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How hardly I was drawn into this war;
How calm and gentle I proceeded still
In all my writings. Go with me, and see
What I can show in this.


SCENE II. Alexandria. A Room in the Monument.


Cleo. My desolation does begin to make
A better life. 'Tis paltry to be Cæsar ;
Not being fortune, he's but fortune's knave,
A minister of her will. And it is great
To do that thing that ends all other deeds ;
Which shackles accidents, and bolts up change ;
Which sleeps, and never palates more the dung;
The beggar's nurse and Cæsar's.3

Enter, to the gates of the monument, PROCULEIUS,

GALLUS, and Soldiers. Pro. Cæsar sends greeting to the queen of Egypt; And bids thee study on what fair demands Thou mean'st to have him grant thee. Cleo. [Within.]

What's thy name?
Pro. My name is Proculeius.
Cleo. [Within.]

Did tell me of you, bade me trust you ; but
I do not greatly care to be deceived,
That have no use for trusting. If your master
Would have a queen his beggar, you must tell him,
That majesty, to keep decorum, must
No less beg than a kingdom. If he please
To give me conquered Egypt for my son,


1 The Poet here has attempted to exhibit at once the outside and the inside of a building.

2 Servant.

3 Voluntary death (says Cleopatra) is an act which bolts up change ; it produces a state which has no longer need of the gross and terrene sustenance, in the use of which Cæsar and the beggar are on a level.


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He gives me so much of mine own, as I
Will kneel to him with thanks.

Be of good cheer;
You are fallen into a princely hand; fear nothing.
Make your

full reference freely to my lord,
Who is so full of grace, that it flows over
On all that need. Let me report to him
Your sweet dependency; and you shall find
A conqueror, that will pray,

in aid ? for kindness,
Where he for grace is kneeled to.
Cleo. [Within.]

Pray you, tell him
I am his fortune's vassal, and I send him
The greatness he has got.3 I hourly learn
A doctrine of obedience; and would gladly
Look him i' the face.

This I'll report, dear lady,
Have comfort; for, I know, your plight is pitied
Of him that caused it.
Gal. You see how easily she may be surprised;
[Here PROCULEIUS, and two of the Guard, ascend

the monument by a ladder placed against a
window, and, having descended, come behind
CLEOPATRA. Some of the Guard unbar and

open the gates.
Guard her till Cæsar come.
[To PROCULEIUS and the Guard. Exit

Iras. Royal queen!
Char. O Cleopatra ! thou art taken, queen!
Cleo. Quick, quick, good hands.

[Drawing a dagger.

Hold, worthy lady, hold.

[Seizes and disarms her.

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1 Mason would change as I, to and I; but I have shown in another place that as was used by Shakspeare and his contemporaries for that.

2 Praying in aid is a term used for a petition made in a court of justice for the calling in of help from another that hath an interest in the cause in question.

3 By these words, Cleopatra means_“ In yielding to him, I only give him that honor which he himself achieved."

4 There is no stage direction in the old copy ; that which is now inserted is formed on the old translation of Plutarch.



Do not yourself such wrong, who are in this
Relieved, but not betrayed.

What, of death too,
That rids our dogs of languish ?

Do not abuse my master's bounty, by
The undoing of yourself. Let the world see
His nobleness well acted, which your

Will never let come forth.

Where art thou, death ?
Come hither, come! come, come, and take a queen
Worth many babes and beggars !

O, temperance, lady!
Cleo. Sir, I will eat no meat, I'll not drink, sir,
(If idle talk will once be necessary;?)
I'll not sleep neither. This mortal house I'll ruin,
Do Cæsar what he can. Know, sir, that I
Will not wait pinioned at your master's court;
Nor once be chastised with the sober eye
Of dull Octavia. Shall they hoist me up,
And show me to the shouting varletry
Of censuring Rome? Rather a ditch in Egypt
Be gentle grave to me! rather on Nilus' mud
Lay me stark naked, and let the water-flies
Blow me into abhorring! rather make
My country's high pyramides? my gibbet,
And hang me up in chains !

You do extend
These thoughts of horror further than you shall
Find cause in Cæsar.


What thou hast done thy master Cæsar knows,

1 It should be remembered that once is used as once for all by Shakspeare. The meaning of this line, which is evidently parenthetical,

appears to be, “ Once for all, if idle talk be necessary about my purposes."

2 Pyramides is so written and used as a quadrisyllable by Sandys and by Drayton.

For the queen,

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And he hath sent for thee. For the
I'll take her to my guard.

So, Dolabella,
It shall content me best; be gentle to her.-
To Cæsar I will speak what you

shall please

[To CLEOPATRA. If you'll employ me to him. Cleo.

Say, I would die.

[Exeunt PROCULEIUS and Soldiers.
Dol. Most noble empress, you have heard of me?
Cleo. I cannot tell.
Dol. Assuredly, you know me.

Cleo. No matter, sir, what I have heard, or known.
You laugh, when boys or women tell their dreams ;
Is't not your trick ?

I understand not, madam.
Cleo. I dreamed there was an emperor Antony.
0, such another sleep, that I might see
But such another man !

If it might please you,
Cleo. His face was as the heavens; and therein stuck
A sun and moon; which kept their course, and lighted
The little O, the earth.

Most sovereign creature,
Cleo. His legs bestrid the ocean: his reared arm
Crested the world ; 2 his voice was propertied
As all the tuned spheres, and that to friends;
But when he meant to quail and shake the orb,
He was as rattling thunder. For his bounty,
There was no winter in't; an autumn 'twas,
That grew the more by reaping. His delights
Were dolphin-like; they showed his back above
The element they lived in. In his livery
Walked crowns, and crownets; realms and islands were
As plates 3 dropped from his pocket.

1 Shakspeare uses O for an orb or circle.

2 Dr. Percy thinks that “this is an allusion to some of the old crests in heraldry, where a raised arm on a wreath was mounted on the helmet." To crest is to surmount.

3 Plates means silver money. In heraldry, the roundlets in an escutcheon, if or, or yellow, are called besants ; if argents, or white, plates, VOL. VI.


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Cleopatra, —
Cleo. Think you, there was, or might be, such a man
As this I dreamed of?

Gentle madam, no.
Cleo. You lie, up to the hearing of the gods.
But, if there be, or ever were one such,
It's past the size of dreaming. Nature wants stuff
To vie strange forms with fancy; yet, to imagine
An Antony, were nature's piece 'gainst fancy,
Condemning shadows quite.

Hear me, good madam.
Your loss is as yourself, great; and you bear it
As answering to the weight. Would I might never
O’ertake pursued success, but I do feel,
By the rebound of yours, a grief that shoots
My very heart at root.

I thank you, sir.
Know you what Cæsar means to do with me?

Dol. I am loath to tell you what I would you knew.
Cleo. Nay, pray you, sir,

Though he be honorable,
Cleo. He'll lead me then in triumph ?

Madam, he will ;
I know it.

Within. Make way there !-Cæsar!

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Enter Cæsar, Gallus, PROCULEIUS, MECÆNAS,

SELEUCUS, and Attendants. Cas.

Which is the

queen Of Egypt? Dol. 'Tis the emperor, madam.

[CLEOPATRA kneels. Cæs.

You shall not kneel.-
I pray you, rise ; rise, Egypt.

Sir, the gods

which are round, flat pieces of silver money, perhaps without any stamp or impress.

i To vie here has its metaphorical sense of to contend in rivalry.

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