[Enter CLEOPATRA, CHARMIAN, IRAS, and MARDIAN]
- Cleopatra. Ha, ha!
Give me to drink mandragora.
- Charmian. Why, madam?
- Cleopatra. That I might sleep out this great gap of time
My Antony is away.
- Charmian. You think of him too much.
- Cleopatra. O, 'tis treason!
- Charmian. Madam, I trust, not so.
- Cleopatra. Thou, eunuch Mardian!
- Mardian. What's your highness' pleasure?
- Cleopatra. Not now to hear thee sing; I take no pleasure
In aught an eunuch has: 'tis well for thee,
That, being unseminar'd, thy freer thoughts
May not fly forth of Egypt. Hast thou affections?
- Mardian. Yes, gracious madam.
- Mardian. Not in deed, madam; for I can do nothing
But what indeed is honest to be done:
Yet have I fierce affections, and think
What Venus did with Mars.
- Cleopatra. O Charmian,
Where think'st thou he is now? Stands he, or sits he?
Or does he walk? or is he on his horse?
O happy horse, to bear the weight of Antony!
Do bravely, horse! for wot'st thou whom thou movest?
The demi-Atlas of this earth, the arm
And burgonet of men. He's speaking now,
Or murmuring 'Where's my serpent of old Nile?'
For so he calls me: now I feed myself
With most delicious poison. Think on me,
That am with Phoebus' amorous pinches black,
And wrinkled deep in time? Broad-fronted Caesar,
When thou wast here above the ground, I was
A morsel for a monarch: and great Pompey
Would stand and make his eyes grow in my brow;
There would he anchor his aspect and die
With looking on his life.
[Enter ALEXAS, from OCTAVIUS CAESAR]
- Alexas. Sovereign of Egypt, hail!
- Cleopatra. How much unlike art thou Mark Antony!
Yet, coming from him, that great medicine hath
With his tinct gilded thee.
How goes it with my brave Mark Antony?
- Alexas. Last thing he did, dear queen,
He kiss'd,—the last of many doubled kisses,—
This orient pearl. His speech sticks in my heart.
- Cleopatra. Mine ear must pluck it thence.
- Alexas. 'Good friend,' quoth he,
'Say, the firm Roman to great Egypt sends
This treasure of an oyster; at whose foot,
To mend the petty present, I will piece
Her opulent throne with kingdoms; all the east,
Say thou, shall call her mistress.' So he nodded,
And soberly did mount an arm-gaunt steed,
Who neigh'd so high, that what I would have spoke
Was beastly dumb'd by him.
- Cleopatra. What, was he sad or merry?
- Alexas. Like to the time o' the year between the extremes
Of hot and cold, he was nor sad nor merry.
- Cleopatra. O well-divided disposition! Note him,
Note him good Charmian, 'tis the man; but note him:
He was not sad, for he would shine on those
That make their looks by his; he was not merry,
Which seem'd to tell them his remembrance lay
In Egypt with his joy; but between both:
O heavenly mingle! Be'st thou sad or merry,
The violence of either thee becomes,
So does it no man else. Met'st thou my posts?
- Alexas. Ay, madam, twenty several messengers:
Why do you send so thick?
- Cleopatra. Who's born that day
When I forget to send to Antony,
Shall die a beggar. Ink and paper, Charmian.
Welcome, my good Alexas. Did I, Charmian,
Ever love Caesar so?
- Charmian. O that brave Caesar!
- Cleopatra. Be choked with such another emphasis!
Say, the brave Antony.
- Charmian. The valiant Caesar!
- Cleopatra. By Isis, I will give thee bloody teeth,
If thou with Caesar paragon again
My man of men.
- Charmian. By your most gracious pardon,
I sing but after you.
- Cleopatra. My salad days,
When I was green in judgment: cold in blood,
To say as I said then! But, come, away;
Get me ink and paper:
He shall have every day a several greeting,
Or I'll unpeople Egypt.