Anthony and Cleopatra | Act 1.3

The same. Another room.


CLEOPATRA    Where is he?

CHARMIAN    I did not see him since.

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.


Madam, methinks, if you did love him dearly,
You do not hold the method to enforce
The like from him.

CLEOPATRA    What should I do, I do not?

In each thing give him way, cross him nothing.

   Thou teachest like a fool; the way to lose him.

   Tempt him not so too far; I wish, forbear:
   In time we hate that which we often fear.
    But here comes Antony.


CLEOPATRA    I am sick and sullen.

   I am sorry to give breathing to my purpose,–

   Help me away, dear Charmian; I shall fall:
   It cannot be thus long, the sides of nature
    Will not sustain it.

MARK ANTONY    Now, my dearest queen,–

CLEOPATRA    Pray you, stand further from me.

MARK ANTONY    What’s the matter?

I know, by that same eye, there’s some good news.

   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.

MARK ANTONY    The gods best know,–

CLEOPATRA    O, never was there queen
   So mightily betray’d! yet at the first
   I saw the treasons planted.

MARK ANTONY    Cleopatra,–

   Why should I think you can be mine and true,
   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!

MARK ANTONY    Most sweet queen,–

   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,
   But was a race of heaven: they are so still,
   Or thou, the greatest soldier of the world,
   Art turn’d the greatest liar.

MARK ANTONY    How now, lady!

   I would I had thy inches; thou shouldst know
   There were a heart in Egypt.

MARK ANTONY    Hear me, queen:
   The strong necessity of time commands
   Our services awhile; but my full heart
   Remains in use with you. Our Italy
   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,
   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,
   And that which most with you should safe my going,
    Is Fulvia’s death.

   Though age from folly could not give me freedom,
   It does from childishness: can Fulvia die?

MARK ANTONY    She’s dead, my queen:
   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
   With sorrowful water? Now I see, I see,
   In Fulvia’s death, how mine received shall be.

   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
   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,
   So Antony loves.

MARK ANTONY    My precious queen, forbear;
   And give true evidence to his love, which stands
   An honourable trial.

CLEOPATRA    So Fulvia told me.
   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.

MARK ANTONY    You’ll heat my blood: no more.

You can do better yet; but this is meetly.

MARK ANTONY    Now, by my sword,–

CLEOPATRA    And target. Still he mends;
   But this is not the best. Look, prithee, Charmian,
   How this Herculean Roman does become
   The carriage of his chafe.

MARK ANTONY    I’ll leave you, lady.

CLEOPATRA    Courteous lord, one word.
   Sir, you and I must part, but that’s not it:
   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.

MARK ANTONY    But that your royalty
   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;
  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
    Be strew’d before your feet!

MARK 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!


[Exeunt] Act 1.2 | Act 1.4

Playlist Anthony & Cleopatra | Dramatis Personea | Plays & Info

Updated: May 22, 2021 — 4:17 pm