图书图片
PDF
ePub

woman that cannot go, sweet Isis, I beseech thee: and let her die too, and give him a worse; and let worse 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 heart-breaking to see a handsome man loose-wived, so it is a deadly sorrow to behold a foul knave uncuckolded : therefore, dear Isis, keep decorum, and fortune him accordingly!

Char. Amen.

Alex. Lo, now! if it lay in their hands to make me a cuckold, they would make themselves whores, but they'd do't.

Eno. Hush! here comes Antony.
Char.

Not he, the queen.
Enter CLEOPATRA.
Cleo. Saw you my lords?
Eno. No, lady.
Cleo. Was he not here?
Char. No, madam.

Cleo. He was dispos’d to mirth; but on the sudden, A Roman thought hath struck him.- Enobarbus,— .

Eno. Madam.
Cleo. Seek him, and bring him hither. Where's

Alexas?
Alex. Here, at your service.—My lord approaches.

OPATRA.

Enter ANTONY, with a Messenger and Attendants. Cleo. We will not look upon him: go with us. [Exeunt CLEOPATRA, ENOBARBUS, ALEXAS, IRAS,

CHARMIAN, Soothsayer, and Attendants. “ Alexas” for a prefix, printed what followed as if spoken by him. The blunder was preserved in the later folios.

8 Saw you my lord ?] “Sare you my lord” in the folio, 1623; but corrected by the editor of the second folio.

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, jointing their force 'gainst

Cæsar;
Whose better issue in the war, from Italy
Upon the first encounter drave them.
Ant.

Well, what worst? Mess. The nature of bad news infects the teller.

Ant. When it concerns the fool, or coward.—On:
Things, that are past, are done, with me.—'Tis thus;
Who tells me true, though in his tale lie death,
I hear him as he flatter'd.
Mess.

Labienus
(This is stiff news) hath with his Parthian force
Extended Asia from Euphrates';
His conquering banner shook from Syria
To Lydia, and to Ionia; whilst

Ant. Antony, thou would'st say,—
Mess. O, my lord!
Ant. Speak to me home, mince not the general

tongue;
Name Cleopatra as she is call'd in Rome;
Rail thou in Fulvia's phrase, and taunt my faults
With such full licence, as both truth and malice
Have power to utter. O! then we bring forth weeds,
When our quick winds lie still?; and our ills told us,

1 EXTENDED Asia from Euphrates ;] To extend was anciently to seize ; and it is still used in this sense in law proceedings.

2 When our quick winds lie still ;] So printed in all the old copies, and Warburton altered “ winds” to minds with more plausibility than necessity. Perhaps “ winds” ought to be spelt wints, which in Kent and Sussex is an agricultural term, (in other parts of the country called a bout) meaning, “two furrows ploughed by the horses going to one end of the field and back again." See Cooper's “ Glossary of Provincialisms in use in the County of Sussex," 8vo. 1836; also Holloway's “General Provincial Dictionary," 8vo. 1838. “ Our quick winds," therefore, is to be understood as our productire soil. “ Earing” in the next line is ploughing; a sense in which we have had it used in “ Richard II.” Vol. iv. p. 169, and in which it occurs again later in this drama. See p. 21.

Is as our earing. Fare thee well awhile.
Mess. At your noble pleasure.

[Exit. Ant. From Sicyon how the news ? Speak there. 1 Att. The man from Sicyon.—Is there such an one? 2 Att. He stays upon your will. Ant.

Let him appear.These strong Egyptian fetters I must break,

Enter another Messenger.
Or lose myself in dotage.- What are you?

2 Mess. Fulvia thy wife is dead.
Ant.

Where died she? 2 Mess. In Sicyon: Her length of sickness, with what else more serious Importeth thee to know, this bears. [Giving a Letter. Ant.

Forbear me.

[Exit Messenger. There's a great spirit gone. Thus did I desire it: What our contempts do often hurl from us, We wish it ours again; the present pleasure, By revolution lowering, does become The opposite of itself: she's good, being gone; The hand could pluck her back, that shov'd her on. I must from this enchanting queen break off; Ten thousand harms, inore than the ills I know, My idleness doth hatch.—How now! Enobarbus !

Enter ENOBARBUS.

Eno. What's your pleasure, sir?
Ant. I must with haste from hence.

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.

3 I must from this ENCHANTING queen-] It is a great error in the second folio to omit "enchanting ;" and it was not corrected in the folios 1664 or 1685, which were printed from each other. The line was therefore left imperfect until the time of Rowe.

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. 0, sir! you had then left unseen a wonderful piece of work, which not to have been blessed withal would have discredited your travel.

Ant. Fulvia is dead.
Eno. Sir?
Ant. Fulvia is dead.
Eno. Fulvia !
Ant. Dead.

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 worm, though probably 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.”

« 上一页继续 »