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Rank of gross diet, shall we be enclouded,
And forc'd to drink their vapour.

The gods forbid!
Cleo. Nay, 'tis most certain, Iras: Saucy lictors
Will catch at us, like strumpets; and scald rhymers*
Ballad us out o'tune: the quick comedians'
Extemporally will stage us, and present
Our Alexandrian revels; Antony
Shall be brought drunken forth, and I shall see
Some squeaking Cleopatra boy my greatness
I'the posture of a whore.

O the good gods! Cleo. Nay, that is certain.

Iras. I'll never see it; for, I am sure, my nails Are stronger than mine eyes. Cleo.

Why, that's the way To fool their preparation, and to conquer Their most absurd intents.--Now, Charmian?



Show me, my women, like a queen ;-Go fetch
My best attires ;-I am again for Cydnus,
To meet Mark Antony :-Sirrah, Iras, go.
Now, noble Charmian, we'll despatch indeed:
And, when thou hast done this chare, I'll give thee

leave To play till dooms-day.--Bring our crown and all. Wherefore's this noise ?

[Exit IRAS. A Noise within.

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and scald rhymers] Scald was a word of contempt implying poverty, disease, and filth.

the quick comedians-] The lively, inventive, quickwitted comedians.

boy my greatness] The parts of women were acted on the stage by boys.

Enter one of the Guard. Guard.

Here is a rural fellow, That will not be denied your highness' presence; He brings you figs. Cleo. Let him come in. How poor an instrument

[Exit Guard. May do a noble deed! he brings me liberty. My resolution's plac'd, and I have nothing Of woman in me: Now from head to foot I am marble-constant: now the fleeting moon? No planet is of mine. Re-enter Guard, with a Clown bringing a Basket. Guard.

This is the man. Cleo. Avoid, and leave him. [Exit Guard. Hast thou the pretty worm of Nilus there, That kills and pains not?

Clown. Truly I have him: but I would not be the party that should desire you to touch him, for his biting is immortal; those, that do die of it, do seldom or never recover.

Cleo. Remember'st thou any that have died on't?

Clown. Very many, men and women too. I heard of one of them no longer than yesterday : a very honest woman, but something given to lie; as a woman should not do, but in the way of honesty: how she died of the biting of it, what pain she felt,Truly, she makes a very good report o' the worm: But he that will believe all that they say, shall never



now the feeting moon-] Fleeting is inconstant.

the pretty worm of Nilus -] Worm is the Teutonick word for serpent; we have the blind-worm and slow-worm still in our language, and the Norwegians call an enormous monster, seen sometimes in the Northern ocean, the sea-worm.

be saved by half that they do: But this is most fallible, the worm's an odd worm.

Cleo. Get thee hence; farewell.
Clown. I wish you all joy of the worm.
Cleo. Farewell. (Clown sets down the Basket.

Clown. You must think this, look you, that the worm will do his kind.9

Cleo. Ay, ay; farewell.

Clown. Look you, the worm is not to be trusted, but in the keeping of wise people; for, indeed, there is no goodness in the worm.

Cleo. Take thou no care; it shall be heeded.

Clown. Very good: give it nothing, I pray you, for it is not worth the feeding.

Cleo. Will it eat me?

Clown. You must not think I am so simple, but I know the devil himself will not eat a woman: I know, that a woman is a dish for the gods, if the devil dress her not. But, truly, these same whoreson devils do the gods great harm in their women; for in every ten that they make, the devils mar five.

Cleo. Well, get thee gone; farewell.
Clown. Yes, forsooth; I wish you joy of the



Re enter Ikas, with a Robe, Crown, &c. Cleo. Give me my robe, put on my crown; I have Immortal longings in me: Now no more The juice of Egypt's grape shall moist this lip:Yare, yare, 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

9- will do his kind.] The serpent will act according to his nature.

Yare, yare,) i.e. make haste, be nimble, be ready.


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.-So,-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?3 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, He'll make demand of her;" and spend that kiss, Which is my heaven to have. Come, 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!

? Have I the aspick in my lips ?] Are my lips poison'd by the aspick, that my kiss has destroyed thee?

Dost fall?] Iras must be supposed to have applied an asp to her arm while her mistress was settling her dress, or I know not why she should fall so soon. STEEVENS.

4 He'll make demand of her;] He will enquire of her concerning me, and kiss her for giving him intelligence.



Unpolicies !) i. e, an ass without more policy than to leave the means of death within my reach, and thereby deprive his triumph of its poblest decoration.

Char. O eastern star !

Peace, peace!
Dost thou not see my baby at my breast,
That sucks the nurse asleep?

O, break! O, break! Cleo. As sweet as balm, as soft as air, as gen

tle, 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. Now boast thee, death! in thy possession lies A lass unparalleld.-Downy windows, close ; And golden Phæbus never be beheld Of eyes again so royal! Your crown's awry; I'll mend it, and then play.?

Enter the Guard, rushing in.

1 Guard. Where is the queen ? Char.

Speak softly, wake her not. 1 Guard. Cæsar hath sent Char.

Too slow a messenger.

[ Applies the Asp. O, come; apace, despatch: I partly feel thee. i Guard. Approach, ho! All's not well: Cæsar's

beguild. 2 Guard. There's Dolabella sent from Cæsar ;

call him.

Downy windows, close ;] Charmian, in saying this must be conceived to close Cleopatra's eyes; one of the first ceremonies performed toward a dead body. 7

and then play.) i. e. play her part in this tragick scene by destroying herself or she may mean, that having performed her last office for her mistress, she will accept the permission given her before, to “play till doomsday."

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