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Antony and Cleopatra

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Act II, Scene 6

Near Misenum.


[Flourish. Enter POMPEY and MENAS at one door,] [p]with drum and trumpet: at another, OCTAVIUS CAESAR, [p]MARK ANTONY, LEPIDUS, DOMITIUS ENOBARBUS, MECAENAS, [p]with Soldiers marching]

  • Pompey. Your hostages I have, so have you mine;
    And we shall talk before we fight.
  • Octavius. Most meet
    That first we come to words; and therefore have we 1215
    Our written purposes before us sent;
    Which, if thou hast consider'd, let us know
    If 'twill tie up thy discontented sword,
    And carry back to Sicily much tall youth
    That else must perish here. 1220
  • Pompey. To you all three,
    The senators alone of this great world,
    Chief factors for the gods, I do not know
    Wherefore my father should revengers want,
    Having a son and friends; since Julius Caesar, 1225
    Who at Philippi the good Brutus ghosted,
    There saw you labouring for him. What was't
    That moved pale Cassius to conspire; and what
    Made the all-honour'd, honest Roman, Brutus,
    With the arm'd rest, courtiers and beauteous freedom, 1230
    To drench the Capitol; but that they would
    Have one man but a man? And that is it
    Hath made me rig my navy; at whose burthen
    The anger'd ocean foams; with which I meant
    To scourge the ingratitude that despiteful Rome 1235
    Cast on my noble father.
  • Antony. Thou canst not fear us, Pompey, with thy sails;
    We'll speak with thee at sea: at land, thou know'st
    How much we do o'er-count thee. 1240
  • Pompey. At land, indeed,
    Thou dost o'er-count me of my father's house:
    But, since the cuckoo builds not for himself,
    Remain in't as thou mayst.
  • Lepidus. Be pleased to tell us— 1245
    For this is from the present—how you take
    The offers we have sent you.
  • Antony. Which do not be entreated to, but weigh
    What it is worth embraced. 1250
  • Octavius. And what may follow,
    To try a larger fortune.
  • Pompey. You have made me offer
    Of Sicily, Sardinia; and I must
    Rid all the sea of pirates; then, to send 1255
    Measures of wheat to Rome; this 'greed upon
    To part with unhack'd edges, and bear back
    Our targes undinted.
  • Octavius. [with Antony and Lepidus] That's our offer.
  • Pompey. Know, then, 1260
    I came before you here a man prepared
    To take this offer: but Mark Antony
    Put me to some impatience: though I lose
    The praise of it by telling, you must know,
    When Caesar and your brother were at blows, 1265
    Your mother came to Sicily and did find
    Her welcome friendly.
  • Antony. I have heard it, Pompey;
    And am well studied for a liberal thanks
    Which I do owe you. 1270
  • Pompey. Let me have your hand:
    I did not think, sir, to have met you here.
  • Antony. The beds i' the east are soft; and thanks to you,
    That call'd me timelier than my purpose hither;
    For I have gain'd by 't. 1275
  • Octavius. Since I saw you last,
    There is a change upon you.
  • Pompey. Well, I know not
    What counts harsh fortune casts upon my face;
    But in my bosom shall she never come, 1280
    To make my heart her vassal.
  • Pompey. I hope so, Lepidus. Thus we are agreed:
    I crave our composition may be written,
    And seal'd between us. 1285
  • Pompey. We'll feast each other ere we part; and let's
    Draw lots who shall begin.
  • Pompey. No, Antony, take the lot: but, first 1290
    Or last, your fine Egyptian cookery
    Shall have the fame. I have heard that Julius Caesar
    Grew fat with feasting there.
  • Pompey. I have fair meanings, sir. 1295
  • Antony. And fair words to them.
  • Pompey. Then so much have I heard:
    And I have heard, Apollodorus carried—
  • Pompey. What, I pray you? 1300
  • Pompey. I know thee now: how farest thou, soldier?
  • Domitius Enobarus. Well;
    And well am like to do; for, I perceive,
    Four feasts are toward. 1305
  • Pompey. Let me shake thy hand;
    I never hated thee: I have seen thee fight,
    When I have envied thy behavior.
  • Domitius Enobarus. Sir,
    I never loved you much; but I ha' praised ye, 1310
    When you have well deserved ten times as much
    As I have said you did.
  • Pompey. Enjoy thy plainness,
    It nothing ill becomes thee.
    Aboard my galley I invite you all: 1315
    Will you lead, lords?

[Exeunt all but MENAS and ENOBARBUS]

  • Menas. [Aside] Thy father, Pompey, would ne'er have 1320
    made this treaty.—You and I have known, sir.
  • Menas. And you by land. 1325
  • Domitius Enobarus. I will praise any man that will praise me; though it
    cannot be denied what I have done by land.
  • Menas. Nor what I have done by water.
  • Domitius Enobarus. Yes, something you can deny for your own
    safety: you have been a great thief by sea. 1330
  • Domitius Enobarus. There I deny my land service. But give me your
    hand, Menas: if our eyes had authority, here they
    might take two thieves kissing.
  • Menas. All men's faces are true, whatsome'er their hands are. 1335
  • Menas. No slander; they steal hearts.
  • Menas. For my part, I am sorry it is turned to a drinking.
    Pompey doth this day laugh away his fortune. 1340
  • Menas. You've said, sir. We looked not for Mark Antony
    here: pray you, is he married to Cleopatra?
  • Menas. True, sir; she was the wife of Caius Marcellus. 1345
  • Menas. Then is Caesar and he for ever knit together.
  • Domitius Enobarus. If I were bound to divine of this unity, I would 1350
    not prophesy so.
  • Menas. I think the policy of that purpose made more in the
    marriage than the love of the parties.
  • Domitius Enobarus. I think so too. But you shall find, the band that
    seems to tie their friendship together will be the 1355
    very strangler of their amity: Octavia is of a
    holy, cold, and still conversation.
  • Menas. Who would not have his wife so?
  • Domitius Enobarus. Not he that himself is not so; which is Mark Antony.
    He will to his Egyptian dish again: then shall the 1360
    sighs of Octavia blow the fire up in Caesar; and, as
    I said before, that which is the strength of their
    amity shall prove the immediate author of their
    variance. Antony will use his affection where it is:
    he married but his occasion here. 1365
  • Menas. And thus it may be. Come, sir, will you aboard?
    I have a health for you.
  • Menas. Come, let's away.