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Oh Antony !-Nay, I will take thee too.
[Applying another asp to her arm. What should I stay
[Falls on a bed and dies. Char. In this wild world'?—So, fare thee well. Now boast thee, death, in thy possession lies A lass unparallel’d.—Downy windows, close; 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. Caesar hath sentChar.
Too slow a messenger. —
[Applies the asp to herself. Oh, come! apace; dispatch : I partly feel thee.
1 Guard. Approach, ho! All's not well: Cæsar's beguil'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
6 What should I stay-] In the corr. fo. 1632 this imperfect line is thus given : “ Why should I stay–,” This may have been correct, or the mode in which Cleopatra's last words were, at one time, recited, but we do not feel authorised on this account to vary from what has come down to us in print.
7 In this wild world?] The epithet is “ wild” in all the early editions, and there is not the slightest pretext for altering it to the common-place phrase, “In this qile world,” as has been done under the supposition that vile having been of old often misprinted vilde (a form to which the Rev. Mr. Dyce strangely adheres), it was in this place mistaken for “wild." Charmian might well call the world “wild,” desert, and savage, after the deaths of Antony, Cleopatra, and others whom she loved. This passage is another proof how the corruption of vild, where vile was intended, makes confusion in the heads of editors, as well as in the texts of dramatists: if vile had not sometimes been misprinted vild, nobody would have thought of amending “wild world” to “vile world.” If any change were made, we should prefer here wide to vile; but in truth it is an offence against all just rules of criticism to attempt an emendation where none is required. Rowe properly retained “wild world.”
* Your crown's AWRY;] So Pope, correcting away of the folios, by the narrative in North’s Plutarch (p. 1009), which Daniel also here followed in his tragedy of “ Cleopatra," 1594:
“ And, senseless, in her sinking downe she wryes
The diadem, which on her bead she wore.” and then play-] Charmian is interrupted by the sudden arrival of the Guard, and, like Cleopatra, does not finish her sentence, as is indicated in the old copies by a line.
Descended of so many royal kings ".
Dol. How goes it here ? 2 Guard.
All dead. Dol.
Cæsar, thy thoughts Touch their effects in this : thyself art coming To see perform'd the dreaded act, which thou So sought'st to hinder.
Within. A way there! a way for Cæsar!
Enter CÆSAR, and all his train.
Bravest at the last :
Who was last with them?
Poison'd, then. 1 Guard.
Oh noble weakness ! -
Here, on her breast,
10 Descended of so many royal kings.] Shakespeare thought he could not do better than use almost the very words he found in North’s Plutarch :-"One of the souldiers, seeing her, angrily sayd unto her, is this well done Charmian ? Verie well, sayd she againe, and meete for a Princess, descended from the race of so many noble kings. She sayd no more, but fell downe dead hard by the bed.”— Edit. 1579, p. 1009.
1 - and something blown :) i. e. Bollen or bolne, meaning puffed or swelled. Richardson, under Boll (he has not “blown "), tells us that Wycklitie translates old corrector of the fo. 1632, “ still condition." See also p. 241, where Cleopatra speaks of “the sober eye of dull Octavia.”
The like is on her arm.
1 Guard. This is an aspick's trail ?; and these fig leaves
inflationes, bolnyngs, which Sir Frederick Madden, in his “Glossary to the Wycliffite Versions of the Bible," explains by the word swellings. Respecting the use of bollen, boll'n, or bolne by Shakespeare, see “ The Merchant of Venice," A. iv. sc. 1, Vol. ii. p. 324.
? This is an aspick's trail;] So the folio, 1623; but the folio, 1632, misprints the words, “This an aspects trail,” so as to make the sentence nonsense. We only refer to the blunder, in order to add that the old annotator on our fo. 1632 sets the matter right by inserting "is," and by amending aspects to “aspick's.”
3 She hath pursu'd conclusions infinite] Shakespeare often uses clusions” in the sense of experiments : in “Cymbeline,” A. i. sc. 6, (this Vol. p. 274) the Queen tells Cornelius
“ That I did amplify my judgment in
Other conclusions." It is not necessary to quote other instances, which only make it more evident, that when Cleopatra, on page 232, according to old and modern editions, talks of the “ still conclusion" of Octavia, she ought
“The Tragedie of Cymbeline" was first printed in the folio of 1623, where it stands last in the division of “ Tragedies," and occupies thirty-one pages ; viz. from p. 369 to p. 399, misprinted p. 993. There is another error in the pagination, as p. 379 is marked
389. These numerical errors are corrected in the three later folios.