SCENE VAlexandria. 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 the Eunuch.
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, (11)
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.
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 (30)
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 favor
To trumpet such good tidings! If not well, (40)
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 Cæsar, or not captive to him,
I'll set thee in a shower of gold, and hail
Rich pearls upon thee.
Madam, he's well.
And friends with Cæsar.
Thou'rt an honest man.
Cæsar 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 (51)
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 Cæsar:
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. (60)
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.
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; (71)
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. Exit.
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 ? (90)
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: (100)
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 Cæsar.
Many times, madam.
I am paid for't now.
Lead me from hence: (110)
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 color 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. Exeunt.