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Antony and Cleopatra


ACT III SCENE VII Near Actium. Mark Antony’s camp.
CLEOPATRA I will be even with thee, doubt it not.
DOMITIUS ENOBARBUS But why, why, why?
CLEOPATRA Thou hast forspoke my being in these wars,
And say’st it is not fit.
DOMITIUS ENOBARBUS Well, is it, is it? 5
CLEOPATRA If not denounced against us, why should not we
Be there in person?
DOMITIUS ENOBARBUS [Aside] Well, I could reply:
If we should serve with horse and mares together,
The horse were merely lost; the mares would bear 10
A soldier and his horse.
CLEOPATRA What is’t you say?
DOMITIUS ENOBARBUS Your presence needs must puzzle Antony;
Take from his heart, take from his brain,
from’s time, 15
What should not then be spared. He is already
Traduced for levity; and ’tis said in Rome
That Photinus an eunuch and your maids
Manage this war.
CLEOPATRA Sink Rome, and their tongues rot 20
That speak against us! A charge we bear i’ the war,
And, as the president of my kingdom, will
Appear there for a man. Speak not against it:
I will not stay behind.
DOMITIUS ENOBARBUS Nay, I have done. 25
Here comes the emperor.
MARK ANTONY Is it not strange, Canidius,
That from Tarentum and Brundusium
He could so quickly cut the Ionian sea,
And take in Toryne? You have heard on’t, sweet? 30
CLEOPATRA Celerity is never more admired
Than by the negligent.
MARK ANTONY A good rebuke,
Which might have well becomed the best of men,
To taunt at slackness. Canidius, we 35
Will fight with him by sea.
CLEOPATRA By sea! what else?
CANIDIUS Why will my lord do so?
MARK ANTONY For that he dares us to’t.
DOMITIUS ENOBARBUS So hath my lord dared him to single fight. 40
CANIDIUS Ay, and to wage this battle at Pharsalia.
Where Caesar fought with Pompey: but these offers,
Which serve not for his vantage, be shakes off;
And so should you.
DOMITIUS ENOBARBUS Your ships are not well mann’d; 45
Your mariners are muleters, reapers, people
Ingross’d by swift impress; in Caesar’s fleet
Are those that often have ‘gainst Pompey fought:
Their ships are yare; yours, heavy: no disgrace
Shall fall you for refusing him at sea, 50
Being prepared for land.
MARK ANTONY By sea, by sea.
DOMITIUS ENOBARBUS Most worthy sir, you therein throw away
The absolute soldiership you have by land;
Distract your army, which doth most consist 55
Of war-mark’d footmen; leave unexecuted
Your own renowned knowledge; quite forego
The way which promises assurance; and
Give up yourself merely to chance and hazard,
From firm security. 60
MARK ANTONY I’ll fight at sea.
CLEOPATRA I have sixty sails, Caesar none better.
MARK ANTONY Our overplus of shipping will we burn;
And, with the rest full-mann’d, from the head of Actium
Beat the approaching Caesar. But if we fail, 65
We then can do’t at land.
[Enter a Messenger]
Thy business?
Messenger The news is true, my lord; he is descried;
Caesar has taken Toryne.
MARK ANTONY Can he be there in person? ’tis impossible; 70
Strange that power should be. Canidius,
Our nineteen legions thou shalt hold by land,
And our twelve thousand horse. We’ll to our ship:
Away, my Thetis!
[Enter a Soldier]
How now, worthy soldier? 75
Soldier O noble emperor, do not fight by sea;
Trust not to rotten planks: do you misdoubt
This sword and these my wounds? Let the Egyptians
And the Phoenicians go a-ducking; we
Have used to conquer, standing on the earth, 80
And fighting foot to foot.
MARK ANTONY Well, well: away!
Soldier By Hercules, I think I am i’ the right.
CANIDIUS Soldier, thou art: but his whole action grows
Not in the power on’t: so our leader’s led, 85
And we are women’s men.
Soldier You keep by land
The legions and the horse whole, do you not?
CANIDIUS Marcus Octavius, Marcus Justeius,
Publicola, and Caelius, are for sea: 90
But we keep whole by land. This speed of Caesar’s
Carries beyond belief.
Soldier While he was yet in Rome,
His power went out in such distractions as
Beguiled all spies. 95
CANIDIUS Who’s his lieutenant, hear you?
Soldier They say, one Taurus.
CANIDIUS Well I know the man.
[Enter a Messenger]
Messenger The emperor calls Canidius.
CANIDIUS With news the time’s with labour, and throes forth, 100
Each minute, some.

Antony and Cleopatra, Act 3, Scene 8

Explanatory Notes for Act 3, Scene 7
From Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra. Ed. M. Eaton. Boston: Educational Publishing Company.
(Line numbers have been altered.)

3. Forspoke. Spoken against, opposed.

6. Denounced. Pronounced; if the war is declared against us why, etc.

17. Traduced. Accused of.

21. Charge. Have a part in the expenses and supplies.

23. For. As if I were a man.

23. Take in. Capture.

34. Becomed. This form of the participle occurs several times in Shakespeare.

39. For that. For the reason that, because.

43. Vantage. Advantage.

46. Muleters. Muleteers, mule-drivers.

47. Ingross’d, etc. Levied or “impressed” into service hurriedly.

49. Yare. Light and easily managed.

50. Fall. Fall upon you.

58. Assurance. That is, assurance of success.

59. Merely. Altogether.

60. Firm. Away from.

63. Overplus. Superfluous ships.

64. Head of Actium. The promontory of Actium.

68. Descried. His approach is observed.

71. Power. His army.

72. Legions. The Roman army consisted of legions, each containing five thousand men.

72. Hold. Command.

74. Thetis. My sea nymph. Thetis was one of the Nereides or nymphs.

77. Misdoubt. Have you lost confidence in.

79. Phoenicians. In ancient times the Phoenicians were noted sailors.

79. Go-a-ducking. Take to the water as ducks do.

80. Used. Have been accustomed to.

85. Power on’t. That is, his whole plan of action is based not upon his greatest strength — i.e., his land force — but upon the whims of a woman.

92. Carries. Goes.

94. Distractions. That is, his forces marched in so many different divisions.

95. Beguiled. Deceived.


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