« AnteriorContinuar »
That yarely frame the office.3 From the barge
Agr. Rare Egyptian !
every principle of grammar. Besides, when our poet had once absolutely declared these women were like Nereides or Mermaids, would it have been necessary for him to subjoin that they appeared in the form or with the ac. coutrements of such beings? for how else could they have been distinguished?
Yet, whatever grace the tails of tegitimate mermaids might boast of in their native element, they must have produced but aukward effects when ta. ken out of it, and exhibited on the deck of a galley. Nor can I conceive that our fair representatives of these nymphs of the sea were much more adroit and picturesque in thrir motions ; for when their legs were cramped within the fictitious tails the commentator has made for them, I do not discover how they coul ve undulated their hinder parts in a lucky imitation of semi-fishes. Like poor Elkanah Settle, in his dragon of green leather, they could only wag the remigium caudæ without ease, variety, or even a chance of labouring into a graceful curve. I will undertake, in short, the expense of providing characteristic tails for any set of mimic Nereides, if my opponent will engage ro teach them the exercise of these arseititious terminations, so “ as to render them a grace instead of a deformity." In such an attempt a party of British chambermaids would prove as docile as an equal number of Egyptian maids of honour.
It may be added also, that the Sirens and descendants of Nereus, are un. derstood to have been complete and beautiful women, whose breed was uncrossed by the salmon or dolphin tribes; and as such they are uniformly described by Greek and Roman poets. Antony, in a future scene: (though perhaps with reference to this adventure on the Cydnus,) has styled Cleopatra his Thetis, a goddess whose train of Nereids is circumstantially depict. ed by Homer, though without a hint that the vertebræ of their backs were lengthened into tails. Extravagance of shape is only met with in the lowest orders of oceanick and terrestrial deities. Tritons are furnished and tails, and Satyrs have horns and hoofs. But a Nereid's tail is an unclassical image adopted from modern sign-posts, and happily exposed to rid. icule by Hogarth, in his print of Strolling Actresses dressing in a Barn. What Horace too has reprobated as a disgusting combination, can never hope to be received as a pattern of the graceful :
" ut turpiter atrum
Desinat in piscem mulier formosa superne.” I allow that the figure at the helm of the vessel was likewise a Mermaid or Nereid ; but all mention of a tail is wanting there, as in every other passage throughout the dramas of our author, in which a Mermaid is intro. duced.
The plain sense of the contested passage seems to be-that these Ladies rendered that homage which their assumed characters obliged them to pay to their Queen, a circumstance ornamental to themselves. Each inclined her person so gracefully, that the very act of humiliation was an improvement of her own beauty. STEEV.
 Yarely, that is, readily and dexterously perform the task they undertake. STEEV.
 Alluding to an axiora in the Peripatetic philosophy then in vogue that Nature abhors a vacuum. WARB.
Eno. Upon her landing, Antony sent to her,
Agr. Royal wench !
Eno. I saw her once
Mec. Now Antony must leave her utterly.
Eno. Never ; he will not ;
 Such is the praise bestowed by Shakspeare on his heroine ; a praise that well deserves the consideration of our female readers. Cleopatra, as ap. pears from the tetradrachms of Antony, was no Venus ; and indeed the ma. jority of ladies who most successfully enslaved the hearts of princes, are known to have been less remarkable for personal than mental 'attractions. The reign of insipid beauty is seldom lasting ; but permanent must be the rule of a woman who can diversify the sameness of life by an inexhausted variety of accomplishments. STEEV.
 In this, and the foregoing description of Cleopatra's passage down the Cydnus, Dryden seems to have emulated Shakspeare, and not without success :
"she's dangerous :
And while I curse desire it.”
[6) Rigg is an antient word meaning a strumpet. STEEY.
Mec. If beauty, wisdom, modesty, can settle
Agr. Let us go
The same. A Room in Cæsar's House. Enter CÆSAR, ANTO
NY, OCTAVIA between them ; Attendants and a Soothsayer.
Ant. The world, and my great office, will sometimes Divide me from your bosom.
Oct. All which time
Ant. Good night, sir.-My Octavia,
Oct. Good night, sir.
[Exeunt Cæs. and OCTA. Ant. Now, sirrah! you do wish yourself in Egypt?
Sooth. 'Would I had never come from thence, nor you Thither !
Ant. If you can, your reason ?
Sooth. I see't in
Ant. Say to me,
(1) Motion, that is, the divinitory agitation. WARB
 A Fear was a personage in some of the old moralities. In the sacred writings, Fear is also a person : "I will put a Fear in the land of Egypt." Exodus. STEEV.
Ant. Speak this no more.
Sooth. To none but thee ; no more, but when to thee. If thou dost play with him at any game, Thou art sure to lose"; and, of that natural luck, He beats thee 'gainst the odds; thy lustre thickens, When he shines by : I say again, thy spirit Is all afraid to govern thee near him ; But, he away, 'tis noble.
Ant. Get thee gone : Say to Ventidius, I would speak with him:-[Exit Sooth. He shall to Parthia.- Be it art, or hap, He hath spoken true : The very dice obey him ; And, in our sports, my better cunning faints Under his chance : if we draw lots, he speeds : His cocks do win the battle still of mine, When it is all to nought ; and his quails
3 ever Beat mine, inhoop'd, at odds. 4 I will to Egypt : And though I make this marriage for my peace,
SCENE IV. The same. A Street. Enter LEPIDUS, MECænas, and
Agr. Sir, Mark Antony
Lep. Till I shall see you in your soldier's dress,
Mec. We shall,
Lep. Your way is shorter,
(3] The ancients used to match quails as we match cocks. (1) Inhonp'd-is inclosed that they may fight. JOHNS, 257 i. e. Mount Misenum. STEEV.
CHARMIAN, IRAS, and Alexas.
Char. My arm is sore, best play with Mardian.
Cleo. As well a woman with an euruch play'd,
Char. 'Twas merry, when
Cleo. That time !-0 times !
Enter a Messenger.
Mes. Madam, madam,
 The mood is the mind, or mental disposition. Van Haaren’s panegyric on the English begins, Groot moedig Volk, (great-minded nation.) Per. haps here is a poor jest intended between mood ihe mind, and moods of music.
JOHNS.  Ram is a vulgar word, never used in our author's plays, but once By Falstaff, where he describes his situation in the buck-basket. In the passage before us, it is evidently a misprint for rain. RITSON.
28 VOL. VI.