Antony and Cleopatra By William Shakespeare Act I: Scene 1

ACT I. SCENE I. Alexandria. A Room in CLEOPATRA'S palace.

[Enter DEMETRIUS and PHILO.]

PHILO.
Nay, but this dotage of our general's
O'erflows the measure: those his goodly eyes,
That o'er the files and musters of the war
Have glow'd like plated Mars, now bend, now turn,
The office and devotion of their view
Upon a tawny front: his captain's heart,
Which in the scuffles of great fights hath burst
The buckles on his breast, reneges all temper,
And is become the bellows and the fan
To cool a gipsy's lust.

[Flourish within.]

Look where they come:
Take but good note, and you shall see in him
The triple pillar of the world transform'd
Into a strumpet's fool: behold and see.

[Enter ANTONY and CLEOPATRA, with their trains; Eunuchs fanning
her.]

CLEOPATRA.
If it be love indeed, tell me how much.

ANTONY.
There's beggary in the love that can be reckon'd.

CLEOPATRA.
I'll set a bourn how far to be belov'd.

ANTONY.
Then must thou needs find out new heaven, new earth.

[Enter an Attendant.]

ATTENDANT.
News, my good lord, from Rome.

ANTONY.
Grates me: — the sum.

CLEOPATRA.
Nay, hear them, Antony:
Fulvia perchance is angry; or who knows
If the scarce-bearded Caesar have not sent
His powerful mandate to you: 'Do this or this;
Take in that kingdom and enfranchise that;
Perform't, or else we damn thee.'

ANTONY.
How, my love!

CLEOPATRA.
Perchance! Nay, and most like: —
You must not stay here longer, — your dismission
Is come from Caesar; therefore hear it, Antony. —
Where's Fulvia's process? — Caesar's I would say? — Both? —
Call in the messengers. — As I am Egypt's queen,
Thou blushest, Antony; and that blood of thine
Is Caesar's homager: else so thy cheek pays shame
When shrill-tongu'd Fulvia scolds. — The messengers!

ANTONY.
Let Rome in Tiber melt, and the wide arch
Of the rang'd empire fall! Here is my space.
Kingdoms are clay: our dungy earth alike
Feeds beast as man: the nobleness of life
Is to do thus [Embracing]; when such a mutual pair
And such a twain can do't, in which I bind,
On pain of punishment, the world to weet
We stand up peerless.

CLEOPATRA.
Excellent falsehood!
Why did he marry Fulvia, and not love her? —
I'll seem the fool I am not; Antony
Will be himself.

ANTONY.
But stirr'd by Cleopatra. —
Now, for the love of Love and her soft hours,
Let's not confound the time with conference harsh:
There's not a minute of our lives should stretch
Without some pleasure now: — what sport to-night?

CLEOPATRA.
Hear the ambassadors.

ANTONY.
Fie, wrangling queen!
Whom everything becomes, — to chide, to laugh,
To weep; whose every passion fully strives
To make itself in thee fair and admir'd!
No messenger; but thine, and all alone
To-night we'll wander through the streets and note
The qualities of people. Come, my queen;
Last night you did desire it: — speak not to us.

[Exeunt ANTONY and CLEOPATRA, with their Train.]

DEMETRIUS.
Is Caesar with Antonius priz'd so slight?

PHILO.
Sir, sometimes when he is not Antony,
He comes too short of that great property
Which still should go with Antony.

DEMETRIUS.
I am full sorry
That he approves the common liar, who
Thus speaks of him at Rome: but I will hope
Of better deeds to-morrow. Rest you happy!

[Exeunt.]

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