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Our equalness to this. —Hear me, good friends,
Enter a Messenger.
Bid her have good heart;
So the gods preserve thee ! [Exit. Cæs. Come hither, Proculeius. Go, and say, We purpose her no shame; give her what comforts The quality of her passion shall require ; Lest, in her greatness, by some mortal stroke She do defeat us; for her life in Rome Would be eternal in our triumph. Go, And, with your speediest, bring us what she says, And how you find of her. Pro.
Cæsar, I shall. [Exit PROCULEIUS. Cæs. Gallus, go you along.–Where's Dolabella, To second Proculeius ?
[Exit Gallus. Agr. Mec.
1 That is, should have made us, in our equality of fortune, disagree, to a pitch like this, that one of us must die.
2 i. e. “yet a subject of the queen of Egypt.” 3 It has been before observed that the termination ble was anciently often used for bly.
4 « If I send her in triumph to Rome, her memory and my glory will be eternal."
How hardly I was drawn into this war;
SCENE II. Alexandria. A Room in the Monument.
Enter CLEOPATRA, CHARMIAN, and IRAS.
And it is great
Enter, to the gates of the monument, PROCULEIUS,
Gallus, and Soldiers. Pro. Cæsar sends greeting to the queen of Egypt ; And bids thee study on what fair demands Thou mean'st to have him grant thee. Cleo. [Within.]
What's thy name?
1 The Poet here has attempted to exhibit at once the outside and the inside of a building.
3 Voluntary death (says Cleopatra) is an act which bolts up change ; it produces a state which has no longer need of the gross and terrene sustenance, in the use of which Cæsar and the beggar are on a level.
He gives me so much of mine own, as I
Be of good cheer;
Pray you, tell him I am his fortune's vassal, and I send him The greatness he has got. I hourly learn A doctrine of obedience; and would gladly Look him i' the face. Pro.
This I'll report, dear lady. Have comfort; for, I know, your plight is pitied Of him that caused it. Gal. You see how easily she may be surprised; [Here ProcuLEIUS, and two of the Guard, ascend
the monument by a ladder placed against a window, and, having descended, come behind CLEOPATRA. Some of the Guard unbar and
open the gates. Guard her till Cæsar come. [To PROCULEIUS and the Guard. Exit
[Drawing a dagger. Pro.
Hold, worthy lady, hold.
[Seizes and disarms her. | Mason would change as I, to and I; but I have shown in another place that as was used by Shakspeare and his contemporaries for that.
2 Praying in aid is a term used for a petition made in a court of justice for the calling in of help from another that hath an interest in the cause in question.
3 By these words, Cleopatra means—“ In yielding to him, I only give him that honor which he himself achieved.”
4 There is no stage direction in the old copy ; that which is now inserted is formed on the old translation of Plutarch.
Do not yourself such wrong, who are in this
What, of death too,
Where art thou, death? Come hither, come! come, come, and take a queen Worth many babes and beggars ! Pro.
0, temperance, lady! Cleo. Sir, I will eat no meat, I'll not drink, sir, (If idle talk will once be necessary;') I'll not sleep neither. This mortal house I'll ruin, Do Cæsar what he can. Know, sir, that I Will not wait pinioned at your master's court; Nor once be chastised with the sober eye Of dull Octavia. Shall they hoist me up, And show me to the shouting varletry Of censuring Rome? Rather a ditch in Egypt Be gentle grave to me! rather on Nilus' mud Lay me stark naked, and let the water-flies Blow me into abhorring! rather make My country's high pyramides? my gibbet, And hang me up in chains ! Pro.
You do extend These thoughts of horror further than you shall Find cause in Cæsar.
Enter DOLABELLA. Dol.
Proculeius, What thou hast done thy master Cæsar knows,
1 It should be remembered that once is used as once for all by Shakspeare. The meaning of this line, which is evidently parenthetical, appears to be, “ Once for all, if idle talk be necessary about my purposes."
? Pyramides is so written and used as a quadrisyllable by Sandys and by Drayton.
And he hath sent for thee. For the queen,
[To CLEOPATRA. If you'll employ me to him. Cleo.
Say, I would die.
[Exeunt PROCULEIUS and Soldiers. Dol. Most noble empress, you have heard of me? Cleo. I cannot tell. Dol. Assuredly, you know me.
Cleo. No matter, sir, what I have heard, or known.
I understand not, madam.
If it might please you,
Most sovereign creature, Cleo. His legs bestrid the ocean: his reared arm Crested the world ; ? his voice was propertied As all the tuned spheres, and that to friends; But when he meant to quail and shake the orb, He was as rattling thunder. For his bounty, There was no winter in't; an autumn 'twas, That grew the more by reaping. His delights Were dolphin-like; they showed his back above The element they lived in. In his livery Walked crowns, and crownets; realms and islands were As plates 3 dropped from his pocket.
1 Shakspeare uses O for an orb or circle.
2 Dr. Percy thinks that “this is an allusion to some of the old crests in heraldry, where a raised arm on a wreath was mounted on the helmet." To crest is to surmount.
3 Plates means silver money. In heraldry, the roundets in an escutcheon, if or, or yellow, are called besants ; if argents, or white, plates,