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Enter DEMETRIUS and PHILO
DEMETRIUS and PHILO enter.

PHILO

Nay, but this dotage of our general’s
O’erflows the measure. Those his goodly eyes,
That o’er the files and musters of the war
Have glowed like plated Mars, now bend, now turn
5 The office and devotion of their view
Upon a tawny front. His captain’s heart,
Which in the scuffles of great fights hath burst
The buckles on his breast, reneges all temper
And is become the bellows and the fan
10 To cool a gypsy’s lust.

PHILO

No, our general’s infatuation is out of control. His eyes used to glow with pride when he reviewed his troops. Now his eyes devote themselves exclusively to a certain brown-skinned face. His heart used to burst the buckles on his breastplate in great fights, but now he’s lost all temperance and dedicates his heart to satisfying the lust of an Egyptian whore.
Flourish. Enter ANTONY , CLEOPATRA , her ladies, the train, with eunuchs fanning her
Look where they come.
Take but good note, and you shall see in him
The triple pillar of the world transformed
Into a strumpet’s fool. Behold and see.
Look at them. Take a good look, and you’ll see that one of the three men who rule the world has turned into a whore’s jester. Look and see.

CLEOPATRA

If it be love indeed, tell me how much.

CLEOPATRA

If what you feel is really love, tell me how much.

ANTONY

There’s beggary in the love that can be reckoned.

ANTONY

It would be a pretty stingy love if it could be counted and calculated.

CLEOPATRA

I’ll set a bourn how far to be beloved.

CLEOPATRA

I want to measure the extent of your love, to see how far it stretches.

ANTONY

Then must thou needs find out new heaven, new earth.

ANTONY

Then you would have to go beyond heaven, beyond earth.
Enter a MESSENGER
A MESSENGER enters.

MESSENGER

News, my good lord, from Rome.

MESSENGER

I have news from Rome, my good lord.

ANTONY

Grates me, the sum.

ANTONY

Which irritaties me. Give me a summary.

CLEOPATRA

20 Nay, hear them, Antony.
Fulvia perchance is angry. Or who knows
If the scarce-bearded Caesar have not sent
His powerful mandate to you, “Do this, or this.
Take in that kingdom, and enfranchise that.
25 Perform ’t, or else we damn thee.”

CLEOPATRA

No, listen to it, Antony. Perhaps

Fulvia

Fulvia is Marc Antony’s wife.

Fulvia
is angry with you. Who knows, maybe the

baby-faced Caesar

Octavius Caesar was only in his twenties at this time, about twenty years younger than Antony.

baby-faced Caesar
has orders for you: “Do this, do that; conquer that kingdom, liberate this one. Do it or we’ll condemn you.”

ANTONY

How, my love?

ANTONY

What, my love?

CLEOPATRA

Perchance? Nay, and most like.
You must not stay here longer. Your dismission
Is come from Caesar. Therefore hear it, Antony.
Where’s Fulvia’s process? Caesar’s, I would say—both?
30 Call in the messengers. As I am Egypt’s queen,
Thou blushest, Antony, and that blood of thine
Is Caesar’s homager. Else so thy cheek pays shame
When shrill-tongued Fulvia scolds. The messengers!

CLEOPATRA

Maybe? No, most likely. You can’t stay here any longer. Caesar has sent your dismissal, so pay attention, Antony. Where’s Fulvia’s summons—excuse me, I should have said Caesar’s. Or do Fulvia and Caesar both beckon you back to Rome? Call in the messengers and we’ll find out. As surely as I am the queen of Egypt, Antony, you’re blushing, which means you’re Caesar’s servant. Or that that bitch Fulvia still has the power to humiliate you. Call the messengers!

ANTONY

Let Rome in Tiber melt and the wide arch
35 Of the ranged empire fall. Here is my space.
Kingdoms are clay. Our dungy earth alike
Feeds beast as man. The nobleness of life
Is to do thus, when such a mutual pair
And such a twain can do ’t, in which I bind,
40 On pain of punishment, the world to weet
We stand up peerless.

ANTONY

Let Rome be washed away in the Tiber

Rome was built on the river Tiber.

Let Rome be washed away in the Tiber
and let the great empire fall. My place is here. Kingdoms are only dirt. The soil feeds animals as well as people, so how does having a kingdom separate humans from beasts? The noblest thing is to do what we’re doing, particularly when the couple is as well matched as we are. I demand that the world admit we are the perfect couple or else suffer the consequences.

CLEOPATRA

Excellent falsehood!
Why did he marry Fulvia, and not love her?
I’ll seem the fool I am not. Antony
Will be himself.

CLEOPATRA

(to herself) What an enormous lie! Why did he marry Fulvia if he didn’t love her? I’ll pretend to be a fool and believe him. He’ll never change.

ANTONY

 But stirred by Cleopatra.
45 Now, for the love of Love and her soft hours,
Let’s not confound the time with conference harsh.
There’s not a minute of our lives should stretch
Without some pleasure now. What sport tonight?

ANTONY

(overhearing the last sentence) Unless he is moved and inspired by Cleopatra. Now, since we love the feeling of being in love, let’s not spoil the mood with serious discussion. We shouldn’t spend a minute without some kind of amusement. What shall we do tonight?

CLEOPATRA

Hear the ambassadors.

CLEOPATRA

Meet with the ambassadors.

ANTONY

Fie, wrangling Queen!
50 Whom every thing becomes—to chide, to laugh,
To weep, whose every passion fully strives
To make itself, in thee, fair and admired!
No messenger but thine, and all alone
Tonight we’ll wander through the streets and note
55 The qualities of people. Come, my Queen,
Last night you did desire it.—(to the  MESSENGER ) Speak not to us.

 

Exeunt ANTONY and CLEOPATRA with the train 

ANTONY

Shame on you, stubborn Queen! Everything you do is attractive—scolding, laughing, crying—every emotion seems admirable when you express it. I won’t see any messengers but yours. Tonight we’ll wander through the streets and observe the people. Come, my Queen. That’s what you wanted to do last night. (to the MESSENGER ) Don’t talk to us.

 

 

 

 

ANTONY and CLEOPATRA exit with their attendants.

DEMETRIUS

Is Caesar with Antonius prized so slight?

DEMETRIUS

Does Antony have so little respect for Caesar?

PHILO

Sir, sometimes when he is not Antony
He comes too short of that great property
60 Which still should go with Antony.

PHILO

Sir, sometimes he’s like a different person, a person who can’t measure up to the former Antony.

DEMETRIUS

I am full sorry
That he approves the common liar, who
Thus speaks of him at Rome, but I will hope
Of better deeds tomorrow. Rest you happy!

DEMETRIUS

I’m sad to say this confirms the stories being told about him in Rome, which I had taken to be lies. Well, I’ll hope things change for the better soon. Have a good night!
Exeunt They exit.