Enter Demetrius and Philo
Philo Nay, but this dotage of our general’s
O’erflows the measure: those his goodly eyes,
That o’er the files and musters of the war
Have glow’d like plated Mars, now bend, now turn,
The office and devotion of their view
Upon a tawny front: his captain’s heart,
Which in the scuffles of great fights hath burst
The buckles on his breast, reneges all temper,
And is become the bellows and the fan
To cool a gipsy’s lust.
Flourish. Enter Antony, Cleopatra, her Ladies, the Train, with Eunuchs fanning her
Look, where they come:
Take but good note, and you shall see in him.
The triple pillar of the world transform’d
Into a strumpet’s fool: behold and see.
Cleopatra If it be love indeed, tell me how much.
Mark Antony There’s beggary in the love that can be reckon’d.
Cleopatra I’ll set a bourn how far to be beloved.
Mark Antony Then must thou needs find out new heaven, new earth.
Enter an Attendant
Attendant News, my good lord, from Rome.
Mark Antony Grates me: the sum.
Cleopatra Nay, hear them, Antony:
Fulvia perchance is angry; or, who knows
If the scarce-bearded Caesar have not sent
His powerful mandate to you, ‘Do this, or this;
Take in that kingdom, and enfranchise that;
Perform ’t, or else we damn thee.’
Mark Antony How, my love!
Cleopatra Perchance! nay, and most like:
You must not stay here longer, your dismission
Is come from Caesar; therefore hear it, Antony.
Where’s Fulvia’s process? Caesar’s I would say? both?
Call in the messengers. As I am Egypt’s queen,
Thou blushest, Antony; and that blood of thine
Is Caesar’s homager: else so thy cheek pays shame
When shrill-tongued Fulvia scolds. The messengers!
Mark Antony Let Rome in Tiber melt, and the wide arch
Of the ranged empire fall! Here is my space.
Kingdoms are clay: our dungy earth alike
Feeds beast as man: the nobleness of life
Is to do thus; when such a mutual pair
And such a twain can do’t, in which I bind,
On pain of punishment, the world to weet
We stand up peerless.
Cleopatra Excellent falsehood!
Why did he marry Fulvia, and not love her?
I’ll seem the fool I am not; Antony
Will be himself.
Mark Antony But stirr’d by Cleopatra.
Now, for the love of Love and her soft hours,
Let’s not confound the time with conference harsh:
There’s not a minute of our lives should stretch
Without some pleasure now. What sport tonight?
Cleopatra Hear the ambassadors.
Mark Antony Fie, wrangling queen!
Whom every thing becomes, to chide, to laugh,
To weep; whose every passion fully strives
To make itself, in thee, fair and admired!
No messenger, but thine; and all alone
To-night we’ll wander through the streets and note
The qualities of people. Come, my queen;
Last night you did desire it: speak not to us.
Exeunt Mark Antony and Cleopatra with their train
Demetrius Is Caesar with Antonius prized so slight?
Philo Sir, sometimes, when he is not Antony,
He comes too short of that great property
Which still should go with Antony.
Demetrius I am full sorry
That he approves the common liar, who
Thus speaks of him at Rome: but I will hope
Of better deeds to-morrow. Rest you happy!
Enter Charmian, Iras, Alexas, and a Soothsayer
Charmian Lord Alexas, sweet Alexas, most any thing Alexas, almost most absolute Alexas, where’s the soothsayer that you praised so to the queen? O, that I knew this husband, which, you say, must charge his horns with garlands!
Soothsayer Your will?
Charmian Is this the man? Is’t you, sir, that know things?
Soothsayer In nature’s infinite book of secrecy
A little I can read.
Alexas Show him your hand.
Enter Domitius Enobarbus
Domitius Enobarbus Bring in the banquet quickly; wine enough
Cleopatra’s health to drink.
Charmian Good sir, give me good fortune.
Soothsayer I make not, but foresee.
Charmian Pray, then, foresee me one.
Soothsayer You shall be yet far fairer than you are.
Charmian He means in flesh.
Iras No, you shall paint when you are old.
Charmian Wrinkles forbid!
Alexas Vex not his prescience; be attentive.
Soothsayer You shall be more beloving than beloved.
Charmian I had rather heat my liver with drinking.
Alexas Nay, hear him.
Charmian Good now, some excellent fortune! Let me be married to three kings in a forenoon, and widow them all: let me have a child at fifty, to whom Herod of Jewry may do homage: find me to marry me with Octavius Caesar, and companion me with my mistress.
Soothsayer You shall outlive the lady whom you serve.
Charmian O excellent! I love long life better than figs.
Soothsayer You have seen and proved a fairer former fortune
Than that which is to approach.
Charmian Then belike my children shall have no names: prithee, how many boys and wenches must I have?
Soothsayer If every of your wishes had a womb.
And fertile every wish, a million.
Charmian Out, fool! I forgive thee for a witch.
Alexas You think none but your sheets are privy to your wishes.
Charmian Nay, come, tell Iras hers.
Alexas We’ll know all our fortunes.
Domitius Enobarbus Mine, and most of our fortunes, to-night, shall be — drunk to bed.
Iras There’s a palm presages chastity, if nothing else.
Charmian E’en as the o’erflowing Nilus presageth famine.
Iras Go, you wild bedfellow, you cannot soothsay.
Charmian Nay, if an oily palm be not a fruitful prognostication, I cannot scratch mine ear. Prithee, tell her but a worky-day fortune.
Soothsayer Your fortunes are alike.
Iras But how, but how? give me particulars.
Soothsayer I have said.
Iras Am I not an inch of fortune better than she?
Charmian Well, if you were but an inch of fortune better than
I, where would you choose it?
Iras Not in my husband’s nose.
Charmian Our worser thoughts heavens mend! Alexas — come, his fortune, his fortune! O, let him marry a woman that cannot go, sweet Isis, I beseech thee! and let her die too, and give him a worse! and let worst follow worse, till the worst of all follow him laughing to his grave, fifty-fold a cuckold! Good Isis, hear me this prayer, though thou deny me a matter of more weight; good Isis, I beseech thee!
Iras Amen. Dear goddess, hear that prayer of the people! for, as it is a heartbreaking to see a handsome man loose-wived, so it is a deadly sorrow to behold a foul knave uncuckolded: therefore, dear Isis, keep decorum, and fortune him accordingly!
Alexas Lo, now, if it lay in their hands to make me a cuckold, they would make themselves whores, but they’ld do’t!
Domitius Enobarbus Hush! here comes Antony.
Charmian Not he; the queen.
Cleopatra Saw you my lord?
Domitius Enobarbus No, lady.
Cleopatra Was he not here?
Charmian No, madam.
Cleopatra He was disposed to mirth; but on the sudden
A Roman thought hath struck him. Enobarbus!
Domitius Enobarbus Madam?
Cleopatra Seek him, and bring him hither.
Alexas Here, at your service. My lord approaches.
Cleopatra We will not look upon him: go with us.
Enter Mark Antony with a Messenger and Attendants
Messenger Fulvia thy wife first came into the field.
Mark Antony Against my brother Lucius?
But soon that war had end, and the time’s state
Made friends of them, joining their force ’gainst Caesar;
Whose better issue in the war, from Italy,
Upon the first encounter, drave them.
Mark Antony Well, what worst?
Messenger The nature of bad news infects the teller.
Mark Antony When it concerns the fool or coward. On:
Things that are past are done with me. ’Tis thus:
Who tells me true, though in his tale lie death,
I hear him as he flatter’d.
Messenger Labienus —
This is stiff news — hath, with his Parthian force,
Extended Asia from Euphrates;
His conquering banner shook from Syria
To Lydia and to Ionia; Whilst —
Mark Antony Antony, thou wouldst say —
Messenger O, my lord!
Mark Antony Speak to me home, mince not the general tongue:
Name Cleopatra as she is call’d in Rome;
Rail thou in Fulvia’s phrase; and taunt my faults
With such full licence as both truth and malice
Have power to utter. O, then we bring forth weeds,
When our quick minds lie still; and our ills told us
Is as our earing. Fare thee well awhile.
Messenger At your noble pleasure.
Mark Antony From Sicyon, ho, the news! Speak there!
First Attendant The man from Sicyon — is there such an one?
Second Attendant He stays upon your will.
Mark Antony Let him appear.
These strong Egyptian fetters I must break,
Or lose myself in dotage.
Enter another Messenger
What are you?
Second Messenger Fulvia thy wife is dead.
Mark Antony Where died she?
Second Messenger In Sicyon:
Her length of sickness, with what else more serious
Importeth thee to know, this bears.
Gives a letter
Mark Antony Forbear me.
Exit Second Messenger
There’s a great spirit gone! Thus did I desire it:
What our contempt doth often hurl from us,
We wish it ours again; the present pleasure,
By revolution lowering, does become
The opposite of itself: she’s good, being gone;
The hand could pluck her back that shoved her on.
I must from this enchanting queen break off:
Ten thousand harms, more than the ills I know,
My idleness doth hatch. How now! Enobarbus!
Re-enter Domitius Enobarbus
Domitius Enobarbus What’s your pleasure, sir?
Mark Antony I must with haste from hence.
Domitius Enobarbus Why, then, we kill all our women: we see how mortal an unkindness is to them; if they suffer our departure, death’s the word.
Mark Antony I must be gone.
Domitius Enobarbus Under a compelling occasion, let women die; it were pity to cast them away for nothing; though, between them and a great cause, they should be esteemed nothing. Cleopatra, catching but the least noise of this, dies instantly; I have seen her die twenty times upon far poorer moment: I do think there is mettle in death, which commits some loving act upon her, she hath such a celerity in dying.
Mark Antony She is cunning past man’s thought.
Domitius Enobarbus Alack, sir, no; her passions are made of nothing but the finest part of pure love: we cannot call her winds and waters sighs and tears; they are greater storms and tempests than almanacs can report: this cannot be cunning in her; if it be, she makes a shower of rain as well as Jove.
Mark Antony Would I had never seen her.
Domitius Enobarbus O, sir, you had then left unseen a wonderful piece of work; which not to have been blest withal would have discredited your travel.
Mark Antony Fulvia is dead.
Domitius Enobarbus Sir?
Mark Antony Fulvia is dead.
Domitius Enobarbus Fulvia!
Mark Antony Dead.
Domitius Enobarbus 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 crowned with consolation; your old smock brings forth a new petticoat: and indeed the tears live in an onion that should water this sorrow.
Mark Antony The business she hath broached in the state
Cannot endure my absence.
Domitius Enobarbus And the business you have broached here cannot be without you; especially that of Cleopatra’s, which wholly depends on your abode.
Mark Antony No more light answers. Let our officers
Have notice what we purpose. I shall break
The cause of our expedience to the queen,
And get her leave to part. For not alone
The death of Fulvia, with more urgent touches,
Do strongly speak to us; but the letters too
Of many our contriving friends in Rome
Petition us at home: Sextus Pompeius
Hath given the dare to Caesar, and commands
The empire of the sea: our slippery people,
Whose love is never link’d to the deserver
Till his deserts are past, begin to throw
Pompey the Great and all his dignities
Upon his son; who, high in name and power,
Higher than both in blood and life, stands up
For the main soldier: whose quality, going on,
The sides o’ the world may danger: much is breeding,
Which, like the courser’s hair, hath yet but life,
And not a serpent’s poison. Say, our pleasure,
To such whose place is under us, requires
Our quick remove from hence.
Domitius Enobarbus I shall do’t.
Enter Cleopatra, Charmian, Iras, and Alexas
Cleopatra Where is he?
Charmian I did not see him since.
Cleopatra See where he is, who’s with him, what he does:
I did not send you: if you find him sad,
Say I am dancing; if in mirth, report
That I am sudden sick: quick, and return.
Charmian Madam, methinks, if you did love him dearly,
You do not hold the method to enforce
The like from him.
Cleopatra What should I do, I do not?
Charmian In each thing give him way, cross him nothing.
Cleopatra Thou teachest like a fool; the way to lose him.
Charmian Tempt him not so too far; I wish, forbear:
In time we hate that which we often fear.
But here comes Antony.
Enter Mark Antony
Cleopatra I am sick and sullen.
Mark Antony I am sorry to give breathing to my purpose —
Cleopatra Help me away, dear Charmian; I shall fall:
It cannot be thus long, the sides of nature
Will not sustain it.
Mark Antony Now, my dearest queen —
Cleopatra Pray you, stand further from me.
Mark Antony What’s the matter?
Cleopatra I know, by that same eye, there’s some good news.
What says the married woman? You may go:
Would she had never given you leave to come!
Let her not say ’tis I that keep you here:
I have no power upon you; hers you are.
Mark Antony The gods best know —
Cleopatra O, never was there queen
So mightily betray’d! yet at the first
I saw the treasons planted.
Mark Antony Cleopatra —
Cleopatra Why should I think you can be mine and true,
Though you in swearing shake the throned gods,
Who have been false to Fulvia? Riotous madness,
To be entangled with those mouth-made vows,
Which break themselves in swearing!
Mark Antony Most sweet queen —
Cleopatra Nay, pray you, seek no colour for your going,
But bid farewell, and go: when you sued staying,
Then was the time for words: no going then;
Eternity was in our lips and eyes,
Bliss in our brows’ bent; none our parts so poor,
But was a race of heaven: they are so still,
Or thou, the greatest soldier of the world,
Art turn’d the greatest liar.
Mark Antony How now, lady!
Cleopatra I would I had thy inches; thou shouldst know
There were a heart in Egypt.
Mark Antony Hear me, queen:
The strong necessity of time commands
Our services awhile; but my full heart
Remains in use with you. Our Italy
Shines o’er with civil swords: Sextus Pompeius
Makes his approaches to the port of Rome:
Equality of two domestic powers
Breed scrupulous faction: the hated, grown to strength,
Are newly grown to love: the condemn’d Pompey,
Rich in his father’s honour, creeps apace,
Into the hearts of such as have not thrived
Upon the present state, whose numbers threaten;
And quietness, grown sick of rest, would purge
By any desperate change: my more particular,
And that which most with you should safe my going,
Is Fulvia’s death.
Cleopatra Though age from folly could not give me freedom,
It does from childishness: can Fulvia die?
Mark Antony She’s dead, my queen:
Look here, and at thy sovereign leisure read
The garboils she awaked; at the last, best:
See when and where she died.
Cleopatra O most false love!
Where be the sacred vials thou shouldst fill
With sorrowful water? Now I see, I see,
In Fulvia’s death, how mine received shall be.
Mark Antony Quarrel no more, but be prepared to know
The purposes I bear; which are, or cease,
As you shall give the advice. By the fire
That quickens Nilus’ slime, I go from hence
Thy soldier, servant; making peace or war
As thou affect’st.
Cleopatra Cut my lace, Charmian, come;
But let it be: I am quickly ill, and well,
So Antony loves.
Mark Antony My precious queen, forbear;
And give true evidence to his love, which stands
An honourable trial.
Cleopatra So Fulvia told me.
I prithee, turn aside and weep for her,
Then bid adieu to me, and say the tears
Belong to Egypt: good now, play one scene
Of excellent dissembling; and let it look
Life perfect honour.
Mark Antony You’ll heat my blood: no more.
Cleopatra You can do better yet; but this is meetly.
Mark Antony Now, by my sword —
Cleopatra And target. Still he mends;
But this is not the best. Look, prithee, Charmian,
How this Herculean Roman does become
The carriage of his chafe.
Mark Antony I’ll leave you, lady.
Cleopatra Courteous lord, one word.
Sir, you and I must part, but that’s not it:
Sir, you and I have loved, but there’s not it;
That you know well: something it is I would,
O, my oblivion is a very Antony,
And I am all forgotten.
Mark Antony But that your royalty
Holds idleness your subject, I should take you
For idleness itself.
Cleopatra ’Tis sweating labour
To bear such idleness so near the heart
As Cleopatra this. But, sir, forgive me;
Since my becomings kill me, when they do not
Eye well to you: your honour calls you hence;
Therefore be deaf to my unpitied folly.
And all the gods go with you! upon your sword
Sit laurel victory! and smooth success
Be strew’d before your feet!
Mark Antony Let us go. Come;
Our separation so abides, and flies,
That thou, residing here, go’st yet with me,
And I, hence fleeting, here remain with thee. Away!
Enter Octavius Caesar, reading a letter, Lepidus, and their Train
Octavius Caesar You may see, Lepidus, and henceforth know,
It is not Caesar’s natural vice to hate
Our great competitor: from Alexandria
This is the news: he fishes, drinks, and wastes
The lamps of night in revel; is not more man-like
Than Cleopatra; nor the queen of Ptolemy
More womanly than he; hardly gave audience, or
Vouchsafed to think he had partners: you shall find there
A man who is the abstract of all faults
That all men follow.
Lepidus I must not think there are
Evils enow to darken all his goodness:
His faults in him seem as the spots of heaven,
More fiery by night’s blackness; hereditary,
Rather than purchased; what he cannot change,
Than what he chooses.
Octavius Caesar You are too indulgent. Let us grant, it is not
Amiss to tumble on the bed of Ptolemy;
To give a kingdom for a mirth; to sit
And keep the turn of tippling with a slave;
To reel the streets at noon, and stand the buffet
With knaves that smell of sweat: say this becomes him —
As his composure must be rare indeed
Whom these things cannot blemish — yet must Antony
No way excuse his soils, when we do bear
So great weight in his lightness. If he fill’d
His vacancy with his voluptuousness,
Full surfeits, and the dryness of his bones,
Call on him for’t: but to confound such time,
That drums him from his sport, and speaks as loud
As his own state and ours — ’tis to be chid
As we rate boys, who, being mature in knowledge,
Pawn their experience to their present pleasure,
And so rebel to judgment.
Enter a Messenger
Lepidus Here’s more news.
Messenger Thy biddings have been done; and every hour,
Most noble Caesar, shalt thou have report
How ’tis abroad. Pompey is strong at sea;
And it appears he is beloved of those
That only have fear’d Caesar: to the ports
The discontents repair, and men’s reports
Give him much wrong’d.
Octavius Caesar I should have known no less.
It hath been taught us from the primal state,
That he which is was wish’d until he were;
And the ebb’d man, ne’er loved till ne’er worth love,
Comes dear’d by being lack’d. This common body,
Like to a vagabond flag upon the stream,
Goes to and back, lackeying the varying tide,
To rot itself with motion.
Messenger Caesar, I bring thee word,
Menecrates and Menas, famous pirates,
Make the sea serve them, which they ear and wound
With keels of every kind: many hot inroads
They make in Italy; the borders maritime
Lack blood to think on’t, and flush youth revolt:
No vessel can peep forth, but ’tis as soon
Taken as seen; for Pompey’s name strikes more
Than could his war resisted.
Octavius Caesar Antony,
Leave thy lascivious wassails. When thou once
Wast beaten from Modena, where thou slew’st
Hirtius and Pansa, consuls, at thy heel
Did famine follow; whom thou fought’st against,
Though daintily brought up, with patience more
Than savages could suffer: thou didst drink
The stale of horses, and the gilded puddle
Which beasts would cough at: thy palate then did deign
The roughest berry on the rudest hedge;
Yea, like the stag, when snow the pasture sheets,
The barks of trees thou browsed’st; on the Alps
It is reported thou didst eat strange flesh,
Which some did die to look on: and all this —
It wounds thine honour that I speak it now —
Was borne so like a soldier, that thy cheek
So much as lank’d not.
Lepidus ’Tis pity of him.
Octavius Caesar Let his shames quickly
Drive him to Rome: ’tis time we twain
Did show ourselves i’ the field; and to that end
Assemble we immediate council: Pompey
Thrives in our idleness.
Lepidus To-morrow, Caesar,
I shall be furnish’d to inform you rightly
Both what by sea and land I can be able
To front this present time.
Octavius Caesar Till which encounter,
It is my business too. Farewell.
Lepidus Farewell, my lord: what you shall know meantime
Of stirs abroad, I shall beseech you, sir,
To let me be partaker.
Octavius Caesar Doubt not, sir;
I knew it for my bond.
Enter Cleopatra, Charmian, Iras, and Mardian
Cleopatra Ha, ha!
Give me to drink mandragora.
Charmian Why, madam?
Cleopatra That I might sleep out this great gap of time
My Antony is away.
Charmian You think of him too much.
Cleopatra O, ’tis treason!
Charmian Madam, I trust, not so.
Cleopatra Thou, eunuch Mardian!
Mardian What’s your highness’ pleasure?
Cleopatra Not now to hear thee sing; I take no pleasure
In aught an eunuch has: ’tis well for thee,
That, being unseminar’d, thy freer thoughts
May not fly forth of Egypt. Hast thou affections?
Mardian Yes, gracious madam.
Mardian Not in deed, madam; for I can do nothing
But what indeed is honest to be done:
Yet have I fierce affections, and think
What Venus did with Mars.
Cleopatra O Charmian,
Where think’st thou he is now? Stands he, or sits he?
Or does he walk? or is he on his horse?
O happy horse, to bear the weight of Antony!
Do bravely, horse! for wot’st thou whom thou movest?
The demi-Atlas of this earth, the arm
And burgonet of men. He’s speaking now,
Or murmuring ‘Where’s my serpent of old Nile?’
For so he calls me: now I feed myself
With most delicious poison. Think on me,
That am with Phoebus’ amorous pinches black,
And wrinkled deep in time? Broad-fronted Caesar,
When thou wast here above the ground, I was
A morsel for a monarch: and great Pompey
Would stand and make his eyes grow in my brow;
There would he anchor his aspect and die
With looking on his life.
Enter Alexas, from Octavius Caesar
Alexas Sovereign of Egypt, hail!
Cleopatra How much unlike art thou Mark Antony!
Yet, coming from him, that great medicine hath
With his tinct gilded thee.
How goes it with my brave Mark Antony?
Alexas Last thing he did, dear queen,
He kiss’d — the last of many doubled kisses —
This orient pearl. His speech sticks in my heart.
Cleopatra Mine ear must pluck it thence.
Alexas ‘Good friend,’ quoth he,
’say, the firm Roman to great Egypt sends
This treasure of an oyster; at whose foot,
To mend the petty present, I will piece
Her opulent throne with kingdoms; all the east,
Say thou, shall call her mistress.’ So he nodded,
And soberly did mount an arm-gaunt steed,
Who neigh’d so high, that what I would have spoke
Was beastly dumb’d by him.
Cleopatra What, was he sad or merry?
Alexas Like to the time o’ the year between the extremes
Of hot and cold, he was nor sad nor merry.
Cleopatra O well-divided disposition! Note him,
Note him good Charmian, ’tis the man; but note him:
He was not sad, for he would shine on those
That make their looks by his; he was not merry,
Which seem’d to tell them his remembrance lay
In Egypt with his joy; but between both:
O heavenly mingle! Be’st thou sad or merry,
The violence of either thee becomes,
So does it no man else. Met’st thou my posts?
Alexas Ay, madam, twenty several messengers:
Why do you send so thick?
Cleopatra Who’s born that day
When I forget to send to Antony,
Shall die a beggar. Ink and paper, Charmian.
Welcome, my good Alexas. Did I, Charmian,
Ever love Caesar so?
Charmian O that brave Caesar!
Cleopatra Be choked with such another emphasis!
Say, the brave Antony.
Charmian The valiant Caesar!
Cleopatra By Isis, I will give thee bloody teeth,
If thou with Caesar paragon again
My man of men.
Charmian By your most gracious pardon,
I sing but after you.
Cleopatra My salad days,
When I was green in judgment: cold in blood,
To say as I said then! But, come, away;
Get me ink and paper:
He shall have every day a several greeting,
Or I’ll unpeople Egypt.
Last updated Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 14:13