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Antony and Cleopatra


ACT II SCENE VI Near Misenum.
[ 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.
That first we come to words; and therefore have we
Our written purposes before us sent; 5
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, 10
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, 15
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 20
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. 25
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, 30
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 35
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, 40
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 45
To part with unhack’d edges, and bear back
Our targes undinted.
LEPIDUS That’s our offer.
POMPEY Know, then,
I came before you here a man prepared 50
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 55
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: 60
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, 65
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. 70
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. 75
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 80
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. 85
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. 90
POMPEY I know thee now: how farest thou, soldier?
And well am like to do; for, I perceive,
Four feasts are toward.
POMPEY Let me shake thy hand; 95
I never hated thee: I have seen thee fight,
When I have envied thy behavior.
I never loved you much; but I ha’ praised ye,
When you have well deserved ten times as much 100
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? 105
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. 110
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. 115
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 120
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. 125
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 130
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? 135
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 140
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. 145
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 150
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. 155
DOMITIUS ENOBARBUS I shall take it, sir: we have used our throats in Egypt.
MENAS Come, let’s away.

Antony and Cleopatra, Act 2, Scene 7

Explanatory Notes for Act 2, Scene 6
From Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra. Ed. M. Eaton. Boston: Educational Publishing Company.
(Line numbers have been altered.)

5. Purposes. What terms we are ready to make.

8. Tall. Sturdy, courageous.

9. Senators. You whose wisdom rules the world*

11. Factors. Agents;

15. Ghosted. Haunted.

16. For him. That is, to avenge him.

17. Cassius. One of the chief conspirators against Caesar.

19. Rest. That is, with the rest who took up arms.

19. Courtiers. That is, lured on by their love of freedom.

21. But a man. Except that they would have Caesar but an ordinary citizen, not a despot.

23. Burthen. Burden.

24. Despiteful. Ungrateful.

27. Fear. Frighten.

31. O’er count me of. Pompey evidently means that Antony not only outnumbers him, but has over-reached him in business. Plutarch tells us that Antony bought the elder Pompey’s house when it was put up for public sale, but when he was asked for the money “he made it very strange, and was offended with them.”

32. Cuckoo. The cuckoo builds no nest for itself, but takes possession of that built by some other bird. The meaning is, since, like the cuckoo, you have invaded the house of another, remain in it while you can.

35. Present. This has nothing to do with the matter on which we are at present engaged.

41. Larger fortune. By trying to gain more in opposition to us.

45. Measures. Supplies.

45. Greed. Agreed.

46. Unhack’d edges. That is, without hacking the edges of our shields; without fighting.

47. Targes. Shields.

52. Impatience. Has somewhat irritated me.

58. Studied. Am prepared, earnestly desire.

63. Timelier. Sooner than I intended coming.

68. Counts. Marks, lines, as one ”casts accounts.”

70. Vassal. Servant.

73. Composition. Agreement, treaty.

75. Next. Next thing.

81. Fame. Praise.

93. Do. That is, fare well.

94. Toward. In preparation.

104. Galley. A boat propelled by rowers sitting in tiers.

109. Known. That is, we have known each other.

124. True. Honest.

124. Whatsome’er. Whatsoever.

131. Pray, etc. Pray, is that true?

137. Is. Shakespeare sometimes uses a singular verb when it precedes two singular subjects.

138. Divine. Predict concerning.

140. Purpose. That is, the purpose to make Caesar and Antony friends.

145. Conversation. Temperament, behavior.

153. Occasion. Necessity, good policy.


How to cite the explanatory notes:Shakespeare, William. Antony and Cleopatra. Ed. M. Eaton. Boston: Educational Publishing Company, 1908.