Antony’s First Meeting with Cleopatra


…from the quills of the dead white poets


 William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616)


 The barge she sat in, like a burnish’d throne,

 Burn’d on the water; the poop was beaten gold:

 Purple the sails, and so perfumed that

 The winds were love-sick 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’er-picturing 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 cheek which they did cool,

 And what they undid did . . .

 Her gentlewomen, like the Nereides,

 So many mermaids, tended her i’ the 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,

 Enthron’d i’ the market-place, did sit alone,

 Whistling to the air; which, but for vacancy,

 Had gone to gaze on Cleopatra too

 and made a gap in nature.

/From Antony and Cleopatra


About Avadoro Worden

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One Response to Antony’s First Meeting with Cleopatra

  1. Simple Joe says:

    Whoever she is, she is better looking that Elizabeth Taylor.

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