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Shakspeare followed Plutarch, and appears to have been anxious to introduce every incident and every personage he met with in his historian. Plutarch mentions Lamprias, his grandfather, as authority for some of the stories he relates of the profuseness and luxury of Antony's entertainments at Alexandria. In the stage direction of Scene 2, Act i., in the old copy, Lamprias, Ramnus, and Lucilius, are made to enter with the rest; but they have no part in the dialogue, nor do their names appear in the list of Dramatis Personæ.
Friends of Antony.
Friends of Cæsar.
ants on Cleopatra.
CLEOPATRA, Queen of Egypt.
Officers, Soldiers, Messengers, and other Attendants.
SCENE, dispersed in several Parts of the Roman Empire.
ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA.
Alexandria. A Room in Cleopatra's
Enter DEMETRIUS and Philo. Philo. 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 glowed 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 gypsy's lust. Look, where they come!
Flourish. Enter Antony and ClEOPATRA, with their
Trains; Eunuchs fanning her. Take but good note, and you shall see in him The triple 2 pillar of the world transformed Into a strumpet's fool : bebold and see.
Cleo. If it be love indeed, tell me how much.
1 i. e. renounces. The metre would be improved by reading reneyes, or reneies, a word used by Chaucer and other of our elder writers : but we have in King Lear, renege, affirm, &c.
2 Triple is here used for third, or one of three ; one of the triumvirs.
Ant. There's beggary in the love that can be
reckoned. Cleo. I'll set a bourn how far to be beloved. Ant. Then must thou needs find out new heaven,
Enter an Attendant.
Grates me :-The sum.1
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 ? 4 Cæsar's, I would say ?
Both? Call in the messengers.—As I am Egypt's queen, Thou blushest, Antony; and that blood of thine Is Cæsar's homager; else so thy cheek pays shame, When shrill-tongued Fulvia scolds.—The messengers.
Ant. Let Rome in Tyber 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.
1 “Be brief; sum thy business in a few words." 2 i. e. news was considered plural. 3 Take in, it has before been observed, signifies subdue, conquer. 4 Process here means summons. 5 The ranged empire is the well-arranged, well-ordered empire. 6 po weet is to know.
Why did he marry Fulvia, and not love her?-
But stirred by Cleopatra.-
Cleo. Hear the ambassadors.
Fie, wrangling queen!
[Exeunt Ant. and Cleo., with their Train. Dem. Is Cæsar with Antonius prized so slight?
Phi. Sir, sometimes, when he is not Antony,
I'm full sorry,
1 “ But stirred by Cleopatra," i. e. “ Add, if moved to it by Cleopatra." This is a compliment to her.
2 That is, “ for the sake of the queen of love." 3 The folio reads, who, every, &c.; corrected by Rowe. 4 “Sometime also when he would goe up and down the city disguised like a slave in the night, and would peere into poor mens windows and their shops, and scold and brawl with them within the house; Cleopatra would be also in a chambermaid's array, and amble up and down the streets with him.”—Life of Antonius in North's Plutarch. 5
“ That he proves the common liar, Fame, in his case, to be a true reporter.”
SCENE II. The same.
Enter CHARMIAN, IRAs, Alexas, and a Soothsayer.
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 !!
Char. Good sir, give me good fortune.
Char. 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
1 The old copy reads, “change his horns,” &c. A similar error of change for charge is also found in Coriolanus.