Antony and Cleopatra


Text
Act I
Act II
Act III
Act IV
Act V
Enter Charmian, Iras, and Alexas


CHARMIAN

Lord Alexas, sweet Alexas, most anything

Alexas, almost most absolute Alexas, where's the soothsayer
absolute (adj.) 1 perfect, complete, incomparable
soothsayer (n.) foreteller of events, prophet

that you praised so to th' Queen? O that I knew

this husband, which you say must charge his horns
charge (v.) 6 load, heap, pile up
horn (n.) 1 (plural) outgrowths imagined to be on the head of a cuckold

with garlands!


ALEXAS

Soothsayer!

Enter a Soothsayer


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 Enobarbus
banquet, banket (n.) 1 refreshments, light meal, dessert


ENOBARBUS

Bring in the banquet quickly; wine enough

Cleopatra's health to drink.


CHARMIAN

(to Soothsayer) Good sir, give me good

fortune.


SOOTHSAYER

I make not, but foresee.
make (v.) 3 create, bring about, produce


CHARMIAN

Pray then, foresee me one.


SOOTHSAYER

You shall be yet far fairer than you are.
fair (adj.) 8 fortunate, favoured


CHARMIAN

He means in flesh.


IRAS

No, you shall paint when you are old.


CHARMIAN

Wrinkles forbid!


ALEXAS

Vex not his prescience; be attentive.
prescience (n.) 1 foreknowledge, visionary power


CHARMIAN

Hush!


SOOTHSAYER

You shall be more beloving than beloved.
beloving (adj.) loving, devoted


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
forenoon (n.) part of the day before noon

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.
companion (v.) make a companion of, join in fellowship


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
prove (v.) 2 find, establish, experience

Than that which is to approach.


CHARMIAN

Then belike my children shall have no
belike (adv.) probably, presumably, perhaps, so it seems See Topics: Frequency count

names. Prithee, how many boys and wenches must I
name (n.) 7 legitimate title

have?
wench (n.) girl, lass See Topics: Frequency count


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
privy 1 privately aware [of], secretly knowledgeable [about]

wishes.


CHARMIAN

Nay, come, tell Iras hers.


ALEXAS

We'll know all our fortunes.


ENOBARBUS

Mine, and most of our fortunes, tonight

shall be drunk to bed.


IRAS

There's a palm presages chastity, if nothing else.
presage (v.) 1 signify, indicate


CHARMIAN

E'en as the o'erflowing Nilus presageth
presage (v.) 1 signify, indicate

famine.


IRAS

(to Charmian) Go, you wild bedfellow, you cannot

soothsay.
soothsay (v.) tell the future, prophesy, make predictions


CHARMIAN

Nay, if an oily palm be not a fruitful prognostication,
fruitful (adj.) 1 fertile, productive of children
oily (adj.) moist, clammy, greasy
prognostication (n.) 1 sign, forecast, prediction

I cannot scratch mine ear. Prithee, tell her

but a workyday fortune.
workyday (adj.) ordinary, commonplace, everyday


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
go (v.) 9 [unclear meaning] enjoy a sexual relationship

let her die too, and give him a worse, and let worse

follow worse till the worst of all follow him laughing to

his grave, fiftyfold a cuckold! Good Isis, hear me this
cuckold (n.) [mocking name] man with an unfaithful wife See Topics: Frequency count

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 heart-breaking to see a handsome man

loose-wived, so it is a deadly sorrow to behold a foul
foul (adj.) 1 plain-looking, unattractive, ugly
loose-wived (adj.) with an unfaithful wife

knave uncuckolded. Therefore, dear Isis, keep decorum,
decorum (n.) propriety, seemliness, what is appropriate
knave (n.) 1 scoundrel, rascal, rogue See Topics: Frequency count
uncuckolded (adj.) with a faithful wife

and fortune him accordingly!


CHARMIAN

Amen.


ALEXAS

Lo now, if it lay in their hands to make me a

cuckold, they would make themselves whores but
cuckold (n.) [mocking name] man with an unfaithful wife See Topics: Frequency count

they'd do't.


ENOBARBUS

Hush! here comes Antony.


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!
Roman (adj.) of Rome; sober, serious


ENOBARBUS

Madam?


CLEOPATRA

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


ALEXAS

Here at your service. My lord approaches.

Enter Antony with a Messenger and Attendants


CLEOPATRA

We will not look upon him. Go with us.

Exeunt all but Antony, Messenger, and Attendants


MESSENGER

Fulvia thy wife first came into the field.
field (n.) 1 field of battle, battleground, field of combat See Topics: Frequency count


ANTONY

Against my brother Lucius?


MESSENGER

Ay.

But soon that war had end, and the time's state
state (n.) 1 condition, circumstances, situation, state of affairs

Made friends of them, jointing their force 'gainst Caesar,
joint (v.) unite, combine, join together

Whose better issue in the war from Italy
issue (n.) 2 outcome, result, consequence(s) See Topics: Frequency count

Upon the first encounter drave them.


ANTONY

                         Well, what worst?


MESSENGER

The nature of bad news infects the teller.


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 flattered.


MESSENGER

                         Labienus –

This is stiff news – hath with his Parthian force
stiff (adj.) 2 grave, formidable, weighty

Extended Asia; from Euphrates
extend (v.) 3 seize upon, take possession of

His conquering banner shook, from Syria

To Lydia and to Ionia,

Whilst –


ANTONY

                         Antony, thou wouldst say –


MESSENGER

                                                         O, my lord.


ANTONY

Speak to me home; mince not the general tongue.
general (adj.) 1 common, of everyone, public
home (adv.) 4 bluntly, to the point, forthrightly
mince (v.) 1 play down, soften, make little of
tongue (n.) 1 speech, expression, language, words, voice

Name Cleopatra as she is called in Rome.

Rail thou in Fulvia's phrase, and taunt my faults
phrase (n.) 2 manner, style, way
rail (v.) rant, rave, be abusive [about] See Topics: Frequency count

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
ill (n.) 2 trouble, affliction, misfortune
quick (adj.) 2 lively, animated, vivacious
still (adj.) 2 quiet, calm, subdued

Is as our earing. Fare thee well awhile.


MESSENGER

At your noble pleasure.

Exit


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.
stay on / upon (v.) wait for, await


ANTONY

                         Let him appear.

(aside) These strong Egyptian fetters I must break,

Or lose myself in dotage.

Enter another Messenger, with a letter
dotage (n.) 1 doting, infatuation, excessive affection

                         What are you?


MESSENGER

Fulvia thy wife is dead.


ANTONY

                          Where died she?


MESSENGER

In Sicyon.

Her length of sickness, with what else more serious

Importeth thee to know, this bears.

He gives him the letter
forbear (v.) 2 leave alone, avoid, stay away [from] See Topics: Frequency count
import (v.) 2 be of importance to, concern, matter to


ANTONY

                         Forbear me.

Exit Messenger

There's a great spirit gone! Thus did I desire it.

What our contempts doth often hurl from us,

We wish it ours again. The present pleasure,

By revolution lowering, does become
revolution (n.) 2 moving round [a point], revolving round

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.
enchanting (adj.) bewitching, captivating, holding under a spell

Ten thousand harms, more than the ills I know,
ill (n.) 1 wrong, injury, harm, evil

My idleness doth hatch. How now, Enobarbus!

Enter Enobarbus


ENOBARBUS

What's your pleasure, sir?


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, death's the word.


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 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,
mettle, mettell (n.) 2 spirit, vigour, zest
moment (n.) 2 cause, motive, consideration

which commits some loving act upon her, she hath such

a celerity in dying.
celerity (n.) alacrity, rapidity, swiftness


ANTONY

She is cunning past man's thought.


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
almanac (n.) calendar, register

cannot be cunning in her; if it be, she makes a shower

of rain as well as Jove.


ANTONY

Would I had never seen her!


ENOBARBUS

O, sir, you had then left unseen a wonderful

piece of work, which not to have been blessed withal
piece (n.) 2 specimen, masterpiece

would have discredited your travel.
discredit (v.) harm the reputation of, bring into discredit


ANTONY

Fulvia is dead.


ENOBARBUS

Sir?


ANTONY

Fulvia is dead.


ENOBARBUS

Fulvia?


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 worn out

there are members to make new. If there were no more

women but Fulvia, then had you indeed a cut, and the
cut (n.) 2 blow, misfortune, disaster

case to be lamented. This grief is crowned with consolation:

your old smock brings forth a new petticoat;
petticoat (n.) long skirt See Topics: Clothing
smock (n.) woman's undergarment, shift, slip, chemise

and indeed the tears live in an onion that should water

this sorrow.


ANTONY

The business she hath broached in the state
broach (v.) 1 start, bring out, open up

Cannot endure my absence.


ENOBARBUS

And the business you have broached here
broach (v.) 1 start, bring out, open up

cannot be without you; especially that of Cleopatra's,

which wholly depends on your abode.
abode (n.) 2 staying, remaining, lingering


ANTONY

No more light answers. Let our officers
light (adj.) 6 facile, frivolous, of no consequence

Have notice what we purpose. I shall break
break (v.) 5 reveal, disclose, impart
purpose (v.) 1 intend, plan

The cause of our expedience to the Queen
expedience (n.) 2 rapid departure, hasty expedition, urgent enterprise

And get her leave to part. For not alone
part (v.) 1 depart [from], leave, quit

The death of Fulvia, with more urgent touches,
touch (n.) 3 factor, reason, motive

Do strongly speak to us, but the letters too

Of many our contriving friends in Rome
contriving (adj.) plotting, skilfully working [on one's behalf]

Petition us at home. Sextus Pompeius

Hath given the dare to Caesar and commands

The empire of the sea. Our slippery people,
slippery (adj.) 1 fickle, treacherous, uncertain

Whose love is never linked to the deserver

Till his deserts are past, begin to throw
throw (v.) 2 bestow, cast, pass on

Pompey the Great and all his dignities

Upon his son; who, high in name and power,
power (n.) 7 control, influence, sway

Higher than both in blood and life, stands up
blood (n.) 4 spirit, vigour, mettle
life (n.) 4 energy, spirit, liveliness
stand up for (v.) defend, support, champion

For the main soldier; whose quality, going on,
main (adj.) 2 leading, chief, pre-eminent
quality (n.) 1 nature, disposition, character

The sides o'th' world may danger. Much is breeding
danger (v.) endanger, imperil, risk
side (n.) frame, compass, limit

Which, like the courser's hair, hath yet but life
courser (n.) swift horse, sprinter, charger

And not a serpent's poison. Say our pleasure,

To such whose place is under us, requires
place (n.) 1 position, post, office, rank See Topics: Frequency count

Our quick remove from hence.
remove (n.) 1 change of residence, departure


ENOBARBUS

I shall do't.

Exeunt

 
  Previous scene     Next scene
--%>