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What is't you say?
ENO. Your presence needs must puzzle Antony; Take from his heart, take from his brain, from his time,
What should not then be spar'd. He is already
CLEO. Sink Rome; and their tongues rot,
Nay, I have done :
Enter ANTONY and CANIDIUS.
ANT. Is't not strange, Canidius, That from Tarentum, and Brundusium, He could so quickly cut the Ionian sea, And take in Toryne ?—You have heard on't, sweet? CLEO. Celerity is never more admir'd, Than by the negligent.
A good rebuke, Which might have well becom❜d the best of men,
9 --merely lost;] i. e. entirely, absolutely lost. So, in Hamlet:
-things rank, and gross in nature "Possess it merely." STEEVENS.
* And take in Toryne ?] To take in is to gain by conquest So, in Chapman's version of the second Iliad:
-for now Troy's broad-way'd towne
"He shall take in."
See Vol. IX. p. 374, n. 9; and Vol. XVI. p. 27, n. 9.
To taunt at slackness.-Canidius, we
By sea! What else?
Which serve not for his vantage, he shakes off; And so should you.
ENO. Your ships are not well mann'd: Your mariners are muleteers, reapers, people Ingross'd by swift impress; in Caesar's fleet Are those, that often have 'gainst Pompey fought: Their ships are yare; yours, heavy." No disgrace Shall fall you for refusing him at sea, Being prepar'd for land."
By sea, by sea. ENO. Most worthy sir, you therein throw away
For he dares us-] i. e. because he dares us. So, in Othello:
The old copy redundantly reads-For that he. See Vol. XVIII. note on Cymbeline, Act IV. sc. i. STEEVENS.
• Your mariners are muleteers, reapers, &c.] The old copy has militers. The correction was made by the editor of the second folio. It is confirmed by the old translation of Plutarch: "-for lacke of watermen his captains did presse by force all sortes of men out of Greece, that they could rake up in the field, as travellers, muliters, reapers, harvest-men," &c. Muliter was the old spelling of muleteer. STEEVENS.
7 Their ships are yare; yours, heavy.] So, in Sir Thomas North's Plutarch: "Cæsar's ships were not built for pomp, high and great, &c. but they were light of yarage." Yare generally signifies, dextrous, manageable. See Vol. IV. p. 5, n. 2.
The absolute soldiership you have by land;
I'll fight at sea.
CLEO. I have sixty sails, Cæsar none better."
ANT. Our overplus of shipping will we burn; And, with the rest full-mann'd, from the head of
Beat the approaching Cæsar. But if we fail,
Enter a Messenger.
We then can do't at land.-Thy business?
MESS. The news is true, my lord; he is descried; Cæsar has taken Toryne.
ANT. Can he be there in person? 'tis impossible; Strange, that his power should be.-Canidius, Our nineteen legions thou shalt hold by land, And our twelve thousand horse:-We'll to our ship;
Cæsar none better.] I must suppose this mutilated line to have originally ran thus:
I have sixty sails, Cæsar himself none better.
9 Strange, that his power should be.] It is strange that his forces should be there. So, afterwards, in this scene: "His power went out in such distractions, as "Beguil'd all spies."
Again, in our author's Rape of Lucrece: "Before the which was drawn the
power of Greece."
Enter a Soldier.
Away, my Thetis !'-How now, worthy soldier?
SOLD. O noble emperor,2 do not fight by sea; Trust not to rotten planks: Do you misdoubt This sword, and these my wounds? Let the Egyp
And the Phoenicians, go a ducking; we
Well, well, away. [Exeunt ANTONY, CLEOPATRA, and ENO
SOLD. By Hercules, I think, I am i' the right. CAN. Soldier, thou art: but his whole action grows
Not in the power on't: So our leader's led,
my Thetis!] Antony may address Cleopatra by the name of this sea-nymph, because she had just promised him assistance in his naval expedition; or perhaps in allusion to her voyage down the Cydnus, when she appeared like Thetis surrounded by the Nereids. STEevens.
* O noble emperor, &c.] So, in the old translation of Plutarch: "Now, as he was setting his men in order of battel, there was a captaine, & a valiant man, that had serued Antonius in many battels & conflicts, & had all his body hacked and cut: who as Antonius passed by him, cryed out vnto him, and sayd: 0, noble emperor, how commeth it to passe that you trust to these vile brittle shippes? what, doe you mistrust these woundes of myne, and this sword? let the Ægyptians and Phoenicians fight by sea, and set vs on the maine land, where we vse to conquer, or to be slayne on our feete. Antonius passed by him, and sayd neuer a word, but only beckoned to him with his hand and head, as though he willed him to be of good corage, although indeede he had no great corage himselfe." STEEVENS.
You keep by land The legions and the horse whole, do you not? CAN. Marcus Octavius, Marcus Justeius, Publicola, and Cælius, are for sea:
But we keep whole by land. This speed of Cæsar's Carries beyond belief.
While he was yet in Rome, His power went out in such distractions, as Beguil❜d all spies.
Who's his lieutenant, hear you?
Well I know the man.
Sold. By Hercules, I think, I am i' the right. Can. Soldier, thou art: but his whole action grows Not in the power on't:] That is, his whole conduct becomes ungoverned by the right, or by reason. JOHNSON.
I think the sense is very different, and that Canidius means to say, His whole conduct in the war is not founded upon that which is his greatest strength, (namely, his land force,) but on the caprice of a woman, who wishes that he should fight by sea. Dr. Johnson refers the word on't to right in the preceding speech. I apprehend, it refers to action in the speech before us. MALONE.
* Carries beyond belief.] Perhaps this phrase is from archery. So, in King Henry IV. P. II: "he would have carried you a forehand shaft a fourteen and fourteen and a half."
While he was- -] Of what use are the words-he was, except to vitiate the metre? STEEVENS.
distractions,] Detachments, separate bodies.
The word is thus used by Sir Paul Rycaut, in his Maxims of Turkish Polity: "—and not suffer his affections to wander on other wives, slaves, or distractions of his love." STEEVENS.