Page images
[merged small][ocr errors]

Come then, and take the last warmth of my lips.
Farewel, kind Charmian ;-Iras, long farewel.

[kifles them. Iras falls and dies,
Have I the aspick in my lips *? Doft fall
If thou and nature can so gently part,
The stroke of death is as a lover's pinch,
Which hurts, and is defir'd. Dost thou lie still?
If thus thou vanishest, thou tell’ft the world
It is not worth leave-taking.

Char. Diffolve, thick cloud, and rain; that I may say,
The gods themselves do weep!

Cleo. This proves me base:
If the first meet the curled Antony,
He'll make demand of her'; and spend that kiss,
Which is my heaven to have.-Come, thou mortal wretch,

[to the alp, which she applies to her breaft.
With thy sharp teeth this knot intrinsicate
Of life at once untie : poor venomous fool,
Be angry, and dispatch. O, could'st thou speak!
That I might hear thee call great Cæsar, ass

Char. O eastern star!

Cleo. Peace, peace!
Doft thou not see my baby at my breast,
That sucks the nurse asleep?

Char. O, break! O, break!

Cleo, As sweet as balm, as soft as air, as gentle,-
O Antony !--Nay, I will take thee too:--

[applying another asp to her arm.

[ocr errors]

Have I she aspick in my lips ? ] Are my lips poison'd by the aspick, that my kiss has destroyed thee? MALONE.

Dof fall? ] Iras must be supposed to have applied an asp to her arm while her mistress was settling her dress, or I know not why she Thould fall ro soon. STEEVENS.

9 He'll make demand of ber ;] He will enquire of her concerning me, and kiss her for giving him intelligence, JOHNSON.

afs Unpolicy'd!] i.e. an ass witbout more policy than to leave the means of death within my reach, and thereby deprive his triumph of its noblet decoration, STEEVINS.

What What should I stay

[ falls on a bed, and diese
Char. In this wild world? --So, fare thee well.
Now boast thee, death! in thy possession lies
A lass unparallel'd.—Downy windows, close 3;
And golden Phæbus never be beheld
Of eyes again so royal! Your crown's awry * ;
I'll mend it, and then play.

Enter the Guard, rushing in.
1. Guard. Where is the queen?
Char. Speak softly, wake her not.
1. Guard. Cæsar hath sent-

Char. Too flow a melenger. (applies the ap. O, come; apace, dispatch : I partly feel thee. 1. Guard. Approach, ho! All's not well: Cæsar's be

guil'd. 2. Guard. There's Dolabella sent from Cæsar;-call him. 1. Guard. What work is here?-Charmian, is this well

done? Char. It is well done, and fitting for a princess Descended of so many royal kings,

Ah 2 In this wild world?] Thus the old copy. I suppose the means by this wild world, this world which by the death of Antony is become a defert to her. A wild is a desert. Our author, however, might have written vild (i. e. vile according to ancient spelling) for worthless.

STIEVENS. - Downy windows, close ;] So, in Venus and Adonis :

“ Her two blue windows faintly the upheaveth.” MALONE. 4 - Your crown's awry;] This is well amended by the editors. The old editions had Your crown's away. JOHNSON.

The correction was made by Mr. Pope. The authour has here as nfual followed the old translation of Plutarch.“ _They found Cleopatra ftarke dead layed upon a bed of gold, attired and arrayed in her royal robes, and one of her two women, which was called Iras, dead at her feete; and her other woman called Charmian half dead, and crembling, trimming the diadem which Cleopatra wore upon her head.” MALONE. So, in Daniel's Tragedy of Cleopatra, 1594:

And senseless, in her linking down, she wryes
" The diadem which on her head the wore ;
“ Which Charmian (poor weak feeble maid) espyes,
" And haftes to right it as it was before;

" For Eras now was dead." STEEVENS.
5 Descended of so many royal king:.] Almost these very words are
found in fir T. North's tranflation of Plutarch; and in Daniel's playca


[ocr errors][ocr errors]


Ah, soldier!

[diese Enter DOLABELLA. Dol. How goes it here? 2. Guard. All dead.

Dol. Cæfar, thy thoughts
Touch their effects in this : Thyself art coming
To see perform’d the dreaded act, which thou
So fought'st to hinder.
Within. A way there, a way for Cæsar!

Enter CÆSAR, and Attendants,
Dol, O, sir, you are 100 sure an augurer ;


did fear, is done.
Cæs. Braveit at the last:
She levell’d at our purposes, and, being royal,
Took her own way.-The manner of their deaths ?
I do not see them bleed,

Dol. Who was last with them?

1. Guard. A simple countryman, that brought her figs; This was his basket.

Caf. Poison’d then.

1. Guard. O Cæsar,
This Charmian liv'd but now ; she stood, and spake:
I found her trimming up the diadem
On her dead mistress ; tremblingly the stood,
And on the sudden drop'd,

Cas. O noble weakness! -
If they had swallow'd poison, 'twould appear
By external swelling: but she looks like Neep,
As she would catch another Antony
In her strong toil of grace.

Dol, Here, on her breast,
'There is a vent of blood, and something blown:


the same subject. The former book is not uncommon, and therefore it would be impertinent to crowd the page with every circumitance which Shakspeare has borrowed from the same original. STEEVENS.

6 - Sometbing blown :] The flesh is somewhat puffed or fevoln. Johns.

So, in the ancient metrical romance of Syr Bewys of Hampron, bl. 1, no date :

" That with venim upon him throwen,
“ The knight lay then to blowen." STEEVENS.


The like is on her arm.

1. Guard. This is an aspick's trail: and these fig-leaves Have flime upon them, such as the aspick leaves Upon the caves of Nile.

Cas. Most probable,
That so lhe dy'd; for her physician tells me,
She hath pursu'd conclusions infinite?
Of easy ways to die.—Take up her bed ;
And bear her women from the monument :-
She shall be buried by her Antony:
No grave upon the earth shall clip in it
A pair so famous. High events as these
Strike those that make them; and their story is
No less in pity, than his glory, which
Brought them to be lamented. Our army shall,
In folemn shew, attend this funeral;
And then to Rome.-Come, Dolabella, see
High order in this great folemnity


So before >

" — and let the water-flies

Blow me into abhorring." MALONE. ? Sbebab pursued conclusions infinite-) i. e. numberless experiments, So, in the Spanish Gypsey, by Middleton and Rowley, 1653 :

“ - and to try that conclusion,
“ To see if thou be'it alchumy or no,

“ They'll throw down gold in musles." MALONI. 8 This play keeps curiosity always busy, and the paffions always in. terested. The continual hurry of the action, the variety of incidents, and the quick succession of one personage to another, call the mind forward without intermiffion from the first act to the laft. But the power of delighting is derived principally from the frequent changes of the scene; for, except the feminine arts, some of which are too low, which distinguish Cleopatra, no 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 his real practice. But I think his diction not diftinguishable from that of others: the most tumid speech in the play is that which Cæsar makes to Octavia.

The events, of which the principal are described according to history, are produced without any art of connexion or care of difpofition,




[ocr errors]
« EelmineJätka »