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PlayShakespeare.com: The Ultimate Free Shakespeare Resource
PlayShakespeare.com: The Ultimate Free Shakespeare Resource
PlayShakespeare.com: The Ultimate Free Shakespeare Resource

Antony and Cleopatra Scenes


Scene 7

Near Actium. Mark Antony’s camp.

(Cleopatra; Enobarbus; Antony; Canidius; Second Roman Messenger; Scarus)


The plain-spoken Enobarbus tells Cleopatra she shouldn’t be at the army’s camp, as she will distract Antony. Foolhardily, Antony decides to fight Caesar on sea, where Caesar is much the stronger. (100 lines)

Enter Cleopatra and Enobarbus.

CLEO.

I will be even with thee, doubt it not.

ENO.

But why, why, why?

CLEO.

Thou hast forespoke my being in these wars,

And say’st it is not fit.

ENO.

Well; is it, is it?

CLEO.

If not denounc’d against us, why should not we

Be there in person?

ENO.

Aside.

Well, I could reply:

If we should serve with horse and mares together,

The horse were merely lost; the mares would bear

A soldier and his horse.

CLEO.

What is’t you say?

ENO.

Your presence needs must puzzle Antony,

Take from his heart, take from his brain, from ’s time,

What should not then be spar’d. He is already

Traduc’d for levity, and ’tis said in Rome

That Photinus an eunuch and your maids

Manage this war.

CLEO.

Sink Rome, and their tongues rot

That speak against us! A charge we bear i’ th’ war,

And as the president of my kingdom will

Appear there for a man. Speak not against it,

I will not stay behind.

Enter Antony and Canidius.

ENO.

Nay, I have done,

Here comes the Emperor.

ANT.

Is it not strange, Canidius,

That from Tarentum and Brundusium

He could so quickly cut the Ionian Sea,

And take in Toryne? You have heard on’t, sweet?

CLEO.

Celerity is never more admir’d

Than by the negligent.

ANT.

A good rebuke,

Which might have well becom’d the best of men,

To taunt at slackness. Canidius, we

Will fight with him by sea.

CLEO.

By sea, what else?

CAN.

Why will my lord do so?

ANT.

For that he dares us to’t.

ENO.

So hath my lord dar’d him to single fight.

CAN.

Ay, and to wage this battle at Pharsalia,

Where Caesar fought with Pompey. But these offers,

Which serve not for his vantage, he shakes off,

And so should you.

ENO.

Your ships are not well mann’d,

Your mariners are muleters, reapers, people

Ingross’d by swift impress. In Caesar’s fleet

Are those that often have ’gainst Pompey fought;

Their ships are yare, yours heavy. No disgrace

Shall fall you for refusing him at sea,

Being prepar’d for land.

ANT.

By sea, by sea.

ENO.

Most worthy sir, you therein throw away

The absolute soldiership you have by land,

Distract your army, which doth most consist

Of war-mark’d footmen, leave unexecuted

Your own renowned knowledge, quite forgo

The way which promises assurance, and

Give up yourself merely to chance and hazard,

From firm security.

ANT.

I’ll fight at sea.

CLEO.

I have sixty sails, Caesar none better.

ANT.

Our overplus of shipping will we burn,

And, with the rest full-mann’d, from th’ head of Actium

Beat th’ approaching Caesar. But if we fail,

We then can do’t at land.

Enter Second Roman Messenger.

Thy business?

2. ROM. MESS.

The news is true, my lord: he is descried;

Caesar has taken Toryne.

ANT.

Can he be there in person? ’Tis impossible

Strange that his power should be. Canidius,

Our nineteen legions thou shalt hold by land,

And our twelve thousand horse. We’ll to our ship,

Away, my Thetis!

Enter Scarus.

How now, worthy soldier?

SCAR.

O noble Emperor, do not fight by sea,

Trust not to rotten planks. Do you misdoubt

This sword, and these my wounds? Let th’ Egyptians

And the Phoenicians go a-ducking; we

Have us’d to conquer standing on the earth,

And fighting foot to foot.

ANT.

Well, well, away!

Exeunt Antony, Cleopatra, and Enobarbus.

SCAR.

By Hercules, I think I am i’ th’ right.

CAN.

Soldier, thou art; but his whole action grows

Not in the power on’t. So our leader’s led,

And we are women’s men.

SCAR.

You keep by land

The legions and the horse whole, do you not?

CAN.

Marcus Octavius, Marcus Justeius,

Publicola, and Caelius are for sea;

But we keep whole by land. This speed of Caesar’s

Carries beyond belief.

SCAR.

While he was yet in Rome,

His power went out in such distractions as

Beguil’d all spies.

CAN.

Who’s his lieutenant, hear you?

SCAR.

They say, one Taurus.

CAN.

Well I know the man.

Enter Second Roman Messenger.

2. ROM. MESS.

The Emperor calls Canidius.

CAN.

With news the time’s with labor, and throes forth

Each minute some.

Exeunt.

 

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Left Edge Theatre