« PreviousContinue »
The empire of the sea : our slippery people
(Whose love is never link'd to the deserver,
Till his deserts are past,) begin to throw
Pompey the great, and all his dignities,
Upon his son; who, high in name and power,
Higher than both in blood and life, stands up
For the main soldier : whose quality, going on,
The sides o'the world may danger: Much is breeding,
Which, like the courser's hair, * hath yet but life,
And not a serpent's poison. Say, our pleasure,
To such whose place is under us, requires
Our quick remove from hence.
Eno. I shall do't.
Enter CLEOPATRA, CHARMIAN, IRAS, and ALEXAS.
Cleo. Where is he?
Char. I did not see him since.
Cleo. See where he is, who's with him, what he does :
I did not send you;t-If you find him sad,
Say, I am dancing; if in mirth, report
That I am sudden sick: Quick, and return [Exit ALEXAS.
Char. Madam, methinks, if you did love him dearly,
You do not hold the method to enforce
The like from him.
Cleo. What should I do, I do not?
Char. In each thing give him way, cross him in nothing.
Cleo. Thou teachest like a fool: the way to lose him.
Char. Tempt him not so too far: I wish forbear;
In time we hate that which we often fear.
But here comes Antony.
Cleo. I am sick, and sullen.
Ant. I am sorry to give breathing to my purpose,-
Cleo. Help me away, dear Charmian, I shall fall;
It cannot be thus long, the sides of nature
Will not sustain it.
Ant. Now, my dearest queen,
Cleo. Pray you, stand further from me.
Ant. What's the matter?
Cleo. I know, by that same eye, there's some good news.
What says the married woman ?-You may go ?
'Would, she had never given you leave to come!
Let her not say, 'tis I that keep you here,
I have no power upon you: hers you are.
Ant. The gods best know,
Cleo. O, never was there queen
So mightily betray'd! Yet, at the first,
I saw the treasons planted.
* It was once thought that the hair of a horse, dropped into corrupt water, became an animal.
+ I. e. seem as though I did not send you
Ant. Cleopatra, Cleo. Why should I think, you can be mine, and true, Though you in swearing shake the thronged gods, Who have been false to Fulvia ? Riotous madness, To be entangled with those mouth-made vows, Which break themselves in swearing!
Ant. Most sweet queen,
Cleo. Nay, pray you seek no colour for your going,
But bid farewell, and go: when you sued staying,
Then was the time for words : No going then ;-
Eternity was in our lips, and eyes;
Bliss in our brows' bent;* none our parts so poor,
But was a racet of heaven: They are so still,
Or thou, the greatest soldier of the world,
Art turn'd the greatest liar.
Ant. How now, lady!
Cleo. I would, I had thy inches; thou shouldst know, There were a heart in Egypt.
Ant. Hear me, queen: The strong necessity of time commands Our services awhile; but my full heart Remains in use with you. Our Italy Shines o'er with civil swords : Sextus Pompeius Makes his approaches to the port I of Rome: Equality of two domestic powers, Breeds scrupulous faction: The hated grown to strength, Are newly grown to love: The condemn’d Pompey, Rich in his father's honour, creeps apace Into the hearts of such as have not thrived Upon the present state, whose numbers threaten; And quietness, grown sick of rest, would purge By any desperate change: My more particular, And that which most with you should safe & my going, Is Fulvia's death.
Cleo. Though age from folly could not give me freedom, It does from childishness :-Can Fulvia die ?
Ant. She's dead, my queen:
Look here, and, at thy sovereign leisure, read
The garboils || she awaked : at the last, best:
See, when, and where she died.
Čleo. O most false love!
Where be the sacred vials thou should'st fill
With sorrowful water? Now I see, I see,
In Fulvia's death, how mine received shall be.
Ant. Quarrel no more, but be prepared to know
The purposes I bear; which are, or cease
As you shall give the advice; Now, by the fire,
That quickens Nilus' slime, I go from hence,
Thy soldier, servant; making peace or war,
As thou affect'st.
Cleo. Cut my lace, Charmian, come;
Render it not dangerous.
But let it be.--I am quickly ill, and well;
So Antony loves.
Ant. My precious queen forbear;
And give true evidence to his love, which stands
An honourable trial.
Cheo. So Fulvia told me.
I prythee turn aside and weep for her;
Then bid adieu to me, and say the tears
Belong to Egypt: * Good now, play one scene
Of excellent dissembling: and let it look
Like perfect honour.
Ant. You'll heat my blood; no more.
Cleo. You can do better yet; but this is meetly.
Ant. Now, by my sword, -
Cleo. And target, --Still he mends;
But this is not the best: look pr’ythee, Charmian,
How this Herculean Roman does become
The carriage of his chafe, †
Ant. I'll leave you, lady.
Cleo. Courteous lord, one word.
Sir, you and I must part,--but that's not it:
Sir, you and I have loved,- but there's not it;
That you know well: something it is I would,
O, my oblivion I is a very Antony,
And I am all forgotten.
Ant. But that your royalty
Holds idleness your subject, I should take you
For idleness itself.
Cleo. Tis sweating labour,
To bear such idleness so near the heart
As Cleopatra this. But, Sir, forgive me ;,
Since my becomings kill me, when they do no
Eye well to you: Your honour calls you hence
Therefore be deaf to my unpitied folly,
And all the gods go with you! upon your sword
Sit laureld victory! and smooth success
Be strew'd before your feet!
Ant. Let us go. Come;
Our separation so abides, and flies,
That thou, residing here, goʻst yet with me,
And I, hence fleeting, here remain with thee.
[Exeunt. SCENE IV.-Rome. An Apartment in CÆSAR'S House.
Enter OCTAVIUS CÆSAR, LEPIDUS, and Attendants.
Cæs. You may see, Lepidus, and henceforth know,
It is not Cæsar's natural vice to hate
One great competitor :from Alexandria
This is the news; He fishes, drinks, and wastes
The lamps of night in revel: is not more manlike
Than Cleopatra : nor the queen Ptolemy
* Egypt's queen.
More womanly than hé: hardly gave audience, or
Vouchsafed to think he had partners: You shall find there
A man who is the abstract of all faults
That all men follow.
Lep. I must not think, there are
Evils enough to darken all his goodness :
His faults, in him, seem as the spots of heaven,
More fierý by night's blackness; hereditary,
Rather than purchased ; * what he cannot change,
Than what he chooses.
Cæs. You are too indulgent: let us grant, it is not
Amiss to tumble on the bed of Ptolemy;
To give a kingdom for a mirth; to sit
And keep the turn of tippling with a slave;
To reel the streets at noon, and stand the buffet
With knaves that smell of sweat: say, this becomes him,
(As his composure must be rare indeed,
Whom these things cannot blemish), yet must Antony
No way excuse his soils, when we do bear
So great weight in his lightness. f If he fillid
His vacancy with his voluptuousness,
Full surfeits, and the dryness of his bones,
Call on him fort: but, to confound I such time,
That drums him from his sport, and speaks as loud
As his own state, and ours,—'tis to be chid
As we rate boys; who, being mature in knowledge,
Pawn their experience to their present pleasure,
And so rebel to judgment.
Enter a MESSENGER.
Lep. Here's more news.
Mess. Thy biddings have been done; and every hour,
Most noble Cæsar, shalt thou have report
How 'tis abroad. Pompey is strong at sea ;
And it appears, he is beloved of those
That only have fear'd Cæsar: to the ports
The discontents & repair, and men's reports
Give him much wrong d.
Cæs. 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 loved, till ne'er worth love,
Comes deard, || by being lack’d. This common body,
Like a vagabond flag upon the stream,
Goes to, and back, lackeying the varying tide, T
To rot itself with motion.
Mess. Cæsar, I bring thee word,
Menecrates and Menas, famous pirates,
Make the sea serve them: which they ear ** and wound
With keels of every kind : Many hot inroads
# Consume. Discontented.
| Endeared. Following like a servant.
They make in Italy; the borders maritime
Lack blood * to think on't, and flush + youth revolt:
No vessel can peep forth, but ’tis as soon
Taken as seen; for Pompey's name strikes more,
Than could his war resisted.
Leave thy lascivious wassails. When thou once
Wast beaten from Modena, where thou slew'st
Hirtius and Pansa, consuls, at thy heel
Did famine follow; whom thou fought'st against,
Though daintily brought up, with patience more
Than savages could suffer : Thou didst drink
The stale of horses, and the gilded I puddle
Which beast would cough at : thy palate then did deign
The roughest berry on the rudest hedge;
Yea, like the stag, when snow the pasture sheets,
The barks of trees thou browsed'st; on the Alps
It is reported, thou did'st eat strange flesh,
Which some did die to look on: And all this
(It wounds thine honour, that I speak it now),
Was borne so like a soldier, that thy cheek
So much as lank'd not.
Lep. It is pity of him.
Cæs. Let his shames quickly
Drive him to Rome : 'Tis time we twain
Did show ourselves i’ the field; and, to that end,
Assemble we immediate council: Pompey
Thrives in our idleness.
Lep: To-morrow, Cæsar,
I shall be furnish'd to inform you rightly
Both what by sea and land I can be able,
To 'front this present time.
Cæs. Till which encounter,
It is my business too. Farewell.
Lep. Farewell, my lord: What you shall know mean time
of stirs abroad, I shall beseech you, Sir,
To let me be partaker.
Cæs. Doubt not, Sir; I knew it for my bond.'S
[Exeunt. SCENE V.-Alexandria. A Room in the Palace.
Enter CLEOPATRA, CHARMIAN, IRAS, and MARDIAN.
Cleo. Ha, ha !
Give me to drink mandragora.
Char. Why, Madam ?
Cleo. That I might sleep out this great gap of time,
My Antony is away.
Char. You think of him
* Turn pale.
Duty. VOL. IV.