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Antony and Cleopatra

William Shakespeare

Act 4 Scene 12

page Act 4 Scene 12 Page 1

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ANTONY and SCARUS enter.


Yet they are not joined. Where yond pine does stand
I shall discover all. I’ll bring thee word
Straight how ’tis like to go.


They still haven’t joined the battle. I’ll be able to see better from that pine tree over there. I’ll let you know right away how it’s going.
He exits.
Alarum afar off, as at a sea fight
Noises like a sea battle are heard in the distance.


                                                       Swallows have built
In Cleopatra’s sails their nests. The auguries
5Say they know not, they cannot tell, look grimly,
And dare not speak their knowledge. Antony
Is valiant and dejected, and by starts
His fretted fortunes give him hope and fear
Of what he has and has not.


Swallows have built nests in Cleopatra’s sails. The fortunetellers won’t say whether that’s a good sign or a bad one, but they don’t look happy. Antony is valiant and dejected. His mood changes by fits and starts; his checkered luck vacillates between hope and fear, winning and losing.
ANTONY enters.


                                                        All is lost!
10This foul Egyptian hath betrayèd me.
My fleet hath yielded to the foe, and yonder
They cast their caps up and carouse together
Like friends long lost. Triple-turned whore! ’Tis thou
Hast sold me to this novice, and my heart
15Makes only wars on thee. Bid them all fly,
For when I am revenged upon my charm,
I have done all. Bid them all fly. Begone!


All is lost! This treacherous Egyptian has betrayed me. My fleet has surrendered to the enemy. You can see them over there throwing their hats up in the air and drinking together like long lost friends. Three-time traitor and whore! It’s you who have sold me to this youth, Caesar. Now my war is only with you. Tell the army to flee. Revenge on Cleopatra will be my last act. Order them to escape. Go!