ACT III SCENE XII

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Antony and Cleopatra

 

ACT III SCENE XII Egypt. Octavius Caesar’s camp.
[Enter OCTAVIUS CAESAR, DOLABELLA, THYREUS, with others]
OCTAVIUS CAESAR Let him appear that’s come from Antony.
Know you him?
DOLABELLA Caesar, ’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 CAESAR Approach, and speak.
EUPHRONIUS Such as I am, I come from Antony:
I was of late as petty to his ends 10
As is the morn-dew on the myrtle-leaf
To his grand sea.
OCTAVIUS CAESAR Be’t so: declare thine office.
EUPHRONIUS Lord 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 craves 20
The circle of the Ptolemies for her heirs,
Now hazarded to thy grace.
OCTAVIUS CAESAR For Antony,
I have no ears to his request. The queen
Of audience nor desire shall fail, so she 25
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.
EUPHRONIUS Fortune pursue thee!
OCTAVIUS CAESAR Bring 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 perjure 35
The ne’er touch’d vestal: try thy cunning, Thyreus;
Make thine own edict for thy pains, which we
Will answer as a law.
THYREUS Caesar, I go.
OCTAVIUS CAESAR Observe how Antony becomes his flaw, 40
And what thou think’st his very action speaks
In every power that moves.
THYREUS Caesar, 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.