Open Source Shakespeare

Antony and Cleopatra

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Act III, Scene 4

Athens. A room in MARK ANTONY’s house.



  • Antony. Nay, nay, Octavia, not only that,—
    That were excusable, that, and thousands more
    Of semblable import,—but he hath waged
    New wars 'gainst Pompey; made his will, and read it 1755
    To public ear:
    Spoke scantly of me: when perforce he could not
    But pay me terms of honour, cold and sickly
    He vented them; most narrow measure lent me:
    When the best hint was given him, he not took't, 1760
    Or did it from his teeth.
  • Octavia. O my good lord,
    Believe not all; or, if you must believe,
    Stomach not all. A more unhappy lady,
    If this division chance, ne'er stood between, 1765
    Praying for both parts:
    The good gods me presently,
    When I shall pray, 'O bless my lord and husband!'
    Undo that prayer, by crying out as loud,
    'O, bless my brother!' Husband win, win brother, 1770
    Prays, and destroys the prayer; no midway
    'Twixt these extremes at all.
  • Antony. Gentle Octavia,
    Let your best love draw to that point, which seeks
    Best to preserve it: if I lose mine honour, 1775
    I lose myself: better I were not yours
    Than yours so branchless. But, as you requested,
    Yourself shall go between 's: the mean time, lady,
    I'll raise the preparation of a war
    Shall stain your brother: make your soonest haste; 1780
    So your desires are yours.
  • Octavia. Thanks to my lord.
    The Jove of power make me most weak, most weak,
    Your reconciler! Wars 'twixt you twain would be
    As if the world should cleave, and that slain men 1785
    Should solder up the rift.
  • Antony. When it appears to you where this begins,
    Turn your displeasure that way: for our faults
    Can never be so equal, that your love
    Can equally move with them. Provide your going; 1790
    Choose your own company, and command what cost
    Your heart has mind to.