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Doing the honour of thy lordliness (66)
(66) Doing the Honour of thy Lordliness
To one so meek.] These Editors, like Sir Martin Marr-all, are perpetually plunging into fresh Absurdities. Surely, Cleopatra must be bantering Cesar, to call herself meek, when he had the Moment before seen her Ay at her Treasurer, and wishing to tear out his Eyes. I correct,
To One so weak; i. e. fo fhrunk in Fortune and Power : vanquish'd, and spoil'd of her Kingdom. Besides, the might allude' to her bodily Decay. For Plxtarch tells usthat she receiv'd Cæfar, as she was lying on a poor pallat-bed'; that she threw herself at his Feet, in her Shift ; that her Hair was torn off, and her Face mangled; that her Voice was low and trembling, and her Eyes funk into her Head with continual Weeping: fo that she was in a pitiful State. And notwithstanding all these concurring Symptoms of weakness and Decay, there is no Inconsistency in her flying at her Treasurer: 'for, on any sudden Provocation, the Agonies of Resentment will exert against the lowest In. firmity, and put Nature on the Strain. (67) Or I fallshew the Cinders of my Spirits
Tbro? 'th' Ahes of my Chance ] If the Text be genuine, this must be the Allufion; she confiders herself, in her Downfall, as a Fabrick destroy'd by Fire: and then would intimate, that the same Fire has reducd her Spirits too Cinders ; i. e. consum'd the Strength and Dignity of her Soul and Mind. Mr. Warburton' thinks, the Poet wrote';
Thro? th? Ashes of my Cheeks. And, indeed, our Poet has an Image in Othello, that seems to coun: tenance this Correction.
I jould make very Forges of my Cheeks,
Through th' alhes of my chance: wert thou a man,
Cæf. Forbear, Seleucus.
Clee. My master, and my lord!
Cleo. He words me, Girls, he wordş me,
Iras. Finish, good lady, the bright day is done,
Cleo. Hie thee again. -(68)
[Exit Charm. (68)
Hie thee again.
Go put it to the hafte.]
Dol. Where is the Queen?
Dol. Madam, as thereto sworn, by your Command,
Dol. I your servant.
Iras. The Gods forbid!
Iras. O the good Gods!
Iras. I'll never see it; for, I'm sure, my nails
Cleo. Why, that's the way (69)
[A noise within Wherefore this noife?
Erter & Guardsman.
Why, that's the
Their most absurd Intents.] As plausible as this Epithet may at first Glance appear, I have great Sufpicions of it. Why should Cleopatra call Cæsar's Designs abfurd ! She could not think his Intent of carrying her in Triumph, such ; with regard to his own Glory: and her finding an Expedient to disappoint him, could not bring it under that predicament. I much tather think, the Poet wrote ;
and to conquer Their most assur'd Intents. i, e. the Purposes, which they are most determind to put in practice i make Themselves moit sure of accomplishing. So, in Lear':
All, that offer to defend him,
That Nature mas compell us to lament
I'm marble constant : now the Aeeting moon
Enter Guardsman, and Clown with a basket.
Cleo. Avoid and leave him. [Exit Guardsman. Hast thou the pretty worm of Nilus there, That kills and pains not ?
Clown. Truly, I have him : but I would not be the party 1hould desire you to touch him, for his biring is immortal : those, that do die of it, do seldom or never recover.
Cleo. Remember'st thou any that have dy'd on't ?
Clown. Very many, men and women too. I heard of one of them no longer than yesterday, a very honest woman, but something given to lic, as a woman should not do, but in the way of honesty.. How she dy'd of the biting of it, what pain she felt! truly, she . makes a very good report o'th' worm: but he, that will believe half that they say, shall never be saved by all that they do: (70) but this is most fallible, the worm's an odd worm.
Cleo. Get thee hence, farewel.
Clown. You must think this, look you, that the worm will do his kind.
Cleo. Ay, ay, farewel.
Clown. Look you, the worm is not to be trusted but in the keeping of wise people; for, indeed, there is no goodness in the worm.
Cleo. Take thou no care, it shall be heeded.
Clown. Very good: give it nothing, I pray you, for it is not worth the feeding.
Cleo. Will it e.it me? Clown. You must not think, I am so simple, but (70) But he that quill believe All that they say, Mall never be favid by half that they do.] Shakespeare's Clowns are always Jokers, and deal in fly Satire. "Tis plain, this must be read the contrary way, and all and balf change places with one another. Mr. Warburton.