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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 love to part. For not alone

The death of Fulvia, with more urgent touches,*
Do strongly speak to us; but the letters too
Of many our contriving friends in Rome
Petition us at home: Sextus Pompeius
Hath given the dare to Cæsar, and commands
The empire of the sea: our slippery people
(Whose love is never link'd to the deserver,
Till his deserts are past,) begin to throw
Pompey the great, and all his dignities,
Upon his son; who, high in name and power,
Higher than both in blood and life, stands up
For the main soldier; whose quality, going on,
The sides o'the world may danger: Much is breeding,
Which, like the courser's hair, hath yet but life,
And not a serpent's poison. Say, our pleasure,
To such whose place is under us, requires
Our quick remove from hence.

Eno. I shall do't.

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Cleo. Where is he?

Char. I did not see him since.

Cleo. See where he is, who's with him, what he does :

-I did not send you ;—If you find him sad,

Say, I am dancing; if in mirth, report
That I am sudden sick: Quick, and return.

[Exit ALEX.



Expedience, for expedition. WARBURTON. I suspect the author wrote, And get her leave to part. Things that touch me more sensibly, more pressing motives. Wish us at home; call for us to reside at home. Alludes to an old idle notion that the hair of a horse dropt into corrupted water, will turn to an animal. POPE. Dr. Lister, in the Philosophical Transactions showed, that what were vulgarly called animated horse-hairs, are real insects. It was also affirmed that they moved like serpents, and were poisonous to swallow.


[6] You must go as if you came without my order or knowledge. JOHNSON.

Char. Madam, methinks, if you did love him dearly, You do not hold the method to enforce

The like from him.

Cleo. What should I do, I do not?

Char. In each thing give him way, cross him in nothing. Cleo. Thou teachest like a fool: the way to lose him. Char. Tempt him not so too far: I wish, forbear; In time we hate that which we often fear.


But here comes Antony.

Cleo..I am sick, and sullen.

Ant. I am sorry to give breathing to my purpose,
Cleo. Help me away, dear Charmian, I shall fall;

It cannot be thus long, the sides of nature

Will not sustain it.

Ant. Now, my dearest queen,

Cleo. Pray you, stand further from me.

Ant. What's the matter?

Cleo. I know, by that same eye, there's some good news.

What says the married woman ?-You may go ;

Would, she had never given you leave to come!

Let her not say, 'tis I that keep you here,

I have no power upon you; hers you are.
Ant. The gods best know,-

Cleo. O, never was there queen

So mightily betray'd! Yet, at the first,
I saw the treasons planted.

Ant. Cleopatra,

Cleo. Why should I think, you can be mine, and true, Though you in swearing shake the throned gods, Who have been false to Fulvia? Riotous madness, To be entangled with those mouth-made vows, Which break themselves in swearing!

Ant. Most sweet queen,—

Cleo. Nay, pray you, seek no colour for your going, But bid farewell, and go: when you sued staying, Then was the time for words: No going then ;Eternity was in our lips, and eyes;

Bliss in our brows' bent; none our parts so poor,
But was a race of heaven: They are so still,
Or thou, the greatest soldier of the world,

Art turn'd the greatest liar.

[7] i. e. had a smack or flavour of heaven. WARB.-This word is well explained

by Dr. Warburton; the race of wine is the taste of the soil. JOHNSON.

Ant. How now, lady!

Cleo. I would, I had thy inches; thou shouldst know, There were a heart in Egypt.

Ant. Hear me, queen :

The strong necessity of time commands

Our services a while; but my full heart

Remains in use with you.

Our Italy

Shines o'er with civil swords: Sextus Pompeius
Makes his approaches to the port of Rome :

Equality of two domestic powers

Breeds scrupulous faction: The hated, grown to strength,
Are newly grown to love: the condemn'd Pompey,
Rich in his father's honour, creeps apace

Into the hearts of such as have not thriv'd

Upon the present state, whose numbers threaten ;
And quietness, grown sick of rest, would purge
By any desperate change: My more particular,
And that which most with you should safe my going,
Is Fulvia's death.

Cleo. Though age from folly could not give me freedom, It does from childishness :-Can Fulvia die ?

Ant. Sh's dead, my queen:

Look here, and, at thy sovereign leisure, read
The garboils she awak'd ; at the last, best:
See, when, and where she died.

Cleo. O most false love!

Where be the sacred vials thou shouldst fill
With sorrowful water? Now I see, I see,
In Fulvia's death, how mine receiv'd shall be.
Ant. Quarrel no more, but be prepar'd to know
The purposes I bear; which are, or cease,
As you shall give the advice: Now, by the fire,
That quickens Nilus' slime, I go from hence,
Thy soldier, servant; making peace, or war,
As thou affect'st.

Cleo. Cut my lace, Charmian, come :——
But let it be. I am quickly ill, and well:

So Antony loves.

Ant. My precious queen, forbear;

And give true evidence to his love, which stands

An honourable trial.

[8] The poet seems to allude to the legal distinction between the use and absolute possession. *JOHNSON.

[9] i. e. The commotion she occasioned.


[1] Alluding to the lachrymatory vials, or bottles of tears, which the Romans sometimes put into the urn of a friend.


Cleo. So Fulvia told me.

I pr'ythee, turn aside, and weep

for her;

Then bid adieu to me, and say, the tears
Belong to Egypt: Good now, play one scene
Of excellent dissembling; and let it look
Like perfect honour.

Ant. You'll heat my blood; no more. ·

Cleo. You can do better yet; but this is meetly.
Ant. Now, by my sword,-

Cleo. And target,-Still he mends;

But this is not the best: Look, pr'ythee, Charmian,
How this Herculean Roman does become

The carriage of his chafe.

Ant. I'll leave you, lady.

Cleo. Courteous lord, one word.

Sir, you and I must part,-but that's not it :
Sir, you and I have lov'd, but there's not it;
That you know well: Something it is I would,-
O, my oblivion is a very Antony,

And I am all forgotten.*

Ant. But that your royalty

Holds idleness your subject, I should take you
For idleness itself."

Cleo. 'Tis sweating labour,

To bear such idleness so near the heart
As Cleopatra this. But, sir, forgive me;
Since my becomings kill me, when they do not
Eye well to you: Your honour calls
you hence
Therefore be deaf to my unpitied folly,

And all the gods go with you! upon your sword
Sit laurell'd victory! and smooth success
Be strew'd before your feet!

Ant. Let us go. Come;

Our separation so abides, and flies,

That thou, residing here, go'st yet with me,
And I, hence fleeting, here remain with thee:

To me, the Queen of Egypt. JOHNSON,

Antony traced his descent from Anton, a son of Hercules.

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[4] Cleopatra has something to say, which seems to be suppressed by sorrow; and after many attempts to produce her meaning she cries out: O, this oblivious memory of mine is as false and treacherous to me as Antony is, and I forget every thing. Oblivion, I believe, is boldly used for a memory apt to be deceitful. STEEVENS.

[5] But that I know you to be a queen, and that your royalty holds idleness in subjection to you, exalting you far above its influence, I should suppose you to be the very genius of idleness itself. STEEVENS.


Rome. An Apartment in CESAR's House. Enter OCTAVIUS CESAR, LEPIDUS, and Attendants.

Cæs. You may see, Lepidus, and henceforth know, It is not Cæsar's natural vice to hate

One great competitor." From Alexandria

This is the news; He fishes, drinks, and wastes

The lamps of night in revel; is not more manlike
Than Cleopatra; nor the queen Ptolemy

More womanly than he hardly gave audience, or

Vouchsaf'd to think he had partners: you shall find there A man, who is the abstract of all faults

That all men follow.

Lep. I must not think, there are

Evils enough to darken all his goodness:

His faults, in him, seem as the spots of heaven,
More fiery by night's blackness; hereditary,

Rather than purchas'd; what he cannot change,
Than what he chooses.

Cæs. You are too indulgent: Let us grant, it is not
Amiss to tumble on the bed of Ptolemy;

To give a kingdom for a mirth; to sit

And keep the turn of tippling with a slave;

To reel the streets at noon, and stand the buffet

With knaves that smell of sweat: say, this becomes him,

(As his composure must be rare indeed,

Whom these things cannot blemish,) yet must Antony
No way excuse his soils, when we do bear

So great weight in his lightness. If he fill'd

His vacancy with his voluptuousness,

Full surfeits, and the dryness of his bones,

Perhaps-Our great competitor.


If by spots are meant stars, as night has no other fiery spots, the comparison is forced and harsh, stars having been always supposed to beautify the night; nor do I comprehend what there is in the counterpart of this simile, which answers to night's blackness. Hanmer reads,

-spots on ermine,

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Or fires by night's blackness.

It is objected, that stars rather beautify than deform the night. But the poet considers them here only with respect to their prominence and splendor. It is sufficient for him that their scintillations appear stronger in consequence of darkness, as jewels are more resplendent on a black ground than on any other. MALONE. [8] Purchas'd--Procured by his own fault or endeavour. JOHNSON.

[9] The word light is one of Shakespeare's favourite play-things. The sense is, His triding levity throws so much burden upon us. JOHNSON.

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