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Antony and Cleopatra

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Act IV, Scene 14

The same. Another room.



  • Antony. Eros, thou yet behold'st me?
  • Eros. Ay, noble lord.
  • Antony. Sometimes we see a cloud that's dragonish;
    A vapour sometime like a bear or lion, 2980
    A tower'd citadel, a pendent rock,
    A forked mountain, or blue promontory
    With trees upon't, that nod unto the world,
    And mock our eyes with air: thou hast seen
    these signs; 2985
    They are black vesper's pageants.
  • Antony. That which is now a horse, even with a thought
    The rack dislimns, and makes it indistinct,
    As water is in water. 2990
  • Eros. It does, my lord.
  • Antony. My good knave Eros, now thy captain is
    Even such a body: here I am Antony:
    Yet cannot hold this visible shape, my knave.
    I made these wars for Egypt: and the queen,— 2995
    Whose heart I thought I had, for she had mine;
    Which whilst it was mine had annex'd unto't
    A million more, now lost,—she, Eros, has
    Pack'd cards with Caesar, and false-play'd my glory
    Unto an enemy's triumph. 3000
    Nay, weep not, gentle Eros; there is left us
    Ourselves to end ourselves.
    [Enter MARDIAN]
    O! thy vile lady!
    She has robb'd me of my sword. 3005
  • Mardian. No, Antony;
    My mistress loved thee, and her fortunes mingled
    With thine entirely.
  • Antony. Hence, saucy eunuch; peace!
    She hath betray'd me and shall die the death. 3010
  • Mardian. Death of one person can be paid but once,
    And that she has discharged: what thou wouldst do
    Is done unto thy hand: the last she spake
    Was 'Antony! most noble Antony!'
    Then in the midst a tearing groan did break 3015
    The name of Antony; it was divided
    Between her heart and lips: she render'd life,
    Thy name so buried in her.
  • Antony. Unarm, Eros; the long day's task is done,
    And we must sleep.
    [To MARDIAN]
    That thou depart'st hence safe,
    Does pay thy labour richly; go. 3025
    [Exit MARDIAN]
    Off, pluck off:
    The seven-fold shield of Ajax cannot keep
    The battery from my heart. O, cleave, my sides!
    Heart, once be stronger than thy continent, 3030
    Crack thy frail case! Apace, Eros, apace.
    No more a soldier: bruised pieces, go;
    You have been nobly borne. From me awhile.
    [Exit EROS]
    I will o'ertake thee, Cleopatra, and 3035
    Weep for my pardon. So it must be, for now
    All length is torture: since the torch is out,
    Lie down, and stray no farther: now all labour
    Mars what it does; yea, very force entangles
    Itself with strength: seal then, and all is done. 3040
    Eros!—I come, my queen:—Eros!—Stay for me:
    Where souls do couch on flowers, we'll hand in hand,
    And with our sprightly port make the ghosts gaze:
    Dido and her AEneas shall want troops,
    And all the haunt be ours. Come, Eros, Eros! 3045

[Re-enter EROS]

  • Eros. What would my lord?
  • Antony. Since Cleopatra died,
    I have lived in such dishonour, that the gods
    Detest my baseness. I, that with my sword 3050
    Quarter'd the world, and o'er green Neptune's back
    With ships made cities, condemn myself to lack
    The courage of a woman; less noble mind
    Than she which by her death our Caesar tells
    'I am conqueror of myself.' Thou art sworn, Eros, 3055
    That, when the exigent should come, which now
    Is come indeed, when I should see behind me
    The inevitable prosecution of
    Disgrace and horror, that, on my command,
    Thou then wouldst kill me: do't; the time is come: 3060
    Thou strikest not me, 'tis Caesar thou defeat'st.
    Put colour in thy cheek.
  • Eros. The gods withhold me!
    Shall I do that which all the Parthian darts,
    Though enemy, lost aim, and could not? 3065
  • Antony. Eros,
    Wouldst thou be window'd in great Rome and see
    Thy master thus with pleach'd arms, bending down
    His corrigible neck, his face subdued
    To penetrative shame, whilst the wheel'd seat 3070
    Of fortunate Caesar, drawn before him, branded
    His baseness that ensued?
  • Eros. I would not see't.
  • Antony. Come, then; for with a wound I must be cured.
    Draw that thy honest sword, which thou hast worn 3075
    Most useful for thy country.
  • Eros. O, sir, pardon me!
  • Antony. When I did make thee free, sworest thou not then
    To do this when I bade thee? Do it at once;
    Or thy precedent services are all 3080
    But accidents unpurposed. Draw, and come.
  • Eros. Turn from me, then, that noble countenance,
    Wherein the worship of the whole world lies.

[Turning from him]

  • Eros. My sword is drawn.
  • Antony. Then let it do at once
    The thing why thou hast drawn it.
  • Eros. My dear master,
    My captain, and my emperor, let me say, 3090
    Before I strike this bloody stroke, farewell.
  • Antony. 'Tis said, man; and farewell.
  • Eros. Farewell, great chief. Shall I strike now?
  • Eros. Why, there then: thus I do escape the sorrow 3095
    Of Antony's death.

[Kills himself]

  • Antony. Thrice-nobler than myself!
    Thou teachest me, O valiant Eros, what
    I should, and thou couldst not. My queen and Eros 3100
    Have by their brave instruction got upon me
    A nobleness in record: but I will be
    A bridegroom in my death, and run into't
    As to a lover's bed. Come, then; and, Eros,
    Thy master dies thy scholar: to do thus 3105
    [Falling on his sword]
    I learn'd of thee. How! not dead? not dead?
    The guard, ho! O, dispatch me!

[Enter DERCETAS and Guard]

  • Antony. I have done my work in, friends: O, make an end
    Of what I have begun.
  • All. Alas, and woe! 3115
  • Antony. Let him that loves me strike me dead.

[Exeunt Guard]

  • Dercetas. Thy death and fortunes bid thy followers fly.
    This sword but shown to Caesar, with this tidings,
    Shall enter me with him.


  • Diomedes. Lives he?
    Wilt thou not answer, man?


  • Antony. Art thou there, Diomed? Draw thy sword, and give me 3130
    Sufficing strokes for death.
  • Diomedes. Most absolute lord,
    My mistress Cleopatra sent me to thee.
  • Antony. When did she send thee?
  • Diomedes. Lock'd in her monument. She had a prophesying fear
    Of what hath come to pass: for when she saw—
    Which never shall be found—you did suspect
    She had disposed with Caesar, and that your rage 3140
    Would not be purged, she sent you word she was dead;
    But, fearing since how it might work, hath sent
    Me to proclaim the truth; and I am come,
    I dread, too late.
  • Antony. Too late, good Diomed: call my guard, I prithee. 3145
  • Diomedes. What, ho, the emperor's guard! The guard, what, ho!
    Come, your lord calls!

[Enter four or five of the Guard of MARK ANTONY]

  • Antony. Bear me, good friends, where Cleopatra bides;
    'Tis the last service that I shall command you. 3150
  • First Guard. Woe, woe are we, sir, you may not live to wear
    All your true followers out.
  • All. Most heavy day!
  • Antony. Nay, good my fellows, do not please sharp fate
    To grace it with your sorrows: bid that welcome 3155
    Which comes to punish us, and we punish it
    Seeming to bear it lightly. Take me up:
    I have led you oft: carry me now, good friends,
    And have my thanks for all.

[Exeunt, bearing MARK ANTONY]