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Antony and Cleopatra

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Act II, Scene 7

On board POMPEY’s galley, off Misenum.


[Music plays. Enter two or three Servants with] [p]a banquet]

  • First Servant. Here they'll be, man. Some o' their plants are
    ill-rooted already: the least wind i' the world
    will blow them down. 1375
  • Second Servant. As they pinch one another by the disposition, he
    cries out 'No more;' reconciles them to his
    entreaty, and himself to the drink. 1380
  • First Servant. But it raises the greater war between him and
    his discretion.
  • Second Servant. Why, this is to have a name in great men's
    fellowship: I had as lief have a reed that will do
    me no service as a partisan I could not heave. 1385
  • First Servant. To be called into a huge sphere, and not to be seen
    to move in't, are the holes where eyes should be,
    which pitifully disaster the cheeks.
    [A sennet sounded. Enter OCTAVIUS CAESAR, MARK]
    DOMITIUS ENOBARBUS, MENAS, with other captains]
  • Antony. [To OCTAVIUS CAESAR] Thus do they, sir: they take
    the flow o' the Nile
    By certain scales i' the pyramid; they know,
    By the height, the lowness, or the mean, if dearth 1395
    Or foison follow: the higher Nilus swells,
    The more it promises: as it ebbs, the seedsman
    Upon the slime and ooze scatters his grain,
    And shortly comes to harvest.
  • Lepidus. You've strange serpents there. 1400
  • Lepidus. Your serpent of Egypt is bred now of your mud by the
    operation of your sun: so is your crocodile.
  • Pompey. Sit,—and some wine! A health to Lepidus! 1405
  • Lepidus. I am not so well as I should be, but I'll ne'er out.
  • Lepidus. Nay, certainly, I have heard the Ptolemies'
    pyramises are very goodly things; without
    contradiction, I have heard that. 1410
  • Menas. [Aside to POMPEY] Pompey, a word.
  • Pompey. [Aside to MENAS] Say in mine ear:
    what is't?
  • Menas. [Aside to POMPEY] Forsake thy seat, I do beseech
    thee, captain, 1415
    And hear me speak a word.
  • Pompey. [Aside to MENAS] Forbear me till anon.
    This wine for Lepidus!
  • Lepidus. What manner o' thing is your crocodile?
  • Antony. It is shaped, sir, like itself; and it is as broad 1420
    as it hath breadth: it is just so high as it is,
    and moves with its own organs: it lives by that
    which nourisheth it; and the elements once out of
    it, it transmigrates.
  • Lepidus. What colour is it of? 1425
  • Antony. Of it own colour too.
  • Antony. 'Tis so. And the tears of it are wet.
  • Octavius. Will this description satisfy him?
  • Antony. With the health that Pompey gives him, else he is a 1430
    very epicure.
  • Pompey. [Aside to MENAS] Go hang, sir, hang! Tell me of
    that? away!
    Do as I bid you. Where's this cup I call'd for?
  • Menas. [Aside to POMPEY] If for the sake of merit thou 1435
    wilt hear me,
    Rise from thy stool.
  • Pompey. [Aside to MENAS] I think thou'rt mad.
    The matter?

[Rises, and walks aside]

  • Menas. I have ever held my cap off to thy fortunes.
  • Pompey. Thou hast served me with much faith. What's else to say?
    Be jolly, lords.
  • Antony. These quick-sands, Lepidus,
    Keep off them, for you sink. 1445
  • Menas. Wilt thou be lord of all the world?
  • Menas. Wilt thou be lord of the whole world? That's twice.
  • Menas. But entertain it, 1450
    And, though thou think me poor, I am the man
    Will give thee all the world.
  • Pompey. Hast thou drunk well?
  • Menas. Now, Pompey, I have kept me from the cup.
    Thou art, if thou darest be, the earthly Jove: 1455
    Whate'er the ocean pales, or sky inclips,
    Is thine, if thou wilt ha't.
  • Menas. These three world-sharers, these competitors,
    Are in thy vessel: let me cut the cable; 1460
    And, when we are put off, fall to their throats:
    All there is thine.
  • Pompey. Ah, this thou shouldst have done,
    And not have spoke on't! In me 'tis villany;
    In thee't had been good service. Thou must know, 1465
    'Tis not my profit that does lead mine honour;
    Mine honour, it. Repent that e'er thy tongue
    Hath so betray'd thine act: being done unknown,
    I should have found it afterwards well done;
    But must condemn it now. Desist, and drink. 1470
  • Menas. [Aside] For this,
    I'll never follow thy pall'd fortunes more.
    Who seeks, and will not take when once 'tis offer'd,
    Shall never find it more.
  • Pompey. This health to Lepidus! 1475
  • Antony. Bear him ashore. I'll pledge it for him, Pompey.
  • Menas. Enobarbus, welcome!
  • Pompey. Fill till the cup be hid.

[Pointing to the Attendant who carries off LEPIDUS]

  • Menas. The third part, then, is drunk: would it were all, 1485
    That it might go on wheels!
  • Pompey. This is not yet an Alexandrian feast.
  • Antony. It ripens towards it. Strike the vessels, ho? 1490
    Here is to Caesar!
  • Octavius. I could well forbear't.
    It's monstrous labour, when I wash my brain,
    And it grows fouler.
  • Antony. Be a child o' the time. 1495
  • Octavius. Possess it, I'll make answer:
    But I had rather fast from all four days
    Than drink so much in one.
  • Domitius Enobarus. Ha, my brave emperor!
    [To MARK ANTONY] 1500
    Shall we dance now the Egyptian Bacchanals,
    And celebrate our drink?
  • Pompey. Let's ha't, good soldier.
  • Antony. Come, let's all take hands,
    Till that the conquering wine hath steep'd our sense 1505
    In soft and delicate Lethe.
  • Domitius Enobarus. All take hands.
    Make battery to our ears with the loud music:
    The while I'll place you: then the boy shall sing;
    The holding every man shall bear as loud 1510
    As his strong sides can volley.
    [Music plays. DOMITIUS ENOBARBUS places them]
    hand in hand]
    Come, thou monarch of the vine, 1515
    Plumpy Bacchus with pink eyne!
    In thy fats our cares be drown'd,
    With thy grapes our hairs be crown'd:
    Cup us, till the world go round,
    Cup us, till the world go round! 1520
  • Octavius. What would you more? Pompey, good night. Good brother,
    Let me request you off: our graver business
    Frowns at this levity. Gentle lords, let's part;
    You see we have burnt our cheeks: strong Enobarb
    Is weaker than the wine; and mine own tongue 1525
    Splits what it speaks: the wild disguise hath almost
    Antick'd us all. What needs more words? Good night.
    Good Antony, your hand.
  • Pompey. I'll try you on the shore.
  • Antony. And shall, sir; give's your hand. 1530
  • Pompey. O Antony,
    You have my father's house,—But, what? we are friends.
    Come, down into the boat.
  • Domitius Enobarus. Take heed you fall not.
    [Exeunt all but DOMITIUS ENOBARBUS and MENAS] 1535
    Menas, I'll not on shore.
  • Menas. No, to my cabin.
    These drums! these trumpets, flutes! what!
    Let Neptune hear we bid a loud farewell
    To these great fellows: sound and be hang'd, sound out! 1540

[Sound a flourish, with drums]

  • Menas. Ho! Noble captain, come.