網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

And get her leave 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 linked 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 3 and life, stands up
For the main soldier : whose quality, going on,
The sides o' the world may danger.4 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't.

[Exeunt.

SCENE III.-The same.

Another Room in the same.

Enter CLEOPATRA, CHARMIAN, IRAs, and ALEXAS.

Cleo. Where is he?
Char.

I did not see him since.
Cleo. [To Alex.] See where he is, who's with him

what he does :

To part.] To depart. French partir, ? Petition us at home.] Call us home.

In blood.] In spirit or temper. Danger.] Endanger.

5 The courser's hair, &c.] There is here an allusion to the vulgar notion that horse-hairs buried in moisture became serpents.

[ocr errors]

I did not send you : 1—if you find him sad,
Say I am dancing; if in mirth, report
That I am sudden sick : quick, and return. [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 ?3
Char. In each thing give him way, cross him in no-

thing. Cleo. Thou teachest like a fool,--the way 4 to lose him.

Char. Tempt him not so too far: I wish, forbear; 5
In time we hate that which we often fear.
But here comes Antony.
Cleo.

I am sick and sullen.

Enter ANTONY.
Ant. I am sorry to give breathing to my purpose,

Cleo. Help me away, dear Charmian, I shall fall :
It cannot be thus long, the sides of nature
Will not sustain it.
Ant.

Now, my dearest queen,-
Cleo. Pray you, stand farther from me.
Ant.

What's the matter ?
Cleo. I know, by that same eye, there's some good

news.

What says

the married woman ?-You may go:

1 I did not send you.]

Do not let it be known that I sent you. 2 Sad.] In a serious mood. Sad often means serious in our old literature. "Speak sad brow and true maid. As you Like it, jii. 2.

3 I do not ] That I do not.
· The way.] That is the way.

5 I wish forbear.] Forbear is my wish. The verb forbear is here in the imperative mood.

1

Would she had never given you leave to come!
Let her not say 'tis I that keep you here, -
I have no power upon you; hers you are.

Ant. The gods best know,-
Cleo.

O, never was there queen
So mightily betrayed ! yet at the first
I saw the treasons planted.
Ant.

Cleopatra,
Cleo. Why should I think you can be mine and true,
Though you in swearing shake the throned gods,
Who have been false to Fulvia ? Riotous madness,
To be entangled with those mouth-made vows,
Which break themselves in swearing!
Ant.

Most sweet queen,
Cleo. Nay, pray you, seek no colour 2 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, 4
But was a race of heaven:5 they are so still,
Or thou, the greatest soldier of the world,
Art turned the greatest liar.
Ant.

How
now,

lady!

· Though you in swearing, 8c.] Though you should utter such oaths as might agitate the gods by whom you swear.

2 Colour.] Pretext. So in Acts xxvii. 30, Under colour as though they would have cast anchors out of the foreship.' 8 Our.] My.

None our parts so poor.] No one of my qualities was so poor. 5 But was a race of heaven.] Race is a suspicious word here, for which I would venture to substitute trace. There was eternity in the lips and eyes, bliss in the brows' bent, a trace of heaven in every quality. It should be remarked, however, that race had for one of its meanings smack or relish.

[blocks in formation]

5

Cleo. I would I had thy inches; thou shouldst 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 used with you. Our Italy Shines o'er with civil swords: Sextus Pompeius Makes his approaches to the porta of Rome: Equality of two domestic powers Breeds scrupulous faction:3 the hated, grown to strength, Are newly-grown to love; the condemned Pompey, Rich in his father's honour, creeps apace Into the hearts of such as have not thrived Upon the present state, whose numbers threaten; And quietness, grown sick of rest, would purge By any desperate change. My more particular, And that which most with

you

should safe my going, 6 Is Fulvia's death.

Cleo. Though age from folly could not give me freedom, It does from childishness:7--can Fulvia die ?

* In use.] In trust. So, in The Merchant of Venice, iv. 1, Antonio, speaking of Shylock's goods, desires to have .The other half in use' for the Jew's son-in-law. ? The port.] The gate. Lat. porta.

Scrupulous faction.] Party dissensions about little things. * And quietness, &c.] And who, grown sick of rest, would purge quietness by any desperate change.

5 My more particular.] What more immediately concerns myself. A man's particular meant his individuality, his own proper person. So in K. Lear, ii. 4, ‘For his particular, I'll receive him gladly.' The community at large was called the general; thus in Julius Cesar, ii. 1, 'I know no personal cause to spurn at him, but for the general.'

& Should safe my going.] Should make my going safe.

* It does from childishness.] It prevents my being imposed on like a child.

3

Ant. She's dead, my queen:
Look here, and, at thy sovereign leisure, read
The garboils she awaked; at the last best,
See when and where she died.2
Cleo.

O, most false love!
Where be the sacred vials 3 thou shouldst fill
With sorrowful water? Now I see, I see,
In Fulvia's death how mine received shall be.

Ant. Quarrel no more, but be prepared to know
The purposes I bear; which are, or cease,
As

you shall give the advice. By the fire
That quickens Nilus' slime, I go from hence
Thy soldier-servânt; making peace or war
As thou affect'st! 4
Cleo.

Cut my lace, Charmian, come!-
But let it be:-I am quickly ill and well;
So Antony loves.5
Ant.

My precious queen, forbear
And give true evidence to his love, which stands
An honourable trial.
Cleo.

So Fulvia told me.6
I prithee, turn aside and weep for her ;

1 Garboils.]

Turmoils. ? At the last best.] See at the last what is the best of the news. Staunton, we think, wrongly supposes best to be an epithet of endearment addressed to Cleopatra. That Antony should call “the last best' is what provokes the next speech. In North’s Plutarch it is said that by good fortune Fulvia sickened by the way and died.' See Extracts from Plutarch, 17.

8 Sacred vials.] An allusion to lachrymatories or tear-bottles. See Psalm lvi. 8, 'Put thou my tears in thy bottle.'

As thou affectest.] As thou inclinest. 6 So Antony loves.] And Antony's affection is just as fluctuating.

6 So Fulvia told me.] The case of Fulvia has told me what honourable trial your love stands,

« 上一頁繼續 »