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Antony and Cleopatra

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Act I, Scene 3

The same. Another room.



  • 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. 300


  • Charmian. Madam, methinks, if you did love him dearly,
    You do not hold the method to enforce
    The like from him.
  • Charmian. In each thing give him way, cross him nothing.
  • Cleopatra. Thou teachest like a fool; the way to lose him.
  • Charmian. Tempt him not so too far; I wish, forbear:
    In time we hate that which we often fear.
    But here comes Antony. 310


  • Antony. I am sorry to give breathing to my purpose,—
  • Cleopatra. Help me away, dear Charmian; I shall fall:
    It cannot be thus long, the sides of nature 315
    Will not sustain it.
  • Antony. Now, my dearest queen,—
  • Cleopatra. I know, by that same eye, there's some good news. 320
    What says the married woman? You may go:
    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.
  • Antony. The gods best know,— 325
  • Cleopatra. O, never was there queen
    So mightily betray'd! yet at the first
    I saw the treasons planted.
  • Cleopatra. Why should I think you can be mine and true, 330
    Though you in swearing shake the throned gods,
    Who have been false to Fulvia? Riotous madness,
    To be entangled with those mouth-made vows,
    Which break themselves in swearing!
  • Antony. Most sweet queen,— 335
  • 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,
    Bliss in our brows' bent; none our parts so poor, 340
    But was a race of heaven: they are so still,
    Or thou, the greatest soldier of the world,
    Art turn'd the greatest liar.
  • Cleopatra. I would I had thy inches; thou shouldst know 345
    There were a heart in Egypt.
  • Antony. Hear me, queen:
    The strong necessity of time commands
    Our services awhile; but my full heart
    Remains in use with you. Our Italy 350
    Shines o'er with civil swords: Sextus Pompeius
    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, 355
    Rich in his father's honour, creeps apace,
    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, 360
    And that which most with you should safe my going,
    Is Fulvia's death.
  • Cleopatra. Though age from folly could not give me freedom,
    It does from childishness: can Fulvia die?
  • Antony. She's dead, my queen: 365
    Look here, and at thy sovereign leisure read
    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 370
    With sorrowful water? Now I see, I see,
    In Fulvia's death, how mine received shall be.
  • 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 375
    That quickens Nilus' slime, I go from hence
    Thy soldier, servant; making peace or war
    As thou affect'st.
  • Cleopatra. Cut my lace, Charmian, come;
    But let it be: I am quickly ill, and well, 380
    So Antony loves.
  • Antony. My precious queen, forbear;
    And give true evidence to his love, which stands
    An honourable trial.
  • Cleopatra. So Fulvia told me. 385
    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
    Life perfect honour. 390
  • Antony. You'll heat my blood: no more.
  • Cleopatra. You can do better yet; but this is meetly.
  • Cleopatra. And target. Still he mends;
    But this is not the best. Look, prithee, Charmian, 395
    How this Herculean Roman does become
    The carriage of his chafe.
  • Antony. I'll leave you, lady.
  • Cleopatra. Courteous lord, one word.
    Sir, you and I must part, but that's not it: 400
    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,
    And I am all forgotten.
  • Antony. But that your royalty 405
    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; 410
    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 415
    Be strew'd before your feet!
  • 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! 420