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Vent. My lord?
Vent. Your Cleopatra, Ant. A word in private.
Dolabella's Cleopatra, When saw you Dolabella?
Every man's Cleopatra. Vent. Now, my lord.
Ant. 'Tis false. He parted hence, and Cleopatra with him. Vent. I do not lie, my lord. Ant. Speak softly; 'twas by my command he is this so strange? should mistresses be left, went,
And not provide against a time of change? To bear my last farewell.
You know she's not much used to lonely nights. Vent. It looked indeed
Ant. I'll think no more of it. Like your farewell.
I know 'tis false, and see the plot betwixt you. Ant. More softly—My farewell !
You need not have gone this way, Octavia; What secret meaning have you in these words, What harms it you, that Cleopatra's just ? Of my farewel?' He did it by my order. She's mine no more. I see and I forgive; Vent. Then he obeyed your order, I suppose. Urge it no farther, love.
[Aloud. Oct. Are you concerned, You bid him do it with all gentleness,
That she's found false ? All kindness, and all-love.
Ant. I should be, were it so; Ant. How she mourned !
For, though 'tis past, I would not, that the world The poor forsaken creature !
Should tax my former choice; that I loved one Vent. She took it as she ought; she bore your Of so light note; but I forgive you both. parting,
Vent. What has my age deserved, that you As she did Cæsar's , as she would another's,
should think Were a new love to come.
I would abuse your ears with perjury? Ant. Thou dost belie her,
If heaven be true, she's false. Most basely and maliciously belie her.
Ant. Though heaven and earth Vent. I thought not to displease you : I have Should witness it, I'll not believe her tainted. done.
Vent. I'll bring you, then, a witness Oct. You seem disturbed, my lord. (Coming up. From hell, to prove her so. Nay, go not back, Ant. A very trifle.
(Seeing Aleras just entering, and starting back. Retire, my love.
For stay you must and shall. Vent. It was indeed a trifle.
Aler. What means my
lord ? He sent
Vent. To make you do what most you hate, Ant. No more. Look how thou disobey'st me;
speak truth. Thy life shall answer it.
[Angrily. You are of Cleopatra's private counsel, Oct. Then 'tis no trifle.
Of her bed counsel, her lascivious hours, Vent. (To Oct.] 'Tis less; a very nothing : Are conscious of each nightly change she makes, you too saw it
And watch her as Chaldeans do the moon,
Aler. My noble lord !
No fine set speech, no cadence, no turned periods, Vent. Young? I think him
But a plain homespun truth, is what I ask : And handsome too; and so do others think him. I did myself o'erhear your queen make love But what of that? he went by your command, To Dolabella : speak, for I will know, Indeed, 'tis probable, with some kind message, By your confession, what more passed betwixt For she received it graciously: She smiled;
them, And then he grew familiar with her hand, How near the business draws to your employment, Squeezed it, and worried it with ravenous kisses; And when the happy hour? She blushed, and sighed, and smiled, and blushed Ant. Speak truth, Alexas; whether it offend again;
Or please Ventidius, care not. Justify At last she took occasion to talk softly,
Thy injured queen from malice: dare his worst. And brought her cheek up close, and leaned on Oct. [Aside.] See how he gives him courage, his,
how he fears At which he whispered kisses back on hers; To find her false, and shuts his eyes to truth, And then she cryed aloud,“ that constancy Willing to be misled! Should be rewarded !--This I saw and heard. Aler. As far as love may plead for woman's Ant. What woman was it, whom you heard frailty, and saw
Urged by desert and greatness of the lover, So playful with my friend?
So far, divine Octavia, may my queen Not Cleopatra?
Stand even excused to you for loving him, Vent. Even she, my lord.
Who is your lord; so far from brave Ventidius Ant. My Cleopatra !
May her past actions hope a fair report.
Ant. 'Tis well and truly spoken : Mark, Oct. Wherein have I offended you, my lord, Ventidius.
That I am bid to leave you? am I false Alex. To you, most noble emperor, her strong Or infamous ? am I a Cleopatra ? passion
Were I she, Stands not excused, but wholly justified. Base as she is, you would not bid me leave you, Her beauty's charms alone, without her crown, But hang upon my neck, take slight excuses, From Ind and Meroe drew the distant vows And fawn upon my falsehood. Of sighing kings, and at her feet were laid
Ant. 'Tis too much, The sceptres of the earth, exposed on heaps, Too much, Octavia! I am prest with sorrows, To chuse where she would reign;
Too heavy to be borne, and you add more! She thought a Roman only could deserve her, I would retire, and recollect what's left And, of all Romans, only Antony;
Of man within, to aid me. And, to be less than wife to you, disdained
Oct. You would mourn Their lawful passion.
In private for your love, who has betrayed you. Ant. 'Tis but truth.
You did but half return to me; your kindness Aler. And yet, though love and your unmatch- Lingered behind with her. I hear, my lord, ed desert
You make conditions for her, Have drawn her from the due regard of honour, 4 And would include her treaty: wondrous proofs At last heaven opened her unwilling eyes. Of love to me! To see the wrongs, she offered fair Octavia, Ant. Are you my friend, Ventidius? Whose holy bed she lawlessly usurped :
Or are you turned a Dolabella too, The sad effects of this unprosperous war
And let this fury loose? Confirmed those pious thoughts.
Vent. Oh,be advised, Vent. (Aside.] Oh, wheel you there?
Sweet madam! and retire. Observe him now; the man begins to mend, Oct. Yes, I will go, but never to return; And talk substantial reason. Fear not, eunuch; You shall no more be haunted with this fury. The emperor has given thee leave to speak. My lord, my lord ! love will not always last,
Aler. Else had I never dared to offend his ears When urged with long unkindness and disdain. With what the last necessity has urged
Take her again, whom you prefer to me; On
my forsaken mistress; yet I must not She stays but to be called. Poor cozened man! Presume to say, her heart is wholly altered. Le a feigned parting give her back your heart, Ant. No, dare not for thy life! I charge thee, Which a feigned love first got; for injured me, dare not
Though my just sense of wrongs forbid my stay, Pronounce that fatal word !
My duty shall be yours. Oct. Must I bear this? Good heaven! afford to the dear pledges of our former love me patience!
(Aside. My tenderness and care shall be transferred, Vent. Oh, sweet eunuch ! my dear halt man, and they shall cheer by turns my widowed proceed!
nights. Aler. Yet Dolabella
So take my last farewell! for I despair Has loved her long; he, next my godlike lord, To have you whole, and scorn to take you half. Deserves her best; and should she meet his
Vent. I combat heaven, which blasts my best Rejected, as she is, by him she loved
designs! Ant. Hence from my sight, for I can bear no My last attempt must be to win her back; more! But oh! I fear in vain.
[Erit. Let furies drag thee quick to hell! each torturing Ant. Why was I framed with this plain honest hand
heart, Do thou employ till Cleopatra comes,
Which knows not to disguise its griefs and weakThen join thou too, and help to torture her!
ness, [Erit Aleras, thrust out by Antony. But bears its workings outward to the world ? Oct. 'Tis not well!
I should have kept the mighty anguish in, Indeed, my lord, 'tis much unkind to me,
And forced a smile at Cleopatra's falsehood; To shew this passion, this extreme concernment, Octavia had believed it, and had staid. For an abandoned, faithless prostitute.
But I am made a shallow-forded stream, Ant. Octavia, leave me! I am much disorder- Seen to the bottom, all my clearness scored, ed !
And all my faults exposed.-See, where he Leave me, I say !
comes, Oct. My lord !
Enter DOLABELLA. Ant, I bid you leave me. Vent. Obey him, madam ; best withdraw Who has profaned the sacred name of friend, awhile,
And worn it into vileness ! And see how this will work.
With how secure a brow and specious form
He gilds the secret villain! Sure that face Lay lulled betwixt your bosoms, and there slept
Dol. If she has wronged you,
Heaven, hell, and you, revenge it! Dol. O my friend!
Ant. If she has wronged ine! Ant. Well, Dolabella, you performed my Thou wouldst evade thy part of guilt: but swear message?
Thou lavest not her. Dol. I did, unwillingly.
Dol. Not so as I love you. Ant. Unwillingly !
Ant. Not so? Swear, swear, I say, thou dost Was it so hard for you to bear our parting ?
not love her. You should have wished it.
Dol. No more than friendship will allow. Dok Why!
Ant. No more ! Ant. Because you love me;
Friendship allows thee nothing: thou art perjuAnd she received my message with as true,
red With as unfeigned a sorrow as you brought it? And yet thou didst not swear thou lovest her not; Dol. She loves you even to madness.
But not so much, no more. Oh, trifling hypoAnt. Oh! I know it.
crite! You, Dolabella, do not better know
Who durst not own to her thou dost not love, How much she loves me. And should I
Nor own to me thou dost ! Ventidius heard it, Forsake this beauty, this all perfect creature ? Octavia saw it. Dol. I could not, were she mine.
Cleo. They are enemies. Ant. And yet you first
Ant. Alexas is not so; he, he confest it; Persuaded me. How come you altered since ? He, who next hell best knew it, he avowed it.
Dol. I said at first I was not fit to go: Why do I seek a proof beyond yourself? [To Dol. I could not hear her sighs, and see her tears, You, whom I sent to bear my last farewell, But pity must prevail; and so perhaps
Returned to plead her stay. It may again with you; for I have promised, Dol. What shall I answer? That she should take her last farewell; and see, If to have loved be guilt, then I have sinned ; She comes to claim my word.
But if to have repented of that love
Can wash away my crime, I have repented; Enter CLEOPATRA.
Yet, if I have offended past forgiveness, Ant. False Dolabella!
Let her not suffer: she is innocent. Dol. What's false, my lord?
Cleo. Ah, what will not a woman do, who Ant. Why, Dolabella's false,
loves ! And Cleopatra's false; both false and faithless. What means will she refuse to keep that heart, Draw near, you well-joined wickedness, you | Where all her joys are placed ! 'Twas I encouserpents,
raged, Whom I have in my kindly bosom warmed, 'Twas I blew up the fire, that scorched his soul, Till I am stung to death!
To make you jealous, and by that regain you: Dol. My lord, have I
But all in vain; I could not counterfeit : Deserved to be thus used ?
In spite of all the dams, my love broke o'er, Cleo. Can heaven prepare
And drowned my heart again : Fate took the ocA newer torment? can it find a curse
casion, Beyond our separation?
And thus one minute's feigning has destroyed Ant. Yes, if fate
My whole life's truth.
Seen and broke through at first.
and friendship ! When half the globe was mine, I gave it you You have no longer place in human breasts; In dowry with my heart: I had no use,
These two have driven you out: avoid my sight! No fruit, of all but you : a friend and mistress I would not kill the man, whom I have loved, Was what the world could give. Oh, Cleopatra ! And cannot hurt the woman; but avoid me! Oh, Dolabella! how could you betray
I do not know how long I can be tame; This tender heart, which, with an infant fondness, For, if I stay one minute more to think Vol. I.
How I am wronged, my justice and revenge One look, one kind farewell : oh, iron heart ! Will cry so loud within me, that my pity Let all the gods look down and judge betwixt us, Will not be heard for either.
If he did ever love!
Ant. No more. Alexas !
Cleo. Oh, 'twas his plot; his ruinous design As if there were degrees in infinite,
To engage you in my love by jealousy. And infinite would rather want perfection, Hear him; confront him with me; let him speak. Than punish to extent.
Ant. I have, I have. Ant. I can forgive
Cleo. And if he clear me notA foe, but not a mistress and a friend :
Ant. Your creature ! one, who hangs upon Treason is there in its most horrid shape,
your smiles, Where trust is greatest; and the soul resigned Watches your eye, to say or unsay Is stabbed by its own guards. I'll hear no more: Whate'er you please. I am not to be moved. Hence from my sight for ever!
Cleo. Then must we part? farewell, my cruel Cleo. How? for ever!
lord ! I cannot go one moment from your sight, The appearance is against me; and I go, And must I go for ever?
Unjustified, for ever from your sight.
The wide world o'er, a helpless banished woman, I'll never strive against, but die pleased
Must I weep too? that calls them innocent.
Live, but live wretched; 'tis but just you should, Ant. I must not hear you;
Who made me so: live from each other's sight; I have a fool within me takes your part, Let me not hear you meet. Set all the earth But honour stops my ears.
And all the seas betwixt your sundered loyes; Cleo. For pity hear me!
View nothing common but the sun and skies. Would you cast off a slave, who followed you, Now all take several ways, Who crouched beneath your spurn? He has no And each your own sad fate with mine deplore, pity!
That you were false, and I could trust no more. See, if he gives one tear to my departure,
SCENE I.-The Temple.
Enter ALEXAS. Enter CLEOPATRA, CHARMION, and Iras.
Iras Help, oh, Alexas, help! Char. Be just, heaven! such virtue, punished The queen grows desperate, her soul struggles in thus,
Cleo. Let me go.
Oh for a little breath to vent my rage!
Was it for me to prop
Thus to be crushed and pounded into atoms,
Which courts its own destruction.
Cleo. I would reason
Cleo. Be more plain! More calmly with you. Did you not o'errule Say whence thou camest! though Fate is in thy And force my plain, direct, and open love
face, Into these crooked paths of jealousy?
Which from thy haggard eyes looks wildly out,
From viewing (spare me, and imagine it)
Ser. Nor that : I saw,
With Antony, your well-appointed feet Dropping and faint with climbing up the cliff, Row out, and thrice he waved his hand on high, If, from above, some charitable hand
And thrice, with cheerful cries, they shouted back: Pull him to safety, hazarding himself
'Twas then false Fortune, like a fawning strumpet, To draw the other's weight, would he look back About to leave the bankrupt prodigal, And curse him for his pains ? The case is yours; With a dissembled smile would kiss at parting, But one step more, and you have gained the And flatter to the last : the well-timed oars height
Now dipped from every bark, now smoothly run Cleo. Sunk, never more to rise.
To meet the foe; and soon indeed they met, Aler. Octavia's gone, and Dolabella banished. But not as foes. In few, we saw their caps Believe me, madam, Antony is yours :
On either side thrown up: the Egyptian gallies, His heart was never lost, but started off
Received like friends, past through, and fell beTo jealousy, love's last retreat, and covert,
bind Where it lies hid in shades, watchful in silence, The Roman rear; and now they all come forward, And listening for the sound, that calls it back. And ride within the port. Some other, any man, 'tis so advanced,
Cleo. Enough, Serapion; May perfect this unfinished work, which I I have heard my doom. This needed not, you (Unhappy only to myself) have left
gods! So easy to his hand.
When I lost Antony, your work was done. Cleo. Look well thou dost, else
'Tis but superfluous malice. Where's my lord? Aler. Else what your silence threatens—An- How bears he this last blow? tony
Ser. His fury cannot be expressed by words:
Should he now find you
Till you can clear your innocence. [A distant shout within. Char. Have comfort, madam : did you mark Aler. You must not; haste you to the monu
that shout? [Second shout nearer. ment, Iraş. Hark! they redouble it.
While I make speed to Cæsar.
Cleo. Cæsar! no;
Alex. I can work him
To spare your life, and let this madman perish.
Cleo. Base fawning wretch! wouldst thou beEnter SERAPION.
tray him too! Ser. Where, where's the queen?
Hence from my sight! I will not hear a traitor :
Serapion, thou art honest; counsel me:
Ser. Retire; you must not see Antony.
He, who began this mischief, Egypt has been; the latest hour is come. Tis just he tempt the danger: let him clear you; The queen of nations from her ancient seat And since he offered you his servile tongue Is sunk for ever in the dark abyss :
To gain a poor precarious life from Cæsar, Time has unrolled her glories to the last, Let him expose that fawning eloquence, And now closed up the volume.
And speak to Antony. .
Cleo. I'll stay.