Alexandria. Cleopatra’s palace.
(Cleopatra; Enobarbus; Charmian; Iras; Schoolmaster as Ambassador; Antony; First Egyptian Servant; Second Egyptian Servant; Thidias)
Antony challenges Caesar to single combat again. Enobarbus begins to doubt his allegiance to Antony. Thidias comes from Caesar to ask Cleopatra to betray Antony. Antony has Thidias whipped, and resolves to fight again. (236 lines)
Enter Cleopatra, Enobarbus, Charmian, and Iras.
What shall we do, Enobarbus?
Think, and die.
Is Antony or we in fault for this?
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 oppos’d, he being
The mered question. ’Twas a shame no less
Than was his loss, to course your flying flags,
And leave his navy gazing.
Enter the Ambassador with Antony.
Is that his answer?
Ay, my lord.
The Queen shall then have courtesy, so she
Will yield us up.
He says so.
Let her know’t.
To the boy Caesar send this grizzled head,
And he will fill thy wishes to the brim
That head, my lord?
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’ th’ command of Caesar. I dare him therefore
To lay his gay comparisons apart,
And answer me declin’d, sword against sword,
Ourselves alone. I’ll write it. Follow me.
Exeunt Antony and Ambassador.
Yes, like enough! High-battled Caesar will
Unstate his happiness, and be stag’d to th’ 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 subdu’d
His judgment too.
Enter First Egyptian Servant.
A messenger from Caesar.
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 First Egyptian Servant.
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’ th’ story.
Hear it apart.
None but friends: say boldly.
So haply are they friends to Antony.
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.
Thus then, thou most renown’d: Caesar entreats
Not to consider in what case thou stand’st
Further than he is Caesar.
Go on: right royal.
He knows that you embrace not Antony
As you did love, but as you fear’d him.
The scars upon your honor, therefore, he
Does pity, as constrained blemishes,
Not as deserved.
He is a god and knows
What is most right. Mine honor was not yielded,
But conquer’d merely.
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.
Shall I say to Caesar
What you require of him? For he partly begs
To be desir’d 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 shroud,
The universal landlord.
What’s your name?
My name is Thidias.
Most kind messenger,
Say to great Caesar this in deputation:
I kiss his conqu’ring 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.
’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.
Your Caesar’s father oft
(When he hath mus’d of taking kingdoms in)
Bestow’d his lips on that unworthy place,
As it rain’d kisses.
Enter Antony and Enobarbus.
Favors? By Jove that thunders!
What art thou, fellow?
One that but performs
The bidding of the fullest man, and worthiest
To have command obey’d.
You will be whipt.
Calling for Servants.
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
Enter First Egyptian Servant, others following.
Take hence this Jack and whip him.
’Tis better playing with a lion’s whelp
Than with an old one dying.
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.
Tug him away. Being whipt,
Bring him again; the Jack of Caesar’s shall
Bear us an arrant to him.
Exeunt Egyptian Servants with Thidias.
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 abus’d
By one that looks on feeders?
Good my lord—
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.
O, is’t come to this?
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,
Unregist’red 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.
Wherefore is this?
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.
Enter First Egyptian Servant with Thidias.
Is he whipt?
Soundly, my lord.
Cried he? And begg’d ’a pardon?
He did ask favor.
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 whipt 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 th’ 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, be gone!
Have you done yet?
Alack, our terrene moon
Is now eclips’d, and it portends alone
The fall of Antony!
I must stay his time.
To flatter Caesar, would you mingle eyes
With one that ties his points?
Not know me yet?
Cold-hearted toward me?
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!
I am satisfied.
Caesar sets 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, threat’ning 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.
That’s my brave lord!
I will be treble-sinew’d, hearted, breath’d,
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.
It is my birthday,
I had thought t’ have held it poor; but since my lord
Is Antony again, I will be Cleopatra.
We will yet do well.
Call all his noble captains to my lord.
Do so, we’ll speak to them, and tonight 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 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 valor preys on reason,
It eats the sword it fights with. I will seek
Some way to leave him.