Antony and Cleopatra
Act I. Scene I.
Alexandria. A Room in CLEOPATRA’S Palace.
Enter DEMETRIUS and PHILO.
- Nay, but this dotage of our general’s
Flourish. Enter Antony and Cleopatra, with their Trains; Eunuchs fanning her.
O’erflows the measure; those his goodly eyes,
That o’er the files and musters of the war
Have glow’d like plated Mars, now bend, now turn
The office and devotion of their view
Upon a tawny front; his captain’s heart,
Which in the scuffles of great fights hath burst
The buckles on his breast, reneges all temper,
And is become the bellows and the fan
To cool a gipsy’s lust. Look! where they come.
- Take but good note, and you shall see in him
The triple pillar of the world transform’d
Into a strumpet’s fool; behold and see.
- If it be love indeed, tell me how much.
- There’s beggary in the love that can be reckon’d.
- I’ll set a bourn how far to be belov’d.
- Then must thou needs find out new heaven, new earth.
Enter an Attendant.
- News, my good lord, from Rome.
- Grates me; the sum.
- Nay, hear them, Antony:
Fulvia, perchance, is angry; or, who knows
If the scarce-bearded Caesar have not sent
His powerful mandate to you, ‘Do this, or this;
Take in that kingdom, and enfranchise that;
Perform ’t, or else we damn thee.’
- How, my love!
- Perchance! nay, and most like;
You must not stay here longer; your dismission
Is come from Caesar; therefore hear it, Antony.
Where’s Fulvia’s process? Caesar’s I would say? both?
Call in the messengers. As I am Egypt’s queen,
Thou blushest, Antony, and that blood of thine
Is Caesar’s homager; else so thy cheek pays shame
When shrill-tongu’d Fulvia scolds. The messengers!
- Let Rome in Tiber melt, and the wide arch
Of the rang’d empire fall! Here is my space.
Kingdoms are clay; our dungy earth alike
Feeds beast as man; the nobleness of life
Is to do thus; when such a mutual pair [Embracing.]
And such a twain can do ’t, in which I bind,
On pain of punishment, the world to weet
We stand up peerless.
- Excellent falsehood!
Why did he marry Fulvia and not love her?
I’ll seem the fool I am not; Antony
Will be himself.
- But stirr’d by Cleopatra.
Now, for the love of Love and her soft hours,
Let’s not confound the time with conference harsh:
There’s not a minute of our lives should stretch
Without some pleasure now. What sport tonight?
- Hear the ambassadors.
- Fie, wrangling queen!
Whom every thing becomes, to chide, to laugh,
To weep; whose every passion fully strives
To make itself, in thee, fair and admir’d.
No messenger, but thine; and all alone,
To-night we’ll wander through the streets and note
The qualities of people. Come, my queen;
Last night you did desire it: speak not to us. [Exeunt] Antony and Cleopatra, with their Train.
- Is Caesar with Antonius priz’d so slight?
- Sir, sometimes, when he is not Antony,
He comes too short of that great property
Which still should go with Antony.
- I am full sorry
That he approves the common liar, who
Thus speaks of him at Rome; but I will hope
Of better deeds to-morrow. Rest you happy! [Exeunt.]