Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

SV LVAT Nutt*

[ocr errors]

2

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;
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 flattered.
Mess.

Labienus
(This is stiff? news) hath, with his Parthian force,
Èxtended Asia from Euphrates;
His conquering banner shook, from Syria
To Lydia, and to Ionia;
Whilst

Ant. Antony, thou wouldst say,
Mess.
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. O, 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,

O my lord!

2

1 6. Stiff news” is hard news.

6 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.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

Enter another Messenger.
Or lose myself in dotage.—What are you?

2 Mess. Fulvia, thy wife, is dead.
Ant.

Where died she? 2 Mess. In Sicyon: Her length of sickness, with what else more serious Importeth thee to know, this bears.

[Gives a letter. Ant.

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 shoved 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 !

Enter 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 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.?

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.

2 i. e. for less reason, upon a weaker motive.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

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. 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; 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
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

1 Expedition. 2 We should, says Mason, read leave instead of love.

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 linked 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 i 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.

[Exeunt.

SCENE III.

Enter CLEOPATRA, CHARMIAN, IRAs, and ALEXAS.
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.
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

1 This alludes to the ancient vulgar error, that a horse-hair dropped into corrupted water would become animated. Dr. Lister, in the Philosophical Transactions, showed that these animated horse-hairs were real insects, and displayed the fallacy of the popular opinion.

2 “ You must go as if you came without my order or knowledge.”

[ocr errors]

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.

Enter ANTONY.

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.1
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 betrayed! Yet, at the first,
I saw the treasons planted.
Ant.

Cleopatra, Cleo. Why should I think you can be mifte, 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 color 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;

1 Thus in Twelfth Night :

66 There is no woman's sides

Can bide the beating of so strong a passion.”

« ForrigeFortsett »