Act I, Scene 4 Rome. OCTAVIUS CAESAR's house.

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]

 

To view other scenes from the show:

Full Text Act III, Scene 7 Near Actium Mark Antony's camp.
Act I, Scene 1 Alexandria. A room in Cleopatra's palace. Act III, Scene 8 A plain near Actium/Act III, Scene 9 Another part of the plain./Act III, Scene 10. Another part of the plain.
Act I, Scene 2 The same. Another room. Act III, Scene 11 Alexandria. Cleopatra's palace./Act III, Scene 12 Egypt Octavius' camp.
Act I, Scene 3 The same. Another room. Act III, Scene 13 Alexandria. Cleopatra's palace.
Act I, Scene 4 Rome. Octavius Caesar's house. Act IV, Scene 1 Before Alexandria. Octavius' camp. /Act IV, Scene 2 Alexandria. Cleopatra's palace.
Act I, Scene 5 Alexandria Cleopatra's palace. Act IV, Scene 3 The same. Before the palace./Act IV, Scene 4 The same. A room in the palace.
Act II, Scene 1 Messina Pompey's house. Act IV, Scene 5 Alexandria. Mark Antony's camp/Act IV, Scene 6 Alexandria Octavius' camp.
Act II, Scene 2 Rome. The house of Lepidus. Act IV, Scene 7 Field of battle between the camps./Act IV, Scene 8 Under the walls of Alexandria.
Act II, Scene 3 The same Octavius Caesar's house./Act II, Scene 4 The same. A street. Act IV, Scene 9 Octavius Caesar's camp/Act IV, Scene 10 Between the two camps. /Act IV, Scene 11 Another part of the same.
Act II, Scene 5 Alexandria. Cleopatra's palace. Act IV, Scene 12 Another part of the same./Act IV, Scene 13 Alexandria Cleopatra's palace.
Act II, Scene 6 Near Misenum. Act IV, Scene 14 The same. Another room.
Act II, Scene 7 On board Pompey's galley, off Misenum Act IV, Scene 15 The same. A monument.
Act III, Scene 1 A plain in Syria/ Act III Scene 2 An ante-chamber in Octavius Caesar's house. Act V, Scene 1 Octavius Caesar's camp.
Act III, Scene 3Alexandria Cleopatra's palace./Act III, Scene 4 Athens.  A room in Mark Antony's house. Act V, Scene 2 A room in the monument.
Act III, Scene 5 The same. Another room./Act III, Scene 6 Octavius Caesar's house.  

 

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All's Well the Ends Well Antony & Cleopatra As You Like It Cardenio Comedy of Errors Coriolanus
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Henry VI, Part 1 Henry VI, Part 2 Henry VI, Part 3 Henry VIII Julius Caesar King John
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The Merry Wives of Windsor A Mid Summer Night's Dream  Much Ado About Nothing Othello Pericles Richard II
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