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Enter ENOBARBUS , LAMPRIUS , a SOOTHSAYER , Rannius, LUCILLIUS , CHARMIAN , IRAS , MARDIAN the eunuch, and ALEXAS
ENOBARBUS , LAMPRIUS , the FORTUNETELLER , Rannius, LUCILLUS , CHARMIAN , IRAS , MARDIAN the eunuch, and ALEXAS enter.

CHARMIAN

Lord Alexas, sweet Alexas, most anything Alexas, almost most absolute Alexas, wheres the soothsayer that you praised so to th Queen? Oh that I knew this husband, which, you say, must charge his horns with garlands!

CHARMIAN

Lord Alexas, sweet Alexas, most anything Alexas, almost the most consummate Alexas, wheres the fortuneteller you recommended so highly to the Queen? Oh, I only wish I knew the name of that husband you said he predicted will have a cheating wife!

ALEXAS

5 Soothsayer!

ALEXAS

(calling) Fortuneteller!

SOOTHSAYER

Your will?

FORTUNETELLER

What can I do for you?

CHARMIAN

(toALEXAS) Is this the man?(toSOOTHSAYER)Is t you, sir, that know things?

CHARMIAN

(toALEXAS) Is this the man you recommended? (to theFORTUNETELLER) Are you the man who knows the future?

SOOTHSAYER

In natures infinite book of secrecy
A little I can read.

FORTUNETELLER

I can understand a few of natures infinite secrets.

ALEXAS

(toCHARMIAN)Show him your hand.

ALEXAS

(toCHARMIAN) Give him your hand to read.

ENOBARBUS

(to servants within) Bring in the banquet quickly. Wine enough
Cleopatras health to drink.

ENOBARBUS

(to the servants) Bring the dessert in right away, and make sure theres enough wine to toast Cleopatras health.

CHARMIAN

(giving hand toSOOTHSAYER) Good sir, give me good fortune.

CHARMIAN

(giving her hand to theFORTUNETELLER) Kind sir, give me a good fortune.

SOOTHSAYER

I make not, but foresee.

FORTUNETELLER

I dont make fortunes; I only see them.

CHARMIAN

Pray, then, foresee me one.

CHARMIAN

Then see a good one for me.

SOOTHSAYER

You shall be yet far fairer than you are.

FORTUNETELLER

Your beauty will be even greater than it is now.

CHARMIAN

(to the others) He means in flesh.

CHARMIAN

(to the others) He means Ill get fat.

IRAS

No, you shall paint when you are old.

IRAS

No, he means youll use makeup when youre old.

CHARMIAN

Wrinkles forbid!

CHARMIAN

May my wrinkles forbid that!

ALEXAS

Vex not his prescience. Be attentive.

ALEXAS

Dont joke about his predictions. Pay attention.

CHARMIAN

Hush!

CHARMIAN

Quiet!

SOOTHSAYER

You shall be more beloving than beloved.

FORTUNETELLER

You will love more than you are loved.

CHARMIAN

I had rather heat my liver with drinking.

CHARMIAN

ALEXAS

Nay, hear him.

ALEXAS

Just listen to him.

CHARMIAN

Good now, some excellent fortune! Let me be married to three kings in a forenoon and widow them all. Let me have a child at fifty, to whom Herod of Jewry may do homage. Find me to marry me with Octavius Caesar, and companion me with my mistress.

CHARMIAN

Be kind now and tell me some excellent fortune. Tell me that Ill marry three kings before noon and be widowed by all of them. Tell me Ill have a child when Im fifty who will be honored even by

Herod of Judea

Herod was the Roman governor of Israel at the time of Christs birth. In an attempt to kill Jesus, prophesied to become king of the Jews, Herod ordered the slaughter of all the infants in Bethlehem.

Herod of Judea
. Let me marry Octavius Caesar and become my Queens equal.

SOOTHSAYER

30 You shall outlive the lady whom you serve.

FORTUNETELLER

You will outlive the Queen.

CHARMIAN

Oh, excellent! I love long life better than figs.

CHARMIAN

Oh, excellent! I love long life better than

figs

Figs were thought to resemble female genitalia.

figs
.

SOOTHSAYER

You have seen and proved a fairer former fortune
Than that which is to approach.

FORTUNETELLER

You have already had better fortune than the future will bring.

CHARMIAN

Then belike my children shall have no names. Prithee, how many boys and wenches must I have?

CHARMIAN

Then my children will probably be illegitimate. Tell me, please: how many boys and girls will I have?

SOOTHSAYER

If every of your wishes had a womb,
And fertile every wish, a million.

FORTUNETELLER

If every time you wished for a child you could have had one, you would have a million children.

CHARMIAN

Out, fool! I forgive thee for a witch.

CHARMIAN

Get out of here, you fool! Since youre a fortuneteller I wont bring charges of witchcraft against you.

ALEXAS

You think none but your sheets are privy to your wishes.

ALEXAS

You seem to think no one outside of your bedroom knows what you wish.

CHARMIAN

(toSOOTHSAYER) Nay, come, tell Iras hers.

CHARMIAN

(toFORTUNETELLER) Never mind. Tell Irass fortune.

ALEXAS

Well know all our fortunes.

ALEXAS

Well all want our fortune told.

ENOBARBUS

Mine, and most of our fortunes tonight, shall bedrunk to bed.

ENOBARBUS

My fortunelike that of many of us tonightis to go drunk to bed.

IRAS

(giving her hand to theSOOTHSAYER) Theres a palm presages chastity, if nothing else.

IRAS

(giving her hand to theFORTUNETELLER) Theres a palm that will predict a chaste life, if nothing else.

CHARMIAN

Een as the oerflowing Nilus presageth famine.

CHARMIAN

IRAS

Go, you wild bedfellow, you cannot soothsay.

IRAS

Oh stop it, you lusty bed-hopper. You cant see the future.

CHARMIAN

Nay, if an oily palm be not a fruitful prognostication, I cannot scratch mine ear.Prithee, tell her but a workaday fortune.

CHARMIAN

Well, if a moist palm isnt a clear sign of promiscuity, then I cant scratch my own ear. (toFORTUNETELLER) Please, tell her an ordinary fortune.

SOOTHSAYER

Your fortunes are alike.

FORTUNETELLER

Your fortunes are the same.

IRAS

But how, but how? Give me particulars.

IRAS

But how? How is that possible? Give me details.

SOOTHSAYER

I have said.

FORTUNETELLER

Ive said what I have to say.

IRAS

Am I not an inch of fortune better than she?

IRAS

Isnt my fortune just a little better than hers? By an inch, even?

CHARMIAN

Well, if you were but an inch of fortune better than I, where would you choose it?

CHARMIAN

Well, if you could have just an inch of better fortune than me, where would you like the improvement?

IRAS

Not in my husbands nose.

IRAS

Not in my husbands nose.

CHARMIAN

Our worser thoughts heavens mend. Alexas! (toSOOTHSAYER) Come, his fortune, his fortune! Oh, let him marry a woman that cannot go, sweet Isis, I beseech thee, and let her die too, and give him a worse, and let worse follow worse, till the worst of all follow him laughing to his grave, fifty-fold a cuckold! Good Isis, hear me this prayer, though thou deny me a matter of more weight, good Isis, I beseech thee!

CHARMIAN

May heaven save us from indecent thoughts! Alexas! (to theFORTUNETELLER) Come and tell his fortune. Let him marry a woman he cant satisfy, dear

Isis

Isis was Egypts primary female deity, generally associated with the earth, the moon, and fertility.

Isis
, I pray! And then let her die, and give him someone worse. Then let her die, and let her replacement be even worse. And so on until the last one, who is unfaithful with at least fifty other men and laughs at him until he dies. I beg you to grant my prayer, good Isis, even though it means you deny me something more important for myself. Good Isis, I beg you!

IRAS

Amen, dear goddess, hear that prayer of the people! For, as it is a heartbreaking to see a handsome man loose-wived, so it is a deadly sorrow to behold a foul knave uncuckolded. Therefore, dear Isis, keep decorum, and fortune him accordingly.

IRAS

Amen, dear goddess. Listen to our prayer. If its sad to see a handsome man with a cheating wife, its a tragedy to see an ugly thug with a wife whos faithful. Therefore, dear Isis, do the right thing and give him the fortune he deserves.

CHARMIAN

Amen.

CHARMIAN

Amen.

ALEXAS

(to himself) Lo now, if it lay in their hands to make me a cuckold, they would make themselves whores but theyd do t.

ALEXAS

(to himself) See! If they could make me a cuckold, theyd whore themselves in order to see it done.

ENOBARBUS

Hush! Here comes Antony.

ENOBARBUS

Quiet! Here comes Antony.

CHARMIAN

Not he. The Queen.

CHARMIAN

Its not him; its the Queen.
Enter CLEOPATRA
CLEOPATRA enters.

CLEOPATRA

75 Saw you my lord?

CLEOPATRA

Have you seen my lord?

ENOBARBUS

No, lady.

ENOBARBUS

No, lady.

CLEOPATRA

Was he not here?

CLEOPATRA

Wasnt he here?

CHARMIAN

No, madam.

CHARMIAN

No, madam.

CLEOPATRA

He was disposed to mirth, but on the sudden
80 A Roman thought hath struck him.Enobarbus!

CLEOPATRA

He was in a good mood, and then suddenly he started thinking of Rome. Enobarbus?

ENOBARBUS

Madam?

ENOBARBUS

Madam?

CLEOPATRA

Seek him and bring him hither.
Wheres Alexas?

CLEOPATRA

Find him and bring him here. Wheres Alexas?

ALEXAS

Here at your service. My lord approaches.

ALEXAS

Here, at your service. Here comes my lord.
Enter ANTONY with the FIRST MESSENGER
ANTONY and the FIRST MESSENGER enter.

CLEOPATRA

85 We will not look upon him. Go with us.

CLEOPATRA

FIRST MESSENGER

Fulvia thy wife first came into the field.

FIRST MESSENGER

Your wife, Fulvia, mustered her army first.

ANTONY

Against my brother Lucius?

ANTONY

Against my brother Lucius?

FIRST MESSENGER

Ay.
But soon that war had end, and the times state
Made friends of them, joining their force gainst Caesar,
Whose better issue in the war from Italy
Upon the first encounter drave them.

FIRST MESSENGER

Yes. But that war ended as soon as circumstances made it advisable for them to join together against Caesar. But in their very first battle, Caesar won and drove them out of Italy.
Exeunt all but ANTONY and the FIRST MESSENGER Everyone follows CLEOPATRA out, leaving ANTONY and the FIRST MESSENGER .

ANTONY

Well, what worst?

ANTONY

Well, give me the worst news.

FIRST MESSENGER

The nature of bad news infects the teller.

FIRST MESSENGER

The bearer of bad news is often blamed for it.

ANTONY

95 When it concerns the fool or coward. On.
Things that are past are done, with me. Tis thus:
Who tells me true, though in his tale lie death,
I hear him as he flattered.

ANTONY

Only if the hearer is a fool or a coward. Go on. As far as Im concerned, whats past is done. Its like this: as long as a person tells me the truth, even though it means my death, I will listen as though he praised me.

FIRST MESSENGER

Labienus
This is stiff newshath with his Parthian force
100 Extended Asia: from Euphrates
His conquering banner shook, from Syria
To Lydia and to Ionia,
Whilst

FIRST MESSENGER

ANTONY

Antony, thou wouldst say.

ANTONY

While Antony... is what you want to say.

FIRST MESSENGER

O my lord!

FIRST MESSENGER

Oh, my lord!

ANTONY

Speak to me home. Mince not the general tongue.
Name Cleopatra as she is called in Rome.
Rail thou in Fulvias phrase, and taunt my faults
With such full license as both truth and malice
Have power to utter. Oh, then we bring forth weeds
When our quick minds lie still, and our ills told us
Is as our earing.

ANTONY

Speak plainly. Dont tone down what the people are saying. Call Cleopatra what the Romans call her. Use Fulvias abusive language. Freely scold me for my faults with as much severity as an enemy with truth on his side. Its easy to err when left to our own devices, but criticism helps us to see our faults and correct them.
Enter SECOND MESSENGER
A SECOND MESSENGER enters.
Fare thee well awhile.
Good-bye for a while.

FIRST MESSENGER

At your noble pleasure.
Exit FIRST MESSENGER

FIRST MESSENGER

Ill be at your service.

The FIRST MESSENGER exits.

ANTONY

From Sicyon, how, the news? Speak there.

ANTONY

SECOND MESSENGER

The man from Sicyon

SECOND MESSENGER

The man from Sicyon

ANTONY

Is there such an one?

ANTONY

Is he here?

SECOND MESSENGER

115 He stays upon your will.

SECOND MESSENGER

Hes waiting outside.

ANTONY

Let him appear.

Exit SECOND MESSENGER

ANTONY

Have him come in.

The SECOND MESSENGER exits.

These strong Egyptian fetters I must break,
Or lose myself in dotage.
(to himself) I must break Cleopatras powerful hold over me or else Ill lose myself in foolish infatuation.
Enter THIRD MESSENGER , with a letter
A THIRD MESSENGER enters with a letter.
What are you?
Whats your message?

THIRD MESSENGER

Fulvia thy wife is dead.

THIRD MESSENGER

Your wife, Fulvia, is dead.

ANTONY

Where died she?

ANTONY

Where did she die?

THIRD MESSENGER

In Sicyon.
Her length of sickness, with what else more serious
Importeth thee to know, this bears.

THIRD MESSENGER

In Sicyon. In this letter youll find details of her illness and other, more serious matters that concern you.
He gives ANTONY a letter
He hands the letter to ANTONY .

ANTONY

Forbear me.
Exit THIRD MESSENGER

ANTONY

Leave me.
The THIRD MESSENGER exits.
(to himself) Theres a great spirit gone! Thus did I desire it.
What our contempts doth often hurl from us
We wish it ours again. The present pleasure,
125 By revolution lowering, does become
The opposite of itself. Shes good, being gone.
The hand could pluck her back that shoved her on.
I must from this enchanting Queen break off.
Ten thousand harms, more than the ills I know
130 My idleness doth hatch.How now, Enobarbus!
(to himself) A great spirit has gone from the world! This is what I wanted. Once its gone, the very thing we reject becomes what we desire. Whats enjoyable one day becomes the opposite as time rolls around. Now that shes gone, I want her. Now I would call her back, though I pushed her away. I have to break from this beguiling Queen. The time Ive wasted here has caused ten thousand more problems than the ones I know about. (calling) Are you there, Enobarbus?
Enter ENOBARBUS
ENOBARBUS enters.

ENOBARBUS

Whats your pleasure, sir?

ENOBARBUS

What would you like, sir?

ANTONY

I must with haste from hence.

ANTONY

I have to leave right away.

ENOBARBUS

Why, then, we kill all our women. We see how mortal an unkindness is to them. If they suffer our departure, deaths the word.

ENOBARBUS

That will kill our lovers. We know how much they suffer if we are unkind to them. If we leave, it will feel like nothing less than death to them.

ANTONY

I must be gone.

ANTONY

I must be gone.

ENOBARBUS

Under a compelling occasion, let women die. It were pity to cast them away for nothing, though between them and a great cause they should be esteemed nothing. Cleopatra, catching but the least noise of this, dies instantly. I have seen her die twenty times upon far poorer moment. I do think there is mettle in death, which commits some loving act upon her, she hath such a celerity in dying.

ENOBARBUS

If its that important, then let the women die. It would be a pity to throw them away for nothing, but if its a matter of choosing between them and a great cause, then theyre worthless. If Cleopatra hears even a breath of this, shell die immediately. Ive seen her claim to be dying twenty times before, and for far less reason. I think there must be something invigorating about death, since she dies with such enthusiasm.

ANTONY

She is cunning past mans thought.

ANTONY

Shes more cunning than anyone can imagine.

ENOBARBUS

Alack, sir, no, her passions are made of nothing but the finest part of pure love. We cannot call her winds and waters sighs and tears. They are greater storms and tempests than almanacs can report. This cannot be cunning in her. If it be, she makes a shower of rain as well as Jove.

ENOBARBUS

Alas, sir, no, her feelings come from pure love, not cleverness. Her sighs and tears are like great winds and floods. She has more storms and tempests in her than a weather almanac. Her temper is not a trick or a skillif it is, she can make it rain as well as

Jove

king of the Roman gods; commands thunder, lightning, and rain

Jove
.

ANTONY

Would I had never seen her!

ANTONY

I wish Id never seen her!

ENOBARBUS

O sir, you had then left unseen a wonderful piece of work which not to have been blessed withal would have discredited your travel.

ENOBARBUS

Then youd have missed an amazing piece of work, sir, and your trip would have been poorer for the loss.

ANTONY

155 Fulvia is dead.

ANTONY

Fulvia is dead.

ENOBARBUS

Sir?

ENOBARBUS

Pardon me?

ANTONY

Fulvia is dead.

ANTONY

Fulvia is dead.

ENOBARBUS

Fulvia?

ENOBARBUS

Fulvia?

ANTONY

Dead.

ANTONY

Dead.

ENOBARBUS

Why, sir, give the gods a thankful sacrifice. When it pleaseth their deities to take the wife of a man from him, it shows to man the tailors of the earth, comforting therein, that when old robes are worn out, there are members to make new. If there were no more women but Fulvia, then had you indeed a cut, and the case to be lamented. This grief is crowned with consolation. Your old smock brings forth a new petticoat, and indeed the tears live in an onion that should water this sorrow.

ENOBARBUS

Then you should offer the gods a sacrifice to show your thanks. When a mans wife dies, he can be comforted by the knowledge that there are replacements to be found. If Fulvia were the last woman on earth, there would be a reason to grieve. But in this way, grief and comfort appear together. The only kind of tears you should shed in this case are the kind you might get from holding an onion to your nose.

ANTONY

The business she hath broached in the state
170 Cannot endure my absence.

ANTONY

I must go and continue the business Fulvia started.

ENOBARBUS

And the business you have broached here cannot be without you, especially that of Cleopatras, which wholly depends on your abode.

ENOBARBUS

The business you began here needs you as wellespecially the business with Cleopatra, which only you can attend to.

ANTONY

No more light answers. Let our officers
175 Have notice what we purpose. I shall break
The cause of our expedience to the Queen
And get her leave to part. For not alone
The death of Fulvia, with more urgent touches,
Do strongly speak to us, but the letters too
180 Of many our contriving friends in Rome
Petition us at home. Sextus Pompeius
Hath given the dare to Caesar and commands
The empire of the sea. Our slippery people,
Whose love is never linked to the deserver
185 Till his deserts are past, begin to throw
Pompey the Great and all his dignities
Upon his son, whohigh in name and power,
Higher than both in blood and lifestands up
For the main soldier, whose quality, going on,
190 The sides o th world may danger. Much is breeding
Which, like the coursers hair, hath yet but life,
And not a serpents poison. Say our pleasure,
To such whose place is under us, requires
Our quick remove from hence.

ANTONY

Enough of this frivolous talk. Give our officers notice of our intentions. Ill tell the Queen the reason for our quick departure and get her permission to leave. Fulvias death and the pressing concerns related to it are not the only reasons I am eager to go; friends in Rome have also sent many letters advising my return. Sextus Pompeius has challenged Caesar. His fleet controls the sea. Our fickle citizenswho never reward service until that service is overare now giving all the rights and honors won by Pompey the Great to his son, Sextus. Sextus has great honor and power, and his spirit and energy are even greater, all of which makes him the most formidable soldier in the empire. The empire may be in danger if hes not restrained before he reaches his full potential. There are many troubles brewing now that have yet to become full-fledged threats.

ENOBARBUS

I shall do t.

ENOBARBUS

I will.
Exeunt They both exit.

Original Text

Modern Text

Enter ENOBARBUS , LAMPRIUS , a SOOTHSAYER , Rannius, LUCILLIUS , CHARMIAN , IRAS , MARDIAN the eunuch, and ALEXAS
ENOBARBUS , LAMPRIUS , the FORTUNETELLER , Rannius, LUCILLUS , CHARMIAN , IRAS , MARDIAN the eunuch, and ALEXAS enter.

CHARMIAN

Lord Alexas, sweet Alexas, most anything Alexas, almost most absolute Alexas, wheres the soothsayer that you praised so to th Queen? Oh that I knew this husband, which, you say, must charge his horns with garlands!

CHARMIAN

Lord Alexas, sweet Alexas, most anything Alexas, almost the most consummate Alexas, wheres the fortuneteller you recommended so highly to the Queen? Oh, I only wish I knew the name of that husband you said he predicted will have a cheating wife!

ALEXAS

5 Soothsayer!

ALEXAS

(calling) Fortuneteller!

SOOTHSAYER

Your will?

FORTUNETELLER

What can I do for you?

CHARMIAN

(toALEXAS) Is this the man?(toSOOTHSAYER)Is t you, sir, that know things?

CHARMIAN

(toALEXAS) Is this the man you recommended? (to theFORTUNETELLER) Are you the man who knows the future?

SOOTHSAYER

In natures infinite book of secrecy
A little I can read.

FORTUNETELLER

I can understand a few of natures infinite secrets.

ALEXAS

(toCHARMIAN)Show him your hand.

ALEXAS

(toCHARMIAN) Give him your hand to read.

ENOBARBUS

(to servants within) Bring in the banquet quickly. Wine enough
Cleopatras health to drink.

ENOBARBUS

(to the servants) Bring the dessert in right away, and make sure theres enough wine to toast Cleopatras health.

CHARMIAN

(giving hand toSOOTHSAYER) Good sir, give me good fortune.

CHARMIAN

(giving her hand to theFORTUNETELLER) Kind sir, give me a good fortune.

SOOTHSAYER

I make not, but foresee.

FORTUNETELLER

I dont make fortunes; I only see them.

CHARMIAN

Pray, then, foresee me one.

CHARMIAN

Then see a good one for me.

SOOTHSAYER

You shall be yet far fairer than you are.

FORTUNETELLER

Your beauty will be even greater than it is now.

CHARMIAN

(to the others) He means in flesh.

CHARMIAN

(to the others) He means Ill get fat.

IRAS

No, you shall paint when you are old.

IRAS

No, he means youll use makeup when youre old.

CHARMIAN

Wrinkles forbid!

CHARMIAN

May my wrinkles forbid that!

ALEXAS

Vex not his prescience. Be attentive.

ALEXAS

Dont joke about his predictions. Pay attention.

CHARMIAN

Hush!

CHARMIAN

Quiet!

SOOTHSAYER

You shall be more beloving than beloved.

FORTUNETELLER

You will love more than you are loved.

CHARMIAN

I had rather heat my liver with drinking.

CHARMIAN

ALEXAS

Nay, hear him.

ALEXAS

Just listen to him.

CHARMIAN

Good now, some excellent fortune! Let me be married to three kings in a forenoon and widow them all. Let me have a child at fifty, to whom Herod of Jewry may do homage. Find me to marry me with Octavius Caesar, and companion me with my mistress.

CHARMIAN

Be kind now and tell me some excellent fortune. Tell me that Ill marry three kings before noon and be widowed by all of them. Tell me Ill have a child when Im fifty who will be honored even by

Herod of Judea

Herod was the Roman governor of Israel at the time of Christs birth. In an attempt to kill Jesus, prophesied to become king of the Jews, Herod ordered the slaughter of all the infants in Bethlehem.

Herod of Judea
. Let me marry Octavius Caesar and become my Queens equal.

SOOTHSAYER

30 You shall outlive the lady whom you serve.

FORTUNETELLER

You will outlive the Queen.

CHARMIAN

Oh, excellent! I love long life better than figs.

CHARMIAN

Oh, excellent! I love long life better than

figs

Figs were thought to resemble female genitalia.

figs
.

SOOTHSAYER

You have seen and proved a fairer former fortune
Than that which is to approach.

FORTUNETELLER

You have already had better fortune than the future will bring.

CHARMIAN

Then belike my children shall have no names. Prithee, how many boys and wenches must I have?

CHARMIAN

Then my children will probably be illegitimate. Tell me, please: how many boys and girls will I have?

SOOTHSAYER

If every of your wishes had a womb,
And fertile every wish, a million.

FORTUNETELLER

If every time you wished for a child you could have had one, you would have a million children.

CHARMIAN

Out, fool! I forgive thee for a witch.

CHARMIAN

Get out of here, you fool! Since youre a fortuneteller I wont bring charges of witchcraft against you.

ALEXAS

You think none but your sheets are privy to your wishes.

ALEXAS

You seem to think no one outside of your bedroom knows what you wish.

CHARMIAN

(toSOOTHSAYER) Nay, come, tell Iras hers.

CHARMIAN

(toFORTUNETELLER) Never mind. Tell Irass fortune.

ALEXAS

Well know all our fortunes.

ALEXAS

Well all want our fortune told.

ENOBARBUS

Mine, and most of our fortunes tonight, shall bedrunk to bed.

ENOBARBUS

My fortunelike that of many of us tonightis to go drunk to bed.

IRAS

(giving her hand to theSOOTHSAYER) Theres a palm presages chastity, if nothing else.

IRAS

(giving her hand to theFORTUNETELLER) Theres a palm that will predict a chaste life, if nothing else.

CHARMIAN

Een as the oerflowing Nilus presageth famine.

CHARMIAN

IRAS

Go, you wild bedfellow, you cannot soothsay.

IRAS

Oh stop it, you lusty bed-hopper. You cant see the future.

CHARMIAN

Nay, if an oily palm be not a fruitful prognostication, I cannot scratch mine ear.Prithee, tell her but a workaday fortune.

CHARMIAN

Well, if a moist palm isnt a clear sign of promiscuity, then I cant scratch my own ear. (toFORTUNETELLER) Please, tell her an ordinary fortune.

SOOTHSAYER

Your fortunes are alike.

FORTUNETELLER

Your fortunes are the same.

IRAS

But how, but how? Give me particulars.

IRAS

But how? How is that possible? Give me details.

SOOTHSAYER

I have said.

FORTUNETELLER

Ive said what I have to say.

IRAS

Am I not an inch of fortune better than she?

IRAS

Isnt my fortune just a little better than hers? By an inch, even?

CHARMIAN

Well, if you were but an inch of fortune better than I, where would you choose it?

CHARMIAN

Well, if you could have just an inch of better fortune than me, where would you like the improvement?

IRAS

Not in my husbands nose.

IRAS

Not in my husbands nose.

CHARMIAN

Our worser thoughts heavens mend. Alexas! (toSOOTHSAYER) Come, his fortune, his fortune! Oh, let him marry a woman that cannot go, sweet Isis, I beseech thee, and let her die too, and give him a worse, and let worse follow worse, till the worst of all follow him laughing to his grave, fifty-fold a cuckold! Good Isis, hear me this prayer, though thou deny me a matter of more weight, good Isis, I beseech thee!

CHARMIAN

May heaven save us from indecent thoughts! Alexas! (to theFORTUNETELLER) Come and tell his fortune. Let him marry a woman he cant satisfy, dear

Isis

Isis was Egypts primary female deity, generally associated with the earth, the moon, and fertility.

Isis
, I pray! And then let her die, and give him someone worse. Then let her die, and let her replacement be even worse. And so on until the last one, who is unfaithful with at least fifty other men and laughs at him until he dies. I beg you to grant my prayer, good Isis, even though it means you deny me something more important for myself. Good Isis, I beg you!

IRAS

Amen, dear goddess, hear that prayer of the people! For, as it is a heartbreaking to see a handsome man loose-wived, so it is a deadly sorrow to behold a foul knave uncuckolded. Therefore, dear Isis, keep decorum, and fortune him accordingly.

IRAS

Amen, dear goddess. Listen to our prayer. If its sad to see a handsome man with a cheating wife, its a tragedy to see an ugly thug with a wife whos faithful. Therefore, dear Isis, do the right thing and give him the fortune he deserves.

CHARMIAN

Amen.

CHARMIAN

Amen.

ALEXAS

(to himself) Lo now, if it lay in their hands to make me a cuckold, they would make themselves whores but theyd do t.

ALEXAS

(to himself) See! If they could make me a cuckold, theyd whore themselves in order to see it done.

ENOBARBUS

Hush! Here comes Antony.

ENOBARBUS

Quiet! Here comes Antony.

CHARMIAN

Not he. The Queen.

CHARMIAN

Its not him; its the Queen.
Enter CLEOPATRA
CLEOPATRA enters.

CLEOPATRA

75 Saw you my lord?

CLEOPATRA

Have you seen my lord?

ENOBARBUS

No, lady.

ENOBARBUS

No, lady.

CLEOPATRA

Was he not here?

CLEOPATRA

Wasnt he here?

CHARMIAN

No, madam.

CHARMIAN

No, madam.

CLEOPATRA

He was disposed to mirth, but on the sudden
80 A Roman thought hath struck him.Enobarbus!

CLEOPATRA

He was in a good mood, and then suddenly he started thinking of Rome. Enobarbus?

ENOBARBUS

Madam?

ENOBARBUS

Madam?

CLEOPATRA

Seek him and bring him hither.
Wheres Alexas?

CLEOPATRA

Find him and bring him here. Wheres Alexas?

ALEXAS

Here at your service. My lord approaches.

ALEXAS

Here, at your service. Here comes my lord.
Enter ANTONY with the FIRST MESSENGER
ANTONY and the FIRST MESSENGER enter.

CLEOPATRA

85 We will not look upon him. Go with us.

CLEOPATRA

FIRST MESSENGER

Fulvia thy wife first came into the field.

FIRST MESSENGER

Your wife, Fulvia, mustered her army first.

ANTONY

Against my brother Lucius?

ANTONY

Against my brother Lucius?

FIRST MESSENGER

Ay.
But soon that war had end, and the times state
Made friends of them, joining their force gainst Caesar,
Whose better issue in the war from Italy
Upon the first encounter drave them.

FIRST MESSENGER

Yes. But that war ended as soon as circumstances made it advisable for them to join together against Caesar. But in their very first battle, Caesar won and drove them out of Italy.
Exeunt all but ANTONY and the FIRST MESSENGER Everyone follows CLEOPATRA out, leaving ANTONY and the FIRST MESSENGER .

ANTONY

Well, what worst?

ANTONY

Well, give me the worst news.

FIRST MESSENGER

The nature of bad news infects the teller.

FIRST MESSENGER

The bearer of bad news is often blamed for it.

ANTONY

95 When it concerns the fool or coward. On.
Things that are past are done, with me. Tis thus:
Who tells me true, though in his tale lie death,
I hear him as he flattered.

ANTONY

Only if the hearer is a fool or a coward. Go on. As far as Im concerned, whats past is done. Its like this: as long as a person tells me the truth, even though it means my death, I will listen as though he praised me.

FIRST MESSENGER

Labienus
This is stiff newshath with his Parthian force
100 Extended Asia: from Euphrates
His conquering banner shook, from Syria
To Lydia and to Ionia,
Whilst

FIRST MESSENGER

ANTONY

Antony, thou wouldst say.

ANTONY

While Antony... is what you want to say.

FIRST MESSENGER

O my lord!

FIRST MESSENGER

Oh, my lord!

ANTONY

Speak to me home. Mince not the general tongue.
Name Cleopatra as she is called in Rome.
Rail thou in Fulvias phrase, and taunt my faults
With such full license as both truth and malice
Have power to utter. Oh, then we bring forth weeds
When our quick minds lie still, and our ills told us
Is as our earing.

ANTONY

Speak plainly. Dont tone down what the people are saying. Call Cleopatra what the Romans call her. Use Fulvias abusive language. Freely scold me for my faults with as much severity as an enemy with truth on his side. Its easy to err when left to our own devices, but criticism helps us to see our faults and correct them.
Enter SECOND MESSENGER
A SECOND MESSENGER enters.
Fare thee well awhile.
Good-bye for a while.

FIRST MESSENGER

At your noble pleasure.
Exit FIRST MESSENGER

FIRST MESSENGER

Ill be at your service.

The FIRST MESSENGER exits.

ANTONY

From Sicyon, how, the news? Speak there.

ANTONY

SECOND MESSENGER

The man from Sicyon

SECOND MESSENGER

The man from Sicyon

ANTONY

Is there such an one?

ANTONY

Is he here?

SECOND MESSENGER

115 He stays upon your will.

SECOND MESSENGER

Hes waiting outside.

ANTONY

Let him appear.

Exit SECOND MESSENGER

ANTONY

Have him come in.

The SECOND MESSENGER exits.

These strong Egyptian fetters I must break,
Or lose myself in dotage.
(to himself) I must break Cleopatras powerful hold over me or else Ill lose myself in foolish infatuation.
Enter THIRD MESSENGER , with a letter
A THIRD MESSENGER enters with a letter.
What are you?
Whats your message?

THIRD MESSENGER

Fulvia thy wife is dead.

THIRD MESSENGER

Your wife, Fulvia, is dead.

ANTONY

Where died she?

ANTONY

Where did she die?

THIRD MESSENGER

In Sicyon.
Her length of sickness, with what else more serious
Importeth thee to know, this bears.

THIRD MESSENGER

In Sicyon. In this letter youll find details of her illness and other, more serious matters that concern you.
He gives ANTONY a letter
He hands the letter to ANTONY .

ANTONY

Forbear me.
Exit THIRD MESSENGER

ANTONY

Leave me.
The THIRD MESSENGER exits.
(to himself) Theres a great spirit gone! Thus did I desire it.
What our contempts doth often hurl from us
We wish it ours again. The present pleasure,
125 By revolution lowering, does become
The opposite of itself. Shes good, being gone.
The hand could pluck her back that shoved her on.
I must from this enchanting Queen break off.
Ten thousand harms, more than the ills I know
130 My idleness doth hatch.How now, Enobarbus!
(to himself) A great spirit has gone from the world! This is what I wanted. Once its gone, the very thing we reject becomes what we desire. Whats enjoyable one day becomes the opposite as time rolls around. Now that shes gone, I want her. Now I would call her back, though I pushed her away. I have to break from this beguiling Queen. The time Ive wasted here has caused ten thousand more problems than the ones I know about. (calling) Are you there, Enobarbus?
Enter ENOBARBUS
ENOBARBUS enters.

ENOBARBUS

Whats your pleasure, sir?

ENOBARBUS

What would you like, sir?

ANTONY

I must with haste from hence.

ANTONY

I have to leave right away.

ENOBARBUS

Why, then, we kill all our women. We see how mortal an unkindness is to them. If they suffer our departure, deaths the word.

ENOBARBUS

That will kill our lovers. We know how much they suffer if we are unkind to them. If we leave, it will feel like nothing less than death to them.

ANTONY

I must be gone.

ANTONY

I must be gone.

ENOBARBUS

Under a compelling occasion, let women die. It were pity to cast them away for nothing, though between them and a great cause they should be esteemed nothing. Cleopatra, catching but the least noise of this, dies instantly. I have seen her die twenty times upon far poorer moment. I do think there is mettle in death, which commits some loving act upon her, she hath such a celerity in dying.

ENOBARBUS

If its that important, then let the women die. It would be a pity to throw them away for nothing, but if its a matter of choosing between them and a great cause, then theyre worthless. If Cleopatra hears even a breath of this, shell die immediately. Ive seen her claim to be dying twenty times before, and for far less reason. I think there must be something invigorating about death, since she dies with such enthusiasm.

ANTONY

She is cunning past mans thought.

ANTONY

Shes more cunning than anyone can imagine.

ENOBARBUS

Alack, sir, no, her passions are made of nothing but the finest part of pure love. We cannot call her winds and waters sighs and tears. They are greater storms and tempests than almanacs can report. This cannot be cunning in her. If it be, she makes a shower of rain as well as Jove.

ENOBARBUS

Alas, sir, no, her feelings come from pure love, not cleverness. Her sighs and tears are like great winds and floods. She has more storms and tempests in her than a weather almanac. Her temper is not a trick or a skillif it is, she can make it rain as well as

Jove

king of the Roman gods; commands thunder, lightning, and rain

Jove
.

ANTONY

Would I had never seen her!

ANTONY

I wish Id never seen her!

ENOBARBUS

O sir, you had then left unseen a wonderful piece of work which not to have been blessed withal would have discredited your travel.

ENOBARBUS

Then youd have missed an amazing piece of work, sir, and your trip would have been poorer for the loss.

ANTONY

155 Fulvia is dead.

ANTONY

Fulvia is dead.

ENOBARBUS

Sir?

ENOBARBUS

Pardon me?

ANTONY

Fulvia is dead.

ANTONY

Fulvia is dead.

ENOBARBUS

Fulvia?

ENOBARBUS

Fulvia?

ANTONY

Dead.

ANTONY

Dead.

ENOBARBUS

Why, sir, give the gods a thankful sacrifice. When it pleaseth their deities to take the wife of a man from him, it shows to man the tailors of the earth, comforting therein, that when old robes are worn out, there are members to make new. If there were no more women but Fulvia, then had you indeed a cut, and the case to be lamented. This grief is crowned with consolation. Your old smock brings forth a new petticoat, and indeed the tears live in an onion that should water this sorrow.

ENOBARBUS

Then you should offer the gods a sacrifice to show your thanks. When a mans wife dies, he can be comforted by the knowledge that there are replacements to be found. If Fulvia were the last woman on earth, there would be a reason to grieve. But in this way, grief and comfort appear together. The only kind of tears you should shed in this case are the kind you might get from holding an onion to your nose.

ANTONY

The business she hath broached in the state
170 Cannot endure my absence.

ANTONY

I must go and continue the business Fulvia started.

ENOBARBUS

And the business you have broached here cannot be without you, especially that of Cleopatras, which wholly depends on your abode.

ENOBARBUS

The business you began here needs you as wellespecially the business with Cleopatra, which only you can attend to.

ANTONY

No more light answers. Let our officers
175 Have notice what we purpose. I shall break
The cause of our expedience to the Queen
And get her leave to part. For not alone
The death of Fulvia, with more urgent touches,
Do strongly speak to us, but the letters too
180 Of many our contriving friends in Rome
Petition us at home. Sextus Pompeius
Hath given the dare to Caesar and commands
The empire of the sea. Our slippery people,
Whose love is never linked to the deserver
185 Till his deserts are past, begin to throw
Pompey the Great and all his dignities
Upon his son, whohigh in name and power,
Higher than both in blood and lifestands up
For the main soldier, whose quality, going on,
190 The sides o th world may danger. Much is breeding
Which, like the coursers hair, hath yet but life,
And not a serpents poison. Say our pleasure,
To such whose place is under us, requires
Our quick remove from hence.

ANTONY

Enough of this frivolous talk. Give our officers notice of our intentions. Ill tell the Queen the reason for our quick departure and get her permission to leave. Fulvias death and the pressing concerns related to it are not the only reasons I am eager to go; friends in Rome have also sent many letters advising my return. Sextus Pompeius has challenged Caesar. His fleet controls the sea. Our fickle citizenswho never reward service until that service is overare now giving all the rights and honors won by Pompey the Great to his son, Sextus. Sextus has great honor and power, and his spirit and energy are even greater, all of which makes him the most formidable soldier in the empire. The empire may be in danger if hes not restrained before he reaches his full potential. There are many troubles brewing now that have yet to become full-fledged threats.

ENOBARBUS

I shall do t.

ENOBARBUS

I will.
Exeunt They both exit.