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Sooth. You shall be yet far fairer than you are.
Iras. No, you shall paint when you are old.
Char. Wrinkles forbid!
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 serve. 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? 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 fa
Iras. Go, you wild bedfellow, you cannot soothsay. Char. Nay, if an oily palm be not a fruitful prognostication, I cannot scratch mine ear.-Pry'thee, 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 heaven mend! Alexas,— come, his fortune, his fortune.-O, 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; Therefore, 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.
Cleo. Saw you my lord?
Eno. No, lady.
Cleo. Was he not here?
Char. No, madam.
Cleo. He was dispos'd to mirth; but on the sudden A Roman thought had struck him.—Enobarbus,— Eno. Madam.
Cleo. Seek him, and bring him hither. Where's Alexas?
Alex. Here, madam, at your service.-My lord approaches.
Enter ANTONY, with a Messenger, and Attendants.
Mess. Fulvia thy wife first came into the field.
But soon that war had end, and the time's state
Whose better issue in the war, from Italy,
Upon the first encounter, drave them.
Mess. The nature of bad news infects the teller. Ant. When it concerns the fool, or coward.—On : Things, that are past, are done, with me.-Tis thus ;
Who tells me true, though in his tale lie death,
I hear him as he flatter'd.
(This is stiff news) hath, with his Parthian force,
His conquering banner shook, from Syria
Ant. Antony, thou would'st say,
Mess. O, my lord!
Ant. Speak to me home, mince not the general tongue;
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 told us, Is as our earing. Fare thee well a while.
Mess. At your noble pleasure.
Ant. From Sicyon how the news? Speak there.
1st Att. The man from Sicyon.-Is there such an one? 2d 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?
2d Mess. Fulvia thy wife is dead.
Ant. Where died she?
2d Mess. In Sicyon:
Her length of sickness, with what else more serious
Importeth thee to know, this bears.
[Gives a letter.
Ant. Forbear me.—
There's a great spirit gone! Thus did I desire it:
What our contempts do often hurl from us,
The opposite of itself: she's good, being gone;
Eno. What's your pleasure, sir?
Ant. I must with haste from hence.
Eno. Why, then, we kill all our women: We see how mortal an unkindness is to them; if they suffer 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 esteemed 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 commits 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 tempest than almanacks can report: this