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Our faith mere folly:-Yet, he, that can endure To follow with allegiance a fallen lord,
Does conquer him that did his master conquer, And earns a place i' the story.
THYR. Hear it apart.
None but friends; say boldly. THYR. So, haply, are they friends to Antony. ENO. He needs as many, sir, as Cæsar has; Or needs not us. If Cæsar please, our master Will leap to be his friend: For us, you know, Whose he is, we are; and that's, Cæsar's.
THYR. So.Thus then, thou most renown'd; Cæsar entreats, Not to consider in what case thou stand'st, Further than he is Cæsar.
I have preserved the old reading: Enobarbus is deliberating upon desertion, and finding it is more prudent to forsake a fool, and more reputable to be faithful to him, makes no positive conclusion. Sir T. Hanmer follows Theobald. Dr. Warburton retains the old reading. JOHNSON.
3 None but friends;] I suppose, for the sake of measure, we ought to read in this place with Sir Thomas Hanmer :
"None here but friends." STEEVENS.
Not to consider in what case thou stand'st,
Further than he is Cæsar.] Thus the second folio; and on this reading the subsequent explanation by Dr. Warburton is founded.
The first folio, which brings obscurity with it, has—
than he is Cæsar's.
See Mr. Malone's note. STEEVENS.
i. e. Cæsar intreats, that at the same time you consider your desperate fortunes, you would consider he is Cæsar: That is, generous and forgiving, able and willing to restore them.
Go on Right royal.
THYR. He knows, that you embrace not5 Antony you did love, but as you fear'd him.
THYR. The scars upon your honour, therefore, he Does pity, as constrained blemishes,
Not as deserv'd.
He is a god, and knows
It has been just said, that whatever Antony is, all his followers are; "that is, Caesar's. Thyreus now informs Cleopatra that Cæsar entreats her not to consider herself in a state of subjection, further than as she is connected with Antony, who is Caesar's: intimating to her, (according to the instructions he had received from Cæsar, to detach Cleopatra from Antony-see p. 178,) that she might make separate and advantageous terms for herself.
I suspect that the preceding speech belongs to Cleopatra, not to Enobarbus. Printers usually keep the names of the persons who appear in each scene, ready composed; in consequence of which, speeches are often attributed to those to whom they do not belong. Is it probable that Enobarbus should presume to interfere here? The whole dialogue naturally proceeds between Cleopatra and Thyreus, till Enobarbus thinks it necessary to attend to his own interest, and says what he speaks when he goes out. The plural number, (us,) which suits Cleopatra, who throughout the play assumes that royal style, strengthens my conjecture. The words, our master, it may be said, are inconsistent with this supposition; but I apprehend, Cleopatra might have thus described Antony, with sufficient propriety. They are afterwards explained: "Whose he is, we are." Antony was the master of her fate. MALONE.
Enobarbus, who is the buffoon of the play, has already presumed [see p. 74.] to interfere between the jarring Triumvirs, and might therefore have been equally flippant on the occasion before us. For this reason, as well as others, I conceive the speech in question to have been rightly appropriated in the old copy. What a diminution of Shakspeare's praise would it be, if four lines that exactly suit the mouth of Enobarbus, could come with equal propriety from the lips of Cleopatra !
5 -that you embrace not-] The author probably wroteembrac'd. MALONE.
What is most right: Mine honour was not yielded, But conquer'd merely.
ENO. To be sure of that, [Aside. I will ask Antony.-Sir, sir, thou'rt so leaky, That we must leave thee to thy sinking, for Thy dearest quit thee."
Shall I say to Cæsar
And put yourself under his shrowd,
What's your name?
Most kind messenger,
THYR. My name is Thyreus.
Say to great Cæsar this, In disputation
I kiss his conquʼring hand: tell him, I am prompt
thou'rt so leaky, &c.
Thy dearest quit thee.] So, in The Tempest:
the very rats
Instinctively had quit it." STEevens.
Say to great Cæsar this, In disputation
I kiss his conqu'ring hand:] The poet certainly wrote:
I kiss his conqu'ring hand:
i. e. by proxy; I depute you to pay him that duty in my name.
I am not certain that this change is necessary. I kiss his hand in disputation may mean, I own he has the better in the controversy. I confess my inability to dispute or contend with him. To dispute may have no immediate reference to words or language by which controversies are agitated. So, in Macbeth: Dispute it like a man;" and Macduff, to whom this short speech is addressed, is disputing or contending with himself only.
To lay my crown at his feet, and there to kneel: Tell him, from his all-obeying breaths I hear The doom of Egypt.
Again, in Twelfth Night: "For though my soul disputes well with my sense." If Dr. Warburton's change be adopted, we should read-" by deputation." STEEVENS.
I have no doubt but deputation is the right reading. Steevens having proved, with much labour and ingenuity, that it is but by a forced and unnatural construction that any sense can be extorted from the words as they stand. It is not necessary to read by deputation, instead of in. That amendment indeed would render the passage more strictly grammatical, but Shakspeare is, frequently, at least as licentious in the use of his particles.
I think Dr. Warburton's conjecture extremely probable. The objection founded on the particle in being used, is, in my apprehension, of little weight. Though by deputation is the phraseology of the present day, the other might have been common in the time of Shakspeare. Thus a Deputy says in the first scene of King John:
"Thus, after greeting, speaks the king of France,
"The borrow'd majesty of England here."
Again, in King Henry IV. P. I:
"Of all the favourites that the absent king
Again: Bacon, in his History of Henry VII. says, “—if he relied upon that title, he could be but a king at courtesie." We should now say, "by courtesy." So, " in any hand," was the phrase of Shakspeare's time, for which, " at any hand," was afterwards used.
Supposing disputation to mean, as Mr. Steevens conceives, not verbal controversy, but struggle for power, or the contention of adversaries, to say that one kisses the hand of another in contention, is surely a strange phrase: but to kiss by proxy, and to marry by proxy, was the language of Shakspeare's time, and is the language of this day. I have, however, found no example of in deputation being used in the sense required here.
MALONE. Tell him, from his all obeying breath &c.] Doom is declared rather by an all-commanding, than an all-obeying breath. I suppose we ought to read—
all-obeyed breath. JOHNSON.
"Tis your noblest course. Wisdom and fortune combating together,
If that the former dare but what it can,
No chance may shake it. Give me grace9 to`lay My duty on your hand.
Your Cæsar's father
Oft, when he hath mus'd of taking kingdoms in,' Bestow'd his lips on that unworthy place,
As it rain'd kisses.2
Re-enter ANTONY and ENOBARBUS.
Favours, by Jove that thunders!
What art thou, fellow?
One, that but performs
The bidding of the fullest man,3 and worthiest
There is no need of change. In The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Shakspeare uses longing, a participle active, with a passive signification:
"To furnish me upon my longing journey."
i. e. my journey long'd for.
In The Unnatural Combat, by Massinger, the active participle is yet more irregularly employed:
"For the recovery of a strangling husband."
i. e. one that was to be strangled. STEEVENS.
All-obeying breath is, in Shakspeare's language, breath which all obey. Obeying for obeyed. So, inexpressive for inexpressible, delighted for delighting, &c. MALONE.
Grant me the favour. JOHNson.
See p. 159, n. 4. REED.
* As it rain'd kisses.] This strong expression is adopted in Pope's version of the 17th Odyssey:
in his embraces dies,
"Rains kisses on his neck, his face, his eyes.”
the fullest man,] The most complete, and perfect.
So, in Othello:
"What a full fortune doth the thick-lips owe." See Vol. VI. p. 80, n. 7. MALone.