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    Act 5. Scene II

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    Chapter 42
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    SCENE II. Alexandria. A room in the monument.

    Enter CLEOPATRA, CHARMIAN, and IRAS
    CLEOPATRA
    My desolation does begin to make
    A better life. 'Tis paltry to be Caesar;
    Not being Fortune, he's but Fortune's knave,
    A minister of her will: and it is great
    To do that thing that ends all other deeds;
    Which shackles accidents and bolts up change;
    Which sleeps, and never palates more the dug,
    The beggar's nurse and Caesar's.

    Enter, to the gates of the monument, PROCULEIUS, GALLUS and Soldiers

    PROCULEIUS
    Caesar sends greeting to the Queen of Egypt;
    And bids thee study on what fair demands
    Thou mean'st to have him grant thee.

    CLEOPATRA
    What's thy name?

    PROCULEIUS
    My name is Proculeius.

    CLEOPATRA
    Antony
    Did tell me of you, bade me trust you; but
    I do not greatly care to be deceived,
    That have no use for trusting. If your master
    Would have a queen his beggar, you must tell him,
    That majesty, to keep decorum, must
    No less beg than a kingdom: if he please
    To give me conquer'd Egypt for my son,
    He gives me so much of mine own, as I
    Will kneel to him with thanks.

    PROCULEIUS
    Be of good cheer;
    You're fall'n into a princely hand, fear nothing:
    Make your full reference freely to my lord,
    Who is so full of grace, that it flows over
    On all that need: let me report to him
    Your sweet dependency; and you shall find
    A conqueror that will pray in aid for kindness,
    Where he for grace is kneel'd to.

    CLEOPATRA
    Pray you, tell him
    I am his fortune's vassal, and I send him
    The greatness he has got. I hourly learn
    A doctrine of obedience; and would gladly
    Look him i' the face.

    PROCULEIUS
    This I'll report, dear lady.
    Have comfort, for I know your plight is pitied
    Of him that caused it.

    GALLUS
    You see how easily she may be surprised:

    Here PROCULEIUS and two of the Guard ascend the monument by a ladder placed against a window, and, having descended, come behind CLEOPATRA. Some of the Guard unbar and open the gates

    To PROCULEIUS and the Guard

    Guard her till Caesar come.

    Exit

    IRAS
    Royal queen!

    CHARMIAN
    O Cleopatra! thou art taken, queen:

    CLEOPATRA
    Quick, quick, good hands.

    Drawing a dagger

    PROCULEIUS
    Hold, worthy lady, hold:

    Seizes and disarms her

    Do not yourself such wrong, who are in this
    Relieved, but not betray'd.

    CLEOPATRA
    What, of death too,
    That rids our dogs of languish?

    PROCULEIUS
    Cleopatra,
    Do not abuse my master's bounty by
    The undoing of yourself: let the world see
    His nobleness well acted, which your death
    Will never let come forth.

    CLEOPATRA
    Where art thou, death?
    Come hither, come! come, come, and take a queen
    Worthy many babes and beggars!

    PROCULEIUS
    O, temperance, lady!

    CLEOPATRA
    Sir, I will eat no meat, I'll not drink, sir;
    If idle talk will once be necessary,
    I'll not sleep neither: this mortal house I'll ruin,
    Do Caesar what he can. Know, sir, that I
    Will not wait pinion'd at your master's court;
    Nor once be chastised with the sober eye
    Of dull Octavia. Shall they hoist me up
    And show me to the shouting varletry
    Of censuring Rome? Rather a ditch in Egypt
    Be gentle grave unto me! rather on Nilus' mud
    Lay me stark naked, and let the water-flies
    Blow me into abhorring! rather make
    My country's high pyramides my gibbet,
    And hang me up in chains!

    PROCULEIUS
    You do extend
    These thoughts of horror further than you shall
    Find cause in Caesar.

    Enter DOLABELLA

    DOLABELLA
    Proculeius,
    What thou hast done thy master Caesar knows,
    And he hath sent for thee: for the queen,
    I'll take her to my guard.

    PROCULEIUS
    So, Dolabella,
    It shall content me best: be gentle to her.

    To CLEOPATRA

    To Caesar I will speak what you shall please,
    If you'll employ me to him.

    CLEOPATRA
    Say, I would die.

    Exeunt PROCULEIUS and Soldiers

    DOLABELLA
    Most noble empress, you have heard of me?

    CLEOPATRA
    I cannot tell.

    DOLABELLA
    Assuredly you know me.

    CLEOPATRA
    No matter, sir, what I have heard or known.
    You laugh when boys or women tell their dreams;
    Is't not your trick?

    DOLABELLA
    I understand not, madam.

    CLEOPATRA
    I dream'd there was an Emperor Antony:
    O, such another sleep, that I might see
    But such another man!

    DOLABELLA
    If it might please ye,--

    CLEOPATRA
    His face was as the heavens; and therein stuck
    A sun and moon, which kept their course,
    and lighted
    The little O, the earth.

    DOLABELLA
    Most sovereign creature,--

    CLEOPATRA
    His legs bestrid the ocean: his rear'd arm
    Crested the world: his voice was propertied
    As all the tuned spheres, and that to friends;
    But when he meant to quail and shake the orb,
    He was as rattling thunder. For his bounty,
    There was no winter in't; an autumn 'twas
    That grew the more by reaping: his delights
    Were dolphin-like; they show'd his back above
    The element they lived in: in his livery
    Walk'd crowns and crownets; realms and islands were
    As plates dropp'd from his pocket.

    DOLABELLA
    Cleopatra!

    CLEOPATRA
    Think you there was, or might be, such a man
    As this I dream'd of?

    DOLABELLA
    Gentle madam, no.

    CLEOPATRA
    You lie, up to the hearing of the gods.
    But, if there be, or ever were, one such,
    It's past the size of dreaming: nature wants stuff
    To vie strange forms with fancy; yet, to imagine
    And Antony, were nature's piece 'gainst fancy,
    Condemning shadows quite.

    DOLABELLA
    Hear me, good madam.
    Your loss is as yourself, great; and you bear it
    As answering to the weight: would I might never
    O'ertake pursued success, but I do feel,
    By the rebound of yours, a grief that smites
    My very heart at root.

    CLEOPATRA
    I thank you, sir,
    Know you what Caesar means to do with me?

    DOLABELLA
    I am loath to tell you what I would you knew.

    CLEOPATRA
    Nay, pray you, sir,--

    DOLABELLA
    Though he be honourable,--

    CLEOPATRA
    He'll lead me, then, in triumph?

    DOLABELLA
    Madam, he will; I know't.

    Flourish, and shout within, 'Make way there: Octavius Caesar!'

    Enter OCTAVIUS CAESAR, GALLUS, PROCULEIUS, MECAENAS, SELEUCUS, and others of his Train

    OCTAVIUS CAESAR
    Which is the Queen of Egypt?

    DOLABELLA
    It is the emperor, madam.

    CLEOPATRA kneels

    OCTAVIUS CAESAR
    Arise, you shall not kneel:
    I pray you, rise; rise, Egypt.

    CLEOPATRA
    Sir, the gods
    Will have it thus; my master and my lord
    I must obey.

    OCTAVIUS CAESAR
    Take to you no hard thoughts:
    The record of what injuries you did us,
    Though written in our flesh, we shall remember
    As things but done by chance.

    CLEOPATRA
    Sole sir o' the world,
    I cannot project mine own cause so well
    To make it clear; but do confess I have
    Been laden with like frailties which before
    Have often shamed our sex.

    OCTAVIUS CAESAR
    Cleopatra, know,
    We will extenuate rather than enforce:
    If you apply yourself to our intents,
    Which towards you are most gentle, you shall find
    A benefit in this change; but if you seek
    To lay on me a cruelty, by taking
    Antony's course, you shall bereave yourself
    Of my good purposes, and put your children
    To that destruction which I'll guard them from,
    If thereon you rely. I'll take my leave.

    CLEOPATRA
    And may, through all the world: 'tis yours; and we,
    Your scutcheons and your signs of conquest, shall
    Hang in what place you please. Here, my good lord.

    OCTAVIUS CAESAR
    You shall advise me in all for Cleopatra.

    CLEOPATRA
    This is the brief of money, plate, and jewels,
    I am possess'd of: 'tis exactly valued;
    Not petty things admitted. Where's Seleucus?

    SELEUCUS
    Here, madam.

    CLEOPATRA
    This is my treasurer: let him speak, my lord,
    Upon his peril, that I have reserved
    To myself nothing. Speak the truth, Seleucus.

    SELEUCUS
    Madam,
    I had rather seal my lips, than, to my peril,
    Speak that which is not.

    CLEOPATRA
    What have I kept back?

    SELEUCUS
    Enough to purchase what you have made known.

    OCTAVIUS CAESAR
    Nay, blush not, Cleopatra; I approve
    Your wisdom in the deed.

    CLEOPATRA
    See, Caesar! O, behold,
    How pomp is follow'd! mine will now be yours;
    And, should we shift estates, yours would be mine.
    The ingratitude of this Seleucus does
    Even make me wild: O slave, of no more trust
    Than love that's hired! What, goest thou back? thou shalt
    Go back, I warrant thee; but I'll catch thine eyes,
    Though they had wings: slave, soulless villain, dog!
    O rarely base!

    OCTAVIUS CAESAR
    Good queen, let us entreat you.

    CLEOPATRA
    O Caesar, what a wounding shame is this,
    That thou, vouchsafing here to visit me,
    Doing the honour of thy lordliness
    To one so meek, that mine own servant should
    Parcel the sum of my disgraces by
    Addition of his envy! Say, good Caesar,
    That I some lady trifles have reserved,
    Immoment toys, things of such dignity
    As we greet modern friends withal; and say,
    Some nobler token I have kept apart
    For Livia and Octavia, to induce
    Their mediation; must I be unfolded
    With one that I have bred? The gods! it smites me
    Beneath the fall I have.

    To SELEUCUS

    Prithee, go hence;
    Or I shall show the cinders of my spirits
    Through the ashes of my chance: wert thou a man,
    Thou wouldst have mercy on me.

    OCTAVIUS CAESAR
    Forbear, Seleucus.

    Exit SELEUCUS

    CLEOPATRA
    Be it known, that we, the greatest, are misthought
    For things that others do; and, when we fall,
    We answer others' merits in our name,
    Are therefore to be pitied.

    OCTAVIUS CAESAR
    Cleopatra,
    Not what you have reserved, nor what acknowledged,
    Put we i' the roll of conquest: still be't yours,
    Bestow it at your pleasure; and believe,
    Caesar's no merchant, to make prize with you
    Of things that merchants sold. Therefore be cheer'd;
    Make not your thoughts your prisons: no, dear queen;
    For we intend so to dispose you as
    Yourself shall give us counsel. Feed, and sleep:
    Our care and pity is so much upon you,
    That we remain your friend; and so, adieu.

    CLEOPATRA
    My master, and my lord!

    OCTAVIUS CAESAR
    Not so. Adieu.

    Flourish. Exeunt OCTAVIUS CAESAR and his train

    CLEOPATRA
    He words me, girls, he words me, that I should not
    Be noble to myself: but, hark thee, Charmian.

    Whispers CHARMIAN

    IRAS
    Finish, good lady; the bright day is done,
    And we are for the dark.

    CLEOPATRA
    Hie thee again:
    I have spoke already, and it is provided;
    Go put it to the haste.

    CHARMIAN
    Madam, I will.

    Re-enter DOLABELLA

    DOLABELLA
    Where is the queen?

    CHARMIAN
    Behold, sir.

    Exit

    CLEOPATRA
    Dolabella!

    DOLABELLA
    Madam, as thereto sworn by your command,
    Which my love makes religion to obey,
    I tell you this: Caesar through Syria
    Intends his journey; and within three days
    You with your children will he send before:
    Make your best use of this: I have perform'd
    Your pleasure and my promise.

    CLEOPATRA
    Dolabella,
    I shall remain your debtor.

    DOLABELLA
    I your servant,
    Adieu, good queen; I must attend on Caesar.

    CLEOPATRA
    Farewell, and thanks.

    Exit DOLABELLA

    Now, Iras, what think'st thou?
    Thou, an Egyptian puppet, shalt be shown
    In Rome, as well as I mechanic slaves
    With greasy aprons, rules, and hammers, shall
    Uplift us to the view; in their thick breaths,
    Rank of gross diet, shall be enclouded,
    And forced to drink their vapour.

    IRAS
    The gods forbid!

    CLEOPATRA
    Nay, 'tis most certain, Iras: saucy lictors
    Will catch at us, like strumpets; and scald rhymers
    Ballad us out o' tune: the quick comedians
    Extemporally will stage us, and present
    Our Alexandrian revels; Antony
    Shall be brought drunken forth, and I shall see
    Some squeaking Cleopatra boy my greatness
    I' the posture of a whore.

    IRAS
    O the good gods!

    CLEOPATRA
    Nay, that's certain.

    IRAS
    I'll never see 't; for, I am sure, my nails
    Are stronger than mine eyes.

    CLEOPATRA
    Why, that's the way
    To fool their preparation, and to conquer
    Their most absurd intents.

    Re-enter CHARMIAN

    Now, Charmian!
    Show me, my women, like a queen: go fetch
    My best attires: I am again for Cydnus,
    To meet Mark Antony: sirrah Iras, go.
    Now, noble Charmian, we'll dispatch indeed;
    And, when thou hast done this chare, I'll give thee leave
    To play till doomsday. Bring our crown and all.
    Wherefore's this noise?

    Exit IRAS. A noise within

    Enter a Guardsman

    Guard
    Here is a rural fellow
    That will not be denied your highness presence:
    He brings you figs.

    CLEOPATRA
    Let him come in.

    Exit Guardsman

    What poor an instrument
    May do a noble deed! he brings me liberty.
    My resolution's placed, and I have nothing
    Of woman in me: now from head to foot
    I am marble-constant; now the fleeting moon
    No planet is of mine.

    Re-enter Guardsman, with Clown bringing in a basket

    Guard
    This is the man.

    CLEOPATRA
    Avoid, and leave him.

    Exit Guardsman

    Hast thou the pretty worm of Nilus there,
    That kills and pains not?

    Clown
    Truly, I have him: but I would not be the party
    that should desire you to touch him, for his biting
    is immortal; those that do die of it do seldom or
    never recover.

    CLEOPATRA
    Rememberest thou any that have died on't?

    Clown
    Very many, men and women too. I heard of one of
    them no longer than yesterday: a very honest woman,
    but something given to lie; as a woman should not
    do, but in the way of honesty: how she died of the
    biting of it, what pain she felt: truly, she makes
    a very good report o' the worm; but he that will
    believe all that they say, shall never be saved by
    half that they do: but this is most fallible, the
    worm's an odd worm.

    CLEOPATRA
    Get thee hence; farewell.

    Clown
    I wish you all joy of the worm.

    Setting down his basket

    CLEOPATRA
    Farewell.

    Clown
    You must think this, look you, that the worm will
    do his kind.

    CLEOPATRA
    Ay, ay; farewell.

    Clown
    Look you, the worm is not to be trusted but in the
    keeping of wise people; for, indeed, there is no
    goodness in worm.

    CLEOPATRA
    Take thou no care; it shall be heeded.

    Clown
    Very good. Give it nothing, I pray you, for it is
    not worth the feeding.

    CLEOPATRA
    Will it eat me?

    Clown
    You must not think I am so simple but I know the
    devil himself will not eat a woman: I know that a
    woman is a dish for the gods, if the devil dress her
    not. But, truly, these same whoreson devils do the
    gods great harm in their women; for in every ten
    that they make, the devils mar five.

    CLEOPATRA
    Well, get thee gone; farewell.

    Clown
    Yes, forsooth: I wish you joy o' the worm.

    Exit

    Re-enter IRAS with a robe, crown, & c

    CLEOPATRA
    Give me my robe, put on my crown; I have
    Immortal longings in me: now no more
    The juice of Egypt's grape shall moist this lip:
    Yare, yare, good Iras; quick. Methinks I hear
    Antony call; I see him rouse himself
    To praise my noble act; I hear him mock
    The luck of Caesar, which the gods give men
    To excuse their after wrath: husband, I come:
    Now to that name my courage prove my title!
    I am fire and air; my other elements
    I give to baser life. So; have you done?
    Come then, and take the last warmth of my lips.
    Farewell, kind Charmian; Iras, long farewell.

    Kisses them. IRAS falls and dies

    Have I the aspic in my lips? Dost fall?
    If thou and nature can so gently part,
    The stroke of death is as a lover's pinch,
    Which hurts, and is desired. Dost thou lie still?
    If thus thou vanishest, thou tell'st the world
    It is not worth leave-taking.

    CHARMIAN
    Dissolve, thick cloud, and rain; that I may say,
    The gods themselves do weep!

    CLEOPATRA
    This proves me base:
    If she first meet the curled Antony,
    He'll make demand of her, and spend that kiss
    Which is my heaven to have. Come, thou
    mortal wretch,

    To an asp, which she applies to her breast

    With thy sharp teeth this knot intrinsicate
    Of life at once untie: poor venomous fool
    Be angry, and dispatch. O, couldst thou speak,
    That I might hear thee call great Caesar ass
    Unpolicied!

    CHARMIAN
    O eastern star!

    CLEOPATRA
    Peace, peace!
    Dost thou not see my baby at my breast,
    That sucks the nurse asleep?

    CHARMIAN
    O, break! O, break!

    CLEOPATRA
    As sweet as balm, as soft as air, as gentle,--
    O Antony!--Nay, I will take thee too.

    Applying another asp to her arm

    What should I stay--

    Dies

    CHARMIAN
    In this vile world? So, fare thee well.
    Now boast thee, death, in thy possession lies
    A lass unparallel'd. Downy windows, close;
    And golden Phoebus never be beheld
    Of eyes again so royal! Your crown's awry;
    I'll mend it, and then play.

    Enter the Guard, rushing in

    First Guard
    Where is the queen?

    CHARMIAN
    Speak softly, wake her not.

    First Guard
    Caesar hath sent--

    CHARMIAN
    Too slow a messenger.

    Applies an asp

    O, come apace, dispatch! I partly feel thee.

    First Guard
    Approach, ho! All's not well: Caesar's beguiled.

    Second Guard
    There's Dolabella sent from Caesar; call him.

    First Guard
    What work is here! Charmian, is this well done?

    CHARMIAN
    It is well done, and fitting for a princess
    Descended of so many royal kings.
    Ah, soldier!

    Dies

    Re-enter DOLABELLA

    DOLABELLA
    How goes it here?

    Second Guard
    All dead.

    DOLABELLA
    Caesar, thy thoughts
    Touch their effects in this: thyself art coming
    To see perform'd the dreaded act which thou
    So sought'st to hinder.

    Within 'A way there, a way for Caesar!'

    Re-enter OCTAVIUS CAESAR and all his train marching

    DOLABELLA
    O sir, you are too sure an augurer;
    That you did fear is done.

    OCTAVIUS CAESAR
    Bravest at the last,
    She levell'd at our purposes, and, being royal,
    Took her own way. The manner of their deaths?
    I do not see them bleed.

    DOLABELLA
    Who was last with them?

    First Guard
    A simple countryman, that brought her figs:
    This was his basket.

    OCTAVIUS CAESAR
    Poison'd, then.

    First Guard
    O Caesar,
    This Charmian lived but now; she stood and spake:
    I found her trimming up the diadem
    On her dead mistress; tremblingly she stood
    And on the sudden dropp'd.

    OCTAVIUS CAESAR
    O noble weakness!
    If they had swallow'd poison, 'twould appear
    By external swelling: but she looks like sleep,
    As she would catch another Antony
    In her strong toil of grace.

    DOLABELLA
    Here, on her breast,
    There is a vent of blood and something blown:
    The like is on her arm.

    First Guard
    This is an aspic's trail: and these fig-leaves
    Have slime upon them, such as the aspic leaves
    Upon the caves of Nile.

    OCTAVIUS CAESAR
    Most probable
    That so she died; for her physician tells me
    She hath pursued conclusions infinite
    Of easy ways to die. Take up her bed;
    And bear her women from the monument:
    She shall be buried by her Antony:
    No grave upon the earth shall clip in it
    A pair so famous. High events as these
    Strike those that make them; and their story is
    No less in pity than his glory which
    Brought them to be lamented. Our army shall
    In solemn show attend this funeral;
    And then to Rome. Come, Dolabella, see
    High order in this great solemnity.

    Exeunt
    Chapter 42
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