SCENE IIThe same. Another room.
Enter CHARMIAN, IRAS, ALEXAS, and a Soothsayer.
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 !
Is this the man ? Is't you, sir, that know things ?
In nature's infinite book of secrecy
A little I can read. (10)
Show him your hand. Enter ENOBARBUS.
Bring in the banquet quickly; wine enough
Cleopatra's health to drink.
Good sir, give me good fortune.
I make not, but foresee.
Pray, then, foresee me one.
You shall be yet far fairer than you are.
He means in flesh.
No, you shall paint when you are old.
Vex not his prescience; be attentive. (21)
You shall be more beloving than beloved.
I had rather heat my liver with drinking.
Nay, hear him.
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. (31)
You shall outlive the lady whom you serve.
O excellent! I love long life better than figs.
You have seen and proved a fairer former fortune
Than that which is to approach.
Then belike my children shall have
no names: prithee, how many boys and
wenches must I have ?
If every of your wishes had a womb,
And fertile every wish, a million.
Out, fool! I forgive thee for a witch. (41)
You think none but your sheets are privy to your wishes.
Nay, come, tell Iras hers.
We'll know all our fortunes.
Mine, and most of our fortunes, to night,
shall be—drunk to bed.
There's a palm presages chastity, if nothing else. (50)
E'en as the o'erflowing Nilus pre sageth famine.
Go, you wild bedfellow, you cannot
Nay, if an oily palm be not a fruitful
prognostication, I cannot scratch mine ear.
Prithee, tell her but a worky-day fortune.
Your fortunes are alike.
But how, but how ? give me particulars.
I have said. (60)
Am I not an inch of fortune better
than she ?
Well, if you were but an inch of fortune
better than I, where would you choose it?
Not in my husband's nose.
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!
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 ! (79)
Lo, now, if it lay in their hands to
make me a cuckold, they would make themselves
whores, but they'ld do't!
Hush! here comes Antony.
Not he; the queen. Enter CLEOPATRA.
Saw you my lord ?
Was he not here ?
He was disposed to mirth; but on the sudden
A Roman thought hath struck him. Enobarbus!
Seek him, and bring him hither. Where's Alexas ? (90)
Here, at your service. My lord approaches.
We will not look upon him: go with us. Exeunt. Enter ANTONY with a Messenger and Attendants.
Fulvia thy wife first came into the field.
Against my brother Lucius ?
But soon that war had end, and the time's state
Made friends of them, joining their force 'gainst Cæsar;
Whose better issue in the war, from Italy,
Upon the first encounter, drave them.
Well, what worst ?
The nature of bad news infects the teller. (100)
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.
This is stiff news-hath, with his Parthian force,
Extended Asia from Euphrates;
His conquering banner shook from Syria
To Lydia and to Ionia;
Antony, thou wouldst say,—
O, my lord !
Speak to me home, mince not the general tongue: (110)
Name Cleopatra as she is call'd in Rome;
Rail thou in Fulvia's phrase; and taunt my faults
With such full license 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.
At your noble pleasure. Exit.
From Sicyon, ho, the news! Speak there !
The man from Sicyon,— is there such an one ?
He stays upon your will.
Let him appear.
These strong Egyptian fetters I must break, (121)
Or lose myself in dotage. Enter another Messenger.
What are you ?
Fulvia thy wife is dead.
Where died she ?
Her length of sickness, with what else more serious
Importeth thee to know, this bears. Gives a letter.
Forbear me. Exit Sec. 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; (131)
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! Re-enter ENOBARBUS.
What's your pleasure, sir?
I must with haste from hence.
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. (140)
I must be gone.
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. Cleo patra,
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. (150)
She is cunning past man's thought.
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.
Would I had never seen her.
O, sir, you had then left unseen a
wonderful piece of work; which not to have
been blest withal would have discredited your travel.
Fulvia is dead.
Fulvia is dead.
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.
The business she hath broached in the state (179)
Cannot endure my absence.
And the business you have broached
here cannot be without you; especially that
of Cleopatra's, which wholly depends on your abode.
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 (190)
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, (200)
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.
I shall do't. Exeunt.