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Antony and Cleopatra

ACT IV SCENE XII Another part of the same.
MARK ANTONY Yet they are not join’d: where yond pine
does stand,
I shall discover all: I’ll bring thee word
Straight, how ’tis like to go.
SCARUS Swallows have built 5
In Cleopatra’s sails their nests: the augurers
Say they know not, they cannot tell; look grimly,
And dare not speak their knowledge. Antony
Is valiant, and dejected; and, by starts,
His fretted fortunes give him hope, and fear, 10
Of what he has, and has not.
[Alarum afar off, as at a sea-fight]
[Re-enter MARK ANTONY]
MARK ANTONY All is lost;
This foul Egyptian hath betrayed me:
My fleet hath yielded to the foe; and yonder
They cast their caps up and carouse together 15
Like friends long lost. Triple-turn’d whore!
’tis thou
Hast sold me to this novice; and my heart
Makes only wars on thee. Bid them all fly;
For when I am revenged upon my charm, 20
I have done all. Bid them all fly; begone.
O sun, thy uprise shall I see no more:
Fortune and Antony part here; even here
Do we shake hands. All come to this? The hearts
That spaniel’d me at heels, to whom I gave 25
Their wishes, do discandy, melt their sweets
On blossoming Caesar; and this pine is bark’d,
That overtopp’d them all. Betray’d I am:
O this false soul of Egypt! this grave charm,–
Whose eye beck’d forth my wars, and call’d them home; 30
Whose bosom was my crownet, my chief end,–
Like a right gipsy, hath, at fast and loose,
Beguiled me to the very heart of loss.
What, Eros, Eros!
Ah, thou spell! Avaunt! 35
CLEOPATRA Why is my lord enraged against his love?
MARK ANTONY Vanish, or I shall give thee thy deserving,
And blemish Caesar’s triumph. Let him take thee,
And hoist thee up to the shouting plebeians:
Follow his chariot, like the greatest spot 40
Of all thy sex; most monster-like, be shown
For poor’st diminutives, for dolts; and let
Patient Octavia plough thy visage up
With her prepared nails.
‘Tis well thou’rt gone, 45
If it be well to live; but better ’twere
Thou fell’st into my fury, for one death
Might have prevented many. Eros, ho!
The shirt of Nessus is upon me: teach me,
Alcides, thou mine ancestor, thy rage: 50
Let me lodge Lichas on the horns o’ the moon;
And with those hands, that grasp’d the heaviest club,
Subdue my worthiest self. The witch shall die:
To the young Roman boy she hath sold me, and I fall
Under this plot; she dies for’t. Eros, ho! 55


Antony and Cleopatra, Act 4, Scene 13

Explanatory Notes for Act 4, Scene 12
From Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra. Ed. M. Eaton. Boston: Educational Publishing Company.
(Line numbers have been altered.)

1. Yet. As yet.

5. Swallows. This anecdote is related by Plutarch.

10. Fretted. Mingled of success and failure.

16. Triple-turned. Three times faithless, to Caesar, to Pompey, and now to me.

18. Novice. Innocent youth.

20. Charm. Charmer.

25. Spaniel’d. Followed and fawned on me like spaniels.

26. Discandy. Melt away, as above.

29. Grave. Deadly, poisonous charm.

30. Beck’d. Beckoned, called forth wars by a mere gesture.

31. Crownet. Crown.

32. Right. True, one who deserves the name.

32. Fast and loose. An old game used to cheat the trusting out of pennies.

35. Avaunt. Out of my sight.

39. Plebeians. The common people. Accented on the first syllable here.

41. Monster. Monstrosity, something unnatural.

41. Be shown, etc. That is, be made a show for the sport of the commonest and meanest rabble. Some editors change “dolt” to “doit,” and read, “Be exhibited for the smallest fee, like some strange monster at a show.”

44. Prepared. Which have grown long for the purpose.

49. Nessus. A centaur whom Hercules had slain with a poisoned arrow. He sent to his wife for a garment in which to offer sacrifice and she, being angry with him at the time, sent him a robe dipped in the poisonous blood of Nessus. The garment caused him such intense agony that he seized his faithful attendant, Lichas, and threw him into the sea.

50. Alcides. Another name for Hercules, who was the son of Alceus.

53. Worthiest. That is, my very worthy self — worthy in the sense of being your descendant.


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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