He brings me liberty.
My refolution's plac'd, and I have nothing
Of woman in me: now from head to foot
I am marble constant; now the fleeting moon
No planet is of mine.

SCENE VI. Cleopatra's Speech on applying the Asp.

-Give me my robe, put on my crown; I have
Immortal longings in me. Now no more
The juice of Egypt's grape fhall moift this lip.
Yare, yare, good Iras: quick-methinks I hear
Antony call, I fee him roufe himself

To praife my noble act. (33) I hear him mock
The luck of Cafar, which the gods give men
T'excufe their after wrath. Hufband, I come;
Now to that name, my courage, prove my title!
I am fire, and air; my other elements
I give to bafer life, So have you done?
Come then, and take the last warmth of my lips.


(33) I hear, &c.] It has been obferved, this poffibly might have been fhadowed out from Claudian;

-Jam non ad culmina rerum
Injuftos creviffe queror: tolluntur in altum
Ut lapfu graviore cadant.

In Rufinum L

To fairest heights that wicked men attain,
No more I marvel, and no more complain;
Since but with greater ruin down to fall
Aloft they're raised.

Farewel, kind Charmian; Iras, long farewel.

[Applying the Afp. [To Iras.

Have I the afpic in my lips? Do'st fall?"
If thou and nature can so gently part,
The stroke of death is as a lover's pinch,
Which hurts, and is defir'd. Do'st thou lie ftill ?
If thus thou vanishest, thou tell'st the world
It is not worth leave-taking.

[Iras dies.
Char. Diffolve, thick cloud and rain, that I may fay,
The gods themselves do weep.
Cleo. This proves me bafe
If the first meet the curled Antony,

He'll make demand of her, and spend that kifs
Which is my heaven to have. Come, mortal wretch,
[To the Afp.

With thy fharp teeth this knot intrinficate (34)
Of life at once untie. Oh, couldst thou speak,
That I might hear thee call great Cæfar ass,

Char. Oh, eastern star!

Cleo. Peace, peace!

Doft thou not fee my baby at my breaft,
That fucks the nurse afleep?

Char. O, break! O, break!

Cleo. As fweet as balm, as foft as air, as gentle,

O Antony! Nay, I will take thee too,

(35) What should I stay.

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[Applying another Afp.



(34) Intrinficate] i. e. Intricate, intangled, or tied in hard knots; fo, in King Lear,

Like rats, oft bite the holy cords in twain,
Too intrinficate to unloofe.


(35) What Should I flay, &c.] Shakespear excels prodigiously in thefe breaks; fo, Percy, in Henry IV. first part, just departing; fays,


Char. In this wild world? fo, fare thee well;
Now, boast thee, death; in thy poffeffion lies
A lafs unparallel'd.

-No, Percy, thou art dust,

And food for
P.Hen. Worms; brave Percy, fare thee well, &..

General Obfervation.

THIS play (fays Johnfon) keeps curiofity always bufy, and the paffions always interested. The continual hurry of the action, the variety of incidents, and the quick fucceffion of one perfonage to another, call the mind forward without intermiffion from the first act to the laft. But the power of delighting is derived principally from the frequent changes of the fcene; for, except the feminine arts, fome of which are too low, which diftinguish Cleopatra, no character is very strongly difcriminated. Upton, who did not eafily miss what he defired to find, has difcovered that the language of Antony is, with great fkill and learning, made pompous and fuperb, according to his real practice. But I think his diction not distinguishable from that of others: the moft tumid fpeech in the play is that which Cafar makes to Oclavia.


The events, of which the principal are defcribed according to hiftory, are produced without any art of connexion or care of difpofition.


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HAT (1) would you have, ye curs,
That like nor peace, nor war? The one af-
frights you,

The other makes you proud. He that trusts to you,


(1) What, &c.] Shakespear has many paffages on the uncertainty of popular favour, and the fickleness of the vulgar: the reader will find one in the 2d part of Henry IV. v. 2. p. 17. where I have referred to this: Milton, in his 3d book of Paradife Regained, has a paffage remarkably fimilar to this. Satan fays to Chrift,

These god-like virtues wherefore doft thou hide,
Affecting private life? wherefore deprive
All earth her wonder at thy acts, thy felf
The fame and glory: glory, the reward
That fole excites to high attempts, the flame
Of moft erected spirits ?

To whom our Saviour calmly thus reply'd:
-What is glory but the blaze of fame,
The people's praife, if always praise unmixt?
And what the people, but a herd confus'd,
A miscellaneous rabble, who extol

Things vulgar, and well-weigh'd fcarce worth the praife?
They praise and they admire they know not what,

And know not whom, but as one leads the other.
And what delight to be by fuch extoll'd,
To live upon their tongues, and be their talk,


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