ACT 1 SCENE 2: The same. Another room.

[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!                                                                                 [5]

ALEXAS: Soothsayer!

Soothsayer: Your will?

CHARMIAN: Is this the man? Is't you, sir, that know
things?

Soothsayer: In nature's infinite book of secrecy                                               [10]
A little I can read.

ALEXAS: Show him your hand.

[Enter ENOBARBUS ]

ENOBARBUS : Bring in the banquet quickly; wine enough
Cleopatra's health to drink.

CHARMIAN: Good sir, give me good fortune.                                               [15]

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.                                                   [20]

CHARMIAN: Wrinkles forbid!

ALEXAS: Vex not his prescience; be attentive.

CHARMIAN: Hush!

Soothsayer: You shall be more beloving than beloved.

CHARMIAN: I had rather heat my liver with drinking.                              [25]

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                        [30]
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                  [35]
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.                                            [40]
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.                                                             [45]

ALEXAS: We'll know all our fortunes.

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                                  [50]
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.                                                            [55]

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                                [60]
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                         [65]
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!                                                 [70]

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!                                               [75]

CHARMIAN: Amen.

ALEXAS: Lo, now, if it lay in their hands to make me a
cuckold, they would make themselves whores, but
they'ld do't!

ENOBARBUS : Hush! here comes Antony.                                                    [80]

CHARMIAN:                           Not he; the queen.

[Enter CLEOPATRA]

CLEOPATRA: Saw you my lord?

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!

ENOBARBUS : Madam?                                                                                      [85]

CLEOPATRA: Seek him, and bring him hither. Where's Alexas?

ALEXAS: Here, at your service. My lord approaches.

CLEOPATRA: We will not look upon him: go with us.

[Exeunt]

[Enter MARK ANTONY with a Messenger and Attendants]

Messenger: Fulvia thy wife first came into the field.

MARK ANTONY: Against my brother Lucius?                                              [90]

Messenger: Ay:
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.                                                 [95]

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.                                                                         [100]

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,--                                            [105]

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,                          [110]
When our quick minds lie still; and our ills told us
Is as our earing. Fare thee well awhile.

Messenger: At your noble pleasure.

[Exit]

MARK ANTONY: From Sicyon, ho, the news! Speak there!

First Attendant: The man from Sicyon,--is there such an one?                 [115]

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:                                                                              [120]
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,                                       [125]
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,                              [130]
My idleness doth hatch. How now! Enobarbus!

[Re-enter ENOBARBUS ]

ENOBARBUS : What's your pleasure, sir?

MARK ANTONY: I must with haste from hence.

ENOBARBUS : Why, then, we kill all our women. We
see how mortal an unkindness is to them. If they suffer our departure, [135]
death's the word.

MARK ANTONY: I must be gone.

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                      [140]
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.                                  [145]

MARK ANTONY: She is cunning past man's thought.

[Exit ALEXAS]

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.                   [150]
This cannot be cunning in her; if it be, she makes a
show'r of rain as well as Jove.

MARK ANTONY: Would I had never seen her.

ENOBARBUS : O, sir, you had then left unseen a won-
derful piece of work; which not to have been blest                            [155]
withal would have discredited your travel.

MARK ANTONY: Fulvia is dead.

ENOBARBUS : Sir?

MARK ANTONY: Fulvia is dead.

ENOBARBUS : Fulvia?                                                                                        [160]

MARK ANTONY: Dead.

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                           [165]
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                             [170]
an onion that should water this sorrow.

MARK 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                                    [175]
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                                               [180]
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                                  [185]
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,                                   [190]
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,                                   [195]
To such whose place is under us, requires
Our quick remove from hence.

ENOBARBUS : I shall do't.

[Exeunt]

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