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Enter OCTAVIUS CESAR, reading a letter, LEPIDUS, and Attendants.

CES. You may see, Lepidus, and henceforth know,

It is not Cæsar'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 vouchsaf'd* to think he had partners. You
shall find there

A man who is the abstract + of all faults
That all men follow.

LEP.
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 purchas'd; what he cannot change,
Than what he chooses.

CES. You are too indulgent. Let us grant,

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Enter a Messenger.

MESS. Thy biddings have been done; and every hour,

Most noble Cæsar, shalt thou have report
How't is abroad. Pompey is strong at sea;
And it appears he is belov'd of those
That only have fear'd Cæsar: to the ports
The discontents repair, and men's reports
Give him much wrong'd.

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*

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.

MESS.
Cæsar, I bring thee word,
Menecrates and Menas, famous pirates,
Make the sea serve them, which they eard 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 't is as soon
Taken as seen; for Pompey's name strikes more
Than could his war resisted.

CES.
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: (3) and all this

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MAR. Not in deed, madam; for I can do nothing

But what indeed is honest to be done:
Yet I have fierce affections, and think
What Venus did with Mars.

O, Charmian,

CLEO. Where think'st thou he is now? Stands he, or sits he?

Or does he walk? or is he on his horse?
O, happy horse, to bear the weight of Antony!
Do bravely, horse! for wott'st thou whom thou
mov'st?

The demi-Atlas of this earth, the arm
And burgonet of men.-He's speaking now,
Or murmuring, Where's my serpent of old Nile?
For so he calls me :-now I feed myself
With most delicious poison.-Think on me,
That am with Phoebus' amorous pinches black,
And wrinkled deep, in time? Broad-fronted

Cæsar,

[Exeunt. When thou wast here above the ground, I was A morsel for a monarch: and great Pompey Would stand, and make his eyes grow in my

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brow;

There would he anchor his aspéct, and die With looking on his life.

Enter CLEOPATRA, CHARMIAN, IRAs, and

Enter ALEXAS.

MARDIAN.

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a

(*) First folio, me.

orient-] Pellucid, lustrous. See note (a), p. 395. b- an arm-gaunt steed,—] The epithet "arm-gaunt" has been fruitful of controversy. Hanmer reads arm-girt; Mason suggests, not unhappily, termagant; and Mr. Boaden, arrogant. If the original lection be genuine, which we doubt, "gaunt" must be understood to mean fierce, eager; a sense it, perhaps, bears in the following passage from Ben Jonson's "Catiline," Act III. Sc. 3,

ALEX.

Sovereign of Egypt, hail! CLEO. How much unlike art thou Mark Antony !

Yet, coming from him, that great med'cine hath
With his tinct gilded thee.-

How goes it with my brave Mark Antony?
ALEX. Last thing he did, dear queen,
He kiss'd, the last of many doubled kisses,—
This orient pearl:-his speech sticks in my
heart.

CLEO. Mine ear must pluck it thence.
ALEX.
Good friend, quoth he,
Say, the firm Roman to great Egypt sends
This treasure of an oyster; at whose foot,
To mend the petty present, I will piece
Her opulent throne with kingdoms: all the east,
Say thou, shall call her mistress. So he nodded,
And soberly did mount an arm-gaunt steed,
Who neigh'd so high, that what I would have
spoke

Was beastly dumb'd by him.

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