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your time!

What flocks of critics hover here to-day, Like Hectors, in at every party-fray.
As vultures wait on armies for their prey, Let those find fault whose wit's so very small,
All gaping for the carcase of a play!

They've need to show that they can think at all:
With croaking notes they bode some dire event, Errors like straws upon the surface flow;
And follow dying poets by the scent.

He who would search for pearls, must dive below, Our's gives himself for gone, you've watch'd Fops may have leave to level all they can,

As pigmies would be glad to lop a man. He fights this day unarm’d, without his rhyme ; Half wits are fleas; so little and so light, And brings a tale which often has been told, We scarce could know they live, but that they As sad as Dido's, and almost as old.

bite. His hero, whom you wits his bully call,

But as the rich, when tired with daily feasts, Bates of his mettle, and scarce rants at all : For change, become their next poor tenant's guests, He's somewhat lewd, but a well-meaning mind, Drink hearty draughts of ale from plain brown Weeps much, fights little, but is wond'rous kind;

bowls, In short, a pattern and companion fit

And snatch the homely rasher from the coals; For all the keeping Tonies of the pit.

So you, retiring from much better cheer, I could name more: a wife, and mistress too; For once, may venture to do penance here. Both, (to be plain) too good for most of you, And since that plenteous autumn now is past, The wife well-natured, and the mistress true. Whose grapes and peaches have indulg'd your Now, poets, if your fame has been his care,

taste, Allow him all the candour you can spare. Take in good part, from our poor poet's board, A brave man scorns to quarrel once a day, Such rivelled fruits as winter can afford.

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Just breaking on our heads.
SCENE I.-The Temple of Isis.

Ser. Our faint Egyptians pray for Antony,

But in their servile hearts they own Octavius. SERAPION and Myris, Priests of Isis, discovered.

Myr. Why, then, does Antony dream out his Ser. Portents and prodigies are grown so fre


And tempts not fortune for a noble day,
That they have lost their name. Our fruitful Nile Which might redeem what Actium lost?
Flowed, ere the wonted season, with a torrent Aler. He thinks 'tis past recovery.
So unexpected, and so wond'rous fierce;

Ser. Yet the foe
That the wild deluge overtook the haste Seems not to press the siege.
Even of the hinds, that watched it. Men and Aler. Oh, there's the wonder.

Mecænas and Agrippa, who can most
Were borne above the tops of trees, that grew With Cæsar, are his foes; his wife Octavia,
On the utmost margin of the water-mark; : Driven from his house, solicits her revenge ;
Then with so swift an ebb the flood drove back. And Dolabella, who was once his friend,

Upon some private grudge now seeks his ruin; It slipt from underneath the scaly herd:

Yet still war seems on either side to sleep. Here monstrous phocæ panted on the shore ; Ser. 'Tis strange, that Antony, for some days Forsaken dolphins there, with their broad tails,

past, Lay lashing the departing waves ; hard by them Has not beheld the face of Cleopatra, Sea-horses, floundering in the slimy mud, But here in Isis' temple lives retired, Tossed up their heads, and dashed the cote about And makes his heart a prey to black despair. them.

Aler. 'Tis true, and we much fear he hopes, Enter ALEXAs behind them.

by absence,

To cure his mind of love.
Mýr. Avert these omens, Heaven !

Ser. If he be vanquishred,
Ser. Last night, between the hours of twelve Or make his peace, Egypt is doomed to be
and one,

A Roman province, and our plenteous harvests
In a lone aisle of the temple while I walked, Must then redeem the scarceness of their spil.
A whirlwind rose, that, with a violent blast, While Antony stood form, our Alexandria
Shook all the domne; the doors around me clapt; Rivalled proud Rome (tominion's other seat )
The iron wicket, that defends the vault,

And Fortune striding, like a vast Colossus,
Where the long race of Ptolemies is laid, Could fix an equal foot of empire here.
Burst open, and disclosed the mighty dead : Aler. Had I my wish, these tyrants of all na-
From out each monument, in order placed,

An armed ghost starts up the boy-king fast Who lord it b'er mankind, should perish, perish,
Reared his mglorious head: a peal of groans Each by the other's sword; but since our will
Then followed, and a lamentable voice

Is lamely followed by our power, we must
Cried, ' Egypt is no more.' My blood ran back, Depend on one, with him to rise or fall

. My shaking knees against each other knocked, Ser. How stands the queen affected? On the cold pavement down I fell entranced, Aler. Oh, she cloats, And so unfinished left the horrid scene ! She doats, Serapion, on this vanquished man, Alex. And dreamt you this, or did invent the And winds herself about his mighty ruins, story,

(Shewing himself. Whom, would she yet forsake, yet yield him up, To frighten our Egyptian boys withal,

This hunted prey, to his pursuer's hands, And train them up betimes in fear of priesthood? She might preserve us all : but 'tis in vain Ser. My lord, I saw you not,

This changes my designs, this blasts my counselo

, Nor meant my words should reach your cars ; And makes me use all means to keep him here, but what

Whom I could wish divided from her arms I uttered was most true.

Far as the earth's deep centre. Well, you know Aler. A foolish dream,

The state of things; no more of your ill omens
Bred from the funies of indigested feasts And black prognostics; labour to confirm
And holy luxury.

The people's hearts.
Ser. I know my duty:
This goes no farther.

Enter VentIDIUS, talking aside with a gentlco
Aler. 'Tis not fit it should,

man of ANTONY'S.
Nor would the times now bear it, were it true. Ser. These Romans will o'erhear us.
All southern from yon hills the Roman camp But who's that stranger: by his warlike port,
Hangs o'er us black and threatening, like a storm His fierce demeanor, and erected look,

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He is of no vulgar note.

Live Antony, and Cleopatra live! Aler. Oh, 'tis Ventidius,

Be this the general voice sent up to heaven, Our emperor's great lieutenant in the east, And every public place repeat this echo. Who first shewed Rome, that Parthia could be

Vent, Fine pageantry!

[Aside. conquered.

Ser. Set out before your doors When Antony returned from Syria last,

The images of all your sleeping fathers, He left this man to guard the Roman frontiers. With laurels crowned; with laurels wreathe your Ser. You seem to know him well.

posts, Aler. Too well. I saw him in Cilicia first, And strew with flowers the pavement; let the When Cleopatra there met Antony.

priest A mortal foe he was to us and Egypt;

Do present sacrifice, pour out the wine, But let me witness to the worth I hate :

And call the gods to join with you in gladness. A braver Roman never drew a sword;

Vent. Curse on the tongue that bids this geFirm to his prince, but as a friend, not slave;

neral joy! He ne'er was of his pleasures, but presides Can they be friends to Antony, who revel O'er all his cooler hours, and morning counsels: When Antony's in danger? Hide, for shame, In short, the plainness, fierceness, rugged virtue You Romans, your great grandsires' images, Of an old true-stampt Roman live; in him. For fear their souls should

animate their marbles, His coming bošles, I know not what, of ill

To blush at their degenerate progeny. To our affairs. Withdraw, to mark him better, Aler. A love, which knows no bounds to AnAnd I'll acquaint you why I sought you here,

tony, And what's our present work.

Would mark the day with honours, when all [They withdraw to a corner of the stage, and

Heaven VENTIDIUS, with the other, comes forward Laboured for him, when each propitious star to the front.

Stood wakeful in his orb to watch that hour, Vent. Not see him, say you ?

And shed his better influence: her own birtis-day I say I must and will,

Our queen neglected, like a vulgar fate, Gent. He has commanded,

That passed obscurely by. On pain of death, none should approach his pre- Vent. Would it had slept

Divided far from his, till some remote Vent. I bring him news, will raise his drooping And future age had called it out, to ruin spirits,

Some other prince, not him! Give him new life.

Aier. Your emperor, Gent. He sees not Cleopatra.

Though grown unkind, would be more gentle than Vent. Would he had never seen her!

To upbraid my queen for loving him too well. Gent. He eats not, drinks not, sleeps not, has Vent. Does the mute sacrifice upbraid the

priest? Of any thing but thought; or if he talks, He knows him not his executioner. 'Tis to himself, and then 'tis perfect raving;

Oh! she has decked his ruin with her love, Then he defies the world, and bids it pass; Led him in golden bands to gaudy slaughter, Sometimes he gnaws his lips, and curses loud And made perdition pleasing: she has left him The boy Octavius ; then he draws bis mouth The blank of what he was; Into a scornful smile, and cries,' Take all ! I tell thee, eunuch, she has quite unmanned him The world's not worth my care.'

Can any Roman see and know him now, Vent. Just, just his.nature.

Thus altered, from the lord of half mankind, Virtue's his path, but sometimes 'tis too narrow Unbent, unsinewed, made a woman's toy, For his vast soul, and then he starts out wide, Shrunk from the vast extent of all bis honours, And bounds into a vice, that bears him far And crampt within a corner of the world? From his first course, and plunges him in ills : Oh, Antony ! But when his danger makes him find his fault, Thou bravest soldier, and thou best of friends! Quick to observe, and full of sharp remorse, Bounteous as nature, next to nature's God! He censures eagerly his own misdeeds,

Couldst thou but make new worlds, so wouldst Judging himself with malice to himself,

thou give them, And not forgiving what as man he did,

As bounty were thy being. Rough in battle, Because his other parts are more than man. As the first Romans when they went to war, He must not thus be lost.

Yet, after victory, more pitiful (Alexas and the priests come forward. Than all their praying virgins left at home! Aler. You have your full instructions; now ad- Aler. Would you could add to those more vance ;

shining virtues, Proclaim your orders loudly.

His truth to her, who loves him. Ser. Romans! Egyptians! hear the queen's Vent. Would I could not ! command;

But wherefore waste i precious hours with thee? Thus Cleopatra bids : Let labour cease ; Thou art her darling mischief, her chief engine, To pomp and triumphs give this happy day, Antony's other fate. Go tell thy queen, That gave the world a lord ; 'tis Antony's. Ventidius is arrived to end her charins.

no use

Let your Egyptian timbrels play alone,

Vent. Methinks I fancy Nor inix effeminate sounds with Roman trumpets. Myself there too. You dare not fight for Antony; go pray, Ant. The herd come jumping by me, And keep your cowards' holiday in temples. And fearless quench their thirst while I look on,

(Ereunt ALEX. Ser. And take me for their fellow-citizen.

More of this image, more; it lulls my thoughts. Re-enter the Gentleman of MARC ANTONY.

(Soft music again. 2 Gent. The emperor approaches, and com- Vent. I must disturb him; I can hold no longer. mands,

(Stands before him. On pain of death, that none presume to stay. Ant. (Starting up] Art thou Ventidius? i Gent. I dare not disobey him.

Vent. Are you Antony?
(Going out with the other. I'm liker what I was than you to him
Vent. Well, I dare:

I left you last.
But I'll observe him first, unseen, and find Ant. I'm angry.
Which way his humour drives: the rest I'll ven- Vent. So am I.

(Withdraws. Ant. I would be private. Leave me.

Vent. Sir, I love you, Enter Antony, walking with a disturbed mo- And therefore will not leave you. tion before he speaks.

Ant. Will not leave me! Ant. They tell me, 'tis my birth-day; and I'll Where have you learnt that answer? Who am I? keep it

Vent. My emperor; the man I love next heaWith double pomp of sadness :

ven: 'Tis what the day deserves, which gave me breath. If I said more, I think 'twere scarce a sin: Why was I raised the meteor of the world, You're all that's good and godlike. Hung in the skies, and blazing as I travelled, Ant. All that's wretched. Till all my fires were spent, and then cast down. You will not leave me then? ward,

Vent. 'Twas too presuming To be trod out by Cæsar ?

To say I would not; but I dare not leave you ; Vent. (Aside] On my soul

And 'tis unkind in you to chide me hence 'Tis mournful, wondrous mournful!

So soon, when I so far have come to see you. Ant. Count thy gains

Ant. Now thou hast seen me, art thou satisNow, Antony; wouldst thou be born for this ?

fied ? Glutton of fortune, thy devouring youth For, if a friend, thou hast beheld enough, Has starved thy wanting age.

And, if a foe, too much. l'ent. (Aside) How sorrow shakes him! Vent. Look, emperor, this is no common dew: So, now the tempest tears him up by the roots,

[Weeping. And on the ground extends the noble ruin. I have not wept this forty years, but now Ant. [Having thrown himself down.] Lie there, My mother comes afresh into my eyes; thou shadow of an emperor;

I cannot help her softness. The place, thou pressest on thy mother earth, Ant. By heaven he weeps! Poor good old man, Is all thy empire now: now it contains thee;

he weeps! Some few days hence, and then 'twill be too large, The big round drops course one another down When thou art contracted in thy narrow urn, The furrows of his cheeks. Stop them, Ventidius, Shrunk to a few cold ashes; then Octavia, Or I shall blush to death; they set my shame, (For Cleopatra will not live to see it)

That caused them, full before me. Octavia then will have thee all her own,

Vent. I'll do my best. And bear thee in her widowed hand to Cæsar; Ant. Sure there's contagion in the tears of Cæsar will weep, the crocodile will weep,

friends; To see his rival of the universe

See, I have caught it too. Believe me, 'tis not Lie still and peaceful there. I'll think no more For my own griefs, but thine-Nay, fatheron't

Vent. Emperor. Give me some music; look, that it be sad. Ant. Emperor! why that's the style of vicI'll sooth my melancholy, till I swell

tory: And burst myself with sighing.- (Soft music. The conquering soldier, red with unfelt wounds, 'Tis somewhat to my humour. Stay, I fancy Salutes his general so; but never more I'm now turned wild, a commoner of nature;

Shall that sound reach my ears. Of all forsaken, and forsaking all,

Vent. I warrant you. Live in a shady forest's sylvan scene;

Ant. Actium, Actium ! OhStretched at my length beneath some blasted Vent. It sits too near you. oak,

Ant. Here, here it lies, a lump of lead bŷ day, I lean my head upon the mossy bark,

And, in my short distracted nightly slumbers, And look just of a piece as I grew from it: The hag, that rides my dreams My uncombed locks, matted like misletoe, Vent. Out with it; give it vent. Hang o'er my hoary face; a murmuring brook Ant. Urge not my shame Runs at my foot

I lost a battle.

Vent. So has Julius done.

You would be killed like Tully, would you ? Do; Ant. Thou favour'st me, and speak’st not half Hold out your throat to Cæsar, and die tamely. thou think'st;

Ant. No, I can kill myself, and so resolve. For Julius fought it out, and lost it fairly;

Vent. I can die with you too, when time shall But Antony

serve; Vent. Nay, stop not.

But fortune calls upon us now to live, Ant. Antony

To fight, to conquer. (Well, thou wilt have it) like a coward fled, Ant. Sure thou dream'st, Ventidius. Fled, while his soldiers fought; fled first, Venti- Vent, No, 'tis you dream; you sleep away dius.

your hours Thou long'st to curse me, and I give thee leave; In desperate sloth, miscalled philosophy. I know thou com’st prepared to rail.

Up, up, for honour's sake! twelve legions wait Vent. I did.

you, Ant. I'll help thee—I have been a man, Ven- and long to call you chief: by painful journies tidius.

I led them, patient both of heat and hunger, Vent. Yes, and a brave one; but

Down from the Parthian marches to the Nile; Ant. I know thy meaning.

'Twill do you good to see their sunburnt faces, But I have lost my reason, have disgraced Their scarred cheeks, and chopt hands; there's The name of soldier with inglorious ease;

virtue in them: In the full vintage of my flowing honours They'll sell those mangled limbs at dearor rates Sat still, and saw it prest by other hands ; Than yon trim bands can buy: Fortune came smiling to my youth, and wooed it, Ant. Where left you them? And purple greatness met my ripened years.

Vent. I said in Lower Syria. When first I came to empire, I was borne

Ant. Bring them hither; On tides of people crowding to my triumphs, There may be life in these. The wish of nations, and the willing world Vent. They will not come. Received me as its pledge of future peace.

Ant. Why didst thou mock my hopes with I was so great, so happy, so beloved,

promised aids, Fate could not ruin me, till I took pains, To double my despair ? they are mutinous. And worked against my fortune, chid her from me,

Vent. Most firm and loyal. And turned her loose; yet still she came again. Ant. Yet they will not march My careless days, and my luxurious nights, To succour me? Oh trifler! At length have wearied her, and now she's gonė, Vent. They petition Gone, gone, divorced for ever. Help me, soldier, You would make haste to head them. To curse this madman, this industrious fool, Ant. I'm besieged. Who laboured to be wretched. Pr’ythee curse me. Vent. There's but one way shut up—How came Vent, No.

I hither? Ant. Why?

Ant. I will not stir. Vent. You are too sensible already

Vent. They would perhaps desire Or what you have done, too conscious of your

A better reason.

Ant. I have never used
And, like a scorpion, whipt by others first My soldiers to demand a reason of
To fury, sting yourself in mad revenge.

My actions. Why did they refuse to march?
I would bring balm, and pour it in your wounds, Vent. They said they would not fight for Cleo-
Cure your distempered mind, and heal your for-

patra. tunes.

Ant. What was't they said ? Ant. I know thou wouldst.

Vent. They said they would not fight for CleoVent. I will.

patra. Ant. Ha, ha, ha, ha!

Why should they fight indeed to make her conVent. You laugh.

quer, Ant. I do, to see officious love

And make you more a slave? to gain you kingGive cordials to the dead.

doms, Vent. You would be lost then?

Which for a kiss, at your next midnight feast, Ant. I am.

You'll sell to her?-Then she new-names her Vent. I say you are not. Try your fortune.

jewels, Ant. I have to the utmost. "Dost thou think And calls this diamond such or such a tax; me desperate

Each pendant in her ear shall be a province. Without just cause? No, when I found all lost Ani. Ventidius, I allow your tongue free liBeyond repair, I hid me from the world, And learned to scorn it here, which now I do On all my other faults, but, on your life, So heartily, I think it is not worth

No word of Cleopatra! she deserves The cost of keeping;

More worlds than I can lose.
Vent. Cæsar thinks not so;

Vent. Behold, you powers,
He'll thank you for the gift, he could not take. To whom you have entrusted humankind!


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