“…He’s speaking now,
Or murmuring ‘Where’s my serpent of old Nile?’
(Antony and Cleopatra act 1, sc. 5)
Comments. Should you greet your girlfriend or significant other with “Where is my serpent of the Nile?” – or of the Potomac, the Missouri, Mississippi, Colorado river or equivalent – you should ensure that the said lady has a literary bent. Or it would be hard to classify the greeting as a term of endearment and you will run the risk of being misunderstood.
Cleopatra, last of the Ptolemaic imperial dynasty, stood to the decline of the power of Egypt as the Emperor Diocletian stood to the decline of the power of Rome, when he decided to move the capital of the Roman Empire from Rome to Nicomedia (on the Sea of Marmara, East and not too far from Byzantium).
While Octavian defeated Cleopatra in battle, Diocletian defeated Rome indirectly by eliminating it as the seat of the empire. A parallel that comes to mind is the teetotaler Yeltsin when he dissolved the Soviet Union, a bloodless event that, however, turned out to be the indirect father of more blood than imagined at the time.
Tips for Use. When you are calling wife or girlfriend at home.
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In the Play. Antony being absent in Rome, Cleopatra fantasizes as to whether Antony is thinking of her.
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