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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.

Clown. Yes, forsooth; I wish you joy of the worm.

Re-enter IRAS, with a Robe, Crown, &c.

Cleo. Give me my robe, put on my crown; I have
Immortal longings in me: Now no more
The juice of Egypt's grape shall moist this lip:-
Yare, yare," good Iras; quick.-Methinks, I hear
Antony call; I see him rouse himself

To praise my noble act; I hear him mock
The luck of Cæsar, which the gods give men
To excuse their after wrath: Husband, I come:
Now to that name my courage prove my title!
I am fire, and air; my other elements

I give to baser life.-So, have you done?
Come then, and take the last warmth of my lips.
Farewell, kind Charmian;-Iras, long farewell.


[Kisses them. IRAS falls and dies.

Have I the aspick in my lips? Dost fall?"
If thou and nature can so gently part,
The stroke of death is as a lover's pinch,
Which hurts, and is desir'd.

Dost thou lie still?

If thus thou vanishest, thou tell'st the world

It is not worth leave-taking.

Char. Dissolve, thick cloud, and rain; that I may say,

The gods themselves do weep!


This proves me base :

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Yare, yare,] i. e. Make haste, be nimble.

Dost fall?] Iras must be supposed to have applied an asp to her arm while her mistress was settling her dress, or I know not why she should fall so soon.-STEEVENS.

He'll make demand of her;P and spend that kiss,
Which is my heaven to have. Come, mortal wretch,
[To the Asp, which she applies to her breast.
With thy sharp teeth this knot intrinsicate
Of life at once untie: poor venomous fool,
Be angry, and despatch. O, could'st thou speak!
That I might hear thee call great Cæsar, ass
Unpolicied !



O eastern star!

Peace, peace!

O, break! O, break!

Dost thou not see my baby at my breast,
That sucks the nurse asleep?

Cleo. As sweet as balm, as soft as air, as gentle,—
O Antony!-Nay, I will take thee too :-

What should I stay

[Applying another Asp to her arm. [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 unparallel'd.-Downy windows, close;" And golden Phoebus 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.

P He'll make demand of her;] He will inquire of her concerning me, and kiss her for giving him intelligence.-JOHNSON.


Unpolicied!] i. e. An ass without more policy than to leave the means of death within my reach, and thereby deprive his triumph of its noblest decoration.-STEEVENS.

r Downy windows, close ;] Charmian, in saying this must be conceived to close Cleopatra's eyes; one of the first ceremonies performed towards a dead body.-RITSON.

and then play.] i. e. Play her part in this tragick scene by destroying herself or she may mean, that having performed her last office for her mistress, she will accept the permission given her before, to "play till doomsday."— STEEVENS.

1 Guard. Approach, ho! All's not well: Cæsar's beguil'd.

2 Guard. There's Dolabella sent from Cæsar;-call him. 1 Guard. What work is here?-Charmian, is this well


Char. It is well done, and fitting for a princess Descended of so many royal kings.

Ah, soldier!

Dol. How goes it here?

2 Guard.




All dead.

Cæsar, thy thoughts

Touch their effects in this: Thyself art coming
To see perform'd the dreaded act, which thou
So sought'st to hinder.


A way there, a way for Cæsar!

Enter CESAR, and Attendants.

Dol. O, sir, you are too sure an augurer; That you did fear, is done.


Bravest at the last:

She levell❜d at our purposes, and, being royal,
Took her own way. The manner of their deaths?
I do not see them bleed.

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This Charmian lived but now; she stood, and spake :

I found her trimming up the diadem

On her dead mistress; tremblingly she stood,

And on the sudden dropp'd.


O noble weakness!

If they had swallow'd poison, 'twould appear
By external swelling but she looks like sleep,

As she would catch another Antony

In her strong toil of grace.


Here, on her breast,

There is a vent of blood, and something blown:

The like is on her arm.

1 Guard. This is an aspick's trail: and these fig-leaves Have slime upon them, such as the aspick leaves Upon the caves of Nile.


Most probable,


That so she died; for her physician tells me,
She hath pursu'd conclusions infinite"
Of easy ways to die.-Take up her bed;
And bear her women from the monument :-
She shall be buried by her Antony:
No grave upon the earth shall clip in it
A pair so famous. High events as these
Strike those that make them; and their story
No less in pity, than his glory," which
Brought them to be lamented. Our army shall,
In solemn show, attend this funeral;

And then to Rome.-Come, Dolabella, see
High order in this great solemnity.

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something blown:] The flesh is somewhat puffed or swoln.-JOHNSON. pursu'd conclusions infinite—] i. e. Tried innumerable experiments. clip-] i. e. Infold.

their story is

No less in pity, than his gløy, &c.] i.e. The narrative of such events demands not less compassion for the sufferers, than glory on the part of him who brought on their sufferings.-STEEVENS.

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.


THIS exquisite and romantic drama was not entered in the Stationers' books, nor printed, till 1623. It was probably written in about 1609. The plot is in a great degree taken from the Ninth Novel of the Second Day of the Decameron of Boccacio, of which a deformed and interpolated translation had appeared so early as 1518; and an imitation, in an old story-book, entitled Westward for Smelts, was printed in 1603.

Cymbeline, the king from whom the play takes its title, began his reign, according to Holinshed, in the nineteenth year of the reign of Augustus Cæsar; and the play commences in or about the twenty-fourth year of Cymbeline's reign, which was the forty-second year of the reign of Augustus, and the sixteenth of the Christian æra ; notwithstanding which, Shakspeare has peopled Rome with modern Italians; Philario, Iachimo, &c. Cymbeline is said to have reigned thirty-five years, leaving at his death two sons, Guiderius and Arviragus.

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