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Antony and Cleopatra


ACT III SCENE III Alexandria. Cleopatra’s palace.
CLEOPATRA Where is the fellow?
ALEXAS Half afeard to come.
CLEOPATRA Go to, go to.
[Enter the Messenger as before]
Come hither, sir.
ALEXAS Good majesty, 5
Herod of Jewry dare not look upon you
But when you are well pleased.
CLEOPATRA That Herod’s head
I’ll have: but how, when Antony is gone
Through whom I might command it? Come thou near. 10
Messenger Most gracious majesty,–
CLEOPATRA Didst thou behold Octavia?
Messenger Ay, dread queen.
Messenger Madam, in Rome; 15
I look’d her in the face, and saw her led
Between her brother and Mark Antony.
CLEOPATRA Is she as tall as me?
Messenger She is not, madam.
CLEOPATRA Didst hear her speak? is she shrill-tongued or low? 20
Messenger Madam, I heard her speak; she is low-voiced.
CLEOPATRA That’s not so good: he cannot like her long.
CHARMIAN Like her! O Isis! ’tis impossible.
CLEOPATRA I think so, Charmian: dull of tongue, and dwarfish!
What majesty is in her gait? Remember, 25
If e’er thou look’dst on majesty.
Messenger She creeps:
Her motion and her station are as one;
She shows a body rather than a life,
A statue than a breather. 30
CLEOPATRA Is this certain?
Messenger Or I have no observance.
CHARMIAN Three in Egypt
Cannot make better note.
CLEOPATRA He’s very knowing; 35
I do perceive’t: there’s nothing in her yet:
The fellow has good judgment.
CHARMIAN Excellent.
CLEOPATRA Guess at her years, I prithee.
Messenger Madam, 40
She was a widow,–
CLEOPATRA Widow! Charmian, hark.
Messenger And I do think she’s thirty.
CLEOPATRA Bear’st thou her face in mind? is’t long or round?
Messenger Round even to faultiness. 45
CLEOPATRA For the most part, too, they are foolish that are so.
Her hair, what colour?
Messenger Brown, madam: and her forehead
As low as she would wish it.
CLEOPATRA There’s gold for thee. 50
Thou must not take my former sharpness ill:
I will employ thee back again; I find thee
Most fit for business: go make thee ready;
Our letters are prepared.
[Exit Messenger]
CHARMIAN A proper man. 55
CLEOPATRA Indeed, he is so: I repent me much
That so I harried him. Why, methinks, by him,
This creature’s no such thing.
CHARMIAN Nothing, madam.
CLEOPATRA The man hath seen some majesty, and should know. 60
CHARMIAN Hath he seen majesty? Isis else defend,
And serving you so long!
CLEOPATRA I have one thing more to ask him yet, good Charmian:
But ’tis no matter; thou shalt bring him to me
Where I will write. All may be well enough. 65
CHARMIAN I warrant you, madam.

Antony and Cleopatra, Act 3, Scene 4

Explanatory Notes for Act 3, Scene 3
From Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra. Ed. M. Eaton. Boston: Educational Publishing Company.
(Line numbers have been altered.)

18. As. This word had somewhat the force of a preposition; hence the objective case following.

20. Shrill. Sprightly, lively of speech.

28. Station. Manner of standing still.

30. Breather. A living being.

32. Observance. Powers of observation.

34. Note. Observation. That is, there are not three persons in Egypt who are better qualified to observe.

36. Yet. So far as he has described her.

39. Prithee. Pray thee.

37. As low as. Slang for “as low as it could be.”

41. Proper. A fine fellow.

57. Harried. Scolded, used roughly.

58. No such thing. Nothing very remarkable.

61. Defend. Forbid.


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