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Sooth. If every of your wishes had a womb, And fertile every wish, a million 8.
Char. Out, fool! I forgive thee for a witch.
Alex. You think, none but your sheets are privy to your wishes.
Char. Nay, come, tell Iras hers.
Eno. Mine, and most of our fortunes, to-night, shall be-drunk to bed.
Iras. There's a palm presages chastity, if nothing else.
Char. Even as the o’erflowing Nilus presageth famine. Iras. Go, you wild bedfellow, you cannot soothsay.
Char. Nay, if an oily palm be not a fruitful prognostication, I cannot scratch mine ear.-Prythee, tell he but a worky-day fortune.
Sooth. Your fortunes are alike.
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 heavens 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
8 If every of your wishes had a womb,
And fertile every wish, a million.] If every one of your wishes, says the soothsayer, had a womb, and each womb-invested wish were likewise fertile, you then would have a million of children.
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.
Eno. Hush! here comes Antony.
Not he, the queen.
Cleo. Saw you my lord ?
Was he not here? Char. No, madam.
Cleo. He was dispos'd to mirth; but on the sudden A Roman thought hath struck him.-Enobarbus,
Enter ANTONY, with a Messenger and Attendants.
[Exeunt CLEOPATRA, ENOBARBUS, ALEXAS,
IRAS, CHARMIAN, Soothsayer, and
Attendants. Mess. Fulvia thy wife first came into the field. Ant. Against my brother Lucius ? Mess. Ay: But soon that war had end, and the time's state Made friends of them, jointing their force 'gainst Cæsar ;
+ “Here, at your service."--MALONE.
Whose better issue in the war, from Italy,
Mess. The nature of bad news infects the teller.
Ant. When it concerns the fool, or coward.—On:
Ant. Antony, thou would'st say,-
O, my lord ! Ant. Speak to me home, mince not the general
tongue; Name Cleopatra as she's call'd in Rome: Rail thou in Fulvia's phrase ; and taunt my faults With such full licence, as both truth and malice Have power to utter. O, then we bring forth weeds, When our quick winds lie still'; and our ills told us, Is as our earing. Fare thee well a while. Mess. At your noble pleasure.
[Exit. Ant. From Sicyon how the news ? Speak there. 1 Att. The man from Sicyon.—Is there such an
2 Att. He stays upon your will.
9 Extended Asia from Euphrătes ;] To extend, is a term used for to seize.
1 When our quick winds lie still ;] The sense is, that man, not agitated by censure, like soil not ventilated by quick winds, produces more evil than good. This is Dr. Johnson's opinion, but the expression has been controverted at great length by all the commentators. Mr. Malone reads, “ quick minds."
Let him appear.— These strong Egyptian fetters I must break,
Enter another Messenger.
2 Mess. Fulvia thy wife is dead.
Where died she ?
[Exit Messenger. There's a great spirit gone! Thus did I desire it : What our contempts do often hurl from us, We wish it ours again; the present pleasure, By revolution lowering, does become The opposite of itself?: she's good, being gone; The hand could pluck her back ”, that shov'd her on. I must from this enchanting queen break off; Ten thousand harms, more than the ills I know, My idleness doth hatch.-How now! Enobarbus !
Eno. What's your pleasure, sir ?
- the present pleasure,
The opposite of itself :) I believe revolution means change of circumstances. This sense appears to remove every difficulty from the passage.- The pleasure of to-day, by revolution of events and change of circumstances, often loses all its value to us, and becomes to-morrow a pain. Steevens.
3 The hand could pluck her back, &c.] The verb could has a peculiar signification in this place; it does not denote power but inclination. The sense is, the hand that drove her off would now willingly pluck her back again.
how mortal an unkindness is to them; if they suffer our departure, death's the word.
Ant. I must be gone.
Eno. Under a compelling occasion, let women die: It were pity to cast them away for nothing; though, between them and a great cause, they should be esteemed nothing. Cleopatra, catching but the least noise of this, dies instantly; I have seen her die twenty times upon far poorer moment*: I do think, there is mettle in death, which commits some loving act upon her, she hath such a celerity in dying.
Ant. She is cunning past man's thought.
Eno. Alack, sir, no; her passions are made of nothing but the finest part of pure love: We cannot call her winds and waters, sighs and tears; they are greater storms and tempests than almanacks can report: this cannot be cunning in her; if it be, she makes a shower of rain as well as Jove.
Ant. 'Would I had never seen her!
Eno. 0, sir, you had then left unseen a wonderful piece of work; which not to have been blessed withal, would have discredited your travel.
Ant. Fulvia is dead.
Eno. Why, sir, give the gods a thankful sacrifice. When it pleaseth their deities to take the wife of a man from him, it shows to man the tailors of the earth; comforting therein, that when old robes are worn out, there are members to make new. If there were no more women but Fulvia, then had you indeed a cut, and the case to be lamented; this grief is crowned with consolation ; your old smock brings forth a new pet
- poorer moment :] For less reason; upon meaner motives.