The Tragedy of Antony and Cleopatra, by William Shakespeare

Act III

Scene I. A plain in Syria.

Enter Ventidius as it were in triumph, with Silius, and other Romans, Officers, and Soldiers; the dead body of Pacorus borne before him

Ventidius

Now, darting Parthia, art thou struck; and now
Pleased fortune does of Marcus Crassus’ death
Make me revenger. Bear the king’s son’s body
Before our army. Thy Pacorus, Orodes,
Pays this for Marcus Crassus.

Silius

Noble Ventidius,
Whilst yet with Parthian blood thy sword is warm,
The fugitive Parthians follow; spur through Media,
Mesopotamia, and the shelters whither
The routed fly: so thy grand captain Antony
Shall set thee on triumphant chariots and
Put garlands on thy head.

Ventidius

O Silius, Silius,
I have done enough; a lower place, note well,
May make too great an act: for learn this, Silius;
Better to leave undone, than by our deed
Acquire too high a fame when him we serve’s away.
Caesar and Antony have ever won
More in their officer than person: Sossius,
One of my place in Syria, his lieutenant,
For quick accumulation of renown,
Which he achieved by the minute, lost his favour.
Who does i’ the wars more than his captain can
Becomes his captain’s captain: and ambition,
The soldier’s virtue, rather makes choice of loss,
Than gain which darkens him.
I could do more to do Antonius good,
But ’twould offend him; and in his offence
Should my performance perish.

Silius

Thou hast, Ventidius, that
Without the which a soldier, and his sword,
Grants scarce distinction. Thou wilt write to Antony!

Ventidius

I’ll humbly signify what in his name,
That magical word of war, we have effected;
How, with his banners and his well-paid ranks,
The ne’er-yet-beaten horse of Parthia
We have jaded out o’ the field.

Silius

Where is he now?

Ventidius

He purposeth to Athens: whither, with what haste
The weight we must convey with’s will permit,
We shall appear before him. On there; pass along!

Exeunt

Scene II. Rome. An ante-chamber in Octavius Caesar’s house.

Enter Agrippa at one door, Domitius Enobarbus at another

Agrippa

What, are the brothers parted?

Domitius Enobarbus

They have dispatch’d with Pompey, he is gone;
The other three are sealing. Octavia weeps
To part from Rome; Caesar is sad; and Lepidus,
Since Pompey’s feast, as Menas says, is troubled
With the green sickness.

Agrippa

’Tis a noble Lepidus.

Domitius Enobarbus

A very fine one: O, how he loves Caesar!

Agrippa

Nay, but how dearly he adores Mark Antony!

Domitius Enobarbus

Caesar? Why, he’s the Jupiter of men.

Agrippa

What’s Antony? The god of Jupiter.

Domitius Enobarbus

Spake you of Caesar? How! the non-pareil!

Agrippa

O Antony! O thou Arabian bird!

Domitius Enobarbus

Would you praise Caesar, say ‘Caesar:’ go no further.

Agrippa

Indeed, he plied them both with excellent praises.

Domitius Enobarbus

But he loves Caesar best; yet he loves Antony:
Ho! hearts, tongues, figures, scribes, bards, poets, cannot
Think, speak, cast, write, sing, number, ho!
His love to Antony. But as for Caesar,
Kneel down, kneel down, and wonder.

Agrippa

Both he loves.

Domitius Enobarbus

They are his shards, and he their beetle.

Trumpets within

So;
This is to horse. Adieu, noble Agrippa.

Agrippa

Good fortune, worthy soldier; and farewell.

Enter Octavius Caesar, Mark Antony, Lepidus, and Octavia

Mark Antony

No further, sir.

Octavius Caesar

You take from me a great part of myself;
Use me well in ’t. Sister, prove such a wife
As my thoughts make thee, and as my farthest band
Shall pass on thy approof. Most noble Antony,
Let not the piece of virtue, which is set
Betwixt us as the cement of our love,
To keep it builded, be the ram to batter
The fortress of it; for better might we
Have loved without this mean, if on both parts
This be not cherish’d.

Mark Antony

Make me not offended
In your distrust.

Octavius Caesar

  I have said.

Mark Antony

You shall not find,
Though you be therein curious, the least cause
For what you seem to fear: so, the gods keep you,
And make the hearts of Romans serve your ends!
We will here part.

Octavius Caesar

Farewell, my dearest sister, fare thee well:
The elements be kind to thee, and make
Thy spirits all of comfort! fare thee well.

Octavia

My noble brother!

Mark Antony

The April ’s in her eyes: it is love’s spring,
And these the showers to bring it on. Be cheerful.

Octavia

Sir, look well to my husband’s house; and —

Octavius Caesar

What, Octavia?

Octavia

  I’ll tell you in your ear.

Mark Antony

Her tongue will not obey her heart, nor can
Her heart inform her tongue — the swan’s down-feather,
That stands upon the swell at full of tide,
And neither way inclines.

Domitius Enobarbus

[Aside to Agrippa] Will Caesar weep?

Agrippa

[Aside to Domitius Enobarbus] He has a cloud in ’s face.

Domitius Enobarbus

[Aside to Agrippa] He were the worse for that, were he a horse; So is he, being a man.

Agrippa

[Aside to Domitius Enobarbus] Why, Enobarbus,
When Antony found Julius Caesar dead,
He cried almost to roaring; and he wept
When at Philippi he found Brutus slain.

Domitius Enobarbus

[Aside to Agrippa] That year, indeed, he was troubled with a rheum;
What willingly he did confound he wail’d,
Believe’t, till I wept too.

Octavius Caesar

No, sweet Octavia,
You shall hear from me still; the time shall not
Out-go my thinking on you.

Mark Antony

Come, sir, come;
I’ll wrestle with you in my strength of love:
Look, here I have you; thus I let you go,
And give you to the gods.

Octavius Caesar

Adieu; be happy!

Lepidus

Let all the number of the stars give light
To thy fair way!

Octavius Caesar

Farewell, fa rewell!

Kisses Octavia

Mark Antony

Farewell!

Trumpets sound. Exeunt

Scene III. Alexandria. Cleopatra’s palace.

Enter Cleopatra, Charmian, Iras, and Alexas

Cleopatra

Where is the fellow?

Alexas

Half afeard to come.

Cleopatra

Go to, go to.

Enter the Messenger as before

Come hither, sir.

Alexas

Good majesty,
Herod of Jewry dare not look upon you
But when you are well pleased.

Cleopatra

That Herod’s head
I’ll have: but how, when Antony is gone
Through whom I might command it? Come thou near.

Messenger

Most gracious majesty —

Cleopatra

Didst thou behold Octavia?

Messenger

Ay, dread queen.

Cleopatra

Where?

Messenger

Madam, in Rome;
I look’d her in the face, and saw her led
Between her brother and Mark Antony.

Cleopatra

Is she as tall as me?

Messenger

She is not, madam.

Cleopatra

Didst hear her speak? is she shrill-tongued or low?

Messenger

Madam, I heard her speak; she is low-voiced.

Cleopatra

That’s not so good: he cannot like her long.

Charmian

Like her! O Isis! ’tis impossible.

Cleopatra

I think so, Charmian: dull of tongue, and dwarfish!
What majesty is in her gait? Remember,
If e’er thou look’dst on majesty.

Messenger

She creeps:
Her motion and her station are as one;
She shows a body rather than a life,
A statue than a breather.

Cleopatra

Is this certain?

Messenger

Or I have no observance.

Charmian

Three in Egypt
Cannot make better note.

Cleopatra

He’s very knowing;
I do perceive’t: there’s nothing in her yet:
The fellow has good judgment.

Charmian

Excellent.

Cleopatra

Guess at her years, I prithee.

Messenger

Madam,
She was a widow —

Cleopatra

  Widow! Charmian, hark.

Messenger

And I do think she’s thirty.

Cleopatra

Bear’st thou her face in mind? is’t long or round?

Messenger

Round even to faultiness.

Cleopatra

For the most part, too, they are foolish that are so.
Her hair, what colour?

Messenger

Brown, madam: and her forehead
As low as she would wish it.

Cleopatra

There’s gold for thee.
Thou must not take my former sharpness ill:
I will employ thee back again; I find thee
Most fit for business: go make thee ready;
Our letters are prepared.

Exit Messenger

Charmian

A proper man.

Cleopatra

Indeed, he is so: I repent me much
That so I harried him. Why, methinks, by him,
This creature’s no such thing.

Charmian

Nothing, madam.

Cleopatra

The man hath seen some majesty, and should know.

Charmian

Hath he seen majesty? Isis else defend,
And serving you so long!

Cleopatra

I have one thing more to ask him yet, good Charmian:
But ’tis no matter; thou shalt bring him to me
Where I will write. All may be well enough.

Charmian

I warrant you, madam.

Exeunt

Scene IV. Athens. A room in Mark Antony’s house.

Enter Mark Antony and Octavia

Mark Antony

Nay, nay, Octavia, not only that —
That were excusable, that, and thousands more
Of semblable import — but he hath waged
New wars ’gainst Pompey; made his will, and read it
To public ear:
Spoke scantly of me: when perforce he could not
But pay me terms of honour, cold and sickly
He vented them; most narrow measure lent me:
When the best hint was given him, he not took’t,
Or did it from his teeth.

Octavia

O my good lord,
Believe not all; or, if you must believe,
Stomach not all. A more unhappy lady,
If this division chance, ne’er stood between,
Praying for both parts:
The good gods me presently,
When I shall pray, ‘O bless my lord and husband!’
Undo that prayer, by crying out as loud,
‘O, bless my brother!’ Husband win, win brother,
Prays, and destroys the prayer; no midway
’Twixt these extremes at all.

Mark Antony

Gentle Octavia,
Let your best love draw to that point, which seeks
Best to preserve it: if I lose mine honour,
I lose myself: better I were not yours
Than yours so branchless. But, as you requested,
Yourself shall go between ’s: the mean time, lady,
I’ll raise the preparation of a war
Shall stain your brother: make your soonest haste;
So your desires are yours.

Octavia

Thanks to my lord.
The Jove of power make me most weak, most weak,
Your reconciler! Wars ’twixt you twain would be
As if the world should cleave, and that slain men
Should solder up the rift.

Mark Antony

When it appears to you where this begins,
Turn your displeasure that way: for our faults
Can never be so equal, that your love
Can equally move with them. Provide your going;
Choose your own company, and command what cost
Your heart has mind to.

Exeunt

Scene V. The same. Another room.

Enter Domitius Enobarbus and Eros, meeting

Domitius Enobarbus

How now, friend Eros!

Eros

There’s strange news come, sir.

Domitius Enobarbus

What, man?

Eros

Caesar and Lepidus have made wars upon Pompey.

Domitius Enobarbus

This is old: what is the success?

Eros

Caesar, having made use of him in the wars ’gainst Pompey, presently denied him rivality; would not let him partake in the glory of the action: and not resting here, accuses him of letters he had formerly wrote to Pompey; upon his own appeal, seizes him: so the poor third is up, till death enlarge his confine.

Domitius Enobarbus

Then, world, thou hast a pair of chaps, no more;
And throw between them all the food thou hast,
They’ll grind the one the other. Where’s Antony?

Eros

He’s walking in the garden — thus; and spurns
The rush that lies before him; cries, ‘Fool Lepidus!’
And threats the throat of that his officer
That murder’d Pompey.

Domitius Enobarbus

Our great navy’s rigg’d.

Eros

For Italy and Caesar. More, Domitius;
My lord desires you presently: my news
I might have told hereafter.

Domitius Enobarbus

’Twill be naught:
But let it be. Bring me to Antony.

Eros

Come, sir.

Exeunt

Scene VI. Rome. Octavius Caesar’s house.

Enter Octavius Caesar, Agrippa, and Mecaenas

Octavius Caesar

Contemning Rome, he has done all this, and more,
In Alexandria: here’s the manner of ’t:
I’ the market-place, on a tribunal silver’d,
Cleopatra and himself in chairs of gold
Were publicly enthroned: at the feet sat
Caesarion, whom they call my father’s son,
And all the unlawful issue that their lust
Since then hath made between them. Unto her
He gave the stablishment of Egypt; made her
Of lower Syria, Cyprus, Lydia,
Absolute queen.

Mecaenas

  This in the public eye?

Octavius Caesar

I’ the common show-place, where they exercise.
His sons he there proclaim’d the kings of kings:
Great Media, Parthia, and Armenia.
He gave to Alexander; to Ptolemy he assign’d
Syria, Cilicia, and Phoenicia: she
In the habiliments of the goddess Isis
That day appear’d; and oft before gave audience,
As ’tis reported, so.

Mecaenas

Let Rome be thus Inform’d.

Agrippa

Who, queasy with his insolence
Already, will their good thoughts call from him.

Octavius Caesar

The people know it; and have now received
His accusations.

Agrippa

  Who does he accuse?

Octavius Caesar

Caesar: and that, having in Sicily
Sextus Pompeius spoil’d, we had not rated him
His part o’ the isle: then does he say, he lent me
Some shipping unrestored: lastly, he frets
That Lepidus of the triumvirate
Should be deposed; and, being, that we detain
All his revenue.

Agrippa

  Sir, this should be answer’d.

Octavius Caesar

’Tis done already, and the messenger gone.
I have told him, Lepidus was grown too cruel;
That he his high authority abused,
And did deserve his change: for what I have conquer’d,
I grant him part; but then, in his Armenia,
And other of his conquer’d kingdoms, I
Demand the like.

Mecaenas

  He’ll never yield to that.

Octavius Caesar

Nor must not then be yielded to in this.

Enter Octavia with her train

Octavia

Hail, Caesar, and my lord! hail, most dear Caesar!

Octavius Caesar

That ever I should call thee castaway!

Octavia

You have not call’d me so, nor have you cause.

Octavius Caesar

Why have you stol’n upon us thus! You come not
Like Caesar’s sister: the wife of Antony
Should have an army for an usher, and
The neighs of horse to tell of her approach
Long ere she did appear; the trees by the way
Should have borne men; and expectation fainted,
Longing for what it had not; nay, the dust
Should have ascended to the roof of heaven,
Raised by your populous troops: but you are come
A market-maid to Rome; and have prevented
The ostentation of our love, which, left unshown,
Is often left unloved; we should have met you
By sea and land; supplying every stage
With an augmented greeting.

Octavia

Good my lord,
To come thus was I not constrain’d, but did
On my free will. My lord, Mark Antony,
Hearing that you prepared for war, acquainted
My grieved ear withal; whereon, I begg’d
His pardon for return.

Octavius Caesar

Which soon he granted,
Being an obstruct ’tween his lust and him.

Octavia

Do not say so, my lord.

Octavius Caesar

I have eyes upon him,
And his affairs come to me on the wind.
Where is he now?

Octavia

  My lord, in Athens.

Octavius Caesar

No, my most wronged sister; Cleopatra
Hath nodded him to her. He hath given his empire
Up to a whore; who now are levying
The kings o’ the earth for war; he hath assembled
Bocchus, the king of Libya; Archelaus,
Of Cappadocia; Philadelphos, king
Of Paphlagonia; the Thracian king, Adallas;
King Malchus of Arabia; King of Pont;
Herod of Jewry; Mithridates, king
Of Comagene; Polemon and Amyntas,
The kings of Mede and Lycaonia,
With a more larger list of sceptres.

Octavia

Ay me, most wretched,
That have my heart parted betwixt two friends
That do afflict each other!

Octavius Caesar

Welcome hither:
Your letters did withhold our breaking forth;
Till we perceived, both how you were wrong led,
And we in negligent danger. Cheer your heart;
Be you not troubled with the time, which drives
O’er your content these strong necessities;
But let determined things to destiny
Hold unbewail’d their way. Welcome to Rome;
Nothing more dear to me. You are abused
Beyond the mark of thought: and the high gods,
To do you justice, make them ministers
Of us and those that love you. Best of comfort;
And ever welcome to us.

Agrippa

Welcome, lady.

Mecaenas

Welcome, dear madam.
Each heart in Rome does love and pity you:
Only the adulterous Antony, most large
In his abominations, turns you off;
And gives his potent regiment to a trull,
That noises it against us.

Octavia

Is it so, sir?

Octavius Caesar

Most certain. Sister, welcome: pray you,
Be ever known to patience: my dear’st sister!

Exeunt

Scene VII. Near Actium. Mark Antony’s camp.

Enter Cleopatra and Domitius Enobarbus

Cleopatra

I will be even with thee, doubt it not.

Domitius Enobarbus

But why, why, why?

Cleopatra

Thou hast forspoke my being in these wars,
And say’st it is not fit.

Domitius Enobarbus

Well, is it, is it?

Cleopatra

If not denounced against us, why should not we
Be there in person?

Domitius Enobarbus

[Aside] 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?

Domitius Enobarbus

Your 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
Manage this war.

Cleopatra

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

Domitius Enobarbus

Nay, I have done.
Here comes the emperor.

Enter Mark Antony and Canidius

Mark Antony

Is it not strange, Canidius,
That from Tarentum and Brundusium
He could so quickly cut the Ionian sea,
And take in Toryne? You have heard on’t, sweet?

Cleopatra

Celerity is never more admired
Than by the negligent.

Mark Antony

A good rebuke,
Which might have well becomed the best of men,
To taunt at slackness. Canidius, we
Will fight with him by sea.

Cleopatra

By sea! what else?

Canidius

Why will my lord do so?

Mark Antony

For that he dares us to’t.

Domitius Enobarbus

So hath my lord dared him to single fight.

Canidius

Ay, and to wage this battle at Pharsalia.
Where Caesar fought with Pompey: but these offers,
Which serve not for his vantage, be shakes off;
And so should you.

Domitius Enobarbus

  Your ships are not well mann’d;
Your mariners are muleters, reapers, people
Ingross’d by swift impress; in Caesar’s fleet
Are those that often have ’gainst Pompey fought:
Their ships are yare; yours, heavy: no disgrace
Shall fall you for refusing him at sea,
Being prepared for land.

Mark Antony

By sea, by sea.

Domitius Enobarbus

Most worthy sir, you therein throw away
The absolute soldiership you have by land;
Distract your army, which doth most consist
Of war-mark’d footmen; leave unexecuted
Your own renowned knowledge; quite forego
The way which promises assurance; and
Give up yourself merely to chance and hazard,
From firm security.

Mark Antony

I’ll fight at sea.

Cleopatra

I have sixty sails, Caesar none better.

Mark Antony

Our overplus of shipping will we burn;
And, with the rest full-mann’d, from the head of Actium
Beat the approaching Caesar. But if we fail,
We then can do’t at land.

Enter a Messenger

Thy business?

Messenger

The news is true, my lord; he is descried;
Caesar has taken Toryne.

Mark Antony

Can he be there in person? ’tis impossible;
Strange that power should be. Canidius,
Our nineteen legions thou shalt hold by land,
And our twelve thousand horse. We’ll to our ship:
Away, my Thetis!

Enter a Soldier

How now, worthy soldier?

Soldier

O noble emperor, do not fight by sea;
Trust not to rotten planks: do you misdoubt
This sword and these my wounds? Let the Egyptians
And the Phoenicians go a-ducking; we
Have used to conquer, standing on the earth,
And fighting foot to foot.

Mark Antony

Well, well: away!

Exeunt Mark Antony, Queen Cleopatra, and Domitius Enobarbus

Soldier

By Hercules, I think I am i’ the right.

Canidius

Soldier, thou art: but his whole action grows
Not in the power on’t: so our leader’s led,
And we are women’s men.

Soldier

You keep by land
The legions and the horse whole, do you not?

Canidius

Marcus Octavius, Marcus Justeius,
Publicola, and Caelius, are for sea:
But we keep whole by land. This speed of Caesar’s
Carries beyond belief.

Soldier

While he was yet in Rome,
His power went out in such distractions as
Beguiled all spies.

Canidius

Who’s his lieutenant, hear you?

Soldier

They say, one Taurus.

Canidius

Well I know the man.

Enter a Messenger

Messenger

The emperor calls Canidius.

Canidius

With news the time’s with labour, and throes forth,
Each minute, some.

Exeunt

Scene VIII. A plain near Actium.

Enter Octavius Caesar, and Taurus, with his army, marching

Octavius Caesar

Taurus!

Taurus

My lord?

Octavius Caesar

Strike not by land; keep whole: provoke not battle,
Till we have done at sea. Do not exceed
The prescript of this scroll: our fortune lies
Upon this jump.

Exeunt

Scene IX. Another part of the plain.

Enter Mark Antony and Domitius Enobarbus

Mark Antony

Set we our squadrons on yond side o’ the hill,
In eye of Caesar’s battle; from which place
We may the number of the ships behold,
And so proceed accordingly.

Exeunt

Scene X. Another part of the plain.

Canidius marcheth with his land army one way over the stage; and Taurus, the lieutenant of Octavius Caesar, the other way. After their going in, is heard the noise of a sea-fight

Alarum. Enter Domitius Enobarbus

Domitius Enobarbus

Naught, naught all, naught! I can behold no longer:
The Antoniad, the Egyptian admiral,
With all their sixty, fly and turn the rudder:
To see’t mine eyes are blasted.

Enter Scarus

Scarus

Gods and goddesses,
All the whole synod of them!

Domitius Enobarbus

What’s thy passion!

Scarus

The greater cantle of the world is lost
With very ignorance; we have kiss’d away
Kingdoms and provinces.

Domitius Enobarbus

How appears the fight?

Scarus

On our side like the token’d pestilence,
Where death is sure. Yon ribaudred nag of Egypt —
Whom leprosy o’ertake! — i’ the midst o’ the fight,
When vantage like a pair of twins appear’d,
Both as the same, or rather ours the elder,
The breese upon her, like a cow in June,
Hoists sails and flies.

Domitius Enobarbus

That I beheld:
Mine eyes did sicken at the sight, and could not
Endure a further view.

Scarus

She once being loof’d,
The noble ruin of her magic, Antony,
Claps on his sea-wing, and, like a doting mallard,
Leaving the fight in height, flies after her:
I never saw an action of such shame;
Experience, manhood, honour, ne’er before
Did violate so itself.

Domitius Enobarbus

Alack, alack!

Enter Canidius

Canidius

Our fortune on the sea is out of breath,
And sinks most lamentably. Had our general
Been what he knew himself, it had gone well:
O, he has given example for our flight,
Most grossly, by his own!

Domitius Enobarbus

Ay, are you thereabouts?
Why, then, good night indeed.

Canidius

Toward Peloponnesus are they fled.

Scarus

’Tis easy to’t; and there I will attend
What further comes.

Canidius

To Caesar will I render
My legions and my horse: six kings already
Show me the way of yielding.

Domitius Enobarbus

I’ll yet follow
The wounded chance of Antony, though my reason
Sits in the wind against me.

Exeunt

Scene XI. Alexandria. Cleopatra’s palace.

Enter Mark Antony with Attendants

Mark Antony

Hark! the land bids me tread no more upon’t;
It is ashamed to bear me! Friends, come hither:
I am so lated in the world, that I
Have lost my way for ever: I have a ship
Laden with gold; take that, divide it; fly,
And make your peace with Caesar.

All

Fly! not we.

Mark Antony

I have fled myself; and have instructed cowards
To run and show their shoulders. Friends, be gone;
I have myself resolved upon a course
Which has no need of you; be gone:
My treasure’s in the harbour, take it. O,
I follow’d that I blush to look upon:
My very hairs do mutiny; for the white
Reprove the brown for rashness, and they them
For fear and doting. Friends, be gone: you shall
Have letters from me to some friends that will
Sweep your way for you. Pray you, look not sad,
Nor make replies of loathness: take the hint
Which my despair proclaims; let that be left
Which leaves itself: to the sea-side straightway:
I will possess you of that ship and treasure.
Leave me, I pray, a little: pray you now:
Nay, do so; for, indeed, I have lost command,
Therefore I pray you: I’ll see you by and by.

Sits down

Enter Cleopatra led by Charmian and Iras; Eros following

Eros

Nay, gentle madam, to him, comfort him.

Iras

Do, most dear queen.

Charmian

Do! why: what else?

Cleopatra

Let me sit down. O Juno!

Mark Antony

No, no, no, no, no.

Eros

See you here, sir?

Mark Antony

O fie, fie, fie!

Charmian

Madam!

Iras

Madam, O good empress!

Eros

Sir, sir —

Mark Antony

Yes, my lord, yes; he at Philippi kept
His sword e’en like a dancer; while I struck
The lean and wrinkled Cassius; and ’twas I
That the mad Brutus ended: he alone
Dealt on lieutenantry, and no practise had
In the brave squares of war: yet now — No matter.

Cleopatra

Ah, stand by.

Eros

The queen, my lord, the queen.

Iras

Go to him, madam, speak to him:
He is unqualitied with very shame.

Cleopatra

Well then, sustain him: O!

Eros

Most noble sir, arise; the queen approaches:
Her head’s declined, and death will seize her, but
Your comfort makes the rescue.

Mark Antony

I have offended reputation,
A most unnoble swerving.

Eros

Sir, the queen.

Mark Antony

O, whither hast thou led me, Egypt? See,
How I convey my shame out of thine eyes
By looking back what I have left behind
’stroy’d in dishonour.

Cleopatra

O my lord, my lord,
Forgive my fearful sails! I little thought
You would have follow’d.

Mark Antony

Egypt, thou knew’st too well
My heart was to thy rudder tied by the strings,
And thou shouldst tow me after: o’er my spirit
Thy full supremacy thou knew’st, and that
Thy beck might from the bidding of the gods
Command me.

Cleopatra

  O, my pardon!

Mark Antony

Now I must
To the young man send humble treaties, dodge
And palter in the shifts of lowness; who
With half the bulk o’ the world play’d as I pleased,
Making and marring fortunes. You did know
How much you were my conqueror; and that
My sword, made weak by my affection, would
Obey it on all cause.

Cleopatra

Pardon, pardon!

Mark Antony

Fall not a tear, I say; one of them rates
All that is won and lost: give me a kiss;
Even this repays me. We sent our schoolmaster;
Is he come back? Love, I am full of lead.
Some wine, within there, and our viands! Fortune knows
We scorn her most when most she offers blows.

Exeunt

Scene XII. Egypt. Octavius Caesar’s camp.

Enter Octavius Caesar, Dolabella, Thyreus, with others

Octavius Caesar

Let him appear that’s come from Antony.
Know you him?

Dolabella

  Caesar, ’tis his schoolmaster:
An argument that he is pluck’d, when hither
He sends so poor a pinion off his wing,
Which had superfluous kings for messengers
Not many moons gone by.

Enter Euphronius, ambassador from Mark Antony

Octavius Caesar

Approach, and speak.

Euphronius

Such as I am, I come from Antony:
I was of late as petty to his ends
As is the morn-dew on the myrtle-leaf
To his grand sea.

Octavius Caesar

  Be’t so: declare thine office.

Euphronius

Lord of his fortunes he salutes thee, and
Requires to live in Egypt: which not granted,
He lessens his requests; and to thee sues
To let him breathe between the heavens and earth,
A private man in Athens: this for him.
Next, Cleopatra does confess thy greatness;
Submits her to thy might; and of thee craves
The circle of the Ptolemies for her heirs,
Now hazarded to thy grace.

Octavius Caesar

For Antony,
I have no ears to his request. The queen
Of audience nor desire shall fail, so she
From Egypt drive her all-disgraced friend,
Or take his life there: this if she perform,
She shall not sue unheard. So to them both.

Euphronius

Fortune pursue thee!

Octavius Caesar

Bring him through the bands.

Exit Euphronius

To Thyreus

From Antony win Cleopatra: promise,
And in our name, what she requires; add more,
From thine invention, offers: women are not
In their best fortunes strong; but want will perjure
The ne’er touch’d vestal: try thy cunning, Thyreus;
Make thine own edict for thy pains, which we
Will answer as a law.

Thyreus

Caesar, I go.

Octavius Caesar

Observe how Antony becomes his flaw,
And what thou think’st his very action speaks
In every power that moves.

Thyreus

Caesar, I shall.

Exeunt

Scene XIII. Alexandria. Cleopatra’s palace.

Enter Cleopatra, Domitius Enobarbus, Charmian, and Iras

Cleopatra

What shall we do, Enobarbus?

Domitius Enobarbus

Think, and die.

Cleopatra

Is Antony or we in fault for this?

Domitius Enobarbus

Antony only, that would make his will
Lord of his reason. What though you fled
From that great face of war, whose several ranges
Frighted each other? why should he follow?
The itch of his affection should not then
Have nick’d his captainship; at such a point,
When half to half the world opposed, he being
The meered question: ’twas a shame no less
Than was his loss, to course your flying flags,
And leave his navy gazing.

Cleopatra

Prithee, peace.

Enter Mark Antony with Euphronius, the Ambassador

Mark Antony

Is that his answer?

Euphronius

Ay, my lord.

Mark Antony

The queen shall then have courtesy, so she
Will yield us up.

Euphronius

  He says so.

Mark Antony

Let her know’t.
To the boy Caesar send this grizzled head,
And he will fill thy wishes to the brim
With principalities.

Cleopatra

That head, my lord?

Mark Antony

To him again: tell him he wears the rose
Of youth upon him; from which the world should note
Something particular: his coin, ships, legions,
May be a coward’s; whose ministers would prevail
Under the service of a child as soon
As i’ the command of Caesar: I dare him therefore
To lay his gay comparisons apart,
And answer me declined, sword against sword,
Ourselves alone. I’ll write it: follow me.

Exeunt Mark Antony and Euphronius

Domitius Enobarbus

[Aside] Yes, like enough, high-battled Caesar will
Unstate his happiness, and be staged to the show,
Against a sworder! I see men’s judgments are
A parcel of their fortunes; and things outward
Do draw the inward quality after them,
To suffer all alike. That he should dream,
Knowing all measures, the full Caesar will
Answer his emptiness! Caesar, thou hast subdued
His judgment too.

Enter an Attendant

Attendant

  A messenger from Caesar.

Cleopatra

What, no more ceremony? See, my women!
Against the blown rose may they stop their nose
That kneel’d unto the buds. Admit him, sir.

Exit Attendant

Domitius Enobarbus

[Aside] Mine honesty and I begin to square.
The loyalty well held to fools does make
Our faith mere folly: yet he that can endure
To follow with allegiance a fall’n lord
Does conquer him that did his master conquer
And earns a place i’ the story.

Enter Thyreus

Cleopatra

Caesar’s will?

Thyreus

Hear it apart.

Cleopatra

  None but friends: say boldly.

Thyreus

So, haply, are they friends to Antony.

Domitius Enobarbus

He needs as many, sir, as Caesar has;
Or needs not us. If Caesar please, our master
Will leap to be his friend: for us, you know,
Whose he is we are, and that is, Caesar’s.

Thyreus

So.
Thus then, thou most renown’d: Caesar entreats,
Not to consider in what case thou stand’st,
Further than he is Caesar.

Cleopatra

Go on: right royal.

Thyreus

He knows that you embrace not Antony
As you did love, but as you fear’d him.

Cleopatra

O!

Thyreus

The scars upon your honour, therefore, he
Does pity, as constrained blemishes,
Not as deserved.

Cleopatra

  He is a god, and knows
What is most right: mine honour was not yielded,
But conquer’d merely.

Domitius Enobarbus

[Aside] To be sure of that,
I will ask Antony. Sir, sir, thou art so leaky,
That we must leave thee to thy sinking, for
Thy dearest quit thee.

Exit

Thyreus

Shall I say to Caesar
What you require of him? for he partly begs
To be desired to give. It much would please him,
That of his fortunes you should make a staff
To lean upon: but it would warm his spirits,
To hear from me you had left Antony,
And put yourself under his shrowd,
The universal landlord.

Cleopatra

What’s your name?

Thyreus

My name is Thyreus.

Cleopatra

Most kind messenger,
Say to great Caesar this: in deputation
I kiss his conquering hand: tell him, I am prompt
To lay my crown at ’s feet, and there to kneel:
Tell him from his all-obeying breath I hear
The doom of Egypt.

Thyreus

’Tis your noblest course.
Wisdom and fortune combating together,
If that the former dare but what it can,
No chance may shake it. Give me grace to lay
My duty on your hand.

Cleopatra

Your Caesar’s father oft,
When he hath mused of taking kingdoms in,
Bestow’d his lips on that unworthy place,
As it rain’d kisses.

Re-enter Mark Antony and Domitius Enobarbus

Mark Antony

Favours, by Jove that thunders!
What art thou, fellow?

Thyreus

One that but performs
The bidding of the fullest man, and worthiest
To have command obey’d.

Domitius Enobarbus

[Aside] You will be whipp’d.

Mark Antony

Approach, there! Ah, you kite! Now, gods and devils!
Authority melts from me: of late, when I cried ’Ho!’
Like boys unto a muss, kings would start forth,
And cry ‘Your will?’ Have you no ears? I am Antony yet.

Enter Attendants

Take hence this Jack, and whip him.

Domitius Enobarbus

[Aside] ’Tis better playing with a lion’s whelp
Than with an old one dying.

Mark Antony

Moon and stars!
Whip him. Were’t twenty of the greatest tributaries
That do acknowledge Caesar, should I find them
So saucy with the hand of she here — what’s her name,
Since she was Cleopatra? Whip him, fellows,
Till, like a boy, you see him cringe his face,
And whine aloud for mercy: take him hence.

Thyreus

Mark Antony!

Mark Antony

  Tug him away: being whipp’d,
Bring him again: this Jack of Caesar’s shall
Bear us an errand to him.

Exeunt Attendants with Thyreus

You were half blasted ere I knew you: ha!
Have I my pillow left unpress’d in Rome,
Forborne the getting of a lawful race,
And by a gem of women, to be abused
By one that looks on feeders?

Cleopatra

Good my lord —

Mark Antony

You have been a boggler ever:
But when we in our viciousness grow hard —
O misery on’t! — the wise gods seel our eyes;
In our own filth drop our clear judgments; make us
Adore our errors; laugh at’s, while we strut
To our confusion.

Cleopatra

  O, is’t come to this?

Mark Antony

I found you as a morsel cold upon
Dead Caesar’s trencher; nay, you were a fragment
Of Cneius Pompey’s; besides what hotter hours,
Unregister’d in vulgar fame, you have
Luxuriously pick’d out: for, I am sure,
Though you can guess what temperance should be,
You know not what it is.

Cleopatra

Wherefore is this?

Mark Antony

To let a fellow that will take rewards
And say ‘God quit you!’ be familiar with
My playfellow, your hand; this kingly seal
And plighter of high hearts! O, that I were
Upon the hill of Basan, to outroar
The horned herd! for I have savage cause;
And to proclaim it civilly, were like
A halter’d neck which does the hangman thank
For being yare about him.

Re-enter Attendants with Thyreus

Is he whipp’d?

First Attendant

Soundly, my lord.

Mark Antony

  Cried he? and begg’d a’ pardon?

First Attendant

He did ask favour.

Mark Antony

If that thy father live, let him repent
Thou wast not made his daughter; and be thou sorry
To follow Caesar in his triumph, since
Thou hast been whipp’d for following him: henceforth
The white hand of a lady fever thee,
Shake thou to look on ’t. Get thee back to Caesar,
Tell him thy entertainment: look, thou say
He makes me angry with him; for he seems
Proud and disdainful, harping on what I am,
Not what he knew I was: he makes me angry;
And at this time most easy ’tis to do’t,
When my good stars, that were my former guides,
Have empty left their orbs, and shot their fires
Into the abysm of hell. If he mislike
My speech and what is done, tell him he has
Hipparchus, my enfranched bondman, whom
He may at pleasure whip, or hang, or torture,
As he shall like, to quit me: urge it thou:
Hence with thy stripes, begone!

Exit Thyreus

Cleopatra

Have you done yet?

Mark Antony

  Alack, our terrene moon
Is now eclipsed; and it portends alone
The fall of Antony!

Cleopatra

I must stay his time.

Mark Antony

To flatter Caesar, would you mingle eyes
With one that ties his points?

Cleopatra

Not know me yet?

Mark Antony

Cold-hearted toward me?

Cleopatra

Ah, dear, if I be so,
From my cold heart let heaven engender hail,
And poison it in the source; and the first stone
Drop in my neck: as it determines, so
Dissolve my life! The next Caesarion smite!
Till by degrees the memory of my womb,
Together with my brave Egyptians all,
By the discandying of this pelleted storm,
Lie graveless, till the flies and gnats of Nile
Have buried them for prey!

Mark Antony

I am satisfied.
Caesar sits down in Alexandria; where
I will oppose his fate. Our force by land
Hath nobly held; our sever’d navy too
Have knit again, and fleet, threatening most sea-like.
Where hast thou been, my heart? Dost thou hear, lady?
If from the field I shall return once more
To kiss these lips, I will appear in blood;
I and my sword will earn our chronicle:
There’s hope in’t yet.

Cleopatra

That’s my brave lord!

Mark Antony

I will be treble-sinew’d, hearted, breathed,
And fight maliciously: for when mine hours
Were nice and lucky, men did ransom lives
Of me for jests; but now I’ll set my teeth,
And send to darkness all that stop me. Come,
Let’s have one other gaudy night: call to me
All my sad captains; fill our bowls once more;
Let’s mock the midnight bell.

Cleopatra

It is my birth-day:
I had thought to have held it poor: but, since my lord
Is Antony again, I will be Cleopatra.

Mark Antony

We will yet do well.

Cleopatra

Call all his noble captains to my lord.

Mark Antony

Do so, we’ll speak to them; and to-night I’ll force
The wine peep through their scars. Come on, my queen;
There’s sap in’t yet. The next time I do fight,
I’ll make death love me; for I will contend
Even with his pestilent scythe.

Exeunt all but Domitius Enobarbus

Domitius Enobarbus

Now he’ll outstare the lightning. To be furious,
Is to be frighted out of fear; and in that mood
The dove will peck the estridge; and I see still,
A diminution in our captain’s brain
Restores his heart: when valour preys on reason,
It eats the sword it fights with. I will seek
Some way to leave him.

Exit

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Last updated Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at 22:29