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Iras. Not in my husband's nose.
Char. Our worser thoughts Heavens mend!-Alexas, -come, his fortune, his fortune.-O, let him marry a woman that cannot go, sweet Isis, I beseech thee! And let her die, too, and give him a worse! and let worse follow worse, till the worst of all follow him laughing to his grave, fifty-fold a cuckold! Good Isis, hear me this prayer, though thou deny me a matter of more weight; good Isis, I beseech thee!
Iras. Amen. Dear goddess, hear that prayer of the people! for, as it is a heart-breaking to see a handsome man loose-wived, so it is a deadly sorrow to behold a foul knave uncuckolded. Therefore, dear Isis, keep decorum, and fortune him accordingly! Char. Amen.
Alex. Lo, now! if it lay in their hands to make me a cuckold, they would make themselves whores, but they'd do't.
Eno. Hush! here comes Antony.
Cleo. Saw you my lord?
Not he, the queen.
Was he not here?
Char. No, madam.
Cleo. He was disposed to mirth; but on the sudden A Roman thought hath struck him.-Enobarbus,—
Cleo. Seek him, and bring him hither. Where's
Alex. Here, madam, at your service. My lord ap-
Enter ANTONY, with a Messenger and Attendants. Cleo. We will not look upon him. Go with us.
[Exeunt CLEOPATRA, ENOBARBUS, ALEXAS, IRAS, CHARMIAN, Soothsayer, and Attend
Mess. Fulvia, thy wife, first came into the field.
Ant. Against my brother Lucius?
But soon that war had end, and the time's state
Mess. The nature of bad news infects the teller. Ant. When it concerns the fool or coward.-On; Things that are past, are done, with me.-'Tis thus ; Who tells me true, though in his tale lie death, I hear him as he flattered.
(This is stiff1 news) hath, with his Parthian force,
His conquering banner shook, from Syria
Ant. Antony, thou wouldst say,-
O my lord! Ant. Speak to me home; mince not the general tongue;
Name Cleopatra as she's called in Rome:
Rail thou in Fulvia's phrase; and taunt my faults
Mess. At your noble pleasure.
Ant. From Sicyon how the news? Speak there. 1 Att. The man from Sicyon.-Is there such a one? 2 Att. He stays upon your will.
These strong Egyptian fetters I must break,
1 "Stiff news 92 is hard news.
Let him appear,―
"Extended Asia from Euphrates."
To extend is a law term for to seize.
3 The old copy reads, "quick winds;" an error which has occurred elsewhere. Warburton made the correction.
Enter another Messenger.
Or lose myself in dotage.-What are you?
Where died she?
2 Mess. In Sicyon:
Her length of sickness, with what else more serious
Eno. What's your pleasure, sir?
Ant. I must with haste from hence.
Eno. Why, then, we kill all our women. how mortal an unkindness is to them: if they suffer our departure, death's the word.
Ant. I must be gone.
Eno. Under a compelling occasion, let women die. It were pity to cast them away for nothing; though, between them and a great cause, they should be esteemed nothing. Cleopatra, catching but the least noise of this, dies instantly; I have seen her die twenty times upon far poorer moment. poorer moment. I do think there is mettle in death, which commits some loving act upon her, she hath such a celerity in dying.
1 Could is here used with an optative meaning.-Could, would, and should, are often used by our old writers, in what appears to us an indiscriminate manner, and yet appear to have been so employed rather by choice than chance.
2 i. e. for less reason, upon a weaker motive.
Ant. She is cunning past man's thought.
Eno. Alack, sir, no; her passions are made of nothing but the finest part of pure love. We cannot call her winds and waters, sighs and tears; they are greater storms and tempests than almanacs can report: this cannot be cunning in her; if it be, she makes a shower of rain as well as Jove.
Ant. 'Would I had never seen her!
Eno. O sir, you had then left unseen a wonderful piece of work; which not to have been blessed withal, would have discredited your travel.
Ant. Fulvia is dead.
Ant. Fulvia is dead.
Eno. Why, sir, give the gods a thankful sacrifice. When it pleaseth their deities to take the wife of a man from him, it shows to man the tailors of the earth; comforting therein, that when old robes are worn out, there are members to make new. If there were no more women but Fulvia, then had you indeed a cut, and the case to be lamented: this grief is crowned with consolation; your old smock brings forth a new petticoat-and, indeed, the tears live in an onion, that should water this sorrow.
Ant. The business she hath broached in the state, Cannot endure my absence.
Eno. And the business you have broached here cannot be without you; especially that of Cleopatra's, which wholly depends on your abode.
Ant. No more light answers. Let our officers
2 We should, says Mason, read leave instead of love.
Of many our contriving friends in Rome
Eno. I shall do't.
Enter CLEOPATRA, CHARMIAN, IRAS, and Alexas.
Cleo. Where is he?
I did not see him since.
Cleo. See where he is, who's with him, what he does.
I did not send you.2-If you find him sad,
[Exit ALEX. Char. Madam, methinks, if you did love him dearly, You do not hold the method to enforce
The like from him.
What should I do, I do not? Char. In each thing give him way; cross him in
1 This alludes to the ancient vulgar error, that a horse-hair dropped into corrupted water would become animated. Dr. Lister, in the Philosophical Transactions, showed that these animated horse-hairs were real insects, and displayed the fallacy of the popular opinion.
2 "You must go as if you came without my order or knowledge."