Enter Pompey, Menecrates, and Menas, in warlike manner
Pompey If the great gods be just, they shall assist
The deeds of justest men.
Menecrates Know, worthy Pompey,
That what they do delay, they not deny.
Pompey Whiles we are suitors to their throne, decays
The thing we sue for.
Menecrates We, ignorant of ourselves,
Beg often our own harms, which the wise powers
Deny us for our good; so find we profit
By losing of our prayers.
Pompey I shall do well:
The people love me, and the sea is mine;
My powers are crescent, and my auguring hope
Says it will come to the full. Mark Antony
In Egypt sits at dinner, and will make
No wars without doors: Caesar gets money where
He loses hearts: Lepidus flatters both,
Of both is flatter’d; but he neither loves,
Nor either cares for him.
Menas Caesar and Lepidus
Are in the field: a mighty strength they carry.
Pompey Where have you this? ’tis false.
Menas From Silvius, sir.
Pompey He dreams: I know they are in Rome together,
Looking for Antony. But all the charms of love,
Salt Cleopatra, soften thy waned lip!
Let witchcraft join with beauty, lust with both!
Tie up the libertine in a field of feasts,
Keep his brain fuming; Epicurean cooks
Sharpen with cloyless sauce his appetite;
That sleep and feeding may prorogue his honour
Even till a Lethe’d dulness!
How now, Varrius!
Varrius This is most certain that I shall deliver:
Mark Antony is every hour in Rome
Expected: since he went from Egypt ’tis
A space for further travel.
Pompey I could have given less matter
A better ear. Menas, I did not think
This amorous surfeiter would have donn’d his helm
For such a petty war: his soldiership
Is twice the other twain: but let us rear
The higher our opinion, that our stirring
Can from the lap of Egypt’s widow pluck
The ne’er-lust-wearied Antony.
Menas I cannot hope
Caesar and Antony shall well greet together:
His wife that’s dead did trespasses to Caesar;
His brother warr’d upon him; although, I think,
Not moved by Antony.
Pompey I know not, Menas,
How lesser enmities may give way to greater.
Were’t not that we stand up against them all,
’Twere pregnant they should square between themselves;
For they have entertained cause enough
To draw their swords: but how the fear of us
May cement their divisions and bind up
The petty difference, we yet not know.
Be’t as our gods will have’t! It only stands
Our lives upon to use our strongest hands.
Enter Domitius Enobarbus and Lepidus
Lepidus Good Enobarbus, ’tis a worthy deed,
And shall become you well, to entreat your captain
To soft and gentle speech.
Domitius Enobarbus I shall entreat him
To answer like himself: if Caesar move him,
Let Antony look over Caesar’s head
And speak as loud as Mars. By Jupiter,
Were I the wearer of Antonius’ beard,
I would not shave’t to-day.
Lepidus ’Tis not a time
For private stomaching.
Domitius Enobarbus Every time
Serves for the matter that is then born in’t.
Lepidus But small to greater matters must give way.
Domitius Enobarbus Not if the small come first.
Lepidus Your speech is passion:
But, pray you, stir no embers up. Here comes
The noble Antony.
Enter Mark Antony and Ventidius
Domitius Enobarbus And yonder, Caesar.
Enter Octavius Caesar, Mecaenas, and Agrippa
Mark Antony If we compose well here, to Parthia:
Octavius Caesar I do not know,
Mecaenas; ask Agrippa.
Lepidus Noble friends,
That which combined us was most great, and let not
A leaner action rend us. What’s amiss,
May it be gently heard: when we debate
Our trivial difference loud, we do commit
Murder in healing wounds: then, noble partners,
The rather, for I earnestly beseech,
Touch you the sourest points with sweetest terms,
Nor curstness grow to the matter.
Mark Antony ’Tis spoken well.
Were we before our armies, and to fight.
I should do thus.
Octavius Caesar Welcome to Rome.
Mark Antony Thank you.
Octavius Caesar Sit.
Mark Antony Sit, sir.
Octavius Caesar Nay, then.
Mark Antony I learn, you take things ill which are not so,
Or being, concern you not.
Octavius Caesar I must be laugh’d at,
If, or for nothing or a little, I
Should say myself offended, and with you
Chiefly i’ the world; more laugh’d at, that I should
Once name you derogately, when to sound your name
It not concern’d me.
Mark Antony My being in Egypt, Caesar,
What was’t to you?
Octavius Caesar No more than my residing here at Rome
Might be to you in Egypt: yet, if you there
Did practise on my state, your being in Egypt
Might be my question.
Mark Antony How intend you, practised?
Octavius Caesar You may be pleased to catch at mine intent
By what did here befal me. Your wife and brother
Made wars upon me; and their contestation
Was theme for you, you were the word of war.
Mark Antony You do mistake your business; my brother never
Did urge me in his act: I did inquire it;
And have my learning from some true reports,
That drew their swords with you. Did he not rather
Discredit my authority with yours;
And make the wars alike against my stomach,
Having alike your cause? Of this my letters
Before did satisfy you. If you’ll patch a quarrel,
As matter whole you have not to make it with,
It must not be with this.
Octavius Caesar You praise yourself
By laying defects of judgment to me; but
You patch’d up your excuses.
Mark Antony Not so, not so;
I know you could not lack, I am certain on’t,
Very necessity of this thought, that I,
Your partner in the cause ’gainst which he fought,
Could not with graceful eyes attend those wars
Which fronted mine own peace. As for my wife,
I would you had her spirit in such another:
The third o’ the world is yours; which with a snaffle
You may pace easy, but not such a wife.
Domitius Enobarbus Would we had all such wives, that the men might go to wars with the women!
Mark Antony So much uncurbable, her garboils, Caesar
Made out of her impatience, which not wanted
Shrewdness of policy too, I grieving grant
Did you too much disquiet: for that you must
But say, I could not help it.
Octavius Caesar I wrote to you
When rioting in Alexandria; you
Did pocket up my letters, and with taunts
Did gibe my missive out of audience.
Mark Antony Sir,
He fell upon me ere admitted: then
Three kings I had newly feasted, and did want
Of what I was i’ the morning: but next day
I told him of myself; which was as much
As to have ask’d him pardon. Let this fellow
Be nothing of our strife; if we contend,
Out of our question wipe him.
Octavius Caesar You have broken
The article of your oath; which you shall never
Have tongue to charge me with.
Lepidus Soft, Caesar!
Mark Antony No,
Lepidus, let him speak:
The honour is sacred which he talks on now,
Supposing that I lack’d it. But, on, Caesar;
The article of my oath.
Octavius Caesar To lend me arms and aid when I required them;
The which you both denied.
Mark Antony Neglected, rather;
And then when poison’d hours had bound me up
From mine own knowledge. As nearly as I may,
I’ll play the penitent to you: but mine honesty
Shall not make poor my greatness, nor my power
Work without it. Truth is, that Fulvia,
To have me out of Egypt, made wars here;
For which myself, the ignorant motive, do
So far ask pardon as befits mine honour
To stoop in such a case.
Lepidus ’Tis noble spoken.
Mecaenas If it might please you, to enforce no further
The griefs between ye: to forget them quite
Were to remember that the present need
Speaks to atone you.
Lepidus Worthily spoken, Mecaenas.
Domitius Enobarbus Or, if you borrow one another’s love for the instant, you may, when you hear no more words of Pompey, return it again: you shall have time to wrangle in when you have nothing else to do.
Mark Antony Thou art a soldier only: speak no more.
Domitius Enobarbus That truth should be silent I had almost forgot.
Mark Antony You wrong this presence; therefore speak no more.
Domitius Enobarbus Go to, then; your considerate stone.
Octavius Caesar I do not much dislike the matter, but
The manner of his speech; for’t cannot be
We shall remain in friendship, our conditions
So differing in their acts. Yet if I knew
What hoop should hold us stanch, from edge to edge
O’ the world I would pursue it.
Agrippa Give me leave, Caesar —
Octavius Caesar Speak, Agrippa.
Agrippa Thou hast a sister by the mother’s side,
Admired Octavia: great Mark Antony
Is now a widower.
Octavius Caesar Say not so, Agrippa:
If Cleopatra heard you, your reproof
Were well deserved of rashness.
Mark Antony I am not married, Caesar: let me hear
Agrippa further speak.
Agrippa To hold you in perpetual amity,
To make you brothers, and to knit your hearts
With an unslipping knot, take Antony
Octavia to his wife; whose beauty claims
No worse a husband than the best of men;
Whose virtue and whose general graces speak
That which none else can utter. By this marriage,
All little jealousies, which now seem great,
And all great fears, which now import their dangers,
Would then be nothing: truths would be tales,
Where now half tales be truths: her love to both
Would, each to other and all loves to both,
Draw after her. Pardon what I have spoke;
For ’tis a studied, not a present thought,
By duty ruminated.
Mark Antony Will Caesar speak?
Octavius Caesar Not till he hears how Antony is touch’d
With what is spoke already.
Mark Antony What power is in Agrippa,
If I would say, ‘Agrippa, be it so,’
To make this good?
Octavius Caesar The power of Caesar, and
His power unto Octavia.
Mark Antony May I never
To this good purpose, that so fairly shows,
Dream of impediment! Let me have thy hand:
Further this act of grace: and from this hour
The heart of brothers govern in our loves
And sway our great designs!
Octavius Caesar There is my hand.
A sister I bequeath you, whom no brother
Did ever love so dearly: let her live
To join our kingdoms and our hearts; and never
Fly off our loves again!
Lepidus Happily, amen!
Mark Antony I did not think to draw my sword ’gainst Pompey;
For he hath laid strange courtesies and great
Of late upon me: I must thank him only,
Lest my remembrance suffer ill report;
At heel of that, defy him.
Lepidus Time calls upon’s:
Of us must Pompey presently be sought,
Or else he seeks out us.
Mark Antony Where lies he?
Octavius Caesar About the mount Misenum.
Mark Antony What is his strength by land?
Octavius Caesar Great and increasing: but by sea
He is an absolute master.
Mark Antony So is the fame.
Would we had spoke together! Haste we for it:
Yet, ere we put ourselves in arms, dispatch we
The business we have talk’d of.
Octavius Caesar With most gladness:
And do invite you to my sister’s view,
Whither straight I’ll lead you.
Mark Antony Let us, Lepidus,
Not lack your company.
Lepidus Noble Antony,
Not sickness should detain me.
Flourish. Exeunt Octavius Caesar, Mark Antony, and Lepidus
Mecaenas Welcome from Egypt, sir.
Domitius Enobarbus Half the heart of Caesar, worthy Mecaenas! My honourable friend, Agrippa!
Agrippa Good Enobarbus!
Mecaenas We have cause to be glad that matters are so well digested. You stayed well by ’t in Egypt.
Domitius Enobarbus Ay, sir; we did sleep day out of countenance, and made the night light with drinking.
Mecaenas Eight wild-boars roasted whole at a breakfast, and but twelve persons there; is this true?
Domitius Enobarbus This was but as a fly by an eagle: we had much more monstrous matter of feast, which worthily deserved noting.
Mecaenas She’s a most triumphant lady, if report be square to her.
Domitius Enobarbus When she first met Mark Antony, she pursed up his heart, upon the river of Cydnus.
Agrippa There she appeared indeed; or my reporter devised well for her.
Domitius Enobarbus I will tell you.
The barge she sat in, like a burnish’d throne,
Burn’d on the water: the poop was beaten gold;
Purple the sails, and so perfumed that
The winds were love-sick with them; the oars were silver,
Which to the tune of flutes kept stroke, and made
The water which they beat to follow faster,
As amorous of their strokes. For her own person,
It beggar’d all description: she did lie
In her pavilion — cloth-of-gold of tissue —
O’er-picturing that Venus where we see
The fancy outwork nature: on each side her
Stood pretty dimpled boys, like smiling Cupids,
With divers-colour’d fans, whose wind did seem
To glow the delicate cheeks which they did cool,
And what they undid did.
Agrippa O, rare for Antony!
Domitius Enobarbus Her gentlewomen, like the Nereides,
So many mermaids, tended her i’ the eyes,
And made their bends adornings: at the helm
A seeming mermaid steers: the silken tackle
Swell with the touches of those flower-soft hands,
That yarely frame the office. From the barge
A strange invisible perfume hits the sense
Of the adjacent wharfs. The city cast
Her people out upon her; and Antony,
Enthroned i’ the market-place, did sit alone,
Whistling to the air; which, but for vacancy,
Had gone to gaze on Cleopatra too,
And made a gap in nature.
Agrippa Rare Egyptian!
Domitius Enobarbus Upon her landing, Antony sent to her,
Invited her to supper: she replied,
It should be better he became her guest;
Which she entreated: our courteous Antony,
Whom ne’er the word of ‘No’ woman heard speak,
Being barber’d ten times o’er, goes to the feast,
And for his ordinary pays his heart
For what his eyes eat only.
Agrippa Royal wench!
She made great Caesar lay his sword to bed:
He plough’d her, and she cropp’d.
Domitius Enobarbus I saw her once
Hop forty paces through the public street;
And having lost her breath, she spoke, and panted,
That she did make defect perfection,
And, breathless, power breathe forth.
Mecaenas Now Antony must leave her utterly.
Domitius Enobarbus Never; he will not:
Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale
Her infinite variety: other women cloy
The appetites they feed: but she makes hungry
Where most she satisfies; for vilest things
Become themselves in her: that the holy priests
Bless her when she is riggish.
Mecaenas If beauty, wisdom, modesty, can settle
The heart of Antony, Octavia is
A blessed lottery to him.
Agrippa Let us go.
Good Enobarbus, make yourself my guest
Whilst you abide here.
Domitius Enobarbus Humbly, sir, I thank you.
Enter Mark Antony, Octavius Caesar, Octavia between them, and Attendants
Mark Antony The world and my great office will sometimes
Divide me from your bosom.
Octavia All which time
Before the gods my knee shall bow my prayers
To them for you.
Mark Antony Good night, sir. My Octavia,
Read not my blemishes in the world’s report:
I have not kept my square; but that to come
Shall all be done by the rule. Good night, dear lady.
Good night, sir.
Octavius Caesar Good night.
Exeunt Octavius Caesar and Octavia
Mark Antony Now, sirrah; you do wish yourself in Egypt?
Soothsayer Would I had never come from thence, nor you Thither!
Mark Antony If you can, your reason?
Soothsayer I see it in
My motion, have it not in my tongue: but yet
Hie you to Egypt again.
Mark Antony Say to me,
Whose fortunes shall rise higher, Caesar’s or mine?
Therefore, O Antony, stay not by his side:
Thy demon, that’s thy spirit which keeps thee, is
Noble, courageous high, unmatchable,
Where Caesar’s is not; but, near him, thy angel
Becomes a fear, as being o’erpower’d: therefore
Make space enough between you.
Mark Antony Speak this no more.
Soothsayer To none but thee; no more, but when to thee.
If thou dost play with him at any game,
Thou art sure to lose; and, of that natural luck,
He beats thee ’gainst the odds: thy lustre thickens,
When he shines by: I say again, thy spirit
Is all afraid to govern thee near him;
But, he away, ’tis noble.
Mark Antony Get thee gone:
Say to Ventidius I would speak with him:
He shall to Parthia. Be it art or hap,
He hath spoken true: the very dice obey him;
And in our sports my better cunning faints
Under his chance: if we draw lots, he speeds;
His cocks do win the battle still of mine,
When it is all to nought; and his quails ever
Beat mine, inhoop’d, at odds. I will to Egypt:
And though I make this marriage for my peace,
I’ the east my pleasure lies.
O, come, Ventidius,
You must to Parthia: your commission’s ready;
Follow me, and receive’t.
Enter Lepidus, Mecaenas, and Agrippa
Lepidus Trouble yourselves no further: pray you, hasten
Your generals after.
Agrippa Sir, Mark Antony
Will e’en but kiss Octavia, and we’ll follow.
Lepidus Till I shall see you in your soldier’s dress,
Which will become you both, farewell.
Mecaenas We shall,
As I conceive the journey, be at the Mount
Before you, Lepidus.
Lepidus Your way is shorter;
My purposes do draw me much about:
You’ll win two days upon me.
Sir, good success!
Enter Cleopatra, Charmian, Iras, and Alexas
Cleopatra Give me some music; music, moody food
Of us that trade in love.
Attendants The music, ho!
Cleopatra Let it alone; let’s to billiards: come, Charmian.
Charmian My arm is sore; best play with Mardian.
Cleopatra As well a woman with an eunuch play’d
As with a woman. Come, you’ll play with me, sir?
Mardian As well as I can, madam.
Cleopatra And when good will is show’d, though’t come too short,
The actor may plead pardon. I’ll none now:
Give me mine angle; we’ll to the river: there,
My music playing far off, I will betray
Tawny-finn’d fishes; my bended hook shall pierce
Their slimy jaws; and, as I draw them up,
I’ll think them every one an Antony,
And say ‘Ah, ha! you’re caught.’
Charmian ’Twas merry when
You wager’d on your angling; when your diver
Did hang a salt-fish on his hook, which he
With fervency drew up.
Cleopatra That time — O times! —
I laugh’d him out of patience; and that night
I laugh’d him into patience; and next morn,
Ere the ninth hour, I drunk him to his bed;
Then put my tires and mantles on him, whilst
I wore his sword Philippan.
Enter a Messenger
O, from Italy
Ram thou thy fruitful tidings in mine ears,
That long time have been barren.
Messenger Madam, madam —
Cleopatra Antonius dead! — If thou say so, villain,
Thou kill’st thy mistress: but well and free,
If thou so yield him, there is gold, and here
My bluest veins to kiss; a hand that kings
Have lipp’d, and trembled kissing.
Messenger First, madam, he is well.
Cleopatra Why, there’s more gold.
But, sirrah, mark, we use
To say the dead are well: bring it to that,
The gold I give thee will I melt and pour
Down thy ill-uttering throat.
Messenger Good madam, hear me.
Cleopatra Well, go to, I will;
But there’s no goodness in thy face: if Antony
Be free and healthful — so tart a favour
To trumpet such good tidings! If not well,
Thou shouldst come like a Fury crown’d with snakes,
Not like a formal man.
Messenger Will’t please you hear me?
Cleopatra I have a mind to strike thee ere thou speak’st:
Yet if thou say Antony lives, is well,
Or friends with Caesar, or not captive to him,
I’ll set thee in a shower of gold, and hail
Rich pearls upon thee.
Messenger Madam, he’s well.
Cleopatra Well said.
Messenger And friends with Caesar.
Cleopatra Thou’rt an honest man.
Messenger Caesar and he are greater friends than ever.
Cleopatra Make thee a fortune from me.
Messenger But yet, madam —
Cleopatra I do not like ‘But yet,’ it does allay
The good precedence; fie upon ‘But yet’!
‘But yet’ is as a gaoler to bring forth
Some monstrous malefactor. Prithee, friend,
Pour out the pack of matter to mine ear,
The good and bad together: he’s friends with Caesar:
In state of health thou say’st; and thou say’st free.
Messenger Free, madam! no; I made no such report:
He’s bound unto Octavia.
Cleopatra For what good turn?
Messenger For the best turn i’ the bed.
Cleopatra I am pale, Charmian.
Messenger Madam, he’s married to Octavia.
Cleopatra The most infectious pestilence upon thee!
Strikes him down
Messenger Good madam, patience.
Cleopatra What say you? Hence,
Strikes him again
Horrible villain! or I’ll spurn thine eyes
Like balls before me; I’ll unhair thy head:
She hales him up and down
Thou shalt be whipp’d with wire, and stew’d in brine,
Smarting in lingering pickle.
Messenger Gracious madam,
I that do bring the news made not the match.
Cleopatra Say ’tis not so, a province I will give thee,
And make thy fortunes proud: the blow thou hadst
Shall make thy peace for moving me to rage;
And I will boot thee with what gift beside
Thy modesty can beg.
Messenger He’s married, madam.
Cleopatra Rogue, thou hast lived too long.
Draws a knife
Messenger Nay, then I’ll run.
What mean you, madam? I have made no fault.
Charmian Good madam, keep yourself within yourself:
The man is innocent.
Cleopatra Some innocents ’scape not the thunderbolt.
Melt Egypt into Nile! and kindly creatures
Turn all to serpents! Call the slave again:
Though I am mad, I will not bite him: call.
Charmian He is afeard to come.
Cleopatra I will not hurt him.
These hands do lack nobility, that they strike
A meaner than myself; since I myself
Have given myself the cause.
Re-enter Charmian and Messenger
Come hither, sir.
Though it be honest, it is never good
To bring bad news: give to a gracious message.
An host of tongues; but let ill tidings tell
Themselves when they be felt.
Messenger I have done my duty.
Cleopatra Is he married?
I cannot hate thee worser than I do,
If thou again say ‘Yes.’
Messenger He’s married, madam.
Cleopatra The gods confound thee! dost thou hold there still?
Messenger Should I lie, madam?
Cleopatra O, I would thou didst,
So half my Egypt were submerged and made
A cistern for scaled snakes! Go, get thee hence:
Hadst thou Narcissus in thy face, to me
Thou wouldst appear most ugly. He is married?
Messenger I crave your highness’ pardon.
Cleopatra He is married?
Messenger Take no offence that I would not offend you:
To punish me for what you make me do.
Seems much unequal: he’s married to Octavia.
Cleopatra O, that his fault should make a knave of thee,
That art not what thou’rt sure of! Get thee hence:
The merchandise which thou hast brought from Rome
Are all too dear for me: lie they upon thy hand,
And be undone by ’em!
Charmian Good your highness, patience.
Cleopatra In praising Antony, I have dispraised Caesar.
Charmian Many times, madam.
Cleopatra I am paid for’t now.
Lead me from hence:
I faint: O Iras, Charmian! ’tis no matter.
Go to the fellow, good Alexas; bid him
Report the feature of Octavia, her years,
Her inclination, let him not leave out
The colour of her hair: bring me word quickly.
Let him for ever go:— let him not — Charmian,
Though he be painted one way like a Gorgon,
The other way’s a Mars. Bid you Alexas
Bring me word how tall she is. Pity me, Charmian,
But do not speak to me. Lead me to my chamber.
Flourish. Enter Pompey and Menas at one door, with drum and trumpet: at another, Octavius Caesar, Mark Antony, Lepidus, Domitius Enobarbus, Mecaenas, with Soldiers marching
Pompey Your hostages I have, so have you mine;
And we shall talk before we fight.
Octavius Caesar Most meet
That first we come to words; and therefore have we
Our written purposes before us sent;
Which, if thou hast consider’d, let us know
If ’twill tie up thy discontented sword,
And carry back to Sicily much tall youth
That else must perish here.
Pompey To you all three,
The senators alone of this great world,
Chief factors for the gods, I do not know
Wherefore my father should revengers want,
Having a son and friends; since Julius Caesar,
Who at Philippi the good Brutus ghosted,
There saw you labouring for him. What was’t
That moved pale Cassius to conspire; and what
Made the all-honour’d, honest Roman, Brutus,
With the arm’d rest, courtiers and beauteous freedom,
To drench the Capitol; but that they would
Have one man but a man? And that is it
Hath made me rig my navy; at whose burthen
The anger’d ocean foams; with which I meant
To scourge the ingratitude that despiteful Rome
Cast on my noble father.
Octavius Caesar Take your time.
Mark Antony Thou canst not fear us, Pompey, with thy sails;
We’ll speak with thee at sea: at land, thou know’st
How much we do o’er-count thee.
Pompey At land, indeed,
Thou dost o’er-count me of my father’s house:
But, since the cuckoo builds not for himself,
Remain in’t as thou mayst.
Lepidus Be pleased to tell us —
For this is from the present — how you take
The offers we have sent you.
Octavius Caesar There’s the point.
Mark Antony Which do not be entreated to, but weigh
What it is worth embraced.
Octavius Caesar And what may follow,
To try a larger fortune.
Pompey You have made me offer
Of Sicily, Sardinia; and I must
Rid all the sea of pirates; then, to send
Measures of wheat to Rome; this ’greed upon
To part with unhack’d edges, and bear back
Our targes undinted.
Octavius Caesar Mark Antony
Lepidus That’s our offer.
Pompey Know, then,
I came before you here a man prepared
To take this offer: but Mark Antony
Put me to some impatience: though I lose
The praise of it by telling, you must know,
When Caesar and your brother were at blows,
Your mother came to Sicily and did find
Her welcome friendly.
Mark Antony I have heard it, Pompey;
And am well studied for a liberal thanks
Which I do owe you.
Pompey Let me have your hand:
I did not think, sir, to have met you here.
Mark Antony The beds i’ the east are soft; and thanks to you,
That call’d me timelier than my purpose hither;
For I have gain’d by ’t.
Octavius Caesar Since I saw you last,
There is a change upon you.
Pompey Well, I know not
What counts harsh fortune casts upon my face;
But in my bosom shall she never come,
To make my heart her vassal.
Lepidus Well met here.
Pompey I hope so, Lepidus. Thus we are agreed:
I crave our composition may be written,
And seal’d between us.
Octavius Caesar That’s the next to do.
Pompey We’ll feast each other ere we part; and let’s
Draw lots who shall begin.
Mark Antony That will I, Pompey.
Pompey No, Antony, take the lot: but, first
Or last, your fine Egyptian cookery
Shall have the fame. I have heard that Julius Caesar
Grew fat with feasting there.
Mark Antony You have heard much.
Pompey I have fair meanings, sir.
Mark Antony And fair words to them.
Pompey Then so much have I heard:
And I have heard, Apollodorus carried —
Domitius Enobarbus No more of that: he did so.
Pompey What, I pray you?
Domitius Enobarbus A certain queen to Caesar in a mattress.
Pompey I know thee now: how farest thou, soldier?
Domitius Enobarbus Well;
And well am like to do; for, I perceive,
Four feasts are toward.
Pompey Let me shake thy hand;
I never hated thee: I have seen thee fight,
When I have envied thy behavior.
Domitius Enobarbus Sir,
I never loved you much; but I ha’ praised ye,
When you have well deserved ten times as much
As I have said you did.
Pompey Enjoy thy plainness,
It nothing ill becomes thee.
Aboard my galley I invite you all:
Will you lead, lords?
Octavius Caesar Mark Antony
Lepidus Show us the way, sir.
Exeunt all but Menas and Enobarbus
Menas [Aside] Thy father, Pompey, would ne’er have made this treaty. — You and I have known, sir.
Domitius Enobarbus At sea, I think.
Menas We have, sir.
Domitius Enobarbus You have done well by water.
Menas And you by land.
Domitius Enobarbus I will praise any man that will praise me; though it cannot be denied what I have done by land.
Menas Nor what I have done by water.
Domitius Enobarbus Yes, something you can deny for your own safety: you have been a great thief by sea.
Menas And you by land.
Domitius Enobarbus There I deny my land service. But give me your hand, Menas: if our eyes had authority, here they might take two thieves kissing.
Menas All men’s faces are true, whatsome’er their hands are.
Domitius Enobarbus But there is never a fair woman has a true face.
Menas No slander; they steal hearts.
Domitius Enobarbus We came hither to fight with you.
Menas For my part, I am sorry it is turned to a drinking.
Pompey doth this day laugh away his fortune.
Domitius Enobarbus If he do, sure, he cannot weep’t back again.
Menas You’ve said, sir. We looked not for Mark Antony here: pray you, is he married to Cleopatra?
Domitius Enobarbus Caesar’s sister is called Octavia.
Menas True, sir; she was the wife of Caius Marcellus.
Domitius Enobarbus But she is now the wife of Marcus Antonius.
Menas Pray ye, sir?
Domitius Enobarbus ’Tis true.
Menas Then is Caesar and he for ever knit together.
Domitius Enobarbus If I were bound to divine of this unity, I would not prophesy so.
Menas I think the policy of that purpose made more in the marriage than the love of the parties.
Domitius Enobarbus I think so too. But you shall find, the band that seems to tie their friendship together will be the very strangler of their amity: Octavia is of a holy, cold, and still conversation.
Menas Who would not have his wife so?
Domitius Enobarbus Not he that himself is not so; which is Mark Antony. He will to his Egyptian dish again: then shall the sighs of Octavia blow the fire up in Caesar; and, as I said before, that which is the strength of their amity shall prove the immediate author of their variance. Antony will use his affection where it is: he married but his occasion here.
Menas And thus it may be. Come, sir, will you aboard?
I have a health for you.
Domitius Enobarbus I shall take it, sir: we have used our throats in Egypt.
Menas Come, let’s away.
Music plays. Enter two or three Servants with a banquet
First Servant Here they’ll be, man. Some o’ their plants are ill-rooted already: the least wind i’ the world will blow them down.
Second Servant Lepidus is high-coloured.
First Servant They have made him drink alms-drink.
Second Servant As they pinch one another by the disposition, he cries out ‘No more;’ reconciles them to his entreaty, and himself to the drink.
First Servant But it raises the greater war between him and his discretion.
Second Servant Why, this is to have a name in great men’s fellowship: I had as lief have a reed that will do me no service as a partisan I could not heave.
First Servant To be called into a huge sphere, and not to be seen to move in’t, are the holes where eyes should be, which pitifully disaster the cheeks.
A sennet sounded. Enter Octavius Caesar, Mark Antony, Lepidus, Pompey, Agrippa, Mecaenas, Domitius Enobarbus, Menas, with other captains
Mark Antony [To Octavius Caesar] Thus do they, sir: they take the flow o’ the Nile
By certain scales i’ the pyramid; they know,
By the height, the lowness, or the mean, if dearth
Or foison follow: the higher Nilus swells,
The more it promises: as it ebbs, the seedsman
Upon the slime and ooze scatters his grain,
And shortly comes to harvest.
Lepidus You’ve strange serpents there.
Mark Antony Ay, Lepidus.
Lepidus Your serpent of Egypt is bred now of your mud by the operation of your sun: so is your crocodile.
Mark Antony They are so.
Pompey Sit — and some wine! A health to Lepidus!
Lepidus I am not so well as I should be, but I’ll ne’er out.
Domitius Enobarbus Not till you have slept; I fear me you’ll be in till then.
Lepidus Nay, certainly, I have heard the Ptolemies’ pyramises are very goodly things; without contradiction, I have heard that.
Menas [Aside to Pompey] Pompey, a word.
Pompey [Aside to Menas] Say in mine ear: what is’t?
Menas [Aside to Pompey] Forsake thy seat, I do beseech thee, captain,
And hear me speak a word.
Pompey [Aside to Menas] Forbear me till anon.
This wine for Lepidus!
Lepidus What manner o’ thing is your crocodile?
Mark Antony It is shaped, sir, like itself; and it is as broad as it hath breadth: it is just so high as it is, and moves with its own organs: it lives by that which nourisheth it; and the elements once out of it, it transmigrates.
Lepidus What colour is it of?
Mark Antony Of it own colour too.
Lepidus ’Tis a strange serpent.
Mark Antony ’Tis so. And the tears of it are wet.
Octavius Caesar Will this description satisfy him?
Mark Antony With the health that Pompey gives him, else he is a very epicure.
Pompey [Aside to Menas] Go hang, sir, hang! Tell me of that? away! Do as I bid you. Where’s this cup I call’d for?
Menas [Aside to Pompey] If for the sake of merit thou wilt hear me, Rise from thy stool.
Pompey [Aside to Menas] I think thou’rt mad.
Rises, and walks aside
Menas I have ever held my cap off to thy fortunes.
Pompey Thou hast served me with much faith. What’s else to say?
Be jolly, lords.
Mark Antony These quick-sands, Lepidus,
Keep off them, for you sink.
Menas Wilt thou be lord of all the world?
Pompey What say’st thou?
Menas Wilt thou be lord of the whole world? That’s twice.
Pompey How should that be?
Menas But entertain it,
And, though thou think me poor, I am the man
Will give thee all the world.
Pompey Hast thou drunk well?
Menas Now, Pompey, I have kept me from the cup.
Thou art, if thou darest be, the earthly Jove:
Whate’er the ocean pales, or sky inclips,
Is thine, if thou wilt ha’t.
Pompey Show me which way.
Menas These three world-sharers, these competitors,
Are in thy vessel: let me cut the cable;
And, when we are put off, fall to their throats:
All there is thine.
Pompey Ah, this thou shouldst have done,
And not have spoke on’t! In me ’tis villany;
In thee’t had been good service. Thou must know,
’Tis not my profit that does lead mine honour;
Mine honour, it. Repent that e’er thy tongue
Hath so betray’d thine act: being done unknown,
I should have found it afterwards well done;
But must condemn it now. Desist, and drink.
Menas [Aside] For this,
I’ll never follow thy pall’d fortunes more.
Who seeks, and will not take when once ’tis offer’d,
Shall never find it more.
Pompey This health to Lepidus!
Mark Antony Bear him ashore. I’ll pledge it for him, Pompey.
Domitius Enobarbus Here’s to thee, Menas!
Menas Enobarbus, welcome!
Pompey Fill till the cup be hid.
Domitius Enobarbus There’s a strong fellow, Menas.
Pointing to the Attendant who carries off Lepidus
Domitius Enobarbus A’ bears the third part of the world, man; see’st not?
Menas The third part, then, is drunk: would it were all,
That it might go on wheels!
Domitius Enobarbus Drink thou; increase the reels.
Pompey This is not yet an Alexandrian feast.
Mark Antony It ripens towards it. Strike the vessels, ho?
Here is to Caesar!
Octavius Caesar I could well forbear’t.
It’s monstrous labour, when I wash my brain,
And it grows fouler.
Mark Antony Be a child o’ the time.
Octavius Caesar Possess it, I’ll make answer:
But I had rather fast from all four days
Than drink so much in one.
Domitius Enobarbus Ha, my brave emperor!
To Mark Antony
Shall we dance now the Egyptian Bacchanals,
And celebrate our drink?
Pompey Let’s ha’t, good soldier.
Mark Antony Come, let’s all take hands,
Till that the conquering wine hath steep’d our sense
In soft and delicate Lethe.
Domitius Enobarbus All take hands.
Make battery to our ears with the loud music:
The while I’ll place you: then the boy shall sing;
The holding every man shall bear as loud
As his strong sides can volley.
Music plays. Domitius Enobarbus places them hand in hand
Come, thou monarch of the vine,
Plumpy Bacchus with pink eyne!
In thy fats our cares be drown’d,
With thy grapes our hairs be crown’d:
Cup us, till the world go round,
Cup us, till the world go round!
Octavius Caesar What would you more? Pompey, good night. Good brother,
Let me request you off: our graver business
Frowns at this levity. Gentle lords, let’s part;
You see we have burnt our cheeks: strong Enobarb
Is weaker than the wine; and mine own tongue
Splits what it speaks: the wild disguise hath almost
Antick’d us all. What needs more words? Good night.
Good Antony, your hand.
Pompey I’ll try you on the shore.
Mark Antony And shall, sir; give’s your hand.
Pompey O Antony,
You have my father’s house — But, what? we are friends.
Come, down into the boat.
Domitius Enobarbus Take heed you fall not.
Exeunt all but Domitius Enobarbus and Menas
Menas, I’ll not on shore.
Menas No, to my cabin.
These drums! these trumpets, flutes! what!
Let Neptune hear we bid a loud farewell
To these great fellows: sound and be hang’d, sound out!
Sound a flourish, with drums
Domitius Enobarbus Ho! says a’ There’s my cap.
Menas Ho! Noble captain, come.
Last updated Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 14:13