Antony and Cleopatra By William Shakespeare Act III: Scene 11

ACT III. SCENE XI. Alexandria. A Room in the Palace.

[Enter ANTONY and attendants.]

ANTONY.
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
Have lost my way for ever: — I have a ship
Laden with gold; take that; divide it; fly,
And make your peace with Caesar.

ALL.
Fly! Not we.

ANTONY.
I have fled myself, and have instructed cowards
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:
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,
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: —
Nay, do so; for indeed I have lost command,
Therefore I pray you: — I'll see you by and by.

[Sits down.]

[Enter CLEOPATRA, led by CHARMIAN and IRAS, EROS following.]

EROS.
Nay, gentle madam, to him! — comfort him.

IRAS.
Do, most dear queen.

CHARMIAN.
Do! why, what else?

CLEOPATRA.
Let me sit down. O Juno!

ANTONY.
No, no, no, no, no.

EROS.
See you here, sir?

ANTONY.
O, fie, fie, fie!

CHARMIAN.
Madam, —

IRAS.
Madam, O good empress, —

EROS.
Sir, sir, —

ANTONY.
Yes, my lord, yes; — he at Philippi kept
His sword e'en like a dancer; while I struck
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.

CLEOPATRA.
Ah, stand by.

EROS.
The queen, my lord, the queen!

IRAS.
Go to him, madam, speak to him:
He is unqualitied with very shame.

CLEOPATRA.
Well then, — sustain me. — O!

EROS.
Most noble sir, arise; the queen approaches:
Her head's declin'd, and death will seize her, but
Your comfort makes the rescue.

ANTONY.
I have offended reputation, —
A most unnoble swerving.

EROS.
Sir, the queen.

ANTONY.
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.

CLEOPATRA.
O my lord, my lord,
Forgive my fearful sails! I little thought
You would have follow'd.

ANTONY.
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
Thy full supremacy thou knew'st, and that
Thy beck might from the bidding of the gods
Command me.

CLEOPATRA.
O, my pardon!

ANTONY.
Now I must
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
My sword, made weak by my affection, would
Obey it on all cause.

CLEOPATRA.
Pardon, pardon!

ANTONY.
Fall not a tear, I say; one of them rates
All that is won and lost: give me a kiss;
Even this repays me. — We sent our schoolmaster;
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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