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59. My power's a crescent, and my auguring
hope Says, it will come to the full.” I cannot commend Mr. Theobald's quaint emendation, but prefer the old reading :
“My powers are crescent,” &c. The relative “it” cannot, indeed, directly belong either to “hope” or “powers,” but has a general reference to the prosperous state of his affairs; the speaker, also, taking up and
proceeding with, the idea of the moon's increase. If Pompey had said: “My powers are waning, and my auguring mind
Says, it will soon be ăn end with me," no one could miss the implied antecedent to “it.” 60.“ Even till a Lethe'd dullness."
Till,” for to, is common now in Scotland.
63. “ 'Twere pregnant they should square.”
'Twere ready of belief, full of probability, as in Measure for Measure:
'Tis very pregnant, "The jewel that we find we stoop and take it.” &c.
Square between themselves." “To square” is sometimes, as here, to quarrel, and sometimes to conform, accord, adapt, as in the Winter's Tale :
“ I will be squared by you. And in Coriolanus :
They have entertained cause enough.” “ Entertained” is here a participle, cause that is cherished or entertained by them.”
64. “Were I the wearer of Antonius' beard,
“ I would not shave to-day.” I believe Enobarbus means, that, by retaining his beard, he would suit his aspect to the ruggedness of his displeasure. 67. “Once name you derogately, when to sound
We might read more smoothly: “ Once name you derogate, when to sound
Not so, not so."
graceful, or amiable, see Coriolanus :
My gracious silence, hail !" And in Much Ado about Nothing:
Turn all thoughts of beauty into harm, “ And never shall it more be gracious.” 72.
- Soft, Cæsar.” This is defective:
* Have tongue to charge me with.
Nay, softly, Cæsar.” And again in the next line, words are wanting:
“ No, Lepidus, let him speak.” I would propose : No, Lepidus, I pr’ythee, let him speak.”
Let him speak;
"_ I (nearly with Dr. Johnson) believe that the meaning is--do not interrupt him; the pure motives and the sacred principles upon which this conference is held will insure from each of us a strict adherence to honour, howsoever, on any former occasion, I myself may seem to have departed from it. To admit the sense that Mr. M. Mason contends for, it would become necessary to alter the text to “ supposing I then lack'd it.” 73." - Mine honesty.
Shall not make poor my greatness, nor my
power “Work without it." My honest acknowledgments shall not derogate from my dignity, nor shall the power and privilege of my high station act without
honesty. 74.“ Your considerate stone."
Your contemplative statue.
Mr. Malone's expedient to prosodize this line, by the violence of extending “your” to a dissyllable, is another instance, among many, of that gentleman's measuring lines and their quantity by syllables merely, without any regard to cadence,
or the ear; for, admitting “your” to be a dissyllable, you-ar, or you-er, what sort of a line will this be?
“Go to then; you-ar considerate stone." Though, indeed, if one word is to be tortured in this manner, another may endure a little ; and we might read:
“Go to then ; you-ar consi-dērate stone." I would propose, if Enobarbus must speak in metre, “Go to then; now I'm your considerate stone." 77. “ All great fears, which now import their
dangers." I believe, for “ fears,” we are to understand apprehensions; and for “ dangers,” evils. 79.
With most gladness.” Most," for utmost. 80. “ The barge she sat in, like a burnish'd
throne, “ Burn'd on the water." In this magnificent description, it is painful to find fault; but I cannot suppress a wish that the ear had been unassailed by the displeasing sameness of sounds in “burnish'd” and “ burn'd;" and though I dare not presume to mend the expression, I would rather the poet had written * flam’d,” or “ blaz’d,” on the water. 81.
Fans, whose wind did seem “ To glow the delicate cheeks which they did
cool, " And what they undid, did.”
Dr. Johnson, when he suggested his transposition, “and what they did, undid," seems not to have considered the passage with his usual perspicacity: the wind agitated by the fans, or (as it is expressed) the wind of the fans, appeared to inflame the cheeks which they were cooling, and to produce that effect which they were really counteracting “ Her gentlewomen, like the Nereides, many mermaids, tended her i'the
eyes, “And made their bends adornings.”
The brief meaning of this belaboured passage I take to be this:~Her gentlewomen, personating Nereides, watch fully devoted themselves to the commands of her looks, and by their obsequious gestures improved the gracefulness of the general picture. 86. " A strange invisible perfume hits the
Until the commentators, who appear, in this place, as in many others, to overrate the sagacity of the general readers of these works, shall condescend to explain “invisible perfume,” or tell us how a perfume is ever visible, or what sense, except that which is placed in the nose, can at all be "hit" by it, I must consign this passage to Mr. Bayes. Perhaps the meaning intended was, that the cause or source of the perfume was unperceived. 89.“ Which she entreated : Our courteous
Antony." Our,” which burthens the line, might well be omitted.