Imágenes de páginas


As she would catch another Antony
Re-enter CÆSAR and Attendants.

In her strong toil of grace.

IIere, on her breast, Dol. O, sir, you are too sure an augurer: There is a vent of blood, and something blown : That you did fear is done.

The like is on her arm.

Bravest at the last ! 1 GUARD. This is an aspic's trail : and these She levell’d at our purposes, and, being royal,

fig-leaves Took her own way.—The manner of their deaths ? Have slime upon them, such as the aspic leaves I do not see them bleed.

Upon the caves of Nile.
Who was last with them? CÆS.

Most probable 1 GUARD. A simple countryman, that brought That so she died; for her physician tells me

She hath pursu'd conclusions infinite
This was his basket.

Of easy ways to die.—Take up her bed;
Poison'd then.

And bear her women from the monument:1 GUARD.

O, Cæsar! She shall be buried by her Antony: This Charmian liv'd but now; she stood and No grave upon the earth shall clip in it spake:

A pair so famous. High events as these I found her trimming up the diadem

Strike those that make them ; and their story is On her dead mistress ; tremblingly she stood, No less in pity than his glory which And on the sudden dropp’d.

Brought them to be lamented. Our army shall, CÆs.

0, noble weakness ! In solemn show, attend this funeral ; If they had swallow'd poison 't would appear And then to Rome.—Come, Dolabella, see By external swelling : but she looks like sleep, High order in this great solemnity. [Exeunt.

her figs :

[graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors]



(1) SCENE I.

To-night we'll wander through the streets, and note

The qualities of people.] The extracts selected for the illustration of this tragedy are, with two exceptions, taken from the biography of Antonius in North's translation of Plutarch.

Plato writeth that there are foure kinds of flatterie : but Cleopatra devided it into many kinds.

For she (were it in sport, or in matters of earnest) still devised sundry new delights to have Antonius at commandement, never leaving him night nor day, nor once letting him go out of her sight. For she would play at dice with him, drinke with him, and hunt commonly with him, and also be with him when he went to any exercise or activitie of body. And sometime also, when he would go up and downe the city disguised like a slave in the night, and would peere into poore mens windowes and their shops, and scold and braule with them within the house, Cleopatra would be also in a chamber maides array, and amble up and downe the streets with him, so that oftentimes Antonius bare away both mocks and blowes. Now though most men misliked this maner, yet the ALEXANDRIANS were commonly glad of this iolitie, and liked it well, saying very gallantly and wisely : that Antonius shewed them a comicall face, to wit, a merie countenance : and the ROMAINES a tragicall face, to say, a grimme look."

(2) SCENE II. Fulvia thy wife is dead.] Antonius delighting in these fond and childish pastimes, very ill newes were brought him from two places. Thé first from RomE, that his brother Lucius and Fulva his wife, fell out first betweene themselves, and afterwards fell to open warre with Cæsar, and had brought all to nought, that they were both driven to flie out of ITALY. The second newes, as bad as the first: that Labienus conquered all ASIA with the army of the PARTHIANS, from the river of Euphrates, and from Syria, unto the country of LYDIA and Ionia. Then began Antonius with much ado, a litle to rouze himselfe, as if he had bene wakened out of a

" Now



For 't is a studied, not a present thought,

By duty ruminated.] Thereupon every man did set forward this mariage, hoping thereby that this lady Octavia, having an excellent grace, wisdome and honesty, ioyned unto so rare a beauty, when she were with Antonius (he loving her as so worthy a Lady deserveth) she should be a good meane to keepe good love and amity betwixt her brother and him. So when Cæsar and he had made the match between them, they both went to Rome about this mariage, although it was against the law, that a widow should be maried within

deepe sleepe, and as a man may say, coming out of a great drunkennesse. So, first of all he bent himselse against the PARTHJANS, and went as farre as the country of PHOENICIA : but there he received lamentable letters from his wife Fulvia Wherupon he straight returned towards ITALIE, with two hundred saile : and as he went, tooke up his friends by the way that fled out of ITALIE to come to him. By them he was informed, that his wife Fulvia was the only cause of this wer: who being of a peevish, crooked, and troblesome nature, had purposely raised this uprore in Italie, in hope thereby to withdraw him from Cleopatra. But by good fortune his wife Fulvia going to meet with Antonius, sickned by the way, and died in the city of Sicyone.”


It is reported thou didst eat strange flesh,

Which some did die in look on.] " Antonius flying upon this overthrow, fell into great misery al at once : but the chiefest want of al other, and that pinched him most, was famine. Howbeit he was of such a strong nature, that by patience he would overcome any adversity, and the heavier fortune lay upon him, the more constant shewed he himself. Every man that feeleth want or adversity, knoweth by vertue and discretion what he should do : but when indeed they are overlaid with extremity, and be sore oppressed, few have the hearts to follow that which they praise and commend, and much lesse to avoid that they reprove and mislike : but rather to yo contrary, they yeeld to their accustomed easie life, and through faint heart, and lacke of courage, do change their first mind and purpose,

And therefore it was a wonderfull example to the souldiers, to see Antonius that was brought up in al finenesse and superfluity, so easily to drink puddle water, and to eate wild fruits and roots : and moreover it is reported, that even as they passed the Alpes, they did eate the barkes of trees, and such beasts as never man tasted of their flesh before."

ten moneths after her husbands death. Howbeit the Senate dispersed with the law, and so the mariage proceeded accordingly.” (2) SCENE II.

to the air; which, but for vacancy, Had

gone to gaze on Cleopatra too, And maile a gap in nature.] "The manner how he fell in love with her was this. An. tonius going to make war with the PARTHIANS, sent to command Cleopatra to appeare personally before him when he came into Cilicia, to answer unto such accusations as

thee) is affraied of his : and being coragious and high when he is alone, becommeth fearefull and timerous when he cometh neare unto the other. Howsoever it was, the events ensuing proved the ÆGYPTIANS words true : for it is said, that as often as they two drew cuts for pastime, who shold have any thing, or whether they plaid at dice, Antonius alwaye lost. Oftentimes when they were disposed to see cock-fight, or quails that were taught to fight one with another, Casars cocks or quailes did ever overcome. The which spited Antonius in his mind, although he made no outward shew of it: and therfore he beleeved the ÆGYPTIAN the better. In fine, he recommended the affaires of his house unto Cæsar, and went out of ITALY with Octavia his wife, whom he caried into GRECE after he had had a daughter by her."

were laid against her, being this: that she had aided Cassius and Brutus in their war against him. The messenger sent unto Cleopatra to make this summons unto her, was called Dellius; who when he had throughly considered her beauty, the excellent grace and sweetnesse of her tong, he nothing mistrusted that Antonius would do any hurt to so noble a Lady, but rather assured himself, that within few daies she should be in great favour with him. Therupon he did her great honor, and perswaded her to come into CILICIA, as honourably furnished as she could possible ; and bad her not to be affraid at all of Antonius, for he was a more courteous Lord, then any that she hail ever seene. Cleopatra on the other side beleeving Dellius words, and guessing by the former accesse and credit she had with Iulius Cæsar and C. Pompey (the son of Pompey the Great) only for her beauty, she began to have good hope that she might more easily win Antonius. For Cæsar and Pompey knew her when she was but a yong thing, and knew not then what the world meant: but now she went to Antonius at the age when a womans beauty is at the prime, and she also of best iudgement. So she fur. nished her selfe with a world of gifts, store of gold & silver, and of riches and other sumptuous ornaments, as is credible enough she might bring from so great a house, and from so wealthy & riche a realme as ÆGYPT was. But yet she caried nothing with her wherin she trusted more then in her selfe, and in the charmes and inchantment of her passing beauty and grace. Therefore when she was sent unto by diverse letters, both from Antonius himselfe, and also from his friends, she made so light of it, and mocked Antonius so much, that she disdained to set forward other. wise, but to take her barge in the river of Cydnus; the poope whereof was of gold, the sailes of purple, and the oares of silver, which kept stroke in rowing after the sound of the musicke of futes, howboyes, cithernes, vials, and such other instruments as they played upon in the barge. And now for the person of her selfe, she was layed under a pavilion of cloth of gold of tissue, apparelled and attired like the goddesse Venus, commonly drawne in picture : and hard by her, on either hand of her, pretie faire boyes apparelled as Painters do set foorth god Cupid, with little fans in their hands, with the which they fanned wind upon her. Her Ladies and Gentlewomen also, the fairest of them were apparelled like the Nimphes Nereides (which are the Myrmaides of the waters) & like the Graces; some stearing the helme, others tending the tackle and ropes of the barge, out of the which there came a wonderfull passing sweet savour of perfumes, that perfumed the wharfes side, pestered with innumerable multitudes of people. Some of them followed the barge all along the river side : others also ranne out of the city to see her coming in. So that in the end, there ranne such multitudes of people one after another to see her, that Antonius was left post alone in the market place, in his Imperiall seate to give audience : and there went a rumour in the peoples mouthes, that the goddesse Venus was come to play with the god Bacchus for the generall good of all Asia. When Cleopatra landed, Antonius sent to invite her to supper to him. But she sent him worde againe, he should do better rather to come and suppe with her, Antonius therefore to shew himselfe courteous unto her at her arrivall, was contented to obey her, and went to supper to her: where he found such passing sumptuous fare, that no tongue can expresse it." (3) SCENE III.

- and his quails ever Beat mine, inhoop'd, at odds.] “ With Antonius there was a soothsayer or astronomer of EGYPT, that coulde cast a figure and judge of mens nativities, to tell them what should happen to them. He, either to please Cleopatra, or else for that he founde it so by his art, told Antonius plainly that his fortune (which of itself was excellent good and very great) was altogether bleamished and obscured by Cæsars fortune : and therefore he counselled him utterly to leave his company, and to get him as farre from him as he could. For thy Demon, said he, (that is to say, the good angell and spirit that kepeth

(4) SCENE V.

T was merry when You wager'd on your angling ; &c.] “But to reckon up all the foolish sports they made, revelling in this sort, it were too fond a part of me, and therefore I will onely tell you one among the rest. On a time he went to angle for fish, and when he could take none, he was as angrie as could be, because Cleopatra stood by. Wherefore he secretly commanded the fishermen, that when he cast in his line, they should straight dive under the water, and put a fish on his hooke which they had taken before : and so snatched up his angling rod, & brought up a fish twise or thrise. Cleopatra found it straight, yet she seemed not to see it, but wondered at his excellent fishing : but when she was alone by her selfo among her owne people, she told them how it was, & bad them the next morning to be on the water to see the fishing. A number of people came to the haven, and got into the fisher boates to see this fishing. Antonius then threw in his line, and Cleopatra straight commanded one of her men to dive under water before Antonius men, & to put some old salt-fish upon his bait, like unto those that are brought out of the country of Pont. When he had hung the fish on his hooke, Antonius thinking he had taken a fish indeed, snatched up his line presently. Then they all fell a laughing. Cleopatra laughing also, said unto him : Leave us (my Lord) ÆGYPTIANS (which dwell in the country of PHARUS and CANOBUS) your angling rod : this is not thy profession, thou must hunt after conquering of Realmes and countries."

(5) SCENE VII.-They take the flow o' the Nile.] It has been suggested that Shakespeare derived his information on this subject from Philemon's translation of Pliny's Natural History, 1601 :—“How high it (the Nile] riseth, is knowne by markes and measures taken of certain pits. The ordinary height of it is sixteen cubites. Under that gage the waters overflow not at all. Above that stint, there are a let and hindrance by reason that the later it is ere they bee fallen and downe againe. By these the seed-time is much of it spent, for that the earth is too wet. By the other there is none at all, by reason that the ground is drie and thirstie. The provence taketh good keepe and reckoning of both, the one as well as the other. For when it is no higher then 12 cubites, it findeth extreame famine : yea, and at 13 feeleth hunger still ; 14 cubites comforts their heart, 15 bids them take no care, but 16 affordeth them plentie and delicious dainties. So soone as any part of the land is freed from the water, streight waies it is sowed.”


Repent that e'er thy tongue

Hath so betray'd thine act : &c.] Sextus Pompeius at that time kept in Sicilia, and so made many an inrode into ITALY with a great number of pinnaces and other pirates shippes, of the which were Captaines two notable pirates, Menas and Menecrates, who so scoured all the sea thereabouts, that none durst peopo out with a saile. Furthermore, Sertus Pompeius had dealt very friendly with Antonius, for he had courteously received his mother when she fled out of ITALY with Fulvia: and therefore they thought good to make peace with him. So they met all three together by the mount of MISENA, upon a hill that runneth farre into the sea : Pompey having his shippes riding hard by at anker, and Antonius and Casar their armies upon the shore side, directly over against him. Now, after they had agreed that Sextus Pompeius should have SICILE and SARDINIA, with this condition, that he should ridde the sea of all theeves and pirates, and make it safe for passengers, and withall, that he should send a certaine of wheat to ROME: one of them did feast another, and drew cuts who should begin. It was Pompeius chance to invite them first. Wheroupon Antonius asked him : And where shall we suppo? There, said Pompey; and shewed him his Admirall gallie which had sixe bankes of oares : That (said he) is my fathers

[ocr errors]

house they have left me. He spake it to taunt Antonius, because he had his fathers house, that was Pompey the Great. So he cast ankers enow into the sea, to make his gally fast, and then built a bridge of wood to convey them to his galley, from the head of mount Misena: and there he welcomed them, and made them great cheare. Now in the midst of the feast, when they fell to be mery with Antonius love unto Cleopatra, Menas the pirate came to Pompey, and whispering in his eare, said unto him: Shall I cut the cables of the ankers, & make thee Lord not only of SICILE & SARDINIA, but of the whole Empire of ROME besides ? Pompey having pansed a while upon it, at length answered him: Thou shouldest have done it, and never have told it me; but now we must content us with that we have : as for my selfe, I was never taught to breake my faith, nor to be counted a traitor.”


Agrippa with him. She tooke them aside, and with all the instance she could possible, intreated them they would not suffer her that was the happiest woman of the world, to become now the most wretched & unfortunatest creature of all other. For


said she, every mans eyes do gaze on mo, that am the sister of one of the Emperours, and wife of the other. And if the worst counsel take place (which the gods forbid) and that they grow to warres : for your selves, it is uncertaine to which of them two the gods have assigned the victorie or ovorthrow. But for me, on which side soever the victory fall, my state can be but most miserable still."



In the habiliments of the goddess Isis

That day appear'd.]
“But the greatest cause of their malice unto him, was for
the division of lands he made among his children in the
city of ALEXANDRIA. And to confesse a troth, it was too
arrogant and insolent a part, and done (as a man would
say) in derision and contempt of the ROMAINES. For ne
assembled all the people in the shew place, where yong
men do exercise themselves, and there upon a high tribunali
silvered, he set two chaires of gold, the one for himself, and
the other for Cleopatra, and lower chaires for his children,
then he openly published before the assembly, that first
of all he did establish Cleopatra Queene of Ægypt, of
CYPRUS, of Lydia, and of the lower SYRIA ; and at that
time also Cæsarion king of the same Realmes. This
Cæsarion was supposed to be the son of Iulius Cæsar, who
had left Cleopatra great with child. Secondly, he called
the sons he had by her, the kings of kings, and gave
Alexander for his portion, ARMENIA, MEDIA, and Par-
THIA, when he had conquered the country; and unto
Ptolomy for his portion, PHENICIA, Syria, and Cicilia.
And therewithall he brought out Alexander in a long
gowne after the fashion of the MEDES with a high cop-
tanke hat on his head, narrow in the top, as the kings of
the MEDES and ARMENIANS do use to weare them : &
Ptolomy apparelled in a cloake after the MACEDONIAN
maner, with slippers on his feet and a broad bat, with a
royall band or diademe. Such was the apparell and old
attire of the ancient kings and successors of Alexander
the Great. So after his sons had done their humble duties,
and kissed their father and mother, presently a company
of ARMENIAN souldiers set there of purpose, compassed
the one about, and a like company of MACEDONIANS the
other. Now for Cleopatra, she did not onely weare at that
time (but at all other times else when she came abroad)
the apparell of the goddess Isis, and so gave audience unto
all her subiects, as a now Isis.


do you misdoubt This sword and these my wounds ?] “Now as he was setting his men in order of battell, there was a Captaine, a valiant man, that had served Antonius in many battels and conflicts, and had all his body hacked and cut: who, as Antonius passed by him, cried out unto him, and said: noble Emperour, how commeth it to passe that you trust to these vile brittlo ships? What, do you mistrust these wounds of mine, and this sword ? let the ÆGYPTIANS and PHOENICIANS fight by sea, and set us on the maine land, where we use to conquer, or to be slaine on our feete. Antonius passed by him and said never a word, but onely beckened to him with his hand and head, as though he willed him to be of good courage, although indeed he had no great courage himselfe. For when the masters of the galleys and pilots would have let their sailes alone, he made them clap them on; saying to colour ye matter withal, that not one of his enemies should scape.” (4) SCENE XI.

Fortune knows We scorn her most when most she offers blows.] “There Antonius shewed plainly, that he had not onely lost the courage and heart of an Emperour, but also of a valiant man ; and that he was not his owne man (proving that true which an old man spake in mirth, That the soule of a lover lived in another body, and not in his owne ;) he was so caried away with the vaine love of this woman, as if he had bene glued unto her, and that she could not have removed without moving of him also. For when he saw Cleopatraes ship under saile, he forgot, forsook, and betrayed them that fought for him, and imbarked upon a galley with five bankes of oares, to follow her that had already begun to overthrow him, and would in the end bo


whereon, I begg'd His pardon for return.] “There his wife Octavia that came out of GRECE with him, besought him to send her unto her brother, the which he did. Octavia at that time was great with child, and moreover had a second daughter by him, and yet she put her self in journy, and met with her brother Octavius Cæsar by the way, who brought his two chiese friends, Mecenas and

his utter destruction. When she knew his galley a farre off, she lift up a signe in the poope of her ship; and so Antonius comming to it, was pluckt up where Cleopatra was: howbeit he saw her not at his first comming, nor she him, but went and sate downe alone in the prow of his ship, and said never a word, clapping his head betweene both his hands. In the meane timo camo certaine light brigantines of Cæsars, that followed him hard. So Antonius straight turned the prow of his ship, and presently put the rest to flight, saving one Eurycles a LACEDÆMONIAN, that followed him neare, and pressed upon him with great courage, shaking a dart in his hand over the prow, as though he would have throwne it unto Antonius. Antonius seeing him, came to the fore-castell of his ship, and asked him what he was that durst follow Antonius so neare? I am, answered he, Eurycles the son of Lachares, who through Cæsars good fortune seeketh to revenge the death of my father. This Lachares was condemned of fellonie, and beheaded by Antonius. But yet Eurycles durst not venture upon Antonius ship, but set upon the other Admirall galley (for there were two :) and fell upon hiin with such a blow of his brazen spurre that was so heavy and bigge, that he turned her round, and tooke her, with another that was loden with very rich stuffe and cariage. After Eurycles had left Antonius, he turned againe to his place, and sate downe, speaking never a word, as he did before : and so lived three dayes alone, without speaking to any man.

But when he arrived at the head of Tænarus, there Cleopatraes women first brought Antonius and Cleopatra to speake together, and afterwards to sup and lie together. Then began there againe a great number of merchants ships to gather about them, and some of their friends th had escaped

from this overthrow, who brought newes, that his army by sea was overthrowne, but that they thought the army by land was yet whole."

(5) SCENE XIII.- Hence with thy stripes, begone /] “Furthermore, Cæsar would not grant unto Antonius requests : but for Cleopatra, he made her answer, that he would deny her nothing reasonable, so that she would either put Antonius to death, or drive him out of her country. Therewithal he sent Thyreus one of his men unto her, a very wise and discreet man : who bringing letters of credite from a young Lord unto a noble Ladie, and that besides greatly liked her beauty, might easily by his eloquence have perswaded her. He was longer in talke with her then any man else was, and the Queene her selfe also did him great honour : insomuch as he made Antonius iealous of him. Whereupon Antonius caused him to be taken and well favouredly whipped, and so sent him unto Cæsar: and bad him tell him, that he made him angrie with him, because he shewed himselfe proud and disdainefull towards him; and now specially, when he was easie to be angred, by reason of his present misery. To be short, if this mislike thee (said he) thou hast Hipparchus one of my enfranchised bondmen with thee: hang him if thou wilt, or whippe him at thy pleasure, that we may cry quittance. From henceforth Cleopatra, to cleare her selfo of the suspition he had of her, made more of him than ever she did. For first of all, where she did solemnize the day of her birth very meanely and sparingly, fit for her present misfortune, she now in contrary manner did keepe it with such solemnity, that she exceeded all measure of sumptuousnes and magnificence : so that the guests that were bidden to the sts, and came poore, went away rich."

[ocr errors]



I'll give thee, friend, An armour all of gold; it was a king's.] “ Then he came againe to the pallace, greatly boasting of this victory, and sweetly kissed Cleopatra, armed as he was when he came from the fight, recommending one of his men of armes unto her, that had valiantly fought in this skirmish. Cleopatra to reward his manlinesse, gave him an armor and head peece of cleane gold: howbeit the man at armes when he had received this rich gift, stole away by night and went to Cæsar. Antonius sent again to challenge Cæsar, to fight with him hande to hande. Cæsar aunswered him, That he had many other waies to dye then so. Then Antonius seeing there was no way more honorable for him to dye, then fighting valiantly, he determined to set up his rest, both by sea and land. So being at supper (as is reported) he coinmaunded his officers and household servants that waited on him at his boord, that they should fill his cuppes full, and make as muche of him as they could : for said he, you know not whether you shall do so much for me to morrow or not, or whether you shall serve another maister: and it may be you shall see mo no more, but a dead bodie. This notwithstanding, perceeving that his frends and men fell a weeping to heare him say so: to salve that he had spoken, he added this more unto it that he would leade them to battell, where be thought rather safely to returne with victory, then valiantly to die with honour. Further more the selfe same night within a little of midnight, when all the city was quiet, full of feare and sorrow, thinking what would be the issue and ende of this warre, it is said, that sodainly they heard a marvellous sweete harmony of sundry sorts of instruments of musicke, with the crie of a multitude of people, as they had been dauncing, and had sung as they use in Bacchus feastes,”

(2) SCENE XIV.- Sometime we see a clonu thats dragonish.] To the instances of a similar thought, which are given in the Variorum, may be added the following, from a curious black-letter volume, entitled “A most pleasant Prospect into the Garden of Naturall Contemplation, to behold the Naturall Causes of all kind of Meteors : &c. &c. by W. Fulke, Doctor of Divinitie. 1602.” “Flying Dragons, or as Englishmen call them, fire-Drakes, be caused on this maner. When a certayne quantitie of vapors are gathered together on a heap being very neere compact, and as it were hard tempered together, this lump of vapors ascending to yo region of cold, is forcibly beaten backe, which violence of moving is sufficient to kindle it (although some men wil have it to be caused between 2 cloudes, a hote and a cold) then the highest part which was climing upward, being by reason more subtil and thin, appeareth as the Dragon's neck, smoking, for yt it was lately in the repulse bowed or made crooked, to represent the Dragon's belly. The last part by ye same repulse, turned upward, maketh the tayle, both appearing smaller, for yt it is further off, and also for that the cold bindeth it. This Dragon being thus caused, flieth along in yo ayre, and sometime turneth to and fro, if it meet with a cold cloud to beat it back, to yo great terrour of them that behold it, of whome some call it a fire Drake : some say it is the Devill himselfe, and so make report to other. More than 47 yeeres agoe, on May day, when many young folke went abroad early in the morning, I remember,

I by sixe of the clocke in the forenoone, there was newes came to London, that the Devill, the same morning, was seene flying over the Temmes : afterward came word, that hee lighted at Stratford, and was there taken and set in the Stockes, and that though he would have dissembled the matter, by turning himselfe into the likenesse of a man, yet was hee knowne well yenough by his cloven feete. I knew some then living, that went to see him, and returning,

« AnteriorContinuar »