Scene 11.
23. heat my liver: --The liver being considered the seat of love, Charmian says she would rather heat her liver with drinking than with love's fire. A heated liver was supposed to make a pimpled face.
27. a child at fifty: --"This," says Johnson, "is one of Shakespeare's natural touches. Few circumstances are more flattering to the fair sex than breeding at an advanced period of life."
35. no names: --Charmian has not been married, and, if she is not to have better fortune, her children will not know their father, therefore will be bastards and nameless. So in the Two Gentlemen of Verona, III. i. 14-16: "That's as much as to say, bastard virtues; that, indeed, know not their fathers, and there- fore have no names."
49, 50. an oily palm, etc.: --This prognostic is alluded to in Othello, III. iv.:--

"This hand is moist, my lady. . . .
This argues fruitfulness and liberal heart."

101. Stiff news is hard news.
102. Extended Asia from Euphrates: --Extend is often found in the old writers for seize; extent for seizure, etc. So in As You Like It, III. i. 16, 17:--

And let my officers of such a nature
Make an extent upon his house and lands."

So too in Selimus, Emperor of the Turks, 1594:--

Ay, though on all the world we make extent
From the south pole unto the northern bear."

Plutarch tells us that Labienus was by the Parthian king made general of his troops, and had overrun Asia from Euphrates, and Syria to Lydia and Ionia. Euphrates here is accented on the first syllable. Shakespeare uses the name only in this instance. Drayton 's Polyolbion, 21, has it accented in the same way in this line: "That gliding go in state, like swelling Euphrates."

125-127. the present pleasure, etc.: --The pleasure of to-day, by revolution of events and change of circumstances, often loses all its value to us, and becomes to-morrow a pain. There seems to be an implied allusion to the turning of a wheel, suggested, as some think, by the "wheel of fortune."


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Antony and Cleopatra


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