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in a fine intoxication of passion and poetry. The conflict is drawn, too, with touches of the mystic fatalism which, through the medium of Plutarch, seems to have coloured Shakespeare's conception of the great catastrophes of the ancient world. Portents foreshadow Antony's fall as they had done Cæsar's; unearthly music is heard on the eve of the last battle: "Tis the god Hercules,' say the soldiers, 'whom Antony loved, now leaves him' (iv. 3.). A soothsayer warns him to avoid Cæsar, for 'near him thy angel becomes a fear as being o'erpower'd'; and Shakespeare applied the phrase to Macbeth's subduing fear of Banquo. But Shakespeare has provided a new and significant augurer of his own. Of Enobarbus. the character of Enobarbus he found nothing in Plutarch beyond the brief statement that, before Actium, he deserted to Cæsar, whereupon 'Antonius was very sorry for it, but yet he sent after him all his carriage, train, and men: and the same Domitius [Enobarbus], as though he gave him to understand that he repented his open treason, died immediately after?' Enobarbus deserts only after the battle, when Antony's fortunes are desperate (iv. 5.); and his heartbroken remorse attests the passionate loyalty which Antony inspired in the men most keenly alive to his fatuities. Enobarbus had not fathomed Antony's generosity; but he had fathomed his weakness, and chronicles each stage of its advance with caustic precision. Like Menenius in Coriolanus, and the Fool in Lear, he lays bare, under a guise of privileged plain-speaking, the hidden drift of events, and pricks bubbles of illusion which dazzle every one else. Cleopatra herself feels the sting of his disapproval, and condescends to expostulate with him—

Thou hast forspoke my being in these wars,

And say'st it is not fit

only to receive the blunt rejoinder :

Well, is it, is it?

With admirable tact Shakespeare makes this same Enobarbus the mouthpiece of the glowing description of Cleopatra's majestic voyage up the Cydnus to meet Antony. The magnificence which stirs his sober, analytic brain to this fervour of lyrical hyperbole, has its full effect upon us. And the Aristophanic humour of the banquet on Pompey's galley (ii. 7.) derives its undertone of irony mainly from the two sardonic onlookers in the background: Enobarbus, arranging the masters of the world, hand in hand, in a tipsy Bacchanal; and Menas, only deterred by a drunkard's maudlin scruple from cutting the cable on which their lives and the fortunes of ancient civilisation depend.

1 Dryden, with less than his usual literary instinct, gave the corresponding description in his All for Love to Antony. We naturally discount the lover's

enthusiasm. Cf. Mr. Wendell's excellent comparison of the two versions with Plutarch and with each other (William Shakespeare, p. 314).

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SCENE I. Alexandria. A room in Cleopatra's palace.

Enter DEMETRIUS and PHilo.

Soldier Fred

Phi. 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.


Enter ANTONY, CLEOPATRA, her Ladies, the Train, with Eunuchs fanning her.

Look, where they come: Take but good note, and you shall see in him The triple pillar of the world transform'd

8. reneges (disyllabic), re


12. The triple pillar, one of the three pillars, i.e. the trium


virs. Antony ruled the eastern
provinces of the empire; Octa-
vius the western; Lepidus

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

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Enter an Attendant.

Alt. News, my good lord, from Rome.

Grates me: the sum.

Cleo. Nay, hear them, Antony:
Fulvia perchance is angry; or, who knows
If the scarce-bearded Cæsar have not sent
His powerful mandate to you, 'Do this, or this;
Take in that kingdom, and enfranchise that;
Perform 't, or else we damn thee.'


How, my love!
Cleo. Perchance! nay, and most like:
You must not stay here longer, your dismission
Is come from Cæsar; therefore hear it, Antony.
Where's Fulvia's process?


Call in the messengers.

Cæsar's I would say?

As I am Egypt's queen,

Thou blushest, Antony, and that blood of thine
Is Cæsar's homager: else so thy cheek pays shame
When shrill-tongued Fulvia scolds. The mes-
sengers !

Ant. Let Rome in Tiber melt, and the wide arch
Of the ranged empire fall! Here is my space.
Kingdoms are clay: our dungy earth alike
Feeds beast as man: the nobleness of life
Is to do thus; when such a mutual pair

16. bourn, boundary.
28. process, mandate.


18. Grates, annoys, vexes.



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