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THIS play keeps curiosity always busy, and the passions always interested. The continual hurry of the action, the variety of incidents, and the quick succession of one personage to another, call the mind forward without intermission from the first act to the last. But the power of delighting is derived principally from the frequent changes of the scene; for, except the feminine arts, some of which are too low, which distinguish Cleopatra, no character is very strongly discriminated. Upton, who did not easily miss what he desired to find, has discovered that the language of Antony is, with great skill and learning, made pompous and superb, according to his real practice. But I think his diction not distinguishable from that of others: the most tumid speech in the play is that which Cæsar makes to Octavia.

The events, of which the principal are described according to history, are produced without any art of connexion or care of disposition. JOHNSON.

It is observable with what judgment Shakspeare draws the character of Octavius. Antony was his hero; so the other was not to shine: yet being an historical character, there was a necessity to draw him like. But the ancient historians, his flatterers, had delivered him down so fair, that he seems ready cut and dried for a hero. Amidst these difficulties Shakspeare has extricated himself with great address. He has admitted all those great strokes of his character as he found them, and yet. has made him a very unamiable character, deceitful, meanspirited, narrow-minded, proud, and revengeful.




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TAURUS, lieutenant-general to Cæsar.

CANIDIUS, lieutenant-general to Antony.

SILIUS, an officer in Ventidius's army.

EUPHRONIUS, an ambassador from Antony to Cæsar.
tendants on Cleopatra.
A Soothsayer. A Clown.

CLEOPATRA, queen of Egypt.

OCTAVIA, sister to Casar, and wife to Antony.


attendants on Cleopatra.

Officers, Soldiers, Messengers, and other Attendants.

SCENE, dispersed ; in several parts of the Roman


SCENE I-Alexandria.


A Room in CLEOPATRA's Palace.



NAY, but this dotage of our general's

O'erflows the measure: those his goodly eyes,
That o'er the files and musters of the war

Have glow'd like plated Mars, now bend, now turn,
The office and devotion of their view

Upon a tawny front: his captain's heart,
Which in the scuffles of great fights hath burst
The buckles on his breast, reneges all temper;'
And is become the bellows, and the fan,

To cool a gipsy's lust. Look, where they come !

Enter ANTONY and CLEOPATRA, with their
Trains; Eunuchs fanning her.

Take but good note, and you shall see in him
The triple pillar of the world3 transform'd
Into a strumpet's fool: behold and see.

Cleo. If it be love indeed, tell me how much.

Ant. There's beggary in the love that can be reckon'd. Cleo. I'll set a bourn4 how far to be belov'd.

Ant. Then must thou needs find out new heaven, new earth.5

Enter an Attendant.

Att. News, my good lord, from Rome.

Ant. Grates me :-The sum.6

Cleo. Nay, hear them, Antony :

Fulvia, perchance, is angry; Or, who knows

If the scarce-bearded Cæsar have not sent

[1] Reneges-renounces. POPE.

[2] G psy-is here used both in the original meaning for an Egyptian, and in its accidental sense for a bad woman. JOHNS.

[3] Triple-is here used improperly for third, or one of three. One of the Triumvirs, one of the three masters of the world. WARB.

[4] Bourn-bound or limit. POPE.

[5] Thou must set the boundary of my love at a greater distance than the present visible universe affords. JOHNS.

[6] Be brief, sum thy business in a few words.


His powerful mandate to you, Do this, or this;
Take in that kingdom, and enfranchise that;
Perform't, or else we damn thee.

Ant. How, my love!

Cleo. Perchance,—nay, and most like,

You must not stay here longer, your dismission
Is come from Cæsar; therefore hear it, Antony.-
Where's Fulvia's process? Cæsar's, I would say?—Both?
-Cali in the messengers.-As I am Egypt's queen,
Thou blushest, Antony; and that blood of thine
Is Cæsar's homager: else so thy cheek pays shame,
When shrill-tongu'd Fulvia scolds.-The messengers,
Ant. Let Rome in Tyber melt and the wide arch
Of the rang'd empire fall! Here is my space;
Kingdoms are clay: our dungy earth alike
Feeds beast as man: the nobleness of life

Is, to do thus; when such a mutual pair, [Embracing.
And such a twain can do't, in which, I bind

On pain of punishment, the world to weet,?

We stand up peerless.

Cleo. Excellent falsehood!

Why did he marry Fulvia, and not love her ?—
I'll seem the fool I am not; Antony

Will be himself.

Ant. But stirr'd by Cleopatra, 8.

Now, for the love of Love, and her soft hours,
Let's not confound the time with conference harsh :
There's not a minute of our lives should stretch
Without some pleasure now: What sport to-night?
Cleo. Hear the ambassadors.

Ant. Fye, wrangling queen!

Whom every thing becomes, to chide, to laugh,
To weep; whose every passion fully strives
To make itself, in thee, fair and admir'd!

No messenger; but thine and all alone,

To-night, we'll wander through the streets, and note
The qualities of people. Come, my queen;
Last night you did desire it :—Speak not to us.

[Exeunt ANT. and CLEO. with their train.

[7] To weet-to know. POPE.

[8] But in this passage, seems to have the old Saxon signification of without, unless, except. Antony,' says the queen, will recollect his thoughts." Unless kept,' he replies, in commotion by Cleopatra.' JOHNS.

By Antony will be himself, she means to say, that Antony will act like the joint sovereign of the world, and follow his own inclinations, without regard to the mandates of Cæsar, or the anger of Fulvia.' To which he replies, If but stirr'd by Cleopatra ;" that is, if moved to it in the slightest degree by her. MASON.

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