Antony and Cleopatra By William Shakespeare Act I: Scene 2

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'd do't!

ENOBARBUS.
Hush! Here comes Antony.

CHARMIAN.
Not he; the queen.

[Enter CLEOPATRA.]

CLEOPATRA.
Saw you my lord?

ENOBARBUS.
No, lady.

CLEOPATRA.
Was he not here?

CHARMIAN.
No, madam.

CLEOPATRA.
He was dispos'd to mirth; but on the sudden
A Roman thought hath struck him. — Enobarbus, —

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 CLEOPATRA, ENOBARBUS, CHAR., IRAS, ALEX., and
Soothsayer.]

[Enter ANTONY, with a MESSENGER and Attendants.]

MESSENGER.
Fulvia thy wife first came into the field.

ANTONY.
Against my brother Lucius.

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

ANTONY.
Well, what worst?

MESSENGER.
The nature of bad news infects the teller.

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, —

ANTONY.
Antony, thou wouldst say, —

MESSENGER.
O, my lord!

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.]

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.

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.

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.]

ANTONY.
Forbear me.

[Exit MESSENGER.]

There's a great spirit gone! Thus did I desire it:
What our contempts 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 shov'd her on.
I must from this enchanting queen break off:
Ten thousand harms, more than the ills I know,
My idleness doth hatch — ho, Enobarbus!

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