Antony and Cleopatra By William Shakespeare Act V: Scene 2

Cleopatra, know
We will extenuate rather than enforce:
If you apply yourself to our intents, —
Which towards you are most gentle, — you shall find
A benefit in this change; but if you seek
To lay on me a cruelty, by taking
Antony's course, you shall bereave yourself
Of my good purposes, and put your children
To that destruction which I'll guard them from,
If thereon you rely. I'll take my leave.

And may, through all the world: 'tis yours, and we,
Your scutcheons and your signs of conquest, shall
Hang in what place you please. Here, my good lord.

You shall advise me in all for Cleopatra.

This is the brief of money, plate, and jewels,
I am possess'd of: 'tis exactly valued;
Not petty things admitted. — Where's Seleucus?

Here, madam.

This is my treasurer: let him speak, my lord,
Upon his peril, that I have reserv'd
To myself nothing. Speak the truth, Seleucus.

I had rather seal my lips than to my peril
Speak that which is not.

What have I kept back?

Enough to purchase what you have made known.

Nay, blush not, Cleopatra; I approve
Your wisdom in the deed.

See, Caesar! O, behold,
How pomp is follow'd! Mine will now be yours;
And, should we shift estates, yours would be mine.
The ingratitude of this Seleucus does
Even make me wild: O slave, of no more trust
Than love that's hir'd! — What, goest thou back? thou shalt
Go back, I warrant thee; but I'll catch thine eyes
Though they had wings; slave, soulless villain, dog!
O rarely base!

Good queen, let us entreat you.

O Caesar, what a wounding shame is this, —
That thou vouchsafing here to visit me,
Doing the honour of thy lordliness
To one so meek, that mine own servant should
Parcel the sum of my disgraces by
Addition of his envy! Say, good Caesar,
That I some lady trifles have reserv'd,
Immoment toys, things of such dignity
As we greet modern friends withal; and say,
Some nobler token I have kept apart
For Livia and Octavia, to induce
Their mediation; — must I be unfolded
With one that I have bred? The gods! It smites me
Beneath the fall I have.
[To SELEUCUS.] Pr'ythee go hence;
Or I shall show the cinders of my spirits
Through theashes of my chance. — Wert thou a man,
Thou wouldst have mercy on me.

Forbear, Seleucus.


Be it known that we, the greatest, are misthought
For things that others do; and when we fall
We answer others' merits in our name,
Are therefore to be pitied.

Not what you have reserv'd, nor what acknowledg'd,
Put we i' the roll of conquest: still be't yours,
Bestow it at your pleasure; and believe
Caesar's no merchant, to make prize with you
Of things that merchants sold. Therefore be cheer'd;
Make not your thoughts your prisons: no, dear queen;
For we intend so to dispose you as
Yourself shall give us counsel. Feed and sleep:
Our care and pity is so much upon you
That we remain your friend; and so, adieu.

My master and my lord!

Not so. Adieu.

[Flourish. Exeunt CAESAR and his Train.]

He words me, girls, he words me, that I should not
Be noble to myself: but hark thee, Charmian!

[Whispers CHARMIAN.]

Finish, good lady; the bright day is done,
And we are for the dark.

Hie thee again:
I have spoke already, and it is provided;
Go put it to the haste.

Back to Top

Take the Quiz

As the play unfolds, to whom is Antony betrothed?