William Shakespeare: Antony and Cleopatra

4. SCENE IV. Athens. A Room in ANTONY'S House.


Nay, nay, Octavia, not only that,--
That were excusable, that and thousands more
Of semblable import--but he hath wag'd
New wars 'gainst Pompey; made his will, and read it
To public ear:
Spoke scandy of me: when perforce he could not
But pay me terms of honour, cold and sickly
He vented them:most narrow measure lent me;
When the best hint was given him, he not took't,
Or did it from his teeth.

O my good lord,
Believe not all; or if you must believe,
Stomach not all. A more unhappy lady,
If this division chance, ne'er stood between,
Praying for both parts:
Sure the good gods will mock me presently
When I shall pray 'O, bless my lord and husband!'
Undo that prayer by crying out as loud
'O, bless my brother!' Husband win, win brother,
Prays and destroys the prayer; no mid-way
'Twixt these extremes at all.

Gentle Octavia,
Let your best love draw to that point which seeks
Best to preserve it: if I lose mine honour,
I lose myself: better I were not yours
Than yours so branchless. But, as you requested,
Yourself shall go between's: the meantime, lady,
I'll raise the preparation of a war
Shall stain your brother: make your soonest haste;
So your desires are yours.

Thanks to my lord.
The Jove of power make me, most weak, most weak,
Your reconciler! Wars 'twixt you twain would be
As if the world should cleave, and that slain men
Should solder up the rift.

When it appears to you where this begins,
Turn your displeasure that way; for our faults
Can never be so equal that your love
Can equally move with them. Provide your going;
Choose your own company, and command what cost
Your heart has mind to.


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