Графични страници
PDF файл

Thou art, if thou dar'st be, the earthly Jove:
Whate'er the ocean pales, or sky inclips,3
Is thine, if thou wilt have't.


Show me which way.

MEN. These three world-sharers, these competitors,+

Are in thy vessel: Let me cut the cable; 5
And, when we are put off, fall to their throats:
All there is thine."

Ром. Ah, this thou should'st have done, And not have spoke on't! In me, 'tis villainy; In thee, it had been good service. Thou must know, 'Tis not my profit that does lead mine honour; Mine honour, it. Repent, that e'er thy tongue Hath so betray'd thine act: Being done unknown, I should have found it afterwards well done; But must condemn it now. Desist, and drink. MEN. For this, [Aside.

or sky inclips,] i. e. embraces. STEEVENS. -competitors,] i. e. confederates, partners. See Vol. IV. p. 233, n. 6. STEEVENS.


-Let me cut the cable;] So, in the old translation of Plutarch: "Now in the middest of the feast, when they fell to be merie with Antonius loue vnto Cleopatra, Menas the pirate came to Pompey, and whispering in his eare, said unto him: shall I cut the gables of the ankers, and make thee Lord not only of Sicile and Sardinia, but of the whole empire of Rome besides? Pompey hauing pawsed a while vpon it, at length aunswered him: thou shouldest haue done it, and neuer have told it me, but now we must content vs with that we haue. As for my selfe, I was neuer taught to breake my faith, nor to be counted a traitor." STEEVens.


"All there is thine.] Thus the old copy. Modern editors read:

All then is thine.

If alteration be necessary, we might as well give: All theirs is thine. All there, however, may mean, all in the vessel.


I'll never follow thy pall'd fortunes" more.-
Who seeks, and will not take, when once 'tis offer'd,
Shall never find it more.



This health to Lepidus.

ANT. Bear him ashore.-I'll pledge it for him,


ENO. Here's to thee, Menas.


Enobarbus, welcome,

POм. Fill, till the cup be hid.
ENO. There's a strong fellow, Menas.

[Pointing to the Attendant who carries off LEPIDUS.




He bears

The third part of the world, man; See'st not? MEN. The third part then is drunk: 'Would it were all,9

"thy pall'd fortunes-] Palled, is vapid, past its time of excellence; palled wine, is wine that has lost its original sprightliness. JOHNSON.

Palled is a word of which the etymology is unknown. Perhaps, says Dr. Johnson, in his Dictionary, it is only a corruption of paled, and was originally applied to colours. Thus, in Chaucer's Manciple's Prologue, v. 17,004:

"So unweldy was this sely palled ghost." STEEVens.

Who seeks, and will not take, when once 'tis offer'd, Shall never find it more.] This is from the ancient proverbial rhyme:

"He who will not, when he may,

"When he will, he shall have nay." STEEVENS.

• The third part then is drunk: 'Would it were all, &c.] The old copy reads-The third part then he is drunk, &c. The context clearly shows that the transcriber's ear deceived him, and that we should read as I have printed it,―The third part then is drunk. MALONE.

That it might go on wheels!1

ENO. Drink thou; increase the reels."

MEN. Come.

POм. This is not yet an Alexandrian feast. ANT. It ripens towards it.-Strike the vessels," ho!

Here is to Cæsar.


I could well forbear it.
It's monstrous labour, when I wash my brain,
And it grows fouler.

That it might go on wheels!] The World goes upon Wheels, is the title of a pamphlet written by Taylor the water-poet.



-increase the reels.] As the word-reel, was not, in our author's time, employed to signify a dance or revel, and is used in no other part of his works as a substantive, it is not impossible that the passage before us, which seems designed as a continuation of the imagery suggested by Menas, originally

stood thus:

Drink thou, and grease the wheels.

A phrase, somewhat similar, occurs in Timon of Athens : "with liquorish draughts &c.

66 -greases his pure mind,

"That from it all consideration slips." STEEvens.


Strike the vessels,] Try whether the casks sound as empty. JOHNSON.

I believe, strike the vessels means no more than chink the vessels one against the other, as a mark of our unanimity in drinking; as we now say, chink glasses. STEEVENS.

Mr. Steevens is surely right. So, in one of Iago's songs: "And let me the cannikin clink." RITSON.

Vessels probably mean kettle-drums, which were beaten when the health of a person of eminence was drank; immediately after we have, "make battery to our ears with the loud musick." They are called kettles in Hamlet:

"Give me the cups;

"And let the kettle to the trumpet speak."

Dr. Johnson's explanation degrades this feast of the lords of the whole world into a rustick revel. HOLT WHITE.


Be a child o'the time.

CES. Possess it, I'll make answer: but I had rather fast

From all, four days, than drink so much in one. ENO. Ha, my brave emperor! [TO ANTONY. Shall we dance now the Egyptian Bacchanals, And celebrate our drink?



Let's ha't, good soldier. ANT. Come, let us all take hands; Till that the conquering wine hath steep'd our sense In soft and delicate Lethe.


All take hands.Make battery to our ears with the loud musick:The while, I'll place you: Then the boy shall sing; The holding every man shall bear," as loud As his strong sides can volley.

[Musick plays. ENOBARBUS places them hand in hand.

♦ — İ'll make answer :] The word-make, only serves to clog the metre. STEEVENS.

[ocr errors]

Come, let us all take hands ;] As half a line in this place may have been omitted, the deficiency might be supplied with words resembling those in Milton's Comus:

"Come, let us all take hands, and beat the ground,
"Till" &c. STEEVENS.

[ocr errors]

Make battery to our ears-] So, in King John:
"Our ears are cudgel'd." STEEVENS.

The holding every man shall bear,] In old editions:
The holding every man shall beat,-

The company were to join in the burden, which the poet styles the holding. But how were they to beat this with their sides? I am persuaded the poet wrote:

The holding every man shall bear, as loud
As his strong sides can volley.

The breast and sides are immediately concerned in straining to sing as loud and forcibly as a man can. THEOBALD.


Come, thou monarch of the vine,
Plumpy Bacchus, with pink eyne:
In thy vats our cares be drown'd;
With thy grapes our hairs be crown'd;
Cup us, till the world go round;
Cup us, till the world

go round!


Mr. Theobald's emendation is very plausible; and yet beat might have been the poet's word, however harsh it may appear at present. In Henry VIII. we find a similar expression: 66 -let the musick knock it." STEEVENS.

The holding every man shall beat,] Every man shall accompany the chorus by drumming on his sides, in token of concurrence and applause. JOHNSON.

I have no doubt but bear is the right reading. To bear the burden, or, as it is here called, the holding of a song, is the phrase at this day. The passage quoted by Mr. Steevens from King Henry VIII. relates to instrumental musick, not to vocal. Loud as his sides can volley, means, with the utmost exertion of his voice. So we say, he laughed till he split his sides.


Theobald's emendation appears to me so plausible, and the change is so small, that I have given it a place in the text, as did Mr. Steevens, in his edition.

The meaning of the holding is ascertained by a passage in an old pamphlet called The Serving Man's Comfort, 4to. 1598: "-where a song is to be sung the under-song or holding whereof is, It is merrie in haul where beards wag all." MALONE.


-with pink eyne:] Dr. Johnson, in his Dictionary, says a pink eye is a small eye, and quotes this passage for his authority. Pink eyne, however, may be red eyes: eyes inflamed with drinking, are very well appropriated to Bacchus. So, in Julius Cæsar:


such ferret and such fiery eyes."

So, Greene, in his Defence of Coney-Catching, 1592: "-like a pink-ey'd ferret." Again, in a song sung by a drunken Clown in Marius and Sylla, 1594:

"Thou makest some to stumble, and many mo to fumble, "And me have pinky eyne, most brave and jolly wine!" STEEVENS

« ПредишнаНапред »