Page images

we use

[ocr errors]

Enter a Messenger.
Ram thou thy fruitful tidings in mine ears,
That long time have been barren.

Mes, 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 lipt, and trembled kissing.

Mes. First, Madam, he is well.

Cleo. Why, there's more gold. But, Grrah, mark,
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.

Mes. Good Madam, hear me.

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

Mes. Will’t please you hear me?

Cleo. I have a mind to strike thee, ere thou speak'st;
Yet if thou say, Antony lives, 'tis well,
Or friends with Cæfar, or not captive to him,
I'll set thee in a shower of gold, and hail
Rich pearls upon thee.

Mef. Madam, he's well.
Cleo. Well said.

find Antony afterwards, in this Play, boasting of his own Prowess at Phi-
Ant. Yes, my Lord, ves; he at Philippi kept

His Sword e'en like a Dancer, while I strook

The lean and wrinkled Cañius; & c. That was the greatelt Action of Antony's Life; and therefore This seems a fine Piece of Flattery, intimating, that his Sword ought to be denominated from that illustrious Battle, in the same manner as modern Heroes in Romance are made to give their Swords pompous Names.


Mef. And friends with Cæfar.
Cleo. Thou’rt an honest man.
Mes. Cæfar, and he, are greater friends than ever.
Cleo. Make thee a fortune from me.
Mes, But yet, Madam

Cleo. I do not like but yet, it do’s allay
The good precedence; fie upon but yet
But yet is as a jaylor 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 Cæfar,
In state of health, thou fay'st ; and thou say'st, free.
Mes. (27) Free, Madam! no : I made no such Re-

He's bound unto Octavia.

Cleo. For what good turn?
Mes. For the belt turn i'th' bed.
Cleo. I am pale, Charmian.
Mef. Madam, he's married to Oétavia.
Cleo. The most infectious peftilence upon thee!

[Strikes him down. Mes. Good Madam, patience. Cleo. What say you?

[Strikes him. Hence, 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 whipt with wire, and stew'd in brine, Smarting in lingring pickle.

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

Cleo. Say, 'tis not so, a Province I will give thee,
And make thy fortunes proud: the blow, thou hadít,
Shall make thy peace, for moving me to rage;
And I will boot thee with what gift beside
Thy modesty can beg.

(27) Free, Madam! no ; I have made no such Sport.] I don't know how to account for this odd Piece of Negligence in Mr. Pope. 'Tis true, this is the Reading in Mr. Rowe's Edition: and there are many Indances to suspect, that he implicitly follow'd the Steps of that Editor, without collating the Copies of better Authority. The elder Folio's both read plainly, as I have reform'd the Text.


Mef. He's married, Madam.
Cleo. Rogue, thou hast liv'd too long.

[Draws a dagger. Mef. Nay, then I'll run: What mean you, Madam ? I have made no fault.

[Exit. Char. Good Madam, keep your self within your self, The man is innocent.

Cleo. Some innocents 'scape not the thunderbolt
Melt Ægypt into Nile ; and kindly creatures
Turn all to serpents ! call the flave again;
Though I am mad, I will not bite him; call.

Char. He is afraid to come.

Cleo. I will not hurt him.
These hands do lack nobility, that they strike
A meaner than my self : since I my self
Have given my self the cause. Come hither, Sir,

Re-enter the 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.

Mes. I have done my duty.

Cleo. Is he married ?
I cannot hate thee worser than I do,
If you again fay, Yes.

Mes. He's married, Madam.
Cleo. The Gods confound thee! dolt thou hold there

Mef. Should I lie, Madam?
Cleo. Oh, I would, thou didit

So half my Ægypt were submerg'd, and made
A cistern for scald snakes! go get thee hence,
Hadst thou Narcissus in thy face, to me
Thou wouldft appear most ugly: he is married?

Mel. I crave your Highness' pardon.
Cleo. He is married ?

Mes. Take no offence, that I would not offend you; To punish me for what you make me do,


Seems much unequal: he's married to Ottavia.

Cleo. Oh, that his fault should make a knave of thee, That art not what thou’rt sure of! - Get thee hence, The merchandises, thou haft brought from Rome, Are all too dear for me: Lye they upon thy hand, and be undone by 'em!

[Exit Mef:
Char. Good your Highness, patience.
Cleo. In praising Antony, I have difprais'd Cæfar.
Char. Many times, Madam.

Cleo. I am paid for it now: lead me from hence,
I faint ; oh Iras, Charmian-'tis no matter.
Go to the fellow, good Aléxas, bid him
Report the feature of Ottavia, her years,
Her inclination, let him not leave out
The colour of her hair. Bring me word quickly,
Let him for ever go -- let him not, Charmian;
Though he be painted one way like a Gorgon,
The other way's á Mars. Bid you Alexás
Bring word, how tall she is : pity me, Charmian,
But speak not to me. Lead me to my chamber.

[Exeunt. SCENE changes to the Coast of Italy, near


Enter. Pompey and Menas, at one door, with drum and

trumpet : At another, Cæsar, Lepidus, Antony, Eno

barbus, Meçænas, Agrippa, with Soldiers marching: Pom. OUR hostages I have, so have you mine;

And we shall talk before we fight. Cæf. Most meet, That first we come to words; and therefore have we Our written purposes before us fent ; Which, if thou hast consider'd, let us know If ’twill tie up thy discontented sword, And carry back to Sicily much tall youth, That else must perish here.


Pom. To you all three, The Senators alone of this great world, Chief factors for the Gods, I do not know, Wherefore my Father should Revengers want, Having a Son and Friends; since Julius Cæfar, (Who at Philippi the good Brutus ghosted,) There saw you labouring for him. What was it, That mov'd palc Cafus to conspire? and what Made Thee, all-honour'd, honest Roman Brutus, With the arm'd rest, Courtiers of beauteous freedom, To drench the Capitol, (28) but that they would Have One man, but a man? And That is it, Hath made me rig my Navy : At whose burthen The anger'd Ocean foams, with which I meant To scourge th' ingratitude that despiteful Rome Cast on my noble Father.

Cæf. Take your time.

Ant. Thou canst not fear us, Pompey, with thy fails, We'll speak with thee at sea. At land, thou know'ft, How much we do o'er-count thee.

Pom. At land, indeed,
Thou doft o'er-count me of my Father's house. "
But since the cuckow builds not for himself,
Remain in't, as thou may’st.


but that they would Have but one Man a Man?] What! were the Conspirators prefam'd to have kill'd Cæsar, because they would have but one Man a Man? What Mock-reasoning is this? If they would have but one Man a Man (i. e. a Man rat' e Boy dv, eminent above, and overtopping all others ;) it was the Height of Cæsar's Ambition to be such a One, and therefore They should rather have let him live. We find Cassius complaining to Brutus of this aspiring Spirit, these Aims at Supremacy, in Cæfar.

When could they say till now, that talk'd of Rome,

That her wide Walls encompass'd but O N E Man? Sure, I think, I pointed out before to Mr. Pope, in my SHAKESPEARE Reffor'd, the true Reading of this Passage, from the two elder Folio's, would he but have embraced it.

but that they would Harse One Man but a Man? i. e. They would have no One aim at arbitrary Power, and a Degree of Preheminence above the rest. What did they kill Cæsar for, but to prevent his aspiring above his fellow Countrymen ?


« PreviousContinue »