Antony and Cleopatra By William Shakespeare Act II: Scene 2

CAESAR.
There is my hand.
A sister I bequeath you, whom no brother
Did ever love so dearly: let her live
To join our kingdoms and our hearts; and never
Fly off our loves again!

LEPIDUS.
Happily, amen!

ANTONY.
I did not think to draw my sword 'gainst Pompey;
For he hath laid strange courtesies and great
Of late upon me. I must thank him only,
Lest my remembrance suffer ill report;
At heel of that, defy him.

LEPIDUS.
Time calls upon's:
Of us must Pompey presently be sought,
Or else he seeks out us.

ANTONY.
Where lies he?

CAESAR.
About the Mount Misenum.

ANTONY.
What is his strength
By land?

CAESAR.
Great and increasing; but by sea
He is an absolute master.

ANTONY.
So is the fame.
Would we had spoke together! Haste we for it:
Yet, ere we put ourselves in arms, despatch we
The business we have talk'd of.

CAESAR.
With most gladness;
And do invite you to my sister's view,
Whither straight I'll lead you.

ANTONY.
Let us, Lepidus,
Not lack your company.

LEPIDUS.
Noble Antony,
Not sickness should detain me.

[Flourish. Exeunt CAESAR, ANTONY, and LEPIDUS.]

MAECENAS.
Welcome from Egypt, sir.

ENOBARBUS.
Half the heart of Caesar, worthy Maecenas! — my honourable friend,
Agrippa! —

AGRIPPA.
Good Enobarbus!

MAECENAS.
We have cause to be glad that matters are so well digested. You
stay'd well by it in Egypt.

ENOBARBUS.
Ay, sir; we did sleep day out of countenance, and made the night
light with drinking.

MAECENAS.
Eight wild boars roasted whole at a breakfast, and but twelve
persons there. Is this true?

ENOBARBUS.
This was but as a fly by an eagle: we had much more monstrous
matter of feast, which worthily deserved noting.

MAECENAS.
She's a most triumphant lady, if report be square to her.

ENOBARBUS.
When she first met Mark Antony she pursed up his heart, upon the
river of Cydnus.

AGRIPPA.
There she appeared indeed; or my reporter devised well for her.

ENOBARBUS.
I will tell you.
The barge she sat in, like a burnish'd throne,
Burn'd on the water: the poop was beaten gold;
Purple the sails, and so perfumed that
The winds were love-sick with them; the oars were silver,
Which to the tune of flutes kept stroke, and made
The water which they beat to follow faster,
As amorous of their strokes. For her own person,
It beggar'd all description: she did lie
In her pavilion, — cloth-of-gold of tissue, —
O'er-picturing that Venus where we see
The fancy out-work nature: on each side her
Stood pretty dimpled boys, like smiling Cupids,
With divers-colour'd fans, whose wind did seem
To glow the delicate cheeks which they did cool,
And what they undid did.

AGRIPPA.
O, rare for Antony!

ENOBARBUS.
Her gentlewomen, like the Nereids,
So many mermaids, tended her i' the eyes,
And made their bends adornings: at the helm
A seeming mermaid steers: the silken tackle
Swell with the touches of those flower-soft hands
That yarely frame the office. From the barge
A strange invisible perfume hits the sense
Of the adjacent wharfs. The city cast
Her people out upon her; and Antony,
Enthron'd i' the market-place, did sit alone,
Whistling to the air; which, but for vacancy,
Had gone to gaze on Cleopatra too,
And made a gap in nature.

AGRIPPA.
Rare Egyptian!

ENOBARBUS.
Upon her landing, Antony sent to her,
Invited her to supper: she replied
It should be better he became her guest;
Which she entreated: our courteous Antony,
Whom ne'er the word of 'No' woman heard speak,
Being barber'd ten times o'er, goes to the feast,
And, for his ordinary, pays his heart
For what his eyes eat only.

AGRIPPA.
Royal wench!
She made great Caesar lay his sword to bed:
He ploughed her, and she cropp'd.

ENOBARBUS.
I saw her once
Hop forty paces through the public street;
And, having lost her breath, she spoke and panted,
That she did make defect perfection,
And, breathless, power breathe forth.

MAECENAS.
Now Antony must leave her utterly.

ENOBARBUS.
Never; he will not:
Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale
Her infinite variety: other women cloy
The appetites they feed; but she makes hungry
Where most she satisfies: for vilest things
Become themselves in her; that the holy priests
Bless her when she is riggish.

MAECENAS.
If beauty, wisdom, modesty, can settle
The heart of Antony, Octavia is
A blessed lottery to him.

AGRIPPA.
Let us go. —
Good Enobarbus, make yourself my guest
Whilst you abide here.

ENOBARBUS.
Humbly, sir, I thank you.

[Exeunt.]

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