Antony and Cleopatra By William Shakespeare Act V: Scene 2

ACT V. SCENE II. Alexandria. A Room in the Monument.


My desolation does begin to make
A better life. 'Tis paltry to be Caesar;
Not being Fortune, he's but Fortune's knave,
A minister of her will: and it is great
To do that thing that ends all other deeds;
Which shackles accidents and bolts up change;
Which sleeps, and never palates more the dug,
The beggar's nurse and Caesar's.

[Enter, to the gates of the Monument, PROCULEIUS, GALLUS, and

Caesar sends greetings to the queen of Egypt;
And bids thee study on what fair demands
Thou mean'st to have him grant thee.

What's thy name?

My name is Proculeius.

Did tell me of you, bade me trust you; but
I do not greatly care to be deceiv'd,
That have no use for trusting. If your master
Would have a queen his beggar, you must tell him
That majesty, to keep decorum, must
No less beg than a kingdom: if he please
To give me conquer'd Egypt for my son,
He gives me so much of mine own as I
Will kneel to him with thanks.

Be of good cheer;
You are fallen into a princely hand; fear nothing:
Make your full reference freely to my lord,
Who is so full of grace that it flows over
On all that need: let me report to him
Your sweet dependency; and you shall find
A conqueror that will pray in aid for kindness
Where he for grace is kneel'd to.

Pray you, tell him
I am his fortune's vassal and I send him
The greatness he has got. I hourly learn
A doctrine of obedience; and would gladly
Look him i' the face.

This I'll report, dear lady.
Have comfort, for I know your plight is pitied
Of him that caus'd it.

You see how easily she may be surpris'd:

[Here PROCULEIUS and two of the Guard ascend the Monument by a
ladder placed against a window, and, having ascended, come behind
CLEOPATRA. Some of the Guard unbar and open the gates.]

[To PROCULEIUS. and the Guear.] Guard her till Caesar come.


Royal queen!

O Cleopatra! thou art taken, queen!

Quick, quick, good hands.

[Drawing a dagger.]

Hold, worthy lady, hold;

[Seizes and disarms her.]

Do not yourself such wrong, who are in this
Reliev'd, but not betray'd.

What, of death too,
That rids our dogs of languish?

Do not abuse my master's bounty by
Theundoing of yourself: let the world see
His nobleness well acted, which your death
Will never let come forth.

Where art thou, death?
Come hither, come! Come, come, and take a queen
Worth many babes and beggars!

O, temperance, lady!

Sir, I will eat no meat; I'll not drink, sir;
If idle talk will once be accessary,
I'll not sleep neither: this mortal house I'll ruin,
Do Caesar what he can. Know, sir, that I
Will not wait pinion'd at your master's court;
Nor once be chastis'd with the sober eye
Of dull Octavia. Shall they hoist me up,
And show me to the shouting varletry
Of censuring Rome? Rather a ditch in Egypt
Be gentle grave unto me! rather on Nilus' mud
Lay me stark-nak'd, and let the water-flies
Blow me into abhorring! rather make
My country's high pyramides my gibbet,
And hang me up in chains!

You do extend
These thoughts of horror further than you shall
Find cause in Caesar.


What thou hast done thy master Caesar knows,
And he hath sent for thee: as for the queen,
I'll take her to my guard.

So, Dolabella,
It shall content me best: be gentle to her. —
[To CLEOPATRA.] To Caesar I will speak what you shall please,
If you'll employ me to him.

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