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ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA.
LITERARY AND HISTORICAL NOTICE. THIS play is supposed to have been written in the year 1608 ; and some of its incidents may have been borrowed
from a production of Daniel's, called “ The Tragedie of Cleopatra," which was entered on the books of the Stationers' Company in the year 1593. It rapidly condenses the events of a considerable period, commencing with the triple partition of the empire at the death of Brutus, B. C. 41, and terminating with the final overthrow of the Prolemean dynasty, B. C. 23. Its historical features are, upon the whole, accurately drawn and the sentiments of many of the characters are literally copied from Plutarch and other biographers.---An tony's illicit connection with Cleopatra, his brutal treatment of the anriable Octavia, and his absurd assumption of despotic power in bequeathing the Roman provinces to a degraded progeny, were the ostensible grounds of the rupture which ended in his death, and united the whole extent of Roman conquest under one imperial sceptre. The character of Cleopatra, the fascinating, dexterous, and incontinent Egyptian, abounds in poetical beauty; and the rough soldier's description of her passage down the Cydnus, has ever been considered a luxuriant specimen of glowing oriental description. But it is in the portrait of Antony that the discriminating reader will chiefly discover the pencil of a master. It is a choice finish to the outline of his character, as given in the play of Julius Cesar. He was then “a masker and a reveller," of comely person, lively wit, and insinuating address :---but the fire of youth, and the dictates of ambition, restrained his licentious cravings within tolerable bounds. In the decline of life, and in the lap of voluptuousness, with wealth at his command, and monarchs at his footstool, we find him alternately playing the fool, the hero, or the barbarian, triding away the treasures of the East in sensuality and indolence, and destroying a noble army by cowardice and obstinacy. Still, the rays of inherent greatness occasionally gleam through a cloud of ignoble propensities, and glimmerings of Roman greatness partially reclaim a career of the most doting effeminacy. The philosophy of his mind, and the cool superiority of maturer years, are admirably pourtrayed in the first recriminatory scene with Octavius Cesar, who, notwithstanding the flattery of historians," was deceitful, mean. spirited, proud, and revengeful.". Dr. Johnson says: "This play keeps curiosity always busy, and the pas sions always interested. The continual hurry of the action, the variety of incidents, and the quick succession of one passage to another, call the mind forwards without intermission from the first act to the last. But the power of delighting is derived principally from the frequent changes of the scene ; for, except the femni. nine arts (some of which are too low) which distinguish Cleopatra, bo character is very strongly discriminated. Upton, who did not easily miss what he desired to find, has discovered that the language of Antony is, with great skill and learning, made pompous and superb, according to bis real practice. But I think hio diction not distinguishable from that of others : the most tumid speech in the play is that which Cesar makes to Antopy."
DRAMATIS PERSONÆ. M. ANTONY,
MERAS, MENBCRATES, VARRIUS, Friends of OCTAVIUS CESAR, Triumvirs.
Pompey. M. ÆmL. LEPIDUS,
TAURUS, Lieutenant-general to Cesar. SEXTUS POMPEIUS,
CANIDIUS, Lieutenant-general to Antony. DOMITIUS ENOBARBUS,
Silius, an Officer in Ventidius' Army. VENTI DIUS,
EUPHRONIUS, an Ambassador from Antony to EROS,
Cesar. > Friends of Antony. SCARUS,
ALEXAS, MARDIAN, SELEUCUS, and DIOMEDES,
Attendants on Cleopatra.
A SOOTHSAYER.-A CLOWN.
CLEOPATRA, Queen of Egypt.
OCTAVIA, Sister to Cesar, and wife to Antony. DOLABELLA,
CHARMIAN, and IRAS, Attendants on Cleopatra. Friends to Cesar. PROCULEIUS, THYREUS,
Officers, Soldiers, Messengers, and otkor
SCENE, changes to several Parts of the Roman Empire,
Upon a tawny front : his captain's heart,
Which in the scuffles of great fights hath burst SCENE I.-Alexandria.-A Room in CLEO- | The buckles on his breast, reneges * all temper; PATRA's Palace.
And is become the bellows and the fan
To cool a gypsy's lust. Look where they come! Enter DEXETRIUS and Philo. Phil. Nay, but this dotage of our general's Flourish. Enter ANTONY and CLEOPATRA Willi O'erflows the measure; those his goodly eyes,
their Trains : EUNUCHS fanning her. That o'er the files and musters of the war
Take but good note and you shall see in bian Have glow'd like plated Mars, now heud, now turn, The office and devotion of their view
The triple • pillar of the world transform'd
Alex. Soothsayer. Into a strumpet's fool: behold and see.
Sooth. Your will ? Cleo. If it be love indeed, tell me how much? Char. Is this the man ?-Is't you, Sir, that Ant. There's beggary in the love that can be
Sooth. In nature's infinite book of secrecy,
Eno. Bring in the banquet quickly; wine Att. News, my good lord, from Rome-- Cleopatra's health to drink.
enough, Ant. Grates me :The sumt
Char. Good Sir, give me good fortune. Cleo. Nay, hear them, Antony :
Sooth. I make not, but foresee. Fulvia, perchance is angry; or, who knows
Char. Pray then, foresee me one. If the scarce-bearded Cesar have not sent
Sooth, Yon shall be yet far fairer than you are. His powerful mandate to you, Do this, or this : Char. He means, in flesh. Take in that kingdom, and enfranchise that : Iras. No, you shall paint when you are old. Perform't, or else we damn thee.
Char. Wrinkles forbid ! Ant. How, my love !
Alex. Vex not his prescience : be attentive. Cleo. Perchance,-nay, and most like,
Char. Hush ! You must not stay here longer, your dismission Sooth. You shall be more beloving than be. Is come from Cesar; therefore hear it, Antony.
loved. Where's Fulvia's process ! Cesar's, I would Char, I had rather heat my liver with drinking. say ?-Both
Aler. Nay, hear him. Call in the messengers.-As I am Egypt's queen, Char. Good now, some excellent fortune! Thou blushest, Antony; and that blood of thine Let me be married to three kings in a forenoon, Is Cesar's homager ; else so thy cheek pays shame, and widow them all : let me have a child at fifty, When shrill-tongu'd Fulvia scolds-The mes. to whom Herod of Jewry • may do homage : find sengers.
me to marry me with Octavius Cesar, and comAnt. Let Rome in Tyber melt! and the wide panion me with my mistress. arch
Sooth. You shall outlive the lady whom you of the rang'd empire fall! Here is my space :
serve. Kingdoms are clay : our dungy earth alike
Char. O excellent! I love long life better than Feeds beast as man: the nobleness of life
figs. t Is, to do tbus ; when such a mutual pair,
Sooth. You have seen and proved a fairer [Embracing.
former fortune And such a twain can do't, in which, I bind
Than that which is to approach. On pain of punishment, the world to weet,
Char. Then, belike, my children shall have no We stand up peerless.
names:t Pr'ythee, how many boys and wenches Cleo. Excellent falsehold I
must I have 1 Why did he marry Fulvia, and not love her 1 Sooth. If every of your wishes had a womb, I'll seem the fool I am not : Antony
And fertile every wish, a million. Will be himself.
Char. Out fool! I forgive thee for a witch. Ant. But stirr'd by Cleopatra.
Aler. You think none but your sheets are privy Now, for the love of Love, *• and her soft hours, I to your wishes. Let's not confound the time with conference Char. Nay, come, tell Tras her's. barsh :
Alex. We'll know all our fortunes. There's not a minute of our lives should stretch Eno. Mine, and most of our fortunes, to-night, Without some pleasure now: What sport to- shall be-drunk to bed. night?
Iras. There's a palm presages chastity, if Cleo. Hear the ambassadors.
nothing else. Ant. Fie, wrangling queen !
Char. Even as the overflowing Nilus presageth Whom every thing becomes, to chide, to laugh, famine. To weep; whose every passion fully strives
Iras. Go, you wild bedfellow, you cannot To make itself, in thee, fair and admir'd!
soothsay. No messenger ; but thine, and all alone,
Char, Nay, if an oily palm be not a fruitful To-night we'll wander through the streets, and note prognostication, I cannot scratch mine ear.The qualities of people. Come, my queen;
| Pr'ythee, tell her but a worky-day fortune. Last night you did desire it :-Speak not to us.
Sooth. Your fortunes are alike. (Exeunt. ANT. and CLEO. with their Train. Iras. But how, but how? give me particulars. Dem. Is Cesar with Antonius priz'd so slight? | Sooth. I have said. Phi. Sir, sometimes, wben be is not Autony,
Iras. Am I not an inch of fortune better than He comes too short of that great property
she t Which still should go with Antony.
Char. Well, if you were but an inch of fortune Dem. I'm full sorry,
better than I, where would you choose it ? That he approves the common liar, H who
Iras. Not in my husband's nose. Thus speaks of him at Rome : But I will hope Char. Our worser thoughts heavens mend ! or better deeds to-inorrow. Rest you liappy!
Alexas,-come, bis fortune, his fortune.-Oh! (Éreunt. let him marry a woman that cannot go, sweet
Isis, 6 I beseech thee! And let her die too, and SCENE 11.-The Same.-Another Room.
give him a worse ; and let worse follow worse,
till the worst of all follow him laughing to his Enter CHARMIAN, IRAS, ALEXAS, and a grave, fifty-fold a cuckold I Good Isis, hear me SOOTHSAYER.
this prayer, though thou deny me a matter of Char. Lord Alexas, sweet Alexas, most any
more weight : good Isis, I beseech thee! thing Alexas, almost most absolute Alexas,
Iras. Amen. Dear goddess, hear that prayer where's the soothsayer that you praised so to
of the people! for, as it is a beart-breaking to the aneen? Oh, that I knew this husband see a handsome man loose-wived, so it is a deadly which, you say, must charge bis horns with gar
h ar sorrow to behold a foul knave uncuckolded, lands í
Therefore, dear Isis, keep decorun, and fortune
him accordingly! • One of the triumvirs : the three masters of the world. I + Bound. Give me the substance.
News • Vulgarly esteemed the fiercest and proudest monarch vas formerly a plural noun. Summons. I Kuow. of antiquity. + A common proverb.
Shr ** Or, of Venus.
An Egyptian godess.
There's a great spirit gone! Thus did I desire it : Alex. Lo, now, if it lay in their hands to What our contempts do often hurl from us, make me a cuckold, they would make themselves We wish it our's again ; the present pleasure, whores but they'& do't.
By revolution lowering, does become Eno, Hush I here comes Antony.
The opposite of itself: she's good, being gone; Char. Not he, the queen.
The land could pluck her back, that shov'd her
on. Enter CLEOPATRA.
I must from this enchanting queen break off ; Cleo. Saw you my lord ?
Ten thousand harins, more than the ills I know, Eno. No, lady.
My idleness doth hatch.-How now! Enobar, Cleo. Was he not here
bus ! Char. No, madam, Cleo. He was dispos'd to mirth; but on the
Eno. What's your pleasure, Sir?
Eno. Why, then, we kd all our women: We Cleo. Seek him, and bring him hither. Where's see how mortal an unkindness is to them ; it Alexas 1
they suffer our departure, death's the word. Aler. Here, madam, at your service.-My lord Ant. I must be gone. approaches.
Eno. Under a compelling occasion, let women
die : It were pity to cast them away for nothing : Enter ANTONY, with a MESSENGER, and At.
though, between them and a great cause, they tendants.
should be esteemed nothing. Cleopatra, catching Cleo. We will not look upon him: Go with but the least noise of this, dies instantly : I have ns.
seen ber die twenty times upon far poorer mo. (Exeunt CLEOPATRA, ENOBAR BUS, ALEXAS, ment :* I do think there is mettle in death, which
IRAS, CHARMIAN, SOOTHSAYER, and commits some loving act upon her, she hath such
a celerity in dying. Mess. Fulvia thy wife first came into the field. Ant. She is cunning past man's thought. Ant. Against my brother Lucius ?
Eno. Alack, Sir, no : her passions are made Aless. Ay :
of nothing but the finest part of pure love : we But soon that war had end, and the time's state cannot call her winds and waters, sighs and tears; Made friends of them, joining their force 'gainst they are greater storins and tempests than almaCesar;
nacks can report : this cannot be cunning in her ; Whose better issue in the war, from Italy, if it be, she makes a shower of rain as well as Upon the first encounter, drave them.
Jove. Ant. Well,
Ant. 'Would I had never seen her! What worse 1
Eno, O Sir, you had then left unseen a wonMess. The nature of bad news infects the derful piece of work ; which not to have been teiler.
blessed withal, would have discredited your Ant. When it concerns the fool or coward.-travel. On:
[thus; Ant. Fulvia is dead.
Eno. Fulvia ?
Ant. Dead. (This is stiff news) hath, with his Parthian force, Eno. Why, Sir, give the gods a thankful sacriExtended . Asia from Euphrates ;
fice. When it pleaseth their deities to take the His conquering banner shook, from Syria
wife of a man from him, it shows to man the To Lydia, and to lonia;
tailors of the earth; comforting therein, that Whilst
when old robes are worn out, there are members Ant. Antony, thou would'st say,
to make new. If there were no more women but Mess. O my lord !
Fulvia, then bad you indeed a cut, and the case Ant. Speak to me home ; mince not the ge- to be lamented : this grief is crowned with conneral tongue ;
solation your old smock brings forth a new pet. Name Cleopatra as she's call'd in Rome ;
ticoat and indeed the tears live in an onion, Rail thou in Fulvia's phrase ; and taunt my that should water this sorrow. faults
(lice Ant. The business she hath broached in the With such full licence, as both truth and ma- Cannot endure my absence.
(state Have power to utter. Ob ! then we bring forth Eno. And the business you have broached weeds,
here cannot be without you; especially that of When our quick windst lie still; and ons ills told Cleopatra's, which wholly depends on your abode. us,
Ant. No more light answers. Let our officers Is as our earing, t Fare thee well a while.
Have notice what we purpose. I shall break Mess. At your noble pleasure.
(Erit, The cause of our expediencet to the queen, Ant. From Sicyon how the news? Speak And get her love t to part. For not alone there.
The death of Fulvia, with more urgent touches, 1 Alt. The man from Sicyon.-Is there such Do strongly speak to us; but the letters too a one 1
of many our contriving friends in Rome 2 Att. He stays upon your wiil.
Petition us at home : Sextus Pompeius Ant. Let him appear,
Hath given the dare to Cesar, and commands These strong Egyptian fetters I must break,
The empire of the sea : our slippery people
|(Whose love is never link'd to the deserver, Enter another MESSENGER.
Till his deserts are past,) begin to throw Or lose myself in dotage.- What are you?
Pompey the great, and all his dignities, 2 Mess. Fulvia thy wife is dead.
Upon his son ; who, high in name and power, Ant. Where died she?
Higher than both in blood and life, stands up 2 Mess. In Sicyon :
For the main soldier : whose quality, going on, Her length of sickness, with what else more seri. The sides oʻthe world may danger : Much is Impoiteth thee to know, this bears.
(Gires a letter. Which, like the courser's hair, hatb yet but life, Ant. Forbear me. (Erit MESSENGER.
• Upon far less reason. • Expedition. Leave. • Scized. + By some read minds.
Horse's hair, drept into putrid water, was supposed -Tilling, plowing i prepares us to produce good seed.
to turn into an animal,