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The Complete Works of William Shakespeare The Tragedy of Antony and Cleopatra

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You with your children will he send before.
Make your best use of this; I have perform'd
Your pleasure and my promise.
CLEOPATRA. Dolabella,
I shall remain your debtor.
DOLABELLA. I your servant.
Adieu, good Queen; I must attend on Caesar.
CLEOPATRA. Farewell, and thanks. Exit DOLABELLA
Now, Iras, what think'st thou?
Thou an Egyptian puppet shall be shown
In Rome as well as I. Mechanic slaves,
With greasy aprons, rules, and hammers, shall
Uplift us to the view; in their thick breaths,
Rank of gross diet, shall we be enclouded,
And forc'd to drink their vapour.
IRAS. The gods forbid!
CLEOPATRA. Nay, 'tis most certain, Iras. Saucy lictors
Will catch at us like strumpets, and scald rhymers
Ballad us out o' tune; the quick comedians
Extemporally will stage us, and present
Our Alexandrian revels; Antony
Shall be brought drunken forth, and I shall see
Some squeaking Cleopatra boy my greatness
I' th' posture of a whore.
IRAS. O the good gods!
CLEOPATRA. Nay, that's certain.
IRAS. I'll never see't, for I am sure mine nails
Are stronger than mine eyes.
CLEOPATRA. Why, that's the way
To fool their preparation and to conquer
Their most absurd intents.

Enter CHARMIAN

Now, Charmian!
Show me, my women, like a queen. Go fetch
My best attires. I am again for Cydnus,
To meet Mark Antony. Sirrah, Iras, go.
Now, noble Charmian, we'll dispatch indeed;
And when thou hast done this chare, I'll give thee leave
To play till doomsday. Bring our crown and all.
Exit IRAS. A noise within
Wherefore's this noise?

Enter a GUARDSMAN

GUARDSMAN. Here is a rural fellow
That will not be denied your Highness' presence.
He brings you figs.
CLEOPATRA. Let him come in. Exit GUARDSMAN
What poor an instrument
May do a noble deed! He brings me liberty.
My resolution's plac'd, and I have nothing
Of woman in me. Now from head to foot
I am marble-constant; now the fleeting moon
No planet is of mine.

Re-enter GUARDSMAN and CLOWN, with a basket

GUARDSMAN. This is the man.
CLEOPATRA. Avoid, and leave him. Exit GUARDSMAN
Hast thou the pretty worm of Nilus there
That kills and pains not?
CLOWN. Truly, I have him. But I would not be the party that
should
desire you to touch him, for his biting is immortal; those
that
do die of it do seldom or never recover.
CLEOPATRA. Remember'st thou any that have died on't?
CLOWN. Very many, men and women too. I heard of one of them no
longer than yesterday: a very honest woman, but something
given
to lie, as a woman should not do but in the way of honesty;
how
she died of the biting of it, what pain she felt- truly she
makes
a very good report o' th' worm. But he that will believe all
that
they say shall never be saved by half that they do. But this
is
most falliable, the worm's an odd worm.
CLEOPATRA. Get thee hence; farewell.
CLOWN. I wish you all joy of the worm.
[Sets down the basket]
CLEOPATRA. Farewell.
CLOWN. You must think this, look you, that the worm will do his
kind.
CLEOPATRA. Ay, ay; farewell.
CLOWN. Look you, the worm is not to be trusted but in the
keeping
of wise people; for indeed there is no goodness in the worm.
CLEOPATRA. Take thou no care; it shall be heeded.
CLOWN. Very good. Give it nothing, I pray you, for it is not
worth
the feeding.
CLEOPATRA. Will it eat me?
CLOWN. You must not think I am so simple but I know the devil
himself will not eat a woman. I know that a woman is a dish
for
the gods, if the devil dress her not. But truly, these same
whoreson devils do the gods great harm in their women, for in
every ten that they make the devils mar five.
CLEOPATRA. Well, get thee gone; farewell.
CLOWN. Yes, forsooth. I wish you joy o' th' worm. Exit

Re-enter IRAS, with a robe, crown, &c.

CLEOPATRA. Give me my robe, put on my crown; I have
Immortal longings in me. Now no more
The juice of Egypt's grape shall moist this lip.
Yare, yare, good Iras; quick. Methinks I hear
Antony call. I see him rouse himself
To praise my noble act. I hear him mock
The luck of Caesar, which the gods give men
To excuse their after wrath. Husband, I come.
Now to that name my courage prove my title!
I am fire and air; my other elements
I give to baser life. So, have you done?
Come then, and take the last warmth of my lips.
Farewell, kind Charmian. Iras, long farewell.
[Kisses them. IRAS falls and dies]
Have I the aspic in my lips? Dost fall?
If thus thou and nature can so gently part,
The stroke of death is as a lover's pinch,
Which hurts and is desir'd. Dost thou lie still?
If thou vanishest, thou tell'st the world
It is not worth leave-taking.
CHARMIAN. Dissolve, thick cloud, and rain, that I may say
The gods themselves do weep.
CLEOPATRA. This proves me base.
If she first meet the curled Antony,
He'll make demand of her, and spend that kiss
Which is my heaven to have. Come, thou mortal wretch,
[To an asp, which she applies to her breast]
With thy sharp teeth this knot intrinsicate
Of life at once untie. Poor venomous fool,
Be angry and dispatch. O couldst thou speak,
That I might hear thee call great Caesar ass
Unpolicied!
CHARMIAN. O Eastern star!
CLEOPATRA. Peace, peace!
Dost thou not see my baby at my breast
That sucks the nurse asleep?
CHARMIAN. O, break! O, break!
CLEOPATRA. As sweet as balm, as soft as air, as gentle-
O Antony! Nay, I will take thee too:
[Applying another asp to her arm]
What should I stay- [Dies]
CHARMIAN. In this vile world? So, fare thee well.
Now boast thee, death, in thy possession lies
A lass unparallel'd. Downy windows, close;
And golden Phoebus never be beheld
Of eyes again so royal! Your crown's awry;
I'll mend it and then play-

Enter the guard, rushing in

FIRST GUARD. Where's the Queen?
CHARMIAN. Speak softly, wake her not.
FIRST GUARD. Caesar hath sent-
CHARMIAN. Too slow a messenger. [Applies an asp]
O, come apace, dispatch. I partly feel thee.
FIRST GUARD. Approach, ho! All's not well: Caesar's beguil'd.
SECOND GUARD. There's Dolabella sent from Caesar; call him.
FIRST GUARD. What work is here! Charmian, is this well done?
CHARMIAN. It is well done, and fitting for a princes
Descended of so many royal kings.
Ah, soldier! [CHARMIAN dies]

Re-enter DOLABELLA

DOLABELLA. How goes it here?
SECOND GUARD. All dead.
DOLABELLA. Caesar, thy thoughts
Touch their effects in this. Thyself art coming
To see perform'd the dreaded act which thou
So sought'st to hinder.
[Within: 'A way there, a way for Caesar!']

Re-enter CAESAR and all his train

DOLABELLA. O sir, you are too sure an augurer:
That you did fear is done.
CAESAR. Bravest at the last,
She levell'd at our purposes, and being royal,
Took her own way. The manner of their deaths?
I do not see them bleed.
DOLABELLA. Who was last with them?
FIRST GUARD. A simple countryman that brought her figs.
This was his basket.
CAESAR. Poison'd then.
FIRST GUARD. O Caesar,
This Charmian liv'd but now; she stood and spake.
I found her trimming up the diadem
On her dead mistress. Tremblingly she stood,
And on the sudden dropp'd.
CAESAR. O noble weakness!
If they had swallow'd poison 'twould appear
By external swelling; but she looks like sleep,
As she would catch another Antony
In her strong toil of grace.
DOLABELLA. Here on her breast
There is a vent of blood, and something blown;
The like is on her arm.
FIRST GUARD. This is an aspic's trail; and these fig-leaves
Have slime upon them, such as th' aspic leaves
Upon the caves of Nile.
CAESAR. Most probable
That so she died; for her physician tells me
She hath pursu'd conclusions infinite
Of easy ways to die. Take up her bed,
And bear her women from the monument.
She shall be buried by her Antony;
No grave upon the earth shall clip in it
A pair so famous. High events as these
Strike those that make them; and their story is
No less in pity than his glory which
Brought them to be lamented. Our army shall
In solemn show attend this funeral,
And then to Rome. Come, Dolabella, see
High order in this great solemnity. Exeunt

THE END

<SHAKESPEARE IS COPYRIGHT 1990-1993 BY WORLD LIBRARY, INC., AND IS

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