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Antony and Cleopatra

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Act II, Scene 1

Messina. POMPEY’s house.


[Enter POMPEY, MENECRATES, and MENAS, in] [p]warlike manner]

  • Pompey. If the great gods be just, they shall assist
    The deeds of justest men.
  • Menecrates. Know, worthy Pompey,
    That what they do delay, they not deny.
  • Pompey. Whiles we are suitors to their throne, decays 620
    The thing we sue for.
  • Menecrates. We, ignorant of ourselves,
    Beg often our own harms, which the wise powers
    Deny us for our good; so find we profit
    By losing of our prayers. 625
  • Pompey. I shall do well:
    The people love me, and the sea is mine;
    My powers are crescent, and my auguring hope
    Says it will come to the full. Mark Antony
    In Egypt sits at dinner, and will make 630
    No wars without doors: Caesar gets money where
    He loses hearts: Lepidus flatters both,
    Of both is flatter'd; but he neither loves,
    Nor either cares for him.
  • Menas. Caesar and Lepidus 635
    Are in the field: a mighty strength they carry.
  • Pompey. Where have you this? 'tis false.
  • Menas. From Silvius, sir.
  • Pompey. He dreams: I know they are in Rome together,
    Looking for Antony. But all the charms of love, 640
    Salt Cleopatra, soften thy waned lip!
    Let witchcraft join with beauty, lust with both!
    Tie up the libertine in a field of feasts,
    Keep his brain fuming; Epicurean cooks
    Sharpen with cloyless sauce his appetite; 645
    That sleep and feeding may prorogue his honour
    Even till a Lethe'd dulness!
    [Enter VARRIUS]
    How now, Varrius!
  • Varrius. This is most certain that I shall deliver: 650
    Mark Antony is every hour in Rome
    Expected: since he went from Egypt 'tis
    A space for further travel.
  • Pompey. I could have given less matter
    A better ear. Menas, I did not think 655
    This amorous surfeiter would have donn'd his helm
    For such a petty war: his soldiership
    Is twice the other twain: but let us rear
    The higher our opinion, that our stirring
    Can from the lap of Egypt's widow pluck 660
    The ne'er-lust-wearied Antony.
  • Menas. I cannot hope
    Caesar and Antony shall well greet together:
    His wife that's dead did trespasses to Caesar;
    His brother warr'd upon him; although, I think, 665
    Not moved by Antony.
  • Pompey. I know not, Menas,
    How lesser enmities may give way to greater.
    Were't not that we stand up against them all,
    'Twere pregnant they should square between 670
    For they have entertained cause enough
    To draw their swords: but how the fear of us
    May cement their divisions and bind up
    The petty difference, we yet not know. 675
    Be't as our gods will have't! It only stands
    Our lives upon to use our strongest hands.
    Come, Menas.