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you hence;

Eye well to you: Your honour calls
Therefore be deaf to my unpitied folly,
And all the gods go with you! upon your sword
Sit laurel'd victory!1 and smooth success

Be strew'd before your feet!


Let us go. Come;
Our separation so abides, and flies,

That thou, residing here,2 go'st yet with me,
And I, hence fleeting, here remain with thee.


Rome. An Apartment in Cæsar's House.


Enter OCTAVIUS CESAR, LEPIDUS, and Attendants. Cas. You may see, Lepidus, and henceforth know, It is not Cæsar's natural vice to hate

Our "One"great competitor :3 From Alexandria

This is the news; He fishes, drinks, and wastes
The lamps of night in revel: is not more manlike
Than Cleopatra; nor the queen of Ptolemy
More womanly than he: hardly gave audience, or

It is to this, perhaps, that she alludes. Or, she may meanThat conduct which, in my own opinion, becomes me, as often as it appears ungraceful to you, is a shock to my sensibility. Steevens. laurel'd victory!] Thus the second folio. The inaccurate predecessor of it-laurel victory. Steevens.


2 That thou, residing here, &c.] This conceit might have been suggested by the following passage in Sidney's Arcadia, Book I: "She went they staid; or, rightly for to say,

"She staid with them, they went in thought with her." Thus also, in The Mercator of Plautus: "Si domi sum, foris est animus; sin foris sum, animus domi est." Steevens.

3 One great competitor:] Perhaps-Our great competitor. Johnson.

Johnson is certainly right in his conjecture that we ought to read-" Our great competitor," as this speech is addressed to Lepidus, his partner in the empire. Competitor means here, as it does wherever the word occurs in Shakspeare, associate or partner. So Menas says:

"These three world-sharers, these competitors,

"Are in thy vessel."

And again, Cæsar, speaking of Antony, says

"That thou, my brother, my competitor,

"In top of all design, my mate in empire." M. Mason.

Vouchsaf'd to think he had partners:4 You shall find there A man, who is the abstract of all faults

That all men follow.


I must not think, there are

Evils enough to darken all his goodness:

His faults, in him, seem as the spots of heaven,
More fiery by night's blackness; hereditary,

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Vouchsaf'd to think he had partners:] The irregularity of metre in the first of these lines induces me to suppose the second originally and elliptically stood thus:

Or vouchsaf'd think he had partners &c.

So, in Cymbeline, Act II, sc. ii :

"Will force him think I have pick'd the lock" &c. not to think. Steevens.

5 as the spots of heaven,

More fiery by night's blackness;] If by spots are meant stars, as night has no other fiery spots, the comparison is forced and harsh, stars having been always supposed to beautify the night; nor do I comprehend what there is in the counterpart of this simile, which answers to night's blackness. Hanmer reads:

- spots on ermine,

Or fires, by night's blackness. Johnson.

The meaning seems to be-As the stars or spots of heaven are not obscured, but rather rendered more bright, by the blackness of the night, so neither is the goodness of Antony eclipsed by his evil qualities, but, on the contrary, his faults seem enlarged and aggravated by his virtues.

That which answers to the blackness of the night, in the counterpart of the simile, is Antony's goodness. His goodness is a ground which gives a relief to his faults, and makes them stand out more prominent and conspicuous.

It is objected, that stars rather beautify than deform the night. But the poet considers them here only with respect to their prominence and splendour. It is sufficient for him that their 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. 1:

"And like bright metal on a sullen ground,

"My reformation, glittering o'er my fault,

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

Cas. You are too indulgent: Let us grant, it is not 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 him, (As his composure must be rare indeed,

Whom these things cannot blemish,7) yet must Antony No way excuse his soils, when we do bear

"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. Johnson.

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 cannot become him, he must have in him something very uncommon, yet, &c. Johnson. Though the construction of this passage, as Dr. Johnson observes, appears harsh, there is, I believe, no corruption. In As you Like it we meet with the same kind of phraseology:


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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. V, p. 101, n. 7. Malone.

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:


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:

So great weight in his lightness. If he fill'd
His vacancy with his voluptuousness,

Full surfeits, and the dryness of his bones,

"Call on him for 't: but, to confound such time, all
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,
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 hour, 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" fleets The discontents repair,5 and men's reports

"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." Malone. 9 So great weight in his lightness,] The word light is one 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 CæsarIf 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. 191, n. 8. 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.

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

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

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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

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that may please the eye

"Of fickle changelings and poor discontents."

See Vol. VIII, p. 315, n. 1. 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.

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


8 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.

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