Antony and Cleopatra

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 2 Scene 2

page Act 2 Scene 2 Page 3

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ANTONY

My being in Egypt, Caesar, what was ’t to you?

ANTONY

Caesar, what did my stay in Egypt have to do with you?

CAESAR

No more than my residing here at Rome
Might be to you in Egypt. Yet if you there
45Did practice on my state, your being in Egypt
Might be my question.

CAESAR

No more than my staying here in Rome might mean to you in Egypt. But if you conspired against my position while you were there, I might be interested in the reason for your stay in Egypt.

ANTONY

                                             How intend you, “practiced”?

ANTONY

How do you mean, “conspired”?

CAESAR

You may be pleased to catch at mine intent
By what did here befall me. Your wife and brother
Made wars upon me, and their contestation
50Was theme for you. You were the word of war.

CAESAR

You can judge for yourself what I mean. Your wife and brother led troops against me, claiming to be fighting in your name. They said they were acting for you.

ANTONY

You do mistake your business. My brother never
Did urge me in his act. I did inquire it,
And have my learning from some true reports
That drew their swords with you. Did he not rather
55Discredit my authority with yours,
And make the wars alike against my stomach,
Having alike your cause? Of this my letters
Before did satisfy you. If you’ll patch a quarrel,
As matter whole you have to make it with,
60It must not be with this.

ANTONY

You’re mistaken. My brother didn’t use my name to justify his rebellion. I talked to some reliable participants in that battle. On the contrary, his fight was with both of us. He rejected my authority as much as yours. Since you and I share a common cause, wouldn’t his actions against you be hostile to me as well? I’ve already sent the proof in my letters. If you want to pick a fight, you’ll have to find a more substantial excuse.

CAESAR

                                               You praise yourself
By laying defects of judgment to me, but
You patched up your excuses.

CAESAR

You defend yourself by blaming my judgment, but you’re just making up feeble excuses.