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ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA.
SCENE I. - Alexandria. A Room in Cleopatra's
Enter DEMETRIUS and Philo.
Philo. Nay, but this dotage of our general's O’erflows the measure: those his goodly eyes, That o'er the files and musters of the war Have glow'd like plated Mars, now bend, now turn, The office and devotion of their view Upon a tawny front: his captain's heart, Which in the scuffles of great fights hath burst The buckles on his breast, reneges - all temper; And is become the bellows, and the fan, To cool a gipsy's lust. Look, where they come! Flourish. Enter Antony and CLEOPATRA, with their
Trains; Eunuchs fanning her. Take but good note, and you shall see in him The triple pillarof the world transform'd Into a strumpet's fool: behold and see.
reneges — ] Renounces. • The triple pillar - ] Triple is here used improperly for third, or one of three. One of the triumvirs, one of the three masters of the world. VOL. VII.
Cleo. If it be love indeed, tell me how much.
Enter an Attendant. Att. News, my good lord, from Rome. Ant.
Grates me:- The sum. 4 Cleo. Nay, hear them®, Antony: Fulvia, perchance, is angry; Or, who knows If the scarce-bearded Cæsar have not sent His powerful mandate to you, Do this, or this; Take in that kingdom®, and enfranchise that ; Perform't, or else we damn thee. 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 ?? 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-tongu'd Fulvia scolds. — The messengers,
Ant. Let Rome in Tyber melt! and the wide arch Of the rang'd 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,
- bourn - ] Bound or limit.
The sum.] Be brief, sum thy business in a few words. 5 Nay, hear them,] i. e. the news. This word, in Shakspeare's time, was considered as plural.
6 Take in, &c.] i. e. subdue, conquer.
On pain of punishment, the world to weet,&
Excellent falshood !
But stirr'd by Cleopatra. —
Cleo. Hear the ambassadors.
Fye, wrangling queen!
[Exeunt Ant. and CLEOP. with their Train. Dem. Is Cæsar with Antonius priz'd so slight?
Phi. Sir, sometimes, when he is not Antony,
I'm full sorry,
to weet,] To know. 9 Now, for the love of Love, and her soft hours,] For the love of Love, means, for the sake of the queen of love.
Let's not confound the time - ] i. e. let us not consume the time.
2 No messenger; but thine and all alone, &c.] Cleopatra has said, “ Call in the messengers ;” and afterwards, “Hear the ambassadors.” Talk not to me, says Antony, of messengers ; I am now wholly thine, and you and I unattended will to-night wander through the streets. • That he approves the common liar,] Fame. That he
the common liar, fame, in his case to be a true reporter.
Thus speaks of him at Rome: But I will hope
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 change 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.
change his horns with garlands! ] i. e. be a triumphant cuckold; a cuckold who will consider his state as an honourable
Mr. Malone, and some other of the commentators think the word should be charge.
Alex. Vex not his prescience; be attentive.
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 Herod of Jewry may do homage 5: find me to marry me with Octavius Cæsar, and companion me with my mistress.
Sooth. You shall outlive the lady whom you serve. Char. O excellent ! I love long life better than figs. Sooth. You have seen and proved a fairer former
fortune Than that which is to approach.
Char. Then, belike, my children shall have no names?: Pr’ythee, how many boys and wenches must I have?
to whom Herod of Jewry may do homage :) Herod paid homage to the Romans, to procure the grant of the kingdom of Judea: but I believe there is an allusion here to the theatrical character of this monarch, and to a proverbial expression founded on it. Herod was always one of the personages in the mysteries of our early stage, on which he was constantly represented as a fierce, haughty, blustering, tyrant, so that Herod of Jewry became a common proverb, expressive of turbulence and rage. Thus, Hamlet says of a ranting player, that he “out-herods Herod.” And, in this this tragedy, Alexas tells Cleopatra, that “not even Herod of Jewry dare look upon her when she is angry;" i.e. not even a man as fierce as Herod. According to this explanation, the sense of the present passage will be - Charmian wishes for a son who may arrive at such power and dominion that the proudest and fiercest monarchs of the earth may be brought under his yoke. STEEVENS.
I love long life better than figs.] This is a proverbial expression.
7 Then, belike, my children shall have no names :) If I have already had the best of my fortune, then I suppose I shall never name children, that is, I am never to be married. However, tell me the truth, tell me, how many ys and wenches ?