Antony and Cleopatra
|ACT II SCENE III||The same. Octavius Caesar’s house|
|[ 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.||5|
|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.||10|
|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||15|
|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||25|
|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,||30|
|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:||35|
|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;||40|
|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.||45|
|O, come, Ventidius,|
|You must to Parthia: your commission’s ready;|
|Follow me, and receive’t.|
Antony and Cleopatra, Act 2, Scene 4
Explanatory Notes for Act 2, Scene 3
From Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra. Ed. M. Eaton. Boston: Educational Publishing Company.
(Line numbers have been altered.)
1. Office. Affairs of state.
8. Square. That is, I have not squared or ordered my conduct well.
12. Sirrah. Sir. This word is generally addressed to inferiors.
16. Motion. Mind, mental vision.
22. Demon. Familiar spirit, the spirit that watches over a man.
25. Fear. Becomes the very personification of fear; is utterly afraid.
31. Gainst the odds. In spite of the odds being in your favor.
31. Thickens. Grows dull.
37. Parthia. A province in western Asia.
37. Hap. Chance.
38. Dice. Even when he throws dice, he turns up the lucky numbers.
39. Cunning. Skill.
40. Chance. Good luck.
40. Speeds. Is successful.
41. Cocks. Cock fights were popular sports in England.
41. Still. Always.
42. Nought. Even when the odds are as much in my favor as everything to nothing.
42. Quails. These birds were often used in place of cocks as fighters.
43. Inhoop’d. The birds were confined within a hoop to keep them fighting.
43. At odds. Though the odds were in my favor.
How to cite the explanatory notes:Shakespeare, William. Antony and Cleopatra. Ed. M. Eaton. Boston: Educational Publishing Company, 1908.