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Antony and Cleopatra

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Act III, Scene 7

Near Actium. MARK ANTONY’s camp.



  • Cleopatra. I will be even with thee, doubt it not.
  • Cleopatra. Thou hast forspoke my being in these wars,
    And say'st it is not fit.
  • Cleopatra. If not denounced against us, why should not we
    Be there in person?
  • Domitius Enobarus. [Aside] Well, I could reply:
    If we should serve with horse and mares together,
    The horse were merely lost; the mares would bear 1945
    A soldier and his horse.
  • Domitius Enobarus. Your presence needs must puzzle Antony;
    Take from his heart, take from his brain,
    from's time, 1950
    What should not then be spared. He is already
    Traduced for levity; and 'tis said in Rome
    That Photinus an eunuch and your maids
    Manage this war.
  • Cleopatra. Sink Rome, and their tongues rot 1955
    That speak against us! A charge we bear i' the war,
    And, as the president of my kingdom, will
    Appear there for a man. Speak not against it:
    I will not stay behind.


  • Antony. Is it not strange, Canidius,
    That from Tarentum and Brundusium
    He could so quickly cut the Ionian sea, 1965
    And take in Toryne? You have heard on't, sweet?
  • Cleopatra. Celerity is never more admired
    Than by the negligent.
  • Antony. A good rebuke,
    Which might have well becomed the best of men, 1970
    To taunt at slackness. Canidius, we
    Will fight with him by sea.
  • Antony. For that he dares us to't. 1975
  • Canidius. Ay, and to wage this battle at Pharsalia.
    Where Caesar fought with Pompey: but these offers,
    Which serve not for his vantage, be shakes off;
    And so should you. 1980
  • Domitius Enobarus. Your ships are not well mann'd;
    Your mariners are muleters, reapers, people
    Ingross'd by swift impress; in Caesar's fleet
    Are those that often have 'gainst Pompey fought:
    Their ships are yare; yours, heavy: no disgrace 1985
    Shall fall you for refusing him at sea,
    Being prepared for land.
  • Domitius Enobarus. Most worthy sir, you therein throw away
    The absolute soldiership you have by land; 1990
    Distract your army, which doth most consist
    Of war-mark'd footmen; leave unexecuted
    Your own renowned knowledge; quite forego
    The way which promises assurance; and
    Give up yourself merely to chance and hazard, 1995
    From firm security.
  • Cleopatra. I have sixty sails, Caesar none better.
  • Antony. Our overplus of shipping will we burn;
    And, with the rest full-mann'd, from the head of Actium 2000
    Beat the approaching Caesar. But if we fail,
    We then can do't at land.
    [Enter a Messenger]
    Thy business?
  • Messenger. The news is true, my lord; he is descried; 2005
    Caesar has taken Toryne.
  • Antony. Can he be there in person? 'tis impossible;
    Strange that power should be. Canidius,
    Our nineteen legions thou shalt hold by land,
    And our twelve thousand horse. We'll to our ship: 2010
    Away, my Thetis!
    [Enter a Soldier]
    How now, worthy soldier?
  • Soldier. O noble emperor, do not fight by sea;
    Trust not to rotten planks: do you misdoubt 2015
    This sword and these my wounds? Let the Egyptians
    And the Phoenicians go a-ducking; we
    Have used to conquer, standing on the earth,
    And fighting foot to foot.
  • Antony. Well, well: away! 2020


  • Soldier. By Hercules, I think I am i' the right.
  • Canidius. Soldier, thou art: but his whole action grows
    Not in the power on't: so our leader's led,
    And we are women's men. 2025
  • Soldier. You keep by land
    The legions and the horse whole, do you not?
  • Canidius. Marcus Octavius, Marcus Justeius,
    Publicola, and Caelius, are for sea:
    But we keep whole by land. This speed of Caesar's 2030
    Carries beyond belief.
  • Soldier. While he was yet in Rome,
    His power went out in such distractions as
    Beguiled all spies.
  • Canidius. Who's his lieutenant, hear you? 2035

[Enter a Messenger]

  • Canidius. With news the time's with labour, and throes forth, 2040
    Each minute, some.