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Cæsar and Antony shall well greet together :
I know not, Menas,
[Exeunt 8. Our manciple I hope he wol be ded.” STEEVENS. Yet from the following passage in Puttenham, it would seem to have been considered as a blundering expression in the days of Queen Elizabeth : “Such manner of uncouth speech did the Tanner of Tamworth use to king Edward the fourth, which Tanner having a great while mistaken him, and used very broad talke with him, at length perceiving by his traine that it was the king, was afraide he should be punished for it, said thus with a certaine rude repentance:
“ I hope I shall be hanged to-morrow!" For [I feare me] I shall be hanged, whereat the king laughed agood, not only to see the Tanners vaine feare, but also to heare his ill-shapen terme.” Boswell.
- WARR'D upon him ;] The old copy has—wan'd. The emendation, which was made by the editor of the second folio, is supported by a passage in the next scene, in which Cæsar says to Antony :
your wife and brother
square – ] This is, quarrel. So, in The Shoemaker's Holiday, or the Gentle Craft, 1600 : “What? square they, master Scott ?
Sir, no doubt: “ Lovers are quickly in, and quickly out." STEEVENS. See vol. v. p. 202. MALONE.
Rome. A Room in the House of Lepidus.
Enter ENOBARBUS and LEPIDUS.
I shall entreat him
'Tis not a time
It only stands Our lives upon, &c.] i. e. to exert our utmost force, is the only consequential way of securing our lives. So, in King Richard III. :
for it stands me much upon
“ To stop all hopes," &c. i. e. is of the utmost consequence to me.
See Richard III. Act IV. Sc. II. STEEVENS.
8 This play is not divided into Acts by the author or first editors, and therefore the present division may be altered at pleasure. I think the first Act may be commodiously continued to this place, and the second Act opened with the interview of the chief persons, and a change of the state of action. Yet it must be confessed, that it is of small importance, where these unconnected and desultory scenes are interrupted. Johnson. 9 Were I the wearer of Antonius' beard,
I would not shave't to-day:] I believe he means, ' I would meet him undressed, without show of respect.' Johnson.
Plutarch mentions that Antony, " after the overthrow he had at Modena, suffered his beard to grow at length, and never clipt it, that it was marvelous long.” Perhaps this circumstance was in Shakspeare's thoughts. MALONE.
Serves for the matter that is then born in it.
LEP. But small to greater matters must give way.
Your speech is passion : But, pray you, stir no embers up.
Here comes The noble Antony.
Enter Antony and Ventidius.
And yonder, Cæsar.
I do not know,
not A leaner action rend us. What's amiss, May it be gently heard : When we debate Our trivial difference loud, we do commit Murder in healing wounds : Then, noble partners, (The rather, for I earnestly beseech,) Touch you the sourest points with sweetest terms, Nor curstness grow to the matter ?. ANT.
'Tis spoken well: Were we before our armies, and to fight, I should do thus. Cæs. Welcome to Rome. Ant.
* If we compose well here,] i. e. if we come to a lucky composition, agreement. So afterwards :
“ I crave our composition may be written—," i. e. the terms on which our differences are settled. STEEVENS.
? Nor curstness grow to the matter.] Let not ill-humour be added to the real subject of our difference.' Johnson.
Sit, sir 3! CÆS.
I must be laugh'd at,
name It not concern'd me.
3 Cæs. Sit.
Ant. Sit, sir !] Antony appears to be jealous of a circumstance which seemed to indicate a consciousness of superiority in his too successful partner in power; and accordingly resents the invitation of Cæsar to be seated : Cæsar answers, Nay, then;" i. e. if you are so ready to resent what I meant as an act of civility, there can be no reason to suppose you have temper enough for the business on which at present we are met. The former editors leave a full point at the end of this, as well as the preceding speech. Steevens.
The following circumstance may serve to strengthen Mr. Steevens's opinion: When the fictitious Sebastian made his appearance in Europe, he came to a conference with the Conde de Lemos; to whom, after the first exchange of civilities, he said, “ Conde de Lemos, be covered." And being asked, by that nobleman, by what pretences he laid claim to the superiority expressed by such permission, he replied, “I do it by right of my birth; I am Sebastian.” Johnson.
I believe, the author meant no more than that Cæsar should desire Antony to be seated : “ Sit.”. To this Antony replies, Be you, sir, seated first : “ Sit, sir.” “Nay, then,” rejoins Cæsar, if you stand on ceremony, to put an end to farther talk on a matter of so little moment, I will take my seat.—However, I have too much respect for the two preceding editors, to set my judgment above their concurring opinions, and therefore have left the note of admiration placed by Mr. Steevens at the end of Antony's speech, undisturbed. MALONE.
My being in Egypt, Cæsar, What was't to you?
Cæs. No more than my residing here at Rome Might be to you in Egypt : Yet, if you there Did practise on my state *, your being in Egypt Might be my question. Ant.
How intend you, practis'd ? Cæs. You may be pleas’d to catch at mine in
tent, By what did here befal me. Your wife, and bro
ther, Made wars upon me; and their contestation Was theme for you, you were the word of war.
4 Did PRACTISE on my state.] To practise means to employ unwarrantable arts or stratagems. So, in The Tragedie of Antonie, done into English by the Countess of Pembroke, 1595:
nothing kills me so
« Practise with Cæsar." STEEVENS. question-] i. e. My theme or subject of conversation. So again in this scene :
“Out of our question wipe him.” MALONE. their contestation Was Theme for you, you were the word of war.] The only meaning of this can be, that the war, which Antony's wife and brother made upon Cæsar, was theme for Antony too to make war; or was the occasion why he did make war. But this is directly contrary to the context, which shows, Antony did neither encourage them to it, nor second them in it. We cannot doubt then, but the poet wrote:
and their contestation
" Was them'd for i. e. The pretence of the war was on your account, they took up arms in your name, and you were made the theme and subject of their insurrection. WARBURTON.
I am neither satisfied with the reading nor the emendation: them'd is, I think, a word unauthorised, and very harsh. Perhaps we may read :