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Enter a Messenger.

Ram thou thy fruitful tidings3 in mine ears,
That long time have been barren.

pliment à posteriori. We find Antony, afterwards, in this play, boasting of his own prowess at Philippi:

"Ant. Yes, my lord, yes; he at Philippi kept

"His sword e'en like a dancer; while I struck
"The lean and wrinkled Cassius;" &c.

That was the greatest action of Antony's life; and therefore this seems a fine piece of flattery, intimating, that this sword ought to be denominated from that illustrious battle, in the same manner as modern heroes in romances are made to give their swords pompous names. THEOBALD.

3 Ram thou thy fruitful tidings-] Shakspeare probably wrote, (as Sir T. Hanmer observes,) Rain thou &c. Rain agrees better with the epithets fruitful and barren. So, in Timon: "Rain sacrificial whisp'rings in his ear."

Again, in The Tempest:

Heavens rain grace!" STEEVENS.

I suspect no corruption. The term employed in the text is much in the style of the speaker; and is supported incontestably by a passage in Julius Cæsar :

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"Into his ears."

Again, in Cymbeline:

"say, and speak thick,

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(Love's counsellor should fill the bores of hearing, "To the smothering of the sense,) how far," &c.

Again, in The Tempest:

"You cram these words into my ears, against

"The stomach of my sense." MALONE.

Ram is a vulgar word, never used in our author's plays, but once by Falstaff, where he describes his situation in the buckbasket. In the passage before us, it is evidently a misprint for rain. The quotation from Julius Cæsar does not support the old reading at all, the idea being perfectly distinct. RITSON. Ramm'd, however, occurs in King John:

"Have we ramm'd up your gates against the world.”



CLEO. Antony's dead?

Madam, madam,

If thou say so, villain, thou kill'st thy mistress:
But well and free,+

If thou so yield him, there is gold, and here
My bluest veins to kiss; a hand, that kings
Have lipp'd, and trembled kissing.



First, madam, he's well.

CLEO. Why, there's more gold. But, sirrah, mark; We use

say, the dead are well: bring it to that, The gold I give thee, will I melt, and pour Down thy ill-uttering throat.

MESS. Good madam, hear me.


Well, go to, I will;
But there's no goodness in thy face: If Antony
Be free, and healthful,-why so tart a favour
To trumpet such good tidings?5 If not well, .

But well and free, &c.] This speech is but coldly imitated by Beaumont and Fletcher, in The False One:

"Cleop. What of him? Speak: if ill, Apollodorus,
"It is my happiness: and for thy news

"Receive a favour kings have kneel❜d in vain for,
"And kiss
my hand."

-If Antony


Be free, and healthful,-why so tart a favour

To trumpet such good tidings?] The old copies have not the adverb-why; but, as Mr. M. Mason observes, somewhat was wanting in the second of these lines, both to the sense and to the metre. He has, therefore, no doubt but the passage ought to run thus:

If Antony

Be free, and healthful,-why so tart a favour

To usher &c.

I have availed myself of this necessary expletive, which I find also in Sir Thomas Hanmer's edition. STEEVENS.

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Thoushould'st come like a fury crown'd with snakes, Not like a formal man."


Will't please you hear me?

CLEO. I have a mind to strike thee, ere thou speak'st:

Yet, if thou say, Antony lives, is well,
Or friends with Cæsar, or not captive to him,
I'll set thee in a shower of gold, and hail
Rich pearls upon thee.s

I suspect a word was omitted at the press, and that Shak

speare wrote:

If Antony

Be free, and healthful, needs so tart a favour &c.


"Not like a formal man.] Decent, regular. JOHNSON.

By a formal man, Shakspeare means, a man in his senses. Informal women, in Measure for Measure, is used for women beside themselves. STEEVENS.

A formal man, I believe, only means a man in form, i. e. shape. You should come in the form of a fury, and not in the form of a man. So, in A mad World my Masters, by Middleton, 1608:

"The very devil assum'd thee formally."

i. e. assumed thy form. MALOne,

7 Yet, if thou say, Antony lives, is well,

Or friends with Caesar, &c.] The old copy reads 'tis well.


We surely should read-is well. The Messenger is to have his reward, if he says, that Antony is alive, in health, and either friends with Caesar, or not captive to him. TYRWHITT.

• I'll set thee in a shower of gold, and hail

Rich pearls upon thee.] That is, I will give thee a kingdom: it being the eastern ceremony, at the coronation of their kings, to powder them with gold-dust and seed-pearl. So, Milton:

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the gorgeous east with liberal hand

"Showers on her kings barbaric pearl and gold."

In The Life of Timur-bec, or Tamerlane, written by a Persian contemporary author, are the following words, as translated by

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MESS. Cæsar and he are greater friends than ever. CLEO. Make thee a fortune from me.


But yet, madam,

CLEO. I do not like but yet, it does allay
The good precedence;" fye upon but yet:
But yet is as a gaoler to bring forth

Some monstrous malefactor. Pr'ythee, friend,
Pour out the pack1 of matter to mine ear,

The good and bad together: He's friend with

Cæsar ;

In state of health, thou say'st; and, thou say'st, free.

MESS. Free, madam! no; I made no such report: He's bound unto Octavia.

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Mons. Petit de la Croix, in the account there given of his coronation, Book II. chap. i: "Les princes du sang royal & les emirs repandirent à pleines mains sur sa tête quantité d'or & de pierreries selon la coûtume.' WARBURTON.

9 it does allay

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The good precedence;] i. e. abates the good quality of what is already reported. STEEVENS.

-the pack-] A late editor [Mr. Capell] reads-thy. pack. REED.

I believe our author wrote-thy pack. frequently confounded in the old copy.

The, thee, and thy, are

CLEO. The most infectious pestilence upon thee!

MESS. Good madam, patience.


[Strikes him down.

What say you?-Hence, [Strikes him again.

Horrible villain! or I'll spurn thine eyes
Like balls before me; I'll unhair thy head;

[She hales him up and down.

Thou shalt be whipp'd with wire, and stew'd in


Smarting in ling'ring pickle.

MESS. Gracious madam, I, that do bring the news, made not the match. CLEO. Say, 'tis not so, a province I will give thee, And make thy fortunes proud: the blow thou hadst Shall make thy peace, for moving me to rage; And I will boot thee with what gift beside Thy modesty can beg.


CLEO. Rogue, thou hast liv'd too long.


He's married, madam.

[Draws a Dagger.2

Nay, then I'll run :—



What mean you, madam? I have made no fault.

CHAR. Good madam, keep yourself within

self; 3

The man is innocent.

·Draws a Dagger.] The old copy-Draw a Knife.

See Vol. X. p. 67, n. 3. MALONE.


"keep yourself within yourself;] i. e. contain yourself, restrain your passion within bounds. So, in The Taming of the Shrew:

"Doubt not, my lord, we can contain ourselves."


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