Antony and Cleopatra

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[Exeunt ANTONY and CLEOPATRA, with their Train.]

DEMETRIUS. Is Caesar with Antonius priz'd so slight?

PHILO. Sir, sometimes when he is not Antony, He comes too short of that great property Which still should go with Antony.

DEMETRIUS. I am full sorry That he approves the common liar, who Thus speaks of him at Rome: but I will hope Of better deeds to-morrow. Rest you happy!


SCENE II. Alexandria. Another Room in CLEOPATRA'S palace.

[Enter CHARMIAN, IRAS, ALEXAS, and a Soothsayer.]

CHARMIAN. Lord Alexas, sweet Alexas, most anything 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.


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 prov'd a fairer former fortune Than that which is to approach.

CHARMIAN. Then belike my children shall have no names:--pr'ythee, 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.

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.--Pr'ythee, tell her but 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 worse follow worse, till the worst of all follow him laughing to his grave, fiftyfold 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'd do't!

ENOBARBUS. Hush! Here comes Antony.

CHARMIAN. Not he; the queen.


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