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Plutarch informs us, affected the Asiatic manner of speaking, which much resembled his own temper, being ambitious, unequal, and very rhodomontade.

This style our poet has very artfully and learnedly interspersed in Antony's speeches."* Unquestionably the language of Antony is more elevated than that of Enobarbus, for example. Antony was of the poetical temperament - a man of high genius --- an orator, who could move the passions dramatically - a lover, that knew no limits to his devotion, because he loved imaginatively. When sorrow falls upon him, the poetical parts of his character are more and more developed ; we forget the sensualist. But even before the touch of grief has somewhat exalted his nature, he takes the poetical view of poetical things. What can be more exquisite than his mention of Octavia's weeping at the parting with her brother ?

"The April's in her eyes : it is love's spring,
And these the showers to bring it on.”

And, higher still: —

Her tongue will not obey her heart, nor can
Her heart inform her tongue: the swan's down feather,
That stands upon the swell at the full of tide,
And neither way inclines.”

This, we think, is not "the Asiatic manner of speaking."

Cold is Antony's parting with Octavia :

“Choose your own company, and command what cost
Your heart has mind to."

Rapid is his meeting with Cleopatra. She “hath nodded

* Critical Observations, p. 100.

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The voluptuary has put on his eastern

him to her." magnificence :

“I' the market-place, on a tribunal silvered,
Cleopatra and himself in chairs of gold
Were publicly enthroned.”

He rejects all counsel : "I'll fight at sea."

And so

“The greater cantle of the world is lost
With very ignorance.”

of the same Now comes the generosity of his character

He exgrowth as his magnificence and his recklessness. horts his friends to take his treasure and fly to Cæsar. His self-abasement is most profound :

“I have offended reputation."

But he has not yet learnt wisdom. Cleopatra is present, and then,

“ Fall not a tear, I say; one of vilem rates
All that is won or lost. Give me a kiss ;
Even this repays me."

He then becomes a braggart ; he will challenge Cæsar, , "sword against sword.” Profound is the comment of Enobarbus:

" I see, men's judgments are
A parcel of their fortunes ; and things outward
Do draw the inward quality after them,
To suffer all alike."

Cæsar's ambassador comes to Cleopatra. He tempts her;and it almost looks as if she yielded to the temptation. He kisses her hand, at the instant Antony enters :

“ Moon and stars !

Whip him.”

This is partly jealousy; partly the last assertion of small power by one accustomed to unlimited command. Truly Enobarbus says, –

“ 'Tis better playing with a lion's whelp,
Than with an old one dying.”

Shakspeare makes this man the interpreter of his own wisdom:

“I see still
A diminution in our captain's brain
Restores his heart. When valor preys on reason,
It eats the sword it fights with. I will seek
Some way to leave him.”

Enobarbus does leave him. But he first witnesses

.

« One of those odd tricks which sorrow shoots Out of the mind."

Antony puts forth the poetry of his nature in his touching words to his followers, ending in

" Let's to supper, come, And drown consideration."

When he hears of the treachery of Enobarbus, he again tasks the generosity of his spirit to the utmost :

“Go, Eros, send his treasure after; do it :

Detain no jot, I charge thee.”

He has driven Cæsar "to his camp.” All Cleopatra's trespass is forgotten in one burst of enthusiasm :

“ My nightingale,
We have beat them to their beds. What, girl? though gray
Do something mingle with our younger brown;
Yet ha' we a brain that nourishes our nerves,
And can get goal for goal of youth.”

Another day comes, and it brings another note :

6 All is lost; This foul Egyptian hath betrayed me.”

Cleopatra says truly, —

" He is more mad Than Telamon for his shield.”

The scene which terminates with Antony falling on his sword is in the highest style of Shakspeare --- and that is to give the highest praise. Hazlitt has eloquently said of its magnificent opening, “This is, without doubt, one of the finest pieces of poetry in Shakspeare. The splendor of the imagery, the semblance of reality, the lofty range of picturesque objects hanging over the world, their evanescent nature, the total uncertainty of what is left behind, are just like the mouldering schemes of human greatness." But, be it observed, the poetry is all in keeping with the character of the man. Let us once more repeat it:

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Ant. Eros, thou yet behold'st me.
Eros.

Ay, noble lord.
Ant. Sometime we see a cloud that's dragonish:
A vapor, sometime, like a bear, or lion,
A towered citadel, a pendent rock,
A forked mountain, or blue promontory
With trees upon't, that nod unto the world,
And mock our eyes with air: thou hast seen these signs;
They are black vesper's pageants.
Eros.

Ay, my lord.
Ant. That which is now a horse, even with a thought
The rack dislimns; and makes it indistinct,
As water is in water.

442

SUPPLEMENTARY NOTICE TO THE ROMAN PLAYS.

Eros.

It does, my lord.
Ant. My good knave, Eros, now thy captain is
Even such a body; here I am Antony,
Yet cannot hold this visible shape, my knave.”

The images describe the Antony, melting into nothingness; but the splendor of the imagery is the reflection of Antony's mind, which, thus enshrined in poetry, can never become “indistinct," -- will always “hold this visible shape." Dryden has also tried to produce a poetical Antony, precisely under the same circumstances. We transcribe a passage :

. Ant.

My eyes
Are open to her falsehood : my whole life
Has been a golden dream, of Love and Friendship.
But, now I wake, I'm like a merchant, roused
From soft repose, to see his vessel sinking,
And all his wealth cast o’er. Ingrateful woman!
Who followed me, but as the swallow summer,
Hatching her young ones in my kindly beams,
Singing her flatteries to my morning wake;
But, now my winter comes, she spreads her wings,
And seeks the spring of Cæsar."

All for Love, Act V.

We hasten to the end. The magnificence of Antony's character breathes out of his parting spirit :

The miserable change now at my end,
Lament nor sorrow at: but please your thoughts,
In feeding them with those my former fortunes
Wherein I lived, the greatest prince o' the world,
The noblest : and do now not basely die,
Nor cowardly put off my helmet to
My countryman, A ROMAN BY A ROMAN
VALIANTLY VANQUISHED."

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