Explanatory Notes for Act 2, Scene 7
From Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra. Ed. M. Eaton. Boston: Educational Publishing Company.
(Line numbers have been altered.)
* Banquet. This word generally means the dessert.
1. Plants. A play on words, as plants also means the
soles of the feet.
5. Alms' drink. The leavings, liquor that one drinks to
accommodate a companion.
6. Disposition. That is, banter one another.
13. Partisan. A kind of halberd or battle axe.
14. Huge sphere. The comparison is expressed elliptically. The meaning is, for a man such as Lepidus to be
called to a high position, and remain a mere nonentity in it,
is to be no better than are empty sockets where eyes should
be, which only disfigure the face.
* Sennet. A series of notes sounded on the trumpet or
19. Scales. That is, they measure the rise of the Nile
by marks made on the pyramid for that purpose.
20. Mean. That is, the average height, neither very high
nor very low.
21. Foison. Plenty.
24. Shortly comes. That is, is soon rewarded by a harvest without any further trouble on his part.
28. Your. A colloquial use of the pronoun, not indicat-
ing, of course, actual possession.
31. Out. Never refuse to drink a toast.
32. In. That is, in a state of drunkenness; a play on the
34. Pyramises. This form of the plural is of Shakespeare's own coining, although the singular, pyramis — the
Greek form for pyramid — was in common use. Shakespeare probably uses it here to show that Lepidus was
already fast getting "in."
42. Anon. For a few moments.
47. It own. It was an old provincial genitive, usually
used with own.
48. Elements. Principles of life.
49. Transmigrates. The ancients beheved that the spirit,
on leaving the body, passed into some other body to live
56. Epicure. A skillful judge of physical delights.
60. Merit. That is, out of regard for my merit.
65. Cap off. That is, I have ever been your faithful
79. Jove. That is, ruler of the world, as Jove is ruler
of the heavens.
80. Pales. Encloses, bounds.
80. Inclips. Embraces.
83. Competitors. Associates.
86. There. This has been variously explained; some
change it to then or theirs, some think it means "by that
act," and some simply, "All there is in the vessel is
90. Mine honor. Mine honor leads it.
96. Pall'd. Waning, declining.
97. Seeks. Compare the proverb, "He who will not when
he may, when he will, he shall have nay."
106. A'. He.
109. Wheels. "The World Goes Upon Wheels" was
the title of a pamphlet written by Taylor, a poet of the
110. Reels. That is, help to make the world go round
112. Alexandrian. It cannot compare with Cleopatra's
feasts at Alexandria.
113. Strike the vessels. Open fresh casks of wine.
115. Forbear't Desist.
119. Possess. That is, master the times rather than be
guided by them.
120. From. That is, from drinking.
123. Bacchanals. Dances performed in honor of Bacchus, the god of wine; wild orgies.
132. Holding. The burden or refrain of a song.
132. Bear. Shout the refrain.
135. Pink eyne. Eyne is the old plural of "eye." Pink
probably means small or half-closed eyes.
136. Fats. A dialect form of "vats."
141. Off. To be off, to leave the vessel.
143. Burnt. Flushed them with wine.
146. Antick'd. This motley dress of drunkenness has
made buffoons, or fools, of us.
Try. That is, test your friendship.
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) < http://www.shakespeare-online.com/plays/antony_2_7.html >.