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Antony and Cleopatra


ACT III SCENE XI Alexandria. Cleopatra’s palace
[Enter MARK ANTONY with Attendants]
MARK ANTONY Hark! the land bids me tread no more upon’t;
It is ashamed to bear me! Friends, come hither:
I am so lated in the world, that I
Have lost my way for ever: I have a ship
Laden with gold; take that, divide it; fly, 5
And make your peace with Caesar.
All Fly! not we.
MARK ANTONY I have fled myself; and have instructed cowards
To run and show their shoulders. Friends, be gone;
I have myself resolved upon a course 10
Which has no need of you; be gone:
My treasure’s in the harbour, take it. O,
I follow’d that I blush to look upon:
My very hairs do mutiny; for the white
Reprove the brown for rashness, and they them 15
For fear and doting. Friends, be gone: you shall
Have letters from me to some friends that will
Sweep your way for you. Pray you, look not sad,
Nor make replies of loathness: take the hint
Which my despair proclaims; let that be left 20
Which leaves itself: to the sea-side straightway:
I will possess you of that ship and treasure.
Leave me, I pray, a little: pray you now:
Nay, do so; for, indeed, I have lost command,
Therefore I pray you: I’ll see you by and by. 25
[Sits down]
[ Enter CLEOPATRA led by CHARMIAN and IRAS; EROS following ]
EROS Nay, gentle madam, to him, comfort him.
IRAS Do, most dear queen.
CHARMIAN Do! why: what else?
CLEOPATRA Let me sit down. O Juno!
MARK ANTONY No, no, no, no, no. 30
EROS See you here, sir?
MARK ANTONY O fie, fie, fie!
IRAS Madam, O good empress!
EROS Sir, sir,– 35
MARK ANTONY Yes, my lord, yes; he at Philippi kept
His sword e’en like a dancer; while I struck
The lean and wrinkled Cassius; and ’twas I
That the mad Brutus ended: he alone
Dealt on lieutenantry, and no practise had 40
In the brave squares of war: yet now–No matter.
CLEOPATRA Ah, stand by.
EROS The queen, my lord, the queen.
IRAS Go to him, madam, speak to him:
He is unqualitied with very shame. 45
CLEOPATRA Well then, sustain him: O!
EROS Most noble sir, arise; the queen approaches:
Her head’s declined, and death will seize her, but
Your comfort makes the rescue.
MARK ANTONY I have offended reputation, 50
A most unnoble swerving.
EROS Sir, the queen.
MARK ANTONY O, whither hast thou led me, Egypt? See,
How I convey my shame out of thine eyes
By looking back what I have left behind 55
‘Stroy’d in dishonour.
CLEOPATRA O my lord, my lord,
Forgive my fearful sails! I little thought
You would have follow’d.
MARK ANTONY Egypt, thou knew’st too well 60
My heart was to thy rudder tied by the strings,
And thou shouldst tow me after: o’er my spirit
Thy full supremacy thou knew’st, and that
Thy beck might from the bidding of the gods
Command me. 65
CLEOPATRA O, my pardon!
To the young man send humble treaties, dodge
And palter in the shifts of lowness; who
With half the bulk o’ the world play’d as I pleased, 70
Making and marring fortunes. You did know
How much you were my conqueror; and that
My sword, made weak by my affection, would
Obey it on all cause.
CLEOPATRA Pardon, pardon! 75
MARK ANTONY Fall not a tear, I say; one of them rates
All that is won and lost: give me a kiss;
Even this repays me. We sent our schoolmaster;
Is he come back? Love, I am full of lead.
Some wine, within there, and our viands! Fortune knows 80
We scorn her most when most she offers blows.

Antony and Cleopatra, Act 3, Scene 12

Explanatory Notes for Act 3, Scene 11
From Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra. Ed. M. Eaton. Boston: Educational Publishing Company.
(Line numbers have been altered.)

3. Lated. Belated.

18. Sweep your way. Make your reconciliation with Caesar easy.

19. Loathness. Unwillingness to leave me.

22. Possess you. Put you in possession of them.

24. Command. That is, I have lost the power to command you.

37. Dancer. Caesar, at the Battle of Philippi, did not draw his sword, but wore it as if he were at a dance.

39. Ended. That is, it was I that ended the mad Brutus.

40. Lieutenantry. Acted by means of his lieutenants instead of fighting himself.

41. Squares. Squadrons.

45. Unqualitied. Has lost his natural qualities, is not himself.

48. But. Except, unless.

50. Offended. Sinned against my reputation.

51. Unnoble. Ignoble.

55. Looking back. Some editors explain this passage by “See, how by looking another way, I withdraw my ignominy from your sight.” Others give it a wider meaning: “See how I am trying to hide my shame from you by holding myself aloof and bitterly meditating on the ruin of my power and reputation.”

56. ‘Stroy’d. Destroyed.

61. Strings. That is, by the heart strings.

68. Treaties. Entreaties, proposals of peace.

69. Palter. Equivocate, use tricks.

76. Fall. Do not let fall.

76. Rates. Equals in value.

78. Schoolmaster. One Euphronius, the teacher of Antony and Cleopatra’s children.

79. Lead. Heavy of heart.


How to cite the explanatory notes:Shakespeare, William. Antony and Cleopatra. Ed. M. Eaton. Boston: Educational Publishing Company, 1908. Shakespeare Online. 20 Feb. 2010. (date when you accessed the information) < >.


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