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Char. My arm is sore, best play with Mardian.
Cleo. As well a woman with an eunuch play'a,
Mar. As well as I can, madam.
come too short,
'Twas merry, when
That time!-O times ! -
Enter a Messenger.
let us to billiards :) This is one of the numerous anachronisms that are found in these plays.
But well and free,
First, madam, he's well. Cleo. Why, there's more gold. But, sirrah, marks
To say, the dead are well: bring it to that,
Mess. Good madam, hear me.
Well, go to, I will;
Will't please you hear me? Cleo. I have a mind to strike thee, ere thou
Madam, he's well.
Well said. Mess. And friends with Cæsar. Cleo.
Thou'rt an honest man. Mess. Cæsar and he are greater friends than ever. Cleo. Make thee a fortune from me. Mess.
But yet, madam,Cleo. I do not like but yet, it does allay
. Not like a formal man.] i. e. a man in form, i.e. shape. You should come in the form of a fury, and not in the form of a
but yet :
The good precedence ;' fye upon
Mess. Free, madam! no; I made no such report:
For what good turn?
I am pale, Charmian.
[Strikes him down.
What say you Hence,
[Strikes him again.
[She hales him up and down.
Cleo. Say, 'tis not so, a province I will give thee,
He's married, madam.
[Draws a dagger. Mess.
Nay, then I'll run :
it does allay The good precedence;] i. e. abates the good quality of what is already reported.
What mean you, madam? I have made no fault.
Char. He is afeard to come.
I will not hurt him :
I have done my duty.
He is married, madam. Cleo. The gods confound thee! dost thou hold
there still? Mess. Should I lie, madam ?
'These hands do lack nobility, that they strike
A meaner than myself ;) Perhaps here was intended an indirect censure of Queen Elizabeth, for her unprincely and unfeminine treatment of the amiable Earl of Essex. The play was probably not produced till after her death, when a stroke at her proud and passionate demeanour to her courtiers and maids of honour (for her majesty used to chastise them too) might be safely hazarded. In a subsequent part of this scene there is (as Dr. Grey has observed) an evident allusion to Elizabeth's enquiries concerning the person of her rival, Mary, Queen of Scots. MALONE.
0, I would, thou didst;
Mess. I crave your highness' pardon.
He is married? Mess. Take no offence, that I would not offend
you: To punish me for what you make me do, Seems much unequal : He is married to Octavia. Cleo. O, that his fault should make a knave of
thee, That art not!-What? thou’rt sure of't? - Get thee
hence : The merchandise which thou hast brought from
Rome, Are all too dear for me; Lie they upon thy hand, And be undone by 'em! [Exit Messenger. Char.
Good your highness, patience. Cleo. In praising Antony, I have disprais'd Cæsar. Char. Many times, madam. Cleo.
I am paid fort now. Lead me from hence, I faint; O Iras, Charmian,-'Tis no matter : Go to the fellow, good Alexas; bid him Report the feature of Octavia,' her years, Her inclination, let him not leave out The colour of her hair :-bring me word quickly.
[E.rit ALEXAS Let him for ever go :'-Let him not-Charmian,
were submerg'd,] Submerg'd is whelmed under water.
the feature of Octavia,] By feature seems to be meant, the cast and make of her face. Feature, however, anciently ap. pears to have signified beauty in general.
* Let him for ever go:] She is now talking in broken sentence not of the Messenger, but Antony. JOHNSON.