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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 len that they make, the devils mar five.
Cleo. Well, get thee gone; farewell.
Re-enter Iras, with a Robe, Crown, &c.
[Kisses them. IRAs falls and dies.
Char. Dissolve, thick cloud, and rain ; that I may say, The gods themselves do weep!
This proves me base : 'If she first meet the.curled Antony,
in Yare, yare,] i.e. Make haste, be nimble.
0--- Dost fall?] lras must be supposed to have applicd an asp to her arm while her mistress was settling her dress, or I know not why she should fall so soon.-STEEVENS.
He'll make demand of her ;P and spend that kiss,
[To the Asp, which she applies to her breast.
O eastern star!
O, break! O, break!
[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 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. 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.
p He'll make demand of her ;] He will inquire of her concerning me, and kiss her for giving him intelligence.—Johnson. 9- ass
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.--STEEVENS.
I- Downy windows, close ;] Charmian, in saying this must be conceived to close Cleopatra's eyes; one of the first ceremonies performed towards a dead body.-Ritson.
s- 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."STEEVENS.
1 Guard. Approach, ho! All's not well: Cæsar's be
guild. 2 Guard. There's Dolabella sent from Cæsar;-call hím. 1 Guard. What work is here ?- Charmian, is this well
Dol. How goes it here? • 2 Guard.
- All dead. Dol.
Cæsar, thy thoughts Touch their effects in this: Thyself art coming To see perform'd the dreaded act, which thou So sought'st to hinder. Within.
A way there, a way for Cæsar!
Bravest at the last:
Who was last with them?
Poison'd then. 1 Guard.
O noble weakness !
Here, on her breast,
There is a vent of blood, and something blown:
[Exeunt.* 1- something blown:] The flesh is somewhat puffed or swoln.-- Johnson. u pursu'd conclusions infinite ) i.e. Tried innumerable experiments. v- clip-] i.e. Infold. w — their story is
No less in pity, than his glory, &c.) i.e. The narrative of such events demands not less compassion for the sufferers, than glory on the part of him who brought on their sufferings.-STEEVENS.
* This play keeps curiosity always busy, and the passions always interested. The continual burry 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, bas discovered that the language of Antony is, with great skill and learning, made pompous and superb, according to his real practice. But I think bis 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.
This exquisite and romantic drama was not entered in the Stationers' books, nor printed, till 1623. It was probably written in about 1609. The plot is in a great degree taken from the Ninth Novel of the Second Day of the Decameron of Boccacio, of which a deformed and interpolated translation had appeared so early as 1518; and an imitation, in an old story-book, entitled Westward for Smelts, was printed in 1603.
Cymbeline, the king from whom the play takes its title, hegan his reign, according to Holinshed, in the nineteenth year of the reign of Augustus Cæsat; and the play commences in or about the twenty-fourth year of Cymbeline's reign, which was the forty-second year of the reign of Augustus, and the sixteenth of the Christian æra; notwithstanding which, Shakspeare has peopled Rome with modern Italians; Philario, Iachimo, &c. Cymbeline is said to have reigned thirty-five years, leaving at his death two sons, Guiderius and Arviragus.