Antony and Cleopatra

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 2 Scene 5

page Act 2 Scene 5 Page 3

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CLEOPATRA

I have a mind to strike thee ere thou speak’st.
Yet if thou say Antony lives, is well,
45Or friends with Caesar, or not captive to him,
I’ll set thee in a shower of gold and hail
Rich pearls upon thee.

CLEOPATRA

I have half a mind to hit you before you speak again. But if Antony is alive, healthy, friendly with Caesar, and not Caesar’s prisoner, I’ll shower you with gold and pearls.

MESSENGER

                                            Madam, he’s well.

MESSENGER

Madam, he’s well.

CLEOPATRA

                                                                                 Well said.

CLEOPATRA

That’s well spoken.

MESSENGER

And friends with Caesar.

MESSENGER

And he’s friendly with Caesar.

CLEOPATRA

                                                 Th’ art an honest man.

CLEOPATRA

You are an honest man.

MESSENGER

Caesar and he are greater friends than ever.

MESSENGER

Caesar and he are better friends than ever.

CLEOPATRA

50Make thee a fortune from me.

CLEOPATRA

I’m going to make you a rich man.

MESSENGER

                                                          But yet, madam—

MESSENGER

But yet, madam—

CLEOPATRA

I do not like “But yet.” It does allay
The good precedence. Fie upon “But yet.”
“But yet” is as a jailer to bring forth
Some monstrous malefactor. Prithee, friend,
55Pour out the pack of matter to mine ear,
The good and bad together. He’s friends with Caesar,
In state of health, thou say’st, and, thou say’st, free.

CLEOPATRA

I don’t like the sound of “but yet.” It reverses all the good that came before it. Damn those words, “but yet!” “But yet” is like a jailer about to bring out some horrible criminal. Please, my friend, give me all the news, both good and bad, at the same time. You say he’s friendly with Caesar, healthy, and free.

MESSENGER

Free, madam, no. I made no such report.
He’s bound unto Octavia.

MESSENGER

I didn’t say free, madam. No, I didn’t say that. He’s bound to Octavia.

CLEOPATRA

                                                 For what good turn?

CLEOPATRA

For what favor?

MESSENGER

60For the best turn i’ th’ bed.

MESSENGER

For the favor of sleeping in her bed.