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O, rare for Antony!
Eno. Her gentlewomen, like the Nereides,
So many mermaids, tended her i' the eyes,1
And made their bends adornings;2 at the helm
A seeming mermaid steers; the silken tackle
Swell with the touches of those flower-soft hands,
That yarely frame the office. From the barge
A strange, invisible perfume hits the sense


Of the adjacent wharfs. The city cast
Her people out upon her; and Antony,
Enthroned in the market-place, did sit alone,
Whistling to the air; which, but for vacancy,
Had gone to gaze on Cleopatra too,

And made a gap in nature.


Rare Egyptian!

Eno. Upon her landing, Antony sent to her, Invited her to supper: she replied,

It should be better he became her guest;

Which she entreated. Our courteous Antony,

Whom ne'er the word of No woman heard speak,
Being barbered ten times o'er, goes to the feast;
And for his ordinary, pays his heart,

For what his eyes eat only.


Royal wench!

She made great Cæsar lay his sword to bed;
He ploughed her, and she cropped.


I saw her once

Hop forty paces through the public street;

And having lost her breath, she spoke, and panted,
That she did make defect, perfection,

And, breathless, power breathe forth.

Mec. Now Antony must leave her utterly.
Eno. Never; he will not:

1 i. e. waited upon her looks, discovered her will by her looks. 2 "Made their bends adornings." On this passage there are several pages of notes in the variorum Shakspeare, which, as Steevens remarks, supply a powerful instance of the uncertainty of verbal criticism; for the same phrase is there explained with reference to four different images— bows, groups, eyes, and tails. “The plain sense of the passage seems to be, each inclined her person so gracefully, that the very act of humiliation was an improvement of her own beauty.'"

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3 "Yarely frame," i. e. readily perform.

Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale
Her infinite variety. Other women

Cloy the appetites they feed; but she makes hungry
Where most she satisfies. For vilest things

Become themselves in her; that the holy priests

Bless her when she is riggish.


Mec. If beauty, wisdom, modesty can settle

The heart of Antony, Octavia is

A blessed lottery 2 to him.

Agr. Let us go.

Good Enobarbus, make yourself my guest,

Whilst you abide here.


Humbly, sir, I thank you.


SCENE III. The same. A Room in Cæsar's House.

Enter CESAR, ANTONY, OCTAVIA between them; Attendants, and a Soothsayer.

Ant. The world, and my great office, will sometimes Divide me from your bosom.


All which time

Before the gods my knee shall bow my prayers 3

To them for you.


Good night, sir.-My Octavia,

Read not my blemishes in the world's report.

I have not kept my square; but that to come

Shall all be done by the rule. Good night, dear lady.— Octa. Good night, sir.

Cæs. Good night. [Exeunt CESAR and OCTAVIA. Ant. Now, sirrah! you do wish yourself in Egypt? Sooth. 'Would I had never come from thence, nor you



If you can, your reason?

1 Riggish is wanton, immodest.

I see't in

2 Lottery for allotment.

3 The same construction is found in Coriolanus, Act i. Sc. 1, “ Shouting their emulation."

My motion, have it not in my tongue. But yet.
Hie you again to Egypt.


Say to me,

Whose fortunes shall rise higher; Cæsar's, or mine? Sooth. Cæsar's;

Therefore, O Antony, stay not by his side.

Thy demon, that's thy spirit which keeps thee, is
Noble, courageous, high, unmatchable,

Where Cæsar's is not; but near him, thy angel
Becomes a Fear,' as being overpowered: therefore
Make space enough between you.


Speak this no more.

Sooth. To none but thee; no more, but when to thee. If thou dost play with him at any game,

Thou art sure to lose; and of that natural luck,
He beats thee 'gainst the odds; thy lustre thickens 2
When he shines by. I say again, thy spirit

Is all afraid to govern thee near him;

But, he away, 'tis noble.


Get thee gone;

Say to Ventidius, I would speak with him.

[Exit Soothsayer.

He shall to Parthia.-Be it art, or hap,
He hath spoke true. The
The very dice obey him;
And, in our sports, my better cunning faints
Under his chance. If we draw lots, he speeds;
His cocks do win the battle still of mine,
When it is all to nought; and his quails 3 ever
Beat mine, inhooped, at odds. I will to Egypt:
And though I make this marriage for my peace,

Enter VENTIdius.

I'the East my pleasure lies.-O come, Ventidius,
You must to Parthia: your commission's ready :
Follow me, and receive it.

1 A Fear was a personage in some of the old moralities.

2 So in Macbeth, "light thickens.”



3 The ancients used to match quails as we match cocks. Pollux relates, that a circle was made in which the birds were placed, and he whose quail was first driven out of this circle lost the stake.

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SCENE IV. The same. A Street.


Lep. Trouble yourselves no further; pray you,


Your generals after.


Sir, Mark Antony

Will e'en but kiss Octavia, and we'll follow.

Lep. Till I shall see you in your soldier's dress, Which will become you both, farewell.


As I conceive the journey, be at mount1
Before you, Lepidus.


We shall,

Your way is shorter;

Sir, good success!


My purposes do draw me much about;
You'll win two days upon me.

Mec. Agr.

Lep. Farewell.

SCENE V. Alexandria. A Room in the Palace.



Cleo. Give me some music; music, moody food Of us that trade in love.


The music, ho!


Cleo. Let it alone; let us to billiards.3 Come, Charmian.

Char. My arm is sore; best play with Mardian. Cleo. As well a woman with an eunuch played, As with a woman:-Come, you'll play with me, sir?

1 Mount Misenum.

2 Moody here means melancholy.

3 It is scarcely necessary to remark that this is an anachronism. Billiards were not known to the ancients.

Mar. As well as I can, madam.

Cleo. And when good will is showed, though it come too short,

The actor may plead pardon. I'll none now;-
Give me mine angle:We'll to the river; there,
My music playing far off, I will betray

Tawny-finned fishes; my bended hook shall pierce
Their slimy jaws; and, as I draw them up,

I'll think them every one an Antony,

And say, Ah ha! you're caught.


'Twas merry, when

You wagered on your angling; when your diver
Did hang a salt fish on his hook, which he
With fervency drew up.1



That time!-O times!I laughed him out of patience; and that night I laughed him into patience and next morn, Ere the ninth hour, I drunk him to his bed; Then put my tires and mantles on him, whilst I wore his sword Philippan. O! from Italy;

Enter a Messenger.

Rain3 thou thy fruitful tidings in mine ears,
That long time have been barren.


Cleo. Antony's dead?

Madam, madam,

If thou say so, villain, thou kill'st thy mistress;

But well and free,

If thou so yield him, there is gold, and here
My bluest veins to kiss; a hand that kings
Have lipped, and trembled kissing.


First, madam, he's well. Cleo. Why, there's more gold. But, sirrah, mark :

We use

1 This circumstance is from Plutarch.

2 The battle of Philippi being the greatest action of Antony's life, it was an adroit piece of flattery to name his sword from it.

3 The old copy reads "Ram thou," &c, Rain agrees better with the

epithets fruitful and barren. So in Timon:

“Rain sacrificial whisperings in his ear.”

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