ACT I SCENE V

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Antony and Cleopatra

 

ACT I SCENE V Alexandria. Cleopatra’s palace
[Enter CLEOPATRA, CHARMIAN, IRAS, and MARDIAN]
CLEOPATRA Charmian!
CHARMIAN Madam?
CLEOPATRA Ha, ha!
Give me to drink mandragora.
CHARMIAN Why, madam? 5
CLEOPATRA That I might sleep out this great gap of time
My Antony is away.
CHARMIAN You think of him too much.
CLEOPATRA O, ’tis treason!
CHARMIAN Madam, I trust, not so. 10
CLEOPATRA Thou, eunuch Mardian!
MARDIAN What’s your highness’ pleasure?
CLEOPATRA Not now to hear thee sing; I take no pleasure
In aught an eunuch has: ’tis well for thee,
That, being unseminar’d, thy freer thoughts 15
May not fly forth of Egypt. Hast thou affections?
MARDIAN Yes, gracious madam.
CLEOPATRA Indeed!
MARDIAN Not in deed, madam; for I can do nothing
But what indeed is honest to be done: 20
Yet have I fierce affections, and think
What Venus did with Mars.
CLEOPATRA O Charmian,
Where think’st thou he is now? Stands he, or sits he?
Or does he walk? or is he on his horse? 25
O happy horse, to bear the weight of Antony!
Do bravely, horse! for wot’st thou whom thou movest?
The demi-Atlas of this earth, the arm
And burgonet of men. He’s speaking now,
Or murmuring ‘Where’s my serpent of old Nile?’ 30
For so he calls me: now I feed myself
With most delicious poison. Think on me,
That am with Phoebus’ amorous pinches black,
And wrinkled deep in time? Broad-fronted Caesar,
When thou wast here above the ground, I was 35
A morsel for a monarch: and great Pompey
Would stand and make his eyes grow in my brow;
There would he anchor his aspect and die
With looking on his life.
[Enter ALEXAS, from OCTAVIUS CAESAR]
ALEXAS Sovereign of Egypt, hail! 40
CLEOPATRA How much unlike art thou Mark Antony!
Yet, coming from him, that great medicine hath
With his tinct gilded thee.
How goes it with my brave Mark Antony?
ALEXAS Last thing he did, dear queen, 45
He kiss’d,–the last of many doubled kisses,–
This orient pearl. His speech sticks in my heart.
CLEOPATRA Mine ear must pluck it thence.
ALEXAS ‘Good friend,’ quoth he,
‘Say, the firm Roman to great Egypt sends 50
This treasure of an oyster; at whose foot,
To mend the petty present, I will piece
Her opulent throne with kingdoms; all the east,
Say thou, shall call her mistress.’ So he nodded,
And soberly did mount an arm-gaunt steed, 55
Who neigh’d so high, that what I would have spoke
Was beastly dumb’d by him.
CLEOPATRA What, was he sad or merry?
ALEXAS Like to the time o’ the year between the extremes
Of hot and cold, he was nor sad nor merry. 60
CLEOPATRA O well-divided disposition! Note him,
Note him good Charmian, ’tis the man; but note him:
He was not sad, for he would shine on those
That make their looks by his; he was not merry,
Which seem’d to tell them his remembrance lay 65
In Egypt with his joy; but between both:
O heavenly mingle! Be’st thou sad or merry,
The violence of either thee becomes,
So does it no man else. Met’st thou my posts?
ALEXAS Ay, madam, twenty several messengers: 70
Why do you send so thick?
CLEOPATRA Who’s born that day
When I forget to send to Antony,
Shall die a beggar. Ink and paper, Charmian.
Welcome, my good Alexas. Did I, Charmian, 75
Ever love Caesar so?
CHARMIAN O that brave Caesar!
CLEOPATRA Be choked with such another emphasis!
Say, the brave Antony.
CHARMIAN The valiant Caesar! 80
CLEOPATRA By Isis, I will give thee bloody teeth,
If thou with Caesar paragon again
My man of men.
CHARMIAN By your most gracious pardon,
I sing but after you. 85
CLEOPATRA My salad days,
When I was green in judgment: cold in blood,
To say as I said then! But, come, away;
Get me ink and paper:
He shall have every day a several greeting, 90
Or I’ll unpeople Egypt.
[Exeunt]

Antony and Cleopatra, Act 2, Scene 1
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Explanatory Notes for Act 1, Scene 5
From Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra. Ed. M. Eaton. Boston: Educational Publishing Company.
(Line numbers have been altered.)
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4. Mandragora. Mandrake, a plant inducing sleep.

27. Wot’st. Knowest thou.

28. Demi-Atlas. The Atlas who holds up half the world. Atlas was one of the Titans, or race of giants, who made war upon Zeus and, as a punishment, was condemned to bear up the heavens on his shoulders.

29. Burgonet. A kind of helmet first worn by the Burgundians.

33. Phoebus. God of the sun. That is, tanned by the sun.

34. In time. By time.

34. Broad-fronted. With a wide forehead.

37. Grow. That is, fix them on my face.

38. Aspect. Countenance.

42. Medicine. The famous elixir of the old alchemists that was supposed to turn base metal into gold.

47. Orient. Eastern; that is, bright, radiant.

50. Firm. That is, constant.

51. Foot. In addition to which.

53. Opulent. Commanding many kingdoms.

55. [arm-gaunt]. The word in the folio is “arm-gaunt,” an obvious misprint. Some editions read “rampaunt.”
[The word is likely “arrogant.”]

57. Beastly. A peculiar adverbial use of the word.

67. Mingle. Mixture. The word is here a noun.

69. Post. Messengers.

70. Several. Separate.

71. Thick. So many in succession.

78. Emphasis. Emphatic praise.

82. Paragon. Here a verb, meaning to compare favorably.

86. Salad. Youthful, green.

86. Cold. That is, you are cold in blood.

91. Unpeople. By sending everybody as a messenger.

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How to cite the explanatory notes:Shakespeare, William. Antony and Cleopatra. Ed. M. Eaton. Boston: Educational Publishing Company, 1908.