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Your 'scutcheons, and your signs of conquest, shall
Hang in what place you please. Here, my good lord.

Cæs. You shall advise me in all for Cleopatra.

Cleo. This is the brief of money, plate, and jewels,
I am possess'd of: 'tis exactly valued;
Not petty things admitted. Where 's Seleucus ?

Sel. Here, madam.

Cleo. This is my treasurer; let him speak, my lord,
Upon his peril, that I have reserv'd
To myself nothing. Speak the truth, Seleueus.

Sel. Madam,
I had rather seel my lips,2 than, to my peril,
- Speak that which is not.
Cleo.

What have I kept back?
Sel. Enough to purchase what you have made known..

Ces. Nay, blush not, Cleopatra; I approve
Your wisdom in the deed.

See, Cæsar! O, behold,
How pomp is follow’d! mine will now be yours;
And, should we shift estates, yours would be mine.
The ingratitude of this Seleucus does
Even make we wild:- slave, of ne more trust

Cleo.

9 You shall advise me in all for Cleopatra.] You shall yourself be my counsellor, and suggest whatever you wish to be done for your relief. So, afterwards:

“ For we intend so to dispose you, as

“ Yourself shall give us counsel.” Malone. 1- 'tis exactly valued;

Not petty things admitted.] Sagacious editors! Cleopatra gives in a list of her wealth, says, 'tis exactly valued; but that petty things are not admitted in this list: and then she appeals to her treasurer, that she has reserved nothing to herself. And when he betrays her, she is reduced to the shift of exclaiming against the ingratitude of servants, and of making apologies for having secreted certain trifles. Who does not see, that we ought to read:

Not petty things omitted ? For this declaration lays open her falsehood; and makes her angry, when her treasurer detects her in a direct lie. Theobald.

Notwithstanding the wrath of Mr. Theobald, I have restored the old reading. She is angry afterwards, that she is accused of having reserved more than petty things. Dr. Warburton and Sir Thomas Hanmer follow Theobald. Johnson.

2- seel my lips,] Sew up my mouth. Fohnson.

It means, close up my lips as effectually as the eyes of a hawk are closed. To seel hawks was the technical term. Steedens.

Than love that 's hired! What, goest thou back? thou

shalt Go back, I warrant thee; but I 'll catch thine eyes, Though they had wings: Slave, soul-less villain, dog! O rarely base !3 .

Cæs. Good queen, let us entreat you.

Cleo. O Cæsar, what a wounding shame is this;4
That thou, vouchsafing here to visit me,
Doing the honour of thy lordliness
To one so meek,5 that mine own servant should
Parcel the sum of my disgraces by
Addition of his envy !? Say, good Cæsar,

3 O rarely base ! ] i. e. base in an uncommon degree. Steevens.

4 O Cæsar, &c.] This speech of Cleopatra is taken from Sir Thomas North's translation of Plutarch, where it stands as follows: “O Cæsar, is not this great shame and reproach, that thou having vouchsafed to take the pains to come unto me, and hast done me this honour, poor wretch and caitiff creature, brought into this pitiful and miserable estate, and that mine own servants should come now to accuse me. Though it may be that I have reserved some jewels and trifles meet for women, but not for me (poor soul) to set out myself withal; but meaning to give some pretty presents unto Octavia and Livia, that they making means and intercession for me to thee, thou mightest yet extend thy favour and mercy upon me,” &c. Steevens.

5 To one so meek,] Meek, I suppose, means here, tame, subdued by adversity. So, in the parallel passage in Plutarch: « poor wretch, and caitiff creature, brought into this pitiful and miserable estate -.” Cleopatra, in any other sense, was not eminent

for meekness. :: Our author has employed this word, in The Rape of Lucrece, in the same sense as here:

“ Feeble desire, all recreant, poor, and meek,

“ Like to a bankrupt beggar, wails his case." Malone. 6 Parcel the sum of my disgraces by] To parcel her disgraces, might be expressed in vulgar language, to bundle up her calamities. Fohnson.

The meaning, I think, either is, " that this fellow should add one more parcel or item to the sum of my disgraces, namely, his own malice ;” or, “that this fellow should tot up the sum of my disgraces, and add his own malice to the account.”

Parcel is here used technically. So, in King Henry IV, P. I:

That this fellow, [Francis, the drawer,] should have fewer words than a parrot! his eloquence the parcel of a reckoning." There it means, either an item, or the accumulated total formed by various items. Malone.

7 of his envy!] Envy is here, as almost always in these plays, malice. See Vol. XI, p. 240, n. 7. Malone.

That I some lady trifles have reserv’d,
Immoment toys, things of such dignity
As we greet modern friends withal; and say,
Some nobler token I have kept apart
For Livia, and Octavia, to induce
Their mediation; must I be unfolded
With one that I have bred? The gods! It smites me
Beneath the fall I have. Pr’ythee, go hence; [TO SEL.
Or I shall show the cinders of my spirits
Through the ashes of my chance:-Wert thou a man,
Thou would'st have mercy on me.
Cæs.

Forbear, Seleucus. [Exit SEL. Cleo. Be it known, that we, the greatest, are misthought For things that others do; and, when we fall,

8 modern friends -] Modern means here, as it generally does in these plays, common or ordinary.' M. Mason. So, in As you Like it:

“ Full of wise saws and modern instances." See Vol. V, p. 59, n. 4. Steevens.

9 With one -] With, in the present instance, has the power of by. So, in The Lover's Progress of Beaumont and Fletcher: " And courted with felicity.” Steevens.

3 Through the ashes of my chance:] Or fortune. The meaning is, Begone, or I shall exert that royal spirit which I had in my prosperity, in spite of the imbecility of my present weak condi. tion. This taught the Oxford editor to alter it to mischance.

Warburton. We have had already in this play " the wounded chance of Antony.” Malone.

Or I shall show the cinders of my spirits

Through the ashes of my chance : ] Thus Chaucer, in his CanYerbury Tales' Tyrwhitt's edit. v. 3180:

“ Yet in our ashen cold is fire yreken.” And thus (as the learned editor has observed) Mr. Gray, in his Church-Yard Elegy:

“Even in our ashes live their wonted fires." Mr. Gray refers to the following passage in the 169 (171) Sonnet of Petrarch, as his original :

“ Ch'i veggio nel pensier, dolce mio foco,
“ Fredda una lingua, e due begli occhi chiusi

“ Rimaner dopo noi pien di faville.” Edit. 1564, p. 271. Thus also Sidney, in his Arcadia, Lib. 3:' “ In ashes of despaire (though burnt) shall make thee live."

Steevens. Again, in our author's 73d Sonnet :

“ In me thou see'st the glowing of such fire,
" That on the ashes of his youth doth lie.” Malone

We answer others' merits in our name,
Are therefore to be pitied.2
Cæs.

Cleopatra,
Not what you have resery’d, nor what acknowledg'd,
Put we i’ the roll of conquest: still be it yours,
Bestow it at your pleasure; and believe,
Cæsar's no merchant, to make prize with you
Of things that merchants sold. Therefore be cheer'd;
Make not your thoughts your prisons:3 no, dear queen;
For we intend so to dispose you, as
Yourself shall give us counsel. Feed, and sleep:
Our care and pity is so much upon you,
That we remain your friend; And so adieu.

Cleo. My master, and my lord!
Cæs.

Not so: Adieu.

[Excunt Cæs. and his Train. Cleo. He words me, girls, he words me, that I should

not

Be noble to myself: but hark thee, Charmian.

[Whispers CHAR.

2 Be it known, that we, the greatest, are misthought

For things that others do; and, when we fall,
We answer others' merits in our name,

Are therefore to be pitied.] We suffer at our highest state of elevation in the thoughts of mankind for that which others do; and when we fall, those that contented themselves only to think ill before, call us to answer in our own names for the merits of others. We are therefore to be pitied. Merits is in this place taken in an ill sense, for actions meriting censure. Johnson.

The plain meaning is this: The greatest of us are aspersed for things which others do : and when, by the decline of our power, we become in a condition to be questioned, we are called to answer in our own names for the actions of other people.

Merit is here used, as the word desert frequently is, to express a certain degree of merit or demerit. A man may merit punishment as well as reward. M. Mason.

As demerits was often used, in Shakspeare's time, as synonymous to merit, so merit might have been used in the sense which we now affix to demerit; or the meaning may be only, we are called to account, and to answer in our own names for acts, with which others, rather than we, deserve to be charged. Malone. 3 Make not your thoughts your prisons :) I once wished to read

Make not your thoughts your poison: Do not destroy yourself by musing on your misfortune. Yet I would change nothing, as the old reading presents a very proper sense. Be not a prisoner in imagination, when in reality you are free. Johnson.

Iras. Finish, good lady; the bright day is done,
And we are for the dark.
Cleo.

Hie thee again:
I have spoke already, and it is provided;
Go, put it to the haste.
Char.

Madam, I will.

Re-enter DOLABELLA. ·
Dol. Where is the queen?
Char.

Behold, sir. [Exit Char. Cleo.

Dolabella?
Dol. Madam, as thereto sworn by your command,
Which my love makes religion to obey,
I tell you this: Cæsar through Syria
Intends his journey; and, within three days,
You with your children will he send before:
Make your best use of this: I have perform’d
Your pleasure, and my promise.
Cleo.

Dolabella,
I shall remain your debtor.
Dol.

I your servant.
Adieu, good queen; I must attend on Cæsar.
Cleo. Farewel, and thanks. [Exit Dol.] Now, Irås,

what think'st thou?
Thou, an Egyptian puppet, shalt be shown
In Rome, as well as I: mechanick slaves
With greasy aprons, rules, and hammers, shalt
Uplift us to the view; in their thick breaths,
Rank of gross diet, shall we be enclouded,
And forc'd to drink their vapour.
Iras.

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:4 the quick comedians5

4_ and scald rhymers
Ballad us out o'tune:) So, in The Rape of Lucrece :

thou
“ Shalt have thy trespass cited up in rhymes,

“ And sung by children in succeeding times.” Malone. Scald was a word of contempt implying poverty, disease, and filth. Fohnson.

So, in The Merry Wives of Windsor, Evans calls the host of the Garter scald, scurvy companion;" and in King Henry V, Fluellen bestows the same epithet on Pistol. Steevens. 5 the quick comedians -] The gay inventive players.

Johnson

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