ACT 1 SCENE 3: The same. Another room.

[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.                                            [5]

[Exit ALEXAS]

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.                     [10]

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:                            [15]
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:                                    [20]
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                                                       [25]
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,                                [30]
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,                                                           [35]
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                     [40]
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                                [45]
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,                                            [50]
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,                    [55]
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                                       [60]
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.                                  [65]

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                                          [70]
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.                                                                                 [75]

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
Like perfect honour.                                                                                  [80]

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.                                                               [85]

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,                                                           [90]
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;                                                 [95]
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                                                  [100]
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!                                                                                                            [105]

[Exeunt]

Go to the next scene.
Go to the previous scene.
Return to the list of scenes