Document:  All > Shakespeare > Tragedies > Antony and Cleopatra > Act I, scene IV



	[Enter OCTAVIUS CAESAR, reading a letter, LEPIDUS,
	and their Train]

OCTAVIUS CAESAR: 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 man-like
	Than Cleopatra; nor the queen of Ptolemy
	More womanly than he; hardly gave audience, or
	Vouchsafed to think he had partners: you shall find there
	A man who is the abstract of all faults
	That all men follow.

LEPIDUS: 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 purchased; what he cannot change,
	Than what he chooses.

OCTAVIUS CAESAR: You are too indulgent. Let us grant, it is not
	Amiss to tumble on the bed of Ptolemy;
	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 smell 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 soils, 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 a Messenger]

LEPIDUS: Here's more news.

Messenger: 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 beloved of those
	That only have fear'd Caesar: to the ports
	The discontents repair, and men's reports
	Give him much wrong'd.

OCTAVIUS CAESAR: 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 loved 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.

Messenger: Caesar, I bring thee word,
	Menecrates and Menas, famous pirates,
	Make 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.

OCTAVIUS CAESAR: Antony,
	Leave thy lascivious wassails. When thou once
	Wast 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 browsed'st; on the Alps
	It is reported thou didst eat strange flesh,
	Which some did die to look on: and all this--
	It wounds thine honour that I speak it now--
	Was borne so like a soldier, that thy cheek
	So much as lank'd not.

LEPIDUS: 'Tis pity of him.

OCTAVIUS CAESAR: Let his shames quickly
	Drive him to Rome: 'tis time we twain
	Did show ourselves i' the field; and to that end
	Assemble we immediate council: Pompey
	Thrives in our idleness.

LEPIDUS: To-morrow, 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.

OCTAVIUS CAESAR: Till which encounter,
	It is my business too. Farewell.

LEPIDUS: Farewell, my lord: what you shall know meantime
	Of stirs abroad, I shall beseech you, sir,
	To let me be partaker.

OCTAVIUS CAESAR: Doubt not, sir;
	I knew it for my bond.

	[Exeunt]




	ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA






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