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ANT. I am sorry to give breathing to my pur
CLEO. Help me away, dear Charmian, I shall fall; It cannot be thus long, the sides of nature
Will not sustain it 2.
Now, my dearest queen,
CLEO. Pray you, stand further from me.
What's the matter?
CLEO. I know, by that same eye, there's some good news.
What says the married woman ?-You may go;
I have no power upon you; hers you are.
O, never was there queen
So mightily betray'd! Yet, at the first,
CLEO. Why should I think, you can be mine,
Though you in swearing shake the throned gods3, Who have been false to Fulvia? Riotous madness, To be entangled with those mouth-made vows, Which break themselves in swearing!
Most sweet queen,
CLEO. Nay, pray you, seek no colour for your going.
the SIDES of nature
Will not sustain it.] So, in Twelfth-Night :
"There is no woman's sides
"Can bide the beating of so strong a passion." STEEVENS. 3 Though you in swearing shake the throned gods,] So, in Timon of Athens:
Although, I know, you'll swear, terribly swear,
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,
Art turn'd the greatest liar.
How now, lady!
CLEO. I would, I had thy inches; thou should'st
There were a heart in Egypt.
Hear me, queen:
Our services a while; but my full heart
Remains in use with you. Our Italy
Shines o'er with civil swords: Sextus Pompeius
Breed scrupulous faction: The hated, grown to strength,
Are newly grown to love: the condemn'd Pompey, Rich in his father's honour, creeps apace
Into the hearts of such as have not thriv'd
Upon the present state, whose numbers threaten;
in our BROWS' BENT ;] i. e. in the arch of our eye-brows. So, in King John:
Why do you bend such solemn brows on me?" STEEVENS. 5-a race of heaven :] i. e. had a smack or flavour of heaven. WARBURTON.
This word is well explained by Dr. Warburton; the race of wine is the taste of the soil. Sir T. Hanmer, not understanding the word, reads, ray. JOHNSON.
I am not sure that the poet did not mean, was of heavenly origin.' MALONE.
Remains in use -] The poet seems to allude to the legal distinction between the use and absolute possession. JOHNSON. The same phrase has already occurred in The Merchant of Venice:
I am content, so he will let me have
And quietness, grown sick of rest, would purge
Is Fulvia's death.
CLEO. Though age from folly could not give me freedom,
It does from childishness :-Can Fulvia die?
Look here, and, at thy sovereign leisure, read
should SAFE my going,] i. e. should render my going not dangerous, not likely to produce any mischief to you. Mr. Theobald, instead of safe, the reading of the old copy, unnecessarily reads salve. MALONE.
safe my going, is the true reading. So, in a subsequent scene, a soldier says to Enobarbus:
Best you safed the bringer
"Out of the host."
8 It does from childishness :-Can Fulvia die ?] That Fulvia was mortal, Cleopatra could have no reason to doubt; the meaning therefore of her question seems to be: "Will there ever be an end of your excuses? As often as you want to leave me, will not some Fulvia, some new pretext be found for your departure? She has already said that though age could not exempt her from follies, at least it frees her from a childish belief in all he says. STEEVENS.
I am inclined to think, that Cleopatra means no more thanIs it possible that Fulvia should die? I will not believe it.
RITSON. Though age has not exempted me from folly, I am not so childish, as to have apprehensions from a rival that is no more. And is Fulvia dead indeed? Such, I think, is the meaning. MALONE.
9 The GARBOILS she awak'd ;] i. e. the commotion she occasioned. The word is used by Heywood, in The Rape of Lucrece, 1638:
thou Tarquin, dost alone survive, "The head of all those garboiles."
Again, by Stanyhurst, in his translation of the first book of Virgil's Eneid, 1582:
"Now manhood and garboils I chaunt and martial horror.”
O most false love!
CLEO. Where be the sacred vials thou should'st fill With sorrowful water2? Now I see, I see, In Fulvia's death, how mine receiv'd shall be. ANT. Quarrel no more, but be prepar'd to know The purposes I bear; which are, or cease, As you shall give the advice: By the fire 3, That quickens Nilus' slime, I go from hence, Thy soldier, servant; making peace, or war, As thou affect'st.
CLEO. Cut my lace, Charmian, come ;— But let it be.I am quickly ill, and well: So Antony loves *.
Again, in Jarvis Markham's English Arcadia, 1607: "Days of mourning by continuall garboiles were, however, numbered and encreased." The word is derived from the old French garbouil, which Cotgrave explains by hurlyburly, great stir. STEEVENS. In Cawdrey's Alphabetical Table of Hard Words, 8vo. 1604, garboile is explained by the word hurlyburly. MALONE.
at the last, best:] This conjugal tribute to the memory of Fulvia, may be illustrated by Malcolm's eulogium on the thane of Cawdor:
nothing in his life
"Became him, like the leaving it." STEEVENS.
Surely it means her death was the best thing I have known of her, as it checked her garboils. Boswell.
2 O most false love!
Where be the sacred vials thou should'st fill
With sorrowful water?] Alluding to the lachrymatory vials, of bottles of tears, which the Romans sometimes put into the urn of a friend. JOHNSON.
So, in the first Act of The Two Noble Kinsmen, said to be written by Fletcher, in conjunction with Shakspeare:
"Balms and gums, and heavy cheers,
"Sacred vials, fill'd with tears." STEEVENS.
Now, by the fire, &c.] Some word, in the old copies, being here wanting to the metre, I have not scrupled to insert the adverb-Now, on the authority of the following passage in King John, as well as on that of many others in the different pieces of our author:
Now, by the sky that hangs above our heads, "I like it well-." STEEVENS.
4 So Antony loves.] i. e. uncertain as the state of my health is the love of Antony. STEEVENS.
I believe Mr. Steevens is right; yet before I read his note, I
My precious queen, forbear;
And give true evidence to his love, which stands
So Fulvia told me.
I pr'ythee, turn aside, and weep for her;
You'll heat my blood: no more. CLEO. You can do better yet; but this is meetly.
ANT. Now, by my sword *,
Still he mends;
But this is not the best: Look, pr'ythee, Charmian,
The carriage of his chafe.
Courteous lord, one word.
Sir, you and I must part,-but that's not it:
Sir, you and I have lov'd, but there's not it; That you know well: Something it is I would,— O, my oblivion is a very Antony,
And I am all forgotten 7.
*First folio, Now by sword.
thought the meaning to be-" My fears quickly render me ill; and I am as quickly well again, when I am convinced that Antony has an affection for me." So, for so that. If this be the true sense of the passage, it ought to be regulated thus:
"I am quickly ill,—and well again,
Thus, in a subsequent scene:
I would, thou didst ;
"So half my Egypt were submerg'd."
5-to Egypt:] To me, the Queen of Egypt. JOHNSON. HERCULEAN Roman -] Antony traced his descent from Anton, a son of Hercules. STEEVENS.
7 O, my oblivion is a very Antony,
And I am all forgotten.] Cleopatra has something to say, which seems to be suppressed by sorrow; and after many attempts to produce her meaning, she cries out : "O, this oblivious memory of mine is as false and treacherous to me as Antony is, and I