Antony and Cleopatra

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 5 Scene 1

page Act 5 Scene 1 Page 3

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Enter an EGYPTIAN
An EGYPTIAN enters.
But I will tell you at some meeter season.
50The business of this man looks out of him.
We’ll hear him what he says. (to EGYPTIAN ) Whence are you?
I’ll tell you at a better time. This man looks like his business is urgent. Let’s hear what he has to say. (to EGYPTIAN ) Who are you?

EGYPTIAN

A poor Egyptian yet, the Queen my mistress,
Confined in all she has, her monument,
Of thy intents desires instruction,
55That she preparedly may frame herself
To th’ way she’s forced to.

EGYPTIAN

A poor Egyptian, but my mistress, the Queen, sent me to find out what your intentions are concerning her. She’s locked up in her tomb and wants to prepare herself for her fate.

CAESAR

                                                   Bid her have good heart.
She soon shall know of us, by some of ours,
How honorable and how kindly we
Determine for her, for Caesar cannot live
60To be ungentle.

CAESAR

Tell her to put her mind at rest. She’ll find out soon enough by one of our messengers how respectfully and kindly we plan to treat her. I cannot be taught how to be cruel.

EGYPTIAN

                               So the gods preserve thee!

EGYPTIAN

May the gods bless you.
Exit
He exits.

CAESAR

Come hither, Proculeius. Go and say
We purpose her no shame. Give her what comforts
The quality of her passion shall require,
Lest, in her greatness, by some mortal stroke
65She do defeat us, for her life in Rome
Would be eternal in our triumph. Go,
And with your speediest bring us what she says
And how you find of her.

CAESAR

Come here, Proculeius. Tell her we mean her no disrespect. Give her whatever assurances you feel she needs to keep her from killing herself. I need her alive, so that I can exhibit her in my triumphal procession and gain eternal fame. Go, and hurry back to bring us her reply and news of her state of mind.