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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    Flourish. Enter Pompey [and] Menas with soldiers marching at one door with drum and trumpet; at another Caesar, Lepidus, Antony, Enobarbus, Maecenas, [and] Agrippa.
    Your hostages I have, so have you mine;
    And we shall talk before we fight.
    Most meet
    That first we come to words; and therefore have we
    Our written purposes before us sent,
    Which if thou hast considered, let us know
    If 'twill tie up thy discontented sword
    1185And 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
    1190Wherefore my father should revengers want,
    Having a son and friends, since Julius Caesar
    Who at Philippi the good Brutus ghosted
    There saw you laboring for him. What was't
    That moved pale Cassius to conspire? And what
    1195Made all-honored, honest, Roman Brutus,
    With the armed 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
    1200The angered ocean foams, with which I meant
    To scourge th'ingratitude that despiteful Rome
    Cast on my noble father.
    Take your time.
    Thou can'st not fear us, Pompey, with thy sails.
    1205We'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'ercount me of my father's house;
    But since the cuckoo builds not for himself,
    1210Remain in't as thou mayst.
    Be pleased 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 embraced.
    And what may follow
    To try a larger fortune.
    You have made me offer
    Of Sicily, Sardinia; and I must
    1220Rid all the sea of pirates; then, to send
    Measures of wheat to Rome. This 'greed upon,
    To part with unhacked edges and bear back
    Our targes undinted.
    Caesar, Antony, and Lepidus
    That's our offer.
    Know then,
    I came before you here a man prepared
    To take this offer. But Mark Antony
    Put me to some impatience. Though I lose
    The praise of it by telling, you must know,
    1230When Caesar 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
    1235Which I do owe you.
    Let me have your hand.
    [Pompey and Antony shake hands.]
    I did not think, sir, to have met you here.
    The beds i'th'East are soft; and thanks to you,
    That called me timelier than my purpose hither,
    1240For I have gained by't.
    [Caesar shakes hands with Pompey.]
    Since I saw you last,
    There's a change upon you.
    Well, I know not
    What counts harsh Fortune casts upon my face,
    But in my bosom shall she never come
    1245To make my heart her vassal.
    [Lepidus shakes hands with Pompey.]
    Well met, here.
    I hope so, Lepidus. Thus we are agreed.
    I crave our composition may be written
    And sealed 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,
    1255Your fine Egyptian cookery shall have
    The fame. I have heard that Julius Caesar
    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 Caesar 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,
    1270When I have envied thy behavior.
    I never loved you much, but I ha' praised ye
    When you have well deserved ten times as much
    As I have said you did.
    Enjoy thy plainness,
    1275It nothing ill becomes thee.
    Aboard my galley, I invite you all.
    Will you lead, lords?
    Caesar, Antony, and Lepidus
    Show's the way, sir.
    Exeunt all but Enobarbus and Menas.
    Thy father, Pompey, would ne'er have made this treaty.
    [To Enobarbus] 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 1290safety: 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.
    [They shake hands.]
    All men's faces are true, whatsome'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't back again.
    You've said, sir. We looked not for Mark An1305tony here. Pray you, is he married to Cleopatra?
    Caesar'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?
    'Tis true.
    Then is Caesar 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 1315in 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 Caesar, and, as I said before, that which is the strength of their amity, 1325shall 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.