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Antony & Cleopatra
Act 1 Scene 6
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Act 1 Scene 1
Act 1 Scene 2
Act 1 Scene 3
Act 1 Scene 4
Act 1 Scene 5
Act 2 Scene 1

Opera Librettos
by
Gene Tyburn


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A ROYAL PALACE IN ROME

This scene is the end of Act 1


Antony has returned to Rome to make a political deal with Caesar, but is forced to marry Caesar's sister to seal the contract. As the scene opens, Enobarbus, Antony's friend and advisor, is having a drink with his old army comrades. They're dyeing to know all about the gossip regarding Antony and Cleopatra's relationship. Enobarbus then regales them with a detailed story of how Antony and Cleopatra first meet, and why the power of her personality will draw Antony back to her again. As the scene ends, Antony and his new wife enter to the cheers of the crowd.

HAIL TO THE HAPPY MARRIED COUPLE!


Mycena

Welcome Sir, from Egypt, back to civilization.


Enobarbus

Well met we are in peace not war
I've seen you oft in battle score
I've admired your skill and praised you high
'Tis better to drink than fight and die.


Chorus

'Tis better to drink than fight and die.

Enobarbus

Pledge me now, if we ever meet
To turn your back and call retreat
To kill a drinking friend would be
An affront to the gods, and sad for me.

They toast to this pledge


Mycena

How goes your time in Egypt?
'Tis oft reported that come from there
She's a wondrous lady if the word is square.


Enobarbus

Aye, sir. We did sleep day out of night
And drink the equal of the flowing Nile
So little is left for the crocodile.
As for Cleopatra, volumes I could write
When she first our Antony
T'was a historiographical sight.

Chorus

Tell us, tell us, tell us, tell us, tell us, tell us.


Enobarbus

I will tell you
The barge she came in
Was a wonder to behold
It sat in green water
And the deck was beaten gold
Purple the sails and so perfumed
The winds were love sick that afternoon.
To the tune of flutes the rowers kept beat
The winds moved the perfume along the shore
And each stroke was made with a silver oar.
For her own person she was statue still
Her gown was silk of an azure blue
Diaphanous curtains obscured the view
But her eyes were dark and pierced right through.

Chorus

Oh, rare for Antony. Oh, rare for Antony.
We know about those conjuring eyes.
We know about those conjuring eyes.


Enobarbus

On each side of her stood pretty little boys
Like smiling cupids with ostrich fans
Which did cool the cheeks of the royal dam


Chorus

Others have tried Cleopatra to tame
Then return to Rome in abject shame


Enobarbus

Her gentlewomen were as mermaids dressed
Tended her needs and stood bare breast.
The city learning her approach was near
Abandon our Antony in the city square
And spilled they out on the landing pier
And left him to whistle to the empty air.

Chorus

Abandon, Abandon
Abandon our general
Abandon our general in the empty square
Egypt must bend to the empty state
Anything less we wont tolerate


Enobarbus

Upon her landing she invites him to dine
Being hungry and barbered ten time o're
He goes to the feats and pays much more
For the loss of his heart, to this paramour.


Chorus

He's broken the chains of her magic spell
He's back in Rome and all is well
Royal wench , royal viper
Now he has left her forever more.


Enobarbus

That our Antony will never do
Their fates are one, I fear its true.
Age cannot wither her, time passes her by
Other women cloy the appetite they feed
She makes hungry, where most she satisfies.


Chorus

The wanton Queen goes too far
Act we must to re-dominate
he's returned to us
It's not too late

Enobarbus

Child like things become themselves in her.
I saw her once hop forty paces
Through the public street
Lost her breath and made light to all
Hop forty more, when she did sprawl
Breathless and laughing she enchanted all

Chorus

Oh rare woman, oh rare witch.
She needs no army nor a drum
All Roman warriors
All Roman warriors
All Roman warriors
to her succumb.


Enobarbus

Antony married but his occasion here
Caesar's sister cannot hold him long
The east will call and he'll be gone.
The hoops that bind their friendship
Will end with a sudden snap,
For Marcus Antonius, and I know him well
Longs for his mistress' royal lap

Fanfare for entrance of Caesar and Antony with Antony's new wife Actavia on his arm.

Chorus

Hail Caesar, hail Antony, hail to the happy couple.
Hail, Oh hail, Oh hail to the happy couple,
Oh hail, Oh hail, Oh hail, Oh hail to the newly married couple.
Oh hail, Oh hail, hail, hail

All raise their cups to the happy couple. Enobarbus laughs, Antony gives him a look to silence him. Enobarbus understands that he must go along with the farce.


Curtain

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