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

Act IV. Scene I.

Julius Cæsar

Rome.A Room in ANTONY’S House.

ANTONY, OCTAVIUS, and LEPIDUS, seated at a table.

Ant.These many then shall die; their names are prick’d.

Oct.Your brother too must die; consent you, Lepidus?

Lep.I do consent.

Oct.Prick him down, Antony.

Lep.Upon condition Publius shall not live,

Who is your sister’s son, Mark Antony.

Ant.He shall not live; look, with a spot I damn him.

But, Lepidus, go you to Cæsar’s house;

Fetch the will hither, and we shall determine

How to cut off some charge in legacies.

Lep.What! shall I find you here?

Oct.Or here or at the Capitol.[Exit LEPIDUS.

Ant.This is a slight unmeritable man,

Meet to be sent on errands: is it fit,

The three-fold world divided, he should stand

One of the three to share it?

Oct.So you thought him;

And took his voice who should be prick’d to die,

In our black sentence and proscription.

Ant.Octavius, I have seen more days than you:

And though we lay these honours on this man,

To ease ourselves of divers slanderous loads,

He shall but bear them as the ass bears gold,

To groan and sweat under the business,

Either led or driven, as we point the way;

And having brought our treasure where we will,

Then take we down his load, and turn him off,

Like to the empty ass, to shake his ears,

And graze in commons.

Oct.You may do your will;

But he’s a tried and valiant soldier.

Ant.So is my horse, Octavius; and for that

I do appoint him store of provender.

It is a creature that I teach to fight,

To wind, to stop, to run directly on,

His corporal motion govern’d by my spirit.

And, in some taste, is Lepidus but so;

He must be taught, and train’d, and bid go forth;

A barren-spirited fellow; one that feeds

On abject orts, and imitations,

Which, out of use and stal’d by other men,

Begin his fashion: do not talk of him

But as a property. And now, Octavius,

Listen great things: Brutus and Cassius

Are levying powers; we must straight make head;

Therefore let our alliance be combin’d,

Our best friends made, and our best means stretch’d out;

And let us presently go sit in council,

How covert matters may be best disclos’d,

And open perils surest answered.

Oct.Let us do so: for we are at the stake,

And bay’d about with many enemies;

And some that smile have in their hearts, I fear,

Millions of mischiefs.[Exeunt.