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Rather than purchas'd; what he cannot change, Than what he chooses.

CES. You are too indulgent: Let us grant, it is


Amiss to tumble on the bed of Ptolemy;
To give a kingdom for a mirth; to sit
And keep the turn of tippling with a slave;
To reel the streets at noon, and stand the buffet
With knaves that smell of sweat: say, this becomes


(As his composure must be rare indeed,

Whom these things cannot blemish,7) yet must Antony

scintillations appear stronger in consequence of darkness, as jewels are more resplendent on a black ground than on any other. That the prominence and splendour of the stars were alone in Shakspeare's contemplation, appears from a passage in Hamlet, where a similar thought is less equivocally expressed: "Your skill shall, like a star i'the darkest night, "Stick fiery off indeed."

A kindred thought occurs in King Henry V:

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though the truth of it stands off as gross
"As black from white, my eye will scarcely see it."

Again, in King Henry IV. P. I:

"And like bright metal on a sullen ground,

"My reformation, glittering o'er my fault,

"Shall show more goodly, and attract more eyes,

"Than that which hath no foil to set it off." MALONE.

See Hamlet, Act V. sc. ii. STEEVENS.



purchas'd;] Procured by his own fault or endeavour.

say, this becomes him,

(As his composure must be rare indeed,


Whom these things cannot blemish,)] This seems inconsequent. I read :

And his composure &c.

Grant that this becomes him, and if it can become him, he must have in him something very uncommon, yet, &c.


Though the construction of this passage, as Dr. Johnson ob


No way excuse his soils, when we do bear
So great weight in his lightness. If he fill'd


serves, appears harsh, there is, I believe, no corruption. In As like it we meet with the same kind of phraseology:




what though you have beauty,

(As by my faith I see no more in you
"Than without candle may go dark to bed,)
"Must you therefore be proud and pitiless ?"

See Vol. VIII. p. 130, n. 6. MALONE.

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•No way excuse his soils,] The old copy has-foils. For the emendation now made I am answerable. In the MSS. of our author's time f and f are often undistinguishable, and no two letters are so often confounded at the press. Shakspeare has so regularly used this word in the sense required here, that there cannot, I imagine, be the smallest doubt of the justness of this emendation. So, in Hamlet :

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and no soil, nor cautel, doth besmirch "The virtue of his will."

Again, in Love's Labour's Lost:

"The only soil of his fair virtue's gloss."

Again, in Measure for Measure:

"Who is as free from touch or soil with her,
"As she from one ungot."

Again, ibid:

"My unsoil'd name, the austereness of my life." Again, in King Henry IV. P. II:

"For all the soil of the achievement goes

"With me into the earth."

In the last Act of the play before us we find an expression

nearly synonymous:


His taints and honours

"Wag'd equal in him."

Again, in Act II. sc. iii:

"Read not my blemishes in the world's reports."


If foils be inadmissible, (which I question,) we might read— fails. In The Winter's Tale we meet with this substantive, which signifies omission, or non-performance:

"Mark, and perform it. See'st thou? for the fail
"Of any point in't, shall not only be

"Death to thyself," &c.

Yet, on the whole, I prefer Mr. Malone's conjecture.


So great weight in his lightness.] The word light is one

His vacancy with his voluptuousness,

Full surfeits, and the dryness of his bones,
Call on him for't:' but, to confound such time,2
That drums him from his sport, and speaks as loud
As his own state, and ours,-'tis to be chid
As we rate boys; who, being mature in knowledge,3
Pawn their experience to their present pleasure,
And so rebel to judgment.


Enter a Messenger.

Here's more news.

MESS. Thy biddings have been done; and every


Most noble Cæsar, shalt thou have report
How 'tis abroad. Pompey is strong at sea;
And it appears he is belov'd of those
That only have fear'd Cæsar: to the ports

of Shakspeare's favourite play-things. The sense is-His trifling levity throws so much burden upon us. JOHNSON.

1 Call on him for't:] Call on him, is, visit him. Says Cæsar-If Antony followed his debaucheries at a time of leisure, I should leave him to be punished by their natural consequences, by surfeits and dry bones. JOHNSON.


to confound such time,] See p. 10, n. 7. MALONE. boys; who, being mature in knowledge,] For this Hanmer, who thought the maturity of a boy an inconsistent idea, has put:

who, immature in knowledge:

but the words experience and judgment require that we read mature: though Dr. Warburton has received the emendation. By boys mature in knowledge, are meant boys old enough to know their duty. JOHNSON.

• That only have fear'd Cæsar:] Those whom not love but fear made adherents to Cæsar, now show their affection for Pompey. JOHNson.

The discontents repair,5 and men's reports
Give him much wrong'd.

I should have known no less:-
It hath been taught us from the primal state,
That he, which is, was wish'd, until he were ;
And the ebb'd man, ne'er lov'd, till ne'er worth love,
Comes dear'd, by being lack'd. This common body,
Like a vagabond flag upon the stream,

Goes to, and back, lackeying the varying tide,
To rot itself" with motion.8

The discontents repair,] That is, the malecontents. So, in King Henry IV. P. I:


that may please the eye

"Of fickle changelings and poor discontents." See Vol. XI. p. 403, n. 4. MALONE.

he, which is, was wish'd, until he were;

And the ebb'd man, ne'er lov'd, till ne'er worth love, Comes dear'd, by being lack'd.] [Old copy-fear'd.] Let us examine the sense of this [as it stood] in plain prose. The earliest histories inform us, that the man in supreme command was always wish'd to gain that command, till he had obtain'd it. And he, whom the multitude has contentedly seen in a low condition, when he begins to be wanted by them, becomes to be fear'd by them. But do the multitude fear a man because they want him? Certainly, we must read:

Comes dear'd, by being lack'd.

i. e. endear'd, a favourite to them. Besides, the context requires this reading; for it was not fear, but love, that made the people flock to young Pompey, and what occasioned this reflection. So, in Coriolanus:

"I shall be lov'd, when I am lack'd." WARBURTON. The correction was made in Theobald's edition, to whom it was communicated by Dr. Warburton. Something, however, is yet wanting. What is the meaning of " ne'er lov'd till ne'er worth love?" I suppose that the second ne'er was inadvertently repeated at the press, and that we should read-till not worth love. MALone.

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rot itself] The word-itself, is, I believe, an interpolation, being wholly useless to the sense, and injurious to the measure. STEEVENS.


Cæsar, I bring thee word,

Menecrates and Menas, famous pirates,

Make the sea serve them; which they ear and wound

With keels of every kind: Many hot inroads
They make in Italy; the borders maritime

Goes to, and back, lackeying the varying tide,

To rot itself with motion.] [Old copy-lashing.] But how can a flag, or rush, floating upon a stream, and that has no motion but what the fluctuation of the water gives it, be said to lash the tide? This is making a scourge of a weak ineffective thing, and giving it an active violence in its own power. 'Tis true, there is no sense in the old reading; but the addition of a single letter will not only give us good sense, but the genuine word of our author into the bargain:

lackeying the varying tide,

i. e. floating backwards and forwards with the variation of the tide, like a page, or lackey, at his master's heels. THEOBALD. Theobald's conjecture may be supported by a passage in the fifth Book of Chapman's translation of Homer's Odyssey: 66 who would willingly

"Lacky along so vast a lake of brine?"

Again, in his version of the 24th Iliad :


My guide to Argos either ship'd or lackying by thy side."

Again, in the Prologue to the second part of Antonio and Melilda, 1602:

"O that our power

"Could lacky or keep pace with our desires!”

Again, in The whole magnificent Entertainment given to King James, Queen Anne his Wife, &c. March 15, 1603, by Thomas Decker, 4to. 1604: "The minutes (that lackey the heeles of time) run not faster away than do our joyes."

Perhaps another messenger should be noted here, as entering with fresh news. STEEVENS.


which they ear-] To ear, is to plough; a common metaphor. JOHNSON.

To ear, is not, however, at this time, a common word. 1 meet with it again in Turbervile's Falconry, 1575: because I have a larger field to ear." See also Vol. VIII. p. 237, n. 9. STEEVENS.


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