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TAURUS, lieutenant-general to Cæsar.
CANIDIUS, lieutenant-general to Antony.
SILIUS, an officer in Ventidius's army.
EUPHRONIUS, an ambassador from Antony to Cæsar, ALEXAS, MARDIAN, SELEUCUS, and DIOMEDES; attendants on Cleopatra.
CLEOPATRA, Queen of Egypt.
OCTAVIA, sister to Cæsar, and wife to Antony. CHARMIAN and IRAS, attendants on Cleopatra.
Officers, Soldiers, Messengers, and other Attendants.
SCENE,-dispersed; in several parts of the Roman Empire.
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 to-night? Cleo. Hear the ambassadors.
Ant. Fye, 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
Eno. Bring in the banquet quickly; wine enough, Cleopatra's health to drink.
Char. Good sir, give me good fortune.
Char. Pray then, foresee me one.
Sooth. You shall be yet far fairer than you are.
Iras. No, you shall paint when you are old.
Alex. Vex not his prescience; be attentive.
Sooth. You shall be more beloving, than beloved.
Alex. Nay, hear him.
Char. Good now, some excellent fortune! Let me be married to three kings in a forenoon, and widow them all let me have a child at fifty, to whom Herod of Jewry may do homage: find me to marry me with Octavius Cæsar, and companion me with my mistress.
Sooth. You shall outlive the lady whom you
Char. O excellent! I love long life better than figs.
Sooth. You have seen and proved a fairer former fortune
Than that which is to approach.
Char. Then, belike my children shall have no names: Pr'ythee, how many boys and wenches must I have?
Sooth. If every of your wishes had a womb, And fertile every wish, a million.
Char. Out, fool! I forgive thee for a witch. Alex. You think, none but your sheets are privy to your wishes.
Char. Nay, come, tell Iras hers.
Aler. We'll know all our fortunes.
Eno. Mine, and most of our fortunes, to-night, shall be- drunk to bed.
Iras. There's a palm presages chastity, if nothing else.
Char. Even as the o'erflowing Nilus presageth famine.
Iras. Go, you wild bedfellow, you cannot soothsay.
Char. Nay, if an oily palm be not a fruitful prognostication, I cannot scratch mine ear. — Pr'ythee, tell her but a worky-day fortune.
Sooth. Your fortunes are alike.
Iras. But how, but how? give me particulars. Sooth. I have said.
Iras. Am I not an inch of fortune better than
Char. Well, if you were but an inch of fortune better than I, where would you choose it? Iras. Not in my husband's nose.
Char. Our worser thoughts heavens mend! Alexas, come, his fortune, his fortune. - O, let him marry a woman that cannot go, sweet Isis, I beseech thee! And let her die too, and give him a worse! and let worse follow worse, till the worst of all follow him laughing to his grave, fifty-fold a cuckold! Good Isis, hear me this prayer, though thou deny me a matter of more weight; good Isis, I beseech thee!
Iras. Amen. Dear goddess, hear that prayer of the people! for, as it is a heart-breaking to see a handsome man loose-wived, so it is a deadly sorrow to behold a foul knave uncuckolded: Therefore, dear Isis, keep dreorum, and fortune him accordingly!
Cleo. He was dispos'd to mirth; but on the sudden
A Roman thought hath struck him.-Enobarbus,Eno. Madam.
Cleo. Seek him, and bring him hither.
Alex. Here, madam, at your service. My lord approaches.
Enter ANTONY, with a Messenger and Attendants.
Mess. Fulvia thy wife first came into the field.
But soon that war had end, and the time's state
Whose better issue in the war, from Italy,
Ant. I must be gone.
Eno. Under a compelling occasion, let women die: It were pity to cast them away for nothing; though, between them and a great cause, they should be esteemed nothing. Cleopatra, catching but the least noise of this, dies instantly; I have seen her die twenty times upon far poorer moment: I do think, there is mettle in death, which commits some loving act upon her, she hath such a celerity in dying.
Ant. She is cunning past man's thought.
Eno. Alack, sir, no; her passions are made of nothing but the finest part of pure love: We cannot call her winds and waters, sighs and tears; they are greater storms and tempests than almanacks can report this cannot be cunning in her; if it be, she makes a shower of rain as well as Jove. Ant. 'Would I had never seen her!
Eno. O, sir, you had then left unseen a wonderful piece of work; which not to have been blessed withal, would have discredited your travel.
Ant. Fulvia is dead.
Ant. Fulvia is dead. Eno. Fulvia?
Eno. Why, sir, give the gods a thankful sacrifice. When it pleaseth their deities to take the wife of a man from him, it shows to man the tailors of the earth; comforting therein, that when old robes are worn out, there are members to make new. If there were no more women but Fulvia, then had you indeed a cut, and the case to be lamented; this grief is crowned with consolation; your old smock brings forth a new petticoat: - and, indeed, the tears live in an onion, that should water this sorrow.
Ant. The business she hath broached in the state, Cannot endure my absence.
Eno. And the business you have broached here cannot be without you; especially that of Cleopatra's, which wholly depends on your abode.
Ant. No more light answers. Let our officers Have notice what we purpose. I shall break The cause of our expedience to the queen, And get her love to part. For not alone The death of Fulvia, with more urgent touches, Do strongly speak to us; but the letters too Of many our contriving friends in Rome Petition us at home: Sextus Pompeius Hath given the dare to Cæsar, and commands The empire of the sea: our slippery people (Whose love is never link'd to the deserver, Till his deserts are past,) begin to throw Pompey the great, and all his dignities, Upon his son; who, high in name and power, Higher than both in blood and life, stands up For the main soldier: whose quality, going on, The sides o'the world may danger: Much is breeding,
Which, like the courser's hair, hath yet but life,
Hear me, queen :
Shines o'er with civil swords: Sextus Pompeius
Breeds scrupulous faction: The hated, grown to strength,
Are newly grown to love: the condemn'd Pompey,
Cleo. Though age from folly could not give me freedom,
It does from childishness: - Can Fulvia die?
My precious queen, forbear; And give true evidence to his love, which stands An honourable trial.
So Fulvia told me. I pr'ythee, 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 Like perfect honour.
Ant. You'll heat my blood; no more Cleo. You can do better yet; but this is meetly. Ant. Now, by my sword, Cleo. But this is not the best: Look, pr'ythee, Charmian How this Herculean Roman does become
And target, Still he mends;
The carriage of his chafe.
Ant. I'll leave you, lady. Cleo. Courteous lord, one word. Sir, you and I must part,
but that's not it:
Sir, you and I have lov'd, - but there's not it;
But that your royalty
Holds idleness your subject, I should take you For idleness itself.
'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
SCENE IV. ·
Rome. An Apartment in Cæsar's
Enter OCTAVIUS CESAR, LEPIDUS, and Attendants.
Cæs. You may see, Lepidus, and henceforth know, It is not Cæsar's natural vice to hate
One great competitor: from Alexandria
This is the news; He fishes, drinks, and wastes
A man, who is the abstract of all faults
Cæs. You are too indulgent: Let us grant, it is
No way excuse his soils, when we do bear
Cæs. Let his shames quickly
Drive him to Rome: 'Tis time we twain
Did show ourselves i' the field; and, to that end, Assemble we immediate council: Pompey Thrives in our idleness.
I shall be furnish'd to inform you rightly Both what by sea and land I can be able, To 'front this present time.
It is my business too.
Till which encounter,
Lep. Farewell, my lord: What you shall know
Of stirs abroad, I shall beseech you, sir,
To let me be partaker.
I knew it for my bond.
Doubt not, sir;
SCENE V.-Alexandria. A Room in the Palace.
As we rate boys; who being mature in knowledge, Enter CLEOPATRA, CHARMIAN, IRAs, and MARDIAN.
Mess. Thy biddings have been done; and every hour,
Most noble Cæsar, shalt thou have report