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SCENE II.—The same.-Another Room.
Enter CHARMIAN, IRAS, ALEXAS, and a SOOTHSAYER. Char. Lord Alexas, sweet Alexas, most any thing Alexas, almost most absolute Alexas, where's the soothsayer that you praised so to the queen? O, that I knew this husband, which, you say, must change his horns with garlands !
Sooth. Your will?
Char. Is this the man?-Is't you, Sir, that know things?
Sooth. In nature's infinite book of secrecy, A little I can read.
Alex. Shew him your hand.
Eno. Bring in the banquet quickly; wine enough, Cleopatra's health to drink.
Char. Good Sir, give me good fortune.
Char. Pray then, foresee me one.
Sooth. You shall be yet far fairer than you are.
Iras. No, you shall paint when you are old.
. Alex. Vex not his prescience; be attentive.
Sooth. You shall be more beloving, than beloved.
Char. Good now, some excellent fortune! Let me be married to three kings in a forenoon, and widow them all: let me have a child at fifty, to whom Herod of Jewry may do homage: find me to marry me with Octavius Cæsar, and companion me with my mistress.
Sooth. You shall outlive the lady whom you
Char. O excellent! I love long life better than figs.
Sooth. You have seen and proved a fairer former fortune
Than that which is to approach.
Char. Then, belike, my children shall have no names: Pr'ythee, how many boys and wenches must I have?
Shall be bastards.
Sooth. If every of your wishes had a womb, And fertile every wish, a million.
Char. Out, fool! I forgive thee for a witch.
Alex. You think, none but your sheets are privy to your wishes.
Char. Nay, come, tell Iras hers.
Alex. We'll know all our fortunes.
Eno. Mine, and most of our fortunes, to-night, shall be-drunk to bed.
Iras. There's a palm presages chastity, if nothing else.
Char. Even as the o'erflowing Nilus presageth famine.
Irus. Go, you wild bedfellow, you cannot sooth
Char. Nay, if an oily palm be not a fruitful prognostication, I cannot scratch mine ear.-Pr’ythee, tell her but a worky-day fortune.
Sooth. Your fortunes are alike.
Iras. But how, but how? Give me particulars.
Iras. Am I not an inch of fortune better than she?
Char. Well, if you were but an inch of fortune better than I, where would you choose it? Iras. Not in my husband's nose.
Char. Our worser thoughts heavens mend! Alexas,-come, his fortune, his fortune.-0, let him marry a woman that cannot go, sweet Isis, I beseech thee! and let her die too, and give him a worse! and let worse follow worse, till the worst of all follow him laughing to his grave, fifty-fold a cuckold! Good Isis*, hear me this prayer, though thou deny me a matter of more weight; good Isis, I beseech thee!
Iras. Amen. Dear goddess, hear that prayer of the people! For, as it is a heart-breaking to see a handsome man loose-wived, so it is a deadly sorrow to behold a foul knave uncuckolded; there fore, dear Isis, keep decorum, and fortune him accordingly!
Alex. Lo, now! if it lay in their hands to make me a cuckold, they would make themselves whores, but they'd do't.
Eno. Hush! here comes Antony.
Char. Not he, the queen.
An Egyptian goddess.
Cleo. Saw you my lord?
Eno. No, lady.
Cleo. Was he not here?
Chur. No, madam.
Cleo. He was disposed to mirth; but on the sud-
A Roman thought hath struck him.—Enobarbus,-
Cleo. Seek him, and bring him hither. Where's
Alex. Here, madam, at your service.-My lord approaches.
Enter ANTONY, with a MESSENGER and
Cleo. We will not look upon him: go with us.
el But soon that war had end, and the time's state Made friends of them, joining their force 'gainst
Whose better issue in the war, from Italy,
Mess. The nature of bad news infects the teller.
(This is stiff news) hath, with his Parthian force, Extended Asia from Euphrates;
His conquering banner shook, from Syria
To Lydia, and to Ionia;
Ant. Antony, thou wouldst say,
Mess. O, my lord!
Ant. Speak to me home, mince not the general
Name Cleopatra as she's call'd in Rome:
Rail thou in Fulvia's phrase; and taunt my faults
With such full licence, as both truth and malice Have power to utter. O, then we bring forth weeds, When our quick winds * lie still; and our ills
Is as our earing t. Fare thee well a while.
[Exit. Ant. From Sicyon how the news? Speak there. 1 Att. The man from Sicyon.-Is there such an one?
2 Att. He stays upon your will.
Ant. Let him appear.
These strong Egyptian fetters I must break,
Enter another MESSENGER.
Or lose myself in dotage.-What are you? 2 Mess. Fulvia thy wife is dead.
Ant. Where died she?
2 Mess. In Sicyon :
Her length of sickness, with what else more serious
The opposite of itself: she's good, being gone;
Eno. What's your pleasure, Sir?
Eno. Why, then, we kill all our women: we see how mortal an unkindness is to them; if they suf fer our departure, death's the word.
Ant. I must be gone.
Eno. Under a compelling occasion, let women die: it were pity to cast them away for nothing; though, between them and a great cause, they should be esteem'd nothing. Cleopatra, catching but the least noise of this, dies instantly; I have seen her die twenty times upon far poorer moment: I do think, there is mettle in death, which com
In some editions minds.
Tilling, ploughing: prepares us to produce good seed.
mits some loving act upon her, she hath such a celerity in dying.
Ant. She is cunning past man's thought.
Eno. Alack, Sir, no; her passions are made of nothing but the finest part of pure love: we cannot call her winds and waters, sighs and tears; they ! are greater storms and tempests than almanacs can report: this cannot be cunning in her; if it be, she makes a shower of rain as well as Jove.
Ant. 'Would I had never seen her!
Eno. O, Sir, you had then left unseen a wonderful piece of work; which not to have been blessed withal, would have discredited your travel.
Ant. Fulvia is dead.
Ant. Fulvia is dead,
Eno. Why, Sir, give the gods a thankful sacrifice. When it pleaseth their deities to take the wife of a man from him, it shews to man the tailors of the earth; comforting therein, that when old robes are worn out, there are members to make new. If there were no more women but Fulvia, then had you indeed a cut, and the case to be lamented; this grief is crown'd with consolation; your old smock brings forth a petticoat :-And, indeed, the tears live in an onion, that should water this sorrow.
Ant. The business she hath broach'd in the state, Cannot endure my absence.
Eno. And the business you have broach'd here cannot be without you; especially that of Cleopatra's, which wholly depends on your abode.
Ant. No more light answers. Let our officers