Antony and Cleopatra
|ACT IV SCENE XIV||The same. Another room.|
|[Enter MARK ANTONY and EROS]|
|MARK ANTONY||Eros, thou yet behold’st me?|
|EROS||Ay, noble lord.|
|MARK ANTONY||Sometimes we see a cloud that’s dragonish;|
|A vapour sometime like a bear or lion,|
|A tower’d citadel, a pendent rock,||5|
|A forked mountain, or blue promontory|
|With trees upon’t, that nod unto the world,|
|And mock our eyes with air: thou hast seen|
|They are black vesper’s pageants.||10|
|EROS||Ay, my lord,|
|MARK ANTONY||That which is now a horse, even with a thought|
|The rack dislimns, and makes it indistinct,|
|As water is in water.|
|EROS||It does, my lord.||15|
|MARK ANTONY||My good knave Eros, now thy captain is|
|Even such a body: here I am Antony:|
|Yet cannot hold this visible shape, my knave.|
|I made these wars for Egypt: and the queen,–|
|Whose heart I thought I had, for she had mine;||20|
|Which whilst it was mine had annex’d unto’t|
|A million more, now lost,–she, Eros, has|
|Pack’d cards with Caesar, and false-play’d my glory|
|Unto an enemy’s triumph.|
|Nay, weep not, gentle Eros; there is left us||25|
|Ourselves to end ourselves.|
|O! thy vile lady!|
|She has robb’d me of my sword.|
|My mistress loved thee, and her fortunes mingled||30|
|With thine entirely.|
|MARK ANTONY||Hence, saucy eunuch; peace!|
|She hath betray’d me and shall die the death.|
|MARDIAN||Death of one person can be paid but once,|
|And that she has discharged: what thou wouldst do||35|
|Is done unto thy hand: the last she spake|
|Was ‘Antony! most noble Antony!’|
|Then in the midst a tearing groan did break|
|The name of Antony; it was divided|
|Between her heart and lips: she render’d life,||40|
|Thy name so buried in her.|
|MARK ANTONY||Dead, then?|
|MARK ANTONY||Unarm, Eros; the long day’s task is done,|
|And we must sleep.||45|
|That thou depart’st hence safe,|
|Does pay thy labour richly; go.|
|Off, pluck off:|
|The seven-fold shield of Ajax cannot keep|
|The battery from my heart. O, cleave, my sides!||50|
|Heart, once be stronger than thy continent,|
|Crack thy frail case! Apace, Eros, apace.|
|No more a soldier: bruised pieces, go;|
|You have been nobly borne. From me awhile.|
|I will o’ertake thee, Cleopatra, and||55|
|Weep for my pardon. So it must be, for now|
|All length is torture: since the torch is out,|
|Lie down, and stray no farther: now all labour|
|Mars what it does; yea, very force entangles|
|Itself with strength: seal then, and all is done.||60|
|Eros!–I come, my queen:–Eros!–Stay for me:|
|Where souls do couch on flowers, we’ll hand in hand,|
|And with our sprightly port make the ghosts gaze:|
|Dido and her AEneas shall want troops,|
|And all the haunt be ours. Come, Eros, Eros!||65|
|EROS||What would my lord?|
|MARK ANTONY||Since Cleopatra died,|
|I have lived in such dishonour, that the gods|
|Detest my baseness. I, that with my sword|
|Quarter’d the world, and o’er green Neptune’s back||70|
|With ships made cities, condemn myself to lack|
|The courage of a woman; less noble mind|
|Than she which by her death our Caesar tells|
|‘I am conqueror of myself.’ Thou art sworn, Eros,|
|That, when the exigent should come, which now||75|
|Is come indeed, when I should see behind me|
|The inevitable prosecution of|
|Disgrace and horror, that, on my command,|
|Thou then wouldst kill me: do’t; the time is come:|
|Thou strikest not me, ’tis Caesar thou defeat’st.||80|
|Put colour in thy cheek.|
|EROS||The gods withhold me!|
|Shall I do that which all the Parthian darts,|
|Though enemy, lost aim, and could not?|
|Wouldst thou be window’d in great Rome and see|
|Thy master thus with pleach’d arms, bending down|
|His corrigible neck, his face subdued|
|To penetrative shame, whilst the wheel’d seat|
|Of fortunate Caesar, drawn before him, branded||90|
|His baseness that ensued?|
|EROS||I would not see’t.|
|MARK ANTONY||Come, then; for with a wound I must be cured.|
|Draw that thy honest sword, which thou hast worn|
|Most useful for thy country.||95|
|EROS||O, sir, pardon me!|
|MARK ANTONY||When I did make thee free, sworest thou not then|
|To do this when I bade thee? Do it at once;|
|Or thy precedent services are all|
|But accidents unpurposed. Draw, and come.||100|
|EROS||Turn from me, then, that noble countenance,|
|Wherein the worship of the whole world lies.|
|MARK ANTONY||Lo thee!|
|[Turning from him]|
|EROS||My sword is drawn.|
|MARK ANTONY||Then let it do at once||105|
|The thing why thou hast drawn it.|
|EROS||My dear master,|
|My captain, and my emperor, let me say,|
|Before I strike this bloody stroke, farewell.|
|MARK ANTONY||‘Tis said, man; and farewell.||110|
|EROS||Farewell, great chief. Shall I strike now?|
|MARK ANTONY||Now, Eros.|
|EROS||Why, there then: thus I do escape the sorrow|
|Of Antony’s death.|
|MARK ANTONY||Thrice-nobler than myself!||115|
|Thou teachest me, O valiant Eros, what|
|I should, and thou couldst not. My queen and Eros|
|Have by their brave instruction got upon me|
|A nobleness in record: but I will be|
|A bridegroom in my death, and run into’t||120|
|As to a lover’s bed. Come, then; and, Eros,|
|Thy master dies thy scholar: to do thus|
|[Falling on his sword]|
|I learn’d of thee. How! not dead? not dead?|
|The guard, ho! O, dispatch me!|
|[Enter DERCETAS and Guard]|
|First Guard||What’s the noise?||125|
|MARK ANTONY||I have done my work in, friends: O, make an end|
|Of what I have begun.|
|Second Guard||The star is fall’n.|
|First Guard||And time is at his period.|
|All||Alas, and woe!||130|
|MARK ANTONY||Let him that loves me strike me dead.|
|First Guard||Not I.|
|Second Guard||Nor I.|
|Third Guard||Nor any one.|
|DERCETAS||Thy death and fortunes bid thy followers fly.||135|
|This sword but shown to Caesar, with this tidings,|
|Shall enter me with him.|
|DERCETAS||There, Diomed there.|
|Wilt thou not answer, man?|
|MARK ANTONY||Art thou there, Diomed? Draw thy sword, and give me|
|Sufficing strokes for death.|
|DIOMEDES||Most absolute lord,|
|My mistress Cleopatra sent me to thee.||145|
|MARK ANTONY||When did she send thee?|
|DIOMEDES||Now, my lord.|
|MARK ANTONY||Where is she?|
|DIOMEDES||Lock’d in her monument. She had a prophesying fear|
|Of what hath come to pass: for when she saw–||150|
|Which never shall be found–you did suspect|
|She had disposed with Caesar, and that your rage|
|Would not be purged, she sent you word she was dead;|
|But, fearing since how it might work, hath sent|
|Me to proclaim the truth; and I am come,||155|
|I dread, too late.|
|MARK ANTONY||Too late, good Diomed: call my guard, I prithee.|
|DIOMEDES||What, ho, the emperor’s guard! The guard, what, ho!|
|Come, your lord calls!|
|[Enter four or five of the Guard of MARK ANTONY]|
|MARK ANTONY||Bear me, good friends, where Cleopatra bides;||160|
|‘Tis the last service that I shall command you.|
|First Guard||Woe, woe are we, sir, you may not live to wear|
|All your true followers out.|
|All||Most heavy day!|
|MARK ANTONY||Nay, good my fellows, do not please sharp fate||165|
|To grace it with your sorrows: bid that welcome|
|Which comes to punish us, and we punish it|
|Seeming to bear it lightly. Take me up:|
|I have led you oft: carry me now, good friends,|
|And have my thanks for all.||170|
|[Exeunt, bearing MARK ANTONY]|
Antony and Cleopatra, Act 4, Scene 15
Explanatory Notes for Act 4, Scene 14
From Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra. Ed. M. Eaton. Boston: Educational Publishing Company.
(Line numbers have been altered.)
2. Dragonish. That is, shaped like a dragon.
10. Vesper’s. Evening’s.
10. Pageants. Spectacles common at public festivals in which events were represented by animals and other scenery of wood.
13. Rack dislimns. The vapor dissolves and floats away.
16. Knave. Boy, fellow; not necessarily in a bad sense.
23. Pack’d cards. To pack cards is to shuffle them unfairly so that the best cards come to the dealer or to his partner.
33. Die the death. That is, the death deserved by traitors. The same expression is used in the New Testament.
40. Render’d. Rendered up, offered up.
50. Battery from my heart. The sevenfold shield of Ajax cannot confine the beatings of my heart.
51. Continent. What contains thee.
57. Length. That is, all lengthening of life.
60. Seal. Complete the work. Sealing a legal document was the final act that completed it.
63. Port. Demeanor.
64. Dido. The Queen of Carthage, who fell in love with Aeneas, a fugitive from Troy, when he landed in her kingdom, and who put an end to her life when he took his departure. Virgil represents her as avoiding Aeneas in Hades.
64. Troops. That is, troops of attendants.
70. Neptune. God of the sea.
72. Less noble mind. That is, I, possessing a less noble mind, etc.
75. Exigent. The moment for immediate action.
67. Prosecution. Used in its literal meaning of “pursuit.”
80. Defeat’st. Disappointed of his prey.
86. Window’d. Stand at a window.
87. Pleach’d. Folded.
88. Corrigible. Submissive.
89. Penetrative. To pain which had pentrated deeply.
91. Ensued. Branded more deeply with disgrace the one who followed.
95. Useful. Here, an adverb.
99. Precedent. Former.
106. Why. For which.
118. Got upon me. Literally, got ahead of me in making a noble record, forestalled me in making a noble ending.
129. Period. End.
137. Enter me. Recommend me to his favor.
143. Sufficing. That is, strokes sufficient to cause death.
151. Found. That is, found to be true.
152. Disposed. Made terms with.
166. To grace. By gracing it.
How to cite the explanatory notes:Shakespeare, William. Antony and Cleopatra. Ed. M. Eaton. Boston: Educational Publishing Company, 1908.