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Ant. There's beggary in the love that can be
reckoned. Cleo. I'll set a bourn how far to be beloved. Ant. Then must thou needs find out new heaven,
Enter an Attendant.
Att. News, my good lord, from Rome.
Grates me:The sum.
Ant. How, my love!
Cleo. Perchance,-nay, and most like, You must not stay here longer, your dismission Is come from Cæsar; therefore hear it, Antony.Where's Fulvia's process ? 4 Cæsar's, I would say ?-
Both ? Call in the messengers.—As I am Egypt's queen, Thou blushest, Antony; and that blood of thine Is Cæsar's homager; else so thy cheek pays shame, When shrill-tongued Fulvia scolds.—The messengers.
Ant. Let Rome in Tyber melt! and the wide arch Of the ranged 5 empire fall! Here is my space; Kingdoms are clay, our dungy earth alike Feeds beast as man; the nobleness of life Is, to do thus; when such a mutual pair, [Embracing. And such a twain can do't, in which, I bind, On pain of punishment, the world to weet, We stand up peerless. Cleo.
Excellent falsehood !
1 “Be brief; sum thy business in a few words." 2. i. e. news was considered plural. 3 Take in, it has before been observed, signifies subdue, conquer. 4 Process here means summons. 5 The ranged empire is the well-arranged, well-ordered empire. 6 To weet is to know.
Why did he marry Fulvia, and not love her ?
But stirred by Cleopatra.-
Cleo. Hear the ambassadors.
Fie, wrangling queen!
[Exeunt Ant. and CLEO., with their Train. Dem. Is Cæsar with Antonius prized so slight?
Phi. Sir, sometimes, when he is not Antony,
I'm full sorry
1 “ But stirred by Cleopatra," i. e. " Add, if moved to it by Cleopatra.” This
is a complinient to her. 2 That is, for the sake of the queen of love." 3 The folio reads, who, every, &c.; corrected by Rowe.
4 « Sometime also when he would goe up and down the city disguised like a slave in the night, and would peere into poor mens windows and their shops, and scold and brawl with them within the house; Cleopatra would be also in a chambermaid's array, and amble up and down the streets with him.”—Life of Antonius in North's Plutarch.
5 6 That he proves the common liar, Fame, in his case, to be a true reporter."
Enter CHARMIAN, IRAS, ALEXAS, and a Soothsayer.
Char. Lord Alexas, sweet Alexas, most any thing Alexas, almost most absolute Alexas, where's the soothsayer that you praised so to the queen ? O that I knew this husband, which, you say, must charge his horns with garlands !!
Show him your hand.
Eno. Bring in the banquet quickly; wine enough, Cleopatra's health to drink.
Char. Good sir, give me good fortune.
Char. Good now, some excellent fortune! Let me be married to three kings in a forenoon, and widow them all; let me have a child at fifty, to whom
1 The old copy reads, "change his horns," &c. A similar error of change for charge is also found in Coriolanus.
Herod of Jewry may do homage :' find me to marry me with Octavius Cæsar, and companion me with my mistress.
Sooth. You shall outlive the lady whom you serve.
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,
Char. Out, fool; I forgive thee for a witch.4
Char. Nay, come, tell Iras hers.
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.-Prythee, tell her but a worky-day fortune.
Sooth. Your fortunes are alike.
Char. Well, if you were but an inch of fortune better than I, where would
1 Herod of Jewry was a favorite character in the mysteries of the old stage, and there he was always represented a fierce, haughty, blustering tyrant.
2 That is, prove bastards.
4 This has allusion to the common proverbial saying, “ You'll never be burnt for a witch."
Iras. Not in my husband's nose.
Char. Our worser thoughts Heavens mend !-- Alexas, -come, his fortune, his fortune.-0, 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, 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!
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.
Was he not here? Char. No, madam.
Cleo. He was disposed to mirth; but on the sudden A Roman thought hath struck him.-Enobarbus,
Enter Antony, with a Messenger and Attendants.
[Exeunt CLEOPATRA, ENOBARBUS, ALEXAS,
IRAS, CHARMIAN, Soothsayer, and Attend
Mess. Fulvia, thy wife, first came into the field.