Document: All > Shakespeare > Tragedies > Antony and Cleopatra > Act I, scene III
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[Enter CLEOPATRA, CHARMIAN, IRAS, and ALEXAS]
CLEOPATRA: Where is he?
CHARMIAN: I did not see him since.
CLEOPATRA: See where he is, who's with him, what he does:
I did not send you: if you find him sad,
Say I am dancing; if in mirth, report
That I am sudden sick: quick, and return.
CHARMIAN: Madam, methinks, if you did love him dearly,
You do not hold the method to enforce
The like from him.
CLEOPATRA: What should I do, I do not?
CHARMIAN: In each thing give him way, cross him nothing.
CLEOPATRA: Thou teachest like a fool; the way to lose him.
CHARMIAN: Tempt him not so too far; I wish, forbear:
In time we hate that which we often fear.
But here comes Antony.
[Enter MARK ANTONY]
CLEOPATRA: I am sick and sullen.
MARK ANTONY: I am sorry to give breathing to my purpose,--
CLEOPATRA: Help me away, dear Charmian; I shall fall:
It cannot be thus long, the sides of nature
Will not sustain it.
MARK ANTONY: Now, my dearest queen,--
CLEOPATRA: Pray you, stand further from me.
MARK ANTONY: What's the matter?
CLEOPATRA: I know, by that same eye, there's some good news.
What says the married woman? You may go:
Would she had never given you leave to come!
Let her not say 'tis I that keep you here:
I have no power upon you; hers you are.
MARK ANTONY: The gods best know,--
CLEOPATRA: O, never was there queen
So mightily betray'd! yet at the first
I saw the treasons planted.
MARK ANTONY: Cleopatra,--
CLEOPATRA: Why should I think you can be mine and true,
Though you in swearing shake the throned gods,
Who have been false to Fulvia? Riotous madness,
To be entangled with those mouth-made vows,
Which break themselves in swearing!
MARK ANTONY: Most sweet queen,--
CLEOPATRA: Nay, pray you, seek no colour for your going,
But bid farewell, and go: when you sued staying,
Then was the time for words: no going then;
Eternity was in our lips and eyes,
Bliss in our brows' bent; none our parts so poor,
But was a race of heaven: they are so still,
Or thou, the greatest soldier of the world,
Art turn'd the greatest liar.
MARK ANTONY: How now, lady!
CLEOPATRA: I would I had thy inches; thou shouldst know
There were a heart in Egypt.
MARK ANTONY: Hear me, queen:
The strong necessity of time commands
Our services awhile; but my full heart
Remains in use with you. Our Italy
Shines o'er with civil swords: Sextus Pompeius
Makes his approaches to the port of Rome:
Equality of two domestic powers
Breed scrupulous faction: the hated, grown to strength,
Are newly grown to love: the condemn'd Pompey,
Rich in his father's honour, creeps apace,
Into the hearts of such as have not thrived
Upon the present state, whose numbers threaten;
And quietness, grown sick of rest, would purge
By any desperate change: my more particular,
And that which most with you should safe my going,
Is Fulvia's death.
CLEOPATRA: Though age from folly could not give me freedom,
It does from childishness: can Fulvia die?
MARK ANTONY: She's dead, my queen:
Look here, and at thy sovereign leisure read
The garboils she awaked; at the last, best:
See when and where she died.
CLEOPATRA: O most false love!
Where be the sacred vials thou shouldst fill
With sorrowful water? Now I see, I see,
In Fulvia's death, how mine received shall be.
MARK ANTONY: Quarrel no more, but be prepared to know
The purposes I bear; which are, or cease,
As you shall give the advice. By the fire
That quickens Nilus' slime, I go from hence
Thy soldier, servant; making peace or war
As thou affect'st.
CLEOPATRA: Cut my lace, Charmian, come;
But let it be: I am quickly ill, and well,
So Antony loves.
MARK ANTONY: My precious queen, forbear;
And give true evidence to his love, which stands
An honourable trial.
CLEOPATRA: So Fulvia told me.
I prithee, 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
Life perfect honour.
MARK ANTONY: You'll heat my blood: no more.
CLEOPATRA: You can do better yet; but this is meetly.
MARK ANTONY: Now, by my sword,--
CLEOPATRA: And target. Still he mends;
But this is not the best. Look, prithee, Charmian,
How this Herculean Roman does become
The carriage of his chafe.
MARK ANTONY: I'll leave you, lady.
CLEOPATRA: Courteous lord, one word.
Sir, you and I must part, but that's not it:
Sir, you and I have loved, but there's not it;
That you know well: something it is I would,
O, my oblivion is a very Antony,
And I am all forgotten.
MARK ANTONY: But that your royalty
Holds idleness your subject, I should take you
For idleness itself.
CLEOPATRA: '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
Sit laurel victory! and smooth success
Be strew'd before your feet!
MARK ANTONY: Let us go. Come;
Our separation so abides, and flies,
That thou, residing here, go'st yet with me,
And I, hence fleeting, here remain with thee. Away!
ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA