Antony and Cleopatra

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 5 Scene 2

page Act 5 Scene 2 Page 12

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IRAS

                                                              The gods forbid!

IRAS

The gods forbid!

CLEOPATRA

Nay, ’tis most certain, Iras. Saucy lictors
215Will catch at us like strumpets, and scald rhymers
Ballad us out o’ tune. The quick comedians
Extemporally will stage us and present
Our Alexandrian revels. Antony
Shall be brought drunken forth, and I shall see
220Some squeaking Cleopatra boy my greatness
I’ th’ posture of a whore.

CLEOPATRA

No, it’s certain, Iras. Insolent

lictors

Roman officers who assisted the judge

lictors
will paw us as if we were streetwalkers. Disreputable minstrels will write bawdy songs about us. Hotheaded comedians will stage impromptu impersonations of us and depict the celebrations we had in Alexandria. Antony will be portrayed as a drunk, and I’ll see some boy with a squeaking voice play Cleopatra as if I were a whore.

IRAS

                                                Oh, the good gods!

IRAS

Oh, the good gods!

CLEOPATRA

Nay, that’s certain.

CLEOPATRA

No, that’s the truth.

IRAS

I’ll never see ’t! For I am sure mine nails
Are stronger than mine eyes.

IRAS

I’ll never see it. I know my nails are stronger than my eyes; I’ll scratch them out.

CLEOPATRA

                                                        Why, that’s the way
225To fool their preparation and to conquer
Their most absurd intents.

CLEOPATRA

Why, that’s just the way to frustrate their plans and defeat their absurd intentions.
Enter CHARMIAN
CHARMIAN enters.
                                                     Now, Charmian!
Show me, my women, like a queen. Go fetch
My best attires. I am again for Cydnus,
To meet Mark Antony.—Sirrah Iras, go.—
230Now, noble Charmian, we’ll dispatch indeed,
And when thou hast done this chare I’ll give thee leave
To play till doomsday. (to IRAS ) Bring our crown and all.
Now, Charmian! Women, dress me like a queen. Go get my best clothes. I will once again be as fine as when I went to Cydnus to meet Marc Antony.—Iras, go.—Now, Charmian, we’ll be quick indeed. And after you’ve done this chore, I’ll give you permission to amuse yourself until doomsday. (to IRAS ) Bring our crown and all the royal symbols of office.