Gary Taylor, John Jowett, Terri Bourus, and Gabriel Egan (eds), The New Oxford Shakespeare: Modern Critical Edition

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Sc. 122.7

Editor’s NoteMusic plays. Enter two or three Servants [including a Boy] with a Editor’s Notebanquet
Editor’s Note1

first servant Here they'll be anon. Some o' their plants are ill rooted 2already; the least wind i'th' world will blow them down.


second servant Lepidus is high-coloured.

Editor’s Note4

first servant They have made him drink alms-drink.

Editor’s Note5

second servant As they pinch one another by the disposition, he Editor’s Note6cries out 'No more!'—reconciles them to his entreaty and himself 7to th' drink.


first servant But it raises the greater war between him and his 9discretion.

Editor’s Note10

second servant Why, this it is to have a name in great men's Editor’s Note11fellowship. I had as lief have a reed that will do me no service as a Editor’s Note12partisan I could not heave.

Editor’s Note13

first servant To be called into a huge sphere and not to be seen to move 14in't, are the holes where eyes should be which pitifully disaster the Editor’s Note15cheeks.

Editor’s NoteA sennet sounded. Enter Caesar, Antony, Pompey, Lepidus, Agrippa, Maecenas, Enobarbus, [and] Menas, with other captains
Editor’s Note16

antony Thus do they, sir: they take the flow o'th' Nile

Editor’s Note17By certain scales i'th' pyramid. They know

Editor’s Note18By th' height, the lowness, or the mean, if dearth

Editor’s Note19Or foison follow. The higher Nilus swells

20The more it promises; as it ebbs, the seedsman

21Upon the slime and ooze scatters his grain,

22And shortly comes to harvest.

pg 2604 23

lepidus You've strange serpents there?


antony Ay, Lepidus.


lepidus Your serpent of Egypt is bred now of your mud by the operation 26of your sun; so is your crocodile.


antony They are so.


pompey Sit, and some wine. A health to Lepidus!

Editor’s Note[Antony, Pompey, and Lepidus sit]
Editor’s Note29

lepidus I am not so well as I should be, but I'll ne'er out.

Editor’s Note30

enobarbus Not till you have slept—I fear me you'll be in till then.

Editor’s Note31

lepidus Nay, certainly, I have heard the Ptolemies' pyramises are very 32goodly things: without contradiction I have heard that.

Editor’s Note33

menas [aside to Pompey] Pompey, a word.

pompey [aside to Menas] Say in mine ear, what is't?


menas [aside to Pompey] Forsake thy seat, I do beseech thee, captain,

Editor’s Note35And hear me speak a word.

pompey [aside to Menas] Forbear me till anon.


36This wine for Lepidus!

Editor’s Note[Menas] whispers in [Pompey's] ear

lepidus What manner o' thing is your crocodile?


antony It is shaped, sir, like itself, and it is as broad as it hath breadth. Editor’s Note39It is just so high as it is, and moves with it own organs. It lives by that Editor’s Note40which nourisheth it, and the elements once out of it, it transmigrates.


lepidus What colour is it of?


antony Of it own colour, too.


lepidus 'Tis a strange serpent.


antony 'Tis so, and the tears of it are wet.


caesar [to Antony] Will this description satisfy him?


antony With the health that Pompey gives him; else he is a very Editor’s Note47epicure.


pompey [aside to Menas] Go hang, sir, hang! Tell me of that? Away,

49Do as I bid you. [Aloud] Where's this cup I called for?

Editor’s Note50

menas [aside to Pompey] If for the sake of merit thou wilt hear me,

Editor’s Note Link 51Rise from thy stool.

pompey [rising] I think thou'rt mad. The matter?

Editor’s Note52

menas I have ever held my cap off to thy fortunes.


pompey Thou hast served me with much faith. What's else to say?

54Be jolly, lords.

antony These quicksands, Lepidus,

55Keep off them, for you sink.


menas Wilt thou be lord of all the world?

pompey What sayst thou?


menas Wilt thou be lord of the whole world? That's twice.

Editor’s Note58

pompey How should that be?

menas But entertain it

59And, though thou think me poor, I am the man

pg 260560Will give thee all the world.

pompey Hast thou drunk well?


menas No, Pompey, I have kept me from the cup.

62Thou art, if thou dar'st be, the earthly Jove.

Editor’s Note63Whate'er the ocean pales or sky inclips

64Is thine, if thou wilt ha't.

pompey Show me which way!

Editor’s Note65

menas These three world-sharers, these competitors,

66Are in thy vessel. Let me cut the cable;

67And when we are put off, fall to their throats.

68All then is thine.

pompey Ah, this thou shouldst have done

69And not have spoke on't. In me 'tis villainy,

70In thee 't had been good service. Thou must know

71'Tis not my profit that does lead mine honour;

Editor’s Note72Mine honour, it. Repent that e'er thy tongue

Editor’s Note73Hath so betrayed thine act. Being done unknown,

74I should have found it afterwards well done,

75But must condemn it now. Desist, and drink.

[He returns to the others]
Editor’s Note76

menas [aside] For this, I'll never follow thy palled fortunes more.

77Who seeks and will not take when once 'tis offered,

78Shall never find it more.

pompey This health to Lepidus!


antony Bear him ashore.—I'll pledge it for him, Pompey.


enobarbus Here's to thee, Menas!

menas Enobarbus, welcome.


pompey Fill till the cup be hid.

[One lifts up Lepidus, drunk, and carries him off]

enobarbus There's a strong fellow, Menas.


menas Why?


enobarbus A bears the third part of the world, man; seest not?


menas The third part then is drunk. Would it were all,

Editor’s Note85That it might go on wheels.

enobarbus Drink thou, increase the reels.


menas Come.


pompey This is not yet an Alexandrian feast.

Editor’s Note88

antony It ripens towards it. Strike the vessels, ho!

89Here's to Caesar!

caesar I could well forbear't.

Editor’s Note90It's monstrous labour when I wash my brain,

91An it grow fouler.


antony Be a child o'th' time.

Editor’s Note93

caesar Possess it, I'll make answer.

94But I had rather fast from all, four days,

pg 260695Than drink so much in one.

enobarbus [to Antony] Ha, my brave Emperor,

Editor’s Note96Shall we dance now the Egyptian bacchanals,

97And celebrate our drink?


pompey Let's ha't, good soldier.


antony Come, let's all take hands

100Till that the conquering wine hath steeped our sense

Editor’s Note101In soft and delicate Lethe.

enobarbus All take hands.

Editor’s Note102Make battery to our ears with the loud music.

103The while I'll place you, then the boy shall sing.

Editor’s Note104The holding every man shall beat as loud

Editor’s Note105As his strong sides can volley.

Music plays. Enobarbus places them hand in hand

boy [sings] Come, thou monarch of the vine,

Editor’s Note107Plumpy Bacchus, with pink eyne!

108In thy vats our cares be drowned,

109With thy grapes our hairs be crowned!

Editor’s Note110Cup us till the world go round,

111Cup us till the world go round!

Editor’s Note112

caesar What would you more? Pompey, good night.

[To Antony]

Good brother,

Editor’s Note113Let me request you off. Our graver business

114Frowns at this levity. Gentle lords, let's part.

115You see we have burnt our cheeks. Strong Enobarb

116Is weaker than the wine, and mine own tongue

Editor’s Note117Splits what it speaks. The wild disguise hath almost

Editor’s Note118Anticked us all. What needs more words? Good night.

Editor’s Note119Good Antony, your hand.

pompey I'll try you on the shore.


antony And shall, sir. Give's your hand.

pompey O, Antony,

Editor’s Note121You have my father house. But what, we are friends!

Editor’s Note122Come down into the boat.

[Exeunt all but Enobarbus and Menas]

enobarbus Take heed you fall not.


menas I'll not on shore.

125No, to my cabin. These drums, these trumpets, flutes, what!

126Let Neptune hear we bid a loud farewell

127To these great fellows. Sound and be hanged, sound out!

Sound a flourish, with drums [flutes, and trumpets]
Editor’s Note128

enobarbus [throwing his cap in the air] Hoo, says a! There's my cap.

menas Ho, noble captain, come!

Editor’s NoteExeunt

Notes Settings


Editor’s Note
12.0 banquet Characters playing servants can bring in a table and chairs and food and wine during this opening prose dialogue. The boy who later sings is probably included among the servants (but he might enter later). Musicians can carry the instruments. The stage might take on a more nautical or military look with soldier/sailor paraphernalia.
Editor’s Note
12.0.2 banquet not a full meal, but dessert and drinks, associated with luxurious living
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12.1 their plants soles of their feet (punningly)
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12.4 alms-drink drink given in charity, to further reconciliation; leavings
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12.5–6 pinch one another by the disposition irritate one another according to their natures
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12.6 'No more!' no more bickering!
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12.6–7 reconciles … to th' drink brings them to accept his pleading and himself to accept the drink
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12.10 name nominal place
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12.11 as lief just as soon
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12.11 service i.e. as a weapon
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12.12 partisan … heave long-handled doubled-bladed spear I could not lift (i.e. position without power)
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12.13–5 To be called … cheeks i.e. to be placed in high circles in which one is incapable of moving is like having, instead of eyes, eye-sockets which disfigure one's face. (In astrology, a planet moves within its sphere, and its ill influence causes disaster.)
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12.15–15.1 Enter … captains This entrance of a large, diverse group is probably less formal than the preceding scenes of Roman negotiations.
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12.15.1 sennet flourish of trumpets
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12.16 take the flow measure the overflowing
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12.17 scales i' measuring marks on
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12.18 mean middle position
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12.19 foison plenty
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12.28.1 sit The other men on stage may not sit until after the leaders do. Productions vary in the seating arrangements.
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12.29 ne'er out never give in, refuse a drink
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12.30 in i.e. in drink, drunk
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12.31 pyramises pyramids (probably a drunken plural of Latin 'pyramis')
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12.33 Pompey, a word Here begins a series of asides and whispers (and perhaps movements) while the banquet continues.
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12.35 Forbear forgive, wait for
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12.36.1 Menas … ear Pompey might pull away or show annoyance at the bother of business interfering with drinking and conversation.
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12.39 with it with its
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12.40 elements vital elements, life
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12.40 transmigrates passes into other forms of life
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12.47 epicure glutton (or 'atheist')
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12.50 merit i.e. my past service
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12.51 rising Pompey probably moves slightly away and downstage for his conspiratorial conversation with Menas; perhaps Menas pulls him from the table.
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12.52 held my cap off to respected, served
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12.58 entertain consider
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12.63 pales encloses
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12.63 inclips embraces
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12.65 competitors colleagues, partners
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12.72 Mine honour, it i.e. but my honour comes before self-interest
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12.73 betrayed thine act i.e. treacherously disclosed your intentions, and so make it impossible to carry them out
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12.76 palled diminished
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12.85 go on wheels run smoothly (proverbial)
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12.85 reels revels; drunken staggering
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12.88 Strike the vessels open more casks (of wine)
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12.90 monstrous unnatural
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12.93 Possess it, I'll make answer take it, and I'll drink too
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12.96 bacchanals dances in honour of Bacchus, god of wine and revelry
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12.96 Egyptian bacchanals This might cue the musicians to change the dinner music to something louder, faster, livelier, and more exotic. This is the only dancing scene in the play, and is often a prolonged, athletic, sensual climax. (There are no women on stage, so the masculinity of the dance is sometimes explicitly homoerotic.)
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12.101 Lethe forgetfulness (see 6.27)
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12.102 Make battery to assault
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12.104 holding refrain
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12.104 beat beat out (perhaps in error for 'bear', as in 'bear a burden', sing a refrain)
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12.104 The holding … beat This sometimes serves as a cue for the men to beat out the rhythm by stomping their feet on the beat (or beating their chests).
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12.105 volley fire off, rattle out
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12.107 pink half-closed (and red from drinking)
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12.110–11 go round … go round (strongly suggesting that the dance is circular)
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12.112 brother brother-in-law
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12.112 What would you more? Caesar stops the dance. It is not clear exactly what prompts his question.
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12.113 request you off ask you to come ashore with me
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12.117 wild disguise drunken transformation
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12.118 Anticked turned us into 'antics', buffoons
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12.119 try you put you to the test (in drinking)
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12.119 your hand Caesar might reach for Antony's hand but ultimately reject it and exit here.
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12.121 father father's (old-fashioned, or drunk). See 11.26–7.
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12.122 Exeunt all … Menas Rather than one mass exeunt, there might be several exhilarated or exhausted exits in separate directions or groups.
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12.128 says a says he
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12.128.1–13.0 Exeunt … Enter Eighteenth-century editors anachronistically inserted an interval here between Acts 2 and 3, but the action is continuous: the disorganized, drunken, cacophonous exits contrast with the military discipline of the immediately following entrance.
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