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Let fall thy blade on vulnerable crests ; 11
Despair thy charm ;
me so, For it hath cow'd my better part of man ! And be these juggling fiends no more believed, That palter with us in a double sense ; 20 That keep the word of promise to our ear, And break it to our hope. I'll not fight with
And live to be the show and gaze o' the time :
I will not yield,
feet, And to be baited with the rabble's curse. 29 Thongh Birnam wood be come to Dunsinane, And thou opposed, being of no woman born, Yet I will try the last. Before my body I throw my warlike shield. Lay ön, Macduff, And damn'd be him that first cries, 'Hold,
enough!' (Exeunt, fighting. Alarums. Retreat. Flourish. Enter, with drum and
colors, MALCOLM, old SIWARD, Ross, the
dier's debt : He only lived but till he was a man ;
40 The which no sooner had his prowess con
firm'd In the unshrinking station where he fought, But like a man he died.
Then he is dead ?
cause of sorrow
Had he his hurts before ?
Sivo. Why then, God's soldier be he!
50 And that I'll spend for him. Siro.
He's worth no more : They say he parted well, and paid his score : And so, God be with him ! Here comes newer
comfort. Re-enter MACDUFF, with MACBETH's head. Macd. Hail, king! for so thou art : behold,
where stands The usurper's cursed head : the time is free : I see thee compass'd with thy kingdom's pearl, That speak my salutation in their minds; Whose voices I desire aloud with mine : Hail, King of Scotland !
All. Hail, King of Scotland ! (Flourish. Mal. We shall not spend a large expense of time
60 Before we reckon with your several loves, And make us even with you. My thanes and
kinsmen, Henceforth be earls, the first that ever Scote
land In such an honor named. What's more to do, Which would be planted newly with the time, As calling home our exiled friends abroad That fled the snares of watchful tyranny ; Producing forth the cruel ministers Of this dead butcher and his fiend-like queen, Who, as 'tis thought, by self and violent hands
70 Took off her life; this, and what needful else That calls upon us, by the grace of Grace, We will perform in measure, time and place : So, thanks to all at once and to each one, Whom we invite to see us crowu'd at Scone.
[Flourish. Exeunio 56
(WRITTEN ABOUT 1607.)
This play, though by the person of Antony it connects itself with Julius Cæsar, is a striking contrast to it in subject and style, and is separated from it in the chronological order by a wide interval. In May of the year 1608, Blount (afterwards one of the publishers of the First Folio) entered in the Stationers' register A Book called Antony and Cleopatra. Tuis was probably Shakespeare's tragedy. The source of ihe play is the life of Antonius in North's Piutarch. Shakespeare had found in Plus tarch his Brutus almost ready made to his hand; he deemed it necessary to transform and transtig. ure the Antony of history, stained as he is not only by crimes of voluptuousness but of cruelty. all Shakespeare's historical plays," says Coleridge, - Antony and Cleopatra is by far the most wonderful,” and he calls attention to what he terms its “happy valiancy” of style. Shakespeare, indeed, nowhere seems a greater master of a great dramatic theme. The moral ideals, the doctrines, the stoical habits and stoical philosophy of Brutus and Portia, are as remote as possible from the sensuous splendors of the life in Egypt, from Antony's careless magnificence of strength, and the beauty, the arts, and the endless variety of Cleopatra. Yet, though the tragedy has all the glow and color of oriental magnificence, it remains true at heart to the inoral laws which govern human life. The worship of pleasure by the Egyptian queen and her paramour is, after all, a failure, even from the first. There is no true confidence, no steadfast strength of love possible between Antony and his " serpent of old Nile,” Each inspires the other with a mastering spirit of fascination, but Antony knows not the moment when Cleopatra may be faithless to him, and Cleopatra weaves her endless snares to retain her power over Antony. The great Roman soldier gradually loses his energy, his judgment, and even his joy in life ; at last, the despair of spent forces settles down upon him, and it is only out of despair that he snatches strength enough to fight fiercely when driven to bay. He is the ruin of Cleopatra's magic. Upon Cleopatra herself the genius of Shakespeare has been lavished. She is the most wonderful of his creations of women, formed of the greatest number of elements-apparently conflicting elements, yet united by the mystery of life. While creating, with 80 much imaginative ardor, his Cleopatra. Shakespeare yet stands away from her, and, in a manner. criticises her. Enobarbus, who sees through every wile and guile of the Queen, is, as it were, a chorus to the play, a looker-on at the game; he stands clear of the golden haze which makes up the atmosphere around Cleopatra ; and yet he is not a mere critic or commentator (Shakespeare never permitting the presence of a person in his drama who is not a true portion of it). Enobarbus himBelf is under the influence of the charm of Antony, and slays bimself because he has wronged his master. The figures of Antony and the Queen are ennobled and elevated by the strong power of attraction, even of devotion, which they exert over those about them-Antony over Enobarbus, Cleopatra over her attendants, Charmian and Iras.
TAURUS, lieutenant-general to Cæsar.
attendants on Cleopatra.
tendants. SCENE: In several parts of the Roman empire,
SCENE I. Alexandria. A room in Cleopatra's
palace. Enter DEMETRICs and Philo. Phi. 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. Flourish. Enter ANTONY, CLEOPATRA, her Ladies, the Train, with Eunuchs fanning her.
Look, where they come : 10 Take but good note, and you shall see in him. The triple pillar of the world transform'd Into a strumpet's fool : behold and see.
Cleo. If it be love indeed, tell me how much. Ant. There's beggary in the love that can
be reckon'd. Cleo. I'll set a bourn how far to be beloved. Ant. Then must thou needs find out new heaven, new earth.
Enter an Attendant.
Grates me : the sum.
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
30 Is Caesar's homager : else so thy cheek pays
shame When shrill-tongued Fuivia scolds. The mes
sengers ! Ant. Let Rome in Tiber melt, and the wide
arch Of the ranged 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, On pain of punishment, the world to weet We stand up peerless. Cleo,
Excellent falsehood! 40 Why did he marry Fulvia, and not love her ?
I'll seem the fool I am not ; Antony
But stirr'd by Cleopatra.
harsh : There's not a minute of our lives should
stretch Without some pleasure now. What sport to
Fie, wrangling queen:
note The qualities of people. Come, my queen ; Last night you did desire it : speak not to us.
(Exeunt Ant. and Cleo. with their train. Dem. Is Cæsar with Antonius prized so
slight? Phi. Sir, sometimes, when he is not Antony, He comes too short of that great property Which still should go with Antony. Dem.
I am full sorry That he approves the common liar, who 60 Thus speaks of him at Rome :, but I will hope Of better deeds to-morrow. Rest you happy!
(Exeunt. SCENE II. The same. Another room. Enter CHARMIAN, IRAS, ALEXAs, and a Sooth
sayer. 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 charge his horns with garlands!
Aler. Soothsayer !
know things ?
Show him your hand. 10
Char. Good sir, give me good fortune.
21 Sooth. Yon shall be more beloving than be
Char. I had rather heat my liver with
drinking: Alex. Nay, hear him.
Cha. 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 hornage : find me to marry me with Octavius Cæsar, and companion me with my mistress. Sooth. You shall outlive the lady whom you
31 Char. O excellent! I love long life better than figs.
[former fortune Sooth. You have seen and proved a fairer Tha: that which is to approach.
Char. Then belike my children shall have no names: prithee, how many boys and wenches must I have ?
Sooth. If every of your wishes had a womb, And fertile every wish, a million.
Char. Out, fool! I forgive thee for a witch.
Aler. You think none but your sheets are privy to your wishes.
41 Char. Nay, come, tell Iras hers. Alex, We'll know all our fortunes.
Eno. Mine, and most of our fortunes, toniglit, shall be-drunk to bed.
Iras. There's a palm presages chastity, if nothing else.
Char. E'en as the o'erflowing Nilus presageth famine.
50 Iras. Go, you wild bedfellow, you cannot soothsay.
Char. Nay, if an oily palm be not a fruitful prognostication, I cannot scratch mive ear. Prithee, tell her but a worky-day fortune.
Sooth. Your fortunes are alike.
Iras. But how, but how? give me particulars.
Sooth. I have said.
Iras. Am I not an inch of fortune better than she ?
60 Char. Well, if you were but an inch of fortune better than I, where would you choose it ?
Iras. Not in my husband's nose.
Char. Our worser thoughts heavens mend ! Alexas, --come, his fortune, his fortuno! 0, let him marry a woman that cannot go, sweet Isis, I beseech thee! and let her die too, and give him a worse ! and let worst follow worse, till the worst of all follow him laughing to his grave, fifty-fold a cuckold! Good Isis, hear me this prayer, though thou deny me a matter of more weight; good Isis, I beseech thee!
Iras. Amen. Dear goddess, hear that prayer of the people ! for, as it is a heartbreaking to see a handsome man loose-wired, so it is a deadly sorrow to behold a foul knave uncuckolded : therefore, dear Isis, keep decorum, and fortune him accordingiy ! Char. Amen.
79 Alex. Lo, now, if it lay in their hands to make me a cuckold, they would make themselves whores but they'id do't ! Eno. Lush ! here comes Antony. Char
Not be tho queen
Was he not here?
the sudden A Roman thought hath struck him. Enobarbus!
Eno. Madam ?
Where's Alexas ?
90 Cleo. We will not look upon him : go with
[Ereunt. Enter ANTONY with a Messenger and Attend
ants. Mess. Fulvia thy wife first came into the
field. Ant. Against my brother Lucius ?
Mess. Ay: But soon that war had end, and the time's
state Made friends of them, joining their force
Well, what worst?
teller. Ant. When it concerns the fool or coward. On :
100 Things that are past are done with me. "Tis
thus : Who tells me true, though in his tale jie
death, I hear him as he flatter'd. Mess.
Ant. Antony, thou wouldst say,-
O, my lord ! Ant. Speak to me home, mince not the
general tongue : Name Cleopatra as she is call'd in Rome , 110 Rail thou in Fulvia's phrase ; and taunt my
faults With such full license as both truth and mal
ice Have power to atter. O, then we bring forth
weeds, When our quick minds lie still ; and our ills
Mess. At vour noble pleasure.
there! First Att. The man from Sicyon,-is there
such an one? Sec. Att. Ho stays upon your will. Ant.
Ict him appear.
These strong Egyptian fetters I must break, Or lose myself in dotage.
121 Enter another Messenger.
What are you?
Where died she 8
serious Importeth thee to know, this bears.
[Gives a letter. Ant.
[Exit Sec. Messenger. There's a great spirit gone! Thus did I de
sire it: What our contempt doth often hurl from us, We wish it ours again ; the yresent pleasure, By revolution lowering, does beco.no The opposite of itself : she's good, being gone ;
130 The hand could pluck her back that shoved
her on. I must from this enchanting queen break off : Ten thousand harms, more than the ills I
know, My idleness doth hatch. How now! Enobarbus!
Eno. Why, then, we kill all our women : we see how mortal an unkindness is to them; if they suffer our departure, death's the word. Ant. I must be gone.
140 Eno. Under a compelling occasion, let women die ; it were pity to cast them away for nothing; though, between them and å 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 conimits some loving act upon her, she hat such a celerity in dying.
Ant. She is cunning past man's thought. 150
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 blest withal would have aiscredited your travel,
Ani, Fulvia is dead.
Enn. 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 Jout there are members to make new. If then, 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 petticoac: and indeed the tears live in an onion that should water this sorrow.
(state Ant. The business she hath broached in the Cannot endure my absence.
179 Eno. And the business you have broached here cantict. be without you ; especially that of Cleopatra's, which wholly depends on your abode.
Ant. No more light answers. Let our offiHave notice what we purpose. I shall break The cause of our expedience to the queen, 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 190 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, bath yet but life,
200 And not a serpent's poison. Say, our pleasure, To such whose price is under us, requires Our quick remove from hence. Eno. I shall do't.
[Exeunt. SCENE III. The same. Another room. Enter CLEOPATRA, CHARMIAN, IRAS, and
ALEXAS. Cleo. Where is he? Char.
I did not see him since. Cleo. See where he is, who's with him
what he does :
[Erit Alexas. Char. Madam, methinks, if you did love
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.
10 Char. Tempt him not so too far ; I wish,