Изображения страниц

ANT. You do mistake your business; my brother


'The dispute derived its subject from you.' It may be corrected by mere transposition:


their contestation

"You were theme for, you were the word-." JOHNSON. "Was theme for you," I believe, means only, 'was proposed as an example for you to follow on a yet more extensive plan;' as themes are given for a writer to dilate upon. Shakspeare, however, may prove the best commentator on himself. Thus, in Coriolanus, Act I. Sc. I.:


throw forth greater themes "For insurrection's arguing."

Sicinius calls Coriolanus, "the theme of our assembly."

So, in Macbeth :


Two truths are told


"As happy prologues to the swelling act
"Of the imperial theme.”

And, in Cymbeline:


When a soldier was the theme, my name "Was not far off." HENLEY.

Mr. Steevens's interpretation is certainly a just one, as the words now stand; but the sense of the words thus interpreted, being directly repugnant to the remaining words, which are evidently put in apposition with what has preceded, shows that there must be some corruption. If their contestation was a theme for Antony to dilate upon, an example for him to follow, what congruity is there between these words and the conclusion of the passage"you were the word of war: i. e. your name was employed by them to draw troops to their standard? On the other hand, "their contestation derived its theme or subject from you; you were their word of war," affords a clear and consistent sense. Dr. Warburton's emendation, however, does not go far enough. To obtain the sense desired, we should read—

[ocr errors]

"Was them'd from you—."

So, in Troilus and Cressida :


She is a theme of honour and renown,

"A spur to valiant and magnanimous deeds." Again, in Hamlet:


So like the king,

"That was and is the question of these wars.'

In almost every one of Shakspeare's plays, substantives are used as verbs. That he must have written from, appears by Antony's


Did urge me in his act': I did enquire it;

And have my learning from some true reports, That drew their swords with you. Did he not rather

Discredit my authority with yours;

And make the wars alike against my stomach,
Having alike your cause? Of this, my letters
Before did satisfy you. If you'll patch a quarrel,

"You do mistake your business; my brother never
"Did urge me in his act."

i.e. never made me the theme for "insurrection's arguing."


I should suppose that some of the words in this sentence have been misplaced, and that it ought to stand thus:

[ocr errors]

and for contestation

"Their theme was you; you were the word of war.”

my brother never


Did urge me in his act :] i. e. Never did make use of my name as a pretence for the war. WARBURTON.

8 true REPORTS,] Reports for reporters. Mr. Tollet observes that Holinshed, 1181, uses records for vouchers; and in King Richard II. our author has wrongs for wrongers:

"To rouse his wrongs and chase them to the bay."


9 HAVING alike YOUR cause?] The meaning seems to be, 66 having the same cause as you to be offended with me." But why, because he was offended with Antony, should he make war upon Cæsar? May it not be read thus:

[ocr errors]

Did he not rather

"Discredit my authority with yours,

"And make the wars alike against my stomach,


Hating alike our cause?"


The old reading is immediately explained by Antony's being the partner with Octavius in the cause against which his brother fought. STEEVENS.



Having alike your cause?" That is, I having alike your The meaning is the same as if, instead of " against my stomach," our author had written-" against the stomach of me.' Did he not (says Antony) make wars against the inclination of me also, of me, who was engaged in the same cause with yourself? Dr. Johnson supposed that having meant, he having, and hence has suggested an unnecessary emendation. MALONE.

As matter whole you have not to make it with ', It must not be with this.


You praise yourself

By laying defects of judgment to me; but
You patch'd up your excuses.


Not so, not so ; I know you could not lack, I am certain on't, Very necessity of this thought, that I,

Your partner in the cause 'gainst which he fought, Could not with graceful eyes2 attend those wars Which 'fronted mine own peace. As for my wife, I would you had her spirit in such another 4


As matter whole you HAVE NOT to make it with,] The original copy reads:

"As matter whole you have to make it with,"

Without doubt erroneously; I therefore only observe it, that the reader may more readily admit the liberties which the editors of this author's works have necessarily taken. JOHNSON.

The old reading may be right. It seems to allude to Antony's acknowledged neglect in aiding Cæsar; but yet Antony does not allow himself to be faulty upon the present cause alledged against him. STEEVENS.

I have not the smallest doubt that the correction, which was made by Mr. Rowe, is right. The structure of the sentence, "As matter," &c. proves decisively that not was omitted. Of all the errors that happen at the press, omission is the most frequent. MALONE.


with GRACEFUL eyes-] Thus the old copy reads, and, I believe, rightly. We still say, "I could not look handsomely on such or such a proceeding." The modern editors read-grateful. STEEVENS.


'fronted -] i. e. opposed. JOHNSON.

So, in Cymbeline:


Your preparation can affront no less "Than what you hear of."


4 I would you had her spirit in such another:] Antony means to say, I wish you had the spirit of Fulvia, embodied in such another woman as her; I wish you were married to such another spirited woman; and then you would find, that though you can govern the third part of the world, the management of such a woman is not an easy matter.

By the words," you had her spirit," &c. Shakspeare, I appreQ


The third o' the world is yours; which with a


You may pace easy, but not such a wife.

ENO. 'Would we had all such wives, that the men might go to wars with the women!

ANT. So much uncurbable, her garboils, Cæsar, Made out of her impatience, (which not wanted Shrewdness of policy too,) I grieving grant, Did you too much disquiet: for that, you must But say, I could not help it.


I wrote to you,
When rioting in Alexandria; you

Did pocket up my letters, and with taunts
Did gibe my missive out of audience.

He fell upon me, ere admitted; then


Three kings I had newly feasted, and did want
Of what I was i' the morning: but, next day,
I told him of myself"; which was as much

[ocr errors]

hend, meant, you were united to, or possessed of, a woman with her spirit."

Having formerly misapprehended this passage, and supposed that Antony wished Augustus to be actuated by a spirit similar to Fulvia's, I proposed to read-e'en such an another, in being frequently printed for e'en in these plays. But there is no need of change. MALONE.

Such, I believe, should be omitted, as both the verse and meaning are complete without it:

"I would you had her spirit in another."

The compositor's eye might have caught the here superfluous such, from the next line but one, in which such is absolutely necessary both to the sense and metre.

The plain meaning of Antony is-"I wish you had my wife's spirit in another wife; "-i. e. in a wife of your own. STEEVENS. Mr. Steevens should have recollected that spirit was generally pronounced as a monosyllable. So, in Hamlet:

"Be thou a spirit of health, or goblin damn'd.”



My father's spirit in arms! all is not well." Boswell. s I told him of myself;] i. e. told him the condition I was in, when he had his last audience. WARBURTON.

As to have ask'd him pardon: Let this fellow
Be nothing of our strife; if we contend,
Out of our question wipe him.


You have broken

The article of your oath; which you shall never Have tongue to charge me with.


Soft, Cæsar.
ANT. No, Lepidus, let him speak;


The honour's sacred which he talks on now,
Supposing that I lack'd it: But on, Cæsar;
The article of my oath,—

"The honour's SACRED -] Sacred, for unbroken, unviolated. WARBURTON.

Dr. Warburton seems to understand this passage thus: "The honour which he talks of me as lacking, is unviolated. I never lacked it. This, perhaps, may be the true meaning; but, before I read the note, I understood it thus: Lepidus interrupts Cæsar, on the supposition that what he is about to say will be too harsh to be endured by Antony; to which Antony replies" No, Lepidus, let him speak; the security of honour on which he now speaks, on which this conference is held now, is sacred, even supposing that I lacked honour before." JOHNSON.

Antony, in my opinion, means to say-The theme of honour which he now speaks of, namely, the religion of an oath, for which he supposes me not to have a due regard, is sacred; it is a tender point, and touches my character nearly. Let him therefore urge his charge, that I may vindicate myself. MALONE

I do not think that either Johnson's or Malone's explanation of this passage is satisfactory. The true meaning of it appears to be this:"Cæsar accuses Antony of a breach of honour in denying to send him aid when he required it, which was contrary to his oath. Antony says, in his defence, that he did not deny his aid, but, in the midst of dissipation, neglected to send it that having now brought his forces to join him against Pompey, he had redeemed that error; and that therefore the honour which Cæsar talked of, was now sacred and inviolate, supposing that he had been somewhat deficient before, in the performance of that engagement."-The adverb now refers to is, not to talks on; and the line should be pointed thus:


"The honour's sacred that he talks on, now,
Supposing that I lack'd it." M. MASON.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »