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Enter CLEOPATRA , CHARMIAN , IRAS , and ALEXAS
CLEOPATRA , CHARMIAN , IRAS , and ALEXAS enter.

CLEOPATRA

Give me some music. Music, moody food
Of us that trade in love.

CLEOPATRA

Play me some music. Music feeds the melancholy moods of us lovers.

ALL

The music, ho!

ALL

Musicians, come in!
Enter MARDIAN the eunuch
MADRIAN enters.

CLEOPATRA

Let it alone. Lets to billiards. Come, Charmian.

CLEOPATRA

Never mind. Lets play billiards. Play with me, Charmian.

CHARMIAN

My arm is sore. Best play with Mardian.

CHARMIAN

My arm is sore. Youll have a better game with Mardian.

CLEOPATRA

5 As well a woman with an eunuch played
As with a woman.Come, youll play with me, sir?

CLEOPATRA

Playing with a eunuch is the same as playing with a woman. Will you play with me, sir?

MARDIAN

As well as I can, madam.

MARDIAN

Ill do my best, madam.

CLEOPATRA

And when good will is showed, though t come too short,
The actor may plead pardon. Ill none now.
10 Give me mine angle. Well to th river. There,
My music playing far off, I will betray
Tawny-finned fishes. My bended hook shall pierce
Their slimy jaws, and as I draw them up
Ill think them every one an Antony
15 And say, Aha! Youre caught.

CLEOPATRA

When a person tries in good faith, even if he fails he cannot be blamed. I dont want to play now. Give me my fishing rod. Well go to the river. With my music playing in the background, Ill lure fish. My hook will go through their slimy jaws and as I pull them up Ill imagine each one is Antony. Ill say, Aha! I caught you!

CHARMIAN

Twas merry when
You wagered on your angling, when your diver
Did hang a salt fish on his hook, which he
With fervency drew up.

CHARMIAN

It was funny when you and Antony bet on who could catch the first fish. You had a diver put a salted fish on his hook. He was so excited as he hurried to pull it in!

CLEOPATRA

That timeOh, times!
I laughed him out of patience, and that night
20 I laughed him into patience. And next morn,
Ere the ninth hour, I drunk him to his bed,
Then put my tires and mantles on him, whilst
I wore his sword Philippan.

CLEOPATRA

That time? Oh, there were so many fun times. I would play some trick on him and laugh until he lost his patience. Then, that night, I would laugh with him while we made love until he was patient again. Then by nine in the morning I would have him so drunk I could dress him in my clothes while I wore the sword he used at the famous battle of Philippi.
Enter a MESSENGER
A MESSENGER enters.
Oh, from Italy!
Ram thou thy fruitful tidings in mine ears,
25 That long time have been barren.
Oh! News from Italy! Cram your good news into my ears. Its been so long since Ive heard from him.

MESSENGER

Madam, madam

MESSENGER

Madam, madam

CLEOPATRA

Antonios dead! If thou say so, villain,
Thou killst thy mistress. But well and free,
If thou so yield him, there is gold, and here
My bluest veins to kissa hand that kings
30 Have lipped, and trembled kissing.

CLEOPATRA

Antonys dead! If you say that, you bastard, youll kill your Queen. If you say hes healthy and free, Ill 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, theres 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
35 Down thy ill-uttering throat.

CLEOPATRA

Well then, heres more money for you. But you know, sirrah, we customarily say that the dead are well. If thats what you mean, Ill 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 theres no goodness in thy faceif Antony
Be free and healthful, so tart a favor
40 To 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 dont look as if you bring good news. If Antony is free and healthy, you shouldnt wear such a sour face while bringing such good news.
If hes 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?

CLEOPATRA

I have a mind to strike thee ere thou speakst.
Yet if thou say Antony lives, is well,
45 Or friends with Caesar, or not captive to him,
Ill set thee in a shower of gold and hail
Rich pearls upon thee.

CLEOPATRA

I have half a mind to hit you before you speak again. But if Antony is alive, healthy, friendly with Caesar, and not Caesars prisoner, Ill shower you with gold and pearls.

MESSENGER

Madam, hes well.

MESSENGER

Madam, hes well.

CLEOPATRA

Well said.

CLEOPATRA

Thats well spoken.

MESSENGER

And friends with Caesar.

MESSENGER

And hes friendly with Caesar.

CLEOPATRA

Th art an honest man.

CLEOPATRA

You are an honest man.

MESSENGER

Caesar and he are greater friends than ever.

MESSENGER

Caesar and he are better friends than ever.

CLEOPATRA

50 Make thee a fortune from me.

CLEOPATRA

Im going to make you a rich man.

MESSENGER

But yet, madam

MESSENGER

But yet, madam

CLEOPATRA

I do not like But yet. It does allay
The good precedence. Fie upon But yet.
But yet is as a jailer to bring forth
Some monstrous malefactor. Prithee, friend,
55 Pour out the pack of matter to mine ear,
The good and bad together. Hes friends with Caesar,
In state of health, thou sayst, and, thou sayst, free.

CLEOPATRA

I dont like the sound of but yet. It reverses all the good that came before it. Damn those words, but yet! But yet is like a jailer about to bring out some horrible criminal. Please, my friend, give me all the news, both good and bad, at the same time. You say hes friendly with Caesar, healthy, and free.

MESSENGER

Free, madam, no. I made no such report.
Hes bound unto Octavia.

MESSENGER

I didnt say free, madam. No, I didnt say that. Hes bound to Octavia.

CLEOPATRA

For what good turn?

CLEOPATRA

For what favor?

MESSENGER

60 For the best turn i th bed.

MESSENGER

For the favor of sleeping in her bed.

CLEOPATRA

I am pale, Charmian.

CLEOPATRA

Im sick, Charmian.

MESSENGER

Madam, hes married to Octavia.

MESSENGER

Hes married to Octavia, madam.

CLEOPATRA

The most infectious pestilence upon thee!

CLEOPATRA

May you die of the worst disease!
Strikes him down
She knocks him down.

MESSENGER

Good madam, patience.

MESSENGER

Good madam, be patient.

CLEOPATRA

What say you?

CLEOPATRA

What did you say to me?
Strikes him
She hits him again.
Hence, horrible villain, or Ill spurn thine eyes
Like balls before me! Ill unhair thy head!
Get out, you horrible bastard, or Ill gouge out your eyes. Ill scalp you.
She hales him up and down
She drags him across the stage.
Thou shalt be whipped with wire and stewed in brine,
Smarting in lingring pickle!
Ill have you whipped with wire and soaked in brine like a pickle, making your pain linger.

MESSENGER

Gracious madam,
I that do bring the news made not the match.

MESSENGER

Gracious madam, I only brought the news. I didnt make the match.

CLEOPATRA

70 Say tis not so, a province I will give thee
And make thy fortunes proud. The blow thou hadst
Shall make thy peace for moving me to rage,
And I will boot thee with what gift beside
Thy modesty can beg.

CLEOPATRA

If you say it isnt true, Ill give you a province and make you rich. The blows I gave you already will make up for your upsetting me. And on top of that Ill give you whatever you ask for.

MESSENGER

Hes married, madam.

MESSENGER

Hes married, madam.

CLEOPATRA

75 Rogue, thou hast lived too long.

CLEOPATRA

Rogue, youve lived too long!
Draws a knife
She draws a knife.

MESSENGER

Nay then, Ill run.
What mean you, madam? I have made no fault.

MESSENGER

No way, then, Ill run. Whats the matter with you, madam? I havent done anything to you.
Exit The MESSENGER exits.

CHARMIAN

Good madam, keep yourself within yourself.
The man is innocent.

CHARMIAN

Good madam, restrain yourself. The man hasnt done anything wrong.

CLEOPATRA

Some innocents scape not the thunderbolt.
80 Melt Egypt into Nile, and kindly creatures
Turn all to serpents. Call the slave again.
Though I am mad, I will not bite him. Call!

CLEOPATRA

Even innocents cannot always escape disaster. May Egypt drown in the Nile and all good creatures turn into poisonous snakes. Call that servant back. Even though Im mad, I wont bite him. Call him!

CHARMIAN

He is afeard to come.

CHARMIAN

Hes afraid to come in.

CLEOPATRA

I will not hurt him.
These hands do lack nobility that they strike
85 A meaner than myself, since I myself
Have given myself the cause.

CLEOPATRA

I wont hurt him. My hands are tainted if they hit an inferior, especially since I myself am the cause of my own distress.
Enter the MESSENGER again
The MESSENGER returns.
Come hither, sir.
Though it be honest, it is never good
To bring bad news. Give to a gracious message
An host of tongues, but let ill tidings tell
90 Themselves when they be felt.
Come here, sir. It may be honest, but its never wise to bring bad news. You can give good news in many ways, but let bad news interpret itself as you tell it.

MESSENGER

I have done my duty.

MESSENGER

Ive only done my duty.

CLEOPATRA

Is he married?
I cannot hate thee worser than I do
If thou again say yes.

CLEOPATRA

Is he married? I cant hate you any more than I already do if you repeat that he is.

MESSENGER

Hes married, madam.

MESSENGER

Hes married, madam.

CLEOPATRA

The gods confound thee! Dost thou hold there still?

CLEOPATRA

May the gods destroy you! Do you maintain the same story?

MESSENGER

Should I lie, madam?

MESSENGER

Do you want me to lie, madam?

CLEOPATRA

Oh, I would thou didst,
So half my Egypt were submerged and made
A cistern for scaled snakes! Go, get thee hence.
Hadst thou Narcissus in thy face, to me
Thou wouldst appear most ugly. He is married?

CLEOPATRA

Oh, I wish you had lied, even if it meant half my kingdom would be submerged and filled with snakes. Go, get out! Even if you were as handsome as

Narcissus

mythical boy who was so beautiful that he drowned himself while trying to embrace his own reflection

Narcissus
, your face would be ugly to me. Is he really married?

MESSENGER

I crave your highness pardon.

MESSENGER

I beg your highness pardon.

CLEOPATRA

He is married?

CLEOPATRA

Is he really married?

MESSENGER

Take no offense that I would not offend you.
To punish me for what you make me do
Seems much unequal. Hes married to Octavia.

MESSENGER

Please dont be offended that I dont want to offend you any more. Its not fair to punish me for something you make me do. Hes married to Octavia.

CLEOPATRA

Oh, that his fault should make a knave of thee,
That art not what th art sure of! Get thee hence.
The merchandise which thou hast brought from Rome
Are all too dear for me. Lie they upon thy hand
And be undone by em!

CLEOPATRA

Its too bad that Antonys fault should make you look like a jerk. You didnt have anything to do with it. Go away. The merchandise you bring from Rome is too expensive for me. Let it stay in your inventory until it bankrupts you.
Exit MESSENGER The MESSENGER exits.

CHARMIAN

Good your highness, patience.

CHARMIAN

Be patient, your highness.

CLEOPATRA

110 In praising Antony, I have dispraised Caesar.

CLEOPATRA

When I have praised Antony, Ive disparaged Caesar.

CHARMIAN

Many times, madam.

CHARMIAN

Many times, madam.

CLEOPATRA

I am paid for t now. Lead me from hence.
I faint. O Iras, Charmian! Tis no matter.
Go to the fellow, good Alexas. Bid him
115 Report the feature of Octavia: her years,
Her inclination. Let him not leave out
The color of her hair. Bring me word quickly.

CLEOPATRA

Im being repaid for that now. Help me out of here. I feel faint. Oh, Iras, Charmian! It doesnt matter. Good Alexas, go ask that fellow to describe Octavia. How old is she? What kind of disposition does she have? Dont let him leave out the color of her hair. Bring me his answers quickly.
Exit ALEXAS ALEXAS exits.
Let him forever go!Let him not, Charmian.
Though he be painted one way like a Gorgon,
The other ways a Mars. (toMARDIAN) Bid you Alexas
Bring me word how tall she is. Pity me, Charmian,
But do not speak to me. Lead me to my chamber.
Let Antony be purged from my life foreverbut no, dont let him, Charmian. Even though half of him is like a

Gorgon

The Gorgons were mythical monsters whose gaze turned humans to stone

Gorgon
, the other half is like Mars. (toMARDIAN) Ask Alexas to also ask him how tall she is. Feel sorry for me, Charmian, but dont talk to me. Help me get to my bedroom.
Exeunt They exit.