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Would I had been a man, not to have feared ! Ant. Gods! 'tis too much! too much for man For none would then have envied me your friend
to bear! ship,
Cleo. What is't for me then, Who envy me your love.
A weak forsaken woman, and a lover? Ant. We are both unhappy :
Here let me breathe my last ; envy me not If nothing else, yet our ill fortune parts us. This minute in your arms ! I'll die apace, Speak! would you have me perish by my stay? As fast as e'er I can, and end your trouble.
Cleo. If, as a friend, you ask my judgment, go; Ant. Die !-rather let me perish, loosened If, as a lover, stay. If you must perish
nature 'Tis a hard word--but stay.
Leap from its hinges, sink the props of heaven; Vent. See now the effects of her so boasted And fall the skies to crush the nether world! love!
My eyes ! my soul! my all ! - [Embraces her. She strives to drag you down to ruin with her; Vent. And what's this toy, But could she 'scape without you, oh, how soon In balance with your fortune, honour, fame? Would she let go her hold, and haste to shore, Ant. What is't, Ventidius ? it outweighs them And never look behind!
all. Cleo. Then judge my love by this.
Why, we have more than conquered Cæsar now; [Giving ANTONY a writing. My queen’s not only innocent, but loves me. Could I have borne
This, this is she, who drags me down to ruin ! A life or death, a happiness or woe,
But, could she 'scape without me, with what From yours divided, this had given me means.
haste Ant. By Hercules, the writing of Octavius ! Would she let slip her hold, and make to shore, I know it well: 'tis that proscribing hand, And never look behind! Young as it was, that led the way to mine, Down on thy knees, blasphemer as thou art, And left me but the second place in murder- And ask forgiveness of wronged innocence. See, see, Ventidius! here he offers Egypt, Vent. I'll rather die than take it. Will you go? And joins all Syria to it as a present,
Ant. Go! whither ? go from all that's excelSo in requital she forsake my fortunes,
lent! And joins her arms with his.
Faith, honour, virtue, all good things, forbid Cleo. And yet you leave me!
That I should go from her, who sets my love You leave me, Antony; and yet I love you! Above the price of kingdoms. Give, you gods ! Indeed I do! I have refused å kingdom, Give to your boy, your Cæsar, That's a trifle;
This rattle of a globe to play withal, For I could part with life, with any thing, This gewgaw world, and put him cheaply off; But only you. Oh let me die but with you! I'll not be pleased with less than Cleopatra. Is that a hard request ?
Cleo. She's wholly yours. My heart's so full Ant. Next living with you, 'Tis all that heaven can give.
That I shall do some wild extravagance Aler. He melts; we conquer. [Aside. Of love in public, and the foolish world, Cleo. No, you shall go; your interest calls you Which knows not tenderness, will think me mad. hence :
Vent. Oh women! women! women ! all the Yes, your dear interest pulls too strong for these.
gods Weak arms to hold you here. (Takes his hand. Have not such power of doing good to man Go, leave me, soldier,
As you of doing harm.
(Exit. (For you're no more a lover) leave me dying ; Ant. Our men are armed: Push me all pale and panting from your bosom, Unbar the gate, that looks to Cæsar's camp; And, when your march begins, let one run after, I would revenge the treachery he meant me, Breathless almost for joy, and cry, ' She's dead! And long security makes conquest easy. The soldiers shout ; you then perhaps may sigh, I'm eager to return, before I go; And muster all your Roman gravity;
For all the pleasures I have known beat thick Ventidius chides, and straight your brow clears On my remembrance. How I long for night! up,
That both the sweets of mutual love may try, As I had never been.
And triumph once o'er Cæsar ere we die.
And strain me dose and melt me into love: SCENE I.
So pleased with that sweet image I sprung for.
wards, Enter CLEOPATRA, CHARMION, IRAS, ALEXAS, And added all my strength to every blow. anda train of Egyptians, Antony and Romans;
Cleo. Come to me, come, my soldier, to my CLEOPATRA crowns ANTONY.
arms! Ant. I thought how those white arms would You have been too long away from my embraces; fold me in,
But when I have you fast, and all my own,
With broken murmurs and with amorous sighs, Lie breathless on the plain.
more : Cleo. Oh, my greater Mars !
Yet if by this advantage you could gain Ant. Thou join'st us well, my love.
An easier peace, while Cæsar doubts the chance Suppose me come from the Phlegræan plains,
Of armsWhere gasping giants lay cleft by my sword, Ant. Oh, think not on't, Ventidius ! And mountain-tops par'd off each other blow, The boy pursues my ruin; he'll no peace; To bury those I slew; receive me, goddess ! His malice is considerate in advantage: Let Cæsar spread his subtile nets, like Vulcan ; Oh, he's the coolest murderer! so staunch, In thy embraces I would be beheld
He kills and keeps his temper. By heaven and earth at once,
Vent. Have you no friend And make their envy what they meant their sport. In all his army, who has power to move him? Let those, who took us, blush; I would love on Mecænas or Agrippa might do much. With awful state, regardless of their frowns, Ant. They're both too deep in Cæsar's inteAs their superior god.
rests. There's no satiety of love in thee;
We'll work it out by dint of sword, or perish. Enjoyed, thou still art new; perpetual spring
Vent. Fain I would find some other.
Ant. Thank thy love.
Will save thy farther pains.
Vent. Expect no more; Cæsar is on his guard. Enter VENTIDIUS, and stands apart.
I know, sir, you have conquered against odds; Aler. Oh, now the danger’s past, your general But still you draw supplies from one poor town, comes;
And of Egyptians; he has all the world, He joins not in your joys, nor minds your triumphs, And at his beck nations come pouring in But with contracted brows looks frowning on, To fill the gaps you make. Pray think again. As envying your success.
Ant. Why dost thou drive me from myself to Ant. Now, on my soul he loves me, truly loves
For foreign aids, to hunt my memory, He never flattered me in any vice,
And range all o'er a waste and barren place, But awes me with his virtue: even this minute, To find a friend? The wretched have no friends. Methinks, he has a right of chiding me.
Yet I had one, the bravest youth of Rome, Lead to the temple; I'll avoid his presence ; Whom Cæsar loves beyond the love of women; It checks too strong upon me. (Ereunt the rest. He could resolve his mind, as fire does wax,
[As Antony is going, VENTIDIUS pulls From that hard rugged image melt him down, him by the robe.
And mould him in what softer form he pleased. Vent. Emperor !
Vent. Him would I see, that man of all the Ant. 'Tis the old argument; I prithee spare
[looking back. Just such a one we want. Vent. But this one hearing, emperor.
Ant. He loved me too; Ant. Let go
1 was his soul; he lived not but in me: My robe, or by my father Hercules
We were so closed within each other's breasts, Vent.'By Hercules' father—that's yet greater, The rivets were not found, that joined us first: I bring you somewhat you would wish to know. That does not reach us yet : we were so mixt Ant. Thou seest we are observed; attend me As meeting streams, both to ourselves were lost; here,
We were one mass : we could not give or take And I'll return.
[Erit. But from the same; for he was I, I he. Vent. I'm waning in his favour, yet I love him; Vent. He moves as I would wish him. (Aside I love this man who runs to meet his ruin !
Ant. After this
Vent. He's now in Cæsar's camp.
Since he's no longer mine. He took unkindly,
That I forbad him Cleopatra's sight, · Enter ANTONY.
Because I feared he loved her. He confest Ant. We can conquer,
He had a warmth, which for my sake he stifled; You see, without your aid:
For 'twere impossible, that two, so one, We have dislodged their troops ;
Should not have loved the same. When he deThey look on us at distance, and like curs,
parted, 'Scaped from the lion's paws, they bay far off, He took no leave, and that confirmed my thoughts. And lick their wounds, and faintly threaten war. Vent. It argues, that he loved you more than Five thousand Romans, with their faces upward,
Else he had staid; but he perceived you jealous, Dol. Spare my remembrance ! 'twas a guilty And would not grieve his friend. I know he
And still the blush hangs here.
For sending him no aid, she came from Egypt.
The tackling silk, the streamers waved with gold, Vent. Would you believe he loved you? The gentle winds were lodged in purple sails, I read your answer in your eyes, you would. Her nymphs, like Nereids, round her couch were Not to conceal it longer, he has sent
placed, A messenger from Cæsar's camp with letters. Where she, another sea-born Venus, lay. Ant. Let him appear.
Dol. No more! I would not hear it. Vent. I'll bring him instantly.
Ant. Oh, you must! (Exit VENTIDIUS, and re-enters immediately She lay, and leant her cheek upon her hand, with DOLABELLA.
And cast a look so languishingly sweet, Ant. 'Tis he himself ! himself, by holy friend- As if, secure of all beholders' hearts, ship!
[Runs to embrace him. Neglecting, she could take them. Boys, like CuArt thou returned at last, my better half?
pids, Come, give me all myself !
Stood fanning with their painted wings the winds, Let me not live
That played about her face; but if she smiled, If the young bridegroom, longing for his night, A darting glory seemed to blaze abroad, Was ever half so fond !
That men's desiring eyes were never wearied, Dol, I must be silent, for my soul is busy But hung upon the object! To soft flutes About a nobler work. She's new come home, The silver oars kept time, and while they played, Like a long absent man, and wanders o'er The hearing gave new pleasure to the sight, Each room, a stranger to her own, to look And both to thought. ''Twas heaven, or someIf all be safe.
what more! Ant. Thou hast what's left of me,
For she so charmed all hearts, that gazing crowds For I am now so sunk from what I was,
Stood panting on the shore, and wanted breath Thou find'st me at my lowest watermark: To give their welcome voice. The rivers, that run in and raised my fortunes, Then, Dolabella, where was then thy soul? Are all dried up, or take another course : Was not thy fury quite disarmed with wonder? What I have left is from my native spring; Didst thou not shrink behind me from those eyes, I have still a heart, that swells, in scorn of fate, And whisper in my ear, Oh, tell her not, And lifts me to my banks.
That I accused her of my brother's death! Dol. Still you are lord of all the world to me. Dol. And should my weakness be a plea for Ant. Why then, I yet am so, for thou art all!
yours? If I had any joy, when thou wert absent, Mine was an age, when love might be excused, I grudged it to myself; methought I robbed When kindly warmth, and when my springing Thee of thy part. But oh, my Dolabella! Thou hast beheld me other than I am.
Made it a debt to nature : yours Hast thou not seen my morning chambers filled Vent. Speak boldly ;With sceptered slaves, who waited to salute me? Yours, he would say, in your declining age, With eastern monarchs, who forgot the sun, When no more heat was left but what you forced, To worship my uprising? Menial kings When all the sap was needful for the trunk, Ran coursing up and down my palace-yard, When it went down, then you constrained the Stood silent in my presence, watched my eyes,
course, And at my least command, all started out, And robbed from nature to supply desire. Like racers to the goal.
In you (I would not use so harsh a word) Dol. Slaves to your fortune.
'Tis but plain dotage. Ant. Fortune is Cæsar's now; and what am I? Ant. Ħa! Vent. What you have made yourself: I will not Dol. 'Twas urged too home.flatter.
But yet the loss was private that I made, Ant. Is this friendly done?
'Twas but myself I lost; I lost no legions, Dol. Yes, when his end is so: I must join with I had no world to lose, no people's love. him,
Ant. This from a friend? Indeed I must, and yet you must not chide: Dol. Yes, Antony, a true one; Why am I else your friend?
A friend so tender, that each word I speak Ant. Take heed, young man,
Stabs my own heart before it reach your ear. How thou upbraid'st my love! the queen has Oh! judge me not less kind, because I chide; eyes,
To Cæsar I excuse you.
Dol. As to your equal.
Ant. Well, he's but my equal :
While I wear this, he never shall be more. Dol. Yet are you cold?
Oct. Thus long I have attended for my wekAnt. Are they noble ?
Who am I?
Had I been nothing more than Cæsar's sister, He's fit indeed to buy, not conquer kingdoms.
Know I had still remained in Cæsar's camp: Vent. Then, granting this,
But your Octavia, your much injured wife, What power was theirs, who wrought so hard a Though banished from your bed, driven from temper
your house, To honourable terms?
In spite of Cæsar's sister, still is yours. Ant. It was my Dolabella, or some god. 'Tis true, I have a heart disdains your coldness,
Dol. Not I, nor yet Mecænas nor Agrippa ; And prompts me not to seek what you should They were your enemies, and I, a friend,
offer; Too weak alone; yet 'twas a Roman deed. But a wife's virtue still surmounts that pride: Ant. 'Twas like a Roman done. Shew me I come to claim you as my own, to show
My duty first, to ask, nay beg, your kindness. Who has preserved my life, my love, my honour; | Your hand, my lord ! 'tis mine, and I will have it. Let me but see his face!
(Taking his hand. Vent. That task is mine,
Vent. Do take it, thou deserv'st it. And heaven! thou know'st how pleasing.
Dol. On my soul,
[Erit VENT. And so she does. She's neither too submissive, Dol. You'll remember
Nor yet too haughty; but so just a mean To whom you stand obliged ?
Shows, as it ought, a wife and Roman too. Ant. When I forget it,
Ant. I fear, Octavia, you have begged my life. Be thou unkind, and that's my greatest curse. Oct. Begged it, my lord ! My queen shall thank him too.
sint. Yes, begged it, my ambassadres ; Dol. I fear she will not.
Poorly and basely begged it of your brother. Ant. But she shall do it. The queen, my Do. Oct. Poorly and basely I could never beg, labella!
Nor could my brother grant. Hast thou not still some grudgings of thy fever? Ant. Shall I, who to my kneeling slave could Dol. I would not see her lost.
say, Ant. When I forsake her,
up and be a king, shall I fall down Leave me, my better stars! for she has truth And cry, ' Forgive me, Cæsar Shall I set Beyond her beauty. Cæsar tempted her A man, my equal; in the place of Jove, At no less price than kingdoms to betray me; As he could give me being ? No; that word, But she resisted all : and yet thou chid'st me Forgive, would choke me up, For loving her too well. Could I do so?
And die upon my tongue. Dol. Yes; there's my reason.
Dol. You shah not need it.
Ant. I will not need it. Come, you have all Re-enter VENTIDIUS with OCTAVIA, leading
betrayed me, ANTONY's two little Daughters.
My friend too, to receive some vile conditions. Ant. Where-Octavia there! [Starting back. My wife has bought me with her prayers and Vent. What! is she poison to you? a disease?
tears, Look on her, view her well, and those she brings: And now I must become her branded slave: Are they all strangers to your eyes ? has Nature In every peevish mood she will upbraid No secret call, no whisper, they are yours? The life she gave: If I but look awry, Dol. For shame, my lord, if not for love, re- She cries, ' I'll tell my brother.' ceive them
Oct. My hard fortune
You need not blush to take. I love your honour, Your arms should open, even without your know- Because 'tis mine. It never shall be said, ledge,
Octavia's husband was her brother's slave. To clasp them in ; your feet should turn to Sir, you are free, free even from her you loathe; wings
For though my brother bargains for your love, To bear you to them; and your eyes dart out, Makes me the price and cement of your peace, And aim a kiss, ere you could reach their lips. I bave a soud like yours; I cannot take Ant. I stood amazed to think how they came Your love as alms, nor beg what I deserve. hither.
P'll tell my brother we are reconciled; Vent. I sent for them; I brought them in un- He shall draw back his troops, and you shall known
march To Cleopatra's guards.
To rule the east. I may be dropt at Athens ;
No matter where; I never will complain, And pull him to yourselves, from that bad But only keep the barren name of wife,
woman : And rid you of the trouble.
You, Agrippina, hang upon his arms, Vent. Was ever such a strife of sullen honour! And you, Antonia, clasp about his waist : Both scorn to be obliged.
If he will shake you off, if he will dash you Del. Oh, she has touched him in the tender Against the pavement, you must bear it, children, est part i
For you are mine, and I was born to sutter. See how he reddens with despite and shame,
(Here the children go to him, &c. To be outdone in generosity!
Vent. Was ever sight so moving !--Emperor ! Vent. See how he winks! how he dries up a Dol. Friend! toar,
Oct. Husband ! That fain would fall!
Both Child. Father! Ant. Octavia, I have heard you, and must Ant. I am vanquished: take me, praise
Octavia, take me, children, share me all. The greatness of your soul,
[Embrucing therho But cannot yield to what you have proposed; I have been a thriftless debtor to your loves, For I can ne'er be conquered but by love,
And run out much in riot from your stock;
Dol. Oh, happy change!
Vent. My joy stops at my tongue;
Ant. [To Oct.) This is thy triumph : lead me Vent. I'm glad it pinches there.
where thou wilt, Oct. Would you triunph o'or poor Octavia's Even to thy brother's camp. virtue?
Oct. All there are yours.
Enter Alexas hastily.
Aler. The queen, my mistress, sir, and yours – I have been injured, and my haughty soul
Ant. 'Tis past. Octavia, you shall stay this Could brook but ill the man, who slights my
To-morrow Cæsar and we are one. Art. Therefore, you love me not.
[Exit, leuding OCTAVIA.-Doz. and the chil. Oct. Therefore, my lord,
dren follow. I should not love you.
Vent. There is news for you! Run, my offiAnt. Therefore you would leave me.
cious ennuch! Vot. And therefore I should leave you—if I Be sure to be the first ; haste forward; could. Haste, my dear eunuch, haste!
Erit. Dol. Her sout's too great, after such injuries, Aler. This downright fighting fool, this thickTo say she loves, and yet she lets you see it.
skulled hero, Her niodesty and silence plead her cause. This blunt unthinking instrument of death,
Ani. Oh, Dolabella! which way shall I turn? With plain dull virtue, has outgone my wit. I find a secret yielding in my soul;
Pleasure forsook my earliest infancy, But Cleopatra, who would die with me,
The luxury of others robb’d my cradle, Must she be left? Pity pleads for Octavia, And ravish'd thence the promise of a man: But does it not plead more for Cleopatra ? Cast out from nature, disinherited
Vent. Justice and pity both plead for Octavia, Of what her meanest children claim by kind, For Cleopatra neither.
Yet greatness kept me from contempt; that's One would be ruined with you, but she first
gone. Had ruined you ; the other you have ruined, Had Cleopatra follow'd my advice, And yet she would preserve you.
Then he had been betray'd, who now forsakes. In every thing their merits are unequal.
She dies for love; but she has known its joys: Ant, Oh, my distracted soul !
Gods, is this just, that I, who know no joys, Oct. Sweet heaven, compose it !
Must die, because she loves ?
I know it too, and now am in
Aler. You are no more a queen,