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Antony and Cleopatra


ACT IV SCENE VIIIUnder the walls of Alexandria.
[ Alarum. Enter MARK ANTONY, in a march; SCARUS, with others ]
MARK ANTONYWe have beat him to his camp: run one before,
And let the queen know of our gests. To-morrow,
Before the sun shall see ‘s, we’ll spill the blood
That has to-day escaped. I thank you all;
For doughty-handed are you, and have fought5
Not as you served the cause, but as ‘t had been
Each man’s like mine; you have shown all Hectors.
Enter the city, clip your wives, your friends,
Tell them your feats; whilst they with joyful tears
Wash the congealment from your wounds, and kiss10
The honour’d gashes whole.
Give me thy hand
[Enter CLEOPATRA, attended]
To this great fairy I’ll commend thy acts,
Make her thanks bless thee.
O thou day o’ the world,15
Chain mine arm’d neck; leap thou, attire and all,
Through proof of harness to my heart, and there
Ride on the pants triumphing!
CLEOPATRALord of lords!
O infinite virtue, comest thou smiling from20
The world’s great snare uncaught?
MARK ANTONYMy nightingale,
We have beat them to their beds. What, girl!
though grey
Do something mingle with our younger brown, yet ha’ we25
A brain that nourishes our nerves, and can
Get goal for goal of youth. Behold this man;
Commend unto his lips thy favouring hand:
Kiss it, my warrior: he hath fought to-day
As if a god, in hate of mankind, had30
Destroy’d in such a shape.
CLEOPATRAI’ll give thee, friend,
An armour all of gold; it was a king’s.
MARK ANTONYHe has deserved it, were it carbuncled
Like holy Phoebus’ car. Give me thy hand:35
Through Alexandria make a jolly march;
Bear our hack’d targets like the men that owe them:
Had our great palace the capacity
To camp this host, we all would sup together,
And drink carouses to the next day’s fate,40
Which promises royal peril. Trumpeters,
With brazen din blast you the city’s ear;
Make mingle with rattling tabourines;
That heaven and earth may strike their sounds together,
Applauding our approach.45

Antony and Cleopatra, Act 4, Scene 9

Explanatory Notes for Act 4, Scene 8
From Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra. Ed. M. Eaton. Boston: Educational Publishing Company.
(Line numbers have been altered.)

2. Gests. Valorous acts, exploits.

5. Doughty-handed. Stout-handed, brave soldiers.

7. Hectors. You have all shown yourselves as brave as Hector — the great hero of the Trojans during their ten years’ war with the Greeks.

8. Clip. Embrace.

11. Whole. Until they are whole again.

12. Fairy. Mistress of the fairies, enchantress.

17. Proof of harness. Armor of proof, or metal that had been “proved” by being subjected to a severe test.

20. Virtue. Here, valor, which was the original meaning of the word.

25. Something. Somewhat.

27. Goal for goal. That is, for every goal youth wins of us we can win one from them.

34. Carbuncled. Set with carbuncle stones like the wheels of Phoebus Apollo’s car, as described by Ovid.

37. Targets. Shields.

37. Owe. That is, bear our hack’d targets as becomes those who own them. The expression may very possibly mean, however, “targets hack’d like the men that own them.”

43. Tambourines. Here, drums.


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