Antony and Cleopatra
Act 1, Scene 4
Rome. Octavius Caesar’s house.
- Enter Octavius Caesar reading a letter, Lepidus, and their
Caesar3 - 12
- You may see, Lepidus, and henceforth know,
- It is not Caesar’s natural vice to hate
- Our great competitor. From Alexandria
- This is the news: he fishes, drinks, and wastes
- The lamps of night in revel; is not more manlike
- Than Cleopatra; nor the queen of Ptolomy
- More womanly than he; hardly gave audience, or
- Vouchsaf’d to think he had partners. You shall find there
- A man who is th’ abstract of all faults
- That all men follow.
Lepidus13 - 18
- I must not think there are
- Evils enow to darken all his goodness:
- His faults, in him, seem as the spots of heaven,
- More fiery by night’s blackness; hereditary,
- Rather than purchas’d; what he cannot change,
- Than what he chooses.
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- You are too indulgent. Let’s grant it is not
- Amiss to tumble on the bed of Ptolomy,
- To give a kingdom for a mirth, to sit
- And keep the turn of tippling with a slave,
- To reel the streets at noon, and stand the buffet
- With knaves that smells of sweat: say this becomes him
- (As his composure must be rare indeed
- Whom these things cannot blemish), yet must Antony
- No way excuse his foils, when we do bear
- So great weight in his lightness. If he fill’d
- His vacancy with his voluptuousness,
- Full surfeits and the dryness of his bones
- Call on him for’t. But to confound such time
- That drums him from his sport and speaks as loud
- As his own state and ours, ’tis to be chid—
- As we rate boys who, being mature in knowledge,
- Pawn their experience to their present pleasure,
- And so rebel to judgment.
- Enter Caesar’s First Messenger.
- Here’s more news.
Caesar’s First Messenger39 - 45
- Thy biddings have been done, and every hour,
- Most noble Caesar, shalt thou have report
- How ’tis abroad. Pompey is strong at sea,
- And it appears he is belov’d of those
- That only have fear’d Caesar; to the ports
- The discontents repair, and men’s reports
- Give him much wrong’d.
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- I should have known no less:
- It hath been taught us from the primal state
- That he which is was wish’d, until he were;
- And the ebb’d man, ne’er lov’d till ne’er worth love,
- Comes dear’d by being lack’d. This common body,
- Like to a vagabond flag upon the stream,
- Goes to and back, lackeying the varying tide,
- To rot itself with motion.
- Enter Caesar’s Second Messenger.
Caesar’s Second Messenger55 - 63
- Caesar, I bring thee word
- Menecrates and Menas, famous pirates,
- Makes the sea serve them, which they ear and wound
- With keels of every kind. Many hot inroads
- They make in Italy; the borders maritime
- Lack blood to think on’t, and flush youth revolt.
- No vessel can peep forth, but ’tis as soon
- Taken as seen; for Pompey’s name strikes more
- Than could his war resisted.
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- Leave thy lascivious wassails. When thou once
- Was beaten from Modena, where thou slew’st
- Hirtius and Pansa, consuls, at thy heel
- Did famine follow, whom thou fought’st against
- (Though daintily brought up) with patience more
- Than savages could suffer. Thou didst drink
- The stale of horses and the gilded puddle
- Which beasts would cough at; thy palate then did deign
- The roughest berry on the rudest hedge;
- Yea, like the stag, when snow the pasture sheets,
- The barks of trees thou brows’d. On the Alps
- It is reported thou didst eat strange flesh,
- Which some did die to look on; and all this
- (It wounds thine honor that I speak it now)
- Was borne so like a soldier, that thy cheek
- So much as lank’d not.
- ’Tis pity of him.
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- Let his shames quickly
- Drive him to Rome. ’Tis time we twain
- Did show ourselves i’ th’ field, and to that end
- Assemble we immediate council. Pompey
- Thrives in our idleness.
Lepidus87 - 90
- Tomorrow, Caesar,
- I shall be furnish’d to inform you rightly
- Both what by sea and land I can be able
- To front this present time.
Caesar91 - 92
- Till which encounter,
- It is my business too. Farewell.
Lepidus93 - 95
- Farewell, my lord. What you shall know mean time
- Of stirs abroad, I shall beseech you, sir,
- To let me be partaker.
Caesar96 - 97
- Doubt not, sir,
- I knew it for my bond.