Antony and Cleopatra


Text
Act I
Act II
Act III
Act IV
Act V
Enter Octavius Caesar, reading a letter, Lepidus, and

their train


CAESAR

You may see, Lepidus, and henceforth know

It is not Caesar's natural vice to hate

Our great competitor. From Alexandria
competitor (n.) 1 partner, associate, colleague

This is the news: he fishes, drinks, and wastes

The lamps of night in revel; is not more manlike

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
abstract (n.) 3 epitome, embodiment, personification

That all men follow.


LEPIDUS

                         I must not think there are

Evils enow to darken all his goodness.
enow (adv.) enough

His faults, in him, seem as the spots of heaven,

More fiery by night's blackness, hereditary

Rather than purchased, what he cannot change
purchased (adj.) acquired, obtained through one's own conduct

Than what he chooses.


CAESAR

You are too indulgent. Let's grant it is not

Amiss to tumble on the bed of Ptolemy,
tumble (v.) 1 have sexual intercourse with

To give a kingdom for a mirth, to sit
mirth (n.) 2 joke, diversion, sport

And keep the turn of tippling with a slave,

To reel the streets at noon, and stand the buffet
buffet (n.) blow, stroke, knock
stand (v.) 14 withstand, endure, stand up to

With knaves that smells of sweat. Say this becomes him –
become (v.) 1 be fitting, befit, be appropriate to See Topics: Frequency count
knave (n.) 1 scoundrel, rascal, rogue See Topics: Frequency count

As his composure must be rare indeed
composure (n.) 1 character, temperament, make-up

Whom these things cannot blemish – yet must Antony

No way excuse his foils when we do bear
foil (n.) 4 flaw, blemish, disgrace

So great weight in his lightness. If he filled
lightness (n.) 1 irresponsibility, levity, frivolity, fickleness

His vacancy with his voluptuousness,
vacancy (n.) 2 spare time, leisure

Full surfeits and the dryness of his bones
full (adj.) 4 food-filled, stomach-swollen
surfeit (n.) 2 sickness brought on by excess

Call on him for't. But to confound such time
call on / upon (v.) 1 call to account, challenge, requite
confound (v.) 8 [of time] waste, consume, squander

That drums him from his sport and speaks as loud
sport (n.) 1 recreation, amusement, entertainment See Topics: Frequency count

As his own state and ours, 'tis to be chid
state (n.) 2 status, rank, position

As we rate boys who, being mature in knowledge,
rate (v.) 1 berate, reproach, rebuke, scold

Pawn their experience to their present pleasure
present (adj.) 1 immediate, instant See Topics: Frequency count

And so rebel to judgement.

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 feared Caesar; to the ports

The discontents repair, and men's reports
discontent (n.) 1 discontented person, malcontent, agitator
repair (v.) 1 come, go, make one's way

Give him much wronged.
give (v.) 6 portray, report, represent


CAESAR

                         I should have known no less.

It hath been taught us from the primal state,
primal (adj.) primaeval, original, earliest
state (n.) 10 government, ruling body, administration

That he which is was wished until he were;
wish (v.) 2 wish for, support

And the ebbed man, ne'er loved till ne'er worth love,
ebbed (adj.) out-of-power, whose fortunes have waned

Comes deared by being lacked. This common body,
body (n.) 2 corporate body, collective mass [of people]
come (v.) 1 become, grow, come to be
deared (adj.) loved, endeared, prized

Like to a vagabond flag upon the stream,
flag (n.) reed, rush; also: variety of iris
vagabond (adj.) drifting, meandering, wandering

Goes to and back, lackeying the varying tide,
lackey (v.) move about aimlessly [as does a lackey]

To rot itself with motion.


MESSENGER

                         Caesar, I bring thee word

Menecrates and Menas, famous pirates,
famous (adj.) 1 notorious, infamous, well-known

Makes the sea serve them, which they ear and wound
ear (v.) 2 plough, break through

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.
blood (n.) 12 colouring, healthy complexion, blushing
flush (adj.) 1 lusty, vigorous, full of life

No vessel can peep forth but 'tis as soon

Taken as seen; for Pompey's name strikes more

Than could his war resisted.


CAESAR

                         Antony,

Leave thy lascivious wassails. When thou once
wassail (n.) drinking-party, carousal, revels

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
gilded (adj.) 1 glittering, gold-coloured, tinged with gold
stale (n.) 4 urine

Which beasts would cough at. Thy palate then did deign
deign (v.) 1 willingly accept, not disdain

The roughest berry on the rudest hedge.
rude (adj.) 2 rough, wild, harsh-looking

Yea, like the stag when snow the pasture sheets,

The barks of trees thou browsed'st. On the Alps
browse (v.) feed upon, nibble at, eat [as animals]

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 lanked not.
lank (v.) grow thin, become shrunken


LEPIDUS

                         'Tis pity of him.


CAESAR

Let his shames quickly

Drive him to Rome. 'Tis time we twain

Did show ourselves i'th' field; and to that end
field (n.) 1 field of battle, battleground, field of combat See Topics: Frequency count

Assemble we immediate council. Pompey

Thrives in our idleness.


LEPIDUS

                         Tomorrow, Caesar,

I shall be furnished to inform you rightly

Both what by sea and land I can be able

To front this present time.
front (v.) 1 confront, face, meet
present (adj.) 3 imminent, impending, approaching


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,
stir (n.) 3 event, happening, activity

To let me be partaker.


CAESAR

                         Doubt not, sir;

I knew it for my bond.
bond (n.) 2 duty, commitment, obligation

Exeunt

 
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