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William Shakespeare (1564–1616). The Oxford Shakespeare. 1914.

Act V. Scene I.

Antony and Cleopatra

Alexandria.CÆSAR’S Camp.


Cæs.Go to him, Dolabella, bid him yield;

Being so frustrate, tell him he mocks

The pauses that he makes.

Dol.Cæsar, I shall.[Exit.

Enter DERCETAS, with the sword of ANTONY.

Cæs.Wherefore is that? and what art thou that dar’st

Appear thus to us?

Der.I am call’d Dercetas;

Mark Antony I serv’d, who best was worthy

Best to be serv’d; whilst he stood up and spoke

He was my master, and I wore my life

To spend upon his haters. If thou please

To take me to thee, as I was to him

I’ll be to Cæsar; if thou pleasest not,

I yield thee up my life.

Cœs.What is ’t thou sayst?

Der.I say, O Cæsar, Antony is dead.

Cœs. The breaking of so great a thing should make

A greater crack; the round world

Should have shook lions into civil streets,

And citizens to their dens. The death of Antony

Is not a single doom; in the name lay

A moiety of the world.

Der.He is dead, Cæsar;

Not by a public minister of justice,

Nor by a hired knife; but that self hand,

Which writ his honour in the acts it did,

Hath, with the courage which the heart did lend it,

Splitted the heart. This is his sword;

I robb’d his wound of it; behold it stain’d

With his most noble blood.

Cœs.Look you sad, friends?

The gods rebuke me, but it is tidings

To wash the eyes of kings.

Agr.And strange it is,

That nature must compel us to lament

Our most persisted deeds.

Mec.His taints and honours

Wag’d equal with him.

Agr.A rarer spirit never

Did steer humanity; but you, gods, will give us

Some faults to make us men. Cæsar is touch’d.

Mec.When such a spacious mirror’s set before him,

He needs must see himself.

Cœs.O Antony!

I have follow’d thee to this; but we do lance

Diseases in our bodies: I must perforce

Have shown to thee such a declining day,

Or look on thine; we could not stall together

In the whole world. But yet let me lament,

With tears as sovereign as the blood of hearts,

That thou, my brother, my competitor

In top of all design, my mate in empire,

Friend and companion in the front of war,

The arm of mine own body, and the heart

Where mine his thoughts did kindle, that our stars,

Unreconciliable, should divide

Our equalness to this. Hear me, good friends,—

Enter an Egyptian.

But I will tell you at some meeter season:

The business of this man looks out of him;

We’ll hear him what he says. Whence are you?

Egyp.A poor Egyptian yet. The queen my mistress,

Confin’d in all she has, her monument,

Of thy intents desires instruction,

That she preparedly may frame herself

To the way she’s forc’d to.

Cœs.Bid her have good heart;

She soon shall know of us, by some of ours,

How honourable and how kindly we

Determine for her; for Cæsar cannot live

To be ungentle.

Egyp.So the gods preserve thee![Exit.

Cœs. Come hither, Proculeius. Go and say,

We purpose her no shame; give her what comforts

The quality of her passion shall require,

Lest, in her greatness, by some mortal stroke

She do defeat us; for her life in Rome

Would be eternal in our triumph. Go,

And with your speediest bring us what she says,

And how you find of her.

Pro.Cæsar, I shall.[Exit.

Cæs.Gallus, go you along.[Exit GALLUS.

Where’s Dolabella,

To second Proculeius?

Agr. & Mec.Dolabella!

Cæs.Let him alone, for I remember now

How he’s employ’d; he shall in time be ready.

Go with me to my tent; where you shall see

How hardly I was drawn into this war;

How calm and gentle I proceeded still

In all my writings. Go with me, and see

What I can show in this.[Exeunt.