• Enter CLEOPATRA and ENOBARBUS

    CLEOPATRA

    I will be even with thee, doubt it not.

    ENOBARBUS

    But why, why, why?

    CLEOPATRA

    Thou hast forspoke my being in these wars
    And sayst it is not fit.

    ENOBARBUS

                                                Well, is it, is it?

    CLEOPATRA

    5Is ’t not denounced against us? Why should not we
    Be there in person?

    ENOBARBUS

                                          Well, I could reply,
    If we should serve with horse and mares together,
    The horse were merely lost. The mares would bear
    A soldier and his horse.

    CLEOPATRA

                                                   What is ’t you say?

    ENOBARBUS

    10Your presence needs must puzzle Antony,
    Take from his heart, take from his brain, from ’s time
    What should not then be spared. He is already
    Traduced for levity, and ’tis said in Rome
    That Photinus, an eunuch, and your maids
    15Manage this war.

    CLEOPATRA

                                       Sink Rome! And their tongues rot
    That speak against us! A charge we bear i’ th’ war,
    And as the president of my kingdom will
    Appear there for a man. Speak not against it.
    I will not stay behind.
  • CLEOPATRA and ENOBARBUS enter.

    CLEOPATRA

    I’ll be straight with you. Do not doubt it.

    ENOBARBUS

    But why, why, why?

    CLEOPATRA

    You opposed my taking part in the war. You said it wasn’t proper.

    ENOBARBUS

    Well, is it? Is it?

    CLEOPATRA

    Isn’t this war against me? Why shouldn’t I be there in person?

    ENOBARBUS

    Well, I could answer that if we went to war on male and female horses alike—the male horses would be totally distracted and useless. The mares would be ridden by their riders and the male horses.

    CLEOPATRA

    What do you mean?

    ENOBARBUS

    Antony will necessarily be distracted by your presence. You will affect his heart and his head. You’ll take up time he can’t afford to lose. He’s already criticized for frivolous behavior. In Rome they say that your eunuch Photinus and your maids run the war.

    CLEOPATRA

    Let Rome fall! May the tongues of our critics rot! I have responsibilities in this war, and as the absolute ruler of my kingdom I will carry out my duties as if I were a man. Don’t argue against it. I won’t stay behind.