Internet Shakespeare Editions

About this text

  • Title: Anthony and Cleopatra (Modern)
  • Editor: Randall Martin
  • ISBN: 978-1-55058-433-2

    Copyright Randall Martin. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Editor: Randall Martin
    Not Peer Reviewed

    Anthony and Cleopatra (Modern)

    Enter Cleopatra, Charmian, Alexas, and Iras.
    Where is he?
    I did not see him since.
    [To Alexas] See where he is, who's with him, what he does;
    I did not send you. If you find him sad,
    Say I am dancing; if in mirth, report
    305That I am sudden sick. Quick, and return.
    [Exit Alexas].
    Madam, methinks if you did love him dearly,
    You do not hold the method to enforce
    The like from him.
    What should I do I do not?
    In each thing give him way; cross him in nothing.
    Thou teachest like a fool the way to lose him.
    Tempt him not so too far. I wish, forbear.
    In time we hate that which we often fear.
    Enter Antony.
    315But here comes Antony.
    I am sick, and sullen.
    I am sorry to give breathing to my purpose.
    Help me away, dear Charmian, I shall fall.
    It cannot be thus long, the sides of nature
    320Will not sustain it.
    Now my dearest queen--
    Pray you stand farther from me.
    What's the matter?
    I know by that same eye there's some good news.
    325What, says the married woman you may go?
    Would she had never giv'n you leave to come.
    Let her not say 'tis I that keep you here.
    I have no power upon you. Hers you are.
    The gods best know--
    Oh never was there queen
    So mightily betrayed; yet at the first
    I saw the treasons planted.
    Why should I think you can be mine, and true--
    335Though you in swearing shake the thronèd gods--
    Who have been false to Fulvia? Riotous madness,
    To be entangled with those mouth-made vows
    Which break themselves in swearing.
    Most sweet queen--
    Nay, pray you seek no color for your going,
    But bid farewell and go. When you sued staying,
    Then was the time for words, no going then.
    345Eternity was in our lips and eyes,
    Bliss in our brows bent; none our parts so poor
    But was a race of heaven. They are so still,
    Or thou the greatest soldier of the world
    Art turned the greatest liar.
    How now, lady?
    I would I had thy inches, thou should'st know
    There were a heart in Egypt.
    Hear me, queen:
    The strong necessity of time commands
    355Our services awhile, but my full heart
    Remains in use with you. Our Italy
    Shines o'er with civil swords; Sextus Pompeius
    Makes his approaches to the port of Rome;
    Equality of two domestic powers
    360Breed scrupulous faction; the hated, grown to strength,
    Are newly grown to love; the condemned Pompey,
    Rich in his father's honor, creeps apace
    Into the hearts of such as have not thrived
    Upon the present state, whose numbers threaten;
    365And quietness, grown sick of rest, would purge
    By any desperate change. My more particular,
    And that which most with you should safe my going,
    Is Fulvia's death.
    Though age from folly could not give me freedom,
    370It does from childishness. Can Fulvia die?
    She's dead, my queen. [He shows her letters].
    Look here, and at thy sovereign leisure read
    The garboils she awaked. At the last, best:
    See when and where she died.
    Oh most false love!
    Where be the sacred vials thou shouldst fill
    With sorrowful water? Now I see--I see,
    In Fulvia's death, how mine received shall be.
    Quarrel no more, but be prepared to know
    380The purposes I bear, which are or cease
    As you shall give th'advice. By the fire
    That quickens Nilus' slime, I go from hence
    Thy soldier-servant, making peace or war
    As thou affects.
    Cut my lace, Charmian, come.
    But let it be; I am quickly ill and well,
    So Antony loves.
    My precious Queen, forbear,
    And give true evidence to his love, which stands
    390An honorable trial.
    So Fulvia told me.
    I prithee, turn aside, and weep for her,
    Then bid adieu to me, and say the tears
    Belong to Egypt. Good now, play one scene
    395Of excellent dissembling, and let it look
    Like perfect honor.
    You'll heat my blood. No more!
    You can do better yet; but this is meetly.
    Now by my sword--
    And target. Still he mends.
    But this is not the best. Look, prithee Charmian,
    How this Herculean Roman does become
    The carriage of his chafe.
    I'll leave you, lady.
    Courteous lord, one word:
    Sir, you and I must part--but that's not it;
    Sir, you and I have loved--but there's not it;
    That you know well. Something it is I would--
    Oh, my oblivion is a very Antony,
    410And I am all forgotten.
    But that your royalty
    Holds idleness your subject, I should take you
    For idleness itself.
    'Tis sweating labor,
    415To bear such idleness so near the heart
    As Cleopatra this. But sir, forgive me,
    Since my becomings kill me when they do not
    Eye well to you. Your honor calls you hence.
    Therefore be deaf to my unpitied folly,
    420And all the gods go with you. Upon your sword
    Sit laurel victory, and smooth success
    Be strewed before your feet.
    Let us go. Come,
    Our separation so abides and flies
    425That thou, residing here, goes yet with me;
    And I hence fleeting here remain with thee.