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Lep.

Before you, Lepidus.

Your way is shorter;
My purposes do draw me much about:
You'll win two days upon me.
Mec. Agr.

Sir, good success!
Lep. Farewell.

[Exeunt.

SCENE V.

Alexandria.

A Room in the Palace.

Enter CLEOPATRA, CHARMIAN, IRAs, and ALEXAS.

Cleo. Give me some music, music, moody food
Of us that trade in love.
Attend.

The music, ho!

Enter MARDIAN.
Cleo. Let it alone; let 's to billiards: come, Char-

mian.
Char. My arm is sore, best play with Mardian.

Cleo. As well a woman with an eunuch play'd,
As with a woman.—Come, you'll play with me, sir?

Mar. As well as I can, madam.
Cleo. And when good will is show'd, though 't come

too short,
The actor may plead pardon. I'll none now.-
Give me mine angle,—we'll to the river: there,
My music playing far off, I will betray
Tawny-finn'd' fishes; my bended hook shall pierce
Their slimy jaws, and as I draw them up,
I'll think them every one an Antony,
And say, Ah, ha! you're caught.

7 Tawney-finn'd-] Theobald altered Tawney-fine, of all the folios, into “ Tawney-finn’d,” aud the change seems required.

Char.

'Twas merry, when
You wager'd on your angling; when your diver
Did hang a salt-fish on his hook, which he
With fervency drew up.
Cleo.

That time,-0 times !
I laugh’d him out of patience; and that night
I laugh'd him into patience: and next morn,
Ere the ninth hour, I drunk him to his bed;
Then, put my tires and mantles on him, whilst
I wore his sword Philippian.-

Enter a Messenger.

O! from Italy?-
Ram thou thy fruitful tidings in mine ears,
That long time have been barren.
Mess.

Madam, madam,—
Cleo. Antony's dead ?-
If thou say so, villain, thou kill'st thy mistress :
But well and free,
If thou so yield him, there is gold, and here
My bluest veins to kiss; a hand, that kings
Have lipp’d, and trembled kissing.

Mess. First, madam, he is well.
Cleo.

Why, there's more gold.
But, sirrah, mark, we use
To say, the dead are well: bring it to that,
The gold I give thee will I melt, and pour
Down thy ill-uttering throat.

Mess. Good madam, hear me.
Cleo.

Well, go to, I will ;
But there's no goodness in thy face. If Antony
Be free, and healthful,—so tart a favour
To trumpet such good tidings! if not well,
Thou should'st come like a fury crown'd with snakes,
Not like a formal man.
Mess.

Will't please you hear me? Cleo. I have a mind to strike thee, ere tbou speak'st: Cleo.

Yet, if thou say, Antony lives, 'tis well;
Or friends with Cæsar, or not captive to him,
I'll set thee in a shower of gold, and hail
Rich pearls upon thee.
Mess.

Madam, he's well.

Well said. Mess. And friends with Cæsar. Cleo.

Thou’rt an honest man. Mess. Cæsar and he are greater friends than ever. Cleo. Make thee a fortune from me. Mess.

But yet, madam,Cleo. I do not like “but yet,” it does allay The good precedence; fie upon “but yet!” “But yet” is as a gaoler to bring forth Some monstrous malefactor. Pr'ythee, friend, Pour out the pack of matter to mine ear, The good and bad together. He's friends with Cæsar; In state of health, thou say’st; and, thou say’st, free.

Mess. Free, madam ? no; I made no such report :
He's bound unto Octavia.
Cleo.

For what good turn?
Mess. For the best turn i' the bed.
Cleo.

I am pale, Charmian.
Mess. Madam, he's married to Octavia.
Cleo. The most infectious pestilence upon thee!

[Strikes him down. Mess. Good madam, patience. Cleo.

What say you ?-Hence,

[Strikes him again. Horrible villain! or I'll spurn thine eyes Like balls before me: I'll unhair thy head.

She hales him up and down. Thou shalt be whipp'd with wire, and stew'd in brine, Smarting in lingering pickle. Mess.

Gracious madam, I, that do bring the news, made not the match.

Cleo. Say, 'tis not so, a province I will give thee,

nic

And make thy fortunes proud : the blow thou hadst
Shall make thy peace, for moving me to rage;
And I will boot thee with what gift beside
Thy modesty can beg.
Mess.

He's married, madam.
Cleo. Rogue! thou hast liv'd too long.

[Draws a Dagger. Mess.

Nay, then I'll run.What mean you, madam? I have made no fault.

[Exit. Char. Good madam, keep yourself within yourself: The man is innocent.

Cleo. Some innocents 'scape not the thunder-bolt.-
Melt Egypt into Nile! and kindly creatures
Turn all to serpents Call the slave again:
Though I am mad, I will not bite him.-Call.

Char. He is afeard to come.
Cleo.

I will not hurt him.-
These hands do lack nobility, that they strike
A meaner than myself; since I myself
Have given myself the cause.—Come hither, sir.

Re-enter Messenger.

Though it be honest, it is never good
To bring bad news: give to a gracious message
An host of tongues; but let ill tidings tell
Themselves, when they be felt.
Mess. I have done my duty.
Cleo.

Is he married ?
I cannot hate thee worser than I do,
If thou again say, Yes.
Mess.

He 's married, madam.
Cleo. The gods confound thee! dost thou hold there

still ? Mess. Should I lie, madam ? Cleo.

0! I would, thou didst,

So half my Egypt were submerg’d, and made
A cistern for scald snakes. Go, get thee hence:
Hadst thou Narcissus in thy face, to me
Thou would'st appear most ugly. He is married ?

Mess. I crave your highness' pardon.
Cleo.

He is married ?
Mess. Take no offence, that I would not offend you :
To punish me for what you make me do,
Seems much unequal. He is married to Octavia.

Cleo. O! that his fault should make a knave of thee, That art not! What! thou’rt sure of 8 ?—Get thee

hence: The merchandise which thou hast brought from Rome, Are all too dear for me: lie they upon thy hand, And be undone by 'em!

[Exit Messenger. Char.

Good your highness, patience. Cleo. In praising Antony, I have disprais'd Cæsar. Char. Many times, madam. Cleo.

I am paid for't now. Lead me from hence; I faint. O Iras! Charmian !—Tis no matter.— Go to the fellow, good Alexas; bid him Report the feature of Octavia, her years, Her inclination, let him not leave out The colour of her hair: bring me word quickly.

[Exit ALEXAS. Let him for ever go :-let him not-Charmian, Though he be painted one way like a Gorgon,

80! that his fault should make a knave of thee,

That art not! What! thou’rt sure of ?] Our punctuation of this disputed passage is that of Monck Mason ; but he wished also to read, “ What! thou’rt sure of 't?-a slight change, indeed, but as it is not absolutely necessary, we do not carry our variation from the old copies farther than changing the pointing : in the folio, 1623, it stands,

“O that his fault should make a knave of thee,

That art not what thou’rt sure of.This, it must be admitted, is far from intelligible. By the words “ What! thou’rt sure of ?” Cleopatra intends to inquire of the messenger once more, whether he is certain of the tidings he has brought. The meaning of the first part of the passage, as we have given it, is very evident.

9.

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