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Antony and Cleopatra: Act 2 Scene 5
Scene V Alexandria. CLEOPATRA's palace.
- [Enter CLEOPATRA, CHARMIAN, IRAS, and ALEXAS]
- Give me some music; music, moody food
- Of us that trade in love.
- The music, ho!
- [Enter MARDIAN]
- Let it alone; let's to billiards: come, Charmian.
- My arm is sore; best play with Mardian.
- As well a woman with an eunuch play'd
- As with a woman. Come, you'll play with me, sir?
- As well as I can, madam.
- And when good will is show'd, though't come
- too short,
- The actor may plead pardon. I'll none now:
- Give me mine angle; we'll to the river: there,
- My music playing far off, I will betray
- Tawny-finn'd fishes; my bended hook shall pierce
- Their slimy jaws; and, as I draw them up,
- I'll think them every one an Antony,
- And say 'Ah, ha! you're caught.'
- 'Twas merry when
- You wager'd on your angling; when your diver
- Did hang a salt-fish on his hook, which he
- With fervency drew up.
- That time,--O times!--
- I laugh'd him out of patience; and that night
- I laugh'd him into patience; and next morn,
- Ere the ninth hour, I drunk him to his bed;
- Then put my tires and mantles on him, whilst
- I wore his sword Philippan.
- [Enter a Messenger]
- O, from Italy
- Ram thou thy fruitful tidings in mine ears,
- That long time have been barren.
- Madam, madam,--
- Antonius dead!--If thou say so, villain,
- Thou kill'st thy mistress: but well and free,
- If thou so yield him, there is gold, and here
- My bluest veins to kiss; a hand that kings
- Have lipp'd, and trembled kissing.
- First, madam, he is well.
- Why, there's more gold.
- But, sirrah, mark, we use
- To say the dead are well: bring it to that,
- The gold I give thee will I melt and pour
- Down thy ill-uttering throat.
- Good madam, hear me.
- Well, go to, I will;
- But there's no goodness in thy face: if Antony
- Be free and healthful,--so tart a favour
- To trumpet such good tidings! If not well,
- Thou shouldst come like a Fury crown'd with snakes,
- Not like a formal man.
- Will't please you hear me?
- I have a mind to strike thee ere thou speak'st:
- Yet if thou say Antony lives, is well,
- Or friends with Caesar, or not captive to him,
- I'll set thee in a shower of gold, and hail
- Rich pearls upon thee.
- Madam, he's well.
- Well said.
- And friends with Caesar.
- Thou'rt an honest man.
- Caesar and he are greater friends than ever.
- Make thee a fortune from me.
- But yet, madam,--
- I do not like 'But yet,' it does allay
- The good precedence; fie upon 'But yet'!
- 'But yet' is as a gaoler to bring forth
- Some monstrous malefactor. Prithee, friend,
- Pour out the pack of matter to mine ear,
- The good and bad together: he's friends with Caesar:
- In state of health thou say'st; and thou say'st free.
- Free, madam! no; I made no such report:
- He's bound unto Octavia.
- For what good turn?
- For the best turn i' the bed.
- I am pale, Charmian.
- Madam, he's married to Octavia.
- The most infectious pestilence upon thee!
- [Strikes him down]
- Good madam, patience.
- What say you? Hence,
- [Strikes him again]
- Horrible villain! or I'll spurn thine eyes
- Like balls before me; I'll unhair thy head:
- [She hales him up and down]
- Thou shalt be whipp'd with wire, and stew'd in brine,
- Smarting in lingering pickle.
- Gracious madam,
- I that do bring the news made not the match.
- Say 'tis not so, a province I will give thee,
- And make thy fortunes proud: the blow thou hadst
- Shall make thy peace for moving me to rage;
- And I will boot thee with what gift beside
- Thy modesty can beg.
- He's married, madam.
- Rogue, thou hast lived too long.
- [Draws a knife]
- Nay, then I'll run.
- What mean you, madam? I have made no fault.
- Good madam, keep yourself within yourself:
- The man is innocent.
- Some innocents 'scape not the thunderbolt.
- Melt Egypt into Nile! and kindly creatures
- Turn all to serpents! Call the slave again:
- Though I am mad, I will not bite him: call.
- He is afeard to come.
- I will not hurt him.
- [Exit CHARMIAN]
- These hands do lack nobility, that they strike
- A meaner than myself; since I myself
- Have given myself the cause.
- [Re-enter CHARMIAN and Messenger]
- Come hither, sir.
- Though it be honest, it is never good
- To bring bad news: give to a gracious message.
- An host of tongues; but let ill tidings tell
- Themselves when they be felt.
- I have done my duty.
- Is he married?
- I cannot hate thee worser than I do,
- If thou again say 'Yes.'
- He's married, madam.
- The gods confound thee! dost thou hold there still?
- Should I lie, madam?
- O, I would thou didst,
- So half my Egypt were submerged and made
- A cistern for scaled snakes! Go, get thee hence:
- Hadst thou Narcissus in thy face, to me
- Thou wouldst appear most ugly. He is married?
- I crave your highness' pardon.
- He is married?
- Take no offence that I would not offend you:
- To punish me for what you make me do.
- Seems much unequal: he's married to Octavia.
- O, that his fault should make a knave of thee,
- That art not what thou'rt sure of! Get thee hence:
- The merchandise which thou hast brought from Rome
- Are all too dear for me: lie they upon thy hand,
- And be undone by 'em!
- [Exit Messenger]
- Good your highness, patience.
- In praising Antony, I have dispraised Caesar.
- Many times, madam.
- I am paid for't now.
- Lead me from hence:
- I faint: O Iras, Charmian! 'tis no matter.
- Go to the fellow, good Alexas; bid him
- Report the feature of Octavia, her years,
- Her inclination, let him not leave out
- The colour of her hair: bring me word quickly.
- [Exit ALEXAS]
- Let him for ever go:--let him not--Charmian,
- Though he be painted one way like a Gorgon,
- The other way's a Mars. Bid you Alexas
- [To MARDIAN]
- Bring me word how tall she is. Pity me, Charmian,
- But do not speak to me. Lead me to my chamber.