Page images
PDF
EPUB

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 Have notice what we purpose, I shall break The cause of our expediences to the queen, And get her love to part. For not alone The death of Fulvia, with more urgent touches, Do strongly speak to us; but the letters too Of many our contriving friends in Rome Petition us at home: Sextus Pompeius Hath given the dare to Cæsar, and commands The empire of the sea: our slippery people (Whose love is never link'd to the deserver, Till his deserts are past,) begin to throw Pompey the great, and all his dignities, Upon his son; who, high in name and power, Higher than both in blood and life, stands up For the main soldier: whose quality, going on, The sides o’the world may danger: Much is breeding,

3 The cause of our expedience -] Expedience for expedition.

And get her love to part.] i. e, and prevail on her love to cunsent to our separation.

more urgent touches,] Things that touch me more serisiply, more pressing motivene

7

Which, like the courser's hair, hath yet but life,
And not a serpent's poison. Say, our pleasure,
To such whose place is under us, requires
Our quick remove from hence.
Eno. I shall do't.

[Exeunt.

SCENE III.

Enter CLEOPATRA, CHARMIAN, IRAS, and ALEXAS.

Cleo. Where is he?
Char.

I did not see him since.
Cleo. See where he is, who's with him, what he

does:---
I did not send you;'- If you find him sad,
Say, I am dancing; if in mirth, report
That I am sudden sick: Quick, and return.

Exit Alex. Char. Madam, methinks, if you did love him

dearly,
You do not hold the method to enforce
The like from him.
Cleo,

What should I do, I do not? Char. In each thing give him way, cross him in

nothing Cleo. Thou teachest like a fool: the way to lose

hiin. Char. Tempt him not so too far: I wish, forbear; In tiine we hate that which we often fear.

Enter ANTONY.

But here comes Antony.

8

the courser's hair, &c.] Alludes to an old idle notion that the hair of a horse dropt into corrupted water, will turn to an animal,

9 I did not send you ;] You must go as if you came without my order or knowledge.

.

Cleo.

I am sick, and sullen. Ant. I am sorry to give breathing to my purpose,

Cleo. Help me away, dear Charmian, I shall fall; It cannot be thus long, the sides of nature Will not sustain it. Ant.

Now, my

dearest

queen,-
Cleo. Pray you, stand further from me.
Ant.

What's the matter?
Cleo. I know, by that same eye, there's some good

news. What

says

the married woman?-You may go;
'Would, she had never given you leave to come!
Let her not say, 'tis I that keep you here,
I have no power upon you; hers you are,

Ant. The gods best know,-
Cleo.

0, never was there queen
So mightily betray'd! Yet, at the first,
I saw the treasons planted.
Ant.

Cleopatra,
Cleo. Why should I think, you can be mine, and

true,
Though you in swearing shake the throned gods,
Who have been false to Fulvia? Riotous madness,
To be entangled with those mouth-made vows,
Which break themselves in swearing!
Ant.

Most sweet queen, Cleo. Nay, pray you, seek no colour for your going, But bid farewell, and go:

when
you

sued staying,
Then was the time for words: No going then;
Eternity was in our lips, and eyes;
Bliss in our brows' bent;' none our parts so poor,
But was a race of heaven: They are so still,
Or thou, the greatest soldier of the world,
Art turn'd the greatest liar.

[ocr errors]

2

in our brows' bent;] i. e. in the arch of our eye-brows. - a race of heaven:) i. e. had a smack or flavour of heaven. VOL. VII.

Сс

Ant.

How now, lady!
Cleo. I would, I had thy inches; thou should'st

know,
There were a heart in Egypt.
Ant.

Hear me, queen: The strong necessity of time commands Our services a while; but my full heart Remains in use with you. Our Italy Shines o'er with civil swords: Sextus Pompeius Makes his approaches to the port of Rome: Equality of two domestick powers Breeds scrupulous faction: The hated, grown to

strength, Are newly grown to love: the condemn’d Pompey, Rich in his

father's honour, creeps apace Into the hearts of such as have not thriv'd Upon the present state, whose numbers threaten; And quietness, grown sick of rest, would purge By any desperate change: My more particular, And that which most with you should safe my going, Is Fulvia's death. Cleo. Though age from folly could not give me

freedom,
It does from childishness:Can Fulvia die? 4

Ant. She's dead, my queen:
Look here, and, at thy sovereign leisure, read
The garboils she awak'd;' at the last, best:
See, when, and where she died.
Cleo.

O most false love!

[ocr errors]

- should safe my going,] i. e. should render my going not dangerous, not likely to produce any mischief to you.

+ It does from childishness:--Can Fulvia die?] i. e. Though age has not exempted me from folly, I am not so childish, as to have apprehensions from a rival that is no more. And is Fulvia dead indeed?

* Thę garboils she awak'd;] i e. the commotion she occasioned. The word is derived from the old French garbouil, which Cotgreaye explains by hurlyburly, great stir.

[ocr errors]

Where be the sacred vials thou should'st fill
With sorrowful water? Now I see, I see,
In Fulvia's death, how mine receiv'd shall be.

Ant. Quarrel no more, but be prepar'd to know
The purposes I bear; which are, or cease,
As
you

shall give the advice: Now, by the fire,
That quickens Nilus' slime, I go from hence,
Thy soldier, servant; making peace, or war,
As thou affect'st.
Cleo.

Cut my lace, Charmian, come;--
But let it be.—I am quickly ill, and well:
So Antony loves?
Ant.

My precious queen, forbear;
And give true evidence to his love, which stands
An honourable trial.
Cleo.

So Fulvia told me.
I pr’ythee, turn aside, and weep for her;
Then bid adieu to me, and say, the tears
Belong to Egypt: Good now, play one scene
Of excellent disseinbling; and let it look
Like perfect honour.
Ant.

You'll heat my blood; no more.
Cleo. You can do better yet; but this is meetly.
Ant. Now, by my sword, -
Cleo.

And target,-Still he mends;
But this is not the best: Look, pr’ythee, Charmian,
How this Herculean Romano does become
The carriage of his chafe.

6 0 most false love !

Where be the sacred vials thou should'st fill

With sorrowful water?] Alluding to the lachrymatory vials, or bottles of tears, which the Romans sometimes put into the urn of a friend.

? So Antony lotes.] i. e. uncertain as the state of my health is the love of Antony.

to Egypt:) To me, the Queen of Egypt.

Herculean Roman - ] Antony traced his descent from Anton, a son of Hercules,

8

« PreviousContinue »