Internet Shakespeare Editions

About this text

  • Title: Anthony and Cleopatra (Modern)
  • Editor: Randall Martin
  • ISBN: 978-1-55058-433-2

    Copyright Randall Martin. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Editor: Randall Martin
    Not Peer Reviewed

    Anthony and Cleopatra (Modern)

    Enter Pompey, Menecrates, and Menas, in 615warlike manner.
    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, decay's
    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
    625By 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'th'full. Mark Antony
    630In Egypt sits at dinner and will make
    No wars without doors; Caesar gets money where
    He loses hearts; Lepidus flatters both,
    Of both is flattered: but he neither loves,
    Nor either cares for him.
    Caesar 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
    640Looking for Antony. But all the charms of love,
    Salt Cleopatra, soften thy waned lip!
    Let witchcraft join with beauty, lust with both;
    Tie up the libertine in a field of feasts,
    Keep his brain fuming! Epicurean cooks,
    645Sharpen with cloyless sauce his appetite,
    That sleep and feeding may prorogue his honor
    Even till a Lethe'd dullness---
    Enter Varrius.
    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 farther travel.
    I could have given less matter
    655A better ear. Menas, I did not think
    This amorous surfeiter would have donned 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
    660Can from the lap of Egypt's widow pluck
    The ne'er lust-wearied Antony.
    I cannot hope
    Caesar and Antony shall well greet together.
    His wife that's dead did trespasses to Caesar;
    665His brother warred upon him, although (I think)
    Not moved by Antony.
    I know not, Menas,
    How lesser enmities may give way to greater
    Were't not that we stand up against them all.
    670'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.
    675Be't as our gods will have't; it only stands
    Our lives upon to use our strongest hands.
    Come, Menas.