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Antony and Cleopatra - Act 1, scene 1
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Last updated: Tue, Jun 02, 2020
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Act 1, scene 1
Antony refuses to hear the messengers from Rome and declares that nothing matters but his love for Cleopatra.Enter Demetrius and Philo.
0001 Nay, but this dotage of our general’s
0002 O’erflows the measure. Those his goodly eyes,
0003 That o’er the files and musters of the war
0004 Have glowed like plated Mars, now bend, now turn
0005 5 The office and devotion of their view
0006 Upon a tawny front. His captain’s heart,
0007 Which in the scuffles of great fights hath burst
0008 The buckles on his breast, reneges all temper
0009 And is become the bellows and the fan
0010 10 To cool a gypsy’s lust.
Flourish. Enter Antony, Cleopatra, her Ladies, the Train,
with Eunuchs fanning her.
0011 Look where they come.
0012 Take but good note, and you shall see in him
0013 The triple pillar of the world transformed
0014 Into a strumpet’s fool. Behold and see.
0015 15 If it be love indeed, tell me how much.
0016 There’s beggary in the love that can be reckoned.
0017 I’ll set a bourn how far to be beloved.
0018 Then must thou needs find out new heaven, new
Enter a Messenger.
MESSENGER 0020 20News, my good lord, from Rome.
ANTONY 0021 Grates me, the sum.
CLEOPATRA 0022 Nay, hear them, Antony.
0023 Fulvia perchance is angry. Or who knows
0024 If the scarce-bearded Caesar have not sent
0025 25 His powerful mandate to you: “Do this, or this;
0026 Take in that kingdom, and enfranchise that.
0027 Perform ’t, or else we damn thee.”
ANTONY 0028 How, my love?
CLEOPATRA 0029 Perchance? Nay, and most like.
0030 30 You must not stay here longer; your dismission
0031 Is come from Caesar. Therefore hear it, Antony.
0032 Where’s Fulvia’s process? Caesar’s, I would say—
0034 Call in the messengers. As I am Egypt’s queen,
0035 35 Thou blushest, Antony, and that blood of thine
0036 Is Caesar’s homager; else so thy cheek pays shame
0037 When shrill-tongued Fulvia scolds. The messengers!
0038 Let Rome in Tiber melt and the wide arch
0039 Of the ranged empire fall. Here is my space.
0040 40 Kingdoms are clay. Our dungy earth alike
0041 Feeds beast as man. The nobleness of life
0042 Is to do thus; when such a mutual pair
0043 And such a twain can do ’t, in which I bind,
0044 On pain of punishment, the world to weet
0045 45 We stand up peerless.
CLEOPATRA 0046 Excellent falsehood!
0047 Why did he marry Fulvia and not love her?
0048 I’ll seem the fool I am not. Antony
0049 Will be himself.
p. 11ANTONY 0050 50 But stirred by Cleopatra.
0051 Now for the love of Love and her soft hours,
0052 Let’s not confound the time with conference harsh.
0053 There’s not a minute of our lives should stretch
0054 Without some pleasure now. What sport tonight?
0055 55 Hear the ambassadors.
ANTONY 0056 Fie, wrangling queen,
0057 Whom everything becomes—to chide, to laugh,
0058 To weep; ⌜whose⌝ every passion fully strives
0059 To make itself, in thee, fair and admired!
0060 60 No messenger but thine, and all alone
0061 Tonight we’ll wander through the streets and note
0062 The qualities of people. Come, my queen,
0063 Last night you did desire it. ⌜To the Messenger.⌝
0064 Speak not to us.
⌜Antony and Cleopatra⌝ exit with the Train.
0065 65 Is Caesar with Antonius prized so slight?
0066 Sir, sometimes when he is not Antony
0067 He comes too short of that great property
0068 Which still should go with Antony.
DEMETRIUS 0069 I am full sorry
0070 70 That he approves the common liar who
0071 Thus speaks of him at Rome; but I will hope
0072 Of better deeds tomorrow. Rest you happy!