The Exceeding Asp

Cleo: “Freely lay you your hands upon me, / Yet prudence mandates stern decorum / Lest impassioned, you should spill the wine” (The Oenophiles, I. i, 1-3).

Cleo: “No matter how thin you slice it, it’s still / Baloney; yet well accords it with this vintage” (II. iii, 79-80).

Ant: “At what hour openeth the vintner / Of Levantine delights his magazine?” (III. ii, 1-2).

Ant: “This Cyprian plonk lacks all finesse. / Hast thou on hand jereboam none / Of Falernian temperately cradled?” (IV. i, 1-3).

Cleo: “Detox with me—with thee wouldst I rehab” (V. v, 187).

The above quotations (from Christopher Marlowe’s yet unknown tragicomedy about the Twelve Step Program undertaken by Antony and Cleopatra) are my bona fides, as I assert that Cleo, I know.  Having frequently hung out with Cleo and her retinue, often according to the Swan of Avon, I was looking forward to an infusion of something good, or at least something, from Stacy Schiff’s new hot-off-the-presses corporate product.  The reviews have been swooning, and as if that weren’t itself an enticement of hoochie-coochie effectiveness, then surely the “reading-group guide” available at

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