Front Page Titles (by Subject) ACT II. - Anthony and Cleopatra
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ACT II. - William Shakespeare, Anthony and Cleopatra 
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (The Oxford Shakespeare), ed. with a glossary by W.J. Craig M.A. (Oxford University Press, 1916).
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Messina. A Room inPompey’sHouse.
If the great gods be just, they shall assist
The deeds of justest men.
Know, worthy Pompey,
That what they do delay, they not deny.
Whiles we are suitors to their throne, decays
The thing we sue for.
We, ignorant of ourselves,
Beg often our own harms, which the wise powers
Deny us for our good; so find we profit
By losing of our prayers.
I shall do well:
The people love me, and the sea is mine;
My powers are crescent, and my auguring hope
Says it will come to the full. Mark Antony
In Egypt sits at dinner, and will make
No wars without doors; Cæsar gets money where
He loses hearts; Lepidus flatters both,
Of both is flatter’d; but he neither loves,
Nor either cares for him.
Cæsar and Lepidus
Are in the field; a mighty strength they carry.
Where have you this? ’tis false.
From Silvius, sir.
He dreams; I know they are in Rome together,
Looking for Antony. But all the charms of love,
Salt Cleopatra, soften thy wan’d lip!
Let witchcraft join with beauty, lust with both!
Tie up the libertine in a field of feasts,
Keep his brain fuming; Epicurean cooks
Sharpen with cloyless sance his appetite,
That sleep and feeding may prorogue his honour
Even till a Lethe’d dulness!
How now, Varrius!
This is most certain that I shall deliver:
Mark Antony is every hour in Rome
Expected; since he went from Egypt ’tis
A space for further travel.
I could have given less matter
A better ear. Menas, I did not think
This amorous surfeiter would have donn’d his helm
For such a petty war; his soldiership
Is twice the other twain. But let us rear
The higher our opinion, that our stirring
Can from the lap of Egypt’s widow pluck
The ne’er-lust-wearied Antony.
I cannot hope
Cæsar and Antony shall well greet together;
His wife that’s dead did trespasses to Cæsar,
His brother warr’d upon him, although I think
Not mov’d by Antony.
I know not, Menas,
How lesser enmities may give way to greater.
Were ’t not that we stand up against them all
’Twere pregnant they should square between themselves,
For they have entertained cause enough
To draw their swords; but how the fear of us
May cement their divisions and bind up
The petty difference, we yet not know.
Be it as our gods will have ’t! It only stands
Our lives upon, to use our strongest hands.
Rome. A Room inLepidus’ House.
Good Enobarbus, ’tis a worthy deed,
And shall become you well, to entreat your captain
To soft and gentle speech.
I shall entreat him
To answer like himself: if Cæsar move him,
Let Antony look over Cæsar’s head,
And speak as loud as Mars. By Jupiter,
Were I the wearer of Antonius’ beard,
I would not shave ’t to-day.
’Tis not a time
For private stomaching.
Serves for the matter that is then born in ’t.
But small to greater matters must give way.
Not if the small come first.
Your speech is passion;
But, pray you, stir no embers up. Here comes
The noble Antony.
And yonder, Cæsar.
If we compose well here, to Parthia:
Hark ye, Ventidius.
I do not know,
Mecænas; ask Agrippa.
That which combin’d us was most great, and let not
A leaner action rend us. What’s amiss,
May it be gently heard; when we debate
Our trivial difference loud, we do commit
Murder in healing wounds; then, noble partners,—
The rather for I earnestly beseech,—
Touch you the sourest points with sweetest terms,
Nor curstness grow to the matter.
’Tis spoken well.
Were we before our armies, and to fight,
I should do thus.
Welcome to Rome.
I learn, you take things ill which are not so,
Or being, concern you not.
I must be laugh’d at
If, or for nothing or a little, I
Should say myself offended, and with you
Chiefly i’ the world; more laugh’d at that I should
Once name you derogately, when to sound your name
It not concern’d me.
My being in Egypt, Cæsar,
What was ’t to you?
No more than my residing here at Rome
Might be to you in Egypt; yet, if you there
Did practise on my state, your being in Egypt
Might be my question.
How intend you, practis’d?
You may be pleas’d to catch at mine intent
By what did here befall me. Your wife and brother
Made wars upon me, and their contestation
Was theme for you, you were the word of war.
You do mistake your business; my brother never
Did urge me in his act: I did inquire it;
And have my learning from some true reports,
That drew their swords with you. Did he not rather
Discredit my authority with yours,
And make the wars alike against my stomach,
Having alike your cause? Of this my letters
Before did satisfy you. If you’ll patch a quarrel,
As matter whole you n’ have to make it with,
It must not be with this.
You praise yourself
By laying defects of judgment to me, but
You patch’d up your excuses.
Not so, not so;
I know you could not lack, I am certain on ’t,
Very necessity of this thought, that I,
Your partner in the cause ’gainst which he fought,
Could not with graceful eyes attend those wars
Which fronted mine own peace. As for my wife,
I would you had her spirit in such another:
The third o’ the world is yours, which with a snaffle
You may pace easy, but not such a wife.
Would we had all such wives, that the men might go to wars with the women!
So much uncurbable, her garboils, Cæsar,
Made out of her impatience,—which not wanted
Shrewdness of policy too,—I grieving grant
Did you too much disquiet; for that you must
But say I could not help it.
I wrote to you
When rioting in Alexandria; you
Did pocket up my letters, and with taunts
Did gibe my missive out of audience.
He fell upon me, ere admitted: then
Three kings I had newly feasted, and did want
Of what I was i’ the morning; but next day
I told him of myself, which was as much
As to have ask’d him pardon. Let this fellow
Be nothing of our strife; if we contend,
Out of our question wipe him.
You have broken
The article of your oath, which you shall never
Have tongue to charge me with.
Lepidus, let him speak:
The honour’s sacred which he talks on now,
Supposing that I lack’d it. But on, Cæsar;
The article of my oath.
To lend me arms and aid when I requir’d them,
The which you both denied.
And then, when poison’d hours had bound me up
From mine own knowledge. As nearly as I may,
I’ll play the penitent to you; but mine honesty
Shall not make poor my greatness, nor my power
Work without it. Truth is, that Fulvia,
To have me out of Egypt, made wars here;
For which myself, the ignorant motive, do
So far ask pardon as befits mine honour
To stoop in such a case.
’Tis noble spoken.
If it might please you, to enforce no further
The griefs between ye: to forget them quite
Were to remember that the present need
Speaks to atone you.
Worthily spoken, Mecænas.
Or, if you borrow one another’s love for the instant, you may, when you hear no more words of Pompey, return it again: you shall have time to wrangle in when you have nothing else to do.
Thou art a soldier only; speak no more.
That truth should be silent I had almost forgot.
You wrong this presence; therefore speak no more.
Go to, then; your considerate stone.
I do not much dislike the matter, but
The manner of his speech; for it cannot be
We shall remain in friendship, our conditions
So differing in their acts. Yet, if I knew
What hoop should hold us stanch, from edge to edge
O’ the world I would pursue it.
Give me leave, Cæsar.
Thou hast a sister by the mother’s side,
Admir’d Octavia; great Mark Antony
Is now a widower.
Say not so, Agrippa:
If Cleopatra heard you, your reproof
Were well deserv’d of rashness.
I am not married, Cæsar; let me hear
Agrippa further speak.
To hold you in perpetual amity,
To make you brothers, and to knit your hearts
With an unslipping knot, take Antony
Octavia to his wife; whose beauty claims
No worse a husband than the best of men,
Whose virtue and whose general graces speak
That which none else can utter. By this marriage,
All little jealousies which now seem great,
And all great fears which now import their dangers,
Would then be nothing; truths would be but tales
Where now half tales be truths; her love to both
Would each to other and all loves to both
Draw after her. Pardon what I have spoke,
For ’tis a studied, not a present thought,
By duty ruminated.
Will Cæsar speak?
Not till he hears how Antony is touch’d
With what is spoke already.
What power is in Agrippa,
If I would say, ‘Agrippa, be it so,’
To make this good?
The power of Cæsar, and
His power unto Octavia.
May I never
To this good purpose, that so fairly shows,
Dream of impediment! Let me have thy hand;
Further this act of grace, and from this hour
The heart of brothers govern in our loves
And sway our great designs!
There is my hand.
A sister I bequeath you, whom no brother
Did ever love so dearly; let her live
To join our kingdoms and our hearts, and never
Fly off our loves again!
I did not think to draw my sword ’gainst Pompey,
For he hath laid strange courtesies and great
Of late upon me; I must thank him only,
Lest my remembrance suffer ill report;
At heel of that, defy him.
Time calls upon ’s:
Of us must Pompey presently be sought,
Or else he seeks out us.
Where lies he?
About the Mount Misenum.
What’s his strength
Great and increasing; but by sea
He is an absolute master.
So is the fame.
Would we had spoke together! Haste we for it;
Yet, ere we put ourselves in arms, dispatch we
The business we have talk’d of.
With most gladness;
And do invite you to my sister’s view,
Whither straight I’ll lead you.
Let us, Lepidus,
Not lack your company.
Not sickness should detain me.
[Flourish. ExeuntCæsar, Antony,andLepidus.
Welcome from Egypt, sir.
Half the heart of Cæsar, worthy Mecænas! My honourable friend, Agrippa!
We have cause to be glad that matters are so well digested. You stayed well by ’t in
Ay, sir; we did sleep day out of countenance, and made the night light with drinking.
Eight wild boars roasted whole at a breakfast, and but twelve persons there; is this true?
This was but as a fly by an eagle; we had much more monstrous matter of feast, which worthily deserved noting.
She’s a most triumphant lady, if report be square to her.
When she first met Mark Antony she pursed up his heart, upon the river of Cydnus.
There she appeared indeed, or my reporter devised well for her.
I will tell you.
The barge she sat in, like a burnish’d throne,
Burn’d on the water; the poop was beaten gold,
Purple the sails, and so perfumed, that
The winds were love-sick with them, the oars were silver,
Which to the tune of flutes kept stroke, and made
The water which they beat to follow faster,
As amorous of their strokes. For her own person,
It beggar’d all description; she did lie
In her pavilion,—cloth-of-gold of tissue,—
O’er-picturing that Venus where we see
The fancy outwork nature; on each side her
Stood pretty-dimpled boys, like smiling Cupids,
With divers-colour’d fans, whose wind did seem
To glow the delicate cheeks which they did cool,
And what they undid did.
O! rare for Antony.
Her gentlewomen, like the Nereides,
So many mermaids, tended her i’ the eyes,
And made their bends adornings; at the helm
A seeming mermaid steers; the silken tackle
Swell with the touches of those flower-soft hands,
That yarely frame the office. From the barge
A strange invisible perfume hits the sense
Of the adjacent wharfs. The city cast
Her people out upon her, and Antony,
Enthron’d i’ the market-place, did sit alone,
Whistling to the air; which, but for vacancy,
Had gone to gaze on Cleopatra too
And made a gap in nature.
Upon her landing, Antony sent to her,
Invited her to supper; she replied
It should be better he became her guest,
Which she entreated. Our courteous Antony,
Whom ne’er the word of ‘No’ woman heard speak,
Being barber’d ten times o’er, goes to the feast,
And, for his ordinary pays his heart
For what his eyes eat only.
She made great Cæsar lay his sword to bed;
He plough’d her, and she cropp’d.
I saw her once
Hop forty paces through the public street;
And having lost her breath, she spoke, and panted
That she did make defect perfection,
And, breathless, power breathe forth.
Now Antony must leave her utterly.
Never; he will not:
Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale
Her infinite variety; other women cloy
The appetites they feed, but she makes hungry
Where most she satisfies; for vilest things
Become themselves in her, that the holy priests
Bless her when she is riggish.
If beauty, wisdom, modesty, can settle
The heart of Antony, Octavia is
A blessed lottery to him.
Let us go.
Good Enobarbus, make yourself my guest
Whilst you abide here.
Humbly, sir, I thank you.
The Same A Room inCæsar’sHouse.
EnterCæsar, Antony, Octaviabetween them; Attendants.
The world and my great office will sometimes
Divide me from your bosom.
All which time
Before the gods my knee shall bow my prayers
To them for you.
Good night, sir. My Octavia,
Read not my blemishes in the world’s report;
I have not kept my square, but that to come
Shall all be done by the rule. Good night, dear lady.
Good night, sir.
Now, sirrah; you do wish yourself in Egypt?
Would I had never come from thence, nor you
If you can, your reason?
I see it in
My motion, have it not in my tongue: but yet
Hie you to Egypt again.
Say to me,
Whose fortunes shall rise higher, Cæsar’s or mine?
Therefore, O Antony! stay not by his side;
Thy demon—that’s thy spirit which keeps thee,—is
Noble, courageous, high, unmatchable,
Where Cæsar’s is not; but near him thy angel
Becomes a fear, as being o’erpower’d; therefore
Make space enough between you.
Speak this no more.
To none but thee; no more but when to thee.
If thou dost play with him at any game
Thou art sure to lose, and, of that natural luck,
He beats thee ’gainst the odds; thy lustre thickens
When he shines by. I say again, thy spirit
Is all afraid to govern thee near him,
But he away, ’tis noble.
Get thee gone:
Say to Ventidius I would speak with him.
He shall to Parthia. Be it art or hap
He hath spoken true; the very dice obey him.
And in our sports my better cunning faints
Under his chance; if we draw lots he speeds,
His cocks do win the battle still of mine
When it is all to nought, and his quails ever
Beat mine, inhoop’d, at odds. I will to Egypt;
And though I make this marriage for my peace,
I’ the east my pleasure lies.
O! come, Ventidius,
You must to Parthia; your commission’s ready;
Follow me, and receive ’t.
The Same. A Street.
Trouble yourselves no further; pray you hasten
Your generals after.
Sir, Mark Antony
Will e’en but kiss Octavia, and we’ll follow.
Till I shall see you in your soldier’s dress,
Which will become you both, farewell.
As I conceive the journey, be at the Mount
Before you, Lepidus.
Your way is shorter;
My purposes to draw me much about:
You ’ll win two days upon me.
Sir, good success!
Sir, good success!
Alexandria. A Room in the Palace.
EnterCleopatra, Charmian, Iras, Alexas,and Attendant.
Give me some music; music, moody food
Of us that trade in love.
The music, ho!
Let it alone; let ’s to billiards: come, Charmian.
My arm is sore; best play with Mardian.
As well a woman with a eunuch play’d
As with a woman. Come, you ’ll play with me, sir?
As well as I can, madam.
And when good will is show’d, though’t come too short,
The actor may plead pardon. I ’ll none now.
Give me mine angle; we’ll to the river: there—
My music playing far off—I will betray
Tawny-finn’d fishes; my bended hook shall pierce
Their slimy jaws; and, as I draw them up,
I’ll think them every one an Antony,
And say, ‘Ah, ha!’ you’re caught.
’Twas merry when
You wager’d on your angling; when your diver
Did hang a salt-fish on his hook, which he
With fervency drew up.
That time—O times!—
I laugh’d him out of patience; and that night
I laugh’d him into patience: and next morn,
Ere the ninth hour, I drunk him to his bed;
Then put my tires and mantles on him, whilst
I wore his sword Philippan.
Enter a Messenger.
O! from Italy;
Ram thou thy fruitful tidings in mine ears,
That long time have been barren.
Antony’s dead! if thou say so, villain,
Thou kill’st thy mistress; but well and free,
If thou so yield him, there is gold, and here
My bluest veins to kiss; a hand that kings
Have lipp’d, and trembled kissing.
First, madam, he is well.
Why, there’s more gold.
But, sirrah, mark, we use
To say the dead are well: bring it to that,
The gold I give thee will I melt, and pour
Down thy ill-uttering throat.
Good madam, hear me.
Well, go to, I will;
But there’s no goodness in thy face; if Antony
Be free and healthful, so tart a favour
To trumpet such good tidings! if not well,
Thou shouldst come like a Fury crown’d with snakes,
Not like a formal man.
Will’t please you hear me?
I have a mind to strike thee ere thou speak’st:
Yet, if thou say Antony lives, is well,
Or friends with Cæsar, or not captive to him,
I’ll set thee in a shower of gold, and hail
Rich pearls upon thee.
Madam, he’s well.
And friends with Cæsar.
Thou’rt an honest man.
Cæsar and he are greater friends than ever.
Make thee a fortune from me.
But yet, madam,—
I do not like ‘but yet,’ it does allay
The good precedence; fie upon ‘but yet!’
‘But yet’ is as a gaoler to bring forth
Some monstrous malefactor. Prithee, friend,
Pour out the pack of matter to mine ear,
The good and bad together. He’s friends with Cæsar;
In state of health, thou sayst; and thou sayst, free.
Free, madam! no; I made no such report:
He’s bound unto Octavia.
For what good turn?
For the best turn i’ the bed.
I am pale, Charmian!
Madam, he’s married to Octavia.
The most infectious pestilence upon thee!
[Strikes him down.
Good madam, patience.
What say you? Hence,
[Strikes him again.
Horrible villain! or I’ll spurn thine eyes
Like balls before me; I’ll unhair thy head:
[She hales him up and down.
Thou shalt be whipp’d with wire, and stew’d in brine,
Smarting in lingering pickle.
I, that do bring the news made not the match.
Say ’tis not so, a province I will give thee,
And make thy fortunes proud; the blow thou hadst
Shall make thy peace for moving me to rage,
And I will boot thee with what gift beside
Thy modesty can beg.
He’s married, madam.
Rogue! thou hast liv’d too long.
[Draws a knife.
Nay, then I’ll run.
What mean you, madam? I have made no fault.
Good madam, keep yourself within yourself;
The man is innocent.
Some innocents ’scape not the thunderbolt.
Melt Egypt into Nile! and kindly creatures
Turn all to serpents! Call the slave again:
Though I am mad, I will not bite him. Call.
He is afeard to come.
I will not hurt him.
These hands do lack nobility, that they strike
A meaner than myself; since I myself
Have given myself the cause.
Come hither, sir.
Though it be honest, it is never good
To bring bad news; give to a gracious message
A host of tongues, but let ill tidings tell
Themselves when they be felt.
I have done my duty.
Is he married?
I cannot hate thee worser than I do
If thou again say ‘Yes.’
He’s married, madam.
The gods confound thee! dost thou hold there still?
Should I lie, madam?
O! I would thou didst,
So half my Egypt were submerg’d and made
A cistern for scal’d snakes. Go, get thee hence;
Hadst thou Narcissus in thy face, to me
Thou wouldst appear most ugly. He is married?
I crave your highness’ pardon.
He is married?
Take no offence that I would not offend you;
To punish me for what you make me do
Seems much unequal; he’s married to Octavia.
O! that his fault should make a knave of thee,
That art not what thou’rt sure of. Get thee hence;
The merchandise which thou hast brought from Rome
Are all too dear for me; lie they upon thy hand
And be undone by ’em!
Good your highness, patience.
In praising Antony I have disprais’d Cæsar.
Many times, madam.
I am paid for ’t now.
Lead me from hence;
I faint. O Iras! Charmian! ’Tis no matter.
Go to the fellow, good Alexas; bid him
Report the feature of Octavia, her years,
Her inclination, let him not leave out
The colour of her hair: bring me word quickly.
Let him forever go:—let him not—Charmian!—
Though he be painted one way like a Gorgon,
The other way’s a Mars. [ToMardian.] Bid you Alexas
Bring me word how tall she is. Pity me, Charmian,
But do not speak to me. Lead me to my chamber.
Flourish. EnterPompeyandMenas,at one side, with drum and trumpet; at the other,Cæsar, Antony, Lepidus, Enobarbus, Mecænas,with Soldiers marching.
Your hostages I have, so have you mine;
And we shall talk before we fight.
That first we come to words, and therefore have we
Our written purposes before us sent;
Which if thou hast consider’d, let us know
If ’twill tie up thy discontented sword,
And carry back to Sicily much tall youth
That else must perish here.
To you all three,
The senators alone of this great world,
Chief factors for the gods, I do not know
Wherefore my father should revengers want,
Having a son and friends; since Julius Cæsar,
Who at Philippi the good Brutus ghosted,
There saw you labouring for him. What was ’t
That mov’d pale Cassius to conspire? and what
Made the all-honour’d, honest Roman, Brutus,
With the arm’d rest, courtiers of beauteous freedom,
To drench the Capitol, but that they would
Have one man but a man? And that is it
Hath made me rig my navy, at whose burden
The anger’d ocean foams, with which I meant
To scourge the ingratitude that despiteful Rome
Cast on my noble father.
Take your time.
Thou canst not fear us, Pompey, with thy sails;
We ’ll speak with thee at sea: at land, thou know’st
How much we do o’er-count thee.
At land, indeed,
Thou dost o’er-count me of my father’s house;
But, since the cuckoo builds not for himself,
Remain in ’t as thou mayst.
Be pleas’d to tell us—
For this is from the present—how you take
The offers we have sent you.
There’s the point.
Which do not be entreated to, but weigh
What it is worth embrac’d.
And what may follow,
To try a larger fortune.
You have made me offer
Of Sicily, Sardinia; and I must
Rid all the sea of pirates; then, to send
Measures of wheat to Rome; this ’greed upon,
To part with unhack’d edges, and bear back
Our targets undinted.
That’s our offer.
That’s our offer.
That’s our offer.
I came before you here a man prepar’d
To take this offer; but Mark Antony
Put me to some impatience. Though I lose
The praise of it by telling, you must know,
When Cæsar and your brother were at blows,
Your mother came to Sicily and did find
Her welcome friendly.
I have heard it, Pompey;
And am well studied for a liberal thanks
Which I do owe you.
Let me have your hand:
I did not think, sir, to have met you here.
The beds i’ the east are soft; and thanks to you,
That call’d me timelier than my purpose hither,
For I have gain’d by ’t.
Since I saw you last,
There is a change upon you.
Well, I know not
What counts harsh Fortune casts upon my face,
But in my bosom shall she never come
To make my heart her vassal.
Well met here.
I hope so, Lepidus. Thus we are agreed.
I crave our composition may be written
And seal’d between us.
That ’s the next to do.
We’ll feast each other ere we part; and let’s
Draw lots who shall begin.
That will I, Pompey.
No, Antony, take the lot:
But, first or last, your fine Egyptian cookery
Shall have the fame. I have heard that Julius Cæsar
Grew fat with feasting there.
You have heard much.
I have fair meanings, sir.
And fair words to them.
Then, so much have I heard;
And I have heard Apollodorus carried—
No more of that: he did so.
What, I pray you?
A certain queen to Cæsar in a mattress.
I know thee now; how far’st thou, soldier?
And well am like to do; for I perceive
Four feasts are toward.
Let me shake thy hand;
I never hated thee. I have seen thee fight,
When I have envied thy behaviour.
I never lov’d you much, but I ha’ prais’d ye
When you have well deserv’d ten times as much
As I have said you did.
Enjoy thy plainness,
It nothing ill becomes thee.
Aboard my galley I invite you all:
Will you lead, lords?
Show us the way, sir.
Show us the way, sir.
Show us the way, sir.
[Exeunt all exceptMenasandEnobarbus.
Thy father, Pompey, would ne’er have made this treaty. You and I have known, sir.
At sea, I think.
We have, sir.
You have done well by water.
And you by land.
I will praise any man that will praise me; though it cannot be denied what I have done by land.
Nor what I have done by water.
Yes, something you can deny for your own safety; you have been a great thief by sea.
And you by land.
There I deny my land service. But give me your hand, Menas; if our eyes had authority, here they might take two thieves kissing.
All men’s faces are true, whatsoe’er their hands are.
But there is never a fair woman has a true face.
No slander; they steal hearts.
We came hither to fight with you.
For my part, I am sorry it is turned to a drinking. Pompey doth this day laugh away his fortune.
If he do, sure, he cannot weep it back again.
You have said, sir. We looked not for Mark Antony here: pray you, is he married to Cleopatra?
Cæsar’s sister is called Octavia.
True, sir; she was the wife of Caius Marcellus.
But she is now the wife of Marcus Antonius.
Pray ye, sir?
Then is Cæsar and he for ever knit together.
If I were bound to divine of this unity, I would not prophesy so.
I think the policy of that purpose made more in the marriage than the love of the parties.
I think so too; but you shall find the band that seems to tie their friendship together will be the very strangler of their amity. Octavia is of a holy, cold, and still conversation.
Who would not have his wife so?
Not he that himself is not so; which is Mark Antony. He will to his Egyptian dish again; then, shall the sighs of Octavia blow the fire up in Cæsar, and, as I said before, that which is the strength of their amity shall prove the immediate author of their variance. Antony will use his affection where it is; he married but his occasion here.
And thus it may be. Come, sir, will you aboard? I have a health for you.
I shall take it, sir: we have used our throats in Egypt.
Come; let ’s away.
On boardPompey’sGalley off Misenum.
Music. Enter two or three Servants, with a banquet.
Here they’ll be, man. Some o’ their plants are ill-rooted already; the least wind i’ the world will blow them down.
Lepidus is high-coloured.
They have made him drink alms-drink.
As they pinch one another by the disposition, he cries out, ‘No more;’ reconciles them to his entreaty, and himself to the drink.
But it raises the greater war between him and his discretion.
Why, this it is to have a name in great men’s fellowship; I had as lief have a reed that will do me no service as a partisan I could not heave.
To be called into a huge sphere, and not to be seen to move in’t, are the holes where eyes should be, which pitifully disaster the cheeks.
A sennet sounded. EnterCæsar, Antony, Lepidus, Pompey, Agrippa, Mecænas, Enobarbus, Menas,with other Captains.
Thus do they, sir. They take the flow o’ the Nile
By certain scales i’ the pyramid; they know
By the height, the lowness, or the mean, if dearth
Or foison follow. The higher Nilus swells
The more it promises; as it ebbs, the seedsman
Upon the slime and ooze scatters his grain,
And shortly comes to harvest.
You’ve strange serpents there.
Your serpent of Egypt is bred now of your mud by the operation of your sun; so is your crocodile.
They are so.
Sit,—and some wine! A health to Lepidus!
I am not so well as I should be, but I’ll ne’er out.
Not till you have slept; I fear me you’ll be in till then.
Nay, certainly, I have heard the Ptolemies’ pyramises are very goodly things; without contradiction, I have heard that.
Pompey, a word.
Say in mine ear; what is’t?
Forsake thy seat, I do beseech thee, captain,
And bear me speak a word.
Forbear me till anon.
This wine for Lepidus!
What manner o’ thing is your crocodile?
It is shaped, sir, like itself, and it is as broad as it hath breadth; it is just so high as it is, and moves with it own organs; it lives by that which nourisheth it; and the elements once out of it, it transmigrates.
What colour is it of?
Of it own colour too.
’Tis a strange serpent.
’Tis so; and the tears of it are wet.
Will this description satisfy him?
With the health that Pompey gives him, else he is a very epicure.
Go hang, sir, hang! Tell me of that? away!
Do as I bid you. Where’s this cup I call’d for?
If for the sake of merit thou wilt hear me,
Rise from thy stool.
I think thou’rt mad. The matter?
I have ever held my cap off to thy fortunes.
Thou hast serv’d me with much faith. What ’s else to say?
Be jolly, lords.
These quick-sands, Lepidus,
Keep off them, for you sink.
Wilt thou be lord of all the world?
What sayst thou?
Wilt thou be lord of the whole world? That ’s twice.
How should that be?
But entertain it,
And though thou think me poor, I am the man
Will give thee all the world.
Hast thou drunk well?
No, Pompey, I have kept me from the cup.
Thou art, if thou dar’st be, the earthly Jove:
Whate’er the ocean pales, or sky inclips,
Is thine, if thou wilt ha ’t.
Show me which way.
These three world-sharers, these competitors,
Are in thy vessel: let me cut the cable;
And, when we are put off, fall to their throats:
All there is thine.
Ah! this thou shouldst have done,
And not have spoke on ’t. In me ’tis villany;
In thee ’t had been good service. Thou must know
’Tis not my profit that does lead mine honour;
Mine honour it. Repent that e’er thy tongue
Hath so betray’d thine act; being done unknown,
I should have found it afterwards well done,
But must condemn it now. Desist, and drink.
[Aside.] For this,
I’ll never follow thy pall’d fortunes more.
Who seeks, and will not take when once ’tis offer’d,
Shall never find it more.
This health to Lepidus!
Bear him ashore. I’ll pledge it for him, Pompey.
Here’s to thee, Menas!
Fill till the cup be hid.
There’s a strong fellow, Menas.
[Pointing to the Attendant who carries offLepidus.
A’ bears the third part of the world, man; see’st not?
The third part then is drunk; would it were all,
That it might go on wheels!
Drink thou; increase the reels.
This is not yet an Alexandrian feast.
It ripens towards it. Strike the vessels, ho!
Here is to Cæsar!
I could well forbear’t.
It’s monstrous labour, when I wash my brain,
And it grows fouler.
Be a child o’ the time.
Possess it, I’ll make answer;
But I had rather fast from all four days
Than drink so much in one.
[ToAntony.] Ha! my brave emperor;
Shall we dance now the Egyptian Bacchanals,
And celebrate our drink?
Let ’s ha ’t, good soldier.
Come, let ’s all take hands,
Till that the conquering wine hath steep’d our sense
In soft and delicate Lethe.
All take hands.
Make battery to our ears with the loud music;
The while I’ll place you; then the boy shall sing,
The holding every man shall bear as loud
As his strong sides can volley.
[Music plays.Enobarbusplaces them hand in hand.
What would you more? Pompey, good night. Good brother,
Let me request you off; our graver business
Frowns at this levity. Gentle lords, let’s part;
You see we have burnt our cheeks; strong Enobarb
Is weaker than the wine, and mine own tongue
Splits what it speaks; the wild disguise hath almost
Antick’d us all. What needs more words? Good night.
Good Antony, your hand.
I’ll try you on the shore.
And shall, sir. Give’s your hand.
You have my father s house,—But, what? we are friends.
Come down into the boat.
Take heed you fall not.
[ExeuntPompey, Cæsar, Antony,and Attendants.
Menas, I’ll not on shore.
No, to my cabin.
These drums! these trumpets, flutes! what!
Let Neptune hear we bid a loud farewell
To these great fellows: sound and be hang’d! sound out!
[A flourish of trumpets with drums.
Hoo! says a’. There’s my cap.
Hoo! noble captain! come.