Imatges de pÓgina



THIS play keeps curiosity always busy, and the passions always interested. The continual hurry of the action, the variety of incidents, and the quick succession of one personage to another, call the mind forward without intermission from the first act to the last. But the power of delighting is derived principally from the frequent changes of the scene; for, except the feminine arts, some of which are too low, which distinguish Cleopatra, no character is very strongly discriminated. Upton, who did not easily miss what he desired to find, has discovered that the language of Antony is, with great skill and learning, made pompous and superb, according to his real practice. But I think his diction not distinguishable from that of others: the most tumid speech in the play is that which Cæsar makes to Octavia.

The events, of which the principal are described according to history, are produced without any art of connexion or care of disposition. JOHNSON.

It is observable with what judgment Shakspeare draws the character of Octavius. Antony was his hero; so the other was not to shine yet being an historical character, there was a necessity to draw him like. But the ancient historians, his flatterers, had delivered him down so fair, that he seems ready cut and dried for a hero. Amidst these difficulties Shakspeare has extricated himself with great address. He has admitted all those great strokes of his character as he found them, and yet has made him a very unamiable character, deceitful, meanspirited, narrow-minded, proud, and revengeful.




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TAURUS, lieutenant-general to Cæsar.

CANIDIUS, lieutenant-general to Antony.

SILIUS, an officer in Ventidius's army.

EUPHRONIUS, an ambassador from Antony to Cæsar.
tendants on Cleopatra.
A Soothsayer. A Clown.

CLEOPATRA, queen of Egypt.

OCTAVIA, sister to Casar, and wife to Antony.




endants on Cleopatra.

Officers, Soldiers, Messengers, and other Attendants.

SCENE, dispersed ; in several parts of the Roman


SCENE 1.-Alexandria.


A Room in CLEOPATRA's Palace



NAY, but this dotage of our general's

O'erflows the measure: those his goodly eyes,
That o'er the files and musters of the war

Have glow'd like plated Mars, now bend, now turn,
The office and devotion of their view

Upon a tawny front: his captain's heart,

Which in the scuffles of great fights hath burst
The buckles on his breast, reneges all temper ;
And is become the bellows, and the fan,

To cool a gipsy's lust.2 Look, where they come !
Flourish. Enter ANTONY and CLEOPATRA, with their
Trains; Eunuchs fanning her.

Take but good note, and you shall see in him
The triple pillar of the world3 transform'd
Into a strumpet's fool: behold and see.

Cleo. If it be love indeed, tell me how much,

Ant. There's beggary in the love that can be reckon❜d. Cleo. I'll set a bourn how far to be belov'd.

Ant. Then must thou needs find out new heaven, new earth.5

Enter an Attendant.

Att. News, my good lord, from Rome.

Ant. Grates me :-The sum.6

Cleo. Nay, hear them, Antony :

Fulvia, perchance, is angry; Or, who knows

If the scarce-bearded Cæsar have not sent

[1] Reneges-renounces. POPE.

[2] Gipsy-is here used both in the original meaning for an Egyptian, and in its accidental sense for a bad woman. JOHNS.

[3] Triple-is here used improperly for third, or one of three. One of the Triumvirs, one of the three masters of the world. WARB.

[4] Bourn-bound or limit. POPE.

[5] Thou must set the boundary of my love at a greater distance than the present visible universe affords. JOHNS.

[6] Be brief, sum thy business in a few words.


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