ACT 5, SCENE 2: Alexandria. A room in the monument.


CLEOPATRA: My desolation does begin to make
A better life. 'Tis paltry to be Caesar;
Not being Fortune, he's but Fortune's knave,
A minister of her will: and it is great
To do that thing that ends all other deeds;                                           [5]
Which shackles accidents and bolts up change;
Which sleeps, and never palates more the dug,
The beggar's nurse and Caesar's.

[Enter, to the gates of the monument, PROCULEIUS,
GALLUS and Soldiers]

PROCULEIUS: Caesar sends greeting to the Queen of Egypt;
And bids thee study on what fair demands                                         [10]
Thou mean'st to have him grant thee.

CLEOPATRA:                     What's thy name?

PROCULEIUS: My name is Proculeius.

CLEOPATRA:                     Antony
Did tell me of you, bade me trust you; but
I do not greatly care to be deceived,
That have no use for trusting. If your master                                     [15]
Would have a queen his beggar, you must tell him,
That majesty, to keep decorum, must
No less beg than a kingdom: if he please
To give me conquer'd Egypt for my son,
He gives me so much of mine own, as I                                               [20]
Will kneel to him with thanks.

PROCULEIUS:                     Be of good cheer;
You're fall'n into a princely hand, fear nothing:
Make your full reference freely to my lord,
Who is so full of grace, that it flows over
On all that need: let me report to him                                                  [25]
Your sweet dependency; and you shall find
A conqueror that will pray in aid for kindness,
Where he for grace is kneel'd to.

CLEOPATRA:           Pray you, tell him
I am his fortune's vassal, and I send him
The greatness he has got. I hourly learn                                               [30]
A doctrine of obedience; and would gladly
Look him i' the face.

PROCULEIUS:           This I'll report, dear lady.
Have comfort, for I know your plight is pitied
Of him that caused it.

GALLUS: You see how easily she may be surprised:                                      [35]

[Here PROCULEIUS and two of the Guard ascend the
monument by a ladder placed against a window, and,
having descended, come behind CLEOPATRA. Some of
the Guard unbar and open the gates]

[To PROCULEIUS and the Guard]

Guard her till Caesar come.


IRAS: Royal queen!

CHARMIAN: O Cleopatra! thou art taken, queen:

CLEOPATRA: Quick, quick, good hands.

[Drawing a dagger]

PROCULEIUS:      Hold, worthy lady, hold:

[Seizes and disarms her]

Do not yourself such wrong, who are in this                                      [40]
Relieved, but not betray'd.

CLEOPATRA:           What, of death too,
That rids our dogs of languish?

PROCULEIUS:           Cleopatra,
Do not abuse my master's bounty by
The undoing of yourself: let the world see
His nobleness well acted, which your death                                        [45]
Will never let come forth.

CLEOPATRA:           Where art thou, death?
Come hither, come! come, come, and take a queen
Worthy many babes and beggars!

PROCULEIUS:                          O, temperance, lady!

CLEOPATRA: Sir, I will eat no meat, I'll not drink, sir;
If idle talk will once be necessary,                                                           [50]
I'll not sleep neither: this mortal house I'll ruin,
Do Caesar what he can. Know, sir, that I
Will not wait pinion'd at your master's court;
Nor once be chastised with the sober eye
Of dull Octavia. Shall they hoist me up                                                [55]
And show me to the shouting varletry
Of censuring Rome? Rather a ditch in Egypt
Be gentle grave unto me! rather on Nilus' mud
Lay me stark naked, and let the water-flies
Blow me into abhorring! rather make                                                  [60]
My country's high pyramides my gibbet,
And hang me up in chains!

PROCULEIUS:                          You do extend
These thoughts of horror further than you shall
Find cause in Caesar.


DOLABELLA:           Proculeius,
What thou hast done thy master Caesar knows,                                [65]
And he hath sent for thee: for the queen,
I'll take her to my guard.

PROCULEIUS:           So, Dolabella,
It shall content me best: be gentle to her.


To Caesar I will speak what you shall please,
If you'll employ me to him.                                                                     [70]

CLEOPATRA:                Say, I would die.

[Exeunt PROCULEIUS and Soldiers]

DOLABELLA: Most noble empress, you have heard of me?

CLEOPATRA: I cannot tell.

DOLABELLA:                     Assuredly you know me.

CLEOPATRA: No matter, sir, what I have heard or known.
You laugh when boys or women tell their dreams;
Is't not your trick?                                                                                      [75]

DOLABELLA:                     I understand not, madam.

CLEOPATRA: I dream'd there was an Emperor Antony:
O, such another sleep, that I might see
But such another man!

DOLABELLA:                     If it might please ye,--

CLEOPATRA: His face was as the heavens; and therein stuck
A sun and moon, which kept their course, and lighted                   [80]
The little O, the earth.

DOLABELLA:                     Most sovereign creature,--

CLEOPATRA: His legs bestrid the ocean: his rear'd arm
Crested the world: his voice was propertied
As all the tuned spheres, and that to friends;
But when he meant to quail and shake the orb,                                 [85]
He was as rattling thunder. For his bounty,
There was no winter in't; an autumn 'twas
That grew the more by reaping: his delights
Were dolphin-like; they show'd his back above
The element they lived in: in his livery                                               [90]
Walk'd crowns and crownets; realms and islands were
As plates dropp'd from his pocket.

DOLABELLA:                Cleopatra!

CLEOPATRA: Think you there was, or might be, such a man
As this I dream'd of?

DOLABELLA:                Gentle madam, no.

CLEOPATRA: You lie, up to the hearing of the gods.                                    [95]
But, if there be, or ever were, one such,
It's past the size of dreaming: nature wants stuff
To vie strange forms with fancy; yet, to imagine
And Antony, were nature's piece 'gainst fancy,
Condemning shadows quite.                                                                   [100]

DOLABELLA:                Hear me, good madam.
Your loss is as yourself, great; and you bear it
As answering to the weight: would I might never
O'ertake pursued success, but I do feel,
By the rebound of yours, a grief that smites
My very heart at root.                                                                                [105]

CLEOPATRA:                I thank you, sir,
Know you what Caesar means to do with me?

DOLABELLA: I am loath to tell you what I would you knew.

CLEOPATRA: Nay, pray you, sir,--

DOLABELLA:               Though he be honourable,--

CLEOPATRA: He'll lead me, then, in triumph?

DOLABELLA: Madam, he will; I know't.                                                          [110]

[Flourish, and shout within, 'Make way there:
Octavius Caesar!']

MECAENAS, SELEUCUS, and others of his Train]

OCTAVIUS CAESAR: Which is the Queen of Egypt?

DOLABELLA: It is the emperor, madam.

[CLEOPATRA kneels]

OCTAVIUS CAESAR: Arise, you shall not kneel:
I pray you, rise; rise, Egypt.

CLEOPATRA: Sir, the gods                                                                                   [115]
Will have it thus; my master and my lord
I must obey.

OCTAVIUS CAESAR:                Take to you no hard thoughts:
The record of what injuries you did us,
Though written in our flesh, we shall remember
As things but done by chance.                                                                 [120]

CLEOPATRA:      Sole sir o' the world,
I cannot project mine own cause so well
To make it clear; but do confess I have
Been laden with like frailties which before
Have often shamed our sex.

OCTAVIUS CAESAR:               Cleopatra, know,
We will extenuate rather than enforce:                                                [125]
If you apply yourself to our intents,
Which towards you are most gentle, you shall find
A benefit in this change; but if you seek
To lay on me a cruelty, by taking
Antony's course, you shall bereave yourself                                       [130]
Of my good purposes, and put your children
To that destruction which I'll guard them from,
If thereon you rely. I'll take my leave.

CLEOPATRA: And may, through all the world: 'tis yours; and we,
Your scutcheons and your signs of conquest, shall                            [135]
Hang in what place you please. Here, my good lord.

OCTAVIUS CAESAR: You shall advise me in all for Cleopatra.

CLEOPATRA: This is the brief of money, plate, and jewels,
I am possess'd of: 'tis exactly valued;
Not petty things admitted. Where's Seleucus?                                   [140]

SELEUCUS: Here, madam.

CLEOPATRA: This is my treasurer: let him speak, my lord,
Upon his peril, that I have reserved
To myself nothing. Speak the truth, Seleucus.

SELEUCUS: Madam,                                                                                              [145]
I had rather seal my lips, than, to my peril,
Speak that which is not.

CLEOPATRA:           What have I kept back?

SELEUCUS: Enough to purchase what you have made known.

OCTAVIUS CAESAR: Nay, blush not, Cleopatra; I approve
Your wisdom in the deed.                                                                        [150]

CLEOPATRA:                See, Caesar! O, behold,
How pomp is follow'd! mine will now be yours;
And, should we shift estates, yours would be mine.
The ingratitude of this Seleucus does
Even make me wild: O slave, of no more trust
Than love that's hired! What, goest thou back? thou shalt             [155]
Go back, I warrant thee; but I'll catch thine eyes,
Though they had wings: slave, soulless villain, dog!
O rarely base!

OCTAVIUS CAESAR:                Good queen, let us entreat you.

CLEOPATRA: O Caesar, what a wounding shame is this,
That thou, vouchsafing here to visit me,                                             [160]
Doing the honour of thy lordliness
To one so meek, that mine own servant should
Parcel the sum of my disgraces by
Addition of his envy! Say, good Caesar,
That I some lady trifles have reserved,                                                 [165]
Immoment toys, things of such dignity
As we greet modern friends withal; and say,
Some nobler token I have kept apart
For Livia and Octavia, to induce
Their mediation; must I be unfolded                                                    [170]
With one that I have bred? The gods! it smites me
Beneath the fall I have.


                                   Prithee, go hence;
Or I shall show the cinders of my spirits
Through the ashes of my chance: wert thou a man,
Thou wouldst have mercy on me.                                                         [175]

OCTAVIUS CAESAR:                Forbear, Seleucus.


CLEOPATRA: Be it known, that we, the greatest, are misthought
For things that others do; and, when we fall,
We answer others' merits in our name,
Are therefore to be pitied.

OCTAVIUS CAESAR:                Cleopatra,
Not what you have reserved, nor what acknowledged,                   [180]
Put we i' the roll of conquest: still be't yours,
Bestow it at your pleasure; and believe,
Caesar's no merchant, to make prize with you
Of things that merchants sold. Therefore be cheer'd;
Make not your thoughts your prisons: no, dear queen;                    [185]
For we intend so to dispose you as
Yourself shall give us counsel. Feed, and sleep:
Our care and pity is so much upon you,
That we remain your friend; and so, adieu.

CLEOPATRA: My master, and my lord!                                                            [190]

OCTAVIUS CAESAR:                Not so. Adieu.

[Flourish. Exeunt OCTAVIUS CAESAR and his train]

CLEOPATRA: He words me, girls, he words me, that I should not
Be noble to myself: but, hark thee, Charmian.

[Whispers CHARMIAN]

IRAS: Finish, good lady; the bright day is done,
And we are for the dark.

CLEOPATRA:                Hie thee again:
I have spoke already, and it is provided;                                              [195]
Go put it to the haste.

CHARMIAN:                Madam, I will.

[Re-enter DOLABELLA]

DOLABELLA: Where is the queen?

CHARMIAN:           Behold, sir.


CLEOPATRA:           Dolabella!

DOLABELLA: Madam, as thereto sworn by your command,
Which my love makes religion to obey,
I tell you this: Caesar through Syria                                                       [200]
Intends his journey; and within three days
You with your children will he send before:
Make your best use of this: I have perform'd
Your pleasure and my promise.

CLEOPATRA:           Dolabella,
I shall remain your debtor.                                                                      [205]

DOLABELLA:           I your servant,
Adieu, good queen; I must attend on Caesar.

CLEOPATRA: Farewell, and thanks.


                          Now, Iras, what think'st thou?
Thou, an Egyptian puppet, shalt be shown
In Rome, as well as I: mechanic slaves
With greasy aprons, rules, and hammers, shall                                 [210]
Uplift us to the view; in their thick breaths,
Rank of gross diet, shall be enclouded,
And forced to drink their vapour.

IRAS:                The gods forbid!

CLEOPATRA: Nay, 'tis most certain, Iras: saucy lictors
Will catch at us, like strumpets; and scald rhymers                           [215]
Ballad us out o' tune: the quick comedians
Extemporally will stage us, and present
Our Alexandrian revels; Antony
Shall be brought drunken forth, and I shall see
Some squeaking Cleopatra boy my greatness                                      [220]
I' the posture of a whore.

IRAS:                    O the good gods!

CLEOPATRA: Nay, that's certain.

IRAS: I'll never see 't; for, I am sure, my nails
Are stronger than mine eyes.

CLEOPATRA:                Why, that's the way
To fool their preparation, and to conquer                                            [225]
Their most absurd intents.

[Re-enter CHARMIAN]

                                        Now, Charmian!
Show me, my women, like a queen: go fetch
My best attires: I am again for Cydnus,
To meet Mark Antony: sirrah Iras, go.
Now, noble Charmian, we'll dispatch indeed;                                    [230]
And, when thou hast done this chare, I'll give thee leave
To play till doomsday. Bring our crown and all.
Wherefore's this noise?

[Exit IRAS. A noise within]

[Enter a Guardsman]

Guard:                          Here is a rural fellow
That will not be denied your highness presence:
He brings you figs.                                                                                      [235]

CLEOPATRA: Let him come in.

[Exit Guardsman]

                     What poor an instrument
May do a noble deed! he brings me liberty.
My resolution's placed, and I have nothing
Of woman in me: now from head to foot
I am marble-constant; now the fleeting moon                                    [240]
No planet is of mine.

[Re-enter Guardsman, with Clown bringing in a basket]

Guard:           This is the man.

CLEOPATRA: Avoid, and leave him.

[Exit Guardsman]

Hast thou the pretty worm of Nilus there,
That kills and pains not?

Clown: Truly, I have him: but I would not be the party                                [245]
that should desire you to touch him, for his biting
is immortal; those that do die of it do seldom or
never recover.

CLEOPATRA: Rememberest thou any that have died on't?

Clown: Very many, men and women too. I heard of                                     [250]
one of them no longer than yesterday: a very honest
woman, but something given to lie; as a woman
should not do, but in the way of honesty: how she died
of the biting of it, what pain she felt: truly, she makes a
very good report o' the worm; but he that will believe                     [255]
all that they say, shall never be saved by half that they
do: but this is most fallible, the worm's an odd worm.

CLEOPATRA: Get thee hence; farewell.

Clown: I wish you all joy of the worm.

[Setting down his basket]

CLEOPATRA: Farewell.                                                                                         [260]

Clown: You must think this, look you, that the worm will
do his kind.

CLEOPATRA: Ay, ay; farewell.

Clown: Look you, the worm is not to be trusted but in the
keeping of wise people; for, indeed, there is no                                  [265]
goodness in worm.

CLEOPATRA: Take thou no care; it shall be heeded.

Clown: Very good. Give it nothing, I pray you, for it is
not worth the feeding.

CLEOPATRA: Will it eat me?                                                                              [270]

Clown: You must not think I am so simple but I know the
devil himself will not eat a woman: I know that a
woman is a dish for the gods, if the devil dress her
not. But, truly, these same whoreson devils do the
gods great harm in their women; for in every ten                             [275]
that they make, the devils mar five.

CLEOPATRA: Well, get thee gone; farewell.

Clown: Yes, forsooth: I wish you joy o' the worm.


[Re-enter IRAS with a robe, crown, &c]

CLEOPATRA: Give me my robe, put on my crown; I have
Immortal longings in me: now no more                                             [280]
The juice of Egypt's grape shall moist this lip:
Yare, yare, good Iras; quick. Methinks I hear
Antony call; I see him rouse himself
To praise my noble act; I hear him mock
The luck of Caesar, which the gods give men                                     [285]
To excuse their after wrath: husband, I come:
Now to that name my courage prove my title!
I am fire and air; my other elements
I give to baser life. So; have you done?
Come then, and take the last warmth of my lips.                               [290]
Farewell, kind Charmian; Iras, long farewell.

[Kisses them. IRAS falls and dies]

Have I the aspic in my lips? Dost fall?
If thou and nature can so gently part,
The stroke of death is as a lover's pinch,
Which hurts, and is desired. Dost thou lie still?                                [295]
If thus thou vanishest, thou tell'st the world
It is not worth leave-taking.

CHARMIAN: Dissolve, thick cloud, and rain; that I may say,
The gods themselves do weep!

CLEOPATRA:                This proves me base:
If she first meet the curled Antony,                                                       [300]
He'll make demand of her, and spend that kiss
Which is my heaven to have. Come, thou mortal wretch,

      [To an asp, which she applies to her breast]

With thy sharp teeth this knot intrinsicate
Of life at once untie: poor venomous fool
Be angry, and dispatch. O, couldst thou speak,                                    [305]
That I might hear thee call great Caesar ass

CHARMIAN:                O eastern star!

CLEOPATRA:                Peace, peace!
Dost thou not see my baby at my breast,
That sucks the nurse asleep?

CHARMIAN:           O, break! O, break!

CLEOPATRA: As sweet as balm, as soft as air, as gentle,--                           [310]
O Antony!--Nay, I will take thee too.

[Applying another asp to her arm]

What should I stay--


CHARMIAN: In this vile world? So, fare thee well.
Now boast thee, death, in thy possession lies
A lass unparallel'd. Downy windows, close;                                        [315]
And golden Phoebus never be beheld
Of eyes again so royal! Your crown's awry;
I'll mend it, and then play.

[Enter the Guard, rushing in]

First Guard: Where is the queen?

CHARMIAN:                Speak softly, wake her not.

First Guard: Caesar hath sent--                                                                           [320]

CHARMIAN:                Too slow a messenger.

[Applies an asp]

O, come apace, dispatch! I partly feel thee.

First Guard: Approach, ho! All's not well: Caesar's beguiled.

Second Guard: There's Dolabella sent from Caesar; call him.

First Guard: What work is here! Charmian, is this well done?

CHARMIAN: It is well done, and fitting for a princess                                 [325]
Descended of so many royal kings.
Ah, soldier!


[Re-enter DOLABELLA]

DOLABELLA: How goes it here?

Second Guard:                All dead.

DOLABELLA:               Caesar, thy thoughts
Touch their effects in this: thyself art coming
To see perform'd the dreaded act which thou                                     [330]
So sought'st to hinder.

           [Within 'A way there, a way for Caesar!']

          [Re-enter OCTAVIUS CAESAR and all his train marching]

DOLABELLA: O sir, you are too sure an augurer;
That you did fear is done.

OCTAVIUS CAESAR:           Bravest at the last,
She levell'd at our purposes, and, being royal,
Took her own way. The manner of their deaths?                              [335]
I do not see them bleed.

DOLABELLA:           Who was last with them?

First Guard: A simple countryman, that brought her figs:
This was his basket.

OCTAVIUS CAESAR: Poison'd, then.

First Guard:                          O Caesar,
This Charmian lived but now; she stood and spake:                         [340]
I found her trimming up the diadem
On her dead mistress; tremblingly she stood
And on the sudden dropp'd.

OCTAVIUS CAESAR:           O noble weakness!
If they had swallow'd poison, 'twould appear
By external swelling: but she looks like sleep,                                     [345]
As she would catch another Antony
In her strong toil of grace.

DOLABELLA:                Here, on her breast,
There is a vent of blood and something blown:
The like is on her arm.

First Guard: This is an aspic's trail: and these fig-leaves                                [350]
Have slime upon them, such as the aspic leaves
Upon the caves of Nile.

OCTAVIUS CAESAR:      Most probable
That so she died; for her physician tells me
She hath pursued conclusions infinite
Of easy ways to die. Take up her bed;                                                     [355]
And bear her women from the monument:
She shall be buried by her Antony:
No grave upon the earth shall clip in it
A pair so famous. High events as these
Strike those that make them; and their story is                                  [360]
No less in pity than his glory which
Brought them to be lamented. Our army shall
In solemn show attend this funeral;
And then to Rome. Come, Dolabella, see
High order in this great solemnity.                                                        [365]


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