« AnteriorContinua »
Clão. Say, I would die.
[Exit Proculeius. Dol. Most nable Empress, you have heard of me. Cleo. I cannot tell. Dol. Assuredly, you know me.
Cleo. No matter, Sir, what I have heard or known: You laugh, when boys or women tell their dreams ; Is't not your trick ?
Dol. I understand not, Madam.
Cleo. I dreamt, there was an Emp'ror Antony's
Dok. If it might please ye
Cleo. His face was as the heav'ns; and therein stuck A Sun and Moon, which kept their course, and
lighted (61) The little O o'th' Earth.
Dol. Most sovereign creature!
Cleo. His legs bestrid the ocean, his rear'd arm
The little oth Earth.
Moft fou'reign Creature!) What a blessed limping Verse these two Hemisticbs give us ! Had none of the Editors an Ear to find the Hitch in its Pace ? 'Tis true, there is but a Syllable wanting, and that, I believe verily, was but of a single Letter ; which the first Editors not underftanding, learnedly threw it out as a Redundance. I restore,
The little Q p'th' Eartb. i. e. the little Orb or Circle. And, 'tis plain, our Poet in other Paf sages chufes to express himfelf thus, Rof. O, that your Face , were not so full of O’es.
Love's Lab. loft. i. e. of round Dimples, Pitts with the small Pox.
Can this Cockpit bold
Prol. ta Henry V.
Midsummer Night's Dream. 1. f. the Circles, Orber of the Stars.
He was as ratling thunder. For his bounty, (62)
Cleo. Think you, there was, or might be, such a man As this I dreamt of?
Dol. Gentle Madam, no.
Cleo. You lie, up to the hearing of the Gods; But if there be, or ever were one luch, It's past the size of dreaming: Nature wants stuff (63)
For his Bounty
grew the more by reaping. ] There was certainly a Contrast, both in the Thought and Terms, defign'd here, which is loft in an accidental Corruption. How could an Antony grow the more by reaping? I'll venture, by a very easy Change, to restore an exquisite fine Allusion : and which carries its Reason with it too, why there was no Winter (i. e. no Want, Bareness,) in his Bounty.
For his Bounty,
That grew the more by reaping. I ought to take Notice, that the ingenious Dr. Thirlby likewise started this very Emendation, and had mark'd it in the Margin of his Book. The Reason of the Depravation might easily arise from the great Similitude of the two words in the old way of spelling, Antonie and Automne. Our Author has employ'd this Thought again in a Poem, cali'd, True Admiration.
Speak of the Spring and Foyzen of the Year,
The One doth madow of your Beauty few;
And you in ev ry blesed Mape we know. For 'tis plain, that Foyzen means Autumn here, which pours out its Profusion of Fruits bountifully; in Opposition to Spring, which only shews the youthful Beauty, and Promise of that future Bounty. (63)
Nature wants fiuf
Condemning Shadows quite] This is a fine Sentiment, but unintelligible in the present false Reading and Pointing: and, even when fet right in these Particulars, is ftill
To vye strange forms with Fancy, yet t'imagine
Dol. Hear me, good Madam:
Cleo. 'I thank you, Sir.
Dol. I'm loth to tell you, what I would you knew.
Cæs. Arise, you shall not kneel: I pray you, rile, rise, Ægypt. obscure enough. I'll first reform the Text, and then fubjoin the Interpretation.
Condemning Shadows quite.
to furnith out real Forms, for ev'ry Model that the boundless Power “ of the Imagination can sketch out. [This is the Meaning of the “ Words, Nature wants Matter to wye strange Forms with Fancy.] “ But yet, tho' in general This be true, chat Nature is more poor, nar
row, and confin'd, than Fancy; yet it must be own'd, that when “ Nature presents an Antony to us, she then gets the better of Fancy, “ and makes even the Imagination appear poor and narrow; or, in our “ Author's Words, condemns shadows quite." The Word Prize, which I have restored, is the prettiest Word in the World in this place ; as, figuring a Contention between Nature and Imagination about the larger Extent of their Powers; and Nature gaining the Prize by producing Antony. And sure, Nothing could be faid more advantagious for Antony, than this; that Imagination came short of his Perfections.
Cleo. Sir, the Gods
lord I must obey
Cæs. Take to you no hard thoughts:
Cleo. Sole Şir o'th' world,
Cæs. Cleopatra, know,
Cleo. And may, through all the world : 'tis yöurs; Your scutcheons, and your signs of Conquest, shall Hang in what place you pleale. Here, my good lord.
Cæs. You shall advise me in all for Cleopatra. (64)
(64) You shall advise me of all, Cleopatra.] This I presume to be a Reading solely of Mr. Pope's. But what an harmonious Verse has he giv'n us, in Point of Emphasis? And how has he disgraced the Poet and his Emperor, in point of Sentiment! What a sheaking Figure does Cæfar make, in saying, “ You shall confess your whole subitance; you
îhan't secrete one penny"; before he knows what the Paper is, that Cleopatra puts into his hand ? But I have restor'd the Reading of the old Books, which carries a Dignity suitable to the Subject. Cæfar takes pains to comfort her ; and tells her, that the herself shall direct him in ev'ry Thing for her own Relief and Satis, faction. He repeats the same Consolation to her in other Terms, when he leaves her:
Therefore, be cheer'd;
Cleo. This is the brief of mony, plate, and jewels
Sel. Here, Madam.
Cleo. This is my treasurer, let him speak, my lord,
Sel. Madam, I had rather seal my lips,
Cleo. What have I kept back?
Cæf. Nay, blush not, Cleopatra, I approve
Cleo. See, Cæfar! Oh, behold,
Cæf. Good Queen, let us intreat you.
Cleo. O Cæfar, what a wounding shame is this,
'Tis exactly valued, Not petty Things admitted.] Sagacious Editors ! Cleopatra gives in a Lift of her Wealth, fays, 'tis exactly valued, but that petty Things are not admitted in this Lift: and then she appeals to her Treasurer, to vouch, that fhe has reservid Nothing to her felf. Nay, and when he betrays her in this point, she is reduced to the shift of exclaiming against the Ingratitude of Servants to a Prince in his Decline, and of making Apologies for having fecreted certain Trifles. What Consistency is there in such a Con; duct? And who does not see, that we ought to read ?
'Tis exactly valued ; Not petty Things omitted. For this Declaration lays open her Fallhood; and makes ner angry, when her Treasurer detects her in a direct Lye.