Alexandria. Cleopatra’s palace.
(Cleopatra; Charmian; Iras; Alexas; Egyptian Messenger)
Cleopatra gets a diplomatically unfavorable description of Octavia from the messenger. (65 lines)
Enter Cleopatra, Charmian, Iras, and Alexas.
Where is the fellow?
Half afeard to come.
Go to, go to. Come hither, sir.
Enter the Egyptian Messenger as before.
Herod of Jewry dare not look upon you
But when you are well pleas’d.
That Herod’s head
I’ll have; but how, when Antony is gone,
Through whom I might command it? Come thou near.
Most gracious Majesty!
Didst thou behold Octavia?
Ay, dread Queen.
Madam, in Rome;
I look’d her in the face, and saw her led
Between her brother and Mark Antony.
Is she as tall as me?
She is not, madam.
Didst hear her speak? Is she shrill-tongu’d or low?
Madam, I heard her speak; she is low-voic’d.
That’s not so good. He cannot like her long.
Like her? O Isis! ’Tis impossible.
I think so, Charmian: dull of tongue, and dwarfish.
What majesty is in her gait? Remember,
If e’er thou look’st on majesty.
Her motion and her station are as one;
She shows a body rather than a life,
A statue, than a breather.
Is this certain?
Or I have no observance.
Three in Egypt
Cannot make better note.
He’s very knowing,
I do perceive’t. There’s nothing in her yet.
The fellow has good judgment.
Guess at her years, I prithee.
She was a widow—
Widow? Charmian, hark.
And I do think she’s thirty.
Bear’st thou her face in mind? Is’t long or round?
Round, even to faultiness.
For the most part, too, they are foolish that are so.
Her hair, what color?
Brown, madam; and her forehead
As low as she would wish it.
There’s gold for thee,
Thou must not take my former sharpness ill.
I will employ thee back again; I find thee
Most fit for business. Go, make thee ready,
Our letters are prepar’d.
Exit Egyptian Messenger.
A proper man.
Indeed he is so; I repent me much
That so I harried him. Why, methinks, by him,
This creature’s no such thing.
The man hath seen some majesty, and should know.
Hath he seen majesty? Isis else defend!
And serving you so long!
I have one thing more to ask him yet, good Charmian—
But ’tis no matter, thou shalt bring him to me
Where I will write. All may be well enough.
I warrant you, madam.