Antony and Cleopatra

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 5 Scene 1

page Act 5 Scene 1 Page 2

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DERCETUS

                                            He is dead, Caesar,
20Not by a public minister of justice,
Nor by a hirèd knife, but that self hand
Which writ his honor in the acts it did
Hath, with the courage which the heart did lend it,
Splitted the heart. This is his sword.
25I robbed his wound of it. Behold it stained
With his most noble blood.

DECRETUS

He’s dead, Caesar. Not by public execution or an assassin’s knife. He killed himself with the same hand that performed such brave acts. With the courage his heart lent his hand, his hand in turn split his heart. This is his sword. I pulled it from his wound. Look—his noble blood is still on it.

CAESAR

                                                      Look you, sad friends,
The gods rebuke me, but it is tidings
To wash the eyes of kings.

CAESAR

Listen, sad friends, though the gods may rebuke me, this news would make kings cry.

AGRIPPA

                                                   And strange it is
That nature must compel us to lament
30Our most persisted deeds.

AGRIPPA

It’s strange that human nature makes us grieve for the very thing we’ve been trying to achieve.

MAECENAS

                                                   His taints and honors
Waged equal with him.

MAECENAS

His faults were equally matched by his virtues.

AGRIPPA

                                              A rarer spirit never
Did steer humanity, but you gods will give us
Some faults to make us men. Caesar is touched.

AGRIPPA

There was never a ruler as excellent as he. But gods, you give us faults so we’ll be human. Caesar is upset.

MAECENAS

When such a spacious mirror’s set before him,
35He needs must see himself.

MAECENAS

It’s impossible for him not to see himself in Antony.

CAESAR

                                                     O Antony,
I have followed thee to this, but we do launch
Diseases in our bodies. I must perforce
Have shown to thee such a declining day,
Or look on thine. We could not stall together
40In 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,
45The arm of mine own body, and the heart
Where mine his thoughts did kindle—that our stars,
Unreconcilable, should divide
Our equalness to this. Hear me, good friends—

CAESAR

Oh, Antony. I drove you to this. But we have to get rid of a disease if it threatens our body. Either I had to ruin you, or you would have ruined me.
There wasn’t enough room in the world for both of us. Even so, let me mourn, with tears that heal like a bloodletting, that you—my brother, my greatest competitor, my partner in rule, my friend and companion on the battlefield, the very arm of my body, and the heart in which mine own heart’s thoughts lived—that our fates could not be reconciled, which caused us to divide ourselves from one another.
Let me tell you, friends—