Antony and Cleopatra By William Shakespeare Act II: Scene 7

ACT II. SCENE VII. On board POMPEY'S Galley, lying near Misenum.

[Music. Enter two or three SERVANTS with a banquet.]

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 his discretion.

SECOND SERVANT.
Why, this it 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 partizan 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 CAESAR, ANTONY, LEPIDUS, POMPEY,
AGRIPPA, MAECENAS, ENOBARBUS, MENAS, with other Captains.]

ANTONY.
[To 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.

ANTONY.
Ay, Lepidus.

LEPIDUS.
Your serpent of Egypt is bred now of your mud by the operation of
your sun: so is your crocodile.

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.

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: what is't?

MENAS.
[Aside to POMPEY.] Forsake thy seat, I do beseech thee, captain,
And hear me speak a word.

POMPEY.
[Aside to MENAS.] Forbear me till ano.n —
This wine for Lepidus!

LEPIDUS.
What manner o' thing is your crocodile?

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 it own
organs: it lives by that which nourisheth it, and the elements
once out of it, it transmigrates.

LEPIDUS.
What colour is it of?

ANTONY.
Of its own colour too.

LEPIDUS.
'Tis a strange serpent.

ANTONY.
'Tis so. And the tears of it are wet.

CAESAR.
Will this description satisfy him?

ANTONY.
With the health that Pompey gives him, else he is a very epicure.

POMPEY.
[Aside to MENAS.] Go, hang, sir, hang! Tell me of that! away!
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.]

The matter?

MENAS.
I have ever held my cap off to thy fortunes.

POMPEY.
Thou hast serv'd me with much faith.
What's else to say? —
Be jolly, lords.

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