Antony and Cleopatra
|ACT II SCENE II||Rome. The house of Lepidus|
|[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,||5|
|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||10|
|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.||15|
|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:||20|
|OCTAVIUS CAESAR||I do not know,|
|Mecaenas; ask Agrippa.|
|That which combined us was most great, and let not||25|
|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,||30|
|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.||35|
|OCTAVIUS CAESAR||Welcome to Rome.|
|MARK ANTONY||Thank you.|
|MARK ANTONY||Sit, sir.|
|OCTAVIUS CAESAR||Nay, then.||40|
|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||45|
|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?||50|
|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?||55|
|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||60|
|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,||65|
|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||70|
|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,||75|
|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||80|
|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||85|
|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||90|
|Did pocket up my letters, and with taunts|
|Did gibe my missive out of audience.|
|He fell upon me ere admitted: then|
|Three kings I had newly feasted, and did want||95|
|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.||100|
|OCTAVIUS CAESAR||You have broken|
|The article of your oath; which you shall never|
|Have tongue to charge me with.|
|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;||110|
|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||115|
|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||120|
|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||125|
|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||130|
|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.||135|
|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||140|
|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||145|
|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||150|
|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||155|
|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,||160|
|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,||165|
|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,||170|
|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||175|
|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!||180|
|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!||185|
|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;||190|
|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?||195|
|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.||200|
|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,||205|
|Whither straight I’ll lead you.|
|MARK ANTONY||Let us, Lepidus,|
|Not lack your company.|
|Not sickness should detain me.||210|
|[ 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!|
|MECAENAS||We have cause to be glad that matters are so well||215|
|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?||220|
|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|
|DOMITIUS ENOBARBUS||When she first met Mark Antony, she pursed up||225|
|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,||230|
|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,||235|
|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||240|
|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!||245|
|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,||250|
|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,||255|
|Whistling to the air; which, but for vacancy,|
|Had gone to gaze on Cleopatra too,|
|And made a gap in nature.|
|DOMITIUS ENOBARBUS||Upon her landing, Antony sent to her,||260|
|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,||265|
|And for his ordinary pays his heart|
|For what his eyes eat only.|
|She made great Caesar lay his sword to bed:|
|He plough’d her, and she cropp’d.||270|
|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.||275|
|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||280|
|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||285|
|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.||290|
Antony and Cleopatra, Act 2, Scene 3
Explanatory Notes for Act 2, Scene 2
From Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra. Ed. M. Eaton. Boston: Educational Publishing Company.
(Line numbers have been altered.)
7. Mars. The god of war.
9. Shave’t. I would not show him even so small a mark of respect.
11. Stomaching. Resentment, quarreling.
20. Compose. Agree well together, come to terms.
20. Parthia. We will set out for Parthia.
22. I do not know. Said in answer to some question without the scenes.
25. Combined. United.
26. Leaner. Lesser, more trivial.
28. Loud. In angry words.
30. Rather. All the more because.
32. Curstness. Do not let anger make our differences greater.
34. To fight. About to fight.
47. Derogately. In disparaging terms.
48. It. Did.
53. Practise. Plotted against me.
54. Question. That is, a question that concerned me.
56. Intend. What do you mean by “practiced”?
58. Contestation. Quarrel.
59. Theme. Had you for its theme or cause.
59. Word. Watchword of the war.
60. Business. Misunderstood the matter.
61. Urge me. Urge my name as a pretext for making war.
61. Inquire. Make inquiries about it.
62. Reports. Reporters, people who supported you.
64. Discredit. Throw discredit over me as well as you.
65. Stomach. Desire.
66. Alike. Since I am engaged in the same cause with yourself.
67. Patch. If you insist upon patching up a quarrel with me out of mere trivialities, for you have no real cause, you must find some better ground than this.
72. Patch’d. You had just as little real ground for your excuses.
74. Lack. I know you could not help thinking.
77. Graceful eyes. Look favorably upon.
78. Fronted. Opposed.
80. Snaffle. Light rein.
81. Pace. Teach to go lightly.
81. Wife. That is, if you were married to a woman of such spirit you would find that, although you may easily govern a third of the world, you cannot govern her.
84. Uncurbable. Ungovernable as she was, her commotions, etc.
87. Did you. Gave you too much reason for disquiet.
87. For that. As for all that.
92. Gibe. Drive out with gibes.
92. Missive. The bearer of my missive.
95. Want. Was not myself.
97. Myself. What my condition had been.
100. Question. Let us put him out of the question.
102. Article. The promise, that to which you swore.
107. Sacred. My honor, about which he is now speaking, is a sacred matter; let him say all that he has to say, therefore, that I may vindicate it.
113. Poison’d. Tainted with slothfulness and pleasure.
117. It. That is, my honesty.
122. Noble. Nobly.
123. Enforce. Lay stress upon, urge.
124. Griefs. Grievances.
126. Atone. Reconcile, make friends.
129. Instant. Time being.
135. Stone. That is, I will be as silent as a stone; I am discretion itself.
138. Conditions. Dispositions, temperaments.
140. Hoop. Bond would hold us in friendship.
149. Rashness. That is, your rashness would deserve reproof.
154. Unslipping. A slip knot is one that will come untied if one of its ends is pulled.
155. To. For.
157. General. All her various virtues.
160. Import. Carry with them dangers.
161. Tales. Only idle reports.
165. Studied. One that has been duly pondered.
165. Present. Uttered on the spur of the moment.
166. Ruminated. One which my sense of duty has made me carefully consider.
174. Unto. Over.
176. Fairly. Shows so fair, plausible.
178. Further. Help on.
185. Fly off. May our affections never become estranged again.
189. Only. I must just thank him, lest I seem forgetful of his courtesies.
191. Calls. Presses.
193. Of. By.
196. Misenum. A promontory in the province of Campania where there was an excellent harbor.
200. Fame. Report.
204. Most. The utmost.
205. View. To come to see my sister.
216. Digested. Settled.
216. Well by’t. Had a capital time.
219. Wild-boars. Plutarch says: “When he (Philotus) was in the kitchen and saw . . . eight wild boars roasted whole, he began to wonder at it, and said: ‘Sure you have a great number of guests to supper.’ . . . ‘No,’ quoth he (the cook), ‘not many guests, not above twelve in all.'”
221. By. In comparison with.
223. Square. Do her justice.
225. Pursed. Took it captive.
226. Cydnus. A river flowing through the city of Tarsus. “Upon” means “on the banks of.”
227. Reporter. Informant made up the story.
230. The barge, etc. This follows Plutarch’s description.
231. Poop. Stem.
238. Of tissue. Probably cloth of gold on a ground-work of tissue.
239. O’er-picturing. Outdoing that picture of Venus. According to Warburton, this was the Venus of Protogenes, a celebrated Greek painter, mentioned by the Latin poet, Pliny.
240. Outwork. Where the fancy of the artist exceeds the beauty of nature.
241. Cupids. Cupid was god of love.
244. Undid did. That is, made the cheeks glow whose warmth they were intended to cool.
246. Nereides. Mermaids, the fifty daughters of Nereus.
247. i’ the eyes. Waited upon her, observant of her every look.
248. Bends adornings. Pages of commentary have been written on this passage, but the simplest explanation seems the best. Their very acts of observance in waiting upon her were so graceful as to add a fresh charrn to their beauty.
251. Yarely. Deftly, nimbly.
251. Office. Perform the duty.
253. Wharfs. Banks.
254. Upon. Rushed forth to greet her.
256. Vacancy. An allusion to the doctrine then in vogue, that nature abhors a vacuum.
262. Should. Would.
265. barber’d. A sign of great respect.
266. Ordinary. Meal.
268. Wench. Girl, not necessarily in a bad sense.
274. Defect perfection. That is, her breathlessness only made her seem more lovely.
278. Stale. Render stale, destroy the charm.
282. Becomes. Seem becoming.
282. That. So that.
283. Riggish. Wanton. Rig means a frolic.
284. Settle. Content.
286. Lottery. Prize.
How to cite the explanatory notes:Shakespeare, William. Antony and Cleopatra. Ed. M. Eaton. Boston: Educational Publishing Company, 1908.