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Cleo. Seek him, and bring him hither.-Where's Alexas ?
Alex. Here, at your service. -My lord approaches.
Cleo. We will not look upon him: go with us.
[Exeunt CLEO., Eno., CHAR., IRAS, ALEX.,
Enter ANTONY, with a Messenger and Attendants.
Mess. Fulvia thy wife first came into the field.
Ant. Against my brother Lucius ?
But soon that war had end, and the time's state
Made friends of them, jointing their force 'gainst Cæsar;
Whose better issue in the war, from Italy,
Upon the first encounter, drave them.
Ant. Well, what worst?
Mess. The nature of bad news infects the teller.
Ant. 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.
This is stiff news,-hath, with his Parthian force,
Extended Asia from Euphrates;
His conquering banner shook from Syria
To Lydia and to Ionia;
Ant. Antony, thou wouldst say,-
Ant. 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 license as both truth and malice
Have power to utter. 0, then we bring forth weeds
When our quick minds lie still; and our ills told us
Is as our earing. Fare thee well awhile.
Mess. At your noble pleasure.
[E.cit. Ant. From Sicyon, ho, the news! Speak there! 1 Att. The man from Sicyon,—is there such an one? 2 Att. He stays upon your will. Ant.
Let him appear. -
These strong Egyptian fetters I must break,
Or lose myself in dotage. —
Enter a second Messenger.
What are you?
2 Mess. Fulvia thy wife is dead.
Where died she?
2 Mess. In Sicyon:
Her length of sickness, with what else more serious
Importeth thee to know, this bears.
[Gives a letter. Ant.
[Exit second Messenger.
There's a great spirit gone! Thus did I desire it:
What our contempts do 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 shov'd her on.
I must from this enchanting queen break off:
Ten thousand harms, more than the ills I know,
My idleness doth hatch.-Ho, Enobarbus!
Eno. What's your pleasure, sir?
Ant. I must with haste from hence.
Eno. 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.
Ant. I must be gone.
Eno. 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.
Ant. She is cunning past man's thought.
Eno. 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.
Ant. Would I had never seen her!
Eno. O, sir, you had then left unseen a wonderful piece of work; which not to have been blessed withal would have discredited your travel.
Ant. Fulvia is dead.
Ant. Fulvia is dead.
Eno. 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.
Ant. The business she hath broached in the state Cannot endure my absence.
Eno. And the business you have broached here cannot be without you; especially that of Cleopatra's, which wholly depends on your abode.
Ant. 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 Cæsar, 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.
Eno. I shall do't.
SCENE III.-ALEXANDRIA. A Room in CLEOPATRA'S
Enter CLEOPATRA, CHARMIAN, IRAS, and ALEXAS.
Cleo. Where is he?
I did not see him since.
Cleo. 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. [Exit ALEXAS.
Char. Madam, methinks, if you did love him dearly,
You do not hold the method to enforce
The like from him.
What should I do, I do not.
Char. In each thing give him way; cross him in nothing.
Cleo. Thou teachest like a fool, the way to lose him.
Char. Tempt him not so too far; I wish, forbear:
In time we hate that which we often fear.
But here comes Antony.
I am sick and sullen.
Ant. I am sorry to give breathing to my purpose,
Cleo. Help me away, dear Charmian; I shall fall:
It cannot be thus long, the sides of nature
Will not sustain it.
Now, my dearest queen,-
Cleo. Pray you, stand further from me.
What's the matter?
Cleo. 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.
Ant. The gods best know,-
0, never was there queen
So mightily betray'd! Yet at the first
I saw the treasons planted.
Cleo. 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!
Most sweet queen,
Cleo. Nay, pray you, seek no colour for your going,
But bid farewell, and go: when you su'd 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.
How now, lady!
Cleo. I would I had thy inches; thou shouldst know There were a heart in Egypt. Ant.
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 Breeds 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 thriv'd 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.
Cleo. Though age from folly could not give me freedom, It does from childishness :-can Fulvia die?
Ant. She's dead, my queen:
Look here, and, at thy sovereign leisure, read
The garboils she awak'd; at the last, best.
See when and where she died.
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 receiv'd shall be.
Ant. Quarrel no more, but be prepar'd 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.
Cut my lace, Charmian, come ;--
But let it be:-I am quickly ill and well,
So Antony loves.
My precious queen, forbear;
And give true evidence to his love, which stands
An honourable trial.
So Fulvia told me.
I pr’ythee, 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
Like perfect honour.