Act I, Scene 2 The same. Another room.

Enter CHARMIAN, IRAS, ALEXAS, and a Soothsayer


CHARMIAN Lord Alexas, sweet Alexas, most any thing Alexas,
almost most absolute Alexas, where's the soothsayer
that you praised so to the queen? O, that I knew
this husband, which, you say, must charge his horns
with garlands!
ALEXAS Soothsayer!
Soothsayer Your will?
CHARMIAN Is this the man? Is't you, sir, that know things?
Soothsayer In nature's infinite book of secrecy
A little I can read.
ALEXAS Show him your hand.
DOMITIUS ENOBARBUS Bring in the banquet quickly; wine enough
Cleopatra's health to drink.
CHARMIAN Good sir, give me good fortune.
Soothsayer I make not, but foresee.
CHARMIAN Pray, then, foresee me one.
Soothsayer You shall be yet far fairer than you are.
CHARMIAN He means in flesh.
IRAS No, you shall paint when you are old.
CHARMIAN Wrinkles forbid!
ALEXAS Vex not his prescience; be attentive.
Soothsayer You shall be more beloving than beloved.
CHARMIAN I had rather heat my liver with drinking.
ALEXAS Nay, hear him.
CHARMIAN 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
Caesar, and companion me with my mistress.
Soothsayer You shall outlive the lady whom you serve.
CHARMIAN O excellent! I love long life better than figs.
Soothsayer You have seen and proved a fairer former fortune
Than that which is to approach.
CHARMIAN Then belike my children shall have no names:
prithee, how many boys and wenches must I have?
Soothsayer If every of your wishes had a womb.
And fertile every wish, a million.
CHARMIAN Out, fool! I forgive thee for a witch.
ALEXAS You think none but your sheets are privy to your wishes.
CHARMIAN Nay, come, tell Iras hers.
ALEXAS We'll know all our fortunes.
DOMITIUS ENOBARBUS Mine, and most of our fortunes, to-night, shall
be--drunk to bed.
IRAS There's a palm presages chastity, if nothing else.
CHARMIAN E'en as the o'erflowing Nilus presageth famine.
IRAS Go, you wild bedfellow, you cannot soothsay.
CHARMIAN Nay, if an oily palm be not a fruitful
prognostication, I cannot scratch mine ear. Prithee,
tell her but a worky-day fortune.
Soothsayer Your fortunes are alike.
IRAS But how, but how? give me particulars.
Soothsayer I have said.
IRAS Am I not an inch of fortune better than she?
CHARMIAN Well, if you were but an inch of fortune better than
I, where would you choose it?
IRAS Not in my husband's nose.
CHARMIAN 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 worst
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 heartbreaking to see a handsome man
loose-wived, so it is a deadly sorrow to behold a
foul knave uncuckolded: therefore, dear Isis, keep
decorum, and fortune him accordingly!
ALEXAS Lo, now, if it lay in their hands to make me a
cuckold, they would make themselves whores, but
they'ld do't!
DOMITIUS ENOBARBUS Hush! here comes Antony.
CHARMIAN Not he; the queen.
CLEOPATRA Saw you my lord?
CLEOPATRA Was he not here?
CHARMIAN No, madam.
CLEOPATRA He was disposed to mirth; but on the sudden
A Roman thought hath struck him. Enobarbus!
CLEOPATRA Seek him, and bring him hither.
Where's Alexas?
ALEXAS Here, at your service. My lord approaches.
CLEOPATRA We will not look upon him: go with us.
[Enter MARK ANTONY with a Messenger and Attendants]
Messenger Fulvia thy wife first came into the field.
MARK ANTONY Against my brother Lucius?
Messenger Ay:
But soon that war had end, and the time's state
Made friends of them, joining their force 'gainst Caesar;
Whose better issue in the war, from Italy,
Upon the first encounter, drave them.
MARK ANTONY Well, what worst?
Messenger The nature of bad news infects the teller.
MARK ANTONY When it concerns the fool or coward. On:
Things that are past are done with me. 'Tis thus:
Who tells me true, though in his tale lie death,
I hear him as he flatter'd.
Messenger Labienus--
This is stiff news--hath, with his Parthian force,
Extended Asia from Euphrates;
His conquering banner shook from Syria
To Lydia and to Ionia; Whilst--
MARK ANTONY Antony, thou wouldst say,--
Messenger O, my lord!
MARK ANTONY Speak to me home, mince not the general tongue:
Name Cleopatra as she is call'd in Rome;
Rail thou in Fulvia's phrase; and taunt my faults
With such full licence as both truth and malice
Have power to utter. O, then we bring forth weeds,
When our quick minds lie still; and our ills told us
Is as our earing. Fare thee well awhile.
Messenger At your noble pleasure.
MARK ANTONY From Sicyon, ho, the news! Speak there!
First Attendant The man from Sicyon,--is there such an one?
Second Attendant He stays upon your will.
MARK ANTONY Let him appear.
These strong Egyptian fetters I must break,
Or lose myself in dotage.
[Enter another Messenger]
What are you?
Second Messenger Fulvia thy wife is dead.
MARK ANTONY Where died she?
Second Messenger In Sicyon:
Her length of sickness, with what else more serious
Importeth thee to know, this bears.
[Gives a letter]
MARK ANTONY Forbear me.
[Exit Second Messenger]
  There's a great spirit gone! Thus did I desire it:
What our contempt doth often hurl from us,
We wish it ours again; the present pleasure,
By revolution lowering, does become
The opposite of itself: she's good, being gone;
The hand could pluck her back that shoved her on.
I must from this enchanting queen break off:
Ten thousand harms, more than the ills I know,
My idleness doth hatch. How now! Enobarbus!
DOMITIUS ENOBARBUS What's your pleasure, sir?
MARK ANTONY I must with haste from hence.
DOMITIUS ENOBARBUS Why, then, we kill all our women:
we see how mortal an unkindness is to them;
if they suffer our departure, death's the word.
MARK ANTONY I must be gone.
DOMITIUS ENOBARBUS 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.
MARK ANTONY She is cunning past man's thought.
DOMITIUS ENOBARBUS 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 almanacs can report: this
cannot be cunning in her; if it be, she makes a
shower of rain as well as Jove.
MARK ANTONY Would I had never seen her.
DOMITIUS ENOBARBUS O, sir, you had then left unseen a wonderful piece
of work; which not to have been blest withal would
have discredited your travel.
MARK ANTONY Fulvia is dead.
MARK ANTONY Fulvia is dead.
DOMITIUS ENOBARBUS 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.
MARK ANTONY The business she hath broached in the state
Cannot endure my absence.
DOMITIUS ENOBARBUS And the business you have broached here cannot be
without you; especially that of Cleopatra's, which
wholly depends on your abode.
MARK ANTONY 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 leave 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 Caesar, 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,
And not a serpent's poison. Say, our pleasure,
To such whose place is under us, requires
Our quick remove from hence.


To view other scenes from the show:

Full Text Act III, Scene 7 Near Actium Mark Antony's camp.
Act I, Scene 1 Alexandria. A room in Cleopatra's palace. Act III, Scene 8 A plain near Actium/Act III, Scene 9 Another part of the plain./Act III, Scene 10. Another part of the plain.
Act I, Scene 2 The same. Another room. Act III, Scene 11 Alexandria. Cleopatra's palace./Act III, Scene 12 Egypt Octavius' camp.
Act I, Scene 3 The same. Another room. Act III, Scene 13 Alexandria. Cleopatra's palace.
Act I, Scene 4 Rome. Octavius Caesar's house. Act IV, Scene 1 Before Alexandria. Octavius' camp. /Act IV, Scene 2 Alexandria. Cleopatra's palace.
Act I, Scene 5 Alexandria Cleopatra's palace. Act IV, Scene 3 The same. Before the palace./Act IV, Scene 4 The same. A room in the palace.
Act II, Scene 1 Messina Pompey's house. Act IV, Scene 5 Alexandria. Mark Antony's camp/Act IV, Scene 6 Alexandria Octavius' camp.
Act II, Scene 2 Rome. The house of Lepidus. Act IV, Scene 7 Field of battle between the camps./Act IV, Scene 8 Under the walls of Alexandria.
Act II, Scene 3 The same Octavius Caesar's house./Act II, Scene 4 The same. A street. Act IV, Scene 9 Octavius Caesar's camp/Act IV, Scene 10 Between the two camps. /Act IV, Scene 11 Another part of the same.
Act II, Scene 5 Alexandria. Cleopatra's palace. Act IV, Scene 12 Another part of the same./Act IV, Scene 13 Alexandria Cleopatra's palace.
Act II, Scene 6 Near Misenum. Act IV, Scene 14 The same. Another room.
Act II, Scene 7 On board Pompey's galley, off Misenum Act IV, Scene 15 The same. A monument.
Act III, Scene 1 A plain in Syria/ Act III Scene 2 An ante-chamber in Octavius Caesar's house. Act V, Scene 1 Octavius Caesar's camp.
Act III, Scene 3Alexandria Cleopatra's palace./Act III, Scene 4 Athens.  A room in Mark Antony's house. Act V, Scene 2 A room in the monument.
Act III, Scene 5 The same. Another room./Act III, Scene 6 Octavius Caesar's house.  


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All's Well the Ends Well Antony & Cleopatra As You Like It Cardenio Comedy of Errors Coriolanus
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Henry VI, Part 1 Henry VI, Part 2 Henry VI, Part 3 Henry VIII Julius Caesar King John
King Lear Love's Labours Lost Love's Labours Wonne Macbeth Measure for Measure Merchant of Venice
The Merry Wives of Windsor A Mid Summer Night's Dream  Much Ado About Nothing Othello Pericles Richard II
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