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Thou’rt an honest man. Mess. Cæsar and he are greater friends than ever. Cleo. Make thee a fortune from me. Mess.
But yet, madam,-Cleo. I do not like but yet, it does allay The good precedence"; fye upon but yet: But yet is as a gaoler 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 friend with Cæsar; In state of health, thou say'st; and, thou say’st, free.
Mess. Free, madam! no; I made no such report: He's bound unto Octavia. Cleo.
For what good turn ? Mess. For the best turn i'the bed. Cleo.
I am pale, Charmian. Mess. Madam, he's married to Octavia. Cleo. The most infectious pestilence upon thee!
[Strikes him down. Mess. Good madam, patience. Cleo.
What say you?-Hence,
Strikes him again. Horrible villain ! I'll
eyes Like balls before me; I'll unhair thy head;
[She hales him up and down. Thou shalt be whipp'd with wire, and stew'd in brine, Smarting in ling'ring pickle. Mess.
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 hadst Shall make thy peace, for moving me to rage; And I will boot 10 thee with what gift beside Thy modesty can beg.
9 i. e. abates the good quality of what is already reported. 10 Profit thee, recom:pense thee. VOL. VIII.
He's married, madam. Cleo. Rogue, thou hast liv'd too long.
[Draws a Dagger. Mess.
Nay, then I'll run :What mean you, madam? I have made no fault.
[Exit. Char. Good madam, keep yourself within your
self11; The man is innocent.
Cleo. Some innocents 'scape not the thunderbolt.-
Char. He is afeard to come.
I will not hurt him :-
Re-enter 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. Mess.
I have done my duty. Cleo. Is he married ? I cannot hate thee worser than I do, If thou again say, Yes. Mess.
He is married, madam. Cleo. The gods confound thee! dost thou hold
there still ? Mess. Should I lie, madam?
11 • Contain yourself, restrain your passion within bounds.' So in The Taming of the Shrew:
Doubt not, my lord, we can contain ourselves.' 12 This thought seems to be borrowed from the laws of chivalry, which forbade a knight to engage with his inferior.
0, I would, thou didst;
Mess. I crave your highness' pardon.
He is married? Mess. Take no offence, that I would not offend
you: To punish me for what you make me do, Seems much unequal: He is married to Octavia.
Cleo. O, that his fault should make a knave of thee, That art not!-What? thou’rt sure of -Get thee
hence 13 : The merchandise which thou hast brought from Rome, Are all too dear for me; Lie they upon thy hand, And be undone by 'em ! [Exit Messenger. Char.
Good your highness, patience. Cleo. In praising Antony, I have disprais à Cæsar. Char. Many times, madam. Cleo.
I am paid for't now. Lead me from hence, I faint; O Iras, Charmian,—"Tis no matter;Go to the fellow, good Alexas; bid him Report the feature 14 of Octavia, her years, Her inclination, let him not leave out The colour of her hair:- bring me word quickly.
[Exit ALEXAS. 13 The old copy thus exbibits this line:
· That art not what thou'rt sure of. Get thee hence.' The emendation admitted into the text is partly that of Monck Mason. Johnson has observed that the line consists of abrupt starts. Cleopatra interrupts herself with passionate exclamations, and breaks off her interrogatory by again driving out the hateful messenger of ill news. Mason would read, 'What ? thou’rt sure of 't! and Steevens adopted his reading,
14 Feature was anciently used for the form or fashion of the whole body. See vol. i. p. 124, note 4.
Let him for ever go :-Let him not~Charmian 15,
[T. MARDIAN. Bring me word, how tall she is.-Pity me, Charmian, But do not speak to me. —
:-Lead me to my chamber.
Enter POMPEY and MENAS, at one side, with Drum
and Trumpet: at another, CÆSAR, LEPIDUS, ANTONY, ENOBARBUS, MECÆNAS, with Soldiers marching. Pom. Your hostages I have, so have you
mine; And we shall talk before we fight. Ces.
Most meet That first we come to words; and therefore have we Our written purposes
before us sent;
father should revengers want, Having a son and friends: since Julius Cæsar, Who at Philippi the good Brutus ghosted, There saw you labouring for him. What was it, That mov'd pale Cassius to conspire ? And what
15 Cleopatra is now talking in broken sentences, not of the messenger, but of Antony.
1 Brave, courageous.
2 This verb is used by Burton in his Anatomy of Melancholy, Pref. p. 22, ed. 1632 :- What madnesse ghosts this old man? but what madnesse ghosts as all ?'
you all three,
Made the all-honour'd, honest Roman Brutus,
time. Ant. Thou canst not fear3 us, Pompey, with thy
sails, We'll speak with thee at sea: at land, thou know'st How much we do o'ercount thee. Pom.
At land, indeed, Thou dost o'ercount me of my father's house * : But, since the cuckoo builds not for himself, Remain in't as thou may’st5. Lep.
Be pleas'd to tell us (For this is from the present), how you take The offers we have sent you. Cæs.
There's the point. Ant. Which do not be entreated to, but weigh What it is worth embrac'd.
3 • Thou canst 'not affright us with thy numerous navy.' So id Measure for Measure:
Setting it up to fear the birds of prey.' 4 • At land indeed thou dost exceed me in possessions, having added to thy own my father's house.' O’ercount seems to be used equivocally, and Pompey perhaps is meant to insinuate that Antony not only outnumbered, but had overreached him. The circumstance of Antony's obtaining the house of Pompey's father the poet had from Plutarch.
5. Since, like the cuckoo, that seizes the nests of other birds, you have invaded a house which you could not build, keep it while you can.'
6 i. e. foreign to the object of our present discussion. Shakspeare uses the prisert as a substantive many times. See vol. i. p. 10, note 3.