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SCENE I.-Alexandria. A Room in Cleopatra's Palace.
Enter DEMETRIUS and PHILO.
Enter an Attendant.
Grates me :the sum.
, or else we damnb thee. ANT.
How, my love!
-reneges-] That is, denies or renounces. Though_odd and obsolete now, it was probably the genuine word, as in “King Lear,” Act II. Sc. 2, we have, -"Renege, affirm," &c.
- damn thee.] Condemn thee.
Is Cæsar's homager; else so thy cheek pays shame
ANT. Let Rome in Tiber melt, and the wide arch
But stirrid by Cleopatra.-
CLEO. Hear the ambassadors.
Fie, wrangling queen!
[Exeunt Ant, and CLEOP., with their Trains. DEM. Is Cæsar with Antonius priz’d so slight?
Phi. Sir, sometimes, when he is not Antony,
I am full sorry
SCENE II.-The same. Another Room in the Palace.
Enter CHARMIAN, IRAS, ALEXAS, and a Soothsayer.b CHAR. Lord Alexas, sweet Alexas, most anything Alexas, almost most absolute Alexas, where's the soothsayer that you praised so to
(*) First folio, who. • That he approves the common liar,–] That he confirms the reports of Rumour.
$ Enter CHARMIAN, IRAS, ALEXAS, and a Soothsayer.] The direction of the folio is, “Enter Enobarbus, Lamprius, a Soothsayer, Rannius, Lucillius, Charmian, Iras, Mardian the Eunuch, and Alexas." And Steevens thought it possible that Lamprius, Rannius, Lucillius," &c. might have been speakers in the scene as it was originally written by the poet, who afterwards, when omitting the speeches, forgot to erase the
the queen? O, that I knew this husband, which, you say, must change his horns with garlands'
SOOTH. In nature's infinite book of secrecy
Show him your hand.
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 Herod of Jewry may do homage: find me to marry me with Octavius Cæsar, and companion me with my mistress.
Sooth. You shall outlive the lady whom you serve.
Sooth. You have seen and prov'd a fairer former fortune
C how many boys and wenches must I have?
Sooth. If every of your wishes had a womb,
CHAR. Out, fool! I forgive thee for a witch.
Exo. Mine, and most of our fortunes, to-night, shall be-drunk to bed.
Iras. There's a palm presages chastity, if nothing else.
change his horns with garlands ] So the old text; to "change his horns," may mean to vary or garnish them. The modern reading, however, of charge, suggested by Southern and Warburton, is certainly very plausible.
b I love long life better than figs.] This was a proverbial saying. e-my children shall have no names :] That is, be illegitimate.
& And fertile every wish,–] A correction of Theobald or Warburton. The old copy has, " And foretel,'' &c.
CHAR. Nay, if an oily palm be not a fruitful prognostication, I cannot scratch mine ear.-Prythee, tell her but a worky-day fortune.
SOOTH. Your fortunes are alike. IRAS. But how, but how? give me particulars. SOOTH. I have said. IRAS. Am I not an inch of fortune better than she? CHAR. Well, if you were but an inch of fortune better than I, where would you choose it?
Iras. Not in my husband's nose. CHAR. Our worser thoughts heaven mend !-Alexas,-come, his fortune, his fortune!&_0, let him marry a woman that cannot go, sweet Isis, I beseech thee! and let her die too, and give him a worse! and let worse follow worse, till the worst of all follow him laughing to his grave, fifty-fold a cuckold! Good Isis, hear me this prayer, though thou deny me a matter of more weight; good Isis, I beseech thee!
IRAS. Amen. Dear goddess, hear that prayer of the people! for, as it is a heart-breaking to see a handsome man loose-wived, so it is a deadly sorrow to behold a foul knave uncuckolded : therefore, dear Isis, keep decorum, and fortune him accordingly!
ALEX. Lo, now, if it lay in their hands to make me a cuckold, they would make themselves whores, but they'd do 't!
ĚNO. Hush! here comes Antony.
Not he; the queen.
Enter CLEOPATRA. CLEO. Saw*
CLEO. He was dispos’d to mirth; but on the sudden
Well, what worst?
First folio, Saue. Alexas,-come, his fortune, his fortune!-] The compositor of the folio, mistaking “ Alexas" for the prefix to the speech, has attributed what follows to him. The error was pointed out by Theobald a century ago, and has been rectified in every edition since.
MESS. The nature of bad news infects the teller.
ANT. When it concerns the fool, or coward.—On:-
ANT. Antony, thou wouldst say,
0, my lord!
Let him appear.-
Enter another Messenger.
What are you?
Where died she?
[Gives a letter. ANT.
Forbear me.- [Exit Messenger.
(*) Old text, horo.
(+) Old text, contempts. a Extended-] Seized.
• When our quick winds-) Has been changed, by Warburton, to “When our quick minds," &c., perhaps without necessity, “Quick winds" may mean, quickening winds; and Johnson's explanation of the passage," that man, not agitated by censure, like soil not ventilated by quick winds, produces more evil than good,"—is possibly the true c-earing!) Ploughing.