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Alexas, almost most absolute Alexas, where's the soothsayer that you praised so to the queen? O! that I knew this husband, which, you say, must charge his horns with garlandss!
Alex. Soothsayer !
Show him your hand. .
Eno. Bring in the banquet quickly; wine enough, Cleopatra's health to drink.
Char. Good sir, give me good fortune.
Char. Good now, some excellent fortune. Let me be married to three kings in a forenoon, and widow them all: let me have a child at fifty, to whom Herod of Jewry may do homage: find me to marry me with Octavius Cæsar, and companion me with my mistress.
must CHARGE his horns with garlands !) The folio, 1623, reads, “change his horns,” &c., and the other editions in the same form repeat Southern considered a misprint, having altered change to “charge” in his copy of the folio, 1685. We agree with Southern, and in more than one place in the first folio, we have had “charge” misprinted change, and change “charge.” Warburton also introduced “ charge," and Malone followed his example.
Sooth. You shall outlive the lady whom you serve. Char. O excellent! I love long life better than figs. Sooth. You have seen, and proved a fairer former
fortune, Than that which is to approach.
Char. Then, belike, my children shall have no names. Pr'ythee, how many boys and wenches must I have?
Sooth. If every of your wishes had a womb,
Char. Out, fool! I forgive thee for a witch.
Char. Nay, come; tell Iras hers.
Eno. Mine, and most of our fortunes, to-night, shall be, drunk to bed.
Iras. There's a palm presages chastity, if nothing else.
Char. Even as the o'erflowing Nilus presageth famine.
Iras. Go, you wild bedfellow, you cannot soothsay.
Char. Nay, if an oily palm be not a fruitful prognostication, I cannot scratch mine ear. - Pr’ythee, tell her but a worky-day fortune.
Sooth. Your fortunes are alike.
Char. Well, if you were but an inch of fortune better than I, where would you choose it?
Iras. Not in my husband's nose.
Char. Our worser thoughts heavens mend! Alexas, --come, his fortune', his fortune.-0! 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
6 And FERTILE every wish,] The old copies read “ foretell every wish :” the happy, but easy, correction was made by Warburton.
i - Alexas,-come, his fortune,] The printer of the folio, 1623, mistaking
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!
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.
Not he, the queen.
Cleo. Saw you my lords?
Cleo. He was dispos'd to mirth; but on the sudden, A Roman thought hath struck him.-—Enobarbus,
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 Attendants. " Alexas " for a prefix, printed what followed as if spoken by him. The blunder was preserved in the later folios.
& Saw you my lord ?] “ Save you my lord” in the folio, 1623; but corrected by the editor of the second folio.
Mess. Fulvia, thy wife, first came into the field.
Well, what worst? Mess. The nature of bad news infects the teller.
Ant. When it concerns the fool, or coward.—On:
Ant. Antony, thou would'st say,—
to utter. O! then we bring forth weeds, When our quick winds lie still®; and our ills told us,
| EXTENDED Asia from Euphrates ;] To extend was anciently to seize ; and it is still used in this sense in law proceedings.
? When our quick winds lie still ;) So printed in all the old copies, and Warburton altered “ winds” to minds with more plausibility than necessity. Perhaps “winds” ought to be spelt wints, which in Kent and Sussex is an agricultural term, (in other parts of the country called a bout) meaning, “two furrows ploughed by the horses going to one end of the field and back again.” See Cooper's “ Glossary of Provincialisms in use in the County of Sussex,” 8vo. 1836; also Holloway’s “General Provincial Dictionary," 8vo. 1838. quick winds," therefore, is to be understood as our productive soil. “ Earing” in the next line is ploughing; a sense in which we have had it used in “ Richard II.” Vol. iv. p. 169, and in which it occurs again later in this drama. See p. 21.
Is as our earing. Fare thee well awhile.
[Exit. Ant. From Sicyon how the news? Speak there. 1 Att. The man from Sicyon.—Is there such an one? 2 Att. He stays upon your will. Ant.
Let him appear.These strong Egyptian fetters I must break,
Enter another Messenger.
2 Mess. Fulvia thy wife is dead.
Where died she? 2 Mess. In Sicyon: Her length of sickness, with what else more serious Importeth thee to know, this bears. [Giving a Letter. Ant.
[Exit Messenger. There's a great spirit gone. Thus did I desire it: What our contempts do often hurl from us, We wish it ours again; the present pleasure, By revolution lowering, does become The opposite of itself: she's good, being gone; The hand could pluck her back, that shov'd her on. I must from this enchanting queen' break off; Ten thousand harms, more than the ills I know, My idleness doth hatch.—How now! Enobarbus !
Eno. Why, then, we kill all our women. how mortal an unkindness is to them: if they suffer our departure, death's the word.
3 I must from this ENCHANTING queen-] It is a great error in the second folio to omit “ enchanting ;” and it was not corrected in the folios 1664 or 1685, which were printed from each other. The line was therefore left imperfect until the time of Rowe.