The Tragedy of Antony and Cleopatra
How we cite our quotes:
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 lov'd till ne'er worth love,
Comes dear'd by being lack'd. (1.4.41)
Caesar repeats what’s become a motif in the play: men out of power are wished into power until they get there, and men in power are never missed or appreciated until they’ve left it. People are ungrateful, or unable to see the good in front of them, especially when it comes to those who rule them. It’s easier to complain against those in power than to praise their good.
My powers are crescent, and my auguring hope
Says it will come to th' full. Mark Antony
In Egypt sits at dinner, and will make
No wars without doors. Caesar gets money where
He loses hearts. Lepidus flatters both,
Of both is flatter'd; but he neither loves,
Nor either cares for him. (2.1.9)
Pompey knows his powers are strong by themselves, but they’re helped by the sorry state of his enemies. Antony’s power is hurt by his devotion to Egypt, Caesar is deceived and gains money from his people through their fear rather than love, and Lepidus simply has no power. Power is diminished by diverse causes.
No, Antony, take the lot;
But, first or last, your fine Egyptian cookery
Shall have the fame. I have heard that Julius Caesar
Grew fat with feasting there.
You have heard much.
I have fair meanings, sir.
And fair words to them.
Then so much have I heard;
And I have heard Apollodorus carried-
No more of that! He did so.
What, I pray you?
A certain queen to Caesar in a mattress. (2.6.62)
Pompey tries to get an edge over Antony, perhaps because the truce Pompey has just made admittedly weakens his own power. Pompey tries to suggest that Antony is weak in matters of love, and is conquered by Cleopatra as she once conquered Julius Caesar. Enobarbus cuts off this talk before it comes to anything, but it highlights the fact that Antony’s submission to Cleopatra does have some bearing on his political power – at least in the eyes of other Romans.