ACT IV SCENE XV

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Antony and Cleopatra

 

ACT IV SCENE XV The same. A monument.
[ Enter CLEOPATRA and her maids aloft, with CHARMIAN and IRAS ]
CLEOPATRA O Charmian, I will never go from hence.
CHARMIAN Be comforted, dear madam.
CLEOPATRA No, I will not:
All strange and terrible events are welcome,
But comforts we despise; our size of sorrow, 5
Proportion’d to our cause, must be as great
As that which makes it.
[Enter, below, DIOMEDES]
How now! is he dead?
DIOMEDES His death’s upon him, but not dead.
Look out o’ the other side your monument; 10
His guard have brought him thither.
[Enter, below, MARK ANTONY, borne by the Guard]
CLEOPATRA O sun,
Burn the great sphere thou movest in!
darkling stand
The varying shore o’ the world. O Antony, 15
Antony, Antony! Help, Charmian, help, Iras, help;
Help, friends below; let’s draw him hither.
MARK ANTONY Peace!
Not Caesar’s valour hath o’erthrown Antony,
But Antony’s hath triumph’d on itself. 20
CLEOPATRA So it should be, that none but Antony
Should conquer Antony; but woe ’tis so!
MARK ANTONY I am dying, Egypt, dying; only
I here importune death awhile, until
Of many thousand kisses the poor last 25
I lay up thy lips.
CLEOPATRA I dare not, dear,–
Dear my lord, pardon,–I dare not,
Lest I be taken: not the imperious show
Of the full-fortuned Caesar ever shall 30
Be brooch’d with me; if knife, drugs,
serpents, have
Edge, sting, or operation, I am safe:
Your wife Octavia, with her modest eyes
And still conclusion, shall acquire no honour 35
Demuring upon me. But come, come, Antony,–
Help me, my women,–we must draw thee up:
Assist, good friends.
MARK ANTONY O, quick, or I am gone.
CLEOPATRA Here’s sport indeed! How heavy weighs my lord! 40
Our strength is all gone into heaviness,
That makes the weight: had I great Juno’s power,
The strong-wing’d Mercury should fetch thee up,
And set thee by Jove’s side. Yet come a little,–
Wishes were ever fools,–O, come, come, come; 45
[They heave MARK ANTONY aloft to CLEOPATRA]
And welcome, welcome! die where thou hast lived:
Quicken with kissing: had my lips that power,
Thus would I wear them out.
All A heavy sight!
MARK ANTONY I am dying, Egypt, dying: 50
Give me some wine, and let me speak a little.
CLEOPATRA No, let me speak; and let me rail so high,
That the false housewife Fortune break her wheel,
Provoked by my offence.
MARK ANTONY One word, sweet queen: 55
Of Caesar seek your honour, with your safety. O!
CLEOPATRA They do not go together.
MARK ANTONY Gentle, hear me:
None about Caesar trust but Proculeius.
CLEOPATRA My resolution and my hands I’ll trust; 60
None about Caesar.
MARK ANTONY The miserable change now at my end
Lament nor sorrow at; but please your thoughts
In feeding them with those my former fortunes
Wherein I lived, the greatest prince o’ the world, 65
The noblest; and do now not basely die,
Not cowardly put off my helmet to
My countryman,–a Roman by a Roman
Valiantly vanquish’d. Now my spirit is going;
I can no more. 70
CLEOPATRA Noblest of men, woo’t die?
Hast thou no care of me? shall I abide
In this dull world, which in thy absence is
No better than a sty? O, see, my women,
[MARK ANTONY dies]
The crown o’ the earth doth melt. My lord! 75
O, wither’d is the garland of the war,
The soldier’s pole is fall’n: young boys and girls
Are level now with men; the odds is gone,
And there is nothing left remarkable
Beneath the visiting moon. 80
[Faints]
CHARMIAN O, quietness, lady!
IRAS She is dead too, our sovereign.
CHARMIAN Lady!
IRAS Madam!
CHARMIAN O madam, madam, madam! 85
IRAS Royal Egypt, Empress!
CHARMIAN Peace, peace, Iras!
CLEOPATRA No more, but e’en a woman, and commanded
By such poor passion as the maid that milks
And does the meanest chares. It were for me 90
To throw my sceptre at the injurious gods;
To tell them that this world did equal theirs
Till they had stol’n our jewel. All’s but naught;
Patience is sottish, and impatience does
Become a dog that’s mad: then is it sin 95
To rush into the secret house of death,
Ere death dare come to us? How do you, women?
What, what! good cheer! Why, how now, Charmian!
My noble girls! Ah, women, women, look,
Our lamp is spent, it’s out! Good sirs, take heart: 100
We’ll bury him; and then, what’s brave,
what’s noble,
Let’s do it after the high Roman fashion,
And make death proud to take us. Come, away:
This case of that huge spirit now is cold: 105
Ah, women, women! come; we have no friend
But resolution, and the briefest end.
[Exeunt; those above bearing off MARK ANTONY’s body]

Antony and Cleopatra, Act 5, Scene 1
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Explanatory Notes for Act 4, Scene 15
From Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra. Ed. M. Eaton. Boston: Educational Publishing Company.
(Line numbers have been altered.)
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13. Great sphere. The sun would then fall from his place and the earth become dark.

14. Darkling. In the dark.

24. Importunate. Beg him to delay.

27. Dare not. That is, dare not come down from the monument.

29. Imperious. Triumphal entry into Rome.

31. Brooch’d. Adorned as with a brooch or large pin.

35. Still conclusion. Her quietly disdainful way of observing and drawing conclusions.

36. Demuring. Looking demurely. [Not found elsewhere in Shakespeare.]

40. Sport. Said, of course, with pathetic and bitter irony.

41. Heaviness. A play upon the word, both literally and in the figurative sense of “sorrow.”

43. Mercury. The messenger of the gods.

47. Quicken. Revive, make alive.

52. High. Violently.

53. Housewife. Housewife was often used as a term of contempt.

71. Woo’t. Wouldest thou.

76. Garland. He who was the glory of war.

77. Pole. The one about whom they rally. Shakespeare was probably thinking of the pole decked with garlands about which village festivities were held.

78. Odds. The favor of fortune.

79. Remarkable. In Shakespeare’s day this word was stronger than it is now, and meant something singular and impressive.

90. Chares. Drudgery. Compare the modern word “chores.”

76. Injurious. Working injury, malignant.

93. Naught. Worthless, of no use.

94. Sottish. Stupid.

100. Sirs. We find this word applied to women in Beaumont and Fletcher also.

107. Briefest. Quickest.

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