Antony and Cleopatra

by William Shakespeare

Act I, Scene I. Alexandria.

A Room In Cleopatra's Palace.

Enter Demetrius and Philo, two of Antony's men in Egypt.

Philo: Nay, but this dotage of our general's
O'erflows the measure; those his goodly eyes,
That o'er the files and musters of the war
Have glow'd like plated Mars, now bend, now turn,
The office and devotion of their view
Upon the tawny front; his captain's heart,
Which in the scuffles of great fights hath burst
The buckles on his breast, reneges all temper,
And is become the bellows and the fan
To cool a gypsy's lust.

Flourish. Enter Antony and Cleopatra, with their Trains; Eunuchs fanning her.

Take but good note, and you shall see in him
The triple pillar of the world transform'd
Into a strumpet's fool; behold and see.

Cleopatra: If it be love indeed, tell me how much.

Antony: There's beggary in the love that can be reckon'd.

Cleopatra: I'll set a bourn how far to be beloved.

Antony: Then must thou needs find out new heaven, new earth.

Enter an Attendant.
Attendant: News, my good lord, from Rome.

Antony: Grates me; the sum.

Cleopatra: Nay, hear them, Antony:
Fulvia perchance is angry; or, who knows
If the scarce-bearded Caesar have not sent
His powerful mandate to you, 'Do this, or this;
Take in that kingdom, and enfranchise that;
Perform't, or else we damn thee.'

Antony: How, my love!

Cleopatra: Perchance! nay, and most like;
You must not stay here longer; your dismission
Is come from Caesar; therefore hear it, Antony.
Where's Fulvia's process? Caesar's I would say? both?
Call in the messengers. As I am Egypt's queen,
Thou blushest, Antony, and that blood of thine
Is Caesar's homager; else so thy cheek pays shame
When shrill-tongued Fulvia scolds. The messengers!

Antony: Let Rome in Tiber melt, and the wide arch
Of the ranged empire fall! Here is my space.
Kingdoms are clay; our dungy earth alike
Feeds beast as man; the nobleness of life
Is to do thus; when such a mutual pair
And such a twain can do't , in which I bind,
On pain of punishment, the world to weet
We stand up peerless.

Cleopatra: Excellent falsehood!
Why did he marry Fulvia and not love her?
I'll seem the fool I am not. Antony
Will be himself.

Antony: But stirred by Cleopatra.
Now, for the love of Love and her soft hours,
Let's not confound the time with conference harsh:
There's not a minute of our lives should stretch
Without some pleasure now. What sport tonight?

Cleopatra: Hear the ambassadors.

Antony: Fie, wrangling queen!
Whom everything becomes, to chide, to laugh,
To weep; whose every passion fully strives
To make itself, in thee, fair and admired.
No messenger; but thine, and all alone,
To-night we'll wander through the streets and note
The qualities of people. Come, my queen;
Last night you did desire it: speak not to us.

Exeunt Antony and Cleopatra with their Train.

Demetrius:. Is Caesar with Antonius prized so slight?

Philo: Sir, sometimes, when he is not Antony,
He comes too short of that great property
Which still should go with Antony.

Demetrius:. I am full sorry
That he approves the common liar, who
Thus speaks of him at Rome; but I will hope
Of better deeds to-morrow. Rest you happy!

Act II. Scene II


Antony and some of his men, including his trusted follower Enobarbus come to Rome to patch up Antony's quarrel with Octaviius Caesar. Since Antony's wife Fulvia has died, Agrippa suggests that Antony marry Octavius' sister Octavia, and Antony accepts the offer.

Mecaenus : Welcome from Egypt, sir.

Enobarbus : Half the heart of Caesar, worthy Maecenas!
My honourable friend, Agrippa.

Agrippa: Good Enobarbus.

Maecenas We have cause to be glad that matters are so well digested. You stayed well by 't in Egypt.

Enorbarbus: Ay, sir; we did sleep day out of countenance and made the night light with drinking.

Maecenas: Eight wild-boars roasted whole at a breakfast, and but twelve persons there; is this true?

Enobarbus : This was but as a fly by an eagle: we had much more monstrous matter of feast, which worthily deserved noting.

Maecenas: She's a most triumphant lady, if report be square to her.

Enobarbus : When she first met Mark Antony, she pursed up his heart, upon he river of Cydnus.

Agrippa: There she appeared indeed; or my reporter devised well for her.

Enobarbus: I will tell you.
The barge she sat in, like a burnish'd throne,
Burn'd on the water: the poop was beaten gold;
Purple the sails, and so perfumed that
The winds were love-sick with them; the oars were silver,
Which to the tune of flutes kept stroke, and made
The water which they beat to follow faster,
As amorous of their strokes. For her own person,
It beggar'd all description: she did lie
In her pavilion--cloth-of-gold of tissue--
O'er-picturing that Venus where we see
The fancy outwork nature: on each side her
Stood pretty dimpled boys, like smiling Cupids,
With divers-colour'd fans, whose wind did seem
To glow the delicate cheeks which they did cool,
And what they undid did.

Agrippa: O, rare for Antony!

Enobarbus: Her gentlewomen, like the Nereides,
So many mermaids, tended her i' the eyes,
And made their bends adornings: at the helm
A seeming mermaid steers: the silken tackle
Swell with the touches of those flower-soft hands,
That yarely frame the office. From the barge
A strange invisible perfume hits the sense
Of the adjacent wharfs. The city cast
Her people out upon her; and Antony,
Enthroned i' the market-place, did sit alone,
Whistling to the air; which, but for vacancy,
Had gone to gaze on Cleopatra too,
And made a gap in nature.
Agrippa: Rare Egyptian!
Enobarbus: Upon her landing, Antony sent to her,
Invited her to supper: she replied,
It should be better he became her guest;Which she entreated: our courteous Antony,
Whom ne'er the word of 'No' woman heard speak,
Being barber'd ten times o'er, goes to the feast,
And for his ordinary pays his heart
For what his eyes eat only.
Agrippa: Royal wench!
She made great Caesar lay his sword to bed:
He plough'd her, and she cropp'd.

Enobarbus: I saw her once
Hop forty paces through the public street;
And having lost her breath, she spoke, and panted,
That she did make defect perfection,
And, breathless, power breathe forth.
Maecenas : Now Antony must leave her utterly.
Enobarbus: Never; he will not:
Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale
Her infinite variety: other women cloy
The appetites they feed: but she makes hungry
Where most she satisfies; for vilest things
Become themselves in her: that the holy priests
Bless her when she is riggish.
Maecenas: If beauty, wisdom, modesty, can settle
The heart of Antony, Octavia is
A blessed lottery to him.
Agrippa: Let us go.
Good Enobarbus, make yourself my guest
Whilst you abide here.
Enobarbus: Humbly, sir, I thank you.

Act III. Scene VII.
Antony's Camp. Near The Promontory Of Actium.

Antony has returned to Egypt, and to Cleopatra. Octavius Caesar, with his forces, is approaching. Antony is preparing his forces for battle. In the following scene, Cleopatra insists on going with her forces to the battle.

Enter Cleopatra and Enobarbus.
Enobarbus: But why, why, why?

Cleopatra: Thou hast forspoke my being in these wars,
And say'st it is not fit.

Enobarbus: Well, is it, is it?

Cleopatra: If not denounced against us, why should not we be there in person?

Enobarbus: (Aside.) Well, I could reply:

Cleopatra: What is't you say?

Enobarbus: Your presence needs must puzzle Antony;
Take from his heart, take from his brain, from's time,
What should not then be spared. He is already
Traduced for levity, and 't is said in Rome
That Photinus an eunuch and your maids
Manage this war.

Cleopatra: Sink Rome, and their tongues rot
That speak against us! A charge we bear i' the war,
And, as the president of my kingdom, will
Appear there for a man. Speak not against it;

Enobarbus: Nay, I have done.

Enter Antony and Canidius.

Antony: Is it not strange, Canidius,
He could so quickly cut the Ionian sea,
And take in Toryne? You have heard on't, sweet?

Cleopatra: Celerity is never more admired
Than by the negligent.

Antony: A good rebuke,
Which might have well becomed the best of men,
To taunt at slackness. Canidius, we
Will fight with him by sea.

Cleopatra: By sea! What else?
Canidius: Why will my lord do so?

Antony: For that he dares us to't.

Enobarbus: So hath my lord dared him to single fight.
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 prepared for land.

Antony: By sea, by sea.

Enobarbus: 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 forego
The way which promises assurance; and
Give up yourself merely to chance and hazard
From firm security.

Antony: I'll fight at sea.

Cleopatra: I have sixty sails, Caesar none better.

Antony: Our overplus of shipping will we burn;
And with the rest, full-mann'd, from the head of Actium
Beat the approaching Caesar. But if we fail,
We then can do't at land.

Enter a Messenger.

Thy business?

Messenger: The news is true, my lord; he is descried;
Caesar has taken Toryne.

Antony: 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 a Soldier.

How now, worthy soldier!

Soldier: O noble emperor! do not fight by sea;
Trust not to rotten planks: do you misdoubt
This sword and these my wounds? Let the Egyptians
And the Phoenicians go a-ducking; we
Have used to conquer standing on the earth,
And fighting foot to foot.

Antony: Well, well: away!

Exeunt Antony, Cleopatra, and Enobarbus.

Soldier: By Hercules, I think I am i' the right.

Canidius: 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.

Enter a Messenger.

Messenger: The emperor calls Canidius.

Canidius: With news the time's with labour, and throes forth
Each minute some.

Act III. Scene X
Antony's Camp. Near The Promontory Of Actium.

Enobarbus: Naught, naught, all naught! I can behold no longer.
The Antoniad, the Egyptian admiral,
With all their sixty, fly, and turn the rudder;
To see't mine eyes are blasted.

Enter Scarus.

Scarus: Gods and goddesses!
All the whole synod of them!

Enobarbus: What's thy passion?

Scarus: The greater cantle of the world is lost
With very ignorance; we have kiss'd away
Kingdoms and provinces….
Yon ribaudred nag of Egypt,
Whom leprosy o'ertake! i' the midst o' the fight,
When vantage like a pair of twins appear'd,
The breeze upon her, like a cow in June,
Hoists sails and flies.

Enobarbus: That I beheld:

Scarus: She once being loof'd,
The noble ruin of her magic, Antony,
Claps on his sea-wing, and like a doting mallard,
Leaving the fight in height, flies after her.
I never saw an action of such shame;
Experience, manhood, honour, ne'er before
Did violate so itself.

Enobarbus: Alack, alack!

Enter Canidius.

Canidius: Our fortune on the sea is out of breath
And sinks most lamentably. Had our general
Been what he knew himself, it had gone well:
O! he has given example for our flight
Most grossly by his own.

Enobarbus: Ay, are you thereabouts?
Why then good night indeed.

Canidius: Toward Peloponnesus are they fled.

Scarus: 'Tis easy to't; and there I will attend
What further comes.

Canidius: To Caesar will I render
My legions and my horse; six kings already
Show me the way of yielding.

Enobarbus: I'll yet follow
The wounded chance of Antony, though my reason
Sits in the wind against me

Act III. Scene XI. Alexandria.

A Room In The Palace.

Enter Antony and Attendants.

Antony: Hark! the land bids me tread no more upon't;
It is ashamed to bear me. Friends, come hither:
I am so lated in the world that I
Have lost my way for ever. I have a ship
Laden with [treasure]; take that, divide it; fly,
And make your peace with Caesar.

Attendant: Fly! not we.

Antony: I have fled myself, and have instructed cowards
To run and show their shoulders. Friends, be gone;
I have myself resolved upon a course
Which has no need of you; be gone:
My treasure's in the harbour, take it. O!
I follow'd that I blush to look upon:
My very hairs do mutiny, for the white
Reprove the brown for rashness, and they them
For fear and doting. Friends, be gone; you shall
Have letters from me to some friends that will
Sweep your way for you. Pray you, look not sad,
Nor make replies of lothness; take the hint
Which my despair proclaims; let that be left
Which leaves itself; to the sea-side straightway;
I will possess you of the ship and treasure.
Leave me, I pray, a little; pray you now:
Nay, do so; for, indeed, I have lost command,
Therefore I pray you. I'll see you by and by.

Sits down.

Enter Cleopatra led by Charmian and Iras: Eros following.

Eros: Nay, gentle madam, to him, comfort him.

Iras: Do, most dear queen.

Charmain: Do! Why, what else?

Cleopatra: Let me sit down. O Juno!

Antony: No, no, no, no, no.

Eros: See you here, sir?

Antony: O fie, fie, fie!

Charmain: Madam!

Iras: Madam; O good empress!

Eros. Sir, sir!

Antony: Yes, my lord, yes. He at Philippi kept
His sword e'en like a dancer,… yet now - Nor matter.

Cleopatra: Ah! stand by.

Eros. The queen, my lord, the queen.

Iras: Go to him, madam, speak to him;
He is unqualitied with very shame.

Cleopatra: Well then, sustain me: O!

Eros: Most noble sir, arise; the queen approaches:
Her head's declined, and death will seize her, but
Your comfort makes the rescue.

Antony: I have offended reputation,
A most unnoble swerving.

Eros: Sir, the queen.

Antony: O! whither hast thou led me, Egypt? See,
How I convey my shame out of thine eyes
By looking back on what I have left behind
Stroy'd in dishonour.

Cleopatra: O my lord, my lord!
Forgive my fearful sails: I little thought
You would have follow'd.

Antony: Egypt, thou knew'st too well
My heart was to thy rudder tied by the strings,
And thou should'st tow me after; o'er my spirit
Thy full supremacy thou knew'st, and that
Thy beck might from the bidding of the gods
Command me.

Cleopatra: O! my pardon.

Antony: Now I must
To the young man send humble treaties, dodge
And palter in the shifts of lowness, who
With half the bulk o' the world play'd as I pleased,
Making and marring fortunes. You did know
How much you were my conqueror, and that
My sword, made weak by my affection, would
Obey it on all cause.

Cleopatra: Pardon, pardon!

Antony: Fall not a tear, I say; one of them rates
All that is won and lost. Give me a Kiss;
Even this repays me.

Act IV. Scene VI.

The Camp of Octavius Caesar.

Enobarbus has finally abandoned Antony and goes over to Octavius Caesar.

Flourish. Enter Octavius Caesar, Agrippa, with Enobarbus, and others
Octavius Caesar: Go forth, Agrippa, and begin the fight:
Our will is Antony be took alive;
Make it so known.

Agrippa: Caesar, I shall. Exit
Octavius Caesar: The time of universal peace is near:
Prove this a prosperous day, the three-nook'd world
Shall bear the olive freely.

Enter a Messenger
Messenger : Antony
Is come into the field.
Octavius Caesar: Go charge Agrippa
Plant those that have revolted in the van,
That Antony may seem to spend his fury
Upon himself.

Exeunt all but Enobarbus
Enobarbus: Alexas did revolt; and went to Jewry on
Affairs of Antony; there did persuade
Great Herod to incline himself to Caesar,
And leave his master Antony: for this pains
Caesar hath hang'd him. Canidius and the rest
That fell away have entertainment, but
No honourable trust. I have done ill;
Of which I do accuse myself so sorely,
That I will joy no more.

Enter a Soldier of Caesar's
Soldier: Enobarbus, Antony
Hath after thee sent all thy treasure, with
His bounty overplus: the messenger
Came on my guard; and at thy tent is now
Unloading of his mules.
Enobarbus: I give it you.
Soldier: Mock not, Enobarbus.
I tell you true: best you safed the bringer
Out of the host; I must attend mine office,
Or would have done't myself. Your emperor
Continues still a Jove. Exit
Enobarbus: I am alone the villain of the earth,
And feel I am so most. O Antony,
Thou mine of bounty, how wouldst thou have paid
My better service, when my turpitude
Thou dost so crown with gold! This blows my heart:
If swift thought break it not, a swifter mean
Shall outstrike thought: but thought will do't,
I feel.I fight against thee! No: I will go seek
Some ditch wherein to die; the foul'st best fits
My latter part of life.

Act IV. Scene xiv.

Near Cleopatra's palace.

Antony's forces have been defeated, and Antony supposes that Cleopatra has betrayed him. In order to recover his love, Cleopatra sends him word that she has killed herself.

Antony: I will o'ertake thee, Cleopatra, and
Weep for my pardon. So it must be, for now
All length is torture: since the torch is out,
Lie down, and stray no farther: now all labour
Mars what it does; yea, very force entangles
Itself with strength: seal then, and all is done.
Eros!--I come, my queen:--Eros!--Stay for me:
Where souls do couch on flowers, we'll hand in hand,
And with our sprightly port make the ghosts gaze:
Dido and her Aeneas shall want troops,
And all the haunt be ours. Come, Eros, Eros!

Re-enter Eros.
Eros: What would my lord?
Antony: Since Cleopatra died,
I have lived in such dishonour, that the gods
Detest my baseness. I, that with my sword
Quarter'd the world, and o'er green Neptune's back
With ships made cities, condemn myself to lack
The courage of a woman; less noble mind
Than she which by her death our Caesar tells
'I am conqueror of myself.' Thou art sworn, Eros,
That, when the exigent should come, which now
Is come indeed, when I should see behind me
The inevitable prosecution of
Disgrace and horror, that, on my command,
Thou then wouldst kill me: do't; the time is come:
Thou strikest not me, 'tis Caesar thou defeat'st.
Put colour in thy cheek.

Eros: The gods withhold me!
Shall I do that which all the Parthian darts,
Though enemy, lost aim, and could not?

Antony: Eros,
Wouldst thou be window'd in great Rome and see
Thy master thus with pleach'd arms, bending down
His corrigible neck, his face subdued
To penetrative shame, whilst the wheel'd seat
Of fortunate Caesar, drawn before him, branded
His baseness that ensued?

Eros: I would not see't.

Antony: Come, then; for with a wound I must be cured.
Draw that thy honest sword, which thou hast worn
Most useful for thy country.

Eros draws his sword, but to "escape the sorrow of Antony's death, Eros kills himself instead. Claiming to have learned from Eros how to die, Antony falls on his sword. When he learns that Cleopatra has not killed herself, he asks to be brought to her.

Act IV. Scene XVI.

Before the Monument of Cleopatra.

Antony: The miserable change now at my end
Lament nor sorrow at; but please your thoughts
In feeding them with those my former fortunes
Wherein I lived, the greatest prince o'the world,
The noblest; and do now not basely die,
Not cowardly put off my helmet to
My countryman; a Roman by a Roman
Valiantly vanquish'd. Now my spirit is going,
I can no more.

Cleopatra: Noblest of men, woo't die?
Hast thou no care of me? shall I abide
In this dull world, which in thy absence is
No better than a sty? O! see, my women,

Antony dies.

The crown o' the earth doth melt. My lord!
O! wither'd is the garland of the war,
The soldier's pole is fall'n: young boys and girls
Are level now with men; the odds is gone,
And there is nothing left remarkable
Beneath the visiting moon. Swoons.

Act V. Scene II.

Before the monument of Cleopatra.

Cleopatra: Give me my robe, put on my crown; I have
Immortal longings in me: now no more
The juice of Egypt's grape shall moist this lip:
Yare, yare, good Iras; quick. Methinks I hear
Antony call; I see him rouse himself
To praise my noble act; I hear him mock
The luck of Caesar, which the gods give men
To excuse their after wrath: husband, I come:
Now to that name my courage prove my title!
I am fire and air; my other elements
I give to baser life. So; have you done?
Come then, and take the last warmth of my lips.
Farewell, kind Charmian; Iras, long farewell.
Kisses them. IRAS falls and dies.
Have I the aspic in my lips? Dost fall?
If thou and nature can so gently part,
The stroke of death is as a lover's pinch,
Which hurts, and is desired. Dost thou lie still?
If thus thou vanishest, thou tell'st the world
It is not worth leave-taking.

Charmian: Dissolve, thick cloud, and rain; that I may say,
The gods themselves do weep!

Cleopatra: This proves me base:
If she first meet the curled Antony,
He'll make demand of her, and spend that kiss
Which is my heaven to have. Come, thou
mortal wretch,
To an asp, which she applies to her breast:
With thy sharp teeth this knot intrinsicate
Of life at once untie: poor venomous fool
Be angry, and dispatch. O, couldst thou speak,
That I might hear thee call great Caesar ass

Charmian: O eastern star!

Cleopatra: Peace, peace!
Dost thou not see my baby at my breast,
That sucks the nurse asleep?

Charmian: O, break! O, break!

Cleopatra: As sweet as balm, as soft as air, as gentle,--
O Antony!--Nay, I will take thee too.
Applying another asp to her arm,
What should I stay--

Charmian : In this vile world? So, fare thee well.
Now boast thee, death, in thy possession lies
A lass unparallel'd. Downy windows, close;
And golden Phoebus never be beheld
Of eyes again so royal! Your crown's awry;
I'll mend it, and then play.

Antony and Cleopatra Questions

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