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i. e. floating backwards and forwards with the variation of the tide, like a page, or lackey, at his master's heels. THEOBALD. Line 500. which they ear-] To ear, is to plough; a common metaphor. JOHNSON. Line 504. Lack blood to think on't,] Turn pale at the thought of it. JOHNSON.
and flush youth-] Flush youth is youth ripenSTEEVENS.
ed to manhood; youth whose blood is at the flow.
ACT I. SCENE V.
Line 547. mandragora.] A plant of which the infusion was supposed to procure sleep.
Line 577. And burgonet of men.] A burgonet is a kind of helmet. STEEVENS.
-that great medicine hath
With his tinct gilded thee.] Alluding to the philosopher's stone, which, by its touch, converts base metal into gold. The alchemists call the matter, whatever it be, by which they perform transmutation, a medicine. JOHNSON.
Line 605. Was beastly dumb'd by him.] "Alexis means (says he) the horse made such a neighing, that if he had spoke, he could not have been heard." MALONE.
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. Line 640. unpeopled Egypt.] By sending out messengers.
ACT II. SCENE I.
POMPEY, &c.] The persons are so named in the first edition; but I know not why Menecrates appears; Menas can do all without him. JOHNSON.
Line 5. Whiles we are suiters to their throne, decays
we are praying, the thing for which we pray is losing its va lue. JOHNSON.
Line 28. thy wan'd lip!] Perhaps, for fond lip, or warm lip, says Dr. Johnson. Wan'd, if it stand, is either a corruption of wan, the adjective, or a contraction of wanned, or made wan, STEEVENS, a participle.
-square-] That is, quarrel.
Exeunt.] This play is not divided into Acts by the author or first editors, and therefore the present division may be altered at pleasure. I think the first Act may be commodiously continued to this place, and the second Act opened with the interview of the chief persons, and a change of the state of action. Yet it must be confessed, that it is of small importance where these unconnected and desultory scenes are interrupted.
ACT II. SCENE II.
Line 72. Were I the wearer of Antonius' beard,
I would not shave to-day.] I believe he means, I JOHNSON. would meet him undressed, without show of respect. Line 96. Nor curstness grow to the matter.] Let not illhumour be added to the real subject of our difference.
-my brother never
Did urge me in his act ;] i. e. Never did make use WARBURTON. of my name as a pretence for the war.
true reports,] Reports for reporters. STEEV. JOHNSON. -fronted-] i. e. Opposed.
168. I told him of myself ;] i. e. told him the condition
I was in, when he had his last audience.
Line 178. The honour's sacred-] Sacred, for unbroken, unWARBURTON. violated.
Dr. Warburton seems to understand this passage thus; The honour which he talks of me as lacking, is unviolated. I never lacked it. This, perhaps, may be the true meaning; but, before I read the note, I understood it thus: Lepidus interrupts Cæsar, on the supposition that what he is about to say will be too harsh
to be endured by Antony; to which Antony replies-No, Lepidus, let him speak; the security of honour on which he now speaks, on which this conference is held now, is sacred, even supposing that I lacked honour before. JOHNSON. Line 209. -your considerate stone.] I believe, Go to then ; your considerate stone, means only this:-If I must be chidden, henceforward I will be mute as a marble statue, which seems to think, though it can say nothing. STEEVENS.
Line 210. I do not much dislike the matter, but
The manner of his speech:] I do not, says Cæsar, think the man wrong, but too free of his interposition; for it cannot be, we shall remain in friendship: yet if it were possible, I would endeavour it. JOHNSON.
Line 266. Lest my remembrance suffer ill report ;] Lest I be thought too willing to forget benefits, I must barely return him thanks, and then I will defy him. JOHNSON.
Line 318. O'er-picturing that Venus, where we see, &c.] Meaning the Venus of Protogenes, mentioned by Pliny, L. XXXV. WARBURTON.
Line 326.tended her i' the eyes,] Perhaps tended her by th' eyes, discovered her will by her eyes. JOHNSON.
which, but for vacancy,
Had gone-] Alluding to an axiom in the peripatetic philosophy then in vogue, that Nature abhors a vacuum,
But for vacancy, means, for fear of a tacuum.
ACT II. SCENE III.
Line 390. I see 't in
My motion, have it not in my tongue:] i. e. the diWARBURTON. Line 400. Becomes a Fear,] A Fear was a personage of some of the old moralities. STEEVENS. Line 418. –his quails—] The ancients used to match quails as we match cocks. JOHNSON. Line 419. -inhoop'd, at odds.] Inhoop'd is inclosed, confined, that they may fight. JOHNSON.
ACT II. SCENE V.
Line 439. musick, moody food-] The mood is the mind, or mental disposition. Van Haaren's panegyrick on the English begins, Grootmoedig Volk, [great-minded nation.] Perhaps here is a poor jest intended between mood the mind and moods of musick. JOHNSON.
Line 443. -let us to billiards :] This is one of the numer ous anachronisms that are found in these plays. This game was not known in ancient times. MALONE.
I wore his sword Philippan.] We are not to suppose, nor is there any warrant from history, that Antony had any particular sword so called. The dignifying weapons, in this sort, is a custom of much more recent date. This therefore seems a compliment à posteriori. THEOBALD.
Line 469. Ram thou thy fruitful tidings-] Shakspeare probably wrote, (as Sir T. Hanmer observes,) Rain thou &c. Rain agrees better with the epithets fruitful and barren. STEEVENS.
Line 491. Not like a formal man.] Decent, regular. JOHNS. By a formal man, Shakspeare means, a man in his senses. Informal women, in Measure for Measure, is used for women beside themselves. STEEVENS,
Line 497. I'll set thee in a shower of gold, and hail Rich pearls upon thee.] That is, I will give thee a kingdom it being the eastern ceremony, at the coronation of their kings, to powder them with gold-dust and seed-pearl. So, Milton:
-the gorgeous east with liberal hand
"Showers on her kings barbaric pearl and gold."
Line 549. These hands do lack nobility, that they strike A meaner than myself;] This thought seems to be borrowed from the laws of chivalry, which forbad a knight to engage with his inferior. STEEVENS.
Line 594. Let him for ever go:] She is now talking in broken sentences, not of the Messenger, but Antony. JOHNSON.
ACT II. SCENE VI,
Line 626. Thou canst not fear us,] Thou canst not affright us JOHNSON,
with thy numerous navy.
Line 630. At land, indeed,
Thou dost o'er-count me of my father's house:] At land indeed thou dost exceed me in possessions, having added to thy own my father's house. . MALONE.
Line 632. But, since the cuckow builds not for himself, &c.] Since, like the cuckoo, that seizes the nests of other birds, you have invaded a house which you could not build, keep it while you can. JOHNSON.
Line 669. What counts harsh fortune casts &c.] Metaphor from making marks or lines in casting accounts in arithmetick. WARBURTON.
Line 718. I will praise any man that will praise me:] The poet's art in delivering this humorous sentiment (which gives so very true and natural a picture of the commerce of the world) can never be sufficiently admired. The confession could come from none but a frank and rough character, like the speaker's: and the moral lesson insinuated under it, that flattery can make its way through the most stubborn manners, deserves our serious reflection. WARBURTON.
ACT II. SCENE VII.
Line 772. with a Banquet.] A banquet, in our au thor's time, frequently signified what we now call a desert.
Line 773. Some o' their plants-] Plants, besides its common meaning, is here used for the foot, from the Latin.
Line 777. They have made him drink alms-drink.] A phrase amongst good fellows, to signify that liquor of another's share which his companion drinks to ease him. But it satirically alludes to Cæsar and Antony's admitting him into the triumvirate, in order to take off from themselves the load of envy.