Anthony and Cleopatra | Act 1.5

CLEOPATRA’s palace.


CLEOPATRA    Charmian!

CHARMIAN    Madam?

CLEOPATRA     Ha, ha!
   Give me to drink mandragora.

CHARMIAN    Why, madam?

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?

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.

CLEOPATRA    Indeed!

   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.


ALEXAS    Sovereign of Egypt, hail!

   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?

  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!

   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.


[Exeunt] Act 1.4 | Act 2.1

Playlist Anthony & Cleopatra | Dramatis Personea | Plays & Info

Updated: February 18, 2024 — 9:33 pm