Open Source Shakespeare

Antony and Cleopatra

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Act III, Scene 12

Egypt. OCTAVIUS CAESAR’s camp.



  • Octavius. Let him appear that's come from Antony.
    Know you him?
  • Dolabella. Caesar, 'tis his schoolmaster:
    An argument that he is pluck'd, when hither 2200
    He sends so poor a pinion off his wing,
    Which had superfluous kings for messengers
    Not many moons gone by.

[Enter EUPHRONIUS, ambassador from MARK ANTONY]

  • Octavius. Approach, and speak. 2205
  • Euphronius. Such as I am, I come from Antony:
    I was of late as petty to his ends
    As is the morn-dew on the myrtle-leaf
    To his grand sea.
  • Octavius. Be't so: declare thine office. 2210
  • Euphronius. Lord of his fortunes he salutes thee, and
    Requires to live in Egypt: which not granted,
    He lessens his requests; and to thee sues
    To let him breathe between the heavens and earth,
    A private man in Athens: this for him. 2215
    Next, Cleopatra does confess thy greatness;
    Submits her to thy might; and of thee craves
    The circle of the Ptolemies for her heirs,
    Now hazarded to thy grace.
  • Octavius. For Antony, 2220
    I have no ears to his request. The queen
    Of audience nor desire shall fail, so she
    From Egypt drive her all-disgraced friend,
    Or take his life there: this if she perform,
    She shall not sue unheard. So to them both. 2225
  • Euphronius. Fortune pursue thee!
  • Octavius. Bring him through the bands.
    [To THYREUS] To try eloquence, now 'tis time: dispatch;]
    From Antony win Cleopatra: promise, 2230
    And in our name, what she requires; add more,
    From thine invention, offers: women are not
    In their best fortunes strong; but want will perjure
    The ne'er touch'd vestal: try thy cunning, Thyreus;
    Make thine own edict for thy pains, which we 2235
    Will answer as a law.
  • Thyreus. Caesar, I go.
  • Octavius. Observe how Antony becomes his flaw,
    And what thou think'st his very action speaks
    In every power that moves. 2240
  • Thyreus. Caesar, I shall.