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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,

And fertile every wish, a million.

Char. Out, fool! I forgive thee for a witch.

Alex. You think, none but your sheets are privy to your wishes.

Char. Nay, come tell Iras hers.

Alex. We'll know all our fortunes.

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.

Iras. But how, but how? give me particulars.

Sooth. I have said.

Iras. Am I not an inch of fortune better than she? Char. Well, if you were but an inch of fortune better than I, where would you choose it?

Iras. Not in my husband's nose.

Char. Our worser thoughts heavens mend! Alexas,come, his fortune, his fortune.-O, 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,

" Then, belike, my children shall have no names:] If I have already had the best of my fortune, then I suppose I shall never name children, that is, I am never to be married. However, tell me the truth, tell me, how many boys and wenches?-JOHNSON.

- I forgive thee for a witch.] From a common proverbial reproach to silly ignorant females: "You'll never be burnt for a witch."-STEEVENS, if an oily palm be not a fruitful prognostication,] So in Othello:"This hand is moist, my lady,

This argues fruitfulness and liberal heart."-MALONE,

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 him accordingly!

Char. Amen.

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.

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Cleo. He was dispos'd to mirth; but on the sudden. A Roman thought hath struck him.--Enobarbus,Eno. Madam.

Cleo. Seek him, and bring him hither. Where's Alexas? Alex. Here, at your service.-My lord approaches.

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 Attendants.

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.

What worst?


Mess. The nature of bad news infects the teller..
Ant. When it concerns the fool, or coward.-On:
Things, that are past, are done, with me.-'Tis thus ;
Who tells me true, though in his tale lie death,
I hear him as he flatter'd.

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(This is stiff news) hath, with his Parthian force,
Extended Asia from Euphrates;

His conquering banner shook, from Syria
To Lydia, and to Ionia;




Antony, thou would'st say,

O, my lord!

Ant. Speak to me home, mince not the general tongue; Name Cleopatra as she's call'd in Rome :

Rail thou in Fulvia's phrase; and taunt my faults
With such full licence, as both truth and malice
Have power to utter. O, then we bring forth weeds,
When our quick minds lie still; and our ills told us,
Is as our earing. Fare thee well a while.

Mess. At your noble pleasure.


Ant. From Sicyon how the news? Speak there. 1 Att. The man from Sicyon.-Is there such an one? 2 Att. He stays upon your will.

Let him appear,

These strong Egyptian fetters I must break.

Enter another Messenger.

Or lose myself in dotage.-What are you? 2 Mess. Fulvia thy wife is dead.


2 Mess. In Sicyon :

Where died she?

Her length of sickness, with what else more serious
Importeth thee to know, this bears.

[Gives a Letter.

Extended-] i. e. Seized upon, taken possession of.-To extend, is a law term, used for to seize lands and tenements.

When our quick minds lie still, &c.] The old copy reads winds; the alteration of the text was proposed by Warburton and adopted by Malone. Archdeacon Nares considers such an emendation as necessary to the sense, and explains the passage as follows: "We bring forth winds, when our quick (i. e. pregnant or fertile) minds lie still, but telling us of our ills (i. e. faults) is like earing (i. e. tilling) them," which leads to a good produce.


Forbear me.-
[Exit Messenger.

There's a great spirit gone! Thus did I desire it:
What our contempts do often hurl from us,
We wish it ours again; the present pleasure,
By revolution lowering, does become

The opposite of itself: she's good, being gone;
The hand could pluck her back, that shov'd her on.
I must from this enchanting queen break off;
Ten thousand harms, more than the ills I know,
My idleness doth hatch.-How now! Enobarbus!


Eno. What's your pleasure, sir?

Ant. I must with haste from hence.

Eno. Why, then, we kill all our women: We see 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 a 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 had such a celerity in dying.

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 almanacks can report: this cannot be

the present pleasure,

By revolution lowering, does become

The opposite of itself:] I believe revolution means change of circumstances. This sense appears to remove every difficulty from the passage.-The pleasure of to-day, by revolutions of events and change of circumstances, often loses all its value to us, and becomes to-morrow a pain.-STEEVENS.

a The hand could pluck her back, &c.] The verb could has a peculiar signification in this place; it does not denote power but inclination. The sense is, the hand that drove her off would now willingly pluck her back again.--HEATH. b · poorer moment:] i. e. Meaner motives.-JOHNSON.

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. Sir?

Ant. Fulvia is dead.

Eno. Fulvia?

Ant. 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; comrobes are worn out, there

forting therein, that when old are members to make new. If there were no 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
Have notice what we purpose. I shall break
The cause of our expedience to the queen,
And get her leave to part. For not alone
The death of Fulvia, with more urgent touches,f
Do strongly speak to us; but the letters too
Of many our contriving friends in Rome

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it shows to man the tailors of the earth; comforting therein, &c.] i. e. As the gods have been pleased to take away your wife Fulvia, so they have provided you with a new one in Cleopatra; in like manner as the tailors of the earth, when your old garments are worn out, accommodate you with new ones.-ANONYMOUS. Dr. Johnson proposes to read,—It shows to men the tailors of the earth comforting them, &c.


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expedience-] i. e. Expedition.

leave to part.] Old copy love to part. The emendation was proposed by M. Mason: and is approved by Malone.

f — more urgent touches,] Things that touch me more sensibly; more pressing motives.-JOHNSON.

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