Antony and Cleopatra
|ACT II SCENE I||Messina. Pompey’s house.|
|[ 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||5|
|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.||10|
|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||15|
|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||20|
|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,||25|
|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;||30|
|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||35|
|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||40|
|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.||45|
|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.||50|
|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|
|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||60|
|Our lives upon to use our strongest hands.|
Antony and Cleopatra, Act 2, Scene 2
Explanatory Notes for Act 2, Scene 1
From Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra. Ed. M. Eaton. Boston: Educational Publishing Company.
(Line numbers have been altered.)
1. Shall. Will, can not but assist.
4. Not deny. Do not necessarily deny.
5. Whiles. While; that is, while we are praying, the thing for which we are praying is losing in value through delay.
8. Harms. For things that would harm us.
10. Of. We should say by “the losing of.”
13. Crescent. Waxing greater.
13. Auguring. Prophetic.
22. Have. Where did you learn this?
26. Salt. Wanton.
26. Waned. Faded in beauty.
29. Epicurean. Accented on the antipenult. Epicurus was a philosopher who taught that the pursuit of pleasure was the highest good in life. He meant, however, mental rather than physical pleasures.
30. Cloyless. That is, not cloying; that sharpen rather than satisfy the appetite.
31. Prorogue. Keep his honor languishing, prevent it from asserting itself.
32. Lethe’d. Lethe was a river of Hades whose waters brought forgetfulness to everyone who drank of them.
37. Space. It is time enough even for a longer journey than that from Egypt to Rome.
40. Helm. Helmet.
44. Widow. Young Ptolemy, to whom Caesar had married Cleopatra, had been drowned.
46. Hope. Expect.
47. Well greet. Greet on good terms.
48. Trespasses. Committed offenses.
54. Pregnant. Likely, probable.
54. Square. Quarrel.
59. Yet not. Do not yet.
61. Our lives upon. It is necessary if we value our lives.
How to cite the explanatory notes:Shakespeare, William. Antony and Cleopatra. Ed. M. Eaton. Boston: Educational Publishing Company, 1908.