페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

Enter CHARMIAN.

Show me, my women, like a queen.—Go fetch
My best attires ;-I am again for Cydnus,
To meet Mark Antony :—Sirrah," Iras, go.-
Now, noble Charmian, we'll despatch, indeed.
And, when thou hast done this chare, I'll give thee leave
To play till doomsday.—Bring our crown and all.
Wherefore's this noise ? [Exit Iras. A noise within.

Enter one of the Guard. Guard.

Here is a rural fellow, That will not be denied your highness' presence ; He brings you figs. Cleo. Let him come in. How? poor an instrument

[Exit Guard. May do a noble deed! he brings me liberty. My resolution's placed, and I have nothing Of woman in me. Now from head to foot I am marble-constant; now the fleeting 2 moon No planet is of mine.

Re-enter Guard, with a Clown, bringing a basket. Guard.

This is the man. Cleo. Avoid, and leave him.

[Exit Guard. Hast thou the pretty worm of Nilus there, That kills and pains not ?

Clown. Truly I have him; but I would not be the

1 Sirrah was not anciently an appellation either reproachful or injurious; being applied, with a sort of playful kindness, to children, friends, and servants, and what may seem more extraordinary, as in the present case, to women. It is nothing more than the exclamation, Sir, ha! and we sometimes find it in its primitive form, “ A syr a, there said you wel.” The Heus tu of Plautus is rendered, by an old translator, Ha Sirra.

2 The first folio has “ What poor an instrument." 3 Fleeting, or flitting, is changeable, inconstant.

4 Worm is used by our old writers to signify a serpent. The word is pure Saxon, and is still used in the north in the same sense. The worm of Nile was the asp of the ancients, which Dr. Shaw says is wholly unknown to us.

party that should desire you to touch him, for his biting is immortal ; those that do die of it, do seldom or

never recover.

Cleo. Remember'st thou any that have died on't?

Clown. Very many, men and women too. I heard of one of them no longer than yesterday; a very honest woman, but something given to lie; as a woman should not do, but in the way of honesty; how she died of the biting of it, what pain she felt.— Truly, she makes a very good report oʻthe worm ; but he that will believe all that they say, shall never be saved by half that they do. But this is most fallible, the worm's an odd worm.

Cleo. Get thee hence; farewell.
Clown. I wish you all joy of the worm.
Cleo. Farewell. [Clown sets down the basket.

Clown. You must think this, look you, that the worm will do his kind.

Cleo. Ay, ay; farewell.

Clown. Look you, the worm is not to be trusted, but in the keeping of wise people ; for, indeed, there is no goodness in the worm.

Cleo. Take thou no care ; it shall be heeded.

Clown. Very good. Give it nothing, I pray you, for it is not worth the feeding.

Cleo. Will it eat me?

Clown. You must not think I am so simple, but I know the devil himself will not eat a woman; I know that a woman is a dish for the gods, if the devil dress

But, truly, these same whoreson devils do the gods great harm in their women; for in every ten that they make, the devils mar five. Cleo. Well, get

gone;

farewell. Clown. Yes, forsooth; I wish you joy of the worm.

[Exit. Re-enter Iras, with a robe, crown, &c. Cleo. Give me my robe, put on my crown; I have Immortal longings in me. Now no more

her not.

get thee

1 i. e. act according to his nature.

The juice of Egypt's grape shall moist this lip.-
Yare, yare,' good Iras; quick.—Methinks I hear
Antony call; I see him rouse himself
To praise my noble act; I hear him mock
The luck of Cæsar, which the gods give men
To excuse their after-wrath. Husband, I come.
Now to that name my courage prove my title !
I am fire, and air; my other elements
I give to baser life.—So,-have you done?
Come, then, and take the last warmth of my lips.
Farewell, kind Charmian ;-Iras, long farewell.
[Kisses them. Iras falls and dies.

.
Have I the aspic in my lips ? Dost fall? 2
If thou and nature can so gently part,
The stroke of death is as a lover's pinch,
Which hurts, and is desired. Dost thou lie still?
If thus thou vanishest, thou tell’st the world
It is not worth leave-taking.
Char. Dissolve, thick cloud, and rain ; that I may

say, The gods themselves do weep! Cleo.

This proves me base. If she first meet the curled Antony, He'll make demand of her; and spend that kiss, Which is my heaven to have. Come, thou mortal wretch,

[To the asp, which she applies to her breast. With thy sharp teeth this knot intrinsicate Of life at once untie ; poor venomous fool, Be angry, and despatch.

and despatch. O, couldst thou speak! That I might hear thee call great Cæsar, ass Unpolicied! 3

Char. 0 Eastern star!
Cleo.

Peace, peace!
Dost thou not see my baby at my breast,
That sucks the nurse asleep!

1 i. e. be nimble, be ready. See Act iii. Sc. 5. 2 Iras must be supposed to have applied an asp to her arm while her mistress was settling her dress, to account for her falling so soon.

3 i. e, an ass without more wit or policy than to leave the means of death within my reach, and thereby defeat his own purpose. VOL. VI.

27

Char.

O break! O break! Cleo. As sweet as balm, as soft as air, as gentle,O 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 unparalleled.—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. Cæsar hath sentChar.

Too slow a messenger.

[Applies the asp. O, come; apace, despatch; I partly feel thee. 1 Guard. Approach, ho! All's not well; Cæsar's

beguiled. 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
Descended of so many royal kings.
Ah, soldier!

[Dies.

Enter DOLABELLA.

Dol. How goes it here? 2 Guard.

All dead. Dol.

Cæsar, thy thoughts Touch their effects in this. Thyself art coming To see performed the dreaded act, which thou So sought'st to hinder. Within.

A way there! a way for Cæsar!

Enter CÆSAR and Attendants.

Dol. O sir, you are too sure an augurer ; That

you did fear, is done. Cæs.

Bravest at the last. She levelled at our purposes, and, being royal, Took her own way.—The manner of their deaths ? I do not see them bleed. Dol.

Who was last with them? 1 Guard. A simple countryman, that brought her

figs; This was his basket. Cæs.

Poisoned, then. 1 Guard.

O Cæsar,
This Charmian lived but now; she stood, and spake.
I found her trimming up the diadem
On her dead mistress ; tremblingly she stood,
And on the sudden dropped.
Cæs.

O noble weakness!
If they had swallowed poison, ?twould appear
By external swelling; but she looks like sleep,
As she would catch another Antony
In her strong toil of grace.
Dol.

Here, on her breast,
There is a vent of blood, and something blown.
The like is on her arm.
1 Guard. This is an aspic's trail; and these fig-

leaves
Have slime upon them, such as the aspic leaves
Upon the caves of Nile.
Cæs.

Most probable,
That so she died; for her physician tells me,
She hath pursued conclusions 2 infinite
Of easy ways to die.- Take up her bed;
And bear her women from the monument.-
She shall be buried by her Antony:
No grave upon the earth shall clip in it

1 i. e. swelled, puffed. 2 To pursue conclusions is to try experiments.

« 이전계속 »