William Shakespeare: Antony and Cleopatra, Act III, Scene Xiii. Alexandria. Cleopatra's palace.

Scene Xiii. Alexandria. Cleopatra's palace.

Enter Cleopatra, Domitius Enobarbus, Charmian, and Iras

Cleopatra

What shall we do, Enobarbus?

Domitius Enobarbus

Think, and die.

Cleopatra

Is Antony or we in fault for this?

Domitius Enobarbus

Antony only, that would make his will Lord of his reason. What though you fled From that great face of war, whose several ranges Frighted each other? why should he follow? The itch of his affection should not then Have nick'd his captainship; at such a point, When half to half the world opposed, he being The meered question: 'twas a shame no less Than was his loss, to course your flying flags, And leave his navy gazing.

Cleopatra

Prithee, peace.

Enter Mark Antony with Euphronius, the Ambassador

Mark Antony

Is that his answer?

Euphronius

Ay, my lord.

Mark Antony

The queen shall then have courtesy, so she Will yield us up.

Euphronius

He says so.

Mark Antony

Let her know't. To the boy Caesar send this grizzled head, And he will fill thy wishes to the brim With principalities.

Cleopatra

That head, my lord?

Mark Antony

To him again: tell him he wears the rose Of youth upon him; from which the world should note Something particular: his coin, ships, legions, May be a coward's; whose ministers would prevail Under the service of a child as soon As i' the command of Caesar: I dare him therefore To lay his gay comparisons apart, And answer me declined, sword against sword, Ourselves alone. I'll write it: follow me.

Exeunt Mark Antony and Euphronius

Domitius Enobarbus

Aside

Yes, like enough, high-battled Caesar will Unstate his happiness, and be staged to the show, Against a sworder! I see men's judgments are A parcel of their fortunes; and things outward Do draw the inward quality after them, To suffer all alike. That he should dream, Knowing all measures, the full Caesar will Answer his emptiness! Caesar, thou hast subdued His judgment too.

Enter an Attendant

Attendant

A messenger from Caesar.

Cleopatra

What, no more ceremony? See, my women! Against the blown rose may they stop their nose That kneel'd unto the buds. Admit him, sir.

Exit Attendant

Domitius Enobarbus

Aside

Mine honesty and I begin to square. The loyalty well held to fools does make Our faith mere folly: yet he that can endure To follow with allegiance a fall'n lord Does conquer him that did his master conquer And earns a place i' the story.

Enter Thyreus

Cleopatra

Caesar's will?

Thyreus

Hear it apart.

Cleopatra

None but friends: say boldly.

Thyreus

So, haply, are they friends to Antony.

Domitius Enobarbus

He needs as many, sir, as Caesar has; Or needs not us. If Caesar please, our master Will leap to be his friend: for us, you know, Whose he is we are, and that is, Caesar's.

Thyreus

So. Thus then, thou most renown'd: Caesar entreats, Not to consider in what case thou stand'st, Further than he is Caesar.

Cleopatra

Go on: right royal.

Thyreus

He knows that you embrace not Antony As you did love, but as you fear'd him.

Cleopatra

O!

Thyreus

The scars upon your honour, therefore, he Does pity, as constrained blemishes, Not as deserved.

Cleopatra

He is a god, and knows What is most right: mine honour was not yielded, But conquer'd merely.

Domitius Enobarbus

Aside

To be sure of that, I will ask Antony. Sir, sir, thou art so leaky, That we must leave thee to thy sinking, for Thy dearest quit thee.

Exit

Thyreus

Shall I say to Caesar What you require of him? for he partly begs To be desired to give. It much would please him, That of his fortunes you should make a staff To lean upon: but it would warm his spirits, To hear from me you had left Antony, And put yourself under his shrowd, The universal landlord.

Cleopatra

What's your name?

Thyreus

My name is Thyreus.

Cleopatra

Most kind messenger, Say to great Caesar this: in deputation I kiss his conquering hand: tell him, I am prompt To lay my crown at 's feet, and there to kneel: Tell him from his all-obeying breath I hear The doom of Egypt.

Thyreus

'Tis your noblest course. Wisdom and fortune combating together, If that the former dare but what it can, No chance may shake it. Give me grace to lay My duty on your hand.

Cleopatra

Your Caesar's father oft, When he hath mused of taking kingdoms in, Bestow'd his lips on that unworthy place, As it rain'd kisses.

Re-enter Mark Antony and Domitius Enobarbus

Mark Antony

Favours, by Jove that thunders! What art thou, fellow?

Thyreus

One that but performs The bidding of the fullest man, and worthiest To have command obey'd.

Domitius Enobarbus

Aside

You will be whipp'd.

Mark Antony

Approach, there! Ah, you kite! Now, gods and devils Authority melts from me of late. when I cried “Ho!” Like boys unto a muss, kings would start forth, And cry 'Your will?' Have you no ears? I am Antony yet.  [Enter Attendants]  Take hence this Jack, and whip him.

Domitius Enobarbus

Aside

'Tis better playing with a lion's whelp Than with an old one dying.

Mark Antony

Moon and stars! Whip him. Were't twenty of the greatest tributaries That do acknowledge Caesar, should I find them So saucy with the hand of she here,—what's her name, Since she was Cleopatra? Whip him, fellows, Till, like a boy, you see him cringe his face, And whine aloud for mercy: take him hence.

Thyreus

Mark Antony!

Mark Antony

Tug him away: being whipp'd, Bring him again: this Jack of Caesar's shall Bear us an errand to him.

Exeunt Attendants with Thyreus

You were half blasted ere I knew you: ha! Have I my pillow left unpress'd in Rome, Forborne the getting of a lawful race, And by a gem of women, to be abused By one that looks on feeders?

Cleopatra

Good my lord,—

Mark Antony

You have been a boggler ever: But when we in our viciousness grow hard— O misery on't!—the wise gods seel our eyes; In our own filth drop our clear judgments; make us Adore our errors; laugh at's, while we strut To our confusion.

Cleopatra

O, is't come to this?

Mark Antony

I found you as a morsel cold upon Dead Caesar's trencher; nay, you were a fragment Of Cneius Pompey's; besides what hotter hours, Unregister'd in vulgar fame, you have Luxuriously pick'd out: for, I am sure, Though you can guess what temperance should be, You know not what it is.

Cleopatra

Wherefore is this?

Mark Antony

To let a fellow that will take rewards And say 'God quit you!' be familiar with My playfellow, your hand; this kingly seal And plighter of high hearts! O, that I were Upon the hill of Basan, to outroar The horned herd! for I have savage cause; And to proclaim it civilly, were like A halter'd neck which does the hangman thank For being yare about him.

Re-enter Attendants with Thyreus

Is he whipp'd?

First Attendant

Soundly, my lord.

Mark Antony

Cried he? and begg'd a' pardon?

First Attendant

He did ask favour.

Mark Antony

If that thy father live, let him repent Thou wast not made his daughter; and be thou sorry To follow Caesar in his triumph, since Thou hast been whipp'd for following him: henceforth The white hand of a lady fever thee, Shake thou to look on 't. Get thee back to Caesar, Tell him thy entertainment: look, thou say He makes me angry with him; for he seems Proud and disdainful, harping on what I am, Not what he knew I was: he makes me angry; And at this time most easy 'tis to do't, When my good stars, that were my former guides, Have empty left their orbs, and shot their fires Into the abysm of hell. If he mislike My speech and what is done, tell him he has Hipparchus, my enfranched bondman, whom He may at pleasure whip, or hang, or torture, As he shall like, to quit me: urge it thou: Hence with thy stripes, begone!

Exit Thyreus

Cleopatra

Have you done yet?

Mark Antony

Alack, our terrene moon Is now eclipsed; and it portends alone The fall of Antony!

Cleopatra

I must stay his time.

Mark Antony

To flatter Caesar, would you mingle eyes With one that ties his points?

Cleopatra

Not know me yet?

Mark Antony

Cold-hearted toward me?

Cleopatra

Ah, dear, if I be so, From my cold heart let heaven engender hail, And poison it in the source; and the first stone Drop in my neck: as it determines, so Dissolve my life! The next Caesarion smite! Till by degrees the memory of my womb, Together with my brave Egyptians all, By the discandying of this pelleted storm, Lie graveless, till the flies and gnats of Nile Have buried them for prey!

Mark Antony

I am satisfied. Caesar sits down in Alexandria; where I will oppose his fate. Our force by land Hath nobly held; our sever'd navy too Have knit again, and fleet, threatening most sea-like. Where hast thou been, my heart? Dost thou hear, lady? If from the field I shall return once more To kiss these lips, I will appear in blood; I and my sword will earn our chronicle: There's hope in't yet.

Cleopatra

That's my brave lord!

Mark Antony

I will be treble-sinew'd, hearted, breathed, And fight maliciously: for when mine hours Were nice and lucky, men did ransom lives Of me for jests; but now I'll set my teeth, And send to darkness all that stop me. Come, Let's have one other gaudy night: call to me All my sad captains; fill our bowls once more; Let's mock the midnight bell.

Cleopatra

It is my birth-day: I had thought to have held it poor: but, since my lord Is Antony again, I will be Cleopatra.

Mark Antony

We will yet do well.

Cleopatra

Call all his noble captains to my lord.

Mark Antony

Do so, we'll speak to them; and to-night I'll force The wine peep through their scars. Come on, my queen; There's sap in't yet. The next time I do fight, I'll make death love me; for I will contend Even with his pestilent scythe.

Exeunt all but Domitius Enobarbus

Domitius Enobarbus

Now he'll outstare the lightning. To be furious, Is to be frighted out of fear; and in that mood The dove will peck the estridge; and I see still, A diminution in our captain's brain Restores his heart: when valour preys on reason, It eats the sword it fights with. I will seek Some way to leave him.

Exit