Reference > William Shakespeare > The Oxford Shakespeare > Antony and Cleopatra
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William Shakespeare (1564–1616).  The Oxford Shakespeare.  1914.
 
Antony and Cleopatra
 
Act IV. Scene XII.
 
The Same.  Another Room.
 
Enter ANTONY and EROS.
  Ant.  Eros, thou yet behold’st me?
  Eros.        Ay, noble lord.
  Ant.  Sometimes we see a cloud that’s dragonish;        5
A vapour sometime like a bear or lion,
A tower’d citadel, a pendant rock,
A forked mountain, or blue promontory
With trees upon ’t, that nod unto the world
And mock our eves with air: thou hast seen these signs;        10
They are black vesper’s pageants
  Eros.        Ay, my lord.
  Ant.  That which is now a horse, even with a thought
The rack dislimns, and makes it indistinct,
As water is in water.        15
  Eros.        It does, my lord.
  Ant.  My good knave, Eros, now thy captain is
Even such a body: here I am Antony;
Yet cannot hold this visible shape, my knave.
I made these wars for Egypt; and the queen,        20
Whose heart I thought I had, for she had mine,
Which whilst it was mine had annex’d unto ’t
A million more, now lost; she, Eros, has
Pack’d cards with Cæsar, and false-play’d my glory
Unto an enemy’s triumph.        25
Nay, weep not, gentle Eros; there is left us
Ourselves to end ourselves.
 
Enter MARDIAN.
        O! thy vile lady;
She has robb’d me of my sword.        30
  Mar.        No, Antony;
My mistress lov’d thee, and her fortunes mingled
With thine entirely.
  Ant.        Hence, saucy eunuch; peace!
She hath betray’d me and shall die the death.        35
  Mar.  Death of one person can be paid but once,
And that she has discharg’d. What thou wouldst do
Is done unto thy hand; the last she spake
Was, ‘Antony! most noble Antony!’
Then in the midst a tearing groan did break        40
The name of Antony; it was divided
Between her heart and lips. She render’d life,
Thy name so buried in her.
  Ant.        Dead, then?
  Mar.                Dead.        45
  Ant.  Unarm, Eros; the long day’s task is done,
And we must sleep.  [To MARDIAN.]  That thou depart’st hence safe,
Does pay thy labour richly; go.  [Exit MARDIAN.
        Off, pluck off:
The seven-fold shield of Ajax cannot keep        50
The battery from my heart. O! cleave, my sides;
Heart, once be stronger than thy continent,
Crack thy frail case! Apace, Eros, apace.
No more a soldier; bruised pieces, go;
You have been nobly borne. From me awhile.  [Exit EROS.        55
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 further. Now all labour
Mars what it does; yea, very force entangles        60
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 Æneas shall want troops,        65
And all the haunt be ours. Come, Eros! Eros!
 
Re-enter EROS.
  Eros.  What would my lord?
  Ant.        Since Cleopatra died,
I have liv’d in such dishonour, that the gods        70
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 Cæsar tells        75
‘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,        80
Thou then wouldst kill me: do ’t; the time is come.
Thou strik’st not me, ’tis Cæsar thou defeat’st.
Put colour in thy cheek.
  Eros.        The gods withhold me!
Shall I do that which all the Parthian darts,        85
Though enemy, lost aim and could not?
  Ant.        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 subdu’d        90
To penetrative shame, whilst the wheel’d seat
Of fortunate Cæsar, drawn before him, branded
His baseness that ensu’d?
  Eros.        I would not see ’t.
  Ant.  Come, then; for with a wound I must be cur’d.        95
Draw that thy honest sword, which thou hast worn
Most useful for thy country.
  Eros.        O, sir! pardon me.
  Ant.  When I did make thee free, swor’st thou not then
To do this when I bade thee? Do it at once,        100
Or thy precedent services are all
But accidents unpurpos’d. Draw, and come.
  Eros.  Turn from me then that noble countenance,
Wherein the worship of the whole world lies.
  Ant.  Lo thee!  [Turning from him.        105
  Eros.  My sword is drawn.
  Ant.        Then let it do at once
The thing why thou hast drawn it.
  Eros.        My dear master,
My captain, and my emperor, let me say,        110
Before I strike this bloody stroke, farewell.
  Ant.  ’Tis said, man; and farewell.
  Eros.  Farewell, great chief. Shall I strike now?
  Ant.        Now, Eros.
  Eros.  Why, there then; thus do I escape the sorrow  [Kills himself.        115
Of Antony’s death.
  Ant.        Thrice-nobler than myself!
Thou teachest me, O valiant Eros, what
I should, and thou couldst not. My queen and Eros
Have by their brave instruction got upon me        120
A nobleness in record; but I will be
A bridegroom in my death, and run into ’t
As to a lover’s bed. Come, then; and, Eros,
Thy master dies thy scholar: to do thus  [Falls on his sword.
I learn’d of thee. How! not dead? not dead?        125
The guard, ho! O! dispatch me.
 
Enter DERCETAS and Guard.
  First Guard.        What’s the noise?
  Ant.  I have done my work ill, friends: O! make an end
Of what I have begun.        130
  Sec. Guard.        The star is fallen.
  First Guard.  And time is at his period.
  All.        Alas, and woe!
  Ant.  Let him that loves me strike me dead.
  First Guard.        Not I.        135
  Sec. Guard.  Nor I.
  Third Guard.  Nor any one.  [Exeunt Guard.
  Der.  Thy death and fortunes bid thy followers fly.
This sword but shown to Cæsar, with this tidings,
Shall enter me with him.        140
 
Enter DIOMEDES.
  Dio.  Where’s Antony?
  Der.        There, Diomed, there.
  Dio.                Lives he?
Wilt thou not answer, man?  [Exit DERCETAS.        145
  Ant.  Art thou there, Diomed? Draw thy sword, and give me
Sufficing strokes for death.
  Dio.        Most absolute lord,
My mistress Cleopatra sent me to thee.
  Ant.  When did she send thee?        150
  Dio.        Now, my lord.
  Ant.                Where is she?
  Dio.  Lock’d in her monument. She had a prophesying fear
Of what hath come to pass; for when she saw—
Which never shall be found—you did suspect        155
She had dispos’d with Cæsar, and that your rage
Would not be purg’d, she sent you word she was dead;
But, fearing since how it might work, hath sent
Me to proclaim the truth; and I am come,
I dread, too late.        160
  Ant.  Too late, good Diomed. Call my guard, I prithee.
  Dio.  What, ho! the emperor’s guard! The guard, what, ho!
Come, your lord calls!
 
Enter four or five of the Guard of ANTONY.
  Ant.  Bear me, good friends, where Cleopatra bides;        165
’Tis the last service that I shall command you.
  First Guard.  Woe, woe are we, sir, you may not live to wear
All your true followers out.
  All.        Most heavy day!
  Ant.  Nay, good my fellows, do not please sharp fate        170
To grace it with your sorrows; bid that welcome
Which comes to punish us, and we punish it
Seeming to bear it lightly. Take me up;
I have led you oft; carry me now, good friends,
And have my thanks for all.  [Exeunt, bearing ANTONY.        175
 
 
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