Literary Quotations
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CAESAR AND CLEOPATRA

by: George Bernard Shaw


In Egypt the bearer of good tidings is sacrificed to the gods as a thank offering; but no god will accept the blood of the messenger of evil. When we have good tidings, we are careful to send them in the mouth of the cheapest slave we can find. Evil tidings are borne by young noblemen who desire to bring themselves to notice.

--Belzanor, Act I

The Romans are at hand ... not even the descendants of the gods can resist them; for they have each man seven arms, each carrying seven spears. The blood in their veins is boiling quicksilver; and their wives become mothers in three hours, and are slain and eaten the next day.

--Belzanor, Act I

Who shall stay the sword in the hand of a fool, if the high gods put it there?

--Ftatateeta, Act I

In the little world yonder, Sphinx, my place is as high as yours in this great desert; only I wander, and you sit still; I conquer, and you endure; I work and wonder, you watch and wait; I look up and am dazzled, look down and am darkened, look round and am puzzled, whilst your eyes never turn from looking out--out of the world--to the lost region--the home from which we have strayed.

--Caesar, Act I

I always want to be let do as I like, no matter whether it is the will of the gods or not: that is because my blood is made with Nile water.

--Cleopatra, Act I

Taxes are the chief business of a conqueror of the world.

--Caesar, Act II

Pardon him ... he is a barbarian, and thinks that the customs of his tribe and island are the laws of nature.

--Caesar, Act II

I was not born to be slain by so ugly a weapon.

--Apollodorus, Act III

When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty.

--Apollodorus, Act III

My heart, my heart, be whole and free:
Love is thine only enemy.

--Apollodorus, Act III

Every dog has his day.

Caesar, Act III

I mean no harm by killing: I do it as a dog kills a cat, by instinct.

--Rufio, Act IV

When I was foolish, I did what I liked, except when Ftatateeta beat me; and even then I cheated her and did it by stealth. Now that Caesar has made me wise, it is no use my liking or disliking; I do what must be done, and have no time to attend myself. That is not happiness, but it is greatness.

Cleopatra, Act IV

It is not that I am so clever, but that the others are so stupid.

--Cleopatra, Act IV

Who are those we love? Only those whom we do not hate.

--Cleopatra, Act IV

When a man has anything to tell in this world, the difficulty is not to make him tell it, but to prevent him from telling it too often.

--Caesar, Act IV

Rome, that has achieved greatness only to learn how greatness destroys nations of men who are not great!

--Caesar, Act IV

To the end of history, murder shall breed murder, always in the name of right and honor and peace, until the gods are tired of blood and create a race that can understand.

--Caesar, Act IV

He who has never hoped can never despair.

--Caesar, Act IV

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