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Of many our contriving friends in Rome
Enter CLEOPATRA, CHARMIAN, IRAs, and Alexas.
I did not see him since.
What should I do, I do not ? Char. In each thing give him way; cross him in
1 This alludes to the ancient vulgar error, that a horse-hair dropped into corrupted water would become animated. Dr. Lister, in the 'Philosophical Transactions, showed that these animated horse-hairs were real insects, and displayed the fallacy of the popular opinion.
2 “ You must go as if you came without my order or knowledge.”
Cleo. Thou teachest, like a fool, the way to lose him.
Char. Tempt him not so too far. I wish, forbear: In time we hate that which we often fear.
I am sick and sullen.
Cleo. Help me away, dear Charmian, I shall fall;
Now, my dearest queen,
What's the matter? Cleo. I know, by that same eye, there's some good
What says the married woman ?-You may go ;
Ant. The gods best know,-
0, never was there queen
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 color 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;
1 Thus in Twelfth Night :
“ There is no woman's sides
Can bide the beating of so strong a passion.”
Bliss in our brows' bent;l none our parts so poor,
How now, lady!
Hear me, queen ;
the hated, grown to
, Is Fulvia's death. Cleo. Though age from folly could not give me
Ant. She's dead, my queen.
1 The bending or inclination of our brows. 2 i. e. of heavenly mould. 3 The Poet here means, “ in pledge :” the use of a thing is the possession of it.
6 Cleopatra apparently means to say, “Though age could not exempt me from folly, at least it frees me from a childish and ready belief of every assertion. Is it possible that Fulvia is dead? I cannot believe it.”
7 The commotion she occasioned.
0, most false love! Where be the sacred vials thou shouldst fill With sorrowful water? I
I see, I see,
Ant. Quarrel no more, but be prepared to know
Cut my lace, Charmian, come;-
My precious queen, forbear;
So Fulvia told me.
You'll heat my blood ; no more.
And target,-Still he mends;
I'll leave you, lady.
1 Alluding to the lachrymatory vials filled with tears, which the Romans placed in the tomb of a departed friend.
2 Antony traced his descent from Anton, a son of Hercules. 3 Oblivion is used for oblivious memory, a memory apt to be deceitful. VOL. VI.
But that your royalty
'Tis sweating labor,
Let us go. Come;
SCENE IV. Rome. An Apartment in Cæsar's
Enter OCTAVIUS CÆSAR, LEPIDUS, and Attendants.
Cæs. You may see, Lepidus, and henceforth know, It is not Cæsar's natural vice to hate Our great competitor. From Alexandria This is the news:—He fishes, drinks, and wastes The lamps of night in revel ; is not more manlike Than Cleopatra ; nor the queen of Ptolemy More womanly than he; hardly gave audience, or Vouchsafed to think he had partners. You shall fina
1 An antithesis seems intended between royalty and subject. But that I know you to be a queen, and that your royalty holds idleness in subjection to you, I should suppose you, from this idle discourse, to be the very genius of idleness itself.”
2 “ That which would seem to become me most, is hateful to me when it is not acceptable in your sight.”
3 The old copy reads, “ One great competitor." Dr. Johnson proposed the emendation.