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And left me scarce a grasp; I thank your love Vent. After this,
I think she'll blush at nothing.
(And therein you are kind) that Cæsar first Ant. If I have urged a falsehood, yes; else not. Enjoyed iny love, though you deserved it better; Your silence says I have not. Fulvia died : For had I first been yours, it would have saved (Pardon, you gods! with my unkindness died.) My second choice; I never had been his, To set the world at peace, I took Octavia, And ne'er had been but yours. But Cæsar first, This Cæsar's sister. In her pride of youth You say, possessed my love. Not so, my lord: And flower of beauty did I wed that lady, He first possessed my person, you my love: Whom, blushing, I must praise, although I left Cæsar loved me, but I loved Antony: her.
If I endured him after, 'twas because You called; my love obeyed the fatal summons: I judged it due to the first name of men; This raised the Roman arms; the cause was yours. And, half constrained, I gave, as to a tyrant, I would have fought by land, where I was stronger; What he would take by force. You hindered it; yet, when I fought by sea, Vent. Oh, siren ! siren ! Forsook me fighting ; and—oh stain to honour! Yet grant that all the love she boasts were truc, Oh lasting shame! I knew not that I fled, Has she not ruined you? I still urge that, But fled to follow you.
The fatal consequence. Vert. What haste she made to hoist her purple Cleo. The consequence indeed, sails!
For I dare challenge him, my greatest foe, And to appear magnificent in flight,
say it was designed. It is true I loved you, Drew half our strength away.
And kept you far from an uneasy wife, Ant. All this you caused:
Such Fulvia was. And would you inultiply more ruins on me? Yes; but he'll say you left Octavia for me : This honest man, my best, my only friend, And can you blame me to receive that love, Has gathered up the shipwreck of my fortunes : Which quitted such desert for worthless me? Twelve legions I have left, my last recruits, How often have I wished some other Cæsar, And you have watched the news, and bring your Great as the first, and as the second young, eyes
Would court my love, to be refused for you! To seize them too. If you have aught to answer, Vent. Words, words! but Actium, sir, rememNow speak, you have free leave.
ber Actium! Aler. She stands confounded :
Cleo. Ev’n there I dare his malice. True, I Despair is in her eyes.
(Aside. counselled Vent. Now lay a sigh in the way to stop his To fight at sea; but I betrayed you not: passage;
I fled, but not to the enemy. 'Twas fear : Prepare a tear, and bid it for bis legions : Would I had been a man not to have feared! 'Tis like they shall be sold.
For none would then have envied me your friendCleo. How shall I plead my cause, when you, ship, my judge,
Who envy me your love. Already have condemned me? Shall I bring Ant. We are both unhappy : The love, you bore me, for my advocate? If nothing else, yet our ill fortune parts us. That now is turned against me, that destroys me; Speak! would you have me perish by my stay? Por love, once past, is, at the best, forgotten, Cleo. If, as a friend, you ask my judgment, go; But oftener sours to hate. It will please iny lord If, as a lover, stay. If you inust perishTo ruin me, and therefore I'll be guilty; 'Tis a hard word—but stay. But could I once have thought it would have Vent. See now the effects of her so boasted pleased you,
love! That you would pry with narrow searching eyes She strives to drag you down to ruin with her; Into my faults, severe to my destruction, But could she 'scape without you, oh, how soon And watching all advantages with care,
Would she let go her hold, and haste to shore, That serve to make me wretched ! Speak, my And never look behind! lord,
Cleo. Then judge my love by this. For I end here. Though I deserve this usage,
[Giving Antony a writing. Was it like you to give it?
Could I have borne Ant. Oh, you wrong me,
A life or death, a happiness or woe, To think I sought this parting, or desired From yours divided, this had given me means. To accuse you more than what will clear myself, Ant. By Hercules the writing of Octavius ! And justify this breach.
I know it well : 'tis that proscribing hand, Cleo. Thus low I thank you,
Young as it was, that led the way to mine, And, since my innocence will not offend, And left me but the second place in murderI shall not blush to own it.
See, see, Ventidius ! here he offers Egypt,
And joins all Syria to it as a present,
Ant. What is it, Ventidius ? it outweighs them So in requital she forsakes my fortunes,
all. And joins her arms with his.
Why, we have more than conquered Cæsar now; Cleo. And yet you leave me !
My queen's not only innocent, but loves me. You leave me, Antony; and yet I love you ! This, this is she, who drags me down to ruin ! Indeed I do! I have refused a kingdom,
But, could she escape without me, with what That's a trifle;
haste For I could part with life, with any thing, Would she let slip her hold, and make to shore, But only you. Oh let me die but with you! And never look behind ! Is that a hard request?
Down on thy knees, blasphemer as thou art, Ant. Next living with you
And ask forgiveness of wronged innocence. 'Tis all, that heaven can give.
Vent. I'll rather die than take it. Will you Aler. He melts; we conquer. [Aside. go? Cleo. No, you shall go; your interest call you Ant. Go! whither? go from all that's excelhence :
lent! Yes, your dear interest pulls to strong for these Faith, honour, virtue, all good things, forbid Weak arms to hold you here- [Takes his hand. That I should go from her, who sets my
love Go, leave me, soldier,
Above the price of kingdoms. Give, you gods ! (For you're no more a lover) leave me dying; Give to your boy, your Cæsar, Push me all pale and panting from your bosom, This rattle of a globe to play withal, And, when your march begins, let one run after, This gewgaw world, and put him cheaply off; Breathless almost for joy, and cry, - She's dead!' I'll not be pleased with less than Cleopatra. The soldiers shout. You then perhaps may sigh, Cleo. She's wholly yours. My heart's so full And muster all your Roman gravity;
of joy, Ventidius chides, and straight your brow clears That I shall do some wild extravagance up,
Of love in public, and the foolish world, As I had never been.
Which knows not tenderness, will think me mad. Ant. Gods! 'tis too much ! too much for man Vent. Oh women! women! women ! all the to hear!
gods Cleo. What is it for me then,
Have not such power of doing good to man A weak forsaken woman, and a lover?
As you of doing harm.
[Erit. Here let me breathe my last; envy me not Ant. Our men are armed : This minute in your arms! I'll die apace, Unbar the gate, that looks to Cæsar's camp; As fast as e'er I can, and end your trouble. I would revenge the treachery he meant me, Ant. Die !-rather let me perish, loosened And long security makes conquest easy.
I'm eager to return before I go, Leap from its hinges, sink the props of heaven, For all the pleasures I have known beat thick And fall the skies to crush the nether world ! On my remembrance. How I long for night! My eyes! my soul! my all ![Embruces her. That both the sweets of mutual love may try, Vent. And what's this toy,
And triumph once o'er Cæsar ere we die. In balance with your fortune, honour, fame?
Ant. My brighter Venus ! Enter CLEOPATRA, CHARMION, Iras, ALEXAS,
Cleo. Oh, my greater Mars! and a train of Egyptians, Antoxy and Romans; Suppose me come from the Phlegræan plains,
Ant. Thou joinest us well, my love. CLEOPATRA crowns ANTONY.
Where gasping giants lay cleft by my sword, Ant. I Thought how those white arms would And mountain-tops pard off each other blow fold me in,
To bury those I slew ; receiveʻme, goddess ! And strain me close and melt me into love : Let Cæsar spread his subtle nets, like Vulcan; So pleased with that "sweet image I sprung for- In thy embraces I would be beheld wards,
By heaven and earth at once, And added all my strength to every blow. And make their envy what they meant their Cleo. Come to me, come, my soldier, to my sport, arms!
Let those, who took us, blush; I would love on, You have been too long away from my embraces; With awful state, regardless of their frowns, But when I have you fast, and all my own, As their superior god. With broken murmurs and with amorous sighs There's no satiety of love in thee; I'll say you are unkind, and punish you, Enjoyed, thou still art new; perpetual spring And mark you red with many an eager kiss. Is in thy arms; the ripened fruit but falls,
And blossoms rise to fill its empty place,
Vent, Fain I would find some other. And I grow rich by giving.
Ant. Thank thy love.
Some four or five such victories as this
thy farther pains. Alex. Oh, now the danger's past, your general Vent. Expect no more; Cæsar is on his guard. comes ;
I know, sir, you have conquered against odds ; He joins not in your joys, nor minds your triumphs, But still you draw supplies from one poor town, But with contracted brows looks frowning on, And of Egyptians; he has all the world, As envying your success.
And at his beck nations come pouring in Ant. Now, on my soul, he loves me, truly loves me; To fill the gaps you make. Pray think again. He never flattered me in any vice,
Ant. Why dost thou drive me from myself to But awes me with his virtue : even this minute,
search Methinks, he has a right of chiding me.
For foreign aids, to hunt my memory, Lead to the temple; I'll avoid his presence; And range all o'er a wide and barren place, It checks too strong upon me. (Ereunt the rest. To find a friend ? The wretched have no
friends[As Antony is going, Ventidius pulls him by the robe.
Yet I have one, the bravest youth of Rome, Vent. Emperor!
Whom Cæsar loves beyond the love of women; Ant. 'Tis the old argument; I prithee spare He could resolve his mind, as fire does wax,
From that hard rugged image melt him down,
(Looking back. And mould him in what softer form he pleased. Vent. But this one hearing, emperor.
Vent. Him would I see, that man of all the Ant. Let go
world! My robe, or by my father Hercules
Just such a one we want. Vent. By Hercules' father—that's yet greater,
Ant. He loved me too; I bring you somewhat you would wish to know, I was his soul; he lived not but in me : Ant. Thou seest we are observed; attend me We were so closed within each other's breasts, here,
The rivets were not found, that joined us first, And I'll return.
[Erit. That does not reach us yet : we were so mixt Vent. I'm waning in his favour, yet I love him; As meeting streams, both to ourselves were lost : I love this man, who runs to meet his ruin ! We were one mass : we could not give or take And sure the gods, like me, are fond of him : But from the same; for he was I, I he. His virtues lie so mingled with his crimes,
Vent. He moves as I would wish him. (Aside. As would confound their choice to punish one, Ant. After this And not reward the other.
I need not tell his name : 'twas Dolabella.
Vent. He is now in Cæsar's camp.
Ant. No matter where,
Since he is no longer mine. He took unkindly, You see, without your aid :
That I forbad him Cleopatra's sight, We have dislodged their troops.
Because I feared he loved her. He confest They look on us at distance, and like curs, He had a warmth, which for my sake he stifled ; Scaped from the lion's paws, they bay far off, For 'twere impossible, that two, so one, And lick their wounds, and faintly threaten war. Should not have loved the same. When he deFive thousand Romans, with their faces upward, parted, Lie breathless on the plain.
He took no leave, and that confirmed my thoughts. Vent. 'Tis well; and he
Vent. It argues, that he loved you more than Who lost them could have spared ten thousand her,
Else he had staid; but he perceived you jealous, Yet if by this advantage you could gam And would not grieve his friend. I know he An easier peace, while Cæsar doubts the chance Of arms
Ant. I should have seen him, then, ere now. Ant. Oh, think not on it, Ventidius !
Vent. Perhaps The boy pursues my ruin; he'll no peace! He has thus long been labouring for your peace. His malice is considerate in advantage :
Ant. Would he were here ! Oh, he's the coolest murderer! so staunch,
Vent. Would you believe he loved you? He kills and keeps his temper.
I read your answer in your eyes, you would. Vent. Have you no friend
Not to conceal it longer, he has sent In all his army, who has power to move him? A messenger from Cæsar's camp with letters. Mecænas or Agrippa might do much.
Ant. Let him appear. Ant. They're both too deep in Cæsar's in- Vent. I'll bring him instantly. terests.
[Erit Ventidius, and re-enters immediately We'll work it out by dint of sword, or perish.
Ant. 'Tis he himself, himself ! by holy friend, Ant. Oh, you must! ship!
[Runs to embrace him. She lay, and leant her cheek upon her hand, Art thou returned at last, my better half! And cast a look so languishingly sweet, Come, give me all myself!
As if, secure of all beholders' hearts, Let me not live,
Neglecting she could take them. Boys, like Cu-. If the young bridegroom, longing for his night, pids, Was ever half so fond !
Stood fanning with their painted wings the winds, Dol. I must be silent, for my soul is busy That played about her face; but if she smiled, About a nobler work. She's new come hoine, A darting glory seemed to blaze abroad, Like a long abscnt man, and wanders o'er That men's desiring eyes were never wearied, Each room, a stranger to her own, to look But hung upon the object ! To soft flutes If all be safe.
The silver oars kept time, and while they played, Ant. Thou hast what's left of me,
The hearing gave now pleasure to the sight, For I am now so sunk from what I was,
And both to thought. 'Twas heaven, or someThou findest me at my lowest watermark:
what more! The rivers, that ran in, and raised my fortunes, For she so charmed all hearts, that gazing crowds Are all dried up, or take another course : Stood panting on the shore, and wanted breath What I have left is from my native spring; To give their welcome voice. I have still a heart, that swells, in scorn of fate, Then, Dolabella, where was then thy soul? And lifts me to my banks.
Was not thy fury quite disarmed with wonder? Dol. Still you are lord of all the world to me, Didst thou not shrink behind me from those eyes,
Ant. Why then, I yet am so, for thou art all! And whisper in my car, Oh, tell her not, If I had any joy, when thou wert absent, That I accused her of my brother's death! I grudged it to myself; methought I robbed Dol. And should my weakness be a plea for Thee of thy part. But oh, my Dolabella !
yours? Thou hast boheld me other than I am
Mine was an age, when love might be excused, Ilast thou not seen my morning chambers filled When kindly warmth, and when my springing With sceptered slaves, who waited to salute me? youth With eastern monarchs, who forgot the sun, Made it a debt to nature : yoursTo worship my uprising? Menial kings
Vent. Speak boldly: Ran coursing up and down my palace-yard, Yours, he would say, in your declining age, Stood silenced in my presence, watched my eyes, When no more heat was left but what you forced, And, at my least cominand, all started out, When all the sap was needful for the trunk, Like racers to the goal.
When it went down, then they constrained the Dol. Slaves to your fortune.
course, Ant. Fortune is Cæsar's now; and what am I? And robbed from nature to supply desire, Vent. What you have made yourself: I will In you (I would not use so harsh a word) not flatter.
'Tis but plain dotage. Ant. Is this friendly done?
Ant. Ha ! Dol. Yes, when his end is so: I must join with Dol. 'Twas urged too home. him,
But yet the loss was private that I made; Indeed I must, and yet you must not chide: 'Twas but myself I lost; I lost no legions; Why am I else your friend?
I had no world to lose, no people's love. Ånt. Take heed, young man,
Ant. This from a friend? How thou upbraidest my love! the queen has Dol. Yes, Antony, a true one; eyes,
A friend so tender, that each word I speak And thou too hast a soul! Canst thou remember Stabs my own heart before it reach your ear. When, swelled with hatred, thou beheldest her Oh! judge me not less kind, because I cbide. first,
To Cæsar I excuse you. As accessary to thy brother's death?
Ant, Oh, ye gods? Dol. Spare my remembrance ! 'twas a guilty Have I then lived to be excused to Cæsar ! day,
Dol. As to your equal. And still the blush hangs here.
Ant. Well, he's but my equal :
While I wear this, he never shall be more.
Ant. Are they noble ?
he Her nymphs, like Nereids, round her couch were Is full of dcep dissembling, knows no honour placed,
Divided from his interest. Fate mistook him, Where she, another sea-born Venus, lay,
For Nature meant him for an usurer : Dol. Nó niore! I would not hear it! Ile's fit indeed to buy, not conquer kingdoms.
Vent. Then, granting this,
Oct. That's unkind ! What power was theirs, who wrought so hard a Had I been nothing more than Cæsar's sister, temper
Know I had still remained in Cæsar's camp: To honourable terms?
But your Octavia, your much injured wife,
Dol. Not I, nor yet Mecænas nor Agrippa ;
offer; Who has preserved my life, my love, my honour; But a wife's virtue still surmounts that pride : Let me but see his face!
I come to claim you as my own, to show Vent. That task is mine,
My duty first, to ask, nay beg, your kindness. And heaven! thou know'st how pleasing. Your hand, my lord; 'tis mine, and I will have it. (Erit Vent.
[Taking his hand. Dol. You'll remember,
Vent. Do take it, thou deservest it. To whom you stand obliged ?
Dol. On my soul, Ant. When I forget it,
And so she does. She's neither too submissive, Be thou unkind, and that's my greatest curse. Nor yet too haughty; but so just a mean My queen shall thank him too.
Shows, as it ought, a wife and Roman too. Dol. I fear she will not.
Ant. I fear, Octavia, you have begged my life. Art. But she shall do it. The queen, my
Do- Oct. Begged it, my lord ! labella!
Ant. Yes, begged it, my ambassadress; Hast thou not still some grudyings of thy fever? Poorly and basely begged it of your brother. Dol. I would not see her lost.
Oct. Poorly and basely I could never beg, Ant. When I forsake her,
Nor could my brother grant. Leave me my better stars, for she has truth Ant. Shall I, who to my kneeling slave could Beyond her beauty. Cæsar tempted her
say, At no less price than kingdoms to betray me;
up and be a king, shall I fall down
As he could give me being? No; that word, Re-enter VENTIDIUS with Octavia, leading And die upon my tongue.
Forgive, would choke me up,
Dol. You shall not need it.
Vent. What! is she poison to you?' a disease? betrayed meLook on her, view her well, and those she brings : My friend too! to receive some vile conditions. Are they all strangers to your eyes? has Nature My wife has bought me with her prayers and No secret call, no whisper, they are yours?
tears, Dol. For shame, my lord, if not for love, re- And now I must become her branded slave: ceive them
In every peevish mood she will upbraid
Oct. My hard fortune
But the conditions I have brought are such To clasp them in ; your feet should turn to You need not blush to take. I love your honour,
Because 'tis mine. It never shall be said To bear you to them; and your eyes dart out, Octavia's husband was her brother's slave. And aim a kiss, ere you could reach their lips. Sir, you are free, free even from her
you loathe; Ant. I stood amazed to think how they came For though my brother bargains for your love, hither.
Makes me the price and cement of your peace, Vent. I sent for them; I brought them in, un- I have a soul like yours; I cannot take known
Your love as alms, nor beg what I deserve. To Cleopatra's guards.
I'll tell my brother we are reconciled; Dol. Yet are you cold?
He shall draw back his troops, and you shall Oct. Thus long have I attended for my
To rule the east. I may be dropt at Athens ; Which, as a stranger, sure I might expect. No matter where; I never will complain, Who am I?
But only keep the barren name of wife, Ant. Cæsar's sister.
And rid you of the trouble. Vol. k