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I cannot project mine own cause so well'
To make it clear; but do confess, I have
Been laden with like frailties, which before
Have often sham'd our sex.

Cleopatra, know,
We will extenuate rather than enforce:
If you apply yourself to our intents,

(Which towards you are most gentle,) you shall find
A benefit in this change; but if you seek
To lay on me a cruelty, by taking
Antony's course, you shall bereave yourself

I cannot project mine own cause so well-] Project signifies to invent a cause, not to plead it; which is the sense here required. It is plain that we should read:

I cannot proctor my own cause so well.

The technical term, to plead by an advocate. WARBburton.
Sir T. Hanmer reads:

I cannot parget my own cause·


Meaning, I cannot whitewash, varnish, or gloss my cause. believe the present reading to be right. To project a cause is to represent a cause; to project it well, is to plan or contrive a scheme of defence. JOHNSON.

The old reading may certainly be the true one. Sir John Harrington, in his Metamorphosis of Ajax, 1596, p. 79, says"I have chosen Ajax for the project of this discourse."

Again, in Looke about you, a comedy, 1600:

"But quite dislike the project of your sute."

Yet Sir Thomas Hanmer's conjecture may be likewise countenanced; for the word he wishes to bring in, is used in the 4th Eclogue of Drayton:

"Scorn'd paintings, pargit, and the borrow'd hair." And several times by Ben Jonson. So, in The Silent Woman : "she's above fifty too, and pargets." STEEVENS.

In Much Ado about Nothing, we find these lines:

66 She cannot love,

"Nor take no shape nor project of affection,
"She is so self-endear'd."

I cannot project, &c. means, therefore, I cannot shape or form my cause, &c.


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Of my good purposes, and put your children To that destruction which I'll guard them from, If thereon you rely. I'll take my leave.

CLEO. And may, through all the world: 'tis yours; and we

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

CES. 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.2-Where's Seleucus?
SEL. Here, madam.

CLEO. This is my treasurer; let him speak, my lord,

You shall advise me in all for Cleopatra.] You shall your. self 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.

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'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.


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.

Upon his peril, that I have reserv'd
To myself nothing. Speak the truth, Seleucus.
SEL. Madam,

I had rather seel my lips,3 than, to my peril,
Speak that which is not.


What have I kept back?

SEL. Enough to purchase what you have made known.

CES. Nay, blush not, Cleopatra; I 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 me wild :-O slave, of no more trust Than love that's hir'd!-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,
O rarely base!4

Good queen, let us entreat you.
CLEO. O Cæsar, what a wounding shame is this;"


seel my lips,] Sew up my mouth. JOHNSON.

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


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


› 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


That thou, vouchsafing here to visit me,
Doing the honour of thy lordliness
To one so meek," that mine own servant should
Parcel the sum of my disgraces by"
Addition of his envy ! Say, good Cæsar,
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

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.


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. Parcel the sum of my disgraces by-] To parcel her disgraces, might be expressed in vulgar language, to bundle up her calamities. JOHNSON.

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.

of his envy!] Euvy is here, as almost always in these plays, malice. See Vol. XV. p. 64, n. 2; and p. 106.


9 - modern friends-] Modern means here, as it generally does in these plays, common or ordinary. M. MASON.

For Livia, and Octavia, to induce
Their mediation; must I be unfolded
With one that I have bred? The gods! It smites


Beneath the fall I have. Pr'ythee, go hence;


Or I shall show the cinders of my spirits
Through the ashes of my chance: 2-Wert thou a


So, in As you like it:

"Full of wise saws and modern instances."

See Vol. VIII. p. 74, n. 4. STEEvens.

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.

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 condition. 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 Canterbury 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.

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