Document:  All > Shakespeare > Tragedies > Antony and Cleopatra > Act II, scene V


CLEOPATRA: Give me some music; music, moody food
	Of us that trade in love.

Attendants: The music, ho!

	[Enter MARDIAN]

CLEOPATRA: Let it alone; let's to billiards: come, Charmian.

CHARMIAN: My arm is sore; best play with Mardian.

CLEOPATRA: As well a woman with an eunuch play'd
	As with a woman. Come, you'll play with me, sir?

MARDIAN: As well as I can, madam.

CLEOPATRA: 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.'

CHARMIAN: '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.

CLEOPATRA: 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.

Messenger: Madam, madam,--

CLEOPATRA: 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.

Messenger: First, madam, he is well.

CLEOPATRA: 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.

Messenger: Good madam, hear me.

CLEOPATRA: 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.

Messenger: Will't please you hear me?

CLEOPATRA: 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.

Messenger: Madam, he's well.

CLEOPATRA: Well said.

Messenger: And friends with Caesar.

CLEOPATRA: Thou'rt an honest man.

Messenger: Caesar and he are greater friends than ever.

CLEOPATRA: Make thee a fortune from me.

Messenger: But yet, madam,--

CLEOPATRA: 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.

Messenger: Free, madam! no; I made no such report:
	He's bound unto Octavia.

CLEOPATRA: For what good turn?

Messenger: For the best turn i' the bed.

CLEOPATRA: I am pale, Charmian.

Messenger: Madam, he's married to Octavia.

CLEOPATRA: The most infectious pestilence upon thee!

	[Strikes him down]

Messenger: Good madam, patience.

CLEOPATRA: 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.

Messenger: Gracious madam,
	I that do bring the news made not the match.

CLEOPATRA: 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.

Messenger: He's married, madam.

CLEOPATRA: Rogue, thou hast lived too long.

	[Draws a knife]

Messenger: Nay, then I'll run.
	What mean you, madam? I have made no fault.


CHARMIAN: Good madam, keep yourself within yourself:
	The man is innocent.

CLEOPATRA: 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.

CHARMIAN: He is afeard to come.

CLEOPATRA: I will not hurt him.


	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.

Messenger: I have done my duty.

CLEOPATRA: Is he married?
	I cannot hate thee worser than I do,
	If thou again say 'Yes.'

Messenger: He's married, madam.

CLEOPATRA: The gods confound thee! dost thou hold there still?

Messenger: Should I lie, madam?

CLEOPATRA: 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?

Messenger: I crave your highness' pardon.

CLEOPATRA: He is married?

Messenger: 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.

CLEOPATRA: 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]

CHARMIAN: Good your highness, patience.

CLEOPATRA: In praising Antony, I have dispraised Caesar.

CHARMIAN: Many times, madam.

CLEOPATRA:                   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


	Bring me word how tall she is. Pity me, Charmian,
	But do not speak to me. Lead me to my chamber.



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