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William Shakespeare (1564–1616). The Oxford Shakespeare. 1914.

Act II. Scene III.

Antony and Cleopatra

The Same.A Room in CÆSAR’S House.

Enter CÆSAR, ANTONY, OCTAVIA between them; Attendants.

Ant.The world and my great office will sometimes

Divide me from your bosom.

Oct.All which time

Before the gods my knee shall bow my prayers

To them for you.

Ant.Good night, sir. My Octavia,

Read not my blemishes in the world’s report;

I have not kept my square, but that to come

Shall all be done by the rule. Good night, dear lady.

Oct.Good night, sir.

Cæs.Good night.[Exeunt CÆSAR and OCTAVIA.

Enter Soothsayer.

Ant.Now, sirrah; you do wish yourself in Egypt?

Sooth.Would I had never come from thence, nor you


Ant.If you can, your reason?

Sooth.I see it in

My motion, have it not in my tongue: but yet

Hie you to Egypt again.

Ant.Say to me,

Whose fortunes shall rise higher, Cæsar’s or mine?


Therefore, O Antony! stay not by his side;

Thy demon—that’s thy spirit which keeps thee,—is

Noble, courageous, high, unmatchable,

Where Cæsar’s is not; but near him thy angel

Becomes a fear, as being o’erpower’d; therefore

Make space enough between you.

Ant.Speak this no more.

Sooth.To none but thee; no more but when to thee.

If thou dost play with him at any game

Thou art sure to lose, and, of that natural luck,

He beats thee ’gainst the odds; thy lustre thickens

When he shines by. I say again, thy spirit

Is all afraid to govern thee near him,

But he away, ’tis noble.

Ant.Get thee gone:

Say to Ventidius I would speak with him.[Exit Soothsayer.

He shall to Parthia. Be it art or hap

He hath spoken true; the very dice obey him.

And in our sports my better cunning faints

Under his chance; if we draw lots he speeds,

His cocks do win the battle still of mine

When it is all to nought, and his quails ever

Beat mine, inhoop’d, at odds. I will to Egypt;

And though I make this marriage for my peace,

I’ the east my pleasure lies.


O! come, Ventidius,

You must to Parthia; your commission’s ready;

Follow me, and receive ’t.[Exeunt.