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Antony and Cleopatra - Act 1, scene 4
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Navigate this workAntony and Cleopatra - Act 1, scene 4
Act 1, scene 4
Octavius Caesar condemns Antony’s behavior in Egypt, and, in the face of attacks by Pompey, Menas, and Menecrates, he wishes for Antony’s return.Enter Octavius ⌜Caesar,⌝ reading a letter,
Lepidus, and their Train.
0414 You may see, Lepidus, and henceforth know,
0415 It is not Caesar’s natural vice to hate
0416 ⌜Our⌝ great competitor. From Alexandria
0417 This is the news: he fishes, drinks, and wastes
0418 5 The lamps of night in revel, is not more manlike
0419 Than Cleopatra, nor the queen of Ptolemy
0420 More womanly than he; hardly gave audience, or
0421 ⌜Vouchsafed⌝ to think he had partners. You shall
0422 find there
0423 10 A man who is th’ ⌜abstract⌝ of all faults
0424 That all men follow.
LEPIDUS 0425 I must not think there are
0426 Evils enough to darken all his goodness.
p. 370427 His faults in him seem as the spots of heaven,
0428 15 More fiery by night’s blackness, hereditary
0429 Rather than purchased, what he cannot change
0430 Than what he chooses.
0431 You are too indulgent. Let’s grant it is not
0432 Amiss to tumble on the bed of Ptolemy,
0433 20 To give a kingdom for a mirth, to sit
0434 And keep the turn of tippling with a slave,
0435 To reel the streets at noon and stand the buffet
0436 With knaves that smells of sweat. Say this becomes
0438 25 As his composure must be rare indeed
0439 Whom these things cannot blemish—yet must
0441 No way excuse his foils when we do bear
0442 So great weight in his lightness. If he filled
0443 30 His vacancy with his voluptuousness,
0444 Full surfeits and the dryness of his bones
0445 Call on him for ’t. But to confound such time
0446 That drums him from his sport and speaks as loud
0447 As his own state and ours, ’tis to be chid
0448 35 As we rate boys who, being mature in knowledge,
0449 Pawn their experience to their present pleasure
0450 And so rebel to judgment.
Enter a Messenger.
LEPIDUS 0451 Here’s more news.
0452 Thy biddings have been done, and every hour,
0453 40 Most noble Caesar, shalt thou have report
0454 How ’tis abroad. Pompey is strong at sea,
0455 And it appears he is beloved of those
0456 That only have feared Caesar. To the ports
0457 The discontents repair, and men’s reports
0458 45 Give him much wronged.
p. 39CAESAR 0459 I should have known no less.
0460 It hath been taught us from the primal state
0461 That he which is was wished until he were,
0462 And the ebbed man, ne’er loved till ne’er worth love,
0463 50 Comes feared by being lacked. This common body,
0464 Like to a vagabond flag upon the stream,
0465 Goes to and back, ⌜lackeying⌝ the varying tide
0466 To rot itself with motion.
⌜Enter a Second Messenger.⌝
⌜SECOND⌝ MESSENGER 0467 Caesar, I bring thee word
0468 55 Menecrates and Menas, famous pirates,
0469 Makes the sea serve them, which they ear and
0471 With keels of every kind. Many hot inroads
0472 They make in Italy—the borders maritime
0473 60 Lack blood to think on ’t—and flush youth revolt.
0474 No vessel can peep forth but ’tis as soon
0475 Taken as seen, for Pompey’s name strikes more
0476 Than could his war resisted.
CAESAR 0477 Antony,
0478 65 Leave thy lascivious ⌜wassails.⌝ When thou once
0479 Was beaten from Modena, where thou slew’st
0480 Hirsius and Pansa, consuls, at thy heel
0481 Did famine follow, whom thou fought’st against,
0482 Though daintily brought up, with patience more
0483 70 Than savages could suffer. Thou didst drink
0484 The stale of horses and the gilded puddle
0485 Which beasts would cough at. Thy palate then did
0487 The roughest berry on the rudest hedge.
0488 75 Yea, like the stag when snow the pasture sheets,
0489 The barks of trees thou browsèd. On the Alps
0490 It is reported thou didst eat strange flesh
0491 Which some did die to look on. And all this—
p. 410492 It wounds thine honor that I speak it now—
0493 80 Was borne so like a soldier that thy cheek
0494 So much as lanked not.
LEPIDUS 0495 ’Tis pity of him.
CAESAR 0496 Let his shames quickly
0497 Drive him to Rome. ’Tis time we twain
0498 85 Did show ourselves i’ th’ field, and to that end
0499 Assemble ⌜we⌝ immediate council. Pompey
0500 Thrives in our idleness.
LEPIDUS 0501 Tomorrow, Caesar,
0502 I shall be furnished to inform you rightly
0503 90 Both what by sea and land I can be able
0504 To front this present time.
CAESAR 0505 Till which encounter,
0506 It is my business too. Farewell.
0507 Farewell, my lord. What you shall know meantime
0508 95 Of stirs abroad, I shall beseech you, sir,
0509 To let me be partaker.
0510 Doubt not, sir. I knew it for my bond.