Antony and Cleopatra
Please see the bottom of this page for explanatory notes and resources.
|ACT I SCENE I||Alexandria. A room in Cleopatra’s house.|
|[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||5|
|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.||10|
|[ Flourish. Enter ANTONY, CLEOPATRA, her Ladies, the Train, with Eunuchs fanning her ]|
|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.|
|CLEOPATRA||If it be love indeed, tell me how much.||15|
|MARK ANTONY||There’s beggary in the love that can be reckon’d.|
|CLEOPATRA||I’ll set a bourn how far to be beloved.|
|MARK ANTONY||Then must thou needs find out new heaven, new earth.|
|[Enter an Attendant]|
|Attendant||News, my good lord, from Rome.|
|MARK ANTONY||Grates me: the sum.||20|
|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;||25|
|Perform ‘t, or else we damn thee.’|
|MARK 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.||30|
|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-tongued Fulvia scolds. The messengers!||35|
|MARK ANTONY||Let Rome in Tiber melt, and the wide arch|
|Of the ranged 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; when such a mutual pair||40|
|And such a twain can do’t, in which I bind,|
|On pain of punishment, the world to weet|
|We stand up peerless.|
|Why did he marry Fulvia, and not love her?||45|
|I’ll seem the fool I am not; Antony|
|Will be himself.|
|MARK 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:||50|
|There’s not a minute of our lives should stretch|
|Without some pleasure now. What sport tonight?|
|CLEOPATRA||Hear the ambassadors.|
|MARK ANTONY||Fie, wrangling queen!|
|Whom every thing becomes, to chide, to laugh,||55|
|To weep; whose every passion fully strives|
|To make itself, in thee, fair and admired!|
|No messenger, but thine; and all alone|
|To-night we’ll wander through the streets and note|
|The qualities of people. Come, my queen;||60|
|Last night you did desire it: speak not to us.|
|[ Exeunt MARK ANTONY and CLEOPATRA with their train ]|
|DEMETRIUS||Is Caesar with Antonius prized so slight?|
|PHILO||Sir, sometimes, when he is not Antony,|
|He comes too short of that great property|
|Which still should go with Antony.||65|
|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!|
Explanatory Notes for Act 1, Scene 1
From Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra. Ed. M. Eaton. Boston: Educational Publishing Company.
1. Dotage. Foolishness, like that of a childish old man.
2. Measure. Exceeds all limits.
2. Goodly. Fine.
3. Musters. The troops drawn up in battle array.
4. Plated Mars. The god of war arrayed in armor. Coats-of-mail were made of plates of steel.
5. Office. That is, bend their looks in devoted service.
6. Tawny front. Dark countenance. Cleopatra was a Greek, but she is usually represented as [darker-skinned].
8. Reneges. Disclaims, renounces.
8. Temper. Moderation, equanimity.
10. Gipsy. Used here contemptuously, not in a literal sense.
12. Triple pillar. Third. At this time Antony, Caesar, and Lepidus formed the second triumvirate, or group of men to rule Rome.
15. Beggary. Her love small enough to be reckoned is but beggary.
16. Bourne. Limit.
17. New heaven. That is, the present heaven and earth are not wide enough to limit my love.
18. Grates. It annoys me; tell me briefly.
21. Scarce -bearded. A taunt at Antony by reminding him how young is the man he calls master.
23. Take in. Conquer, subdue.
23. Enfranchise. Set free.
24. Damn. Condemn.
28. Process. A legal summons calling a man into court.
31. Homager. Vassal, bond servant.
31. Shame. Pays the tribute of shame or fear.
32. Shrill-tongued. Plutarch says that Fulvia was “of a peevish, crooked, and troublesome nature.”
34. Ranged. Well ordered.
34. Space. Place where I would be.
37. Thus. Love as we love.
37. Mutual. When two people in such complete sympathy.
39. Weet. To know; weet is a corruption of “wit.”
40. Falsehood. That is, false man.
43. Himself. Show himself in his true character.
43. Stirr’d. Inspired, influenced by.
44. Love. The goddess of love, Venus.
44. Soft. Luxurious.
45. Confound. Waste, consume.
49. Becomes. Whose every act is becoming.
50. Fully. Some read “fitly” here.
54. Qualities. Characters. See quotation from Plutarch in Introduction.
55. Speak, etc. Addressed to the messenger from Rome.
57. Not Antony. That is, when he is not in his proper frame of mind, he lacks too much those great qualities which should always be his.
61. Common liar. Proves false report to be true report.
63. Of. For.