Antony and Cleopatra By William Shakespeare Act IV: Scene 14

ACT IV. SCENE XIV. Alexandria. Another Room.

[Enter ANTONY and EROS.]

ANTONY.
Eros, thou yet behold'st me?

EROS.
Ay, noble lord.

ANTONY.
Sometime we see a cloud that's dragonish;
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 eyes with air: thou hast seen these signs;
They are black vesper's pageants.

EROS.
Ay, my lord.

ANTONY.
That which is now a horse, even with a thought
The rack dislimns; and makes it indistinct,
As water is in water.

EROS.
It does, my lord.

ANTONY.
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, —
Whose heart I thought I had, for she had mine;
Which, whilst it was mine, had annex'd unto't
A million moe, now lost, — she, Eros, has
Pack'd cards with Caesar, and false-play'd my glory
Unto an enemy's triumph. —
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.

MARDIAN.
No, Antony;
My mistress lov'd thee, and her fortunes mingled
With thine entirely.

ANTONY.
Hence, saucy eunuch; peace!
She hath betray'd me, and shall die the death.

MARDIAN.
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
The name of Antony; it was divided
Between her heart and lips: she render'd life,
Thy name so buried in her.

ANTONY.
Dead then?

MARDIAN.
Dead.

ANTONY.
Unarm, Eros; the long day's task is done,
And we must sleep. — That thou depart'st hence safe
Does pay thy labour richly; go.

[Exit MARDIAN.]

Off, pluck off; —
The sevenfold shield of Ajax cannot keep
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.]

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
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 Aeneas shall want troops,
And all the haunt be ours. — Come, Eros, Eros!

[Re-enter EROS.]

EROS.
What would my lord?

ANTONY.
Since Cleopatra died,
I have liv'd in such dishonour that the gods
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 Caesar tells
'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,
Thou then wouldst kill me: do't; the time is come:
Thou strik'st not me; 'tis Caesar thou defeat'st.
Put colour in thy cheek.

EROS.
The gods withhold me!
Shall I do that which all the Parthian darts,
Though enemy, lost aim and could not?

ANTONY.
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
To penetrative shame; whilst the wheel'd seat
Of fortunate Caesar, drawn before him, branded
His baseness that ensued?

EROS.
I would not see't.

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