ACT III SCENE XII

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Antony and Cleopatra

 

ACT III SCENE XIIEgypt. Octavius Caesar’s camp.
[Enter OCTAVIUS CAESAR, DOLABELLA, THYREUS, with others]
OCTAVIUS CAESARLet him appear that’s come from Antony.
Know you him?
DOLABELLACaesar, ’tis his schoolmaster:
An argument that he is pluck’d, when hither
He sends so poor a pinion off his wing,5
Which had superfluous kings for messengers
Not many moons gone by.
[Enter EUPHRONIUS, ambassador from MARK ANTONY]
OCTAVIUS CAESARApproach, and speak.
EUPHRONIUSSuch as I am, I come from Antony:
I was of late as petty to his ends10
As is the morn-dew on the myrtle-leaf
To his grand sea.
OCTAVIUS CAESARBe’t so: declare thine office.
EUPHRONIUSLord of his fortunes he salutes thee, and
Requires to live in Egypt: which not granted,15
He lessens his requests; and to thee sues
To let him breathe between the heavens and earth,
A private man in Athens: this for him.
Next, Cleopatra does confess thy greatness;
Submits her to thy might; and of thee craves20
The circle of the Ptolemies for her heirs,
Now hazarded to thy grace.
OCTAVIUS CAESARFor Antony,
I have no ears to his request. The queen
Of audience nor desire shall fail, so she25
From Egypt drive her all-disgraced friend,
Or take his life there: this if she perform,
She shall not sue unheard. So to them both.
EUPHRONIUSFortune pursue thee!
OCTAVIUS CAESARBring him through the bands.30
[Exit EUPHRONIUS]
[To THYREUS] To try eloquence, now ’tis time: dispatch;
From Antony win Cleopatra: promise,
And in our name, what she requires; add more,
From thine invention, offers: women are not
In their best fortunes strong; but want will perjure35
The ne’er touch’d vestal: try thy cunning, Thyreus;
Make thine own edict for thy pains, which we
Will answer as a law.
THYREUSCaesar, I go.
OCTAVIUS CAESARObserve how Antony becomes his flaw,40
And what thou think’st his very action speaks
In every power that moves.
THYREUSCaesar, I shall.
[Exeunt]

Antony and Cleopatra, Act 3, Scene 13
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Explanatory Notes for Act 3, Scene 12
From Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra. Ed. M. Eaton. Boston: Educational Publishing Company.
(Line numbers have been altered.)
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4. Argument. A proof that he is hard hit.

6. Which. Who.

12. His. Its.

12. Sea. The ocean.

13. Office. The duty you have come to perform.

15. Requires. Requests that he be allowed.

18. Private. That is, as a private citizen.

21. Circle. That is, the crown of Egypt.

30. Bands. Troops.

33. Add more, etc. And in addition, make her more offers as they may suggest themselves to you.

35. Perjure. Cause to be false to themselves.

36. Vestal. Vestals were priestesses of the goddess Vesta who were vowed to a life of celibacy.

37. Edict. That is, name your own reward.

40. Becomes his flaw. How he bears himself under his fallen fortunes.

42. Power. That is, in every one of his faculties.

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