ACT III SCENE VI

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Antony and Cleopatra

 

ACT III SCENE VI Rome. Octavius Caesar’s house.
[Enter OCTAVIUS CAESAR, AGRIPPA, and MECAENAS]
OCTAVIUS CAESAR Contemning Rome, he has done all this, and more,
In Alexandria: here’s the manner of ‘t:
I’ the market-place, on a tribunal silver’d,
Cleopatra and himself in chairs of gold
Were publicly enthroned: at the feet sat 5
Caesarion, whom they call my father’s son,
And all the unlawful issue that their lust
Since then hath made between them. Unto her
He gave the stablishment of Egypt; made her
Of lower Syria, Cyprus, Lydia, 10
Absolute queen.
MECAENAS This in the public eye?
OCTAVIUS CAESAR I’ the common show-place, where they exercise.
His sons he there proclaim’d the kings of kings:
Great Media, Parthia, and Armenia. 15
He gave to Alexander; to Ptolemy he assign’d
Syria, Cilicia, and Phoenicia: she
In the habiliments of the goddess Isis
That day appear’d; and oft before gave audience,
As ’tis reported, so. 20
MECAENAS Let Rome be thus Inform’d.
AGRIPPA Who, queasy with his insolence
Already, will their good thoughts call from him.
OCTAVIUS CAESAR The people know it; and have now received
His accusations. 25
AGRIPPA Who does he accuse?
OCTAVIUS CAESAR Caesar: and that, having in Sicily
Sextus Pompeius spoil’d, we had not rated him
His part o’ the isle: then does he say, he lent me
Some shipping unrestored: lastly, he frets 30
That Lepidus of the triumvirate
Should be deposed; and, being, that we detain
All his revenue.
AGRIPPA Sir, this should be answer’d.
OCTAVIUS CAESAR ‘Tis done already, and the messenger gone. 35
I have told him, Lepidus was grown too cruel;
That he his high authority abused,
And did deserve his change: for what I have conquer’d,
I grant him part; but then, in his Armenia,
And other of his conquer’d kingdoms, I 40
Demand the like.
MECAENAS He’ll never yield to that.
OCTAVIUS CAESAR Nor must not then be yielded to in this.
[Enter OCTAVIA with her train]
OCTAVIA Hail, Caesar, and my lord! hail, most dear Caesar!
OCTAVIUS CAESAR That ever I should call thee castaway! 45
OCTAVIA You have not call’d me so, nor have you cause.
OCTAVIUS CAESAR Why have you stol’n upon us thus! You come not
Like Caesar’s sister: the wife of Antony
Should have an army for an usher, and
The neighs of horse to tell of her approach 50
Long ere she did appear; the trees by the way
Should have borne men; and expectation fainted,
Longing for what it had not; nay, the dust
Should have ascended to the roof of heaven,
Raised by your populous troops: but you are come 55
A market-maid to Rome; and have prevented
The ostentation of our love, which, left unshown,
Is often left unloved; we should have met you
By sea and land; supplying every stage
With an augmented greeting. 60
OCTAVIA Good my lord,
To come thus was I not constrain’d, but did
On my free will. My lord, Mark Antony,
Hearing that you prepared for war, acquainted
My grieved ear withal; whereon, I begg’d 65
His pardon for return.
OCTAVIUS CAESAR Which soon he granted,
Being an obstruct ‘tween his lust and him.
OCTAVIA Do not say so, my lord.
OCTAVIUS CAESAR I have eyes upon him, 70
And his affairs come to me on the wind.
Where is he now?
OCTAVIA My lord, in Athens.
OCTAVIUS CAESAR No, my most wronged sister; Cleopatra
Hath nodded him to her. He hath given his empire 75
Up to a whore; who now are levying
The kings o’ the earth for war; he hath assembled
Bocchus, the king of Libya; Archelaus,
Of Cappadocia; Philadelphos, king
Of Paphlagonia; the Thracian king, Adallas; 80
King Malchus of Arabia; King of Pont;
Herod of Jewry; Mithridates, king
Of Comagene; Polemon and Amyntas,
The kings of Mede and Lycaonia,
With a more larger list of sceptres. 85
OCTAVIA Ay me, most wretched,
That have my heart parted betwixt two friends
That do afflict each other!
OCTAVIUS CAESAR Welcome hither:
Your letters did withhold our breaking forth; 90
Till we perceived, both how you were wrong led,
And we in negligent danger. Cheer your heart;
Be you not troubled with the time, which drives
O’er your content these strong necessities;
But let determined things to destiny 95
Hold unbewail’d their way. Welcome to Rome;
Nothing more dear to me. You are abused
Beyond the mark of thought: and the high gods,
To do you justice, make them ministers
Of us and those that love you. Best of comfort; 100
And ever welcome to us.
AGRIPPA Welcome, lady.
MECAENAS Welcome, dear madam.
Each heart in Rome does love and pity you:
Only the adulterous Antony, most large 105
In his abominations, turns you off;
And gives his potent regiment to a trull,
That noises it against us.
OCTAVIA Is it so, sir?
OCTAVIUS CAESAR Most certain. Sister, welcome: pray you, 110
Be ever known to patience: my dear’st sister!
[Exeunt]

Antony and Cleopatra, Act 3, Scene 7
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Explanatory Notes for Act 3, Scene 6
From Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra. Ed. M. Eaton. Boston: Educational Publishing Company.
(Line numbers have been altered.)
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1. Contemning. To show his contempt of Rome.

3. Market place. Public square.

3. Tribunal. A raised platform, so called because in the days of the Roman republic, the tribunes used to sit on such a platform when transacting public business.

9. Stablishment. Established her queen of Egypt, gave her Egypt as an inheritance.

12. Exercise. That is, in the area where the athletic exercises were held.

19. Gave audience. Received complaints and petitions.

22. Who. That is, the Roman people.

22. Queasy. Disgusted, sick of his insolence.

23. Call. Recall their good opinion.

28. Spoil’d. Despoiled.

28. Rated. Assigned him a just share.

30. Unrestored. Which has not been restored to him.

31. Of. From.

32. Being. That is, being deposed.

38. Change. That is, changed position.

38. For. As regards what.

45. Castaway. That is, cast off by her husband.

52. Borne men. That is, been crowded with spectators.

52. Expectation fainted. That is, the spectators should have fainted with expectation.

55. Populous. Numerous.

56. Market-maid. That is, like a maid on her way to market.

57. Ostentation. Display, manifestation.

58. Unloved. That is, love which is denied opportunity for showing itself often ceases to be felt.

59. Stage. In your journey.

60. Augmented. That is, a greeting by increasing numbers of persons.

68. Obstruct. Obstruction.

75. Nodded. Hath summoned him with a mere nod.

76. Who. That is, both Antony and Cleopatra.

78. Bocchus, etc. This list of kings Shakespeare gets from Plutarch.

85. More larger. A double comparative.

88. Afflict. Injure.

90. Withhold. Prevent.

91. Wrong led. Wrongly led, misled.

92. Negligent. That is, in danger from being negligent.

94. Content. That is, spoils your peace by the necessity for strong measures.

95. Determined. That is, determined by fate.

100. Best of comfort. This may either mean, “May the best of comfort be yours,” or, “You are my greatest comfort.”

107. Potent regiment. Powerful sway.

107. Trull. Infamous woman.

108. Noises it. Uses it for making a disturbance.

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