Plutarch and Shakespeare Compared

The Life of Marcus Antonius Antony and Cleopatra
That night, it is related, about the middle of it, when the whole city [of Alexandria] was in a deep silence and general sadness, expecting the event of the next day, on a sudden was heard the sound of all sorts of instruments, and voices singing in tune, and the cry of a crowd of people shouting and dancing, like a troop of bacchanals on its way. This tumultuous procession seemed to take its course right through the middle of the city to the gate nearest the enemy; here it became the loudest, and suddenly passed out. People who reflected considered this to signify that Bacchus, the god whom Antony had always made it his study to copy and imitate, had now forsaken him. Fourth Soldier
Peace! what noise?
First Soldier
List, list!
Second Soldier
Hark!
First Soldier
Music i' the air.
Third Soldier
Under the earth.
Fourth Soldier
It signs well, does it not?
Third Soldier
No.
First Soldier
Peace, I say!
What should this mean?
Second Soldier
'Tis the god Hercules, whom Antony loved,
Now leaves him.
First Soldier
Walk; let's see if other watchmen
Do hear what we do?
They advance to another post
Second Soldier
How now, masters!
All
[Speaking together] How now!
How now! do you hear this?
First Soldier
Ay; is't not strange?
Third Soldier
Do you hear, masters? do you hear?
First Soldier
Follow the noise so far as we have quarter;
Let's see how it will give off.
All
Content. 'Tis strange.

IV.iii.11-23


Commentary:


Page 41 of 61