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A Room in Cæsar's House.


Cæs. Contemning Rome, he has done all this:
And more;

In Alexandria,-here's the manner of it,-
I' the market-place, on a tribunal silver'd1,
Cleopatra and himself in chairs of gold
Were publickly enthron'd: at the feet, sat
Cæsarion, whom they call my father's son;
And all the unlawful issue, that their lust
Since then hath made between them.

Unto her
He gave the 'stablishment of Egypt; made her
Of lower Syria, Cyprus, Lydia,

Absolute queen.


This in the publick eye?

Cæs. I' the common show-place, where they exercise.

His sons he there proclaim'd, The kings of kings: Great Media, Parthia, and Armenia,

He gave to Alexander; to Ptolemy he assign'd Syria, Cilicia, and Phoenicia: She

In the habiliments of the goddess Isis

That day appear'd; and oft before gave audience As 'tis reported, so.

Mec. Inform'd.

Let Rome be thus

Agr. Who, queasy with his insolence Already, will their good thoughts call from him. Cæs. The people know it: and have now receiv'd His accusations.


Whom does he accuse?

This is closely copied from the old translation of Plutarch.

Cæs. Cæsar: and that, having in Sicily

Sextus Pompeius spoil'd, we had not rated him
His part o' the isle: then does he say, he lent me
Some shipping unrestor'd: lastly, he frets,
That Lepidus of the triumvirate

Should be depos'd; and, being, that we detain
All his revenue.


Sir, this should be answer'd.

Caes. 'Tis done already, and the messenger gone. I have told him, Lepidus was grown too cruel; That he his high authority abus'd,

And did deserve his change; for what I have con


I grant him part; but then, in his Armenia,
And other of his conquer'd kingdoms, I
Demand the like.


He'll never yield to that.
Cæs. Nor must not then be yielded to in this.


Oct. Hail, Cæsar, and my lord! hail, most dear

Cæs. That ever I should call thee, cast-away!
Oct. You have not call'd me so, nor have you


Cæs. Why have you stol'n upon us thus? You

come not

Like Cæsar's sister: The wife of Antony
Should have an army for an usher, and

The neighs of horse to tell of her approach,
Long ere she did appear; the trees by the way,
Should have borne men; and expectation fainted,
Longing for what it had not: nay, the dust
Should have ascended to the roof of heaven,
Rais'd by your populous troops: But you are come
A market-maid to Rome; and have prevented

The ostentation of our love, which, left unshown
Is often left unlov'd: we should have met you
By sea, and land; supplying every stage

With an augmented greeting.

Good my lord,

To come thus was I not constrain'd, but did it
On my free-will. My lord, Mark Antony
Hearing that you prepar'd for war, acquainted
My griev'd ear withal; whereon, I begg'd
His pardon for return.


Which soon he granted,

Being an obstruct? 'tween his lust and him.
Oct. Do not say so, my lord.


I have eyes upon him,

And his affairs come to me on the wind.

Where is he now?


My lord, in Athens.

Cæs. No, my most wronged sister; Cleopatra Hath nodded him to her. He hath given his empire Up to a whore; who now are levying3

The kings o'the earth for war: He hath assembled Bocchus, the king of Libya; Archelaus,

Of Cappadocia; Philadelphos, king

Of Paphlagonia; the Thracian king, Adallas:
King Malchus of Arabia; king of Pont;
Herod of Jewry; Mithridates, king
Of Comagene; Polemon and Amintas,
The kings of Mede, and Lycaonia, with a
More larger list of sceptres.

2 The old copy reads, abstract. The alteration was made by Warburton.

3 That is, which two persons are now levying, &c. Upton bserves, that there are some errors in the enumeration of the auxiliary kings: but it is probable that the poet did not care to be scrupulously accurate. He proposed to read:

Polemon and Amintus,

Of Lycaonia, and the king of Mede.'

which obviates all impropriety.


Ah me, most wretched,

That have my heart parted betwixt two friends,
That do afflict each other!

Welcome hither:
Your letters did withhold our breaking forth;
Till we perceiv'd, both how you were wrong led,
And we in negligent danger. Cheer your heart:
Be you not troubled with the time, which drives
O'er your content these strong necessities;
But let determin'd things to destiny

Hold unbewail'd their way. Welcome to Rome: Nothing more dear to me. You are abus'd Beyond the mark of thought: and the high gods, To do you justice, make them ministers

Of us, and those that love you. Best of comfort; And ever welcome to us.


Welcome, lady.

Mec. Welcome, dear madam.

Each heart in Rome does love and pity you:
Only the adulterous Antony, most large
In his abominations, turns you off;
And gives his potent regiment to a trull5,
That noises it against us.

This eliptical phrase is merely an expression of endearment addressed to Octavia—' Thou best of comfort to thy loving brother.'


'And gives his potent regiment to a trull.'

Regiment is government, authority; he puts his power and his empire into the hands of a harlot. Regiment is used for regimen or government by most of our ancient writers. Thus Spenser, Faerie Queene, b. ii. c. 10:

So when he had resigned his regiment.'

And in Lyly's Woman in the Moon, 1597 :

Or Hecate in Pluto's regiment.'

6 Milton has used this uncommon verb in Paradise Regained, b. iv.:

though noising loud,

And threatening nigh,'


Is it so, sir?

Cas. Most certain. Sister, welcome. Pray you, Be ever known to patience: My dearest sister! [Exeunt.


Antony's Camp, near the Promontory of Actium.


Cleo. I will be even with thee, doubt it not.
Eno. But why, why, why?

Cleo. Thou hast forespoke1 my being in these wars; And say'st, it is not fit.


Well, is it, is it?

Cleo. Is't not denounc'd against us? Why should

not we

Be there in person?

Eno. [Aside.] Well, I could reply;—

If we should serve with horse and mares together, The horse were merely3 lost; the mares would bear A soldier, and his horse.

1 To forespeak here is to speak against, to gainsay, to contradict; as to forbid is to order negatively. The word had, however, the meaning, anciently, of to charm or bewitch, like forbid in Macbeth. See vol. iv. p. 217, note 6. Thus in the Arraignment of Paris, 1584:-Thy life forspoke by love.' And in Drayton's Epistle from Elinor Cobham to Duke Humphrey :

'Or to forspeak whole flocks as they did feed.' Steevens erroneously explains these instances: the first he makes to mean contradicted; the last, to curse. Substitute bewitched and to bewitch, and we have the true meaning. Thus Baret:To forespeake, or bewitch; fascinare.'

2 The old copy reads, If not denounc'd,' &c. Steevens reads, 'Is't not? Denounce against us, why,' &c. The emendation I have adopted is more simple, and gives an equally clear meaning. Cleopatra means to say, 'Is not the war denounced against us? Why should not we then attend in person?' Malone explains the reading of the old copy thus:-'If there be no particular denunciation against us, why should we not be there in person?'

i.e. entirely, absolutely.

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