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Herod of Jewry may do homage:7 find me to marry me with Octavius Cæsar, and companion me with my mistress.
Sooth. You shall outlive the lady whom you serve. Char. O excellent! I love long life better than figs. Sooth. You have seen and proved a fairer former
fortune Than that which is to approach.
Char. Then, belike, my children shall have no names.
Pr’ythee, how many boys and wenches must I have ?
Sooth. If every of your wishes had a womb,
Char. Out, fool; I forgive thee for a witch.“
Char. Nay, come, tell Iras hers.
Eno. Mine, and most of our fortunes, to-night, shall be drunk to bed.
Iras. There's a palm presages chastity, if nothing else.
Char. Even as the o’erflowing Nilus presageth famine.
Iras. Go, you wild bedfellow, you cannot soothsay.
Char. Nay, if an oily palm be not a fruitful prognostication, I cannot scratch mine ear.-Pr’ythee, tell her but a worky-day fortune.
Sooth. Your fortunes are alike.
Char. Well, if you were but an inch of fortune better than I, where would you choose it?
1 Herod of Jewry was a favorite character in the mysteries of the old stage, and there he was always represented a fierce, haughty, blustering tyrant.
2 That is, prove bastards.
4 This has allusion to the common proverbial saying, “ You'll never be burnt for a witch."
Iras. Not in my husband's nose.
Char. Our worser thoughts Heavens mend !-Alexas, -come, his fortune, his fortune.—0, let him marry a woman that cannot go, sweet Isis, I beseech thee! And let her die, too, and give him a worse! and let worse follow worse, till the worst of all follow him laughing to his grave, fifty-fold a cuckold! Good Isis, hear me this prayer, though thou deny me a matter of more weight; good Isis, I beseech thee!
Iras. Amen. Dear goddess, hear that prayer of the people! for, as it is a heart-breaking to see a handsome man loose-wived, so it is a deadly sorrow to behold a foul knave uncuckolded. Therefore, dear Isis, keep decorum, and fortune bim accordingly!
Alex. Lo, now! if it lay in their hands to make me a cuckold, they would make themselves whores, but they'd do't.
Eno. Hush! here comes Antony.
Not he, the queen.
. Enter CLEOPATRA. Cleo. Saw you my lord ? Eno.
No, lady. Cleo.
Was he not here? Char. No, madam.
Cleo. He was disposed to mirth ; but on the sudden A Roman thought hath struck him.-Enobarbus,
proaches. Enter Antony, with a Messenger and Attendants. Cleo. We will not look upon him. Go with us.
[Exeunt CLEOPATRA, ENOBARBUS, ALEXAS,
Iras, CHARMIAN, Soothsayer, and Attend
ants. Mess. Fulvia, thy wife, first came into the field.
Ant. Against my brother Lucius ?
Mess. Ay: But soon that war had end, and the time's state Made friends of them, jointing their force 'gainst Cæsar; Whose better issue in the war, from Italy, Upon the first encounter, drave them. Ant.
Well, What worst?
Mess. The nature of bad news infects the teller.
Ant. When it concerns the fool or coward.-On;
Ant. Antony, thou wouldst say, —
lord ! Ant. Speak to me home; mince not the general
tongue; Name Cleopatra as she's called in Rome : Rail thou in Fulvia's phrase ; and taunt my faults With such full license, as both truth and malice Have power to utter. 0, then we bring forth weeds, When our quick minds 3 lie still; and our ills told us, Is as our earing. Fare thee well a while. Mess. At your noble pleasure.
[Exit. Ant. From Sicyon how the news? Speak there. 1 Att. The man from Sicyon.—Is there such a one? 2 Att. He stays upon your will. Ant.
Let him appear, These strong Egyptian fetters I must break,
1 - Stiff news
is hard news.
“ Extended Asia from Euphrates.” To extend is a law term for to seize.
3 The old copy reads, “quick winds ;” an error which has occurred elsewhere. Warburton made the correction.
Enter another Messenger.
2 Mess. Fulvia, thy wife, is dead.
Where died she ?
Eno. Why, then, we kill all our women. how mortal an unkindness is to them: if they suffer our departure, death's the word.
Ant. I must be gone.
Eno. Under a compelling occasion, let women die. It were pity to cast them away for nothing; though, between them and a great cause, they should be esteemed nothing. Cleopatra, catching but the least noise of this, dies instantly ; I have seen her die twenty times upon far poorer moment. I do think there is mettle in death, which commits some loving act upon her, she hath such a celerity in dying.
1 Could is here used with an optative meaning.--Could, would, and should, are often used by our old writers, in what appears to us an indiscriminate manner, and yet appear to have been so employed rather by choice than chance.
for less reason, upon a weaker motive.
2 i. e.
Ant. She is cunning past man's thought.
Eno. Alack, sir, no; her passions are made of nothing but the finest part of pure love. We cannot call her winds and waters, sighs and tears; they are greater storms and tempests than almanacs can report: this cannot be cunning in her; if it be, she makes a shower of rain as well as Jove.
Ant. 'Would I had never seen her!
Eno. O sir, you had then left unseen a wonderful piece of work; which not to have been blessed withal, would have discredited your travel.
Ant. Fulvia is dead.
Eno. Why, sir, give the gods a thankful sacrifice. 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
1 Expedition. 2 We should, says Mason, read leave instead of love.