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STATE OF THE TEXT, AND CHRONOLOGY, OF ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA.
*The Tragedie of Anthonie and Cleopatra' was first printed in the folio collection of 1623. Tho play is not divided into acts and scenes in the original; but the stage-directions, like those of the other Roman plays, are very full. The text is, upon the whole, remarkably accurate; although the metrical arrangement is, in a few instances, obviously defective. The positive errors are very few. Some obscure passages present theinselves; but, with one or two exceptions, they are not such as to render conjectural emendation desirable.
We have already stated our views of the chronology of this tragedy, in the Introductory Notices to Coriolanus and Julius Cæsar.
SUPPOSED SOURCE OF THE Plot.'
The Life of Antonius, in North's Plutarch, has been followed by Shakspere with very remarkable fidelity; and there is scarcely an incident which belongs to this period of Antony's career which the poet has not engrafted upon his wonderful performance. The poetical power, subjecting the historical minuteness to an all-pervading harmony, is one of the most remarkable efforts of Shakspere's genius. That this may be properly felt we have given very copious extracts from the Life of Antonius, as Illustrations of each Act.
For the costume of the Roman personages of this play, we, of course, refer our readers to the Notice prefixed to that of Julius Cæsar : but for the costume of Egypt during the latter period of Greek domination we have no satisfactory authority. Winkelman describes some figures which he asserts were “made by Egyptian sculptors under the dominion of the Greeks, who introduced into Egypt their gods as well as their arts; while, on the other hand, the Greeks adopted Egyptian usages." But from these mutilated remains of Greco-Egyptian workmanship we are unable to ascertain how far the Egyptians generally adopted the costume of their conquerors, or the con. querors themselves assumed that of the vanquished. In the work on Egyptian Antiquities published in the Library of Entertaining Knowledge, the few facts bearing upon this subject have been assembled, and the minutest details of the more ancient Egyptian costume will be found in the admirable works of Sir G. Wilkinson : but it would be worse than useless for us to enter here into a long description of the costume of the Pharaohs, unless we could assert how much, if any part of it, was retained by the Ptolemies.
SCENE I.- Alexandria. A Room in Cleo- | Flourish. Enter ANTONY and CLEOPATRA, patra's Palace.
with their Trains ; Eunuchs fanning her. Enter DEMETRIUS and Philo.
Take but good note, and you shall see in bim Phi. Nay, but this dotage of our general's
The triple a pillar of the world transform’d O’erflows the measure: those his goodly eyes,
Into a strumpet's fool : behold and see.
Cleo. If it be love indeed, tell me how much. That o'er the files and musters of the war
Ant. There's beggary in the love that can be Have glow'd like plated Mars, now bend, now
Cleo. I'll set a bourn how far to be belov'd. The office and devotion of their view Upon a tawny front: his captain's heart,
Ant. Then must thou needs find out new Which in the scuffles of great fights hath burst
heaven, new earth. The buckles on his breast, reneagues a all temper;
Enter an Attendant. And is become the bellows, and the fan,
Att. News, my good lord, from RomeTo cool a gipsy's lust. Look, where they come!
Grates me : b—The sum.
2 Reneagues-renounces. This is sometimes spelt reneges; but Coleridge suggested the orthography we have adopted, which gives us the proper pronunciation, as in league. SteeVens proposes to read reneyes, a word used by Chaucer in the same sense.
a Triple is here used in the sense of third, or one of three. So in All's Well that Ends Well we have a triple cye for a third eye. We are not aware that any other author uses triple otherwise than in the ordinary sense of threefold. b Grates me-offends me;- is grating to me.
Cleo. Nay, hear them, Antony:
To make itself, in thee, fair and admir'd! Fulvia, perchance, is angry; Or, who knows No messenger; but thine and all alone, If the scarce-bearded Cæsar have not sent To-night we'll wander through the streets, and His powerful mandate to you, 'Do this, or this ;
note Take in that kingdom, and enfranchise that; The qualities of people. Come, my queen ; Perform 't, or else we damm thee.'
Last night you did desire it :- Speak not to us. Ant.
How, my love! [Exeunt Ant. and CLEOP., with their Train. Cleo. Perchance,-nay, and most like,
Dem. Is Cæsar with Antonius priz'd so slight? You must not stay here longer, your dismission | Phi. Sir, sometimes, when he is not Antony, Is come from Cæsar; therefore hear it, An- | He comes too short of that great property tony.-
Which still should go with Antony. Where's Fulvia's process ? a Cæsar's, I would
I’m full sorry say.-Both.
That he approves the common liar, who Call in the messengers.—As I am Egypt's queen, Thus speaks of him at Rome: But I will hope Thou blushest, Antony; and that blood of thine Of better deeds to-morrow. Rest you happy! Is Cæsar's homager : else so thy cheek pays
Exeunt. shame When shrill-tongued Fulvia scolds.—The mes SCENE II.— The same. Another Room. sengers.
Enter CHARMIAN, IRAS, ALEXAS, and a Ant. Let Rome in Tiber melt! and the wide
Soothsayer. arch Of the rang'd empire fall! Here is my space.
Char. Lord Alexas, sweet Alexas, most any. Kingdoms are clay: our dungy earth alike
thing Alexas, almost most absolute Alexas, Feeds beast as man: the nobleness of life
where's the soothsayer that you praised so to Is, to do thus; when such a mutual pair,
the queen ? O, that I knew this husband, And such a twain can do't, in which I bind,
which, you say, must change his horns with On pain of punishment, the world to weet e
garlands! We stand up peerless.
Alex. Soothsayer. Cleo.
Excellent falsehood! | Sooth. Your will ? Why did he marry Fulvia, and not love her ?
Char. Is this the man ?-Is 't you, sir, that I'll seem the fool I am not; Antony
know things ? Will be himself—
Sooth. In nature's infinite book of secrecy Ant.
But stirr'd by Cleopatra. _ | A little I can read.
Eno. Bring in the banquet quickly; wine Without some pleasure now: What sport to
Cleopatra's health to drink. Cleo. Hear the ambassadors.
Char. Good sir, give me good fortune. Ant.
Fie, wrangling queen! Sooth. I make not, but foresee. Whom everything becomes, to chide, to laugh, Char. Pray then, foresee me one. To weep; whose every passion fully strives Sooth. You shall be yet far fairer than you
Char. He means in flesh. a Process-summons. b Rang'd empire. Capell, the most neglected of the com
Iras. No, you shall paint when you are old. nientators, properly explains this-"Orderly ranged--whose Char. Wrinkles forbid ! parts are now entire and distinct, like a number of wellbuilt edifices." He refers to a passage in Coriolanus,
Aler. Vex not his prescience; be attentive. “Bury all which yet distinctly ranges,
Sooth. You shall be more beloving than bec Toweet-to know.
lov'd. d Johnson explains this as if but had the meaning of except -Antony will be himself, unless Cleopatra keeps him in Char. I had rather heat my liver with commotion. Monck Mason objects to this; and interprets
drinking the passage,-if but stirred by Cleopatra. Surely the meaning is more obvious. Antony accepts Cleopatra's belief of what he will be. He will be himself; but still under the
a Change-vary-give a different appearance to Change influence of Cleopatra; and to show what that influence is, the word of the original. Warburton and others propose be continues, "Now, for the love of Love," &c.
Alez. Nay, hear him.
| of the people! for, as it is a heart-breaking to Char. Good now, some excellent fortune! see a handsome man loose wived, so it is a deadly Let me be married to three kings in a forenoon, sorrow to behold a foul knave uncuckolded : and widow them all: let me have a child at Therefore, dear Isis, keep decorum, and fortune fifty, to whom Herod of Jewry may do homage : | him accordingly! find me to marry me with Octavius Cæsar, and Char. Amen. companion me with my mistress.
Alex. Lo, now! if it lay in their hands to Sooth. You shall outlive the lady whom you make me a cuckold, they would make themserve.
selves whores but they'd do 't. Char. O excellent! I love long life better Eno. Hush ! here comes Antony.
Not he; the queen. Sooth. You have seen and prov'd a fairer former fortune
Enter CLEOPATRA. Than that which is to approach.
Cleo. Saw you my lord ? Char. Then, belike my children shall have Eno.
No, lady. no names : Prithee, how many boys and wenches
Was he not here? must I have ?
Char. No, madam. Sooth. If every of your wishes had a womb, Cleo. He was dispos’d to mirth; but on the And fertilea every wish, a million.
sudden Char. Out, fool! I forgive thee for a witch. A Roman thought hath struck him.-EnobarAlex. You think none but your sheets are
bus,— privy to your wishes.
Eno. Madam. Char. Nay, come, tell Iras hers.
Cleo. Seek him, and bring him hither. Aler. We'll know all our fortunes.
Where's Alexas ? Eao. Mine, and most of our fortunes, to Alex. Here," at your service.—My lord apnight, shall be-drunk to bed.
proaches. Iras. There's a palm presages chastity, if nothing else.
Enter Antony, with a Messenger, and
Attendants. Char. Even as the o'erflowing Nilus presageth famine.
Cleo. We will not look upon him: Go with Iras. Go, you wild bedfellow, you cannot
[Exeunt CLEOPATRA, ENOBARBUS, ALEXAS, Char. Nay, if an oily palm, be not a fruitful
IRAS, CHARMIAN, Soothsayer, and prognostication, I cannot scratch mine ear.
Attendants. Prithee, tell her but a worky-day fortune.
Mess. Fulvia thy wife first came into the field.? Sooth. Your fortunes are alike.
Ant. Against my brother Lucius ? Tras. But how, but how? give me particulars.
Mess. Ay: Sooth. I have said.
But soon that war had end, and the time's state Iras. Am I not an inch of fortune better than
Made friends of them, jointing their force 'gainst she?
Whose better issue in the war, from Italy,
Upon the first encounter, drave them.
Well, what worst? Iras. Not in my husband's nose.
Mess. The nature of bad news infects the teller. Char. Our worser thoughts heavens mend! |
Ant. When it concerns the fool, or coward.— Alexas,-come, his fortune, his fortune ;-0, let
On: him marry a woman that cannot go, sweet Isis, I beseech thee! And let her die too, and give
Things that are past are done with me.—'T is him a worse! and let worse follow worse, till
Who tells me true, though in his tale lie death, the worst of all follow him laughing to his grave,
I bear him as he flatter'd. fifty-fold a cuckold! Good Isis, hear me this
Labienus prayer, though thou deny me a matter of more
(This is stiff news) hath, with his Parthian weight, good Isis, I beseech thee!
force, Iras. Amen. Dear goddess, hear that prayer
Pertile. The original has foretel. The emendation, a Steevens here introduces madam, "as a proper cure for which is very ingenious, was made by Warburton,
the present defect in metre."