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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. I do think, there is mettle in death, which commits some loving act upon her, she hath such a celerity in dying.
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
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, 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 link'd 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 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 it. [Exeunt.
• The cause of our EXPEDIENCE-) i. e. of our expedition. See“ Henry IV.” part i. Vol. iv. p. 226, where the following lines occur :
“ What yesternight our council did decree
In forwarding this dear expedience.” The parallel passage in our text is there referred to, and it is shown that Shakespeare used the words “expedience” and “expedition” indifferently.
5 And not a serpent's poison.) There was an old superstition that horse hair laid in water turned to serpents. Coleridge, in his “ Literary Remains,” vol. ii. p. 145, informs us that a notion of the kind still prevails in Cumberland and Westmoreland. “ This,” he says, “ is so far true to appearance, that a horsehair laid, as Holinshed says, in a pail of water, will become the supporter of, seemingly, one worin, though probab of an immense number of small, slimy water-lice. The hair will twirl round the finger, and sensibly compress it. It is a common experiment with school-boys in Cumberland and Westmoreland.”
Enter CLEOPATRA, CHARMIAN, IRAS, and ALEXAS.
Cleo. Where is he?
I did not see him since.
[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 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.
But here comes Antony.
I am sick, and sullen.
Cleo. Help me away, dear Charmian, I shall fall:
Now, my dearest queen,-
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!
Ant. The gods best know,-
O! never was there queen
Most sweet queen,
Cleo. Nay, pray you, seek no colour 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; Bliss in our brows' bent; none our parts so poor, But was a race of heaven : they are so still, Or thou, the greatest soldier of the world, Art turn'd the greatest liar. Ant.
How now, lady! Cleo. I would, I had thy inches; thou should'st
know, There were a heart in Egypt. Ant.
Hear me, queen. The strong necessity of time commands Our services a while, but my full heart Remains in use with you. Our Italy Shines o'er with civil swords: Sextus Pompeius Makes his approaches to the port of Rome: Equality of two domestic powers Breeds scrupulous faction. The hated, grown to strength, Are newly grown to love: the condemn’d Pompey, Rich in his father's honour, creeps apace
Into the hearts of such as have not thriv'd
Ant. She's dead, my queen.
O most false love!
Ant. Quarrel no more, but be prepar'd to know
you shall give the advice: by the fire
Cut my lace, Charmian, come.---
6 The GARBOILS she awak'd ;] “Garboils " was a common word for commotions in the time of Shakespeare ; it occurs again afterwards, p. 31 ; and it was used by the best authors, although Stanihurst fell under the ridicule of Hall, in his 6th satire, of book i.
“ Manhood and garboils shall he chant with changed feet.” Stanihurst employs the word in the opening of his English-hexameter translation of the Æneid, 1584, in the line,
“ Now, manhood and garboils I chaunt, and martial horror.” We quote from the beautiful reprint of this very rare and curious work, made at Edinburgh in 1836, we believe, under the editorial superintendence of Mr. Maidment. Scotland has contributed her full share of valuable works of this description. 7- I am quickly ill, and well,
So Antony loves.] i.e. Probably, “I am quickly ill or well, according as Antony loves me.” First Cleopatra tells Charmian to cut her lace, then to let VOL. VIII.