Antony and Cleopatra
Act III. Scene iii.
Alexandria. Cleopatra's palace.
Enter CLEOPATRA, CHARMIAN, IRAS and ALEXAS.
- Where is the fellow?
- Half afeard to come
- Go to, go to1. Come hither, sir.
Enter the MESSENGER as before.
- Good Majesty,
Herod of Jewry dare not look upon you
But when you are well pleased.
- That Herod's head
I'll have: but how, when Antony is gone,
Through whom I might command it? Come thou near.
- Most gracious Majesty.
- Didst thou behold
- Ay, dread queen.
- Madam, in Rome.
I looked her in the face, and saw her led
Between her brother and Mark Antony.
- Is she as tall as me?
- She is not, madam.
- Didst hear her speak? Is she shrill-tongued or low?
- Madam I heard her speak; she is low-voiced
- That's not so good2. He cannot like her long.
- Like her? O Isis! 'Tis impossible.
- I think so, Charmian. Dull of tongue and dwarfish.
What majesty is in her gait? Remember,
If e'er thou look'dst on majesty.
- She creeps.
Her motion and her station are as one
She shows a body rather than a life,
A statue than a breather3.
- Is this certain?
- Or I have no observance.
- Three in Egypt
Cannot make better note.
- He's very knowing;
I do perciev't. There's nothing in her yet.
The fellow has good judgement.
- Guess at her years, I prithee.
She was a widow -
- Widow? Chamian, hark.
- And I do think she's thirty4.
- Bear'st thou her face in mind? Is't long or round?
- Round, even to faultiness.
- For the most part, they are foolish that are so.
Her hair, what colour?
- Brown, madam; and her forehead
As low as she would wish it.
- There's gold for thee.
Thou must not take my former sharpness ill;
I will employ thee back again: I find thee
Most fit for business. Go, make thee ready;
Our letters are prepared.
- A proper5 man.
- Indeed he is so. I repent me much
That I so harried him. Why, methinks, by him,
This creature's no such thing6.
- Nothing, madam.
- The man hath seen some majesty, and should know
- Hath he seen majesty! Iris else defend,
And serving you so long!
- I have one more thing to ask him yet, good Charmian;
But 'tis no matter, thou shalt bring him to me
Where I will write. All may be well enough.
- I warrant7 you, madam.
1. go to: nonsense
2. not so good: unclear whether this means for Cleopatra or Octavia
3. she... breather: Octavia is lacking in vivacity
4. thirty: Cleopatra is 38 - this is unlikely to please her
5. proper: honest
6. no such thing: nothing much
7. warrant: assure
Cleopatra again recieves the messenger who displeased her so much in II.v. She questions him about Octavia, and he takes care to answer her questions to her liking. For this reason we have no idea how much of Octavia's description is based in reality. We are shown clearly how jealous Cleopatra is and how she really does need Antony, even if her "love" is questionable. One of the more amusing scenes, thanks especially to Charmian who joins in the messenger's flattery of her mistress with just the correct touch of irony.
I transcribed this by hand from the 1998 edition of the New Swan Shakespeare, which is published by the Longman Group and edited by John Ingledew. Hence, any errors are my own. Also mine are the notes and scene summaries.
dustfromamoth started this project, I have ripped off her format. I like it, but I needed ryano, TenMinJoe and tandex to help me before I could duplicate it. Thanks fellas.