Antony and Cleopatra By William Shakespeare Act II: Scene 2

So much uncurbable, her garboils, Caesar,
Made out of her impatience, — which not wanted
Shrewdness of policy too, — I grieving grant
Did you too much disquiet: for that you must
But say I could not help it.

I wrote to you
When rioting in Alexandria; you
Did pocket up my letters, and with taunts
Did gibe my missive out of audience.

He fell upon me ere admitted: then
Three kings I had newly feasted, and did want
Of what I was i' the morning: but next day
I told him of myself; which was as much
As to have ask'd him pardon. Let this fellow
Be nothing of our strife; if we contend,
Out of our question wipe him.

You have broken
The article of your oath; which you shall never
Have tongue to charge me with.

Soft, Caesar!

No; Lepidus, let him speak.
The honour is sacred which he talks on now,
Supposing that I lack'd it. — But on, Caesar;
The article of my oath.

To lend me arms and aid when I requir'd them;
The which you both denied.

Neglected, rather;
And then when poison'd hours had bound me up
From mine own knowledge. As nearly as I may,
I'll play the penitent to you: but mine honesty
Shall not make poor my greatness, nor my power
Work without it. Truth is, that Fulvia,
To have me out of Egypt, made wars here;
For which myself, the ignorant motive, do
So far ask pardon as befits mine honour
To stoop in such a case.

'Tis noble spoken.

If it might please you to enforce no further
The griefs between ye: to forget them quite
Were to remember that the present need
Speaks to atone you.

Worthily spoken, Maecenas.

Or, if you borrow one another's love for the instant, you may,
when you hear no more words of Pompey, return it again: you shall
have time to wrangle in when you have nothing else to do.

Thou art a soldier only: speak no more.

That truth should be silent I had almost forgot.

You wrong this presence; therefore speak no more.

Go to, then; your considerate stone!

I do not much dislike the matter, but
The manner of his speech; for't cannot be
We shall remain in friendship, our conditions
So differing in their acts. Yet if I knew
What hoop should hold us stanch, from edge to edge
O' the world, I would pursue it.

Give me leave, Caesar, —

Speak, Agrippa.

Thou hast a sister by the mother's side,
Admir'd Octavia: great Mark Antony
Is now a widower.

Say not so, Agrippa:
If Cleopatra heard you, your reproof
Were well deserv'd of rashness.

I am not married, Caesar: let me hear
Agrippa further speak.

To hold you in perpetual amity,
To make you brothers, and to knit your hearts
With an unslipping knot, take Antony
Octavia to his wife; whose beauty claims
No worse a husband than the best of men;
Whose virtue and whose general graces speak
That which none else can utter. By this marriage
All little jealousies, which now seem great,
And all great fears, which now import their dangers,
Would then be nothing: truths would be tales,
Where now half tales be truths: her love to both
Would each to other, and all loves to both,
Draw after her. Pardon what I have spoke;
For 'tis a studied, not a present thought,
By duty ruminated.

Will Caesar speak?

Not till he hears how Antony is touch'd
With what is spoke already.

What power is in Agrippa,
If I would say 'Agrippa, be it so,'
To make this good?

The power of Caesar, and
His power unto Octavia.

May I never
To this good purpose, that so fairly shows,
Dream of impediment! — Let me have thy hand:
Further this act of grace; and from this hour
The heart of brothers govern in our loves
And sway our great designs!

Back to Top

Take the Quiz

As the play unfolds, to whom is Antony betrothed?