How vainly men themselves amaze To win the palm, the oak, or bays; And their uncessant
labours see Crowned from some single herb or tree, Whose short and narrow verged shade Does prudently their toils upbraid; While all flow'rs and all trees do close To weave the garlands of repose.
Octavia's two last lines of the play pay lip service to a Christianized patience that will enable her to bear what the heavens have assigned to her on the unhappy world's stage, but the remainder of her closing speech, spoken in response to news of Antony and Cleopatra's deaths, belies this patience with a Job-like lamentation: "But from the very instant of my birth, / Uncessant
woes my tyred heart have wasted ...
The French physician Andre Du Laurens, commenting upon Galen's comparison between external and internal obscurity, writes that the internal obscurity which is produced by the black bile is the cause of the melancholic's constant fear: 'and even as we see the night doth bring it some manner of feare, not only to children but sometimes also to the most confident: even so melancholike persons having in their braine a continuall night, are in uncessant
feare' (Du Laurens, 1938: 90).