Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

My playfellow, your hand; this kingly seal,
And plighter of high hearts !—0, that I were
Upon the bill of Basana), to outroar
The horned herd! for I have savage cause;
And to proclaim it civilly, were like
A halter'd neck, which does the hangman thank
For being yare" about him. Is he whipp'd ?

Re-enter Attendants, with THYREUS.
1 Att. Soundly, my lord.
Ant. Cried he? and begg'd he pardon ?
1 Att. He did ask favour.

Ant. If that thy father live, let him repent Thou wast not made his daughter; and be thou sorry To follow Cæsar in his triumph, since Thou hast been whipp'd for following him: hence

forth, The white hand of a lady fever thee, Shake thou to look on't.-Get thee back to Cæsar, Tell him thy entertainment: Look, thou say, He makes me angry with him: for he seems Proud and disdainful; harping on what I am; Not what he knew I was: He makes me angry; And at this time most easy 'tis to do't; When my good stars, that were my former guides, Have empty left their orbs, and shot their fires Into the abism of hell. If he mislike My speech, and what is done; tell him, he has

21 This is an allusion, however improper, to the Psalms :* An high hill as the hill of Basan.' The idea of the horned herd was also probably caught from the same source:- Many oxen are come about me: fat bulls of Basan close me in on every side.' • It is not without pity and indignation (says Johnson) that the reader of this great poet meets so often with this low jest, which is too much a favourite to be left out of either mirth or fury.'

22 i.e. ready, nimble, active. See Act iji, Sc. 8, note 6, p. 458, ante.

Hipparchus, my enfranchis'd bondman, whom
He may at pleasure whip, or hang, or torture,
As he shall like, to quit 23 me: Urge it thou :
Hence, with thy stripes, begone. [Exit THYREUS.
Cleo. Have

you
done

yet? Ant.

Alack, our terrene moon Is now eclips'd; and it portends alone The fall of Antony ! Cleo.

I must stay his time. Ant. To flatter Cæsar, would you mingle eyes With one that ties his points 24 ? Cleo.

Not know me yet? Ant. Cold-hearted toward me? Cleo.

Ah, dear, if I be so,
From my cold heart let heaven engender hail,
And poison it in the source; and the first stone
Drop in my neck: as it determines 25, so
Dissolve my

life! The next Cæsarion 26 smite!
Till, by degrees, the memory of my womb,
Together with my brave Egyptians all,
By the discandying of this pelleted storm,
Lie graveless; till the flies and gnats of Nile
Have buried them for prey!
Ant.

I am satisfied.
Cæsar sits down in Alexandria; where
I will oppose his fate. Our force by land
Hath nobly held; our sever'd navy too

23 To repay me this insult, to requite me.

24 i. e. with a menial attendant. The reader will doubtless remember that points were the laces with which our ancestors fastened their trunk-hose.

25 That is, as the hailstone dissolves or wastes away. So ia King Henry VI. Part 11. :

· Till his friend sickness hath determin'd me,' 26 Cleopatra's son by Julius Cæsar.

I'll set my

Have knit again, and fleet7, threat'ning most sealike.
Where hast thou been, my heart?-Dost thou hear,

lady?
If from the field I shall return once more
To kiss these lips, I will appear in blood;
I and

my

sword will earn our chronicle; There is hope in it yet. Cleo:

That's

my

brave lord !
Ant. I will be treble-sinew'd, hearted, breath'd,
And fight maliciously: for when mine hours
Were nice 28 and lucky, men did ransome lives
Of me for jests; but now,

teeth,
And send to darkness all that stop me.-Come,
Let's have one other gaudy29 night: call to me
All my sad captains, fill our bowls; once more
Let's mock the midnight bell.
Cleo.

It is my birthday:
I had thought, to have held it poor; but, since my

lord
Is Antony again, I will be Cleopatra.

Ant. We'll yet do well.
Cleo. Call all his noble captains to my lord.
Ant. Do so, we'll speak to them; and to-night

I'll force
The wine peep through their scars.--Come on, my

queen; There's

sap

in't yet.—The next time I do fight,

27 To fleet and to float were anciently synonymous. Thus Baret:—' To fleete above the water: flotter. Steevens has adduced numerous examples from old writers, 28 Nice is here equivalent to soft, tender, wanton, or luxurious.

' In softer and more fortunate hours.' See vol. iii. p. 393, note 6.

29 Feast days, in the colleges of either university, are called gaudy days, as they were formerly in the Inns of Court. From gaudium (says Blount), because, to say truth, they are days of joy, as bringing good cheer to the hungry students.'

I'll make death love me; for I will contend
Even with his pestilent scythe 30.

[Exeunt Ant, Cleo. and Attendants. Eno. Now he'll out-stare the lightning 31. To be

furious, Is, to be frighted out of fear: and in that mood, The dove will peck the estridge 32; and I see still, A diminution in our captain's brain Restores his heart: When valour preys on reason, It eats the sword it fights with. I will seek Some way to leave him.

[Exit.

ACT IV.

SCENE I. Cæsar's Camp at Alexandria. Enter CÆSAR, reading a Letter; AGRIPPA, ME

CÆNAS, and Others.
Cæs. He calls me boy; and chides, as he had

power To beat me out of Egypt: my messenger He hath whipp'd with rods; dares me to personal

combat, Cæsar to Antony: Let the old ruffian know,

30 This may have been caught from Harington's Ariosto, b. xii.:

Death goeth about the field, rejoicing mickle

To see a sword that so surpass'd his sickle.' Death is armed with a weapon in Statius, Theb. i. 633 :

• Mors fila sororum

Ense metit.' 31 Plutarch says of Antony, 'He used a manner of phrase in his speeche called Asiatick, which carried the best grace at that time, and was much like to him in bis manners and life; for it was full of ostentation, foolish braverie, and vaine ambition.' North's Translation.

32 i. e. the estridge falcon.

I have many

other ways to die?; mean time,
Laugh at his challenge.
Mec.

Cæsar must think,
When one so great begins to rage, he's hunted
Even to falling. Give him no breath, but now
Make boot? of his distraction: Never anger
Made good guard for itself.
Ces.

Let our best heads Know, that to-morrow the last of many

battles We mean to fight:—Within our files there are Of those that serv'd Mark Antony but late, Enough to fetch him in. See it done; And feast the army: we have store to do't, And they have earn’d the waste. Poor Aạtony!

[Exeunt.

SCENE II.

Alexandria. A Room in the Palace,

Enter ANTONY, CLEOPATRA, ENOBARBUS,

CHARMIAN, IRAS, ALEXAS, and Others. Ant. He will not fight with me, Domitius. Eno.

No. Ant. Why should he not? Eno. He thinks, being twenty times of better

fortune, He is twenty men to one. Ant.

To-morrow, soldier,

! Upton would read :

He hath many other ways to die: mean time

I laugh at his challenge.' This is certainly the sense of Plutarch, and given so in modern translations ; but Shakspeare was misled by the ambiguity of the old one :-- Antonius sent again to challenge Cæsar to fight him: Cæsar answered, that he had many other ways to die than so.

2 i.e. take advantage of.

« ZurückWeiter »