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    Act 1. Scene II

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    Chapter 2
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    SCENE II. The same. Another room.

    Enter CHARMIAN, IRAS, ALEXAS, and a Soothsayer
    CHARMIAN
    Lord Alexas, sweet Alexas, most any thing Alexas,
    almost most absolute Alexas, where's the soothsayer
    that you praised so to the queen? O, that I knew
    this husband, which, you say, must charge his horns
    with garlands!

    ALEXAS
    Soothsayer!

    Soothsayer
    Your will?

    CHARMIAN
    Is this the man? Is't you, sir, that know things?

    Soothsayer
    In nature's infinite book of secrecy
    A little I can read.

    ALEXAS
    Show him your hand.

    Enter DOMITIUS ENOBARBUS

    DOMITIUS ENOBARBUS
    Bring in the banquet quickly; wine enough
    Cleopatra's health to drink.

    CHARMIAN
    Good sir, give me good fortune.

    Soothsayer
    I make not, but foresee.

    CHARMIAN
    Pray, then, foresee me one.

    Soothsayer
    You shall be yet far fairer than you are.

    CHARMIAN
    He means in flesh.

    IRAS
    No, you shall paint when you are old.

    CHARMIAN
    Wrinkles forbid!

    ALEXAS
    Vex not his prescience; be attentive.

    CHARMIAN
    Hush!

    Soothsayer
    You shall be more beloving than beloved.

    CHARMIAN
    I had rather heat my liver with drinking.

    ALEXAS
    Nay, hear 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.

    Soothsayer
    You shall outlive the lady whom you serve.

    CHARMIAN
    O excellent! I love long life better than figs.

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

    CHARMIAN
    Then belike my children shall have no names:
    prithee, how many boys and wenches must I have?

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

    CHARMIAN
    Out, fool! I forgive thee for a witch.

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

    CHARMIAN
    Nay, come, tell Iras hers.

    ALEXAS
    We'll know all our fortunes.

    DOMITIUS ENOBARBUS
    Mine, and most of our fortunes, to-night, shall
    be--drunk to bed.

    IRAS
    There's a palm presages chastity, if nothing else.

    CHARMIAN
    E'en as the o'erflowing Nilus presageth famine.

    IRAS
    Go, you wild bedfellow, you cannot soothsay.

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

    Soothsayer
    Your fortunes are alike.

    IRAS
    But how, but how? give me particulars.

    Soothsayer
    I have said.

    IRAS
    Am I not an inch of fortune better than she?

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

    IRAS
    Not in my husband's nose.

    CHARMIAN
    Our worser thoughts heavens mend! Alexas,--come,
    his fortune, his fortune! O, 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 worst
    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!

    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!

    CHARMIAN
    Amen.

    ALEXAS
    Lo, now, if it lay in their hands to make me a
    cuckold, they would make themselves whores, but
    they'ld do't!

    DOMITIUS ENOBARBUS
    Hush! here comes Antony.

    CHARMIAN
    Not he; the queen.

    Enter CLEOPATRA

    CLEOPATRA
    Saw you my lord?

    DOMITIUS ENOBARBUS
    No, lady.

    CLEOPATRA
    Was he not here?

    CHARMIAN
    No, madam.

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

    DOMITIUS ENOBARBUS
    Madam?

    CLEOPATRA
    Seek him, and bring him hither.
    Where's Alexas?

    ALEXAS
    Here, at your service. My lord approaches.

    CLEOPATRA
    We will not look upon him: go with us.

    Exeunt

    Enter MARK ANTONY with a Messenger and Attendants

    Messenger
    Fulvia thy wife first came into the field.

    MARK ANTONY
    Against my brother Lucius?

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

    MARK ANTONY
    Well, what worst?

    Messenger
    The nature of bad news infects the teller.

    MARK ANTONY
    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 flatter'd.

    Messenger
    Labienus--
    This is stiff news--hath, with his Parthian force,
    Extended Asia from Euphrates;
    His conquering banner shook from Syria
    To Lydia and to Ionia; Whilst--

    MARK ANTONY
    Antony, thou wouldst say,--

    Messenger
    O, my lord!

    MARK ANTONY
    Speak to me home, mince not the general tongue:
    Name Cleopatra as she is call'd in Rome;
    Rail thou in Fulvia's phrase; and taunt my faults
    With such full licence as both truth and malice
    Have power to utter. O, then we bring forth weeds,
    When our quick minds lie still; and our ills told us
    Is as our earing. Fare thee well awhile.

    Messenger
    At your noble pleasure.

    Exit

    MARK ANTONY
    From Sicyon, ho, the news! Speak there!

    First Attendant
    The man from Sicyon,--is there such an one?

    Second Attendant
    He stays upon your will.

    MARK ANTONY
    Let him appear.
    These strong Egyptian fetters I must break,
    Or lose myself in dotage.

    Enter another Messenger

    What are you?

    Second Messenger
    Fulvia thy wife is dead.

    MARK ANTONY
    Where died she?

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

    Gives a letter

    MARK ANTONY
    Forbear me.

    Exit Second Messenger

    There's a great spirit gone! Thus did I desire it:
    What our contempt doth often hurl from us,
    We wish it ours again; the present pleasure,
    By revolution lowering, does become
    The opposite of itself: she's 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,
    My idleness doth hatch. How now! Enobarbus!

    Re-enter DOMITIUS ENOBARBUS

    DOMITIUS ENOBARBUS
    What's your pleasure, sir?

    MARK ANTONY
    I must with haste from hence.

    DOMITIUS ENOBARBUS
    Why, then, we kill all our women:
    we see how mortal an unkindness is to them;
    if they suffer our departure, death's the word.

    MARK ANTONY
    I must be gone.

    DOMITIUS 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.

    MARK ANTONY
    She is cunning past man's thought.

    Exit ALEXAS

    DOMITIUS 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.

    MARK ANTONY
    Would I had never seen her.

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

    MARK ANTONY
    Fulvia is dead.

    DOMITIUS ENOBARBUS
    Sir?

    MARK ANTONY
    Fulvia is dead.

    DOMITIUS ENOBARBUS
    Fulvia!

    MARK ANTONY
    Dead.

    DOMITIUS 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.

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

    DOMITIUS ENOBARBUS
    And the business you have broached here cannot be
    without you; especially that of Cleopatra's, which
    wholly depends on your abode.

    MARK ANTONY
    No more light answers. Let our officers
    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
    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 link'd to the deserver
    Till his deserts are past, begin to throw
    Pompey the Great and all his dignities
    Upon his son; who, high in name and power,
    Higher than both in blood and life, stands up
    For the main soldier: whose quality, going on,
    The sides o' the world may danger: much is breeding,
    Which, like the courser's hair, hath yet but life,
    And not a serpent's poison. Say, our pleasure,
    To such whose place is under us, requires
    Our quick remove from hence.

    DOMITIUS ENOBARBUS
    I shall do't.

    Exeunt
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