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A Room in Cæsar's House.
Enter CESAR, AGRIPPA, and MECENAS.
Cæs. Contemning Rome, he has done all this:
In Alexandria,-here's the manner of it,-
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.
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
Should be depos'd; and, being, that we detain
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,
He'll never yield to that.
Oct. Hail, Cæsar, and my lord! hail, most dear
Cæs. That ever I should call thee, cast-away!
Cæs. Why have you stol'n upon us thus? You
Like Cæsar's sister: The wife of Antony
The neighs of horse to tell of her approach,
The ostentation of our love, which, left unshown
With an augmented greeting.
Good my lord,
Which soon he granted,
Being an obstruct? 'tween his lust and him.
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:
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,
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.
Mec. Welcome, dear madam.
Each heart in Rome does love and pity you:
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.
Enter CLEOPATRA and ENOBARBUS.
Cleo. I will be even with thee, doubt it not.
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
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.