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    Act 2. Scene V

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    Chapter 10
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    SCENE V. Alexandria. CLEOPATRA's palace.

    Enter CLEOPATRA, CHARMIAN, IRAS, and ALEXAS
    CLEOPATRA
    Give me some music; music, moody food
    Of us that trade in love.

    Attendants
    The music, ho!

    Enter MARDIAN

    CLEOPATRA
    Let it alone; let's to billiards: come, Charmian.

    CHARMIAN
    My arm is sore; best play with Mardian.

    CLEOPATRA
    As well a woman with an eunuch play'd
    As with a woman. Come, you'll play with me, sir?

    MARDIAN
    As well as I can, madam.

    CLEOPATRA
    And when good will is show'd, though't come
    too short,
    The actor may plead pardon. I'll none now:
    Give me mine angle; we'll to the river: there,
    My music playing far off, I will betray
    Tawny-finn'd fishes; my bended hook shall pierce
    Their slimy jaws; and, as I draw them up,
    I'll think them every one an Antony,
    And say 'Ah, ha! you're caught.'

    CHARMIAN
    'Twas merry when
    You wager'd on your angling; when your diver
    Did hang a salt-fish on his hook, which he
    With fervency drew up.

    CLEOPATRA
    That time,--O times!--
    I laugh'd him out of patience; and that night
    I laugh'd 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.

    Enter a Messenger

    O, from Italy
    Ram thou thy fruitful tidings in mine ears,
    That long time have been barren.

    Messenger
    Madam, madam,--

    CLEOPATRA
    Antonius dead!--If thou say so, villain,
    Thou kill'st thy mistress: but well and free,
    If thou so yield him, there is gold, and here
    My bluest veins to kiss; a hand that kings
    Have lipp'd, and trembled kissing.

    Messenger
    First, madam, he is well.

    CLEOPATRA
    Why, there's 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
    Down thy ill-uttering throat.

    Messenger
    Good madam, hear me.

    CLEOPATRA
    Well, go to, I will;
    But there's no goodness in thy face: if Antony
    Be free and healthful,--so tart a favour
    To trumpet such good tidings! If not well,
    Thou shouldst come like a Fury crown'd with snakes,
    Not like a formal man.

    Messenger
    Will't please you hear me?

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

    Messenger
    Madam, he's well.

    CLEOPATRA
    Well said.

    Messenger
    And friends with Caesar.

    CLEOPATRA
    Thou'rt an honest man.

    Messenger
    Caesar and he are greater friends than ever.

    CLEOPATRA
    Make thee a fortune from me.

    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 gaoler to bring forth
    Some monstrous malefactor. Prithee, friend,
    Pour out the pack of matter to mine ear,
    The good and bad together: he's friends with Caesar:
    In state of health thou say'st; and thou say'st free.

    Messenger
    Free, madam! no; I made no such report:
    He's bound unto Octavia.

    CLEOPATRA
    For what good turn?

    Messenger
    For the best turn i' the bed.

    CLEOPATRA
    I am pale, Charmian.

    Messenger
    Madam, he's married to Octavia.

    CLEOPATRA
    The most infectious pestilence upon thee!

    Strikes him down

    Messenger
    Good madam, patience.

    CLEOPATRA
    What say you? Hence,

    Strikes him again

    Horrible villain! or I'll spurn thine eyes
    Like balls before me; I'll unhair thy head:

    She hales him up and down

    Thou shalt be whipp'd with wire, and stew'd in brine,
    Smarting in lingering pickle.

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

    CLEOPATRA
    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.

    Messenger
    He's married, madam.

    CLEOPATRA
    Rogue, thou hast lived too long.

    Draws a knife

    Messenger
    Nay, then I'll run.
    What mean you, madam? I have made no fault.

    Exit

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

    CLEOPATRA
    Some innocents 'scape not the thunderbolt.
    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.

    CHARMIAN
    He is afeard to come.

    CLEOPATRA
    I will not hurt him.

    Exit CHARMIAN

    These hands do lack nobility, that they strike
    A meaner than myself; since I myself
    Have given myself the cause.

    Re-enter CHARMIAN and Messenger

    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
    Themselves when they be felt.

    Messenger
    I have done my duty.

    CLEOPATRA
    Is he married?
    I cannot hate thee worser than I do,
    If thou again say 'Yes.'

    Messenger
    He's married, madam.

    CLEOPATRA
    The gods confound thee! dost thou hold there still?

    Messenger
    Should I lie, madam?

    CLEOPATRA
    O, 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?

    Messenger
    I crave your highness' pardon.

    CLEOPATRA
    He is married?

    Messenger
    Take no offence that I would not offend you:
    To punish me for what you make me do.
    Seems much unequal: he's married to Octavia.

    CLEOPATRA
    O, that his fault should make a knave of thee,
    That art not what thou'rt 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!

    Exit Messenger

    CHARMIAN
    Good your highness, patience.

    CLEOPATRA
    In praising Antony, I have dispraised Caesar.

    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
    Report the feature of Octavia, her years,
    Her inclination, let him not leave out
    The colour of her hair: bring me word quickly.

    Exit ALEXAS

    Let him for ever go:--let him not--Charmian,
    Though he be painted one way like a Gorgon,
    The other way's a Mars. Bid you Alexas

    To MARDIAN

    Bring me word how tall she is. Pity me, Charmian,
    But do not speak to me. Lead me to my chamber.

    Exeunt
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