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ENO. But he loves Cæsar best;-Yet he loves Antony:
Ho! hearts, tongues, figures, scribes, bards, poets,'
Think, speak, cast, write, sing, number, ho, his love
Both he loves.
bards, poets,] Not only the tautology of bards and poets, but the want of a correspondent action for the poet, whose business in the next line is only to number, makes me suspect some fault in this passage, which I know not how to mend.
I suspect no fault. The ancient bard sung his compositions to the harp; the poet only commits them to paper. Verses are often called numbers, and to number, a verb (in this sense) of Shakspeare's coining, is to make verses.
This puerile arrangement of words was much studied in the age of Shakspeare, even by the first writers.
So, in An excellent Sonnet of a Nimph, by Sir P. Sidney; printed in England's Helicon, 1600:
"Vertue, beauty, and speach, did strike, wound, charme, "My hart, eyes, eares, with wonder, loue, delight: "First, second, last, did binde, enforce, and arme, "His works, showes, sutes, with wit, grace, and vowes-might: "Thus honour, liking, trust, much, farre, and deepe, "Held, pearst, possest, my judgement, sence, and will; "Till wrongs, contempt, deceite, did grow, steale, creepe, "Bands, fauour, faith, to breake, defile, and kill.
"Then greefe, unkindnes, proofe, tooke, kindled, taught,
"For nothing, time, nor place, can loose, quench, ease, "Mine owne, embraced, sought, knot, fire, disease."
Again, in Daniel's 11th Sonnet, 1594:
"Yet I will weep, vow, pray to cruell shee;
"Flint, frost, disdaine, weares, melts, and yields, we see."
ENO. They are his shards, and he their beetle." So,[Trumpets. This is to horse.-Adieu, noble Agrippa. AGR. Good fortune, worthy soldier; and farewell.
Enter CESAR, ANTONY, LEPIDUS, and OCTAVIA. ANT. No further, sir.
CES. You take from me a great part of myself;' Use me well in it.-Sister, prove such a wife As my thoughts make thee, and as my furthest band* Shall pass on thy approof.-Most noble Antony, Let not the piece of virtue,5 which is set Betwixt us, as the cement of our love, To keep it builded, be the ram, to batter
They are his shards, and he their beetle.] i. e. They are the wings that raise this heavy lumpish insect from the ground. So, in Macbeth:
the shard-borne beetle." See Vol. X. p. 164, n. 8. STEEVens.
You take from me a great part of myself;] So, in The Tempest:
"I have given you here a third of my own life."
Again, in Troilus and Cressida :
"I have a kind of self resides in you." MALONE.
as my furthest band-] As I will venture the greatest pledge of security, on the trial of thy conduct. JOHNSON. Band and bond, in our author's time, were synonymous. See Comedy of Errors, Act IV. sc. ii. MALONE. -the piece of virtue,] So, in The Tempest: "Thy mother was a piece of virtue.”Again, in Pericles:
"Thou art a piece of virtue" &c. STEEVENS.
the cement of our love,
To keep it builded,] So, in our author's 119th Sonnet:
"And ruin'd love, when it is built anew,
The fortress of it: for better might we
Make me not offended
In your distrust.
I have said.
You shall not find, Though you be therein curious," the least cause For what you seem to fear: So, the gods keep you, And make the hearts of Romans serve your ends! We will here part.
CES. Farewell, my dearest sister, fare thee well; The elements be kind to thee, and make Thy spirits all of comfort! fare thee well.
7- therein curious,] i. e. scrupulous. So, in The Taming of the Shrew:
"For curious I cannot be with you."
See Vol. IX. p. 162, n. 7. STEEVENS.
The elements be kind &c.] This is obscure. It seems to mean, May the different elements of the body, or principles of life, maintain such proportion and harmony as may keep you cheerful. JOHNSON.
The elements be kind &c. I believe means only, May the four elements, of which this world is composed, unite their influences to make thee cheerful.
There is, however, a thought, which seems to favour Dr. Johnson's explanation, in The Two Noble Kinsmen, by Fletcher and Shakspeare:
My precious maid,
"Those best affections that the heavens infuse
"In their best temper'd pieces, keep enthron'd
Again, in Twelfth-Night: "Does not our life consist of the four elements?-Faith, so they say."
And another, which may serve in support of mine:
"That know not what or why, yet do effect
OCTA. My noble brother!
ANT. The April's in her eyes: It is love's spring, And these the showers to bring it on.-Be cheerful. OCTA. Sir, look well to my husband's house; and— CES. What, Octavia?
you in your ear.
ANT. Her tongue will not obey her heart, nor
Her heart inform her tongue: the swan's down feather,
That stands upon the swell at full of tide,
These parting words of Cæsar to his sister, may indeed mean no more than the common compliment which the occasion of her voyage very naturally required. He wishes that serene weather and prosperous winds may keep her spirits free from every apprehension that might disturb or alarm them. STEEVENS.
The elements be kind to thee, (i. e. the elements of air and water.) Surely this expression means no more than, I wish you a good voyage; Octavia was going to sail with Antony from Rome to Athens. HOLT WHITE.
Dr. Johnson's explanation of this passage is too profound to be just. Octavia was about to make a long journey both by land and by water. Her brother wishes that both these elements may prove kind to her; and this is all.
So, Cassio says, in Othello:
O, let the heavens
"Give him defence against the elements,
"For I have lost him on a dangerous sea.' "9 M. MASON.
In the passage just quoted, the elements must mean, not earth and water, (which Mr. M. Mason supposes to be the meaning here,) but air and water; and such, I think, (as an anonymous commentator has also suggested,) is the meaning here. The following lines in Troilus and Cressida likewise favour this interpretation:
"The strong-ribb'd bark through liquid mountains cut,
And neither way inclines."
ENO. He were the worse for that, were he a horse ;1
So is he, being a man.
[Aside to AGRIppa.
He has a cloud in's face.
ENO. That year, indeed, he was troubled with a rheum;
What willingly he did confound, he wail'd:2
stands upon the swell at full of tide,
And neither way inclines.] This image has already occurred in The Second Part of King Henry IV:
"As with the tide swell'd up unto its height,
"That makes a still-stand, running neither way."
were he a horse ;] A horse is said to have a cloud in his face, when he has a black or dark-coloured spot in his forehead between his eyes. This gives him a sour look, and being supposed to indicate an ill-temper, is of course regarded as a great blemish.
The same phrase occurs in Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy, edit. 1632, 524: "Every lover admires his mistress, though she be very deformed of her selfe-thin leane, chitty face, have clouds in her face, be crooked," &c. STEEVENS.
What willingly he did confound, he wail'd:] Macbeth:
wail his fall
"Whom I myself struck down." MALONE. To confound is to destroy. See Vol. XII. p. 368, n. 2.
• Believe it, till I weep too.] I have ventured to alter the tense of the verb here, against the authority of all the copies. There was no sense in it, I think, as it stood before.