THE TRAGEDY OF ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA
by William Shakespeare
SCENE I. Caesar’s Camp before Alexandria.
Enter Caesar, Agrippa, Dolabella, Maecenas, Gallus, Proculeius with his council of war.
Go to him, Dolabella, bid him yield.
Being so frustrate, tell him, he mocks
The pauses that he makes.
Caesar, I shall.
Enter Dercetus with the sword of Antony.
Wherefore is that? And what art thou that dar’st
Appear thus to us?
I am called Dercetus.
Mark Antony I served, who best was worthy
Best to be served. 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 Caesar; if thou pleasest not,
I yield thee up my life.
What is’t thou say’st?
I say, O Caesar, Antony is dead.
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.
He is dead, Caesar,
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 robbed his wound of it. Behold it stained
With his most noble blood.
Look you sad, friends?
The gods rebuke me, but it is tidings
To wash the eyes of kings.
And strange it is
That nature must compel us to lament
Our most persisted deeds.
His taints and honours
Waged equal with him.
A rarer spirit never
Did steer humanity, but you gods will give us
Some faults to make us men. Caesar is touched.
When such a spacious mirror’s set before him,
He needs must see himself.
I have followed 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?
A poor Egyptian yet. The queen, my mistress,
Confined in all she has, her monument,
Of thy intents desires instruction,
That she preparedly may frame herself
To the way she’s forced to.
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 Caesar cannot lean
To be ungentle.
So the gods preserve thee!
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.
Caesar, I shall.
Gallus, go you along.
Where’s Dolabella, to second Proculeius?
Let him alone, for I remember now
How he’s employed. 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.
THE TRAGEDY OF ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA by William Shakespeare
Author: William Shakespeare
Native Language: English