The tears live in an onion that should water this sorrow.
 William Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra (1623). copy citation

Author William Shakespeare
Source Antony and Cleopatra
Topic grief crying pretending
Date 1623
Language English
Reference Antony and Cleopatra, Act I, Scene 2
Note Written between 1603 and 1607 Enobarbus line


“Why, sir, give the gods a thankful sacrifice. When it pleaseth their deities to take the wife of a man from him, it shows to man the tailors of the earth; comforting therein that when old robes are worn out there are members to make new. If there were no more women but Fulvia, then had you indeed a cut, and the case to be lamented: this grief is crown'd with consolation; your old smock brings forth a new petticoat:—and, indeed, the tears live in an onion that should water this sorrow.
ANTONY. The business she hath broached in the state Cannot endure my absence. ENOBARBUS. And the business you have broached here cannot be without you; especially that of Cleopatra's, which wholly depends on your abode.” source

Meaning and analysis

Kwize Master While Antony has just announced to his loyal support Enobarbus that his wife Fulvia has just died, he replies cynically enough that Fulvia is not the last woman on earth. Thus, Enobarbus tells Antony that when a man loses his wife, he can comfort himself by thinking of those who can replace her, comparing this to a change of clothing. He concludes by saying that the tears that an onion can cause should be enough to soothe this grief.
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