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« Ant. Octavius, lead your battle softly on,
“ Upon the left hand of the even field. « Oct. Upon the right hand I, keep sboa the
u left. ** Ant. Why do you cross me in this exigent? « Oct. I do not cross you, but I will do so." 'Twas a common opinion likewife among the ancients, that, when any great evil befel them, they were forsaken by their guardian Gods. How beautiful is this represented in Homer and Virgil ? The heavenly power, that usually protected the hero, deserts him just before his ruin. Plutarch tells us in his life of Antony, that, before he killed himself, a great noise of all manner of instruments was heard in the air, such as Was usually made at the feasts of Bacchus ; it seemed to enter at one gate of the city, and, traversing it quite through, to go out at the gate which the enemy lay before : this signified, as 'twas interpreted, that Bacchus, his guardian God, had forsaken him. This circumstance our poet has introduced in Antony and Cleo
patra, Act IV.
6 2. Sold. Peace, what noise ?
1. Sold. List, lift! 6 2. Sold. Hark!
1. Sold. 1. Sold. Musick i'th' air
3. Sold. Under the earth“ It signes well, do's it not ?
2. Sold. No. “ 1. Sold. Peace, I say: what should this mean?
2. Sold. 'Tis the God Hercules, who loved “
Antony. “ Now leaves him." Here is, Hercules, instead of Bacchus. There was a tradition that the Antonies were descended from 8 Hercules, by a son of his called Anteon; and of this descent Antony was not a little vain. This might be the reason why Shakespeare varied from Plutarch. But ' Bacchus was his tutelary God; and he made choice of him, perhaps,
8 Antony was so fond of this imaginary descent that he had a lion struck on his coin, in allusion to the Nemean lion of Hercules. Hence Cicero in his Epift. to Atticus X, 13. may be perhaps explain d.–Tu Antonii lcones pertimefcas, cave. Though the commentators give the paffage a different turn. In Antony and Cleop, Act I, Cleopatra calls him, “This Herculean Roman." And Antony, in A& V. says,
" The shirt of Nessus is upon me; teach me
9 He was called the Junior Bacchus, Adórvoos réos. Plut. P: 944. A. and so Velleius Paterculus, L. II. c. 82. and Seneca suasor, I. 1.
following following the example of his master Julius Caefar; who, had he not been killed, designed, as Suetonius informs us, Parthis inferre bellum per Armeniam minorem, &c. c. 44. and to imitate Bacchus, who had formerly conquered these parts, taking him for his tutelary God. Which passage of Suetonius and the above comment will shew in no bad light, what Virgil in Ecl. V. says of Daphnis, by whom he plainly means Julius Caesar.
Daphnis & Armenias curru fubjungere tigres
Not only heroes, but cities and states had their ** tutelar deities, who removed likewise before their destruction. Virg. II. 351.
Exceffere omnes adytis arisque reliftis
What a fine turn has Milton given this in his facred
poem ? B. XII, 106.
το Πολιόχοι, φύλακες. Hor. L. Ι. Οd. 36.
Cuftodes Numidae Deos.
!! 'Till God at laft, W caried witb their iniquities, withdraw His presence from among them, and awert His boly eyes, But I am commencing commentator, when my province is only criticism: to return therefore If the omission of a single letter occasions such confusion in modern languages, what will it not do in the Greek and Latin ? I will just mention an instance of this fort. In Ovid. Amor. III. XII. 21.
“ Per nos Scylla, patri canos furata capillos,
“ Pube premit rabidos inguinibusque canes." But some copies read caros, from which word a Letter is omitted, and it should be written claros.
“-Patri claros furata capillos.
For thus the hair of Nisus is described in Ovid Met. VIII, 8.
CUI SPLENDIDUS ostro o Inter honoratos medio de vertice canos “ Crinis inhaerebat, magni fiducia regni."
Virg. Georg. I. 405. 11 Perhaps too Milton had in his mind what Josephus relates, that a voice was heard before the destruction of Jerusalem, supposed of the guardian Angels forsaking the Jewish temple : Let us depart bence. Hilabatrwyev ilsūdev. fofeph. de bell. Jud. L. 7.
Et pro PURPUREO poenas dat Scylla capillo.
Tibullus, I, 4.
Ovid. art. amat. l. 1.
Filia PURPUREOS Nifi .furata capillos.
Here purpureos capillos is exactly the same as the above claros capillos : i. e. fplendid, shining bright, &c. And Spencer uses it in this sense. B. V. c. 10. st. 16.
“ The Morrow next appear'd with PURPLE
It follows therefore according to all critical rules, that instead of canos or caros, we should read,
-Patri Claros furata capillos.
Again : Plutarch in the life of Caesar, p.717. E. tells us that the Belgae, a people of old Gaul, were conquered by the Romans, and that they fought likecowards, ΑΙΣΧΡΩΣ αγωνισαμένες. But Caesar himself, from whom Plutarch has the story, says quite otherwise, L. II. C. X. ACRITer in eo loco pugnatum eft. Hoftes impeditos nofri in flumine aggresi, magnum eorum numerum occiderunt : per eorum corpora reliquos AUDACIS