Antony and Cleopatra

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CLEOPATRA. Though age from folly could not give me freedom, It does from childishness:--can Fulvia die?

ANTONY. She's dead, my queen. Look here, and, at thy sovereign leisure, read The garboils she awak'd;at the last, best. See when and where she died.

CLEOPATRA. O most false love! Where be the sacred vials thou shouldst fill With sorrowful water? Now I see, I see, In Fulvia's death how mine receiv'd shall be.

ANTONY. Quarrel no more, but be prepar'd to know The purposes I bear; which are, or cease, As you shall give theadvice. By the fire That quickens Nilus' slime, I go from hence Thy soldier, servant, making peace or war As thou affect'st.

CLEOPATRA. Cut my lace, Charmian, come;-- But let it be: I am quickly ill and well, So Antony loves.

ANTONY. My precious queen, forbear; And give true evidence to his love, which stands An honourable trial.

CLEOPATRA. So Fulvia told me. I pr'ythee, turn aside and weep for her; Then bid adieu to me, and say the tears Belong to Egypt: good now, play one scene Of excellent dissembling; and let it look Like perfect honour.

ANTONY. You'll heat my blood: no more.

CLEOPATRA. You can do better yet; but this is meetly.

ANTONY. Now, by my sword,--

CLEOPATRA. And target.--Still he mends; But this is not the best:--look, pr'ythee, Charmian, How this Herculean Roman does become The carriage of his chafe.

ANTONY. I'll leave you, lady.

CLEOPATRA. Courteous lord, one word. Sir, you and I must part,--but that's not it; Sir, you and I have lov'd,--but there's not it; That you know well: something it is I would,-- O, my oblivion is a very Antony, And I am all forgotten.

ANTONY. But that your royalty Holds idleness your subject, I should take you For idleness itself.

CLEOPATRA. 'Tis sweating labour To bear such idleness so near the heart As Cleopatra this. But, sir, forgive me; Since my becomings kill me, when they do not Eye well to you: your honour calls you hence; Therefore be deaf to my unpitied folly, And all the gods go with you! upon your sword Sit laurel victory! and smooth success Be strew'd before your feet!

ANTONY. Let us go. Come; Our separation so abides, and flies, That thou, residing here, goes yet with me, And I, hence fleeting, here remain with thee. Away!


SCENE IV. Rome. An Apartment in CAESAR'S House.

[Enter OCTAVIUS CAESAR, LEPIDUS, and Attendants.]

CAESAR. You may see, Lepidus, and henceforth know, It is not Caesar's natural vice to hate Our great competitor. From Alexandria This is the news:--he fishes, drinks, and wastes The lamps of night in revel: is not more manlike Than Cleopatra;, nor the queen of Ptolemy More womanly than he: hardly gave audience, or Vouchsaf'd to think he had partners: you shall find there A man who is the abstract of all faults That all men follow.

LEPIDUS. I must not think there are Evils enow to darken all his goodness: His faults in him seem as the spots of heaven, More fiery by night's blackness; hereditary Rather than purchas'd; what he cannot change Than what he chooses.

CAESAR. You are too indulgent. Let's grant it is not Amiss to tumble on the bed of Ptolemy; To give a kingdom for a mirth; to sit And keep the turn of tippling with a slave; To reel the streets at noon, and stand the buffet With knaves that smell of sweat: say this becomes him,-- As his composure must be rare indeed Whom these things cannot blemish,--yet must Antony No way excuse his foils when we do bear So great weight in his lightness. If he fill'd His vacancy with his voluptuousness, Full surfeits and the dryness of his bones Call on him for't: but to confound such time That drums him from his sport, and speaks as loud As his own state and ours,--'tis to be chid As we rate boys, who, being mature in knowledge, Pawn their experience to their present pleasure, And so rebel to judgment.

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