Antony and Cleopatra

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 2 Scene 5

page Act 2 Scene 5 Page 2

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Enter a MESSENGER
A MESSENGER enters.
                                                       Oh, from Italy!
Ram thou thy fruitful tidings in mine ears,
25That long time have been barren.
Oh! News from Italy! Cram your good news into my ears. It’s been so long since I’ve heard from him.

MESSENGER

                                                                Madam, madam—

MESSENGER

Madam, madam—

CLEOPATRA

Antonio’s dead! If thou say so, villain,
Thou kill’st thy mistress. But well and free,
If thou so yield him, there is gold, and here
My bluest veins to kiss—a hand that kings
30Have lipped, and trembled kissing.

CLEOPATRA

Antony’s dead! If you say that, you bastard, you’ll kill your Queen. If you say he’s healthy and free, I’ll give you money and you may kiss my hand. Kings have trembled to kiss this hand.

MESSENGER

First, madam, he is well.

MESSENGER

Let me say first, madam, that he is well.

CLEOPATRA

Why, there’s more gold. But, sirrah, mark, we use
To say the dead are well. Bring it to that,
The gold I give thee will I melt and pour
35Down thy ill-uttering throat.

CLEOPATRA

Well then, here’s more money for you. But you know, sirrah, we customarily say that the dead are well. If that’s what you mean, I’ll melt this gold and pour it down your throat that speaks these hateful words.

MESSENGER

Good madam, hear me.

MESSENGER

Good madam, let me speak.

CLEOPATRA

Well, go to, I will.
But there’s no goodness in thy face—if Antony
Be free and healthful, so tart a favor
40To trumpet such good tidings! If not well,
Thou shouldst come like a Fury crowned with snakes,
Not like a formal man.

CLEOPATRA

All right, I will. But you don’t look as if you bring good news. If Antony is free and healthy, you shouldn’t wear such a sour face while bringing such good news.
If he’s not well, you should arrive like a

Fury

The Furies were mythological figures who punished those who broke either natural or moral laws

Fury
with snakes for hair, not in the shape of a normal man.

MESSENGER

                                             Will ’t please you hear me?

MESSENGER

Do you want to hear my news?