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Caeser and Cleopatra

Caeser and Cleopatra

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Published by shahua

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Published by: shahua on Jun 22, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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1899CAESAR AND CLEOPATRAby George Bernard Shaw{PROLOGUEPrologue[IN the doorway of the temple of Ra in Memphis. Deepgloom. Anaugust personage with a hawk's head is mysteriouslyvisible byhis own light in the darkness within the temple. Hesurveys themodern audience with great contempt; and finally speaksthe following words to them.]Peace! Be silent and hearken unto me, ye quaint littleislanders.Give ear, ye men with white paper on your breasts andnothingwritten thereon [to signify the innocence of your minds].Hear me,
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ye women who adorn yourselves alluringly and conceal yourthoughtsfrom your men, leading them to believe that ye deem themwondrousstrong and masterful whilst in truth ye hold them in yourhearts aschildren without judgment. Look upon my hawk's head; andknow that Iam Ra, who was once in Egypt a mighty god. Ye cannotkneel norprostrate yourselves; for ye are packed, in rows withoutfreedom tomove, obstructing one another's vision; neither do any of yeregard itas seemly to do ought until ye see all the rest do so too;whereforeit commonly happens that in great emergencies ye donothing thougheach telleth his fellow that something must be done. I ask you not forworship, but for silence. Let not your men speak nor yourwomen cough;for I am come to draw you back two thousand years over thegraves of sixty generations. Ye poor posterity, think not that ye are thefirst.Other fools before ye have seen the sun rise and set, and themoonchange her shape and her hour. As they were so ye are; andyet notso great; for the pyramids my people built stand to this day;whilstthe dust heaps on which ye slave, and which ye call empires,scatterin the wind even as ye pile your dead sons' bodies on them tomake yet
more dust.Hearken to me then, oh ye: compulsorily educated ones.Know thateven as there is an old England and a new, and ye standperplexedbetween the twain; so in the days when I was worshippedwas there anold Rome and a new, and men standing perplexed betweenthem. And theold Rome was poor and little, and greedy and fierce, and evilinmany ways; but because its mind was little and its work wassimple, itknew its own mind and did its own work; and the gods pitiedit andhelped it and strengthened it and shielded it; for the gods arepatient with littleness. Then the old Rome, like the beggar onhorseback, presumed on the favor of the gods, and said, "Lo!thereis neither riches nor greatness in our littleness: the road toriches and greatness is through robbery of the poor andslaughter of the weak." So they robbed their own poor until they becamegreatmasters of that art, and knew by what laws it could be madetoappear seemly and honest. And when they had squeezedtheir own poordry, they robbed the poor of other lands, and added thoselands toRome until there came a new Rome, rich and huge. And I,Ra, laughed;for the minds of the Romans remained the same size whilsttheirdominion spread over the earth.Now mark me, that ye may understand what ye are

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