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Antony and Cleopatra

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Act I, Scene 5

Alexandria. CLEOPATRA’s palace.



  • Cleopatra. Ha, ha!
    Give me to drink mandragora.
  • Cleopatra. That I might sleep out this great gap of time
    My Antony is away.
  • 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 535
    May not fly forth of Egypt. Hast thou affections?
  • Mardian. Not in deed, madam; for I can do nothing
    But what indeed is honest to be done: 540
    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? 545
    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?' 550
    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 555
    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.


  • 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? 565
  • 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.
  • Alexas. 'Good friend,' quoth he, 570
    '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, 575
    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.
  • Alexas. Like to the time o' the year between the extremes 580
    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, 585
    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? 590
  • 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. 595
    Welcome, my good Alexas. Did I, Charmian,
    Ever love Caesar so?
  • Cleopatra. Be choked with such another emphasis!
    Say, the brave Antony. 600
  • 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, 605
    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: 610
    He shall have every day a several greeting,
    Or I'll unpeople Egypt.