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Unreconciliable, should divide
Our equalness to this."-Hear me, good friends,But I will tell you at some meeter season;
Enter a Messenger.
The business of this man looks out of him,
MESS. A poor Egyptian yet. The queen my mistress,
Confin'd in all she has, her monument,
CES. Bid her have good heart; She soon shall know of us, by some of ours, How honourable and how kindly we Determine for her: for Cæsar cannot live To be ungentle."
Our equalness to this.] That is, should have made us, in our equality of fortune, disagree to a pitch like this, that one of us must die. JOHNSON.
— Whence are you?] The defective metre of this line, and the irregular reply to it, may authorize a supposition that it originally stood thus:
We'll hear him what he says.-Whence, and who are you? STEEVENS.
A poor Egyptian yet. The queen my mistress, &c.] If this punctuation be right, the man means to say, that he is yet an Egyptian, that is, yet a servant of the Queen of Egypt, though soon to become a subject of Rome. JOHNSON.
• How honourable and how kindly we- -] Our author often uses adjectives adverbially. So, in Julius Cæsar:
"Young man, thou could'st not die more honourable." See also Vol. XI. p. 386, n. 9. The modern editors, however, all read-honourably. MALONE.
9-for Cæsar cannot live
To be ungentle.] The old copy has leave. Mr. Pope made the emendation. MALONE.
So the gods preserve thee! [Exit.
Cæsar, I shall. [Exit PROCULEius.
CES. Let him alone, for I remember now
her life in Rome
Would be eternal in our triumph:] Hanmer reads, judiciously enough, but without necessity:
Would be eternalling our triumph:
The sense is, If she dies here, she will be forgotten, but if I send her in triumph to Rome, her memory and my glory will be eternal. JOHNSON.
The following passage in The Scourge of Venus, &c. a poem, 1614, will sufficiently support the old reading:
"If some foule-swelling ebon cloud would fall,
Alexandria. A Room in the Monument.
Enter CLEOPATRA, CHARMIAN, and IRAs.
CLEO. My desolation does begin to make A better life: 'Tis paltry to be Cæsar ; Not being fortune, he's but fortune's knave, A minister of her will; And it is great To do that thing that ends all other deeds; Which shackles accidents, and bolts up change; Which sleeps, and never palates more the dung, The beggar's nurse and Cæsar's.
Enter Cleopatra, &c.] Our author, here, (as in King Henry VIII. Vol. XV. p. 186, n. 1,) has attempted to exhibit at once the outside and the inside of a building. It would be impossible to represent this scene in any way on the stage, but by making Cleopatra and her attendants speak all their speeches till the queen is seized, within the monument. MALONE.
-fortune's knave,] The servant of fortune. JOHNSON.
To do that thing that ends all other deeds;
The beggar's nurse and Cæsar's.] The difficulty of the passage, if any difficulty there be, arises only from this, that the act of suicide, and the state which is the effect of suicide, are confounded. Voluntary death, says she, is an act which bolts up change; it produces a state,
Which sleeps, and never palates more the dung,
Which has no longer need of the gross and terrene sustenance, in the use of which Cæsar and the beggar are on a level.
The speech is abrupt, but perturbation in such a state is surely natural. JOHNSON.
Enter, to the Gates of the Monument, PROCULEIUS, GALLUS, and Soldiers.
PRO. Cæsar sends greeting to the queen of Egypt; And bids thee study on what fair demands Thou mean'st to have him grant thee.
What's thy name?
PRO. My name is Proculeius.
That have no use for trusting. If your master
It has been already said in this play, that
66 our dungy earth alike
And Mr. Tollet observes, "that in Herodotus, B. III. the Æthiopian king, upon hearing a description of the nature of wheat, replied, that he was not at all surprized, if men, who eat nothing but dung, did not attain a longer life." Shakspeare has the same epithet in The Winter's Tale:
the face to sweeten
"Of the whole dungy earth.". Again, in Timon:
the earth's a thief
"That feeds and breeds by a composture stolen
'He gives me so much of mine own, as I
Will kneel to him with thanks.] I would read-and I, instead of as I. M. MASON.
I believe the old reading to be the true one. STEEVENS.
Be of good cheer;
This I'll report, dear lady. Have comfort; for, I know, your plight is pitied Of him that caus'd it.
that will pray in aid for kindness,] Praying in aid is a term used for a petition made in a court of justice for the calling in of help from another that hath an interest in the cause in question. HANMER.
The greatness he has got.] I allow him to be my conqueror;
"Then, as my gift, and thy own acquisition,
"Worthily purchas'd, take my daughter." STEEVENS. Johnson has mistaken the meaning of this passage, nor will the words bear the construction he gives them. It appears to me, that by the greatness he has got, she means her crown which he has won; and I suppose that when she pronounces these words, she delivers to Proculeius either her crown, or some other ensign of royalty. M. MASON.