Зображення сторінки

See Europe, Afric, Asia, put in balance,

Ant. Thou dar'st not trust my passion, but And all weighed down by one light worthless

thou may'st: woman!

Thou only lov'st, the rest have flattered me. I think the gods are Antonies, and give,

Vent. Heaven's blessing on your heart for that Like prodigals, this nether world away

kind word! To none but wasteful hands.

May I believe you love me? Speak again. Ant. You grow presumptuous.

Ånt. Indeed I do. Speak this, and this, and Veni. I take the privilege of plain love to speak.


( Embracing him, Ant. Plain love! plain arrogance, plain inso- Thy praises were unjust : but I'll deserve them, lence!

And yet mend all. Do with me what thou wilt : Thy men are cowards, thou an envious traitor, Lead me to victory; thou know'st the way. Who, under seeming honesty, hath vented

l'ent. And will you leave this The burden of thy rank o’erflowing gall.

Ant. Prithee do not curse her, Oh that thou wert my equal, great in arms And I will leave her; though, heaven knows, I As the first Cæsar was, that I might kill thee,

love Without a stain to honour !

Beyond life, conquest, empire, all but honour ; Vent. You may kill me:

But I will leave her.
You have done more already, called me traitor. Vent. That's my royal master!
Ant. Art thou not one?.

And shall we fight?
Vent. For shewing you yourself,

Ant. I warrant thee, old soldier; Which none else durst have done? But had I been Thou shalt behold me once again in iron, That name, which I disdain to speak again, And at the head of our old troops, that beat I needed not have sought your abject fortunes, The Parthians, cry aloud, “ Come, follow me.' Come to partake your fate, to die with you. Vent. Oh, now I hear my emperor! In that What hindered me to have led my conquering

word eagles

Octavius fell, Gods ! let me see that day, To fill Octavia's bands ? I could have been And if I have ten years behind, take all; A traitor then, a glorious happy traitor, I'll thank you for the exchange. And not have been so called.

Ant. oh, Cleopatra ! Ant. Forgive me, soldier ;

Vent. Again! I have been too passionate.

Ant. I have done ; in that last sigh she went. Vent. You thought me false,

Cæsar shall know what 'tis to force a lover Thought my old age betrayed you. Kill me, sir, From all he holds most dear. Pray kill me: yet you need not; your unkind- Vent. Methinks you breathe ness

Another soul; your looks are most divine; Has left your sword no work.

You speak a hero, and you move a god. Ant. I did not think so;

Ant. Oh, thou hast fired me! my soul's ap ia I said it in my rage: prithee forgive me.

arms, Why didst thou tempt my anger by discovery And mans each part about me. Once again Of what I would not hear?

That noble eagerness of fight has seized me, Vent. No prince, but you,

That eagerness, with which I darted upward Could merit that sincerity I used ;

To Cassius' camp: in vain the steepy brill Nor durst another man have ventured it : Opposed my way, in vain a war of spears But you, ere love misled your wand'ring eyes, Sung round my head, and planted all my shield; Were sure the chief and best of human race, I won the trenches, while my foremost men Framed in the very pride and boast of nature; Lagged on the plain below, So perfect, that the gods, who formed you, won- l'ent. Ye gods, ye gods, dered

For such another honour! At their own skill, and cried, ' a lucky hit Ant. Come on, my soldier ; Has mended our design! Their envy hindered, Our hearts and arms are still the same: I long Else yon had been immortal, and a pattern, Once more to meet our foes, that thou and I, When heaven would work for ostentation sake, Lihe time and death, marching before our troops, To copy out nyain.

May taste fate to them, mow them out a pasAnt. But Cleopatra

sage, Go on, for I can bear it now.

And, entering where the foremost squadrons yield, Vent. No more.

Begin the noble harvest of the field. (Efeunt.


har. I found him, madam SCENE I.-A grand Saloon.

Cleo. A long speech preparing!

If thou bring'st comfort, haste and give it me, Enter CLEOPATRA, IRAS, and ALEXAS.

For never was more need. Cleo. What shall I do, or whither shall I turn! Iras. I know he loves you. Ventidius has o'ercome, and he will go.

Cleo. Had he been kind, her eyes had told Aler. He goes to fight for you.

me so, Cleo. Then he would see me ere he went to Before her tongue could speak it ; now she stufight.

dies Flatter me not; if once he goes, he's lost, To soften what he said: but give me death And all my hopes destroyed.

Just as he sent it, Charmion, undisguised, Aler. Does this weak passion

And in the words he spoke. Become a mighty queen ?

Char. I found him then, Cies. I am no queen :

Encompassed round, I think, with iron statues, Is this to be a queen, to be besieged

So mute, so motionless, his soldiers stood, By yon iusulting Roman, and to wait

While awfully he cast his eyes about, Each hour the victor's chain? These ills are And every leader's hopes and fears surveyed. small,

Methought he looked resolved, and yet not pleaFor Antony is lost, and I can mourn

sed; For nothing else but hin. Now come, Octavius; | When he beheld me struggling in the crowd, I have no more to lose; prepare thy bonds ; He blushed, and bade make way. I am fit to be a captive: Antony

Aler. There's comfort yet. Has taught my mind the fortune of a slave. Char. Ventidius fixed his eyes upon my pasIrus Call reason to assist you.

sage Cleo, I have none,

Severely, as he meant to frown me back, And none would have: my love's a noble mad- And sullenly gave place. I told my message, ness,

Just as you gave it, broken and disordered; Which shows, the cause deserved it. Moderate I numbered in it all your sighs and tears, sorrow

And while I moved your pitiful request, Fits vulgar love, and for a vulgar man ;

That you but only begged a last farewell, But I have loved with such transcendent passion, He fetched an inward groan, and every time 1 soared at first quite out of reason's view, I named you, sighed, as if his heart were breakAnd now am lost above itsno, I am proud

ing, 'Tis thus. Would Antony could see me now! But shunned my eyes, and guiltily looked down. Think you, he would not sigh? Though he must He seemed not now that awful Antony, leave me,

Who shook an armed assembly with his nod, Sure he would sigh; for he is noble-natured, But making how as he would rub bis eyes, And bears a tender heart; I know him well: Disguised and blotted out a falling tear. Ab no! I know him not : I knew him once, Cleo. Did he then weep, and was I worth a But now 'tis past.

tear? Iras. Let it be past with you ;

If what thou hast to say be not as pleasing, Forget him, madam.

Tell me no more, but let me die contented. Clev. Never, never, Iras :

Char. He bid me say, he knew himself so well, He once was mine, and once, though now 'tis He could deny you nothing, if he saw you, gone,

And therefore Leaves a faint image of possession still.

Cleo. Thou wouldst say he would not see me! Alex. Think him inconstant, cruel, and un- Char. And therefore begged you not to use a grateful.

power, Cleo. I cannot ; if I could, those thoughts were Which he could ill resist; yet he shouldever vain :

Respect you as he ought. Faithless, ungrateful, cruel, though he be,

Cien, İs that a word I sựill must love him,

For Antony to use to Cleopatra ?

Oh, that faint word respect! how I disdain it! Enter CHARMION,

Disdain myself for loving after it! Now, what news, my Charmion?

He should have kept that word for cold Octavia
Will he be kind and will he not forsake me? Respect is for a wife. Am I that thing,
Am I to live or die? Nay, do I live,

That dull inspid lump, without desires,
Or am I dead? for when he gave his answer, And without power to give them?
Fate took the word, and then I lived or died. dler. You misjudge;


You see through love, and that deludes your Ant. Ay, there's his choice; sight,

He would live like a lamp to the last wink, As what is straight seems crooked through the And crawl upon the utmost verge of life. water;

Oh, Hercules! why should a man like this, But I, who bear my reason undisturbed, Who dares not trust his fate for one great action, Can see this Antony, this dreaded man,

Be all the care of heaven? why should he lord it A fearful slave, who fain would run away,

O'er Courscore thousand men, of whom each one And shuns his master's eyes; if you pursue him, Is braver than himself? My life on't, he still drags a chain along,

Vent. You conquered for him; That needs must clog his flight.

Philippi knows it: there you shared with him Cleo. Could I believe thee

That empire, which your sword made all your Alex. By every circumstance I know he loves. True, he's hard prest by interest and honour; Ant. Fool that I was ! upon my eagle's wings Yet he but doubts and parleys, and casts out I bore this wren till I was tired with soaring, Many a long look for succour.

And now he mounts above me. Cleo. He sends word

Good heavens! is this, is this the man who He fears to see my face.

braves me, Aler. And would you more?

Who bids my age make way, drives me before Heshows his weakness, who declines the combat ;

him And you must urge your fortune. Could he speak To the world's ridge, and sweeps me off like rubMore plainly? to my ears the message sounds,

bish? Come to my rescue, Cleopatra, come!

Vent. Sir, we lose time; the troops are mountCome, free me from Ventidius, from my tyrant ;

ed all. See me, and give me a pretence to leave him.' Ant. Then give the word to march:

(A march. | I long to leave the prison of a town, I hear his trumpets. This way he must pass. To join the legions, and in open

field Please you retire a while ; I'll work him first, Once more to show my face. Lead, my deliverer! That he may bend more easy, Cleo. You shall rule me,

Enter ALEXAS. But all, I fear, in vain.

Aler. Great emperor, (Exit with CHAR. and IRAS. In mighty arms renowned above mankind, Aler, I fear so too,

But, in soft pity to the oppressed, a god, Though I concealed my thoughts to make her This message sends the mournful Cleopatra bold;

To her departing lord. But 'tis our utmost means, and fate befriend it ! Vent. Smooth sycophant ! (Withdraus. A march till all are on, Alex. A thousand wishes, and ten thousand

prayers, Enter Lictors with fusces, one bearing the Eagle ; Millions of blessings, wait you to the wars;

then enter Antony and VENTIDIUS, followed Millions of sighs and tears she sends you too, by other Commanders,

And would have sent
Ant. Octavius is the minion of blind chance, As many embraces to your arms,
But holds froin virtue nothing.

As many parting kisses to your lips,
Vent. Has he courage ?

But those, she fears, have wearied you already. Ant. But just enough to season him from Vent. (Asıde.j False crocodile! coward.

Aler. And yet she begs not now, you would not Oh ! 'tis the coldest youth upon a charge,

leave her; The most deliberate fighter! if he ventures That were a wish too mighty for her hopes, (As in Illyria once they said he did)

And too presuming for her low fortune and your To storm a town, 'tis when he cannot chuse,

ebbing love; When all the world have fixed their eyes upon That were a wish for her most prosperous days,

Her blooming beauty, and your growing kindness. And then he lives on that for seven years after: Ant. (Aside. Well, I must man it out-What But at a close revenge he never fails.

would the queen ? Vent. I heard you challenged him,

Aler. First to these noble warriors, who attend Ant, I did, Ventidius:

Your daring courage in the chase of fame, What think'st thouwas his answer? 'twas so tame! (Too daring and too dangerous for her quiet) -He said, he had more ways than one to die, She humbly recommends all she holds dear, I had not.

All her own cares and fears,—the care of you. Vent. Poor!

Vent. Yes, witness Actium. Ant. He has more ways than one,

Ant. Let him speak, Ventidius.
But he would chuse them all before that one, Aler. You, when his matchless valour bears
Vent. He first would chuse an ague or a fever,

him forward
Ant. No, it must be an ague, not a fever ; With ardour too heroic on his foes,
He has not warmth enough to die by that, Fall down, as she would do, before his feet,
Vent, Or old age and a bed,

Lie in his way, and stop the paths of death;

him ;

ask you,

Tell him this god is not invulnerable,

Vent. Then I have washed an Ethiop. You That absent Cleopatra bleeds in him ;

are undone ! And, that you may remember her petition, You're in the toils! you're taken ! you're desShe begs you wear these trifles as a pawn,

troyed! Which, at your wished return, she will redeem Her eyes do Cæsar's work.

[Gives jewets to the Commanders. Ant. You fear too soon : With all the wealth of Egypt.

I am constant to myself, I know my strength. This to the great Ventidius she presents,

And yet she shall not think me barbarous neither, Whom she can never count her enemy,

Born in the depths of Afric: I'm a Roman, Because he loves her lord.

Bred to the rules of soft humanity. Vent. Tell her I'll none on't ;

A guest, and kindly used, should bid farewell. I'm not ashamed of honest poverty:

Vent. You do not know Not all the diamonds of the east can bribe How weak you are to her, how much an infant; Ventidius from his faith. I hope to see

You are not proof against a smile or glance; These, and the rest of all her sparkling store, A sigh will quite disarm you. Where they shall more deservingly be placed. Ant. See, she comes! Ant. And who must wear them then?


you shall find your error. Gods ! I thank Vent. The wronged Octavia.

you; Ant. You might have spared that word, I formed the danger greater than it was, Vent. And she that bribe.

And now 'tis near, 'tis lessened.
Ant. But have I no remembrance ?

Vent. Mark the end yet.
Aler. Yes, a dear one;
Your slave the queen-

Enter CLEOPATRA, CHARMION, and IRAS. Ant. My mistress.

Ant. Well, madam, we are met,
Aler. Then your mistress.

Cleo. Is this a meeting!
Your mistress would, she says, have sent her soul, Then we must part.
But that you had long since; she humbly begs Ant. We must.
This ruby bracelet, set with bleeding hearts, Cleo. Who says we must?
(The emblems of her own) may bind your arm. Ant. Our own hard fates.

(Presenting a bracelet. Cleo. We make those fates ourselves. Vent. Now, my best lord, in honour's name I Ant. Yes, we have made them; we have loved

each other, For manhood's sake, and for your own dear safety, Into our mutual ruin. Touch not these poisoned gifts,

Cleo. The gods have seen my joys with envious Infected by the sender! touch them not !

eyes ; Myriads of bluest plagues lie underneath them, I have no friends in heaven; and all the world And more than aconite has dipt the silk. (As 'twere the business of mankind to part us) Ant. Nay, now you grow too cynical, Venti- Is armed against my love; even you yourself dius;

Join with the rest: you, you are armed against me. A lady's favours may be worn with honour. Ant. I will be justified in all I do What, to refuse her bracelet ! on my soul, To late posterity, and therefore hear me. When I lie pensive in my tent alone,

If I mix a lie 'Twill pass the wakeful hours of winter nights With any truth, reproach me freely with it; To tell these pretty beads upon my arm,

Else, favour me with silence. To count for every one a soft embrace,

Cleo. You command me, A melting kiss at such and such a time,

And I am dumb. And now and then the fury of her love,

Vent. I like this well : he shows authority. When-And what harm's in this:

Ant. That I derive my ruin Aler. None, none, my lord,

From you aloneBut what's to her, that now 'tis past for ever. Cleo. Oh, heavens ! I ruin you ! Ant. (Going to tie it.] We soldiers are so Ant. You promised me your silence, and you aukward-help me tie it.

break it, Aler. In faith, my lord, we courtiers too are Ere I have scarce begun. aukward

Cleo. Well, I obey you. In these affairs; so are all men indeed,

Ant. When I beheld you first, it was in Egypt, Even I who am not one.

Ere Cæsar saw your eyes : you gave me love, But shall I speak ?

And were too young to know it. That I settled Ant. Yes, freely,

Your father in his throne was for your sake; Aler. Then, my lord, fair hands alone I left the acknowledgment for time to ripen. Are fit to tie it: she, who sent it, can.

Cæsar stepped in, and, with a greedy hand, Vent. Hell! death! this eunuch pandar ruins Plucked the green fruit, ere the first blush of red, you.

Yet cleaving to the bough. He was my lord, You will not see her? (ALEXAS whispers And was beside too great for me to rival;

an attendant, who goes out. But I deserved you first, thou li he enjoyed you. Ant. But to take leave.

When after I beheld you in Cilicia,


An enemy to Rome, I pardoned you.

Vent. Now lay a sigh i'th' way to stop his pas. Cleo. I cleared myself

sage; Ant. Again you break your promise ! Prepare a tear, and bid it for his legions : I loved you still, and took your weak excuses, 'Tis like they shall be sold. Took you into my bosom, stained by Cæsar, Cleo. How shall I plead my cause, when you, And not half mine: I went to Egypt with you,

my judge, And hid me from the business of the world, Already have condemned me? Shall I bring Sbut out inquiring nations from my sight, The love, you bore me, for my advocate ? To give whole years to you.

That now is turned against me, that destroys me; Vent. Yes, to your shame be it spoken! (Aside. For love, once past, is

, at the best, forgotten, Ant. How I loved,

But oftener sours to hate. ’T will please my lord Witness ye days and nights, and all ye hours, To ruin me, and therefore I'll be guilty; That danced away with down upon your feet, But could I once have thought it would have As all your business were to count my passion!

pleased you, One day passed by, and nothing saw but love; That you would pry with narrow searching eyes Another came, and still 'twas only love: Into my faults, severe to my destruction, The suns were wearied out with looking on, And watching all advantages with eare, And I untired with loving.

That serve to make me wretched ! Speak, my I saw you every day, and all the day,

lord, And every day was still but as the first,

For I end here. Though I deserve this usage, So eager was I still to see you more.

Was it like you to give it? Vent. 'Tis all too true.

Ant. Oh, you wrong me, Ant. Fulvia, my wife, grew jealous,

To think I sought this parting, or desired As she indeed had reason; raised a war To accuse you more than what will clear myself, In Italy, to call me back.

And justify this breach. Vent. But yet

Cico. Thus low I thank you; You went not.

And, since my innocence will not offend, Ant. While within your arms I lay,

I shall not blush to own it. The world fell mouldering from my hands each Vent. After this, hour,

I think she'll blush at nothing. And left me scarce a grasp; I thank your love Cten. You seem grieved for't.

(And therein you are kind) that Cæsar first Vent. Well pushed: that last was home. Enjoyed my love, though you deserved it better; Cleo. Yet may I speak ?

For had I first been yours, it would have saved Ant. If I have urged a falsehood, ves; else, not. My second choice; I never had been his, Your silence says I have not. Fulvia died; Aud ne'er had been but yours. But Cæsar first, Pardon, you gods! with my unkindness dicd. You say, possessed my love. Not so, my lord: To set the world at peace, I took Octavia, He first possessed my person, you my love: This Cæsar's sister. In her pride of youth Cæsar loved me, but I loved Antony: And flower of beauty did I wed that lady, If I endured him after, 'twas because Whom, blushing, I'must praise, although I left I judged it due to the first name of men; her.

And, half constrained, I gave, as to ą tyrant, You called; my love obeyed the fatal summons: What he would take by force. This raised the Roman arms: the cause was yours. Vent. Oh, siren! siren I would have fought by land, where I was stronger; Yet grant that all the love she boasts were true, You hindered it : yet, when I fought at sea, Has she got ruined you? I still urge that, Forsook me fighting ; and-ob stain to honour ! The fatal consequence. Oh lasting shame! I knew not that I fled,

Cleo. The consequence indeed, But fled to follow you.

For I dare challenge him, my greatest foe, Vent. What haste she made to hoist her puuple To say it was designed. ''Tis true I loved sails!

And kept you far from an uneasy wife, And, to appear magnificent in flight,

Such Fulvia was. Drew half our strength away.

Yes; but he'll say you left Octavia for me: Ant. All this you caused:

And can you blame me to receive that love, And would you multiply more ruins on me? Which quitted such desert for worthless me? This honest man, my best, my only friend, How often have I wished some other Cæsar, Has gathered up the shipwreck of my fortunes : Great as the first, and as the second young, Twelve legions I have left, my last recruits, Would court my love, to be refused for you! And you have watched the news, and bring your Vent. Words, words! but Actium, sir, remem eyes

ber Actium! To seize them too. If you have aught to answer, Cleo. Ev'n there I dare bis malice. True, ! Now speak, you have free leave.

counselled Aler. She stands confounded:

To fight at sea ; but I betrayed you not : Despair is in her eyes,

[Aside. I fled, but not to the enemy. 'Twas fear:

« НазадПродовжити »