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Adieu ; be happy! Lep. Let all the number of the stars give light To thy fair way!
Ces. Farewell, farewell! [kisses OCTAVIA. Ant.
Farewell! [Trumpets sound. Exeunt.
Alexandria. A Room in the Palace.
Enter CLEOPATRA, CHARMIAN, Iras, and ALEXAS.
Cleo. Where is the fellow?
Half a feard to come. Cleo. Go to, go to :-Come hither, fir.
Enter a Messenger. Alex.
Good majesty, Herod of Jewry dare not 10 ! upon you, But when you are well pleas'd. Cleo.
That Herod's head I'll have: But how? when Antony is gone Through whom I might command it. -Come thou
Mes. Most gracious majesty,—
Didlt thou behold Octavia?
Mes. Ay, dread queen.
Madam, in Rome
I look'd her in the face; and saw her led
Cleo. Is she as tall as mne? 6
She is not, madam.
or low? Me. Madam, I heard her speak; she is low
voic'd. Cleo. That's not so good :-he cannot like her
6 Is foe as tall as me? &c. &c. &c.] This scene (says Dr. Grey) is a manifest allusion to the questions put by queen Elizabeth to Sir James Melvil, concerning his mistress the queen of Scots. Whoever will give himself the trouble to consult his Memoirs, may probably suppose the resemblance to be more than accidental.
STEEVENS. I see no probability that Shakspeare should here allude to a conversation that passed between Queen Elizabeth and a Scottish ambassador in 1564, the very year in which he was born, and does not appear to have been made publick for above threescore years after his death; Melvil's Memoirs not being printed till 1683. Such en quiries, no doubt, are perfectly natural to rival females, whether queens or cinder-wenches. Ritson.
That's not so good: he cannot like her long.) Cleopatra perhaps does not mean—" That is not so good a piece of intelligence as your laft;" but, “ That, i. e. a low voice, is not so good as a fhrill tongue.
That a low voice (on which our author never omits to introduce an elogium when he has an opportunity,) was not esteemed by Cleo patra as a merit in a lady, appears from what she adds afterwards, * Dull of tongue, and dwarfish!"--If the words be understood in the sense first mentioned, the latter part of the line will be found inconsistent with the foregoing.
Perhaps, however, the author intended no connexion between the two members of this line; and that Cleopatra, after a pause, should exclaim-He cannot like her, whatever her merits be, for any length of time. My first interpretation I believe to be the true
It has been juftly observed that the poet had probably Queen *Eizabeth here in his thoughts. The delcription given of her by a contemporary about twelve years after her death, strongly con.
She creeps ;
Char. Like her? O Ifis ! 'tis impossible.
Is this certain?
Three in Egypt
He's very knowing,
CLEO. Widow ?--Charmian, hark.9
firms this fupposition. “She was (says the Continuator of Stowe's
The quality of the voice is referred to, as a criterion similar to that, already noticed, of the hair. See p. 503, n. 7. Henler.
- her station --- Station, in this inftance, means the a& of fanding. So, in Hamlet:
“ A station like the herald Mercury.” STEEVENS. 9 Widow ?-Charmian, bark.] Cleopatra rejoices in this circum. stance, as it sets Octavia on a level with herself, who was no virgin, when the fell to the lot of Antony. STEEVENS,
Cleo. Bear'st thou her face in mind ? is it long,
or round? Mes. Round even to faultiness.
For the most part too, They are foolish that are so.—Her hair, what co
lour? Mes. Brown, madam: And her forehead is as low As she would wish it. Cleo.
There is gold for thee. Thou must not take my former sharpness ill: I will employ thee back again; I find thee Most fit for business : Go, make thee ready ; Our letters are prepar'd. : [Exit Messenger. CHAR.
A proper man. Cleo. Indeed, he is so: I repent me much, That so I harry'd him. Why, methinks, by him,
2 Round &c.
They are foolish that are fo.] This is from the old writers on Physiognomy. So, in Hill's Pleasant History &c. 1613. “ The head very round, to be forgetful and foolish." Again, " the head long to be prudent and wary.”—“a low forehead, to be sad.” &c. &c. p. 218. STEEVENS.
3 is as low &c.] For the insertion of is, to help the metre, I am answerable. Steevens.
As low as fhe would wish it.] Low foreheads were in Shakspeare's age thought a blemish. So, in The Tempeft:
- with foreheads villainous low." See also Vol. III. p. 274, n. 6.
You and She are not likely to have been confounded; otherwiit we might suppose that our author wrote
As low as you would wish it. Malone. The phrase employed by the Messenger, is still a cant one. I once overheard a chambermaid say of her rival," that her legs were as thick as the could wish them.” Steevens.
4- fo harry'd him.] To harry, is to use roughly. I meet with the word in The Revenger's Tragedy, 1607:
“ He harried her, and midft a throng," &c. Again, in The Downfall of Robert Earl of Huntingdom, 1601 :
“ Will harry me about instead of her.”
This creature's no such thing.
O, nothing,' madam. Cleo. The man hath seen some majesty, and
should know. Char. Hath he feen majesty ? Isis else defend, And serving you so long ! Cleo. I have one thing more to ask him yet,
good Charmian : But 'tis no matter; thou shalt bring him to me Where I will write: All may be well enough.
Char. I warrant you, madam. . [Exeunt.
Athens. A Room in Antony's House.
Enter ANTONY and OCTAVIA.
Holinshed, p. 735, speaking of the body of Richard III. fays, it was “ harried on horseback, dead."
The same expression had been used by Harding in his Chronicle. Again, by Nam in his Lenten Stuff, 1599, as if he were barrying and chasing his enemies." STEVENS.
To harry, is, literally, to hunt. Hence the word barrier. King James threatened the Puritans that “ he would harry them out of the land.” HENLEY.
Mintheu, in his Dict. 1617, explains the word thus: “ To turmoile or vexe.” Cole in his English Dict. 1676, interprets haried by the word pulled, and in the sense of pulled and lugged about, I believe the word was used by Shakspeare. See the marginal direction in p. 498. In a kindred sense it is used in the old translation of Plutarch; “ Pyrrhus seeing his people thus troubled, and harried to and fro," &c.
See also Florio's Italian Dictionary, 1590: “ Tartassare. To sib-bafte, to bang, to tugge, to hale, to harrie.” Malone.
So, nothing,] The exclamation—0, was, for the sake of mea. fure, supplied by Sir Thomas Hanmer, Stesvens.