Antony and Cleopatra
Important Quotations Explained
grant it is not
Amiss to tumble on the bed of Ptolemy,
To give a kingdom for a mirth, to sit
And keep the turn of tippling with a slave,
To reel the streets at noon, and stand the buffet
With knaves that smells of sweat. Say this becomes him—
As his composure must be rare indeed
Whom these things cannot blemish—yet must Antony
No way excuse his foils when we do bear
So great a weight in his lightness. If he filled
His vacancy with his voluptuousness,
Full surfeits and the dryness of his bones
Call on him for’t. But to confound such time
That drums him from his sport, and speaks as loud
As his own state and ours—’tis to be chid
As we rate boys who, being mature in knowledge,
Pawn their experience to the present pleasure,
And so rebel to judgement.
her landing Antony sent to her,
Invited her to supper. She replied
It should be better he became her guest,
Which she entreated. Our courteous Antony,
Whom ne’er the word of ‘No’ woman heard speak,
Being barbered ten times o’er, goes to the feast,
And for his ordinary pays his heart
For what his eyes eat only.
. . .
I saw her once
Hop forty paces through the public street,
And having lost her breath, she spoke and panted,
That she did make defect perfection,
And breathless, pour forth breath.
. . .
Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale
Her infinite variety. Other women cloy
The appetites they feed, but she makes hungry
Where most she satisfies. For vilest things
Become themselves in her, that the holy priests
Bless her when she is riggish.
take from me a great part of myself.
Use me well in’t. Sister, prove such a wife
As my thoughts make thee, and as my farthest bond
Shall pass on thy aproof. Most noble Antony,
Let not the piece of virtue which is set
Betwixt us as the cement of our love
To keep it builded, be the ram to batter
The fortress of it; for better might we
Have loved without this mean if on both parts
This be not cherished.
we see a cloud that’s dragonish,
A vapour sometime like a bear or lion,
A towered citadel, a pendent rock,
A forked mountain, or blue promontory
With trees upon’t that nod unto the world
And mock our eyes with air. Thou hast seen these signs;
They are black vesper’s pageants.
. . .
That which is now a horse even with a thought
The rack disdains, and makes it indistinct
As water is in water.
. . .
Here I am Antony,
Yet cannot hold this visible shape, my knave.
I made these wars for Egypt, and the Queen—
Whose heart I thought I had, for she had mine,
Which whilst it was mine had annexed unto’t
A million more, now lost—she, Eros, has
Packed cards with Caesar, and false-played my glory
Unto an enemy’s triumph.
Nay, weep not, gentle Eros. There is left us
Ourselves to end ourselves.
’tis most certain, Iras. Saucy lictors
Will catch at us like strumpets, and scald rhymers
Ballad us out o’ tune. The quick comedians
Extemporally will stage us, and present
Our Alexandrian revels. Antony
Shall be brought drunken forth, and I shall see
Some squeaking Cleopatra boy my greatness
I’ th’ posture of a whore.
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