William Shakespeare: Antony and Cleopatra, Act II, Scene V
Enter Cleopatra, Charmian, Iras, and Alexas
And when good will is show'd, though't come too short, The actor may plead pardon. I'll none now: Give me mine angle; we'll to the river: there, My music playing far off, I will betray Tawny-finn'd fishes; my bended hook shall pierce Their slimy jaws; and, as I draw them up, I'll think them every one an Antony, And say 'Ah, ha! you're caught.'
'Twas merry when You wager'd on your angling; when your diver Did hang a salt-fish on his hook, which he With fervency drew up.
That time,—O times!— I laugh'd him out of patience; and that night I laugh'd him into patience; and next morn, Ere the ninth hour, I drunk him to his bed; Then put my tires and mantles on him, whilst I wore his sword Philippan.
Enter a Messenger
O, from Italy Ram thou thy fruitful tidings in mine ears, That long time have been barren.
Antonius dead!—If thou say so, villain, Thou kill'st thy mistress: but well and free, If thou so yield him, there is gold, and here My bluest veins to kiss; a hand that kings Have lipp'd, and trembled kissing.
Why, there's more gold. But, sirrah, mark, we use To say the dead are well: bring it to that, The gold I give thee will I melt and pour Down thy ill-uttering throat.
Well, go to, I will; But there's no goodness in thy face: if Antony Be free and healthful,—so tart a favour To trumpet such good tidings! If not well, Thou shouldst come like a Fury crown'd with snakes, Not like a formal man.
I have a mind to strike thee ere thou speak'st: Yet if thou say Antony lives, is well, Or friends with Caesar, or not captive to him, I'll set thee in a shower of gold, and hail Rich pearls upon thee.
I do not like 'But yet,' it does allay The good precedence; fie upon 'But yet'! 'But yet' is as a gaoler to bring forth Some monstrous malefactor. Prithee, friend, Pour out the pack of matter to mine ear, The good and bad together: he's friends with Caesar: In state of health thou say'st; and thou say'st free.
Strikes him down
What say you? Hence,
Strikes him again
Horrible villain! or I'll spurn thine eyes Like balls before me; I'll unhair thy head:
She hales him up and down
Thou shalt be whipp'd with wire, and stew'd in brine, Smarting in lingering pickle.
Say 'tis not so, a province I will give thee, And make thy fortunes proud: the blow thou hadst Shall make thy peace for moving me to rage; And I will boot thee with what gift beside Thy modesty can beg.
Draws a knife
Some innocents 'scape not the thunderbolt. Melt Egypt into Nile! and kindly creatures Turn all to serpents! Call the slave again: Though I am mad, I will not bite him: call.
I will not hurt him.
These hands do lack nobility, that they strike A meaner than myself; since I myself Have given myself the cause.
Re-enter Charmian and Messenger
Come hither, sir. Though it be honest, it is never good To bring bad news: give to a gracious message. An host of tongues; but let ill tidings tell Themselves when they be felt.
O, I would thou didst, So half my Egypt were submerged and made A cistern for scaled snakes! Go, get thee hence: Hadst thou Narcissus in thy face, to me Thou wouldst appear most ugly. He is married?
Take no offence that I would not offend you: To punish me for what you make me do. Seems much unequal: he's married to Octavia.
O, that his fault should make a knave of thee, That art not what thou'rt sure of! Get thee hence: The merchandise which thou hast brought from Rome Are all too dear for me: lie they upon thy hand, And be undone by 'em!
I am paid for't now. Lead me from hence: I faint: O Iras, Charmian! 'tis no matter. Go to the fellow, good Alexas; bid him Report the feature of Octavia, her years, Her inclination, let him not leave out The colour of her hair: bring me word quickly.
Let him for ever go:—let him not—Charmian, Though he be painted one way like a Gorgon, The other way's a Mars. Bid you Alexas
Bring me word how tall she is. Pity me, Charmian, But do not speak to me. Lead me to my chamber.