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Ant. From Sicyon how the news? Speak there.
Let him appear,These strong Egyptian fetters I must break,
Enter another Messenger.
2 Mess. Fulvia thy wife is dead.
Where died she?
[Gives a Letter. Ant.
[Exit Messenger. There's a great spirit gone! Thus did I desire it: What our contempts do often hurl from us, We wish it ours again; the present pleasure, By revolution lowering, does become The opposite of itself:she's good, being gone; The hand could pluck her back, that shov'd her on. I must from this enchanting queen break off; Ten thousand harms, inore than the ills I know, My idleness doth hatch.-How now! Enobarbus!
- the present pleasure
The opposite of itself:] I believe revolution means change of circumstances. This sense appears to remove every difficulty from the passage.—The pleasure of to-day, by revolution of events and change of circumstances, often loses all its value to us, and becomes to-morrow a pain. Steevens.
The hand could pluck her back, &c.] The verb could has a peculiar signification in this place; it does not denote power but inclination. The sense is, the hand that drove her off would now willingly pluck her back again.
Eno. Why, then, we kill all our women: We see how mortal an unkindness is to them; if they suffer our departure, death's the word.
Ant. I must be gone.
Eno. Under a compelling occasion, let women die: It were pity to cast them away for nothing; though, between them and a great cause, they should be esteemed nothing. Cleopatra, catching but the least noise of this, dies instantly; I have seen her die twenty times upon far poorer moment: I do think, there is mettle in death, which commits some loving act upon her, she hath such a celerity in dying.
Ant. She is cunning past man's thought.
Eno. Alack, sir, no; her passions are made of nothing but the finest part of pure love: We cannot call her winds and waters, sighs and tears; they are greater storms and tempests than almanacks can report: this cannot be cunning in her; if it be, she makes a shower of rain as well as Jove.
Ant. 'Would I had never seen her!
Eno. O, sir, you had then left unseen a wonderful piece of work; which not to have been blessed withal, would have discredited your travel.
Ant. Fulvia is dead.
poorer moment:) For less reason; upon meaner motives.
When it pleaseth their deities to take the wife of a man from him, it shows to man the tailors of the earth; comforting therein, that when old robes are worn out, there are members to make new. If there were no more women but Fulvia, then had you indeed a cut, and the case to be lamented ; this grief is crowned with consolation ; your old smock brings forth a new petticoat :-and, indeed, the tears live in an onion, that should water this sorrow.
Ant. The business she hath broached in the state, Cannot endure my absence.
Eno. And the business you have broached here cannot be without you ; especially that of Cleopatra's, which wholly depends on your abode.
Ant. No more light answers. Let our officers Have notice what we purpose. I shall break The cause of our expedience to the queen, And get her love to part. For not alone The death of Fulvia, with more urgent touches, Do strongly speak to us; but the letters too Of many our contriving friends in Rome Petition us at home: Sextus Pompeius Hath given the dare to Cæsar, and cominands The empire of the sea: our slippery people (Whose love is never link'd to the deserver, Till his deserts are past,) begin to throw Pompey the great, and all his dignities, Upon his son; who, high in naine and power, Higher than both in blood and life, stands up For the main soldier: whose quality, going on, The sides o'the world may danger: Much is breeding,
s The cause of our expedience-) Erpedience for expedition.
• And get her love to part.] i. e. and prevail on her love to consent to our separation.
i- more urgent touches,] Things that touch me more sensibly, more pressing motives.
Which, like the courser's hair, hath yet but life,
Enter CLEOPATRA, CHARMIAN, IRAs, and Alexas.
Cleo. Where is he?
I did not see him since.
[Exit ALEX. Char. Madam, methinks, if you did love him
You do not hold the method to enforce
What should I do, I do not? Char. In each thing give him way, cross him in
nothing. Cleo. Thou teachest like a fool: the way to lose
him. Char. Tempt him not so too far: I wish, forbear; In time we hate that which we often fear.
Enter ANTONY. But here comes Antony.
8 — the courser's hair, &c.] Alludes to an old idle notion that the hair of a horse dropt into corrupted water, will turn to an animal.
9 I did not send you;] You must go as if you came without my order or knowledge.
I am sick, and sullen. Ant. I am sorry to give breathing to my purpose,-
Cleo. Help me away, dear Charmian, I shall fall;
Now, my dearest queen,-
What's the matter? Cleo. I know, by that same eye, there's some good
news. What says the married woman:-You may go; 'Would, she had never given you leave to come! Let her not say, 'tis I that keep you here, I have no power upon you; hers you are.
Ant. The gods best know,
O, never was there queen
Cleopatra, Cleo. Why should I think, you can be mine, and
true, Though you in swearing shake the throned gods, Who have been false to Fulvia? Riotous madness, To be entangled with those mouth-made vows, Which break themselves in swearing! Ant.
Most sweet queen, Cleo. Nay, pray you, seek no colour for your going, But bid farewell, and go: when you sued staying, Then was the time for words: No going then; Eternity was in our lips, and eyes; Bliss in our brows' bent;' none our parts so poor, But was a race of heaven: They are so still, Or thou, the greatest soldier of the world, Art turn'd the greatest liar.
i in our brows' bent;] i. e. in the arch of our eye-brows.
- a race of heaven: ] i. e. had a smack or flavour of heaven, VOL. VIII.