Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Antony and Cleopatra, Act II, Scene II [The barge she sat in, like a burnish'd throne]

Rating: 4.9
Enobarbus describes Queen Cleopatra

Enobarbus: I will tell you.
The barge she sat in, like a burnish'd throne,
Burned on the water: the poop was beaten gold;
Purple the sails, and so perfumed that
The winds were lovesick with them; the oars were silver,
Which to the tune of flutes kept stroke, and made
The water which they beat to follow faster,
As amorous of their strokes. For her own person,
It beggar'd all description: she did lie
In her pavilion, cloth-of-gold of tissue,
O'erpicturing that Venus where we see
The fancy outwork nature: on each side her
Stood pretty dimpled boys, like smiling Cupids,
With divers-colour'd fans, whose wind did seem
To glow the delicate cheeks which they did cool,
And what they undid did.

Agrippa: O, rare for Antony.

Enobarbus: Her gentlewomen, like the Nereides,
So many mermaids, tended her i' th' eyes,
And made their bends adornings. At the helm
A seeming mermaid steers: the silken tackle
Swell with the touches of those flower-soft hands
That yarely frame the office. From the barge
A strange invisible perfume hits the sense
Of the adjacent wharfs. The city cast
Her people out upon her; and Antony,
Enthroned i' th' marketplace, did sit alone,
Whistling to th' air; which, but for vacancy,
Had gone to gaze on Cleopatra too,
And made a gap in nature.

Agrippa: Rare Egyptian!

Enobarbus: Upon her landing, Antony sent to her,
Invited her to supper. She replied
It should be better he became her guest;
Which she entreated. Our courteous Antony,
Whom ne'er the word of "No" woman heard speak,
Being barbered ten times o'er, goes to the feast,
And for his ordinary, pays his heart
For what his eyes eat only.

Agrippa: Royal wench!
She made great Caesar lay his sword to bed;
He plowed her, and she cropped.

Enobarbus: I saw her once
Hop forty paces through the public street;
And having lost her breath, she spoke, and panted,
That she did make defect perfection,
And, breathless, pow'r breathe forth.

Maecenas: Now Antony must leave her utterly.

Enobarbus: Never; He will not:
Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale
Her infinite variety. Other women cloy
The appetites they feed, but she makes hungry
Where most she satisfies; for vilest things
Become themselves in her, that the holy priests
Bless her when she is riggish.
William Shakespeare
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0 0 Reply
Ivy Samante 11 November 2019
I remember the days our teacher challenge us to understand the every sentence of the poem and i'm so glad that life is very hard to forget it still exist. #william
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Shaun Cronick 09 July 2019
God Bless you William.Such perfect prose.
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paige from england 03 January 2019
thanks cool poems I liked it so much I watched it 10 times
2 0 Reply
Sylvaonyema Uba 11 April 2018
Bless her when she is ruggish Good stylistic embellishment. SYLVA-ONYEMA UBA
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Susan Williams 07 April 2018
Purple the sails, and so perfumed that / The winds were lovesick with them; - - ] oh my word, is it any wonder that reading Shakespeare is a magical experience? Purple sails + perfume = lovesick winds. Who puts together words like that... beside Shakespeare?
1 0 Reply
Joshua Adeyemi 11 April 2017
Enorbabus, a vessel of word. Lovely extracts.
2 2 Reply
This is a legend. Agrippa: Royal wench! She made great Caesar lay his sword to bed; He plowed her, and she cropped.
2 3 Reply
Ratnakar Mandlik 06 January 2017
Simply superb narration and it's style too. Thanks for sharing it here.
2 1 Reply
Julie Smith 18 November 2016
My favourite part of the play, and Cleo will be my inspiration forever [3
3 1 Reply

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