Rank of gross diet, shall we be enclouded,
And forc'd to drink their vapour.

The gods forbid!
Cleo. Nay, 'tis most certain, Iras: Saucy lictors
Will catch at us, like strumpets; and scald rhymers
Ballad us out o'tune: the quick comedians?
Extemporally will stage us, and present
Our Alexandrian revels ; Antony
Shall be brought drunken forth, and I shall see
Some squeaking Cleopatra boy my greatness
I'the posture of a whore.

O the good gods!
Cleo. Nay, that is certain.

Iras. I'll never see it; for, I am sure, my nails
Are stronger than mine eyes. .

Why, that's the way
To fool their preparation, and to conquer
Their most absurd intents.--Now, Charmian-


Show me, my women, like a queen ;-Go fetch
My best attires;-I am again for Cydnus,
To meet Mark Antony :-Sirrah, (ras, go.-
Now, noble Charmian, we'll despatch indeed:
And, when thou hast done this chare, I'll give thee

leave To play till dooms-day-Bring our crown and all. Wherefore's this noise?

[Exit Iras. A Noise within.

and scald rhymers] Scald was a word of contempt implying poverty, disease, and filth.

the quick comedians-] The lively, inventive, quickwitted comedians.

boy my greatness-] The parts of women were acted on the stage by boys,


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Enter one of the Gdard. : 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 plac'd, and I have nothing
Of woman in me: Now from head to foot
I am marble-constant: now the fleeting moon?
No planet is of mine.


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

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 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 o' the worm: But he that will believe all that they say, shall never



- now the fleeting moon-] Fleeting is inconstant.

the pretty worm of Nilus -] Worm is the Teutonick word for serpent; we have the blind-worm and slow-worm still in our language, and the Norwegians call an enormous monster, seen sometimes in the Northern ocean, the sea-worm.

be saved by half that they do: But this is most fale lible, 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. Ayg ay; farewell.
Clown. Look


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 her not. 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 thee gone; farewell.

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



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 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


will do his kind.] The serpent will act according to his nature. ! Pare, yare,] i.e. make haste, be nimble, be ready.

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 aspick in my lips?: Dost fall?
If thou and nature can so gently part,
The stroke of death is as a lover's pinch,
Which hurts, and is desir’d. Dost thou lie still?
If thús thou vånishest, 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;4 and spend that kiss, Which is my heaven to have... Come, 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. O, could'st thou speak ! That I might hear thee call great Cæsar, ass Unpolicied!

· Have I the aspick in my lips?] Are my lips poison'd by the aspick; that my kiss has destroyed thee?

Dost fall?] Iras must be supposed to have applied an asp to her arm while her mistress was settling her dress, or I know not why she should fall so soon. STEEVENS.

4 He'll make demand of her;] He will enquire of her concerning me, and kiss her for giving him intelligence.

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Unpolicied!] i. e. an ass without more policy than to leave the means of death within my reach, and thereby deprive his triumph of its noblest decoration,

> Char. O eastern star !

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

O, break! O, break!
Cleo. As sweet as balm, as soft as air, as gen-

O Antony!-Nay, I will take thee too :-

[ Applying another Asp to her Arm.
What should I stay-. [Falls on a Bed, and dies.
1. Char. In this wild world?_So, fare thee well.
Now boast thee, death! in thy possession lies
A lass unparallel'd.-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.

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1 Guard. Where is the queen ?

Speak softly, wake her not.
1 Guard. Cæsar hath 'sent-

Too slow a messenger.

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

beguild. 2 Guard. There's Dolabella sent from Cæsar ;

call him.


Downy windows, close ;] Charmian, in saying this must be conceived to close Cleopatra's eyes; one of the first ceremonies performed toward a dead body.

and then play.] i. e. 'play her part in this tragick scene by destroying herself: or she may mean, that having performed her last office for her mistress, she will accept the permission given her before, to " play till doomsday."


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