Antony and Cleopatra

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 2 Scene 2

page Act 2 Scene 2 Page 2

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LEPIDUS

(to CAESAR and ANTONY ) Noble friends,
20That which combined 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,
25The rather for I earnestly beseech,
Touch you the sourest points with sweetest terms,
Nor curstness grow to th’ matter.

LEPIDUS

(to CAESAR and ANTONY ) Good friends, the cause that joined us was noble. Don’t let some petty quarrel tear us apart. Let’s discuss this calmly. When we argue our differences with raised voices, we do more harm than good. So I plead with you to use reasonable words as you discuss these unreasonable deeds, and don’t lose your tempers.

ANTONY

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

ANTONY

You’re right. If we were in front of our armies, about to fight, I would do this.
Flourish
A trumpet fanfare.

CAESAR

30Welcome to Rome.

CAESAR

Welcome to Rome.

ANTONY

Thank you.

ANTONY

Thank you.

CAESAR

Sit.

CAESAR

Have a seat.

ANTONY

Sit, sir.

ANTONY

After you.

CAESAR

Nay, then.

CAESAR

No, after you.
They sit
They sit.

ANTONY

35I learn, you take things ill which are not so,
Or being, concern you not.

ANTONY

I hear you’ve interpreted some of my actions as being improper, when they weren’t improper at all—or if they were, their impropriety didn’t concern you.

CAESAR

                                                     I must be laughed at
If or for nothing or a little, I
Should say myself offended, and with you
Chiefly i’ th’ world; more laughed at, that I should
40Once name you derogately, when to sound your name
It not concerned me.

CAESAR

I should be ridiculed if I were offended so easily—and laughed at even more for speaking of you disrespectfully, when I had no reason to speak of you at all.