Reference > William Shakespeare > The Oxford Shakespeare > Antony and Cleopatra
William Shakespeare (1564–1616).  The Oxford Shakespeare.  1914.
Antony and Cleopatra
Act III. Scene IX.
Alexandria.  A Room in the Palace.
Enter ANTONY and Attendants.
  Ant.  Hark! the land bids me tread no more upon ’t;
It is asham’d to bear me. Friends, come hither:
I am so lated in the world that I        5
Have lost my way for ever. I have a ship
Laden with gold; take that, divide it; fly,
And make your peace with Cæsar.
  Att.        Fly! not we.
  Ant.  I have fled myself, and have instructed cowards        10
To run and show their shoulders. Friends, be gone;
I have myself resolv’d upon a course
Which has no need of you; be gone:
My treasure’s in the harbour, take it. O!
I follow’d that I blush to look upon:        15
My very hairs do mutiny, for the white
Reprove the brown for rashness, and they them
For fear and doting. Friends, be gone; you shall
Have letters from me to some friends that will
Sweep your way for you. Pray you, look not sad,        20
Nor make replies of loathness; take the hint
Which my despair proclaims; let that be left
Which leaves itself; to the sea-side straightway;
I will possess you of that ship and treasure.
Leave me, I pray, a little; pray you now:        25
Nay, do so; for, indeed, I have lost command,
Therefore I pray you. I’ll see you by and by.  [Sits down.
Enter EROS following CLEOPATRA, led by CHARMIAN and IRAS.
  Eros.  Nay, gentle madam, to him, comfort him.
  Iras.  Do, most dear queen.        30
  Char.  Do! Why, what else?
  Cleo.  Let me sit down. O Juno!
  Ant.  No, no, no, no, no.
  Eros.  See you here, sir?
  Ant.  O fie, fie, fie!        35
  Char.  Madam!
  Iras.  Madam; O good empress!
  Eros.  Sir, sir!
  Ant.  Yes, my lord, yes. He, at Philippi kept
His sword e’en like a dancer, while I struck        40
The lean and wrinkled Cassius; and ’twas I
That the mad Brutus ended: he alone
Dealt on lieutenantry, and no practice had
In the brave squares of war: yet now—No matter.
  Cleo.  Ah! stand by.        45
  Eros.  The queen, my lord, the queen.
  Iras.  Go to him, madam, speak to him;
He is unqualitied with very shame.
  Cleo.  Well then, sustain me: O!
  Eros.  Most noble sir, arise; the queen approaches:        50
Her head’s declin’d, and death will seize her, but
Your comfort makes the rescue.
  Ant.  I have offended reputation,
A most unnoble swerving.
  Eros.        Sir, the queen.        55
  Ant.  O! whither hast thou led me, Egypt? See,
How I convey my shame out of thine eyes
By looking back what I have left behind
’Stroy’d in dishonour.
  Cleo.        O my lord, my lord!        60
Forgive my fearful sails: I little thought
You would have follow’d.
  Ant.        Egypt, thou knew’st too well
My heart was to thy rudder tied by the strings,
And thou shouldst tow me after; o’er my spirit        65
Thy full supremacy thou knew’st, and that
Thy beck might from the bidding of the gods
Command me.
  Cleo.        O! my pardon.
  Ant.                Now I must        70
To the young man send humble treaties, dodge
And palter in the shifts of lowness, who
With half the bulk o’ the world play’d as I pleas’d,
Making and marring fortunes. You did know
How much you were my conqueror, and that        75
My sword, made weak by my affection, would
Obey it on all cause.
  Cleo.        Pardon, pardon!
  Ant.  Fall not a tear, I say; one of them rates
All that is won and lost. Give me a kiss;        80
Even this repays me. We sent our school-master;
Is he come back? Love, I am full of lead.
Some wine, within there, and our viands! Fortune knows,
We scorn her most when most she offers blows.  [Exeunt.

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