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Antony and Cleopatra

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Act V, Scene 1

Alexandria. OCTAVIUS CAESAR’s camp.



  • Octavius. Go to him, Dolabella, bid him yield;
    Being so frustrate, tell him he mocks
    The pauses that he makes. 3280


[Enter DERCETAS, with the sword of MARK ANTONY]

  • Octavius. Wherefore is that? and what art thou that darest
    Appear thus to us? 3285
  • Dercetas. I am call'd Dercetas;
    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 3290
    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.
  • Dercetas. I say, O Caesar, Antony is dead. 3295
  • Octavius. 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 3300
    A moiety of the world.
  • Dercetas. 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, 3305
    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.
  • Octavius. Look you sad, friends? 3310
    The gods rebuke me, but it is tidings
    To wash the eyes of kings.
  • Agrippa. And strange it is,
    That nature must compel us to lament
    Our most persisted deeds. 3315
  • Mecaenas. His taints and honours
    Waged equal with him.
  • Agrippa. A rarer spirit never
    Did steer humanity: but you, gods, will give us
    Some faults to make us men. Caesar is touch'd. 3320
  • Mecaenas. When such a spacious mirror's set before him,
    He needs must see himself.
  • Octavius. O Antony!
    I have follow'd thee to this; but we do lance
    Diseases in our bodies: I must perforce 3325
    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 3330
    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 3335
    Our equalness to this. Hear me, good friends—
    But I will tell you at some meeter season:
    [Enter an Egyptian]
    The business of this man looks out of him;
    We'll hear him what he says. Whence are you? 3340
  • Egyptian. 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. 3345
  • Octavius. 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 live
    To be ungentle. 3350


  • Octavius. Come hither, Proculeius. Go and say,
    We purpose her no shame: give her what comforts
    The quality of her passion shall require, 3355
    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. 3360


  • Octavius. Gallus, go you along.
    [Exit GALLUS]
    Where's Dolabella, 3365
    To second Proculeius?
  • All. Dolabella!
  • Octavius. 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 3370
    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.