Open Source Shakespeare

Antony and Cleopatra

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Act III, Scene 6

Rome. OCTAVIUS CAESAR’s house.



  • Octavius. Contemning Rome, he has done all this, and more,
    In Alexandria: here's the manner of 't:
    I' the market-place, on a tribunal silver'd,
    Cleopatra and himself in chairs of gold 1825
    Were publicly enthroned: at the feet sat
    Caesarion, whom they call my father's son,
    And all the unlawful issue that their lust
    Since then hath made between them. Unto her
    He gave the stablishment of Egypt; made her 1830
    Of lower Syria, Cyprus, Lydia,
    Absolute queen.
  • Mecaenas. This in the public eye?
  • Octavius. I' the common show-place, where they exercise.
    His sons he there proclaim'd the kings of kings: 1835
    Great Media, Parthia, and Armenia.
    He gave to Alexander; to Ptolemy he assign'd
    Syria, Cilicia, and Phoenicia: she
    In the habiliments of the goddess Isis
    That day appear'd; and oft before gave audience, 1840
    As 'tis reported, so.
  • Mecaenas. Let Rome be thus Inform'd.
  • Agrippa. Who, queasy with his insolence
    Already, will their good thoughts call from him.
  • Octavius. The people know it; and have now received 1845
    His accusations.
  • Agrippa. Who does he accuse?
  • Octavius. Caesar: and that, having in Sicily
    Sextus Pompeius spoil'd, we had not rated him
    His part o' the isle: then does he say, he lent me 1850
    Some shipping unrestored: lastly, he frets
    That Lepidus of the triumvirate
    Should be deposed; and, being, that we detain
    All his revenue.
  • Agrippa. Sir, this should be answer'd. 1855
  • Octavius. 'Tis done already, and the messenger gone.
    I have told him, Lepidus was grown too cruel;
    That he his high authority abused,
    And did deserve his change: for what I have conquer'd,
    I grant him part; but then, in his Armenia, 1860
    And other of his conquer'd kingdoms, I
    Demand the like.
  • Mecaenas. He'll never yield to that.
  • Octavius. Nor must not then be yielded to in this.

[Enter OCTAVIA with her train]

  • Octavia. Hail, Caesar, and my lord! hail, most dear Caesar!
  • Octavius. That ever I should call thee castaway!
  • Octavia. You have not call'd me so, nor have you cause.
  • Octavius. Why have you stol'n upon us thus! You come not
    Like Caesar's sister: the wife of Antony 1870
    Should have an army for an usher, and
    The neighs of horse to tell of her approach
    Long ere she did appear; the trees by the way
    Should have borne men; and expectation fainted,
    Longing for what it had not; nay, the dust 1875
    Should have ascended to the roof of heaven,
    Raised by your populous troops: but you are come
    A market-maid to Rome; and have prevented
    The ostentation of our love, which, left unshown,
    Is often left unloved; we should have met you 1880
    By sea and land; supplying every stage
    With an augmented greeting.
  • Octavia. Good my lord,
    To come thus was I not constrain'd, but did
    On my free will. My lord, Mark Antony, 1885
    Hearing that you prepared for war, acquainted
    My grieved ear withal; whereon, I begg'd
    His pardon for return.
  • Octavius. Which soon he granted,
    Being an obstruct 'tween his lust and him. 1890
  • Octavia. Do not say so, my lord.
  • Octavius. I have eyes upon him,
    And his affairs come to me on the wind.
    Where is he now?
  • Octavia. My lord, in Athens. 1895
  • Octavius. No, my most wronged sister; Cleopatra
    Hath nodded him to her. He hath given his empire
    Up to a whore; who now are levying
    The kings o' the earth for war; he hath assembled
    Bocchus, the king of Libya; Archelaus, 1900
    Of Cappadocia; Philadelphos, king
    Of Paphlagonia; the Thracian king, Adallas;
    King Malchus of Arabia; King of Pont;
    Herod of Jewry; Mithridates, king
    Of Comagene; Polemon and Amyntas, 1905
    The kings of Mede and Lycaonia,
    With a more larger list of sceptres.
  • Octavia. Ay me, most wretched,
    That have my heart parted betwixt two friends
    That do afflict each other! 1910
  • Octavius. Welcome hither:
    Your letters did withhold our breaking forth;
    Till we perceived, both how you were wrong led,
    And we in negligent danger. Cheer your heart;
    Be you not troubled with the time, which drives 1915
    O'er your content these strong necessities;
    But let determined things to destiny
    Hold unbewail'd their way. Welcome to Rome;
    Nothing more dear to me. You are abused
    Beyond the mark of thought: and the high gods, 1920
    To do you justice, make them ministers
    Of us and those that love you. Best of comfort;
    And ever welcome to us.
  • Agrippa. Welcome, lady.
  • Mecaenas. Welcome, dear madam. 1925
    Each heart in Rome does love and pity you:
    Only the adulterous Antony, most large
    In his abominations, turns you off;
    And gives his potent regiment to a trull,
    That noises it against us. 1930
  • Octavia. Is it so, sir?
  • Octavius. Most certain. Sister, welcome: pray you,
    Be ever known to patience: my dear'st sister!