Antony and Cleopatra

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[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 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.

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 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.

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.

CAESAR. Antony, 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 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.

CAESAR. Let his shames quickly Drive him to Rome; 'tis time we twain Did show ourselves i' thefield; 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.

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.

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

[Exeunt.]

SCENE V. Alexandria. A Room in the Palace.

[Enter CLEOPATRA, CHARMIAN, IRAS, and MARDIAN.]

CLEOPATRA. Charmian,--

CHARMIAN. Madam?

CLEOPATRA. Ha, ha!-- Give me to drink mandragora.

CHARMIAN. Why, madam?

CLEOPATRA. That I might sleep out this great gap of time My Antony is away.

CHARMIAN. You think of him too much.

CLEOPATRA. O, 'tis treason!

CHARMIAN. Madam, I trust, not so.

CLEOPATRA. Thou, eunuch Mardian!

MARDIAN. What's your highness' pleasure?

CLEOPATRA. Not now to hear thee sing; I take no pleasure In aught an eunuch has; 'tis well for thee That, being unseminar'd, thy freer thoughts May not fly forth of Egypt. Hast thou affections?

MARDIAN. Yes, gracious madam.

CLEOPATRA. Indeed!

MARDIAN. Not in deed, madam; for I can do nothing But what indeed is honest to be done: Yet have I fierce affections, and think What Venus did with Mars.

CLEOPATRA. O Charmian, Where think'st thou he is now? Stands he or sits he? Or does he walk? or is he on his horse? O happy horse, to bear the weight of Antony! Do bravely, horse! for wott'st thou whom thou mov'st? The demi-Atlas of this earth, the arm And burgonet of men.--He's speaking now, Or murmuring 'Where's my serpent of old Nile?' For so he calls me.--Now I feed myself With most delicious poison:--think on me, That am with Phoebus' amorous pinches black, And wrinkled deep in time? Broad-fronted Caesar, When thou wast here above the ground I was A morsel for a monarch: and great Pompey Would stand and make his eyes grow in my brow; There would he anchor his aspect and die With looking on his life.

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