Antony and Cleopatra Act II. Scene VI.
Flourish. Enter POMPEY and MENAS, at one side, with drum and trumpet; at the other, CAESAR, ANTONY, LEPIDUS, ENOBARBUS, MECÆNAS, with Soldiers marching.
- Your hostages I have, so have you mine;
And we shall talk before we fight.
- Most meet
That first we come to words, and therefore have we
Our written purposes before us sent;
Which if thou hast consider’d, let us know
If ’twill tie up thy discontented sword,
And carry back to Sicily much tall youth
That else must perish here.
- To you all three,
The senators alone of this great world,
Chief factors for the gods, I do not know
Wherefore my father should revengers want,
Having a son and friends; since Julius Caesar,
Who at Philippi the good Brutus ghosted,
There saw you labouring for him. What was’t
That mov’d pale Cassius to conspire? and what
Made the all-honour’d, honest Roman, Brutus,
With the arm’d rest, courtiers of beauteous freedom,
To drench the Capitol, but that they would
Have one man but a man? And that is it
Hath made me rig my navy, at whose burden
The anger’d ocean foams, with which I meant
To scourge the ingratitude that despiteful Rome
Cast on my noble father.
- Take your time.
- Thou canst not fear us, Pompey, with thy sails;
We’ll speak with thee at sea: at land, thou know’st
How much we do o’er-count thee.
- At land, indeed,
Thou dost o’er-count me of my father’s house;
But, since the cuckoo builds not for himself,
Remain in ’t as thou mayst.
- Be pleas’d to tell us—
For this is from the present—how you take
The offers we have sent you.
- There’s the point.
- Which do not be entreated to, but weigh
What it is worth embrac’d.
- And what may follow,
To try a larger fortune.
- You have made me offer
Of Sicily, Sardinia; and I must
Rid all the sea of pirates; then, to send
Measures of wheat to Rome; this ’greed upon,
To part with unhack’d edges, and bear back
Our targets undinted.
- CAESAR, ANTONY & LEPIDUS
- That’s our offer.
- Know, then,
I came before you here a man prepar’d
To take this offer; but Mark Antony
Put me to some impatience. Though I lose
The praise of it by telling, you must know,
When Caesar and your brother were at blows,
Your mother came to Sicily and did find
Her welcome friendly.
- I have heard it, Pompey;
And am well studied for a liberal thanks
Which I do owe you.
- Let me have your hand:
I did not think, sir, to have met you here.
- The beds i’ the east are soft; and thanks to you,
That call’d me timelier than my purpose hither,
For I have gain’d by ’t.
- Since I saw you last,
There is a change upon you.
- Well, I know not
What counts harsh Fortune casts upon my face,
But in my bosom shall she never come
To make my heart her vassal.
- Well met here.
- I hope so, Lepidus. Thus we are agreed.
I crave our composition may be written
And seal’d between us.
- That’s the next to do.
- We’ll feast each other ere we part; and let’s
Draw lots who shall begin.
- That will I, Pompey.
- No, Antony, take the lot:
But, first or last, your fine Egyptian cookery
Shall have the fame. I have heard that Julius Caesar
Grew fat with feasting there.
- You have heard much.
- I have fair meanings, sir.
- And fair words to them.
- Then, so much have I heard;
And I have heard Apollodorus carried—
- No more of that: he did so.
- What, I pray you?
- A certain queen to Caesar in a mattress.
- I know thee now; how far’st thou, soldier?
And well am like to do; for I perceive
Four feasts are toward.
- Let me shake thy hand;
I never hated thee. I have seen thee fight,
When I have envied thy behaviour.
I never lov’d you much, but I ha’ prais’d ye
When you have well deserv’d ten times as much
As I have said you did.
- Enjoy thy plainness,
It nothing ill becomes thee.
Aboard my galley I invite you all:
Will you lead, lords?
- CAESAR, ANTONY & LEPIDUS
- Show us the way, sir.
- Come. [Exeunt all except MENAS and ENOBARBUS.]
- Thy father, Pompey, would ne’er have made this treaty. You and I have known, sir.
- At sea, I think.
- We have, sir.
- You have done well by water.
- And you by land.
- I will praise any man that will praise me; though it cannot be denied what I have done by land.
- Nor what I have done by water.
- Yes, something you can deny for your own safety; you have been a great thief by sea.
- And you by land.
- There I deny my land service. But give me your hand, Menas; if our eyes had authority, here they might take two thieves kissing.
- All men’s faces are true, whatsoe’er their hands are.
- But there is never a fair woman has a true face.
- No slander; they steal hearts.
- We came hither to fight with you.
- For my part, I am sorry it is turned to a drinking.
Pompey doth this day laugh away his fortune.
- If he do, sure, he cannot weep it back again.
- You have said, sir. We looked not for Mark Antony here: pray you, is he married to Cleopatra?
- Caesar’s sister is called Octavia.
- True, sir; she was the wife of Caius Marcellus.
- But she is now the wife of Marcus Antonius.
- Pray ye, sir?
- ’Tis true.
- Then is Caesar and he for ever knit together.
- If I were bound to divine of this unity, I would not prophesy so.
- I think the policy of that purpose made more in the marriage than the love of the parties.
- I think so too; but you shall find the band that seems to tie their friendship together will be the very strangler of their amity. Octavia is of a holy, cold, and still conversation.
- Who would not have his wife so?
- Not he that himself is not so; which is Mark Antony. He will to his Egyptian dish again; then, shall the sighs of Octavia blow the fire up in Caesar, and, as I said before, that which is the strength of their amity shall prove the immediate author of their variance. Antony will use his affection where it is; he married but his occasion here.
- And thus it may be. Come, sir, will you aboard? I have a health for you.
- I shall take it, sir: we have used our throats in Egypt.
- Come; let’s away. [Exeunt.]