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Lys. To whom does your dread majesty be- | If, by unwearied toil, I have deserved queath

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The vast renown of thy adopted son,
Accept this soul, which thou didst first inspire,
And which this sigh thus gives thee back again.


Lys. Eumenes, cover the fallen majesty; If there be treason, let us find it out; Lysimachus stands forth to lead you on, And swears, by these most honoured dear remains, He will not taste those joys which beauty brings, Till we revenge the greatest, best of kings. [Exeunt omnes.

The duty of a man to empire born ;

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Flowed, ere the wonted season, with a torrent
So unexpected, and so wondrous fierce,
That the wild deluge overtook the haste
Even of the hinds, that watched it. Men and

Were borne above the tops of trees, that grew
On the utmost margin of the water-mark:
Then with so swift an ebb the flood drove back-

It slipt from underneath the scaly herd:
Here monstrous phoca panted on the shore;
Forsaken dolphins there, with their broad tails,
Lay lashing the departing waves; hard by them

Sea-horses, floundering in the slimy mud, Tossed up their heads, and dashed the ooze about them.

Enter ALEXAS behind them. Myr. Avert these omens, Heaven! Ser.

Last night, between the hours of twelve
and one,

In a lone aisle of the temple while I walked,
A whirlwind rose, that, with a violent blast,
Shook all the dome; the doors around me clapt;
The iron wicket, that defends the vault,
Where the long race of Ptolemies is laid,
Burst open, and disclosed the mighty dead:
From out each monument, in order placed,
An armed ghost starts up; the boy-king last
Reared his inglorious head: a peal of groans
Then followed, and a lamentable voice
Cried, Egypt is no more. My blood ran back,
My shaking knees against each other knocked,

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I uttered was most true.

Aler. A foolish dream,

Bred from the fumes of indigested feasts

And holy luxury.

Ser. I know my duty:

This goes no farther.

Alex. 'Tis not fit it should,

Nor would the times now bear it, were it true. All southern from yon hills the Roman camp Hangs o'er us black and threatening, like a storm Just breaking on our heads.

Ser. Our faint Egyptians pray for Antony, But in their servile hearts they own Octavius. Myr. Why, then, does Antony dream out his hours,

And tempts not fortune for a noble day,
Which might redeem what Actium lost?
Alex. He thinks 'tis past recovery.
Ser. Yet the foe

Seems not to press the siege.

Alex. Oh, there's the wonder.
Mecanas and Agrippa, who can most
With Cæsar, are his foes. His wife, Octavia,
Driven from his house, solicits her revenge;
And Dolabella, who was once his friend,
Upon some private grudge now seeks his ruin;
Yet still war seems on either side to sleep.
Ser. 'Tis strange, that Antony, for some days

Has not beheld the face of Cleopatra,
But here in Isis' temple lives retired,
And makes his heart a prey to black despair.

Alex. Tis true; and we much fear he hopes,
by absence,

To cure his mind of love.

Ser. If he be vanquished,

Or make his peace, Egypt is doomed to be
A Roman province, and our plenteous harvests
Must then redeem the scarceness of their soil.
While Antony stood firm, our Alexandria
Rivalled proud Rome (dominion's other seat),
And fortune striding, like a vast Colossus,
Could fix an equal foot of empire here.

Alex. Had I my wish, these tyrants of all na

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Whom, would she yet forsake, yet yield him up,
This hunted prey, to his pursuer's hands,
She might preserve us all: but 'tis in vain-
This changes my designs, this blasts my counsels,
And makes me use all means to keep him here,
Whom I could wish divided from her arms
Far as the earth's deep centre. Well, you know
The state of things: no more of your
ill omens
And black prognostics; labour to confirm
The people's hearts.

Enter VENTIDIUS, talking aside with a gentleman of ANTONY'S.

Ser. These Romans will o'erhear us.
But who's that stranger? by his warlike port,
His fierce demeanor, and erected look,
He is of no vulgar note.

Alex. Oh, 'tis Ventidius,

Our emperor's great lieutenant in the east,
Who first shewed Rome, that Parthia could be

When Antony returned from Syria last,
He left this man to guard the Roman frontiers.
Ser. You seem to know him well.

Alex. Too well. I saw him in Cilicia first,
When Cleopatra there met Antony:
A mortal foe he was to us and Egypt.
But let me witness to the worth I hate;
A braver Roman never drew a sword:
Firm to his prince, but as a friend, not slave :
He ne'er was of his pleasures, but presides
O'er all his cooler hours, and morning counsels :
In short, the plainness, fierceness, rugged virtue
Of an old true stampt Roman lives in him.
His coming bodes, I know not what, of ill
To our affairs. Withdraw, to mark him better,
And I'll acquaint you why I sought you here,
And what is our present work.

[They withdraw to a corner of the stage, and VENTIDIUS, with the other, comes forward to the front.

Vent. Not see him, say you?

I say I must, and will.

Gent. He has commanded,

On pain of death, none should approach his pre

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For his vast soul, and then he starts out wide,
And bounds into a vice, that bears him far
From his first course, and plunges him in ills:
But when his danger makes him find his fault,
Quick to observe, and full of sharp remorse,
He censures eagerly his own misdeeds,
Judging himself with malice to himself,
And not forgiving what as man he did,
Because his other parts are more than man.
He must not thus be lost.

[ALEXAS and the priests come forward. Aler. You have your full instructions; now ad


Proclaim your orders loudly.

Ser. Romans! Egyptians! hear the queen's command.

Thus Cleopatra bids: Let labour cease;

pomp and triumphs give this happy day, That gave the world a lord; 'tis Antony's. Live Antony, and Cleopatra live!

Be this the general voice sent up to heaven,
And every public place repeat this echo.
Vent. Fine pageantry!


Ser. Set out before your doors The images of all your sleeping fathers, With laurels crowned; with laurels wreath your posts,

And strew with flowers the pavement; let the priest

Do present sacrifice, pour out the wine,
And call the gods to join with you in gladness.

Vent. Curse on the tongue that bids this general joy!

Can they be friends to Antony, who revel
When Antony's in danger? Hide, for shame,
You Romans, your great grandsires' images,
For fear their souls should animate their marbles,
To blush at their degenerate progeny.

Alex. A love, which knows no bounds to Antony,

Would mark the day with honours; when all

Laboured for him, when each propitious star
Stood wakeful in his orb to watch that hour,
And shed his better influence: her own birth-day
Our queen neglected, like a vulgar fate,
That passed obscurely by.

Vent. Would it had slept

Divided far from his, till some remote
And future age had called it out to ruin
Some other prince, not him!

Alex. Your emperor,

Tho' grown unkind, would be more gentle than To upbraid my queen for loving him too well. Vent. Does the mute sacrifice upbraid the priest?

He knows him not his executioner.

Oh! she has decked his ruin with her love, Led him in golden bands to gaudy slaughter, And made perdition pleasing: she has left him The blank of what he was.

I tell thee, eunuch, she has quite unmanned him:

Can any Roman see and know him now,
Thus altered from the lord of half mankind,
Unbent, unsinewed, made a woman's toy,
Shrunk from the vast extent of all his honours,
And crampt within a corner of the world?
Oh, Antony!

Thou bravest soldier, and thou best of friends!
Bounteous as nature, next to nature's God!
Couldst thou but make new worlds, so wouldst
thou give them,

As bounty were thy being. Rough in battle
As the first Romans, when they went to war,
Yet, after victory, more pitiful

Than all their praying virgins left at home!
Alex. Would you could add to those more
shining virtues,

His truth to her, who loves him.

Vent. Would I could not!

But wherefore waste I precious hours with thee?
Thou art her darling mischief, her chief engine,
Antony's other fate. Go tell thy queen,
Ventidius is arrived to end her charms.
Let your Egyptian timbrels play alone,
Nor mix effeminate sounds with Roman trumpets.
You dare not fight for Antony; go pray,
And keep your cowards' holiday in temples.
[Exeunt Alex. Serap.

Re-enter the Gentleman of MARC ANTONY.
2 Gent. The emperor approaches, and com-

On pain of death, that none presume to stay. 1 Gent. I dare not disobey him.

Vent. Well, I dare:

[Going out with the other.

But I'll observe him first, unseen, and find Which way his humour drives: the rest I'll ven[Withdraws.


Enter ANTONY, walking with a disturbed motion before he speaks.

Ant. They tell me, 'tis my birth-day; and I'll keep it

With double pomp of sadness:

"Tis what the day deserves, which gave me breath. Why was I raised the meteor of the world, Hung in the skies, and blazing as I travelled, Till all my fires were spent, and then cast downward,

To be trod out by Cæsar?

Vent. [Aside] On my soul

"Tis mournful, wondrous mournful!

Ant. Count thy gains

Now, Antony; wouldst thou be born for this?
Glutton of fortune, thy devouring youth
Has starved thy wanting age.

Vent. [Aside] How sorrow shakes him!
So, now the tempest tears him up by the roots,
And on the ground extends the noble ruin.

Ant. [Having thrown himself down] Lie there, thou shadow of an emperor; The place, thou pressest on thy mother earth,

Is all thy empire now: now it contains thee;
Some few days hence, and then 'twill be too large,
When thou art contracted in thy narrow urn,
Shrunk to a few cold ashes; then Octavia,
(For Cleopatra will not live to see it)
Octavia then will have thee all her own,
And bear thee in her widowed hand to Cæsar;
Cæsar will weep, the crocodile will weep,
To see his rival of the universe

Lie still and peaceful there. I'll think no more of it.

Give me some music; look, that it be sad.
I'll soothe my melancholy, till I swell
And burst myself with sighing- [Soft music.
'Tis somewhat to my humour. Stay, I fancy
I'm now turned wild, a commoner of nature;
Of all forsaken, and forsaking all,

Live in a shady forest's sylvan scene,

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The conquering soldier, red with unfelt wounds,
Salutes his general so; but never more

Stretched at my length beneath some blasted Shall that sound reach my ears.

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Ant. I would be private.

Leave me.

Vent. Sir, I love you,

And therefore will not leave you.

Ant. Will not leave me !

Where have you learnt that answer? Who am I? Vent. My emperor; the man I love next heaven:

If I said more, I think 'twere scarce a sin:
You're all that's good and godlike.

Ant. All that's wretched.

You will not leave me then?

Vent. 'Twas too presuming

To say I would not; but I dare not leave you;
And 'tis unkind in you to chide me hence
So soon, when I so far have come to see you.
Ant. Now thou hast seen me, art thou satis-

For, if a friend, thou hast beheld enough,
And, if a foe, too much.

Vent. Look, emperor, this is no common dew:

I have not wept this forty years; but now

Vent. I warrant you.

Ant. Actium, Actium! Oh

Vent. It sits too near you.

Ant. Here, here it lies, a lump of lead by day, And, in my short distracted nightly slumbers, The hag, that rides my dreams

Vent. Out with it; give it vent.
Ant. Urge not my shame-

I lost a battle.

Vent. So has Julius done.

Ant. Thou favourest me, and speakest not half thou thinkest;

For Julius fought it out, and lost it fairly;
But Antony-

Vent. Nay, stop not.

Ant. Antony

(Well, thou wilt have it) like a coward fled, Fled, while his soldiers fought; fled first, Venti


Thou longest to curse me, and I give thee leave; I know thou camest prepared to rail.

Vent. I did.

Ant. I'll help thee-I have been a man, Ventidius.

Vent. Yes, and a brave one; but

Ant. I know thy meaning.

But I have lost my reason, have disgraced
The name of soldier with inglorious ease;
In the full vintage of my flowing honours
Sat still, and saw it prest by other hands;
Fortune came smiling to my youth, and wooed it,
And purple greatness met my ripened years.
When first I came to empire, I was borne
On tides of people, crowding to my triumphs,
The wish of nations, and the willing world
Received me as its pledge of future peace.
I was so great, so happy, so beloved,
Fate could not ruin me, till I took pains,
And worked against my fortune, chid her front


And turned her loose; yet still she came again.
My careless days, and my luxurious nights,
At length have wearied her, and now she's gone,

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