Antony and Cleopatra

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CLEOPATRA. Saw you my lord?

ENOBARBUS. No, lady.

CLEOPATRA. Was he not here?

CHARMIAN. No, madam.

CLEOPATRA. He was dispos'd to mirth; but on the sudden A Roman thought hath struck him.--Enobarbus,--

ENOBARBUS. Madam?

CLEOPATRA. Seek him, and bring him hither.--Where's Alexas?

ALEXAS. Here, at your service.--My lord approaches.

CLEOPATRA. We will not look upon him: go with us.

[Exeunt CLEOPATRA, ENOBARBUS, CHAR., IRAS, ALEX., and Soothsayer.]

[Enter ANTONY, with a MESSENGER and Attendants.]

MESSENGER. Fulvia thy wife first came into the field.

ANTONY. Against my brother Lucius.

MESSENGER. Ay: But soon that war had end, and the time's state Made friends of them, jointing their force 'gainst Caesar; Whose better issue in the war, from Italy Upon the first encounter, drave them.

ANTONY. Well, what worst?

MESSENGER. The nature of bad news infects the teller.

ANTONY. 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.

MESSENGER. Labienus,-- This is stiff news,--hath, with his Parthian force, Extended Asia from Euphrates; His conquering banner shook from Syria To Lydia and to Ionia; Whilst,--

ANTONY. Antony, thou wouldst say,--

MESSENGER. O, my lord!

ANTONY. Speak to me home, mince not the general tongue: Name Cleopatra as she is call'd in Rome; Rail thou in Fulvia's phrase; and taunt my faults With such full licence 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.

MESSENGER. At your noble pleasure.

[Exit.]

ANTONY. From Sicyon, ho, the news! Speak there!

FIRST ATTENDANT. The man from Sicyon--is there such an one?

SECOND ATTENDANT. He stays upon your will.

ANTONY. Let him appear.-- These strong Egyptian fetters I must break, Or lose myself in dotage.--

[Enter another MESSENGER.]

What are you?

SECOND MESSENGER. Fulvia thy wife is dead.

ANTONY. Where died she?

SECOND MESSENGER. In Sicyon: Her length of sickness, with what else more serious Importeth thee to know, this bears. [Gives a letter.]

ANTONY. Forbear me.

[Exit MESSENGER.]

There's a great spirit gone! Thus did I desire it: What our contempts 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; The hand could pluck her back that shov'd her on. I must from this enchanting queen break off: Ten thousand harms, more than the ills I know, My idleness doth hatch--ho, Enobarbus!

[Re-enter ENOBARBUS.]

ENOBARBUS. What's your pleasure, sir?

ANTONY. I must with haste from hence.

ENOBARBUS. 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.

ANTONY. I must be gone.

ENOBARBUS. 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. Cleopatra, 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.

ANTONY. She is cunning past man's thought.

ENOBARBUS. 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.

ANTONY. Would I had never seen her!

ENOBARBUS. O sir, you had then left unseen a wonderful piece of work; which not to have been blest withal would have discredited your travel.

ANTONY. Fulvia is dead.

ENOBARBUS. Sir?

ANTONY. Fulvia is dead.

ENOBARBUS. Fulvia?

ANTONY. Dead.

ENOBARBUS. 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 crown'd with consolation; your old smock brings forth a new petticoat:--and, indeed, the tears live in an onion that should water this sorrow.

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