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That he approves the common liar, who
Enter CHARMIAN, IRAs, Alexas, and a Soothsayer.
Char. Lord Alexas, sweet Alexas, most any thing Alexas, almost most absolute Alexas, where's the soothsayer that you praised so to the queen? O, that I knew this husband, which, you say, must change his horns with garlands !*
Char. Good sir, give me good fortune.
* That he approves the common liar,] Fame. That he proves the common liar, fame, in his case to be a true reporter.
change his horns with garlands !] i.e. be a triumphant cuckold; a cuckold who will consider his state as an honourable
Some of the commentators think the word should be charge.
Char. Wrinkles forbid!
Char. Good now, some excellent fortune! Let me be married to three kings in a forenoon, and widow them all: let me have a child at fifty, to whom Herod of Jewry may do homage:' find me to marry me with Octavius Cæsar, and companion me with my mistress.
Sooth. You shall outlive the lady whom you serve. Char. O excellent! I love long life better than figs. Sooth. You have seen and proved a fairer former
fortune Than that which is to approach.
Char. Then, belike, my children shall have no names: Pr’ythee, how many boys and wenches must I have
s— to whom Herod of Jewry may do homage:) Herod paid homage to the Romans, to procure the grant of the kingdom of Judea : but I believe there is an allusion here to the theatrical character of this monarch, and to a proverbial expression founded on it. Herod was always one of the personages in the mysteries of our early stage, on which he was constantly represented as a fierce, haughty, blustering tyrant, so that Herod of Jewry became a common proverb, expressive of turbulence and rage. Thus, Hamlet says of a ranting player, that he “ out-herods Herod.” And, in this tragedy, Alexas tells Cleopatra, that " not even Herod of Jewry dare look upon her when she is angry;" i. e. not even a man as fierce as Herod. According to this explanation, the sense of the present passage will be-Charmian wishes for a son who may arrive at such power and dominion that the proudest and fiercest monarchs of the earth may be brought under his yoke.
STEEVENS. I love long life better than figs.] This is a proverbial expression.
7 Then, belike, my children shall have no names :) If I have already had the best of my fortune, then I suppose I shall never
Sooth. If every of your wishes had a womb, And fertile every wish, a million.”
Char. Out, fool! I forgive thee for a witch.
Alex. You think, none but your sheets are privy to your wishes.
Char. Nay, come, tell Iras hers.
Eno. Mine, and most of our fortunes, to-night, shall be drunk to bed.
Iras. There's a palm presages chastity, if nothing else.
Char. Even as the o'erflowing Nilus presagethfamine.
Iras. Go, you wild bedfellow, you cannot soothsay.
Char. Nay, if an oily palm be not a fruitful prognostication, I cannot scratch mine ear.Prythee, tell her but a worky-day fortune.
Sooth. Your fortunes are alike.
Irus. Am I not an inch of fortune better than she?
Char. Well, if you were but an inch of fortune better than I, where would you choose it?
Iras. Not in my husband's nose.
Char. Our worser thoughts heavens mend! Alexas,-come, his fortune, his fortune.-0, let him marry a woman that cannot go, sweet Isis, I beseech thee! And let her die too, and give him a worse! and let worse follow worse, till the worst of
name children, that is, I am never to be married. However, tell me the truth, tell me, how many boys and wenches ?
If every of your wishes had a womb,
And fertile every wish, a million.] If every one of your wishes, says the Soothsayer, had a womb, and each womb-invested wish were likewise fertile, you then would have a million of children.
all follow him laughing to his grave, fifty-fold a cuckold! Good Isis, hear ine this prayer, though thou deny me a matter of more weight; good Isis, I beseech thee! Iras. Amen. Dear goddess, hear that prayer
of the people! for, as it is a heart-breaking to see a handsome man loose-wived, so it is a deadly sorrow to behold a foul knave uncuckolded; Therefore, dear Isis, keep decorum, and fortune him accord ingly!
Alex. Lo, now! if it lay in their hands to make me a cuckold, they would make themselves whores, but they'd do't.
Eno. Hush! here comes Antony.
Not he, the queen.
Cleo. Saw you my lord?
Was he not here? Char. No, madam.
Cleo. He was dispos’d to mirth; but on the sudden A Roman thought hath struck him.-Enobarbus,
Enter Antony, with a Messenger and Attendants. Cleo. We will not look upon him: Go with us. [Exeunt CLEOPATRA, ENOBARBUS, ALEXAS,
Iras, CHARMIAN, Soothsayer, and At
tendants. Mess. Fulvia thy wife first came into the field.
Ant. Against my brother Lucius?
Mess. The nature of bad news infects the teller,
Ant. When it concerns the fool, or coward.-On:
Ant. Antony, thou would'st say,-
O, my lord! Ant. Speak to me home, mince not the general
tongue; Name Cleopatra as she's call'd in Rome: Rail thou in Fulvia's phrase; and taunt my faults With such full licence, as both truth and malice Have power to utter. O, then we bring forth weeds, When our quick winds lie still;' and our ills told us, Is as our earing. Fare thee well a while. Mess. At your noble pleasure.
9 Extended Asia from Euphrötes;] To extend, is a term used for to seize.
" When our quick winds lie still;] The sense is, that man, not agitated by censure, like soil not ventilated by quick winds, produces more evil than good. This is Dr. Johnson's opinion, but the expression has been controverted at great length by all the commentators,