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Antony and Cleopatra Scenes

Scene 3

Alexandria. Another room in Cleopatra’s palace.

(Cleopatra; Charmian; Alexas; Iras)

Antony explains to Cleopatra the various political reasons why he must leave. She berates him and they quarrel before parting. (125 lines)

Enter Cleopatra, Charmian, Alexas, and Iras.


Where is he?


I did not see him since.


See where he is, who’s with him, what he does.

I did not send you. If you find him sad,

Say I am dancing; if in mirth, report

That I am sudden sick. Quick, and return.

Exit Alexas.


Madam, methinks if you did love him dearly,

You do not hold the method to enforce

The like from him.


What should I do, I do not?


In each thing give him way, cross him in nothing.


Thou teachest like a fool: the way to lose him.


Tempt him not so too far; I wish, forbear.

In time we hate that which we often fear.

Enter Antony.

But here comes Antony.


I am sick and sullen.


I am sorry to give breathing to my purpose—


Help me away, dear Charmian, I shall fall.

It cannot be thus long, the sides of nature

Will not sustain it.


Now, my dearest queen—


Pray you stand farther from me.


What’s the matter?


I know by that same eye there’s some good news.

What, says the married woman you may go?

Would she had never given you leave to come!

Let her not say ’tis I that keep you here,

I have no power upon you; hers you are.


The gods best know—


O, never was there queen

So mightily betrayed! Yet at the first

I saw the treasons planted.




Why should I think you can be mine, and true

(Though you in swearing shake the throned gods),

Who have been false to Fulvia? Riotous madness,

To be entangled with those mouth-made vows,

Which break themselves in swearing!


Most sweet queen—


Nay, pray you seek no color for your going,

But bid farewell, and go. When you sued staying,

Then was the time for words; no going then;

Eternity was in our lips and eyes,

Bliss in our brows’ bent; none our parts so poor

But was a race of heaven. They are so still,

Or thou, the greatest soldier of the world,

Art turn’d the greatest liar.


How now, lady?


I would I had thy inches, thou shouldst know

There were a heart in Egypt.


Hear me, Queen:

The strong necessity of time commands

Our services awhile; but my full heart

Remains in use with you. Our Italy

Shines o’er with civil swords; Sextus Pompeius

Makes his approaches to the port of Rome;

Equality of two domestic powers

Breed scrupulous faction; the hated, grown to strength,

Are newly grown to love; the condemn’d Pompey,

Rich in his father’s honor, creeps apace

Into the hearts of such as have not thrived

Upon the present state, whose numbers threaten,

And quietness, grown sick of rest, would purge

By any desperate change. My more particular,

And that which most with you should safe my going,

Is Fulvia’s death.


Though age from folly could not give me freedom,

It does from childishness. Can Fulvia die?


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.


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.


Quarrel no more, but be prepar’d to know

The purposes I bear; which are, or cease,

As you shall give th’ advice. By the fire

That quickens Nilus’ slime, I go from hence

Thy soldier, servant, making peace or war

As thou affects.


Cut my lace, Charmian, come!

But let it be; I am quickly ill, and well,

So Antony loves.


My precious queen, forbear,

And give true evidence to his love, which stands

An honorable trial.


So Fulvia told me.

I prithee 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 honor.


You’ll heat my blood; no more.


You can do better yet; but this is meetly.


Now, by my sword—


And target.—Still he mends.

But this is not the best. Look, prithee, Charmian,

How this Herculean Roman does become

The carriage of his chafe.


I’ll leave you, lady.


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.


But that your royalty

Holds idleness your subject, I should take you

For idleness itself.


’Tis sweating labor

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 honor 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!


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.




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