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Ant. But ftirr'd by Cleopatra.

Now for the love of love, and his foft hours,
Let's not confound the time with conference harfh;
There's not a minute of our lives should stretch
Without fome pleasure. Now, what fport to-night?
Cleo. Hear the Ambaffadors.

Ant. Fy, wrangling Queen!

Whom every thing becomes; to chide, to laugh,
To weep: whofe every paffion fully strives
To make itself in thee fair and admir'd.
No Meffenger, but thine-And all alone,
To night we'll wander through the ftreets, and note
The qualities of People. Come, my Queen,
Laft night you did defire it.Speak not to us.

[Exeunt, with their Train.

Dem. Is Cæfar with Antonius priz'd fo flight? Phil. Sir, fometimes, when he is not Antony, He comes too fhort of that great property Which still should go with Antony.

Dem. I am full forry,

That he approves the common liar, who
Thus fpeaks of him at Rome; but I will hope
Of better deeds to-morrow.

Reft you happy!



Enter Enobarbus, Charmian, Iras, Alexas, and a Soothsayer.

Char. Lord Alexas, fweet Alexas, most any thing Alexas, almoft most absolute Alexas, where's the Soothfayer that you prais'd fo to th' Queen? Oh! that I knew this husband, which you fay, muft (2) change his horns with garlands.

Alex. Soothfayer,

(2) change his horns with garlands.] This is corrupt; the true reading evidently is, muft CHARGE his horns with garlands, i. e. make him a rich and honourable cuckold, having his horns hung about with garlands. WARBURTON.

Sir Thomas Hanmer reads, not improbably, change for horns his garlands. I am in doubt whether to change, is not merely to dress, or to dress with changes of garlands.


Sooth. Your will?

Char. Is this the man?-Is't you, Sir, that know things?

Sooth. In Nature's infinite Book of Secrecy,

A little I can read.

Alex. Shew him your hand.

Eno. Bring in the banquet quickly. Wine enough, Cleopatra's health to drink.

Char. Good Sir, give me good fortune.
Sooth. I make not, but forefee.

Char. Pray then, forefee me one.

Sooth. You fhall be yet far fairer than you are.

Char. He means, in flesh.

Iris. No, you shall paint when

Char. Wrinkles forbid !

you are old.

Alex. Vex not his prefcience, be attentive.

Char. Huh!

Sooth. You fhall be more beloving, than beloved. (3) Char. I had rather heat my liver with drinking. Alex. Nay, hear him.

Char. Good now, fome 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 Cæfar, and companion me with my miftrefs.

Sooth. You fhall out-live the Lady whom you ferve. (4) Char. Oh, excellent! I love long life better than figs.

E 3


(3) I had rather heat my liver-] To know why the lady is fo averfe from beating her liver, it must be remembered, that a heated liver is fuppofed to make a pimpled face.

(4) Char. Oh, excellent! I love long life better than figs.] Here Shakespeare has copied ancient manners with as much beauty as propriety: This being one of thofe ominous fpeeches, in which the ancients were fo fuperftitious: For the afpicks, by which Charmian died, and after her miftrefs, were conveyed in a basket of figs. Omens (a fuperftition which Pythagoras first taught the Greeks) were the undefigned confequence of words cafually fpoken. The words were fometimes taken from the fpeaker, and applied by the hearers to the speaker's own affairs, as in the cafe of Paulus Emilius, after his conquest of Macedon. Sometimes

Sooth. You have seen and proved a fairer former fortune, than that which is to approach.

Char. (5) Then, belike, my children shall have no


Pr'ythee, how many boys and wenches muft I have? Sooth. (6) If every of your wishes had a womb, and foretel every wish, a million.

Char. Out, fool! I forgive thee for a witch.

Alex. You think, none but your fheets are privy to your wishes.

Char. Nay, come.

Tell Iras hers.-
Alex. We'll know all our fortunes.

Eno. Mine, and most of our fortunes to-night, fhall be to go drunk to bed.

Iras. There's a palm prefages chastity, if nothing elfe.

Char. Ev'n as the o'erflowing Nilus prefageth famine.

Iras. Go, you wild bedfellow, you cannot foothfay.

Sometimes again the words of the speaker were transferred to the affairs of the hearer, as in the cafe of the fame Paulus before his conqueft of Macedon. Itaque rebus divinis quæ publice fierent, ut faverent linguis, imperabatur. Cicero de Divin. I. 1.


(5) Then, belike, my children shall have no names; i. e. be of no note, a Greek mode of expreffion; in which language, Sivumos fignifies both doubled named and famous, because anciently famous men had an agnomen taken from their exploits. WARBURTON

I am not inclined to believe that there is fo much learning in either of the lady's fpeeches. She here only fays, If I have already had the beft of my fortune, then I fuppofe Ifball never name children, that is, I am never to be married. However, tell me the truth, tell me, how many boys and wenches? (6) If every of your wishes had a womb,

And foretold every wifb, a million.] This nonfenfe fhould be reformed thus,

If ev'ry of your wishes had a womb,

And fertil ev'ry wish,


For foretel, in ancient editions, the latter copies have foretold. Foretel favours the emendation, which is made with great acutenefs; yet the original reading may, I think, ftand. If you had as many wombs as you will have wifbes, and I should foretel all thofe wifbes, I should foretel a million of children. It is an ellipfis very frequent in converfation; I fhould foame you, and tell all; that is, and if I should tell all. And is for and if, which was anciently and is ftill provincially used for if.


Char. Nay, if any oily palm be not a fruitful prognoftication, I cannot scratch mine ear. Pr'ythee, tell her but a workyday fortune..

Sooth. Your fortunes are alike.

Iras. But how, but how? Give me particulars.
Sooth. I have faid.

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 chufe it?

Iras. Not in my Hufband's nofe.

(7) Char. Our worfer thoughts heav'ns mend! Alexas, -Come, his fortune; his fortune.O, let him marry a woman that cannot go, fweet Ifis, I beseech thee; and let her die too, and give him a worfe; and let worfe follow worst, 'till the worst of all follow him laughing to the Grave, fifty fold a Cuckold! Good Iis hear me this prayer, though thou deny me a matter of more weight; good Ifis, I beseech thee!

Iras. Amen, dear Goddefs, hear that prayer of the people! for, as it is a heart-breaking to fee a handfome man loofe-wiv'd, fo it is a deadly forrow to behold a foul knave uncuckolded; therefore, dear Ifis, keep decorum, and fortune him accordingly

(7) Char. Our wor fer thoughts heav'ns mend!

Alex. Come, his fortune, his fortune. O, let him marry a won man, &c.] Whofe fortune does Alexas call out to have told? But, in short, this I dare pronounce to be fo palpable and fignal a tranfpofition, that I cannot but wonder it should have flipt the obfervation of all the editors; efpecially of the fagacious Mr, Pope, whol

had all has made this declaration, That if, throughout the plays, fpeeches been printed without the very names of the perfons, he believes one might have applied them with certainty to every Speaker. But in how many inftances has Mr. Pope's want of judgment falfified this opinion? The fact is evidently this; Alexas brings a fortune-teller to Iras and Charmian, and fays himself, all our fortunes. Well; the foothfayer fome jokes pafs upon the fubject

begins with themes?fter which, the women hoping for the

of hufbands and chastity:

fatisfaction of having fomething to laugh at in Alexas's fortuné, call him to hold out his hand, and with heartily he may have the prognoftication of cuckoldom upon him. The whole fpeech, therefore, must be plac'd to Charmian. There needs no ftronger proof of this being a true correction, than the obfervation which Alexas immediately fubjoins on their wishes and zeal to hear him abufed. THEOBALD.

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Char. Amen!

Alex. Lo, now! if it lay in their hands to make me a cuckold, they would make themselves whores, but they'd do't.



Enter Cleopatra.

Eno. Hufh! here comes Antony.
Char. Not he, the Queen.
Cleo. Saw you my Lord?

Eno. No, Lady.

Cleo. Was he not here?
Char. No, Madam.

Cleo. He was difpos'd to mirth,
A Roman thought hath ftruck him.
Eno. Madam.

but on the fudden Enobarbus,

Cleo. Seek him, and bring him hither. Where's Alexas?

Alex. Here at your fervice. My Lord approaches.

Enter Antony with a Messenger, and Attendants.

Cleo. We will not look upon him, Go with us.


Mef. Fulvia thy Wife first came into the field.
Ant. Againft my brother Lucius ?

Mef. Ay,

But foon that war had end, and the time's state
Made friends of them, jointing their force'gainft Cafar,
Whofe better iffue in the war from Italy

Upon the first encounter, drave them.

Ant. Well, what worst?

Mef. The nature of bad news infects the teller.

Ant. When it concerns the fool or coward.-On.Things, that are past, are done, with me. 'Tis thus; Who tells me true, though in the tale lie death,

I hear him, as he flatter'd.

Mef. Labienus (this is stiff news)


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