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Can counsel and speak comfort to that grief
Which they themselves not feel.

      — Much Ado about Nothing, Act V Scene 1


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Antony and Cleopatra

Act II

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Scene 1. Messina. POMPEY’s house.

Scene 2. Rome. The house of LEPIDUS.

Scene 3. The same. OCTAVIUS CAESAR’s house.

Scene 4. The same. A street.

Scene 5. Alexandria. CLEOPATRA’s palace.

Scene 6. Near Misenum.

Scene 7. On board POMPEY’s galley, off Misenum.


Act II, Scene 1

Messina. POMPEY’s house.

      next scene .

[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.


. previous scene      

Act II, Scene 2

Rome. The house of LEPIDUS.

      next scene .


  • Lepidus. Good Enobarbus, 'tis a worthy deed,
    And shall become you well, to entreat your captain
    To soft and gentle speech.
  • Domitius Enobarus. I shall entreat him
    To answer like himself: if Caesar move him, 685
    Let Antony look over Caesar's head
    And speak as loud as Mars. By Jupiter,
    Were I the wearer of Antonius' beard,
    I would not shave't to-day.
  • Lepidus. 'Tis not a time 690
    For private stomaching.
  • Lepidus. But small to greater matters must give way.
  • Lepidus. Your speech is passion:
    But, pray you, stir no embers up. Here comes
    The noble Antony.



  • Antony. If we compose well here, to Parthia:
    Hark, Ventidius.
  • Octavius. I do not know,
    Mecaenas; ask Agrippa. 705
  • Lepidus. Noble friends,
    That which combined us was most great, and let not
    A leaner action rend us. What's amiss,
    May it be gently heard: when we debate
    Our trivial difference loud, we do commit 710
    Murder in healing wounds: then, noble partners,
    The rather, for I earnestly beseech,
    Touch you the sourest points with sweetest terms,
    Nor curstness grow to the matter.
  • Antony. 'Tis spoken well. 715
    Were we before our armies, and to fight.
    I should do thus.


  • Antony. I learn, you take things ill which are not so,
    Or being, concern you not. 725
  • Octavius. I must be laugh'd at,
    If, or for nothing or a little, I
    Should say myself offended, and with you
    Chiefly i' the world; more laugh'd at, that I should
    Once name you derogately, when to sound your name 730
    It not concern'd me.
  • Antony. My being in Egypt, Caesar,
    What was't to you?
  • Octavius. No more than my residing here at Rome
    Might be to you in Egypt: yet, if you there 735
    Did practise on my state, your being in Egypt
    Might be my question.
  • Antony. How intend you, practised?
  • Octavius. You may be pleased to catch at mine intent
    By what did here befal me. Your wife and brother 740
    Made wars upon me; and their contestation
    Was theme for you, you were the word of war.
  • Antony. You do mistake your business; my brother never
    Did urge me in his act: I did inquire it;
    And have my learning from some true reports, 745
    That drew their swords with you. Did he not rather
    Discredit my authority with yours;
    And make the wars alike against my stomach,
    Having alike your cause? Of this my letters
    Before did satisfy you. If you'll patch a quarrel, 750
    As matter whole you have not to make it with,
    It must not be with this.
  • Octavius. You praise yourself
    By laying defects of judgment to me; but
    You patch'd up your excuses. 755
  • Antony. Not so, not so;
    I know you could not lack, I am certain on't,
    Very necessity of this thought, that I,
    Your partner in the cause 'gainst which he fought,
    Could not with graceful eyes attend those wars 760
    Which fronted mine own peace. As for my wife,
    I would you had her spirit in such another:
    The third o' the world is yours; which with a snaffle
    You may pace easy, but not such a wife.
  • Domitius Enobarus. Would we had all such wives, that the men might go 765
    to wars with the women!
  • Antony. So much uncurbable, her garboils, Caesar
    Made out of her impatience, which not wanted
    Shrewdness of policy too, I grieving grant
    Did you too much disquiet: for that you must 770
    But say, I could not help it.
  • Octavius. I wrote to you
    When rioting in Alexandria; you
    Did pocket up my letters, and with taunts
    Did gibe my missive out of audience. 775
  • Antony. Sir,
    He fell upon me ere admitted: then
    Three kings I had newly feasted, and did want
    Of what I was i' the morning: but next day
    I told him of myself; which was as much 780
    As to have ask'd him pardon. Let this fellow
    Be nothing of our strife; if we contend,
    Out of our question wipe him.
  • Octavius. You have broken
    The article of your oath; which you shall never 785
    Have tongue to charge me with.
  • Antony. No,
    Lepidus, let him speak:
    The honour is sacred which he talks on now, 790
    Supposing that I lack'd it. But, on, Caesar;
    The article of my oath.
  • Octavius. To lend me arms and aid when I required them;
    The which you both denied.
  • Antony. Neglected, rather; 795
    And then when poison'd hours had bound me up
    From mine own knowledge. As nearly as I may,
    I'll play the penitent to you: but mine honesty
    Shall not make poor my greatness, nor my power
    Work without it. Truth is, that Fulvia, 800
    To have me out of Egypt, made wars here;
    For which myself, the ignorant motive, do
    So far ask pardon as befits mine honour
    To stoop in such a case.
  • Mecaenas. If it might please you, to enforce no further
    The griefs between ye: to forget them quite
    Were to remember that the present need
    Speaks to atone you.
  • Lepidus. Worthily spoken, Mecaenas. 810
  • Domitius Enobarus. Or, if you borrow one another's love for the
    instant, you may, when you hear no more words of
    Pompey, return it again: you shall have time to
    wrangle in when you have nothing else to do.
  • Antony. Thou art a soldier only: speak no more. 815
  • Antony. You wrong this presence; therefore speak no more.
  • Octavius. I do not much dislike the matter, but
    The manner of his speech; for't cannot be 820
    We shall remain in friendship, our conditions
    So differing in their acts. Yet if I knew
    What hoop should hold us stanch, from edge to edge
    O' the world I would pursue it.
  • Agrippa. Give me leave, Caesar,— 825
  • Agrippa. Thou hast a sister by the mother's side,
    Admired Octavia: great Mark Antony
    Is now a widower.
  • Octavius. Say not so, Agrippa: 830
    If Cleopatra heard you, your reproof
    Were well deserved of rashness.
  • Antony. I am not married, Caesar: let me hear
    Agrippa further speak.
  • Agrippa. To hold you in perpetual amity, 835
    To make you brothers, and to knit your hearts
    With an unslipping knot, take Antony
    Octavia to his wife; whose beauty claims
    No worse a husband than the best of men;
    Whose virtue and whose general graces speak 840
    That which none else can utter. By this marriage,
    All little jealousies, which now seem great,
    And all great fears, which now import their dangers,
    Would then be nothing: truths would be tales,
    Where now half tales be truths: her love to both 845
    Would, each to other and all loves to both,
    Draw after her. Pardon what I have spoke;
    For 'tis a studied, not a present thought,
    By duty ruminated.
  • Antony. Will Caesar speak? 850
  • Octavius. Not till he hears how Antony is touch'd
    With what is spoke already.
  • Antony. What power is in Agrippa,
    If I would say, 'Agrippa, be it so,'
    To make this good? 855
  • Octavius. The power of Caesar, and
    His power unto Octavia.
  • Antony. May I never
    To this good purpose, that so fairly shows,
    Dream of impediment! Let me have thy hand: 860
    Further this act of grace: and from this hour
    The heart of brothers govern in our loves
    And sway our great designs!
  • Octavius. There is my hand.
    A sister I bequeath you, whom no brother 865
    Did ever love so dearly: let her live
    To join our kingdoms and our hearts; and never
    Fly off our loves again!
  • Antony. I did not think to draw my sword 'gainst Pompey; 870
    For he hath laid strange courtesies and great
    Of late upon me: I must thank him only,
    Lest my remembrance suffer ill report;
    At heel of that, defy him.
  • Lepidus. Time calls upon's: 875
    Of us must Pompey presently be sought,
    Or else he seeks out us.
  • Antony. What is his strength by land? 880
  • Octavius. Great and increasing: but by sea
    He is an absolute master.
  • Antony. So is the fame.
    Would we had spoke together! Haste we for it:
    Yet, ere we put ourselves in arms, dispatch we 885
    The business we have talk'd of.
  • Octavius. With most gladness:
    And do invite you to my sister's view,
    Whither straight I'll lead you.
  • Antony. Let us, Lepidus, 890
    Not lack your company.
  • Lepidus. Noble Antony,
    Not sickness should detain me.
    [Flourish. Exeunt OCTAVIUS CAESAR, MARK ANTONY,]
    and LEPIDUS] 895
  • Domitius Enobarus. Half the heart of Caesar, worthy Mecaenas! My
    honourable friend, Agrippa!
  • Mecaenas. We have cause to be glad that matters are so well 900
    digested. You stayed well by 't in Egypt.
  • Domitius Enobarus. Ay, sir; we did sleep day out of countenance, and
    made the night light with drinking.
  • Mecaenas. Eight wild-boars roasted whole at a breakfast, and
    but twelve persons there; is this true? 905
  • Domitius Enobarus. This was but as a fly by an eagle: we had much more
    monstrous matter of feast, which worthily deserved noting.
  • Mecaenas. She's a most triumphant lady, if report be square to
  • Domitius Enobarus. When she first met Mark Antony, she pursed up 910
    his heart, upon the river of Cydnus.
  • Agrippa. There she appeared indeed; or my reporter devised
    well for her.
  • Domitius Enobarus. I will tell you.
    The barge she sat in, like a burnish'd throne, 915
    Burn'd on the water: the poop was beaten gold;
    Purple the sails, and so perfumed that
    The winds were love-sick with them; the oars were silver,
    Which to the tune of flutes kept stroke, and made
    The water which they beat to follow faster, 920
    As amorous of their strokes. For her own person,
    It beggar'd all description: she did lie
    In her pavilion—cloth-of-gold of tissue—
    O'er-picturing that Venus where we see
    The fancy outwork nature: on each side her 925
    Stood pretty dimpled boys, like smiling Cupids,
    With divers-colour'd fans, whose wind did seem
    To glow the delicate cheeks which they did cool,
    And what they undid did.
  • Domitius Enobarus. Her gentlewomen, like the Nereides,
    So many mermaids, tended her i' the eyes,
    And made their bends adornings: at the helm
    A seeming mermaid steers: the silken tackle
    Swell with the touches of those flower-soft hands, 935
    That yarely frame the office. From the barge
    A strange invisible perfume hits the sense
    Of the adjacent wharfs. The city cast
    Her people out upon her; and Antony,
    Enthroned i' the market-place, did sit alone, 940
    Whistling to the air; which, but for vacancy,
    Had gone to gaze on Cleopatra too,
    And made a gap in nature.
  • Domitius Enobarus. Upon her landing, Antony sent to her, 945
    Invited her to supper: she replied,
    It should be better he became her guest;
    Which she entreated: our courteous Antony,
    Whom ne'er the word of 'No' woman heard speak,
    Being barber'd ten times o'er, goes to the feast, 950
    And for his ordinary pays his heart
    For what his eyes eat only.
  • Agrippa. Royal wench!
    She made great Caesar lay his sword to bed:
    He plough'd her, and she cropp'd. 955
  • Domitius Enobarus. I saw her once
    Hop forty paces through the public street;
    And having lost her breath, she spoke, and panted,
    That she did make defect perfection,
    And, breathless, power breathe forth. 960
  • Mecaenas. Now Antony must leave her utterly.
  • Domitius Enobarus. Never; he will not:
    Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale
    Her infinite variety: other women cloy
    The appetites they feed: but she makes hungry 965
    Where most she satisfies; for vilest things
    Become themselves in her: that the holy priests
    Bless her when she is riggish.
  • Mecaenas. If beauty, wisdom, modesty, can settle
    The heart of Antony, Octavia is 970
    A blessed lottery to him.
  • Agrippa. Let us go.
    Good Enobarbus, make yourself my guest
    Whilst you abide here.


. previous scene      

Act II, Scene 3

The same. OCTAVIUS CAESAR’s house.

      next scene .

[Enter MARK ANTONY, OCTAVIUS CAESAR, OCTAVIA between] [p]them, and Attendants]

  • Antony. The world and my great office will sometimes
    Divide me from your bosom. 980
  • Octavia. All which time
    Before the gods my knee shall bow my prayers
    To them for you.
  • Antony. Good night, sir. My Octavia,
    Read not my blemishes in the world's report: 985
    I have not kept my square; but that to come
    Shall all be done by the rule. Good night, dear lady.
    Good night, sir.


[Enter Soothsayer]

  • Antony. Now, sirrah; you do wish yourself in Egypt?
  • Soothsayer. Would I had never come from thence, nor you Thither!
  • Antony. If you can, your reason?
  • Soothsayer. I see it in 995
    My motion, have it not in my tongue: but yet
    Hie you to Egypt again.
  • Antony. Say to me,
    Whose fortunes shall rise higher, Caesar's or mine?
  • Soothsayer. Caesar's. 1000
    Therefore, O Antony, stay not by his side:
    Thy demon, that's thy spirit which keeps thee, is
    Noble, courageous high, unmatchable,
    Where Caesar's is not; but, near him, thy angel
    Becomes a fear, as being o'erpower'd: therefore 1005
    Make space enough between you.
  • Soothsayer. To none but thee; no more, but when to thee.
    If thou dost play with him at any game,
    Thou art sure to lose; and, of that natural luck, 1010
    He beats thee 'gainst the odds: thy lustre thickens,
    When he shines by: I say again, thy spirit
    Is all afraid to govern thee near him;
    But, he away, 'tis noble.
  • Antony. Get thee gone: 1015
    Say to Ventidius I would speak with him:
    [Exit Soothsayer]
    He shall to Parthia. Be it art or hap,
    He hath spoken true: the very dice obey him;
    And in our sports my better cunning faints 1020
    Under his chance: if we draw lots, he speeds;
    His cocks do win the battle still of mine,
    When it is all to nought; and his quails ever
    Beat mine, inhoop'd, at odds. I will to Egypt:
    And though I make this marriage for my peace, 1025
    I' the east my pleasure lies.
    [Enter VENTIDIUS]
    O, come, Ventidius,
    You must to Parthia: your commission's ready;
    Follow me, and receive't. 1030


. previous scene      

Act II, Scene 4

The same. A street.

      next scene .


  • Lepidus. Trouble yourselves no further: pray you, hasten
    Your generals after.
  • Agrippa. Sir, Mark Antony 1035
    Will e'en but kiss Octavia, and we'll follow.
  • Lepidus. Till I shall see you in your soldier's dress,
    Which will become you both, farewell.
  • Mecaenas. We shall,
    As I conceive the journey, be at the Mount 1040
    Before you, Lepidus.
  • Lepidus. Your way is shorter;
    My purposes do draw me much about:
    You'll win two days upon me.
  • Mecaenas. [with Agrippa] Sir, good success! 1045


. previous scene      

Act II, Scene 5

Alexandria. CLEOPATRA’s palace.

      next scene .


  • Cleopatra. Give me some music; music, moody food
    Of us that trade in love. 1050


  • Cleopatra. Let it alone; let's to billiards: come, Charmian.
  • Charmian. My arm is sore; best play with Mardian.
  • Cleopatra. As well a woman with an eunuch play'd 1055
    As with a woman. Come, you'll play with me, sir?
  • Cleopatra. And when good will is show'd, though't come
    too short,
    The actor may plead pardon. I'll none now: 1060
    Give me mine angle; we'll to the river: there,
    My music playing far off, I will betray
    Tawny-finn'd fishes; my bended hook shall pierce
    Their slimy jaws; and, as I draw them up,
    I'll think them every one an Antony, 1065
    And say 'Ah, ha! you're caught.'
  • Charmian. 'Twas merry when
    You wager'd on your angling; when your diver
    Did hang a salt-fish on his hook, which he
    With fervency drew up. 1070
  • Cleopatra. That time,—O times!—
    I laugh'd him out of patience; and that night
    I laugh'd him into patience; and next morn,
    Ere the ninth hour, I drunk him to his bed;
    Then put my tires and mantles on him, whilst 1075
    I wore his sword Philippan.
    [Enter a Messenger]
    O, from Italy
    Ram thou thy fruitful tidings in mine ears,
    That long time have been barren. 1080
  • Cleopatra. Antonius dead!—If thou say so, villain,
    Thou kill'st thy mistress: but well and free,
    If thou so yield him, there is gold, and here
    My bluest veins to kiss; a hand that kings 1085
    Have lipp'd, and trembled kissing.
  • Cleopatra. Why, there's more gold.
    But, sirrah, mark, we use
    To say the dead are well: bring it to that, 1090
    The gold I give thee will I melt and pour
    Down thy ill-uttering throat.
  • Cleopatra. Well, go to, I will;
    But there's no goodness in thy face: if Antony 1095
    Be free and healthful,—so tart a favour
    To trumpet such good tidings! If not well,
    Thou shouldst come like a Fury crown'd with snakes,
    Not like a formal man.
  • Cleopatra. I have a mind to strike thee ere thou speak'st:
    Yet if thou say Antony lives, is well,
    Or friends with Caesar, or not captive to him,
    I'll set thee in a shower of gold, and hail
    Rich pearls upon thee. 1105
  • Messenger. Caesar and he are greater friends than ever. 1110
  • Cleopatra. I do not like 'But yet,' it does allay
    The good precedence; fie upon 'But yet'!
    'But yet' is as a gaoler to bring forth 1115
    Some monstrous malefactor. Prithee, friend,
    Pour out the pack of matter to mine ear,
    The good and bad together: he's friends with Caesar:
    In state of health thou say'st; and thou say'st free.
  • Messenger. Free, madam! no; I made no such report: 1120
    He's bound unto Octavia.
  • Messenger. Madam, he's married to Octavia. 1125
  • Cleopatra. The most infectious pestilence upon thee!

[Strikes him down]

  • Cleopatra. What say you? Hence,
    [Strikes him again] 1130
    Horrible villain! or I'll spurn thine eyes
    Like balls before me; I'll unhair thy head:
    [She hales him up and down]
    Thou shalt be whipp'd with wire, and stew'd in brine,
    Smarting in lingering pickle. 1135
  • Messenger. Gracious madam,
    I that do bring the news made not the match.
  • Cleopatra. Say 'tis not so, a province I will give thee,
    And make thy fortunes proud: the blow thou hadst
    Shall make thy peace for moving me to rage; 1140
    And I will boot thee with what gift beside
    Thy modesty can beg.

[Draws a knife]

  • Messenger. Nay, then I'll run.
    What mean you, madam? I have made no fault.


  • Charmian. Good madam, keep yourself within yourself:
    The man is innocent. 1150
  • Cleopatra. Some innocents 'scape not the thunderbolt.
    Melt Egypt into Nile! and kindly creatures
    Turn all to serpents! Call the slave again:
    Though I am mad, I will not bite him: call.
  • Cleopatra. I will not hurt him.
    [Exit CHARMIAN]
    These hands do lack nobility, that they strike
    A meaner than myself; since I myself
    Have given myself the cause. 1160
    [Re-enter CHARMIAN and Messenger]
    Come hither, sir.
    Though it be honest, it is never good
    To bring bad news: give to a gracious message.
    An host of tongues; but let ill tidings tell 1165
    Themselves when they be felt.
  • Cleopatra. Is he married?
    I cannot hate thee worser than I do,
    If thou again say 'Yes.' 1170
  • Cleopatra. The gods confound thee! dost thou hold there still?
  • Cleopatra. O, I would thou didst,
    So half my Egypt were submerged and made 1175
    A cistern for scaled snakes! Go, get thee hence:
    Hadst thou Narcissus in thy face, to me
    Thou wouldst appear most ugly. He is married?
  • Messenger. Take no offence that I would not offend you:
    To punish me for what you make me do.
    Seems much unequal: he's married to Octavia.
  • Cleopatra. O, that his fault should make a knave of thee,
    That art not what thou'rt sure of! Get thee hence: 1185
    The merchandise which thou hast brought from Rome
    Are all too dear for me: lie they upon thy hand,
    And be undone by 'em!

[Exit Messenger]

  • Charmian. Good your highness, patience. 1190
  • Cleopatra. In praising Antony, I have dispraised Caesar.
  • Cleopatra. I am paid for't now.
    Lead me from hence:
    I faint: O Iras, Charmian! 'tis no matter. 1195
    Go to the fellow, good Alexas; bid him
    Report the feature of Octavia, her years,
    Her inclination, let him not leave out
    The colour of her hair: bring me word quickly.
    [Exit ALEXAS] 1200
    Let him for ever go:—let him not—Charmian,
    Though he be painted one way like a Gorgon,
    The other way's a Mars. Bid you Alexas
    [To MARDIAN]
    Bring me word how tall she is. Pity me, Charmian, 1205
    But do not speak to me. Lead me to my chamber.


. previous scene      

Act II, Scene 6

Near Misenum.

      next scene .

[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.


. previous scene      

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.