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Show me, my women, like a queen.—Go fetch
Enter one of the Guard.
Here is a rural fellow,
Re-enter Guard, with a Clown, bringing a basket. Guard.
This is the man. Cleo. Avoid, and leave him.
[Exit Guard. Hast thou the pretty worm * of Nilus there, That kills and pains not ?
Clown. Truly I have him; but I would not be the party that should desire you to touch him, for his biting is immortal ; those that do die of it, do seldom or never recover.
1 Sirrah was not anciently an appellation either reproachful or injurious; being applied, with a sort of playful kindness, to children, friends, and servants, and what may seem more extraordinary, as in the present case, to women. It is nothing more than the exclamation, Sir, ha! we sometimes find it in its primitive form, “ A syr a, there said you wel.” The Heus tu of Plautus is rendered, by an old translator, Ha Sirra.
? The first folio has “ What poor an instrument." 3 Fleeting, or flitting, is changeable, inconstant.
4 Worm is used by our old writers to signify a serpent. The word is pure Saxon, and is still used in the north in the same sense. of Nile was the asp of the ancients, which Dr. Shaw says is wholly unknown to us.
Cleo. Remember'st thou any that have died on't ?
Clown. Very many, men and women too. I heard of one of them no longer than yesterday; a very honest woman, but something given to lie; as a woman should not do, but in the way of honesty; how she died of the biting of it, what pain she felt.— Truly, she makes a very good report o’the worm; but he that will believe all that they say, shall never be saved by half that they do.
But this is most fallible, the worm's an odd worm. Cleo. Get thee hence; farewell. Clown. I wish you all joy of the worm. Cleo. Farewell. [Clown sets down the basket. Clown. You must think this, look
that the worm will do his kind.
Cleo. Ay, ay; farewell.
Clown. Look you, the worm is not to be trusted, but in the keeping of wise people; for, indeed, there is no goodness in the worm.
Cleo. Take thou no care; it shall be heeded.
Clown. Very good. Give it nothing, I pray you, for it is not worth the feeding.
Cleo. Will it eat me?
Clown. You must not think I am so simple, but I know the devil himself will not eat a woman; I know that a woman is a dish for the gods, if the devil dress her not.
But, truly, these same whoreson devils do the gods great harm in their women; for in every ten that they make, the devils mar five.
Cleo. Well, get thee gone; farewell.
Now no more
1 i. e, act according to his nature.
The juice of Egypt's grape shall moist this lip.
[Kisses them. Iras falls and dies.
say, The gods themselves do weep! Cleo.
This proves me base. If she first meet the curled Antony, He'll make demand of her; and spend that kiss, Which is my heaven to have. Come, thou mortal wretch,
[To the asp, which she applies to her breast.
Char. 0 Eastern star!
1 i. e. be nimble, be ready. See Act iii. Sc. 5.
2 Iras must be supposed to have applied an asp to her arm while her mistress was settling her dress, to account for her falling so soon.
3 i. e. an ass without more wit or policy than to leave the means of death within my reach, and thereby defeat his own purpose. VOL. VI.
O break! O break! Cleo. As sweet as balm, as soft as air, as gentle, O Antony !-Nay, I will take thee too ;
[ Applying another asp to her arm. What should I stay
[Falls on a bed and dies. Char. In this wild world?—So, fare thee well.Now boast thee, death! in thy possession lies A lass unparalleled.- Downy windows, close ; And golden Phæbus never be beheld Of eyes again so royal! Your crown's awry; I'll mend it, and then play.
Enter the Guard, rushing in. 1 Guard. Where is the queen ? Char.
Speak softly, wake her not. 1 Guard. Cæsar hath sentChar.
Too slow a messenger.
[Applies the asp. O, come; apace, despatch; I partly feel thee. 1 Guard. Approach, ho! All's not well; Cæsar's
beguiled. 2 Guard. There's Dolabella sent from Cæsar :-call
him. 1 Guard. What work is here ?-Charmian, is this
well done ?
Dol. How goes it here? 2 Guard.
All dead. Dol.
Cæsar, thy thoughts Touch their effects in this. Thyself art coming To see performed the dreaded act, which thou So sought'st to hinder. Within.
A way there! a way for Cæsar!
Enter CÆSAR and Attendants.
Dol. O sir, you are too sure an augurer;
Bravest at the last.
-The manner of their deaths ?
Who was last with them? 1 Guard. A simple countryman, that brought her
figs; This was his basket. Cæs.
Poisoned, then. 1 Guard.
O noble weakness !
Here, on her breast,
1 i. e. swelled, puffed.
To pursue conclusions is to try experiments.