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Say I am dancing; if in mirth, report
That I am sudden sick: quick, and return. [Excit Alexas.
Char. Madam, methinks, if you did love him dearly,
You do not hold the method to enforce
The like from him.
What should I do, I do not?
Char. In each thing give him way, cross him in nothing.
Cleo. Thou teachest like a fool,—the way to lose him.
Char. Tempt him not so too far; I wish, forbear:
In time we hate that which we often fear.
But here comes Antony.
I'm sick and sullen.
Ant. I'm sorry to give breathing to my purpose, -
Cleo. Help me away, dear Charmian; I shall fall :
It cannot be thus long, the sides of nature
Will not sustain it.
Now, my dearest queen, -
Cleo. Pray you, stand further from me.
What's the matter?
Cleo. I know, by that same eye, there's some good news.
the married woman ?-You may go:
Would she had never given you leave to come!
Let her not say 'tis I that keep you here, -
I have no power upon you; hers you are.
Ant. The gods best know,
O, never was there queen
So mightily betray'd! yet at the first
I saw the treasons(17) planted.
Cleo. Why should I think you can be mine and true,
Though you in swearing shake the thronèd gods,
Who have been false to Fulvia ? Riotous madness,
To be entangled with those mouth-made vows
Which break themselves in swearing!
queen, Cleo. Nay, pray you, seek no colour for your going, But bid farewell, and go : when you su'd staying, Then was the time for words: no going then ;
Eternity was in our lips and eyes,
Bliss in our brows' bent; none our parts so poor,
But was a race of heaven : they are so still,
Or thou, the greatest soldier of the world,
Art turn’d the greatest liar.
How now, lady!
Cleo. I would I had thy inches; thou shouldst know
There were a heart in Egypt.
me, queen : The strong necessity of time commands Our services awhile; but my full heart Remains in use with you. Our Italy Shines o'er with civil swords: Sextus Pompeius Makes his approaches to the port of Rome: Equality of two domestic powers Breed(18) scrupulous faction: the hated, grown to strength, Are newly grown to love: the condemn’d Pompey Rich in his father's honour, creeps apace Into the hearts of such as have not thriv'd Upon the present state, whose numbers threaten; And quietness, grown sick of rest, would purge By any desperate change: my more particular, And that which most with you should safe my going, Is Fulvia's death.
Cleo. Though age from folly could not give me freedom, It does from childishness :can Fulvia die ?
Ant. She's dead, my queen :
Look here, and, at thy sovereign leisure, read
The garboils she awak'd; at the last, best :
See when and where she died.
O most false love!
Where be the sacred vials thou shouldst fill
With sorrowful water? Now I see, I see,
In Fulvia's death, how mine receiv'd shall be.
Ant. Quarrel no more, but be prepar'd to know
The purposes I bear; which are, or cease,
As you shall give the advice : by the fire
That quickens Nilus' slime, I go from hence
Thy soldier, servant; making peace or war
As thou affect'st.
Cut my lace, Charmian, come ;-
But let it be :—I'm quickly ill, and well,
So Antony loves.
My precious queen, forbear;
And give true evidence to his love, (19) which stands
An honourable trial.
So Fulvia told me.
I prithee, turn aside, and weep for her ;
Then bid adieu to me, and say the tears
Belong to Egypt: good now, play one scene
Of excellent dissembling; and let it look
Like perfect honour.
You'll heat my blood: no more.
Cleo. You can do better yet; but this is meetly.
Ant. Now, by my(20) sword,–
And target.—Still he mends;
But this is not the best :-look, prithee, Charmian,
How this Herculean Roman does become
The carriage of his chafe.
Ant. I'll leave you, lady.
Courteous lord, one word.
Sir, you and I must part,—but that's not it:
Sir, you and I have loy'd,--but there's not it;
know well: something it is I would,
O, my oblivion is a very Antony,
And I am all forgotten.
But that your royalty
Holds idleness your subject, I should take you
For idleness itself.
'Tis sweating labour
To bear such idleness so near the heart
As Cleopatra this. But, sir, forgive me;
Since my becomings kill me, when they do not
Eye well to you: your honour calls you hence;
Therefore be deaf to my unpitied folly,
And all the gods go with you! upon your sword
Sit laurel victory !(21) and smooth success
Be strew'd before your feet!
Let us go. Come
Our separation so abides, and flies,
That thou, residing here, go'st yet with me,
And I, hence fleeting, here remain with thee.
SCENE IV. Rome. An apartment in CÆSAR's house.
Enter OCTAVIUS CÆSAR, LEPIDUS, and Attendants.
Cæs. You may see, Lepidus, and henceforth know,
[Giving him a letter.
It is not Cæsar's natural vice to hate
Our great competitor :(22) 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 Ptolemy
More womanly than he; hardly gave audience, or
Vouchsaf’d to think(23) he had partners: you shall find there
A man who is the abstract(24) of all faults
That all men follow.
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.
Cæs. You're 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, (25) when we do bear
So great weight in his lightness. If he fillid
His vacancy with his voluptuousness,
Full surfeits, and the dryness of his bones,
Call on him for 't:(26) 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.
Here's more news.
Mess. Thy biddings have been done; and every hour,
Most noble Cæsar, 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 Cæsar : to the ports
The discontents repair, and men's reports(27)
Give him much wrong'd.
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(28) by being lack'd. This common body,
Like to a vagabond flag upon the stream,
Goes to and back, lackeying(29) the varying tide,
To rot itself with motion.
Cæsar, 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.
Leave thy lascivious wassails.(30) 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