Antony and Cleopatra


Text
Act I
Act II
Act III
Act IV
Act V
Enter Cleopatra, Charmian, Iras, and Alexas
moody (adj.) 2 melancholy, sombre, gloomy


CLEOPATRA

Give me some music – music, moody food

Of us that trade in love.


ALL

                         The music, ho!

Enter Mardian the eunuch


CLEOPATRA

Let it alone! Let's to billiards. Come, Charmian.


CHARMIAN

My arm is sore; best play with Mardian.


CLEOPATRA

As well a woman with an eunuch played

As with a woman. Come, you'll play with me, sir?


MARDIAN

As well as I can, madam.


CLEOPATRA

And when good will is showed, though't come too short,

The actor may plead pardon. I'll none now.

Give me mine angle. We'll to th' river; there,
angle (n.) 1 fishing rod, line, hook

My music playing far off, I will betray
betray (v.) 1 deceive, seduce, mislead

Tawny-finned fishes. My bended hook shall pierce

Their slimy jaws; and as I draw them up,

I'll think them every one an Antony,

And say ‘ Ah, ha! Y'are caught.’


CHARMIAN

                         'Twas merry when

You wagered on your angling; when your diver

Did hang a salt fish on his hook, which he
salt (adj.) 2 salted, preserved, dried

With fervency drew up.
fervency (n.) enthusiasm, ardour, fervour


CLEOPATRA

                         That time – O times! –

I laughed him out of patience; and that night

I laughed him into patience; and next morn,
morn (n.) morning, dawn See Topics: Frequency count

Ere the ninth hour, I drunk him to his bed;

Then put my tires and mantles on him, whilst
tire (n.) 1 head-dress, ornament for the head, raiment

I wore his sword Philippan.

Enter a Messenger

                         O, from Italy!

Ram thou thy fruitful tidings in mine ears,

That long time have been barren.


MESSENGER

                         Madam, madam –


CLEOPATRA

Antonio's dead! If thou say so, villain,

Thou kill'st thy mistress; but well and free,

If thou so yield him, there is gold and here
yield (v.) 2 concede, acknowledge, grant

My bluest veins to kiss, a hand that kings

Have lipped, and trembled kissing.
lip (v.) kiss


MESSENGER

First, madam, he is well.


CLEOPATRA

                         Why, there's more gold.

But, sirrah, mark, we use
mark (v.) 1 note, pay attention [to], take notice [of] See Topics: Frequency count
use (v.) 1 be accustomed, make a habit [of]

To say the dead are well. Bring it to that,
well (adv.) 3 in a state of happiness, in bliss

The gold I give thee will I melt and pour

Down thy ill-uttering throat.
ill-uttering (adj.) speaking displeasing news, reporting bad tidings


MESSENGER

Good madam, hear me.


CLEOPATRA

                         Well, go to, I will.

But there's no goodness in thy face if Antony

Be free and healthful; so tart a favour
favour (n.) 1 [facial] appearance, countenance, features, looks
tart (adj.) sour, severe, grim

To trumpet such good tidings? If not well,

Thou shouldst come like a Fury crowned with snakes,

Not like a formal man.
formal (adj.) 1 normal, sane, rational


MESSENGER

                         Will't please you hear me?


CLEOPATRA

I have a mind to strike thee ere thou speak'st.

Yet, if thou say Antony lives, is well,

Or friends with Caesar, or not captive to him,

I'll set thee in a shower of gold, and hail

Rich pearls upon thee.


MESSENGER

                         Madam, he's well.


CLEOPATRA

                                                         Well said.


MESSENGER

And friends with Caesar.


CLEOPATRA

                         Th'art an honest man.


MESSENGER

Caesar and he are greater friends than ever.


CLEOPATRA

Make thee a fortune from me.
fortune (n.) 2 wealth, possessions, substance


MESSENGER

                         But yet, madam –


CLEOPATRA

I do not like ‘ But yet;’ it does allay
allay (v.) 2 spoil, dilute, qualify

The good precedence. Fie upon ‘ But yet!’
precedence (n.) previous utterance, prior speech

‘But yet' is as a gaoler to bring forth

Some monstrous malefactor. Prithee, friend,

Pour out the pack of matter to mine ear,
matter (n.) 1 subject-matter, content, substance

The good and bad together. He's friends with Caesar,

In state of health, thou sayst, and, thou sayst, free.


MESSENGER

Free, madam! No; I made no such report.

He's bound unto Octavia.
turn (n.) 1 need, requirement, purpose [especially in the phrase ‘serve one's turn’ = meet one's need]


CLEOPATRA

                         For what good turn?


MESSENGER

For the best turn i'th' bed.


CLEOPATRA

                         I am pale, Charmian.


MESSENGER

Madam, he's married to Octavia.


CLEOPATRA

The most infectious pestilence upon thee!

She strikes him down


MESSENGER

Good madam, patience.


CLEOPATRA

                         What say you?

She strikes him

                                                         Hence,

Horrible villain, or I'll spurn thine eyes
spurn (v.) 2 kick, strike, stamp [on], dash

Like balls before me! I'll unhair thy head!
unhair (v.) take the hair from

She hales him up and down
hale (v.) 1 drag, pull, haul

Thou shalt be whipped with wire and stewed in brine,

Smarting in lingering pickle!


MESSENGER

                         Gracious madam,

I that do bring the news made not the match.


CLEOPATRA

Say 'tis not so, a province I will give thee,

And make thy fortunes proud. The blow thou hadst

Shall make thy peace for moving me to rage,

And I will boot thee with what gift beside
boot (v.) 2 benefit, increase, compensate

Thy modesty can beg.


MESSENGER

                         He's married, madam.


CLEOPATRA

Rogue, thou hast lived too long.

She draws a knife


MESSENGER

                         Nay, then I'll run.

What mean you, madam? I have made no fault.

Exit


CHARMIAN

Good madam, keep yourself within yourself.

The man is innocent.


CLEOPATRA

Some innocents 'scape not the thunderbolt.
scape, 'scape (v.) escape, avoid See Topics: Frequency count

Melt Egypt into Nile, and kindly creatures
kindly (adj.) 2 friendly, good-natured, well-disposed

Turn all to serpents! Call the slave again.
slave (n.) 1 fellow, rascal, rogue, villain

Though I am mad, I will not bite him. Call!


CHARMIAN

He is afeard to come.


CLEOPATRA

                         I will not hurt him.

Exit Charmian
afeard (adj.) afraid, frightened, scared See Topics: Frequency count

These hands do lack nobility, that they strike

A meaner than myself; since I myself
meaner (n.) lower ranking, less eminent

Have given myself the cause.

Enter Charmian and the Messenger

                         Come hither, sir.

Though it be honest, it is never good

To bring bad news. Give to a gracious message

An host of tongues, but let ill tidings tell

Themselves when they be felt.
ill (adj.) 1 bad, adverse, unfavourable See Topics: Frequency count


MESSENGER

                         I have done my duty.


CLEOPATRA

Is he married?

I cannot hate thee worser than I do

If thou again say ‘ Yes.’


MESSENGER

                         He's married, madam.


CLEOPATRA

The gods confound thee! Dost thou hold there still?
confound (v.) 1 destroy, overthrow, ruin
hold (v.) 3 stand firm, continue, carry on


MESSENGER

Should I lie, madam?


CLEOPATRA

                         O, I would thou didst,

So half my Egypt were submerged and made
so (conj.) 2 even though

A cistern for scaled snakes! Go get thee hence.
cestern, cesterne (n.) variant spelling of ‘cistern’ [= water receptacle, vessel, reservoir]

Hadst thou Narcissus in thy face, to me

Thou wouldst appear most ugly. He is married?


MESSENGER

I crave your highness' pardon.
crave (v.) 1 beg, entreat, request See Topics: Frequency count


CLEOPATRA

                         He is married?


MESSENGER

Take no offence that I would not offend you;

To punish me for what you make me do

Seems much unequal. He's married to Octavia.
unequal (adj.) unjust, unfair, undeserved


CLEOPATRA

O, that his fault should make a knave of thee,
knave (n.) 1 scoundrel, rascal, rogue See Topics: Frequency count

That art not what th'art sure of! Get thee hence.

The merchandise which thou hast brought from Rome

Are all too dear for me. Lie they upon thy hand,

Exit Messenger
undo (v.) 1 ruin, destroy, wipe out

And be undone by 'em.


CHARMIAN

                         Good your highness, patience.


CLEOPATRA

In praising Antony I have dispraised Caesar.


CHARMIAN

Many times, madam.


CLEOPATRA

                         I am paid for't now.

Lead me from hence;

I faint. O Iras, Charmian! 'Tis no matter.

Go to the fellow, good Alexas; bid him

Report the feature of Octavia, her years,
feature (n.) physical appearance, bodily shape, looks

Her inclination. Let him not leave out
inclination (n.) character, temperament, disposition

The colour of her hair. Bring me word quickly.

Exit Alexas

Let him for ever go – let him not, Charmian.

Though he be painted one way like a Gorgon,

The other way's a Mars. (To Mardian) Bid you Alexas

Bring me word how tall she is. – Pity me, Charmian,

But do not speak to me. Lead me to my chamber.

Exeunt

 
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