Графични страници
PDF файл

To Cæsar will I render
My legions, and my horse; six kings already
Show me the way of yielding.


I'll yet follow The wounded chance of Antony,' though my reason Sits in the wind against me.



Alexandria. A Room in the Palace.

Enter ANTONY, and Attendants.

ANT. Hark, the land bids me tread no more upon't,

It is asham'd to bear me!-Friends, come hither, I am so lated in the world, that I

'The wounded chance of Antony,] I know not whether the author, who loves to draw his images from the sports of the field, might not have written :

The wounded chase of Antony,

The allusion is to a deer wounded and chased, whom all other deer avoid. I will, says Enobarbus, follow Antony, though

chased and wounded.

The common reading, however, may very well stand.


The wounded chance of Antony, is a phrase nearly of the same import as the broken fortunes of Antony. The old reading is indisputably the true one. So, in the fifth Act:

"Or I shall show the cinders of my spirit,


Through the ashes of my chance." MALONE.

Mr. Malone has judiciously defended the old reading. In Othello we have a phrase somewhat similar to wounded chance ; viz. "mangled matter." STEEVENS.



So, in Macbeth, Act III:

"Now spurs the lated traveller apace." STEEVENS,

so lated in the world,] Alluding to a benighted traJOHNSON.

Have lost my way for ever:-I have a ship
Laden with gold; take that, divide it; fly,
And make your peace with Cæsar.


Fly! not we.

ANT. I have fled myself; and have instructed cowards

To run, and show their shoulders.-Friends, be gone;

I have myself resolv'd upon a course,
Which has no need of you; be gone :3
My treasure's in the harbour, take it.—O,
I follow'd that I blush to look upon :
My very hairs do mutiny; for the white
Reprove the brown for rashness, and they them
For fear and doting. Friends, be gone; you shall
Have letters from me to some friends, that will
Sweep your way for you. Pray you, look not sad,
Nor make replies of loathness: take the hint
Which my despair proclaims; let that be left
Which leaves itself: to the sea side straightway:
I will possess you of that ship and treasure.
Leave me, I pray, a little: 'pray you now :-
Nay, do so; for, indeed, I have lost command,
Therefore I pray you :-I'll see you by and by.
[Sits down.

-be gone:] We might, I think, safely complete the measure by reading:


[ocr errors]

be gone, I say. STEEVENS.

Sweep your way for you.] So, in Hamlet:

66 they must sweep my way,
“And marshall me to knavery."


let that be left

Which leaves itself:] Old copy-let them &c. Corrected by Mr. Capell. MALONE.

"I have lost command,] I am not maker of my own emotions. JOHNSON.

Enter EROS, and CLEOPATRA, led by CHARMIAN and IRAS.

EROS. Nay, gentle madam, to him :-Comfort him.

IRAS. Do, most dear queen.

CHAR. DO! Why, what else?"

CLEO. Let me sit down. O Juno!

ANT. No, no, no, no, no.

EROS. See you here, sir?

ANT. O fye, fye, fye.

CHAR. Madam,—

IRAS. Madam; O good empress!-
EROS. Sir, sir,-

ANT. Yes, my lord, yes;-He, at Philippi, kept His sword even like a dancer; while I struck

Surely, he rather means,-I entreat you to leave me, because I have lost all power to command your absence. STEEVENS. Mr. Steevens is certainly right. So, in King Richard III: "Tell her, the king, that may command, entreats." MALONE.

"Do! Why, what else? &c.] Being uncertain whether these, and other short and interrupted speeches in the scene before us, were originally designed to form regular verses; and suspecting that in some degree they have been mutilated, I have made no attempt at their arrangement. STEEVENS.

He, at Philippi, kept

His sword even like a dancer;] In the Morisco, and perhaps anciently in the Pyrrhick dance, the dancers held swords in their hands with the points upward. JOHNSON.

I am told that the peasants in Northumberland have a sworddance which they always practise at Christmas. STEEVENS.

The Goths, in one of their dances, held swords in their hands with the points upwards, sheathed and unsheathed. Might not the Moors in Spain borrow this custom of the Goths who intermixed with them? TOLLET.

The lean and wrinkled Cassius; and 'twas I,
That the mad Brutus ended:9 he alone
Dealt on lieutenantry,' and no practice had
In the brave squares of war: Yet now-No matter.

I believe it means that Cæsar never offered to draw his sword, but kept it in the scabbard, like one who dances with a sword on, which was formerly the custom in England. There is a similar allusion in Titus Andronicus, Act II. sc. i:

66 - our mother, unadvis'd,

"Gave you a dancing rapier by your side."

It may also be observed, that the dancers represented in one of the compartments of the shield of Achilles, had weapons by their sides:



οι δὲ μαχαίρας

Εἶχον χρυσείας ἐξ ἀργυρέων τελαμώνων.

Iliad, E. 597. STEEVENS. That Mr. Steevens's explanation is just, appears from a passage in All's well that ends well. Bertram, lamenting that he is kept from the wars, says—

"I shall stay here the forehorse to a smock,
"Creaking my shoes on the plain masonry,

"Till honour be bought up, and no sword worn,
"But, one to dance with."

The word worn shows that in both passages our author was thinking of the English, and not of the Pyrrhick, or the Morisco dance, (as Dr. Johnson supposed,) in which the sword was not worn at the side, but held in the hand with the point upward. MALONE.

-and 'twas I,

That the mad Brutus ended:] Nothing can be more in character, than for an infamous debauched tyrant to call the heroick love of one's country and public liberty, madness.


[ocr errors]


-he alone

Dealt on lieutenantry,] I know not whether the meaning is, that Cæsar acted only as lieutenant at Philippi, or that he made his attempts only on lieutenants, and left the generals to Antony. JOHNSON.

Dealt on lieutenantry, I believe, means only,-fought by proxy, made war by his lieutenants, or on the strength of his lieutenants. So, in a former scene, Ventidius observes

"Cæsar and Antony have ever won
"More in their officer, than person."

CLEO. Ah, stand by.

EROS. The queen, my lord, the queen.

Again, in the Countess of Pembroke's Antonie, 1595:
Cassius and Brutus ill betid,


"March'd against us, by us twice put to flight, "But by my sole conduct; for all the time, "Cæsar heart-sick with fear and feaver lay." To deal on any thing, is an expression often used in the old plays. So, in The Roaring Girl, 1611:

"You will deal upon men's wives no more."

The prepositions on and upon are sometimes oddly employed by our ancient writers. So, in Drayton's Miseries of Queen Margaret:

"That it amaz'd the marchers, to behold

"Men so ill armed, upon their bows so bold."

Upon their bows must here mean on the strength of their bows, relying on their bows. Again, in Have with you to Saffron Walden, &c. by Nashe, 1596: "At Wolfe's he is billeted, sweating and dealing upon it most intentively." Again, in Othello:

"Upon malicious bravery dost thou come
"To start my quiet."

Again, in King Richard III:


are they that I would have thee deal upon."


Steevens's explanation of this passage is just, and agreeable to the character here given of Augustus. Shakspeare represents him in the next Act, as giving his orders to Agrippa, and remaining unengaged himself:

"Go forth, Agrippa, and begin the fight,———.”


"Go, charge, Agrippa." M. MASON.

In the Life of Antony, Shakspeare found the following passage: "-they were always more fortunate when they made warre by their lieutenants, than by themselves;"-which fully explains that before us.

The subsequent words also-"and no practice had," &c. show that Mr. Steevens has rightly interpreted this passage. The phrase to deal on is likewise found in Pierce Pennylesse his Supplication to the Devil, by T. Nashe, 1592; "When dice, lust, and drunkenness, all have dealt upon him, if there be never a plaie for him to go to for his penie, he sits melancholie in his chamber."


« ПредишнаНапред »