THE TRAGEDY OF ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA
by William Shakespeare
SCENE VII. Antony’s Camp near the Promontory of Actium.
Enter Cleopatra and Enobarbus.
I will be even with thee, doubt it not.
But why, why, why?
Thou hast forspoke my being in these wars
And say’st it is not fit.
Well, is it, is it?
Is ’t not denounced against us? Why should not we
Be there in person?
Well, I could reply:
If we should serve with horse and mares together,
The horse were merely lost. The mares would bear
A soldier and his horse.
What is’t you say?
Your presence needs must puzzle Antony,
Take from his heart, take from his brain, from ’s time,
What should not then be spared. He is already
Traduced for levity, and ’tis said in Rome
That Photinus, an eunuch, and your maids
Manage this war.
Sink Rome, and their tongues rot
That speak against us! A charge we bear i’ th’ war,
And, as the president of my kingdom, will
Appear there for a man. Speak not against it.
I will not stay behind.
Enter Antony and Canidius.
Nay, I have done.
Here comes the Emperor.
Is it not strange, Canidius,
That from Tarentum and Brundusium
He could so quickly cut the Ionian sea
And take in Toryne?—You have heard on ’t, sweet?
Celerity is never more admired
Than by the negligent.
A good rebuke,
Which might have well becomed the best of men
To taunt at slackness.—Canidius, we
Will fight with him by sea.
By sea, what else?
Why will my lord do so?
For that he dares us to ’t.
So hath my lord dared him to single fight.
Ay, and to wage this battle at Pharsalia,
Where Caesar fought with Pompey. But these offers,
Which serve not for his vantage, he shakes off,
And so should you.
Your ships are not well manned,
Your mariners are muleteers, reapers, people
Engrossed by swift impress. In Caesar’s fleet
Are those that often have ’gainst Pompey fought.
Their ships are yare, yours heavy. No disgrace
Shall fall you for refusing him at sea,
Being prepared for land.
By sea, by sea.
Most worthy sir, you therein throw away
The absolute soldiership you have by land;
Distract your army, which doth most consist
Of war-marked footmen; leave unexecuted
Your own renowned knowledge; quite forgo
The way which promises assurance; and
Give up yourself merely to chance and hazard
From firm security.
I’ll fight at sea.
I have sixty sails, Caesar none better.
Our overplus of shipping will we burn,
And with the rest full-manned, from th’ head of Actium
Beat th’ approaching Caesar. But if we fail,
We then can do ’t at land.
Enter a Messenger.
The news is true, my lord; he is descried.
Caesar has taken Toryne.
Can he be there in person? ’Tis impossible;
Strange that his power should be. Canidius,
Our nineteen legions thou shalt hold by land,
And our twelve thousand horse. We’ll to our ship.
Away, my Thetis!
Enter a Soldier.
How now, worthy soldier?
O noble emperor, do not fight by sea.
Trust not to rotten planks. Do you misdoubt
This sword and these my wounds? Let th’ Egyptians
And the Phoenicians go a-ducking. We
Have used to conquer standing on the earth
And fighting foot to foot.
Well, well, away.
[Exeunt Antony, Cleopatra and Enobarbus.]
By Hercules, I think I am i’ th’ right.
Soldier, thou art. But his whole action grows
Not in the power on ’t. So our leader’s led,
And we are women’s men.
You keep by land
The legions and the horse whole, do you not?
Marcus Octavius, Marcus Justeius,
Publicola, and Caelius are for sea,
But we keep whole by land. This speed of Caesar’s
Carries beyond belief.
While he was yet in Rome,
His power went out in such distractions as
Beguiled all spies.
Who’s his lieutenant, hear you?
They say one Taurus.
Well I know the man.
Enter a Messenger.
The Emperor calls Canidius.
With news the time’s with labour, and throes forth
Each minute some.
THE TRAGEDY OF ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA by William Shakespeare
Author: William Shakespeare
Native Language: English