Antony and Cleopatra Act II
by William Shakespeare

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Act II, Scene 1

Messina. A Room in POMPEY'S house.

[Enter POMPEY, MENECRATES, and MENAS.]

POMPEY.
If the great gods be just, they shall assist
The deeds of justest men.

MENECRATES.
Know, worthy Pompey,
That what they do delay they not deny.

POMPEY.
Whiles we are suitors to their throne, decays
The thing we sue for.

MENECRATES.
We, ignorant of ourselves,
Beg often our own harms, which the wise powers
Deny us for our good; so find we profit
By losing of our prayers.

POMPEY.
I shall do well;
The people love me, and the sea is mine;
My powers are crescent, and my auguring hope
Says it will come to the full. Mark Antony
In Egypt sits at dinner, and will make
No wars without doors: Caesar gets money where
He loses hearts: Lepidus flatters both,
Of both is flatter'd; but he neither loves
Nor either cares for him.

MENAS.
Caesar and Lepidus
Are in the field: a mighty strength they carry.

POMPEY.
Where have you this? 'tis false.

MENAS.
From Silvius, sir.

POMPEY.
He dreams: I know they are in Rome together,
Looking for Antony. But all the charms of love,
Salt Cleopatra, soften thy wan'd lip!
Let witchcraft join with beauty, lust with both!
Tie up the libertine in a field of feasts,
Keep his brain fuming; Epicurean cooks
Sharpen with cloyless sauce his appetite;
That sleep and feeding may prorogue his honour
Even till a Lethe'd dullness.

[Enter VARRIUS.]

How now, Varrius!

VARRIUS.
This is most certain that I shall deliver:--
Mark Antony is every hour in Rome
Expected: since he went from Egypt 'tis
A space for further travel.

POMPEY.
I could have given less matter
A better ear.--Menas, I did not think
This amorous surfeiter would have donn'd his helm
For such a petty war; his soldiership
Is twice the other twain: but let us rear
The higher our opinion, that our stirring
Can from the lap of Egypt's widow pluck
The ne'er lust-wearied Antony.

MENAS.
I cannot hope
Caesar and Antony shall well greet together:
His wife that's dead did trespasses to Caesar;
His brother warr'd upon him; although, I think,
Not mov'd by Antony.

POMPEY.
I know not, Menas,
How lesser enmities may give way to greater.
Were't not that we stand up against them all,
'Twere pregnant they should square between themselves;
For they have entertained cause enough
To draw their swords: but how the fear of us
May cement their divisions, and bind up
The petty difference, we yet not know.
Be't as our gods will have't! It only stands
Our lives upon to use our strongest hands.
Come, Menas.

[Exeunt.]

Act II, Scene 2

Rome. A Room in the House of LEPIDUS.

[Enter ENOBARBUS and LEPIDUS.]

LEPIDUS.
Good Enobarbus, 'tis a worthy deed,
And shall become you well, to entreat your captain
To soft and gentle speech.

ENOBARBUS.
I shall entreat him
To answer like himself: if Caesar move him,
Let Antony look over Caesar's head,
And speak as loud as Mars. By Jupiter,
Were I the wearer of Antonius' beard,
I would not shave't to-day.

LEPIDUS.
'Tis not a time
For private stomaching.

ENOBARBUS.
Every time
Serves for the matter that is then born in't.

LEPIDUS.
But small to greater matters must give way.

ENOBARBUS.
Not if the small come first.

LEPIDUS.
Your speech is passion:
But, pray you, stir no embers up. Here comes
The noble Antony.

[Enter ANTONY and VENTIDIUS.]

ENOBARBUS.
And yonder, Caesar.

[Enter CAESAR, MAECENAS, and AGRIPPA.]

ANTONY.
If we compose well here, to Parthia;
Hark, Ventidius.

CAESAR.
I do not know,
Maecenas; ask Agrippa.

LEPIDUS.
Noble friends,
That which combin'd us was most great, and let not
A leaner action rend us. What's amiss,
May it be gently heard: when we debate
Our trivial difference loud, we do commit
Murder in healing wounds: then, noble partners,--
The rather for I earnestly beseech,--
Touch you the sourest points with sweetest terms,
Nor curstness grow to the matter.

ANTONY.
'Tis spoken well.
Were we before our armies, and to fight,
I should do thus.

CAESAR.
Welcome to Rome.

ANTONY.
Thank you.

CAESAR.
Sit.

ANTONY.
Sit, sir.

CAESAR.
Nay, then.

ANTONY.
I learn you take things ill which are not so,
Or being, concern you not.

CAESAR.
I must be laugh'd at
If, or for nothing or a little, I
Should say myself offended, and with you
Chiefly i' the world;...

(The entire section is 6,415 words.)