Rome. Octavius Caesar’s house.
(Antony; Caesar; Octavia; Lamprius the Soothsayer; Ventidius)
Despite his marriage to Octavia, Antony decides to leave for Egypt, fearful of the Soothsayer’s warnings that Caesar shall overcome him. He sends Ventidius to fight in Parthia. (47 lines)
Enter Antony, Caesar, Octavia between them.
The world and my great office will sometimes
Divide me from your bosom.
All which time
Before the gods my knee shall bow my prayers
To them for you.
Good night, sir. My Octavia,
Read not my blemishes in the world’s report.
I have not kept my square, but that to come
Shall all be done by th’ rule. Good night, dear lady.
Good night, sir.
Exit with Octavia.
Now, sirrah; you do wish yourself in Egypt?
Would I had never come from thence, nor you thither.
If you can, your reason?
I see it in my motion, have it not in my tongue;
But yet hie you to Egypt again.
Say to me, whose fortunes shall rise higher,
Caesar’s or mine?
Therefore, O Antony, stay not by his side.
Thy daemon, that thy spirit which keeps thee, is
Noble, courageous, high unmatchable,
Where Caesar’s is not; but near him, thy angel
Becomes a fear, as being o’erpow’r’d: therefore
Make space enough between you.
Speak this no more.
To none but thee; no more but when to thee.
If thou dost play with him at any game,
Thou art sure to lose; and of that natural luck,
He beats thee ’gainst the odds. Thy lustre thickens
When he shines by. I say again, thy spirit
Is all afraid to govern thee near him;
But he away, ’tis noble.
Get thee gone.
Say to Ventidius I would speak with him.
He shall to Parthia. Be it art or hap,
He hath spoken true. The very dice obey him,
And in our sports my better cunning faints
Under his chance. If we draw lots, he speeds;
His cocks do win the battle still of mine,
When it is all to nought; and his quails ever
Beat mine, inhoop’d, at odds. I will to Egypt;
And though I make this marriage for my peace,
I’ th’ East my pleasure lies.
O, come, Ventidius,
You must to Parthia. Your commission’s ready;
Follow me, and receive’t.