Antony and Cleopatra - Act 2, scene 2
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Act 2, scene 2
Antony agrees to marry Caesar’s sister Octavia as a way of cementing the newly reestablished bond between the men. Enobarbus predicts that Antony will nonetheless return to Cleopatra.Enter Enobarbus and Lepidus.
0666 Good Enobarbus, ’tis a worthy deed,
0667 And shall become you well, to entreat your captain
0668 To soft and gentle speech.
ENOBARBUS 0669 I shall entreat him
0670 5 To answer like himself. If Caesar move him,
0671 Let Antony look over Caesar’s head
0672 And speak as loud as Mars. By Jupiter,
0673 Were I the wearer of Antonio’s beard,
0674 I would not shave ’t today.
0675 10 ’Tis not a time for private stomaching.
ENOBARBUS 0676 Every time serves for the matter that is
0677 then born in ’t.
0678 But small to greater matters must give way.
ENOBARBUS 0679 Not if the small come first.
0680 15 Your speech is passion; but pray you stir
0681 No embers up. Here comes the noble Antony.
ENOBARBUS 0682 And yonder Caesar.
Enter, ⌜at another door,⌝ Caesar,
Maecenas, and Agrippa.
ANTONY, ⌜to Ventidius⌝
0683 If we compose well here, to Parthia.
0684 Hark, Ventidius.⌜They talk aside.⌝
CAESAR, ⌜to Maecenas⌝
0685 20 I do not know, Maecenas. Ask Agrippa.
LEPIDUS, ⌜to Caesar and Antony⌝ 0686 Noble friends,
0687 That which combined us was most great, and let not
0688 A leaner action rend us. What’s amiss,
0689 May it be gently heard. When we debate
0690 25 Our trivial difference loud, we do commit
0691 Murder in healing wounds. Then, noble partners,
0692 The rather for I earnestly beseech,
0693 Touch you the sourest points with sweetest terms,
0694 Nor curstness grow to th’ matter.
ANTONY 0695 30 ’Tis spoken well.
0696 Were we before our armies, and to fight,
0697 I should do thus.Flourish.
CAESAR 0698 Welcome to Rome.
ANTONY 0699 Thank you.
CAESAR 0700 35Sit.
ANTONY 0701 Sit, sir.
CAESAR 0702 Nay, then.⌜They sit.⌝
0703 I learn you take things ill which are not so,
0704 Or, being, concern you not.
CAESAR 0705 40 I must be laughed at
0706 If or for nothing or a little, I
0707 Should say myself offended, and with you
0708 Chiefly i’ th’ world; more laughed at, that I should
0710 45 name
0711 It not concerned me.
0712 My being in Egypt, Caesar, what was ’t to you?
0713 No more than my residing here at Rome
0714 Might be to you in Egypt. Yet if you there
0715 50 Did practice on my state, your being in Egypt
0716 Might be my question.
ANTONY 0717 How intend you, practiced?
0718 You may be pleased to catch at mine intent
0719 By what did here befall me. Your wife and brother
0720 55 Made wars upon me, and their contestation
0721 Was theme for you; you were the word of war.
0722 You do mistake your business. My brother never
0723 Did urge me in his act. I did inquire it,
0724 And have my learning from some true reports
0725 60 That drew their swords with you. Did he not rather
0726 Discredit my authority with yours,
0727 And make the wars alike against my stomach,
0728 Having alike your cause? Of this my letters
0729 Before did satisfy you. If you’ll patch a quarrel,
0730 65 As matter whole you have to make it with,
0731 It must not be with this.
CAESAR 0732 You praise yourself
0733 By laying defects of judgment to me; but
0734 You patched up your excuses.
ANTONY 0735 70 Not so, not so.
0736 I know you could not lack—I am certain on ’t—
0737 Very necessity of this thought, that I,
0738 Your partner in the cause ’gainst which he fought,
0739 Could not with graceful eyes attend those wars
0741 I would you had her spirit in such another.
0742 The third o’ th’ world is yours, which with a snaffle
0743 You may pace easy, but not such a wife.
ENOBARBUS 0744 Would we had all such wives, that the men
0745 80 might go to wars with the women!
0746 So much uncurbable, her garboils, Caesar,
0747 Made out of her impatience—which not wanted
0748 Shrewdness of policy too—I grieving grant
0749 Did you too much disquiet. For that you must
0750 85 But say I could not help it.
CAESAR 0751 I wrote to you
0752 When rioting in Alexandria; you
0753 Did pocket up my letters, and with taunts
0754 Did gibe my missive out of audience.
ANTONY 0755 90 Sir,
0756 He fell upon me ere admitted, then;
0757 Three kings I had newly feasted, and did want
0758 Of what I was i’ th’ morning. But next day
0759 I told him of myself, which was as much
0760 95 As to have asked him pardon. Let this fellow
0761 Be nothing of our strife; if we contend,
0762 Out of our question wipe him.
CAESAR 0763 You have broken
0764 The article of your oath, which you shall never
0765 100 Have tongue to charge me with.
LEPIDUS 0766 Soft, Caesar!
ANTONY 0767 No, Lepidus, let him speak.
0768 The honor is sacred which he talks on now,
0769 Supposing that I lacked it.—But on, Caesar:
0770 105 The article of my oath?
0771 To lend me arms and aid when I required them,
0772 The which you both denied.
0774 And then when poisoned hours had bound me up
0775 110 From mine own knowledge. As nearly as I may
0776 I’ll play the penitent to you. But mine honesty
0777 Shall not make poor my greatness, nor my power
0778 Work without it. Truth is that Fulvia,
0779 To have me out of Egypt, made wars here,
0780 115 For which myself, the ignorant motive, do
0781 So far ask pardon as befits mine honor
0782 To stoop in such a case.
LEPIDUS 0783 ’Tis noble spoken.
0784 If it might please you to enforce no further
0785 120 The griefs between you, to forget them quite
0786 Were to remember that the present need
0787 Speaks to atone you.
LEPIDUS 0788 Worthily spoken, Maecenas.
ENOBARBUS 0789 Or, if you borrow one another’s love for
0790 125 the instant, you may, when you hear no more words
0791 of Pompey, return it again. You shall have time to
0792 wrangle in when you have nothing else to do.
0793 Thou art a soldier only. Speak no more.
ENOBARBUS 0794 That truth should be silent I had almost
0795 130 forgot.
0796 You wrong this presence; therefore speak no more.
ENOBARBUS 0797 Go to, then. Your considerate stone.
0798 I do not much dislike the matter, but
0799 The manner of his speech; for ’t cannot be
0800 135 We shall remain in friendship, our conditions
0801 So diff’ring in their acts. Yet if I knew
0802 What hoop should hold us staunch, from edge to
0804 O’ th’ world I would pursue it.
CAESAR 0806 Speak, Agrippa.
0807 Thou hast a sister by the mother’s side,
0808 Admired Octavia. Great Mark Antony
0809 Is now a widower.
CAESAR 0810 145 Say not ⌜so,⌝ Agrippa.
0811 If Cleopatra heard you, your ⌜reproof⌝
0812 Were well deserved of rashness.
0813 I am not married, Caesar. Let me hear
0814 Agrippa further speak.
0815 150 To hold you in perpetual amity,
0816 To make you brothers, and to knit your hearts
0817 With an unslipping knot, take Antony
0818 Octavia to his wife, whose beauty claims
0819 No worse a husband than the best of men;
0820 155 Whose virtue and whose general graces speak
0821 That which none else can utter. By this marriage
0822 All little jealousies, which now seem great,
0823 And all great fears, which now import their dangers,
0824 Would then be nothing. Truths would be tales,
0825 160 Where now half-tales be truths. Her love to both
0826 Would each to other and all loves to both
0827 Draw after her. Pardon what I have spoke,
0828 For ’tis a studied, not a present thought,
0829 By duty ruminated.
ANTONY 0830 165 Will Caesar speak?
0831 Not till he hears how Antony is touched
0832 With what is spoke already.
ANTONY 0833 What power is in Agrippa,
0834 If I would say “Agrippa, be it so,”
0835 170 To make this good?
0837 His power unto Octavia.
ANTONY 0838 May I never
0839 To this good purpose, that so fairly shows,
0840 175 Dream of impediment. Let me have thy hand.
0841 Further this act of grace; and from this hour
0842 The heart of brothers govern in our loves
0843 And sway our great designs.
CAESAR 0844 There’s my hand.
⌜They clasp hands.⌝
0845 180 A sister I bequeath you whom no brother
0846 Did ever love so dearly. Let her live
0847 To join our kingdoms and our hearts; and never
0848 Fly off our loves again.
LEPIDUS 0849 Happily, amen!
0850 185 I did not think to draw my sword ’gainst Pompey,
0851 For he hath laid strange courtesies and great
0852 Of late upon me. I must thank him only,
0853 Lest my remembrance suffer ill report;
0854 At heel of that, defy him.
LEPIDUS 0855 190 Time calls upon ’s.
0856 Of us must Pompey presently be sought,
0857 Or else he seeks out us.
ANTONY 0858 Where lies he?
CAESAR 0859 About the Mount Misena.
ANTONY 0860 195What is his strength by land?
CAESAR 0861 Great and increasing;
0862 But by sea he is an absolute master.
ANTONY 0863 So is the fame.
0864 Would we had spoke together. Haste we for it.
0865 200 Yet, ere we put ourselves in arms, dispatch we
0866 The business we have talked of.
CAESAR 0867 With most gladness,
0869 Whither straight I’ll lead you.
0870 205 Let us, Lepidus, not lack your company.
0871 Noble Antony, not sickness should detain me.
Flourish. All but Enobarbus, Agrippa, and
MAECENAS, ⌜to Enobarbus⌝ 0872 Welcome from Egypt, sir.
ENOBARBUS 0873 Half the heart of Caesar, worthy
0874 Maecenas!—My honorable friend Agrippa!
AGRIPPA 0875 210Good Enobarbus!
MAECENAS 0876 We have cause to be glad that matters are so
0877 well digested. You stayed well by ’t in Egypt.
ENOBARBUS 0878 Ay, sir, we did sleep day out of countenance
0879 and made the night light with drinking.
MAECENAS 0880 215Eight wild boars roasted whole at a breakfast,
0881 and but twelve persons there. Is this true?
ENOBARBUS 0882 This was but as a fly by an eagle. We had
0883 much more monstrous matter of feast, which worthily
0884 deserved noting.
MAECENAS 0885 220She’s a most triumphant lady, if report be
0886 square to her.
ENOBARBUS 0887 When she first met Mark Antony, she
0888 pursed up his heart upon the river of Cydnus.
AGRIPPA 0889 There she appeared indeed, or my reporter
0890 225 devised well for her.
ENOBARBUS 0891 I will tell you.
0892 The barge she sat in like a burnished throne
0893 Burned on the water. The poop was beaten gold,
0894 Purple the sails, and so perfumed that
0895 230 The winds were lovesick with them. The oars were
0897 Which to the tune of flutes kept stroke, and made
0898 The water which they beat to follow faster,
0900 235 It beggared all description: she did lie
0901 In her pavilion—cloth-of-gold, of tissue—
0902 O’erpicturing that Venus where we see
0903 The fancy outwork nature. On each side her
0904 Stood pretty dimpled boys, like smiling Cupids,
0905 240 With divers-colored fans, whose wind did seem
0906 To ⌜glow⌝ the delicate cheeks which they did cool,
0907 And what they undid did.
AGRIPPA 0908 O, rare for Antony!
0909 Her ⌜gentlewomen,⌝ like the Nereides,
0910 245 So many mermaids, tended her i’ th’ eyes,
0911 And made their bends adornings. At the helm
0912 A seeming mermaid steers. The silken tackle
0913 Swell with the touches of those flower-soft hands
0914 That yarely frame the office. From the barge
0915 250 A strange invisible perfume hits the sense
0916 Of the adjacent wharfs. The city cast
0917 Her people out upon her; and Antony,
0918 Enthroned i’ th’ market-place, did sit alone,
0919 Whistling to th’ air, which but for vacancy
0920 255 Had gone to gaze on Cleopatra too
0921 And made a gap in nature.
AGRIPPA 0922 Rare Egyptian!
0923 Upon her landing, Antony sent to her,
0924 Invited her to supper. She replied
0925 260 It should be better he became her guest,
0926 Which she entreated. Our courteous Antony,
0927 Whom ne’er the word of “No” woman heard speak,
0928 Being barbered ten times o’er, goes to the feast,
0929 And for his ordinary pays his heart
0930 265 For what his eyes eat only.
AGRIPPA 0931 Royal wench!
0933 He ploughed her, and she cropped.
ENOBARBUS 0934 I saw her once
0935 270 Hop forty paces through the public street,
0936 And having lost her breath, she spoke and panted,
0937 That she did make defect perfection,
0938 And breathless pour breath forth.
0939 Now Antony must leave her utterly.
ENOBARBUS 0940 275Never. He will not.
0941 Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale
0942 Her infinite variety. Other women cloy
0943 The appetites they feed, but she makes hungry
0944 Where most she satisfies. For vilest things
0945 280 Become themselves in her, that the holy priests
0946 Bless her when she is riggish.
0947 If beauty, wisdom, modesty can settle
0948 The heart of Antony, Octavia is
0949 A blessèd lottery to him.
AGRIPPA 0950 285 Let us go.
0951 Good Enobarbus, make yourself my guest
0952 Whilst you abide here.
ENOBARBUS 0953 Humbly, sir, I thank you.