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Re-enter IRAS, with a Robe, Crown, &c. Cleo. Give me my robe, put on my crown; I have Immortal longings in me 34 : Now no more The juice of Egypt's grape shall moist this lip :Yare, yare 35, good Iras; quick.-Methinks, I hear Antony call; I see him rouse himself To praise my noble act; I hear him mock The luck of Cæsar, which the gods give men To excuse their after wrath : Husband, I come: Now to that name my courage prove my title! I am fire, and air; my other elements I give to baser life 36.—50,-have you done? Come then, and take the last warmth of my lips. Farewell, kind Charmian ;-Iras, long farewell.
[Kisses them. IRAs falls and dies. Have I the aspick in my lips ? Dost fall 37 ? If thou and nature can so gently part, The stroke of death is as a lover's pinch, Which hurts, and is desir’d. Dost thou lie still? If thus thou vanishest, thou tell'st the world It is not worth leave-taking. Char. Dissolve, thick cloud, and rain; that I may
say, The gods themselves do weep! Cleo.
This proves me base: If she first meet the curled Antony, 34 From hence probably Addison in Cato :
• This longing after immortality.' 35 i. e. be nimble, be ready. See Act iii. Sc. 5, note 6.
36 Thus in King Henry V.:—He is pure air and fire; and the dull elements of earth and water never appear in him.' Homer speaks as contemptuously of the grosser elements we spring from, Iliad vii. v. 99:
'Αλλ υμείς μεν πάντες ύδωρ και γαία γενoισθε. 37 Iras must be supposed to have applied an asp to her arm while her mistress was settling her dress, to account for her falling so soon.
He'll make demand of her; and spend that kiss, Which is my heaven to have. Come, thou mortal
[To the Asp, which she applies to her Breast. With thy sharp teeth this knot intrinsicate Of life at once untie ; poor venomous fool, Be angry, and despatch. O, could'st thou speak! That I might hear thee call great Cæsar, ass Unpolicied 38 ! Char.
O eastern star!
0, break! O, break! Cleo. As sweet as balm, as soft as air, as gentle,O Antony !-Nay, I will take thee too;
[Applying another Asp to her Arm. What should I stay~ [Falls on a Bed, and dies.
Char. In this wild world ?-So, fare thee well.
Enter the Guard, rushing in.
Speak softly, wake her not.
38 i. e. an ass without more wit or policy than to leave the means of death within my reach, and thereby defeat his own purpose.
39 Charmian may be supposed to close Cleopatra's eyes, the first inelancholy office performed after death.
40 Charmian remembers the words uttered to her by her beloved mistress just before :
when thou hast done this chare, I'll give thee leave, To play till doomsday.'
1 Guard. Cæsar hath sentChar.
Too slow a messenger.
[Applies the Asp. 0, come; apace, despatch; I partly feel thee. 1 Guard. Approach, ho! All's not well: Cæsar's
beguild. 2 Guard. There's Dolabella sent from Cæsar:
call him. 1. Guard. What work is here ?-Charmian, is this
well done? Char. It is well done, and fitting for a princess Descended of so many royal kings. Ah, soldier!
Dol. How goes it here? 2 Guard.
All dead. Dol.
Cæsar, thy thoughts Touch their effects in this : Thyself art coming To see perform’d the dreaded act, which thou So sought'st to hinder. Within.
A way there, a way for Cæsar!
Enter CÆSAR, and Attendants. Dol. O, sir, you are too sure an augurer; That you did fear, is done.
Bravest at the last: She levelld at our purposes, and, being royal, Took her own way.--The manner of their deaths ? I do not see them bleed. Dol.
Who was last with them? 1 Guard. A simple countryman, that brought her
figs; This was his basket.
Poison'd then. 1 Guard.
O Cæsar, This Charmian lived but now; she stood, and spake: I found her trimming up the diadem On her dead mistress; tremblingly she stood, And on the sudden dropp'd. Cæs.
O noble weakness !- !If they had swallow'd poison, 'twould appear By external swelling: but she looks like sleep, As she would catch another Antony In her strong toil of grace. Dol.
Here, on her breast, There is a vent of blood, and something blown 41 The like is on her arm. 1 Guard. This is an aspick's trail: and these fig
41 i. e. swelled, puffed. See p. 487, note 2. 42 To pursue conclusions is to try experiments. So in Hamlet:
like the famous ape
To try conclusions.'
• At tibi Leve miser fixus præcordia pressit
Strike those that make them: and their story is
This play keeps curiosity always busy, and the passions always interested. The continual hurry of the action, the variety of incidents, and the quick succession of one personage to another, call the mind forward without intermission from the first act to the last. But the power of delighting is derived principally from the frequent changes of the scene; for, except the feminine arts, some of which are too low, which distinguish Cleopatra, no character is very strongly discriminated. Upton, who did not easily miss what he desired to find, has discovered that the language of Antony is, with great skill and learning, made pompous and superb, according to his real practice. But I think his diction not distinguishable from that of others: The most tamid speech in the play is that which Cæsar makes to Octavia.
The events, of which the principal are described according to history, are produced without any art of connection or care of disposition.
END OF VOL. VIII.
C. and C. Whittingham, College House, Chiswick,