Plutarch and Shakespeare Compared

The Life of Marcus Antonius Antony and Cleopatra
And a country fellow brought her [Cleopatra] a little basket, which the guards intercepting and asking what it was the fellow put the leaves which lay uppermost aside, and showed them it was full of figs; and on their admiring the largeness and beauty of the figs, he laughed, and invited them to take some, which they refused, and, suspecting nothing, bade him carry them in... Some relate that an asp was brought in amongst those figs and covered with the leaves, and that Cleopatra had arranged that it might settle on her before she knew, but, when she took away some of the figs and saw it, she said, "So here it is," and held out her bare arm to be bitten. GUARD
Here is a rural fellow
That will not be denied your highness presence:
He brings you figs.
CLEOPATRA
Let him come in.

V.ii.233-236


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