Document: All > Shakespeare > Tragedies > Antony and Cleopatra > Act II, scene VII
[Music plays. Enter two or three Servants with
First Servant: Here they'll be, man. Some o' their plants are
ill-rooted already: the least wind i' the world
will blow them down.
Second Servant: Lepidus is high-coloured.
First Servant: They have made him drink alms-drink.
Second Servant: As they pinch one another by the disposition, he
cries out 'No more;' reconciles them to his
entreaty, and himself to the drink.
First Servant: But it raises the greater war between him and
Second Servant: Why, this is to have a name in great men's
fellowship: I had as lief have a reed that will do
me no service as a partisan I could not heave.
First Servant: To be called into a huge sphere, and not to be seen
to move in't, are the holes where eyes should be,
which pitifully disaster the cheeks.
[A sennet sounded. Enter OCTAVIUS CAESAR, MARK
ANTONY, LEPIDUS, POMPEY, AGRIPPA, MECAENAS,
DOMITIUS ENOBARBUS, MENAS, with other captains]
MARK ANTONY: [To OCTAVIUS CAESAR] Thus do they, sir: they take
the flow o' the Nile
By certain scales i' the pyramid; they know,
By the height, the lowness, or the mean, if dearth
Or foison follow: the higher Nilus swells,
The more it promises: as it ebbs, the seedsman
Upon the slime and ooze scatters his grain,
And shortly comes to harvest.
LEPIDUS: You've strange serpents there.
MARK ANTONY: Ay, Lepidus.
LEPIDUS: Your serpent of Egypt is bred now of your mud by the
operation of your sun: so is your crocodile.
MARK ANTONY: They are so.
POMPEY: Sit,--and some wine! A health to Lepidus!
LEPIDUS: I am not so well as I should be, but I'll ne'er out.
DOMITIUS ENOBARBUS: Not till you have slept; I fear me you'll be in till then.
LEPIDUS: Nay, certainly, I have heard the Ptolemies'
pyramises are very goodly things; without
contradiction, I have heard that.
MENAS: [Aside to POMPEY] Pompey, a word.
POMPEY: [Aside to MENAS] Say in mine ear:
MENAS: [Aside to POMPEY] Forsake thy seat, I do beseech
And hear me speak a word.
POMPEY: [Aside to MENAS] Forbear me till anon.
This wine for Lepidus!
LEPIDUS: What manner o' thing is your crocodile?
MARK ANTONY: It is shaped, sir, like itself; and it is as broad
as it hath breadth: it is just so high as it is,
and moves with its own organs: it lives by that
which nourisheth it; and the elements once out of
it, it transmigrates.
LEPIDUS: What colour is it of?
MARK ANTONY: Of it own colour too.
LEPIDUS: 'Tis a strange serpent.
MARK ANTONY: 'Tis so. And the tears of it are wet.
OCTAVIUS CAESAR: Will this description satisfy him?
MARK ANTONY: With the health that Pompey gives him, else he is a
POMPEY: [Aside to MENAS] Go hang, sir, hang! Tell me of
Do as I bid you. Where's this cup I call'd for?
MENAS: [Aside to POMPEY] If for the sake of merit thou
wilt hear me,
Rise from thy stool.
POMPEY: [Aside to MENAS] I think thou'rt mad.
[Rises, and walks aside]
MENAS: I have ever held my cap off to thy fortunes.
POMPEY: Thou hast served me with much faith. What's else to say?
Be jolly, lords.
MARK ANTONY: These quick-sands, Lepidus,
Keep off them, for you sink.
MENAS: Wilt thou be lord of all the world?
POMPEY: What say'st thou?
MENAS: Wilt thou be lord of the whole world? That's twice.
POMPEY: How should that be?
MENAS: But entertain it,
And, though thou think me poor, I am the man
Will give thee all the world.
POMPEY: Hast thou drunk well?
MENAS: Now, Pompey, I have kept me from the cup.
Thou art, if thou darest be, the earthly Jove:
Whate'er the ocean pales, or sky inclips,
Is thine, if thou wilt ha't.
POMPEY: Show me which way.
MENAS: These three world-sharers, these competitors,
Are in thy vessel: let me cut the cable;
And, when we are put off, fall to their throats:
All there is thine.
POMPEY: Ah, this thou shouldst have done,
And not have spoke on't! In me 'tis villany;
In thee't had been good service. Thou must know,
'Tis not my profit that does lead mine honour;
Mine honour, it. Repent that e'er thy tongue
Hath so betray'd thine act: being done unknown,
I should have found it afterwards well done;
But must condemn it now. Desist, and drink.
MENAS: [Aside] For this,
I'll never follow thy pall'd fortunes more.
Who seeks, and will not take when once 'tis offer'd,
Shall never find it more.
POMPEY: This health to Lepidus!
MARK ANTONY: Bear him ashore. I'll pledge it for him, Pompey.
DOMITIUS ENOBARBUS: Here's to thee, Menas!
MENAS: Enobarbus, welcome!
POMPEY: Fill till the cup be hid.
DOMITIUS ENOBARBUS: There's a strong fellow, Menas.
[Pointing to the Attendant who carries off LEPIDUS]
DOMITIUS ENOBARBUS: A' bears the third part of the world, man; see'st
MENAS: The third part, then, is drunk: would it were all,
That it might go on wheels!
DOMITIUS ENOBARBUS: Drink thou; increase the reels.
POMPEY: This is not yet an Alexandrian feast.
MARK ANTONY: It ripens towards it. Strike the vessels, ho?
Here is to Caesar!
OCTAVIUS CAESAR: I could well forbear't.
It's monstrous labour, when I wash my brain,
And it grows fouler.
MARK ANTONY: Be a child o' the time.
OCTAVIUS CAESAR: Possess it, I'll make answer:
But I had rather fast from all four days
Than drink so much in one.
DOMITIUS ENOBARBUS: Ha, my brave emperor!
[To MARK ANTONY]
Shall we dance now the Egyptian Bacchanals,
And celebrate our drink?
POMPEY: Let's ha't, good soldier.
MARK ANTONY: Come, let's all take hands,
Till that the conquering wine hath steep'd our sense
In soft and delicate Lethe.
DOMITIUS ENOBARBUS: All take hands.
Make battery to our ears with the loud music:
The while I'll place you: then the boy shall sing;
The holding every man shall bear as loud
As his strong sides can volley.
[Music plays. DOMITIUS ENOBARBUS places them
hand in hand]
Come, thou monarch of the vine,
Plumpy Bacchus with pink eyne!
In thy fats our cares be drown'd,
With thy grapes our hairs be crown'd:
Cup us, till the world go round,
Cup us, till the world go round!
OCTAVIUS CAESAR: What would you more? Pompey, good night. Good brother,
Let me request you off: our graver business
Frowns at this levity. Gentle lords, let's part;
You see we have burnt our cheeks: strong Enobarb
Is weaker than the wine; and mine own tongue
Splits what it speaks: the wild disguise hath almost
Antick'd us all. What needs more words? Good night.
Good Antony, your hand.
POMPEY: I'll try you on the shore.
MARK ANTONY: And shall, sir; give's your hand.
POMPEY: O Antony,
You have my father's house,--But, what? we are friends.
Come, down into the boat.
DOMITIUS ENOBARBUS: Take heed you fall not.
[Exeunt all but DOMITIUS ENOBARBUS and MENAS]
Menas, I'll not on shore.
MENAS: No, to my cabin.
These drums! these trumpets, flutes! what!
Let Neptune hear we bid a loud farewell
To these great fellows: sound and be hang'd, sound out!
[Sound a flourish, with drums]
DOMITIUS ENOBARBUS: Ho! says a' There's my cap.
MENAS: Ho! Noble captain, come.
ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA