« AnteriorContinuar »
The water which they beat, to follow fatter,
Agr. O rare for Antony.
Eno. Her gentlewomen, like the Nereids,
Cleopatra's (22)O'erapicturing, &c.]“ The poet,” says Mr.Theobald, “ seems here to be alluding to that fine picture of Venus, done by Apelles ; the beauty and limbs of which, it is said, he copied from Campape, his beloved mistress, whom he received at the hands of Alexander the Great. This celebrated piece of his was called Appedita avaduouern Venus rising out of the fea: to which, Ovid has paid so fine a compliment in his 3d book on the Art of Love.
Si Venerem Cous nunquam posisjet Apells,
Venus, thou ne'er hadit risen from the sea.
(23) Adorings. Warb. vulg. Adornings.
Cleopatra's infinite power in pleasing.
SCENE V. The unsettled Humour of Lovers. Enter Cleopatra, Charmian, Iras, and Alexas.
Cleo. (25) Give me some music: music, moody food Of us that trade in love.
(24) Age, &c.] So, in Dryden's play, Antony speaks to Ckopatra of her uncloying charms;
How I lov'd,
So eager was I fill to see you more. (25) Give me, &c.] Nothing can be more natural than this wneafý Auctuation of mind fo peculiar to people deprived of the object which alone can please them, and without whom nothing can please. I know not of a more beautiful instance than in the first act of that fine play of Euripides; Hippolitus, towards the latter end of the act, which Mr. Smith has well copied (I might rather have said, translated) in his Phedra and Hippolitus, an excellent play, tho' greatly inferior in many material circumItances, and particularly the character of Phedra, to-the Greek, In our English play, Phædra, on her entrance, begins ;
Stay, virgins, stay, I'll rest my weary steps:
Omnes. The music, hoa!
Enter Mardian the Eunuch.
Cleo. As well a woman with an eunuch play'd,
Mar. As well as I can, madam.
Why blaze these jewels round my wretched head:
Let's to the woods and lawns, and limpid Itreams.
Goddess of woods, immortal, chaste Diana,
Char. 'Twas merry; when
Cleo. That time !- -Oh, times !
ACT III. SCENE I.
Ambition, jealous of a too successful Friend. (27) Oh Silius, Silius, I have done enough. A lower place, note well, May make too great an act. For learn this, Silius, Better to leave undone, than by our deed Acquire too high a fame, when he we serve's away. SCENE V. Octavia's Entrance, what it should
have been. Why has thou stol’n upon us thus? You came not Like Cafar's fifter; the wife of Antony
(26) Philippan.] This word, we are to suppose, was so called from the great actions it atchieved in the hands of its heroic mafter at Philippi; the fairest field of his fame, and of which he seems to have been raost proud. Antony too plumed himself on his descent from Hercules; so that this imitation of his ancestor was the more agreeable to him, who submitted to the like treatment from Omphale, whose tires and mantles the great Alcides put on, and plied her diftaff, while the wielded his club, and decked her. felf in his trophies.
(27) Oh, &c.] This is spoken by Ventidius, who bears a very considerable Thare in Mr. Dryden's tragedy: but it seems to me, that great man has misrepresented him, and instead of giving us the brave, old, honest, veteran Roman, hath given us a surly, rigid buffoon: unlike that Ventidius we so greatly admire in
Should have an army for an usher, and
Women are not
I see, mens' judgments are
Loyalty. (28) Mine honesty, and I, begin to square ;
The his true character. Plutarch, as Mr. Theobald has observed, particularly takes notice, that Ventidius was careful to act only on lieutenancy, and cautious of aiming at any glory in his own name and person.
(28) Mine, &c.] After Enobarbus has said, that his honesty and he begin to quarrel, li. e. that his reason shews him to be mis. taken in his firm adherence to Antony) he immediately falls into this generous reflection: “ tho' loyalty stubbornly preserved to a master in his declined fortunes, seems folly in the eyes of fools ; fi. e. men who have not honour enough to think more wisely ;) yet he, who can be so obstinately loyal, will make as great a figure on record, as the conqueror."