• Enter CLEOPATRA, CHARMIAN, IRAS, and MARDIAN

    CLEOPATRA

    Charmian!

    CHARMIAN

    Madam?

    CLEOPATRA

    Ha, ha! Give me to drink mandragora.

    CHARMIAN

    Why, madam?

    CLEOPATRA

    5That I might sleep out this great gap of time
    My Antony is away.

    CHARMIAN

    You think of him too much.

    CLEOPATRA

    Oh, ’tis treason!

    CHARMIAN

                                    Madam, I trust, not so.

    CLEOPATRA

    Thou, eunuch Mardian!

    MARDIAN

                                                    What’s your highness’ pleasure?

    CLEOPATRA

    10Not now to hear thee sing. I take no pleasure
    In aught an eunuch has. ’Tis well for thee
    That, being unseminared, thy freer thoughts
    May not fly forth of Egypt. Hast thou affections?

    MARDIAN

    Yes, gracious madam.

    CLEOPATRA

    15Indeed?

    MARDIAN

    Not in deed, madam, for I can do nothing
    But what indeed is honest to be done.
    Yet have I fierce affections, and think
    What Venus did with Mars.

    CLEOPATRA

                                                            O Charmian,
    20Where think’st thou he is now? Stands he or sits he?
    Or does he walk? Or is he on his horse?
    O happy horse, to bear the weight of Antony!
    Do bravely, horse, for wott’st thou whom thou mov’st?
    The demi-Atlas of this earth, the arm
    25And burgonet of men. He’s speaking now,
    Or murmuring “Where’s my serpent of old Nile?”
    For so he calls me. Now I feed myself
    With most delicious poison. Think on me,
    That am with Phoebus’ amorous pinches black
    30And wrinkled deep in time. Broad-fronted Caesar,
    When thou wast here above the ground, I was
    A morsel for a monarch. And great Pompey
    Would stand and make his eyes grow in my brow.
    There would he anchor his aspect, and die
    35With looking on his life.
  • CLEOPATRA, CHARMIAN, IRAS, and MARDIAN enter.

    CLEOPATRA

    Charmian!

    CHARMIAN

    Madam?

    CLEOPATRA

    Ah, give me some mandragora to drink.

    mandragora

    narcotic syrup

    CHARMIAN

    Why, madam?

    CLEOPATRA

    So I can sleep away the time while my Antony is gone.

    CHARMIAN

    You think about him too much.

    CLEOPATRA

    That’s treason!

    CHARMIAN

    I hope not, Madam.

    CLEOPATRA

    Eunuch! Mardian!

    MARDIAN

    What can I do for your highness?

    CLEOPATRA

    I don’t want to hear you sing. I’m not interested in anything a eunuch can do. It’s a good thing for you that, being castrated, you can better concentrate on my needs. Do you have desires?

    MARDIAN

    Yes, dear madam.

    CLEOPATRA

    Indeed?

    MARDIAN

    Well, not in deed, madam, since I can’t do anything unchaste. But I do have intense passions—and I do think about what Venus did with Mars.

    what Venus did with Mars

    Venus, goddess of love, and Mars, god of war, were legendary lovers.

    CLEOPATRA

    Oh, Charmian, where do you think he is now? Is he standing or sitting? Or is he walking? Or is he on his horse? Oh, how fortunate that horse is to have Antony on him. Do well, horse. Do you know whom it is you carry? A man who carries responsibility for a third of the world on his shoulders. He’s speaking now, or perhaps he’s whispering, “Where’s my serpent of the Nile?” For that’s his pet name for me. I’m killing myself with this provocative speculation . . . Are you thinking about me? Even though I’ve been darkened by the sun and wrinkled with age? Caesar, with your broad forehead, when you were alive, I was the perfect young consort for a king. And powerful Pompey used to stare at me as if he were frozen in time.

    I was the perfect young consort for a king. And powerful Pompey used to stare at me as if he were frozen in time.

    Referring to two previous lovers, Julius Caesar and Gneius Pompey (son of Pompey the Great and elder brother of Sextus Pompeius).