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Antony and Cleopatra

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ACT II SCENE VI Near Misenum. 
[ Flourish. Enter POMPEY and MENAS at one door, with drum and trumpet: at another, OCTAVIUS CAESAR, MARK ANTONY, LEPIDUS, DOMITIUS ENOBARBUS, MECAENAS, with Soldiers marching ]
POMPEYYour hostages I have, so have you mine;
And we shall talk before we fight.
That first we come to words; and therefore have we
Our written purposes before us sent;5
Which, if thou hast consider'd, let us know
If 'twill tie up thy discontented sword,
And carry back to Sicily much tall youth
That else must perish here.
POMPEYTo you all three,10
The senators alone of this great world,
Chief factors for the gods, I do not know
Wherefore my father should revengers want,
Having a son and friends; since Julius Caesar,
Who at Philippi the good Brutus ghosted,15
There saw you labouring for him. What was't
That moved pale Cassius to conspire; and what
Made the all-honour'd, honest Roman, Brutus,
With the arm'd rest, courtiers and beauteous freedom,
To drench the Capitol; but that they would20
Have one man but a man? And that is it
Hath made me rig my navy; at whose burthen
The anger'd ocean foams; with which I meant
To scourge the ingratitude that despiteful Rome
Cast on my noble father.25
OCTAVIUS CAESARTake your time.
MARK ANTONYThou canst not fear us, Pompey, with thy sails;
We'll speak with thee at sea: at land, thou know'st
How much we do o'er-count thee.
POMPEYAt land, indeed,30
Thou dost o'er-count me of my father's house:
But, since the cuckoo builds not for himself,
Remain in't as thou mayst.
LEPIDUSBe pleased to tell us--
For this is from the present--how you take35
The offers we have sent you.
OCTAVIUS CAESARThere's the point.
MARK ANTONYWhich do not be entreated to, but weigh
What it is worth embraced.
OCTAVIUS CAESARAnd what may follow,40
To try a larger fortune.
POMPEYYou have made me offer
Of Sicily, Sardinia; and I must
Rid all the sea of pirates; then, to send
Measures of wheat to Rome; this 'greed upon45
To part with unhack'd edges, and bear back
Our targes undinted.
LEPIDUSThat's our offer.
POMPEYKnow, then,
I came before you here a man prepared50
To take this offer: but Mark Antony
Put me to some impatience: though I lose
The praise of it by telling, you must know,
When Caesar and your brother were at blows,
Your mother came to Sicily and did find55
Her welcome friendly.
MARK ANTONYI have heard it, Pompey;
And am well studied for a liberal thanks
Which I do owe you.
POMPEYLet me have your hand:60
I did not think, sir, to have met you here.
MARK ANTONYThe beds i' the east are soft; and thanks to you,
That call'd me timelier than my purpose hither;
For I have gain'd by 't.
OCTAVIUS CAESARSince I saw you last,65
There is a change upon you.
POMPEYWell, I know not
What counts harsh fortune casts upon my face;
But in my bosom shall she never come,
To make my heart her vassal.70
LEPIDUSWell met here.
POMPEYI hope so, Lepidus. Thus we are agreed:
I crave our composition may be written,
And seal'd between us.
OCTAVIUS CAESARThat's the next to do.75
POMPEYWe'll feast each other ere we part; and let's
Draw lots who shall begin.
MARK ANTONYThat will I, Pompey.
POMPEYNo, Antony, take the lot: but, first

Or last, your fine Egyptian cookery80
Shall have the fame. I have heard that Julius Caesar
Grew fat with feasting there.
MARK ANTONYYou have heard much.
POMPEYI have fair meanings, sir.
MARK ANTONYAnd fair words to them.85
POMPEYThen so much have I heard:
And I have heard, Apollodorus carried--
DOMITIUS ENOBARBUSNo more of that: he did so.
POMPEYWhat, I pray you?
DOMITIUS ENOBARBUSA certain queen to Caesar in a mattress.90
POMPEYI know thee now: how farest thou, soldier?
And well am like to do; for, I perceive,
Four feasts are toward.
POMPEYLet me shake thy hand;95
I never hated thee: I have seen thee fight,
When I have envied thy behavior.
I never loved you much; but I ha' praised ye,
When you have well deserved ten times as much100
As I have said you did.
POMPEYEnjoy thy plainness,
It nothing ill becomes thee.
Aboard my galley I invite you all:
Will you lead, lords?105
LEPIDUSShow us the way, sir.
[Exeunt all but MENAS and ENOBARBUS]
MENAS[Aside] Thy father, Pompey, would ne'er have
made this treaty.--You and I have known, sir.
MENASWe have, sir.
DOMITIUS ENOBARBUSYou have done well by water.
MENASAnd you by land.
DOMITIUS ENOBARBUSI will praise any man that will praise me; though it
cannot be denied what I have done by land.115
MENASNor what I have done by water.
DOMITIUS ENOBARBUSYes, something you can deny for your own
safety: you have been a great thief by sea.
MENASAnd you by land.
DOMITIUS ENOBARBUSThere I deny my land service. But give me your120
hand, Menas: if our eyes had authority, here they
might take two thieves kissing.
MENASAll men's faces are true, whatsome'er their hands are.
DOMITIUS ENOBARBUSBut there is never a fair woman has a true face.
MENASNo slander; they steal hearts.125
DOMITIUS ENOBARBUSWe came hither to fight with you.
MENASFor my part, I am sorry it is turned to a drinking.
Pompey doth this day laugh away his fortune.
DOMITIUS ENOBARBUSIf he do, sure, he cannot weep't back again.
MENASYou've said, sir. We looked not for Mark Antony130
here: pray you, is he married to Cleopatra?
DOMITIUS ENOBARBUSCaesar's sister is called Octavia.
MENASTrue, sir; she was the wife of Caius Marcellus.
DOMITIUS ENOBARBUSBut she is now the wife of Marcus Antonius.
MENASPray ye, sir?135
MENASThen is Caesar and he for ever knit together.
DOMITIUS ENOBARBUSIf I were bound to divine of this unity, I would
not prophesy so.
MENASI think the policy of that purpose made more in the140
marriage than the love of the parties.
DOMITIUS ENOBARBUSI think so too. But you shall find, the band that
seems to tie their friendship together will be the
very strangler of their amity: Octavia is of a
holy, cold, and still conversation.145
MENASWho would not have his wife so?
DOMITIUS ENOBARBUSNot he that himself is not so; which is Mark Antony.
He will to his Egyptian dish again: then shall the
sighs of Octavia blow the fire up in Caesar; and, as
I said before, that which is the strength of their150
amity shall prove the immediate author of their
variance. Antony will use his affection where it is:
he married but his occasion here.
MENASAnd thus it may be. Come, sir, will you aboard?
I have a health for you.155
DOMITIUS ENOBARBUSI shall take it, sir: we have used our throats in Egypt.
MENASCome, let's away.

Antony and Cleopatra, Act 2, Scene 7

Explanatory Notes for Act 2, Scene 6
From Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra. Ed. M. Eaton. Boston: Educational Publishing Company.
(Line numbers have been altered.)

5. Purposes. What terms we are ready to make.

8. Tall. Sturdy, courageous.

9. Senators. You whose wisdom rules the world*

11. Factors. Agents;

15. Ghosted. Haunted.

16. For him. That is, to avenge him.

17. Cassius. One of the chief conspirators against Caesar.

19. Rest. That is, with the rest who took up arms.

19. Courtiers. That is, lured on by their love of freedom.

21. But a man. Except that they would have Caesar but an ordinary citizen, not a despot.

23. Burthen. Burden.

24. Despiteful. Ungrateful.

27. Fear. Frighten.

31. O'er count me of. Pompey evidently means that Antony not only outnumbers him, but has over-reached him in business. Plutarch tells us that Antony bought the elder Pompey's house when it was put up for public sale, but when he was asked for the money "he made it very strange, and was offended with them."

32. Cuckoo. The cuckoo builds no nest for itself, but takes possession of that built by some other bird. The meaning is, since, like the cuckoo, you have invaded the house of another, remain in it while you can.

35. Present. This has nothing to do with the matter on which we are at present engaged.

41. Larger fortune. By trying to gain more in opposition to us.

45. Measures. Supplies.

45. Greed. Agreed.

46. Unhack'd edges. That is, without hacking the edges of our shields; without fighting.

47. Targes. Shields.

52. Impatience. Has somewhat irritated me.

58. Studied. Am prepared, earnestly desire.

63. Timelier. Sooner than I intended coming.

68. Counts. Marks, lines, as one ''casts accounts."

70. Vassal. Servant.

73. Composition. Agreement, treaty.

75. Next. Next thing.

81. Fame. Praise.

93. Do. That is, fare well.

94. Toward. In preparation.

104. Galley. A boat propelled by rowers sitting in tiers.

109. Known. That is, we have known each other.

124. True. Honest.

124. Whatsome'er. Whatsoever.

131. Pray, etc. Pray, is that true?

137. Is. Shakespeare sometimes uses a singular verb when it precedes two singular subjects.

138. Divine. Predict concerning.

140. Purpose. That is, the purpose to make Caesar and Antony friends.

145. Conversation. Temperament, behavior.

153. Occasion. Necessity, good policy.

How to cite the explanatory notes:

Shakespeare, William. Antony and Cleopatra. Ed. M. Eaton. Boston: Educational Publishing Company, 1908. Shakespeare Online. 20 Feb. 2010. (date when you accessed the information) < >.


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