William Shakespeare: Antony and Cleopatra, Act V

Act V

Scene I

Alexandria. Octavius Caesar's camp

Enter Octavius Caesar, Agrippa, Dolabella, Mecaenas, Gallus, Proculeius, and others, his council of war

Octavius Caesar

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

Dolabella

Caesar, I shall. [Exit] 

Enter Dercetas, with the sword of Mark Antony

Octavius Caesar

Wherefore is that? and what art thou that darest Appear thus to us?

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 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.

Octavius Caesar

What is't thou say'st?

Dercetas

I say, O Caesar, Antony is dead.

Octavius Caesar

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.

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, 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 Caesar

Look you sad, friends? 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.

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.

Mecaenas

When such a spacious mirror's set before him, He needs must see himself.

Octavius Caesar

O Antony! I have follow'd 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— 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?

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.

Octavius Caesar

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.

Egyptian

So the gods preserve thee!

Exit

Octavius Caesar

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.

Proculeius

Caesar, I shall.

Exit

Octavius Caesar

Gallus, go you along.

Exit Gallus

Where's Dolabella, To second Proculeius?

All

Dolabella!

Octavius Caesar

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 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.

Exeunt