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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: May ::
The Speech from Antony and Cleopatra by Enobarbus
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0991  Wednesday, 25 May 2005

From:           Gene Tyburn <
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Date:           Tuesday, 24 May 2005 20:04:10 -0700 (PDT)
Subject:        The Speech from Antony and Cleopatra by Enobarbus

A little history: The barge speech in Antony and Cleopatra is by some
considered one of the great speeches in the lexicon of his works thought
few know it. First written by Plutarch in the 2d century in his
history's and then use without fear of plagiarism by Shakespeare. One
can com pair the words by going to Plutarch and Shakespeare. As there is
a side by side example: I took both version to make up my aria with
chorus injections and rhapsodized on the speech by ...inspired by my
trip down the Nile a few years ago. Apparently Plutarch heard of the
story of Antony and Cleopatra meeting from his grand father who was a
cook in the kitchens of Cleopatra...so they say

In this scene Enobabus [Antony's first general ] tells the Roman crowd
all about Cleopatra and Antony's relationship and  why he will never
leave her.

Chorus: How goes your time in Egypt ?
Tis oft reported that come from there
She's a wondrous lady if the word be 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 met our mark Antony
Twas a histor-o- graphical sight.

Chorus Tell us!  Tell us!  Tell us!    Tell us!

Enobarbus      I will tell youuuuuuuuuuuuuu
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 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 ores.

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.

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

Chorus   Oh rare for Antony, o rare for Antony

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

Being hungry and barbered ten times or'
He go's to the feast and pays much more
For the loss of his heart, to this paramour.

Chor....o royal wench, royal whore
Now he is has left her forever more.
Egypt must bend to the roman state
Anything less we wont tolerate
Royal wench, royal whore
Now he has left her forever more!.

Enobar....that our Antony will never do
Their fates are one, I fear it's true
Age cannot weather her, time passes her by
Other women cloy the appetite they feed
She makes hungry, where most she satisfies.

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    o rear woman, o rare witch
She needs no army nor a drum
All roman warriors to her succumb.

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

libretto by Gene Tyburn   music by Gerarrd Chiusano
on web site  tyburnoperas.com

Email me at: 
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To view and hear "Antony & Cleopatra ~ LIBRETTO  AND MUSIC
http://tyburnoperas.com [ TYBURNOPERAS.COM] type this into your address
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