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ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA.
Char. Out, fool! I forgive thee for a witch.8
Alex. You think, none but your sheets are pri-
Char. Nay, come, tell Iras hers.
A line in our author's Rape of Lucrece confirms Mr. Steevens's interpretation :
Thy issue blurr'd with nameless bastardy." MALONE. ? If every of your wishes had a womb,
And fertile every wish, a million.] For foretel, in ancient edi. tions, the later copies have foretold. Foretel favours the emendation of Dr. Warburton, which is made with great acuteness; yet the original reading may, I think, stand. If you had as many wombs as you will have wishes, and I should foretel all those wishes, I should foretel a million of children. It is an ellipfis very frequent in conversation; I should foame you, and tell all; that is, and if I should tell all. And is for and if, which was anciently, and is still provincially used for if. Johnson.
If every one of your wishes, says the foothsayer, had a womb,
In the instance given by Dr. Johnson, “ I should shame you
« Enfear thy fertile and conceptious womb.
Evo. 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 presageth famine.
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.
IRAS. 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
8 Nay, if an oily palm be not a fruitful progresfication, &c.] So, in Othello :
“ _ This hand is moil, my lady :
“ 'This argues fruitfulness and liberal heart," MALONE. Antonio, in Dryden's Don Sebaftian, has the same remark: I have a moist, jweaty palm; the more's my lin."
STEEVENS, 9 Alexas ---come, his fortune,] [In the old copy, the name of Alexas is prefixed to this speech.)
Whofe fortune does Alexas call out to have told ? But, in Mort, this I dare pronounce to be fo palpable and fignal a transposition, that I cannot but wonder it should have flipt the observation of all the editors; especially of the fagacious Mr. Pope, who has made this declaration, That if, ihroughout the plays, had all the speeches
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 all follow him laughing to his grave, fifty-fold a cuckold! Good Isis, hear me this prayer, though thou deny me a matter of more weight; good Ifis, 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-wiv'd, so it is a deadly sorrow to behold a foul knave uncuckolded; Therefore, dear Isis, keep decorum, and fortune him accordingly!
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. Hufh! here comes Antony.
Not he, the queen.
been printed without the very names of the persons, he believes one might have applied them with certainty to every speaker. But in how many instances has Mr. Pope's wait of judgment falsified this opinion. The fact is evidently this; Alexas brings a fortune-teller to Iras and Charmian, and says himself, We'll know all our fortunes. Well; the foothsayer begins with the women; and fome jokes pass upon the subject of husbands and chastity : after which, the women hoping for the satisfaction of having something to laugh at in Alexas's fortune, call him to hold out his hand, and with hear. tily that he may have the prognostication of cuckoldom upon him. The whole speech, therefore, muft be placed to Charmian. There needs no itronger proof of this being a true correction, than the observation which alexas immediately subjoins on their wishes and zeal to hear him abused. THEOBALD.
Cleo. Saw you my lord ? '
Was he not here?
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 Attendants.
9 Saw you my lord?] Old copy—Save you. Corrected by the editor of the second folio. Saw was formerly written juwe.
MALONE. 2 Here, madam,] The respect due from Alexas to his mistress, in my opinion points out the title-Madam, (which is wanting in the old copy) as a proper cure for the present defect in metre.
Upon the first encounter, drave them.”
Mes. The nature of bad news infects the teller.
Who tells me true, though in his tale lie death,
drave them.] Drave is the ancient preterite of the verb, to drive, and frequently occurs in the Bible. Thus in ohua, xxiv. 12:
-and drave them out from before you." STEVENS. 4 (This is ftiff news) —] So, in The Rape of Lucrece : Fearing some hard news from the warlike band.”'
MALONE. s Extended Afia from Euphrătes;] i. e. widened or extended the bounds of the Leffer Asia. WARBURTON.
To extend, is a term used for to seize; I know not whether that be not the fenfe here. JOHNSON.
I believe Dr. Johnson's explanation right. So, in Selimus, Emperor of the Turks, 1594:
Ay, though on all the world we make extent,
“ From the south pole unto the northern bear." Again, in Twelfth Night:
this uncivil and unjust extent
Against thy peace.” Again, in Maffinger's New Way to pay old Debts, the Extortioner says:
• This manor is extended to my use." Mr. Tollet has likewise no doubt but that Dr. Johnson's explanation is just; “ for (says he) Plutarch informs us that Labienus was by the Parthian king made general of his troops, and had over-run Afia from Euphrates and Syria to Lydia and Ionia.” To extend is a law term used for to seize lands and tenements. In support of his affertion he adds the following initance: “ Those walteful companions had neither lands to extend nor goods to be