ACT 1 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                           [5]
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.                                                                                  [10]

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.                                                                             [15]

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                                 [20]
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                                          [25]
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                                           [30]
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                                          [35]
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.                                                                        [40]

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,                                             [45]
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                                       [50]
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.                                                                    [55]

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                              [60]
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,                              [65]
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                                          [70]
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                                          [75]
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.                                                               [80]

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]

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