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Without just cause? No, when I found all lost
Vent. Cæsar thinks not so;
He'll thank you for the gift, he could not take. You would be killed like Tully, would you? Do; Hold out your throat to Cæsar, and die tamely. Ant. No, I can kill myself, and so resolve. Vent. I can die with you too, when time shall
And long to call you chief: by painful journies
They'll sell those mangled limbs at dearer rates
Ant. Where left you them? Vent. I said in Lower Syria. Ant. Bring them hither; There may be life in these. Vent. They will not come.
Ant. Why didst thou mock my hopes with promised aids
To double my despair? they are mutinous.
On all my other faults, but, on your life,
Vent. Behold, you powers!
To whom you have entrusted humankind;
I think the gods are Antonies, and give,
Ant. You grow presumptuous.
Vent. I take the privilege of plain love to
Ant. Plain love! plain arrogance, plain inso-
Thy men are cowards, thou an envious traitor,
Vent. You may kill me:
You have done more already, called me traitor. Ant. Art thou not one?
Vent. For shewing you yourself,
Which none else durst have done? But had I been
To fill Octavia's bands? I could have been
Ant. Forgive me, soldier;
I have been too passionate.
Vent. You thought me false,
Thought my old age betrayed you, Kill me, sir, Pray kill me: yet you need not; your unkindness Has left your sword no work.
Ant. I did not think so;
I said it in my rage: prithee forgive me.
Vent. No prince, but you,
Nor durst another man have ventured it:
At their own skill, and cried,' A lucky hit
Ant. But Cleopatra—
Go on, for I can bear it now.
Ant. Thou dar'st not trust my passion, but
Thou only lovest, the rest have flattered me. Vent. Heaven's blessing on your heart for that kind word!
May I believe you love me? Speak again.
And I will leave her, though heaven knows I love Beyond life, conquest, empire, all but honour: But I will leave her,
Vent. That is my royal master. And shall we fight?
Ant, I warrant thee, old soldier;
Octavius fell. Gods! let me see that day,
Ant. I have done; in that last sigh she went. Cæsar shall know what it is to force a lover From all he holds most dear.
Vent. Methinks you breathe
Ant. Oh, thou hast fired me! my soul's up
And mans each part about me. Once again
Vent. Ye gods, ye gods,
Ant. Come on, my soldier;
Our hearts and arms are still the same: I long Once more to meet our foes, that thou and I, Like Time and Death, marching before our troops, May taste fate to them, mow them out a passage, And, entering where the foremost squadrons yield, [Exeunt.
Begin the noble harvest of the field,
SCENE I-A grand Saloon.
Enter CLEOPATRA, IRAS, and ALEXAS. Cleo. What shall I do, or whither shall I turn! Ventidius has o'ercome, and he will go. Aler. He goes to fight for you,
Each hour the victor's chain? These ills are small,
For Antony is lost, and I can mourn
For nothing else but him. Now come, Octavius;
Cleo. Then he would see me ere he went to Has taught my mind the fortune of a slave.
Flatter me not; if once he goes, he is lost,
And all my hopes destroyed.
Alex. Does this weak passion
Become a mighty queen?
Cleo. I am no queen :
Is this to be a queen, to be besieged
Iras. Call reason to assist you.
Cleo. I have none,
And none would have: my love's a noble mad
Cleo. Never, never, Iras:
But making show as he would rub his eyes,
If what thou hast to say be not as pleasing,
Cleo. Thou wouldst say he would not see me!
He once was mine, and once, though now it is Which he could ill resist; yet he should ever
Leaves a faint image of possession still.
Alex. Think him inconstant, cruel, and ungrateful.
Cleo. I cannot; if I could, those thoughts were
Faithless, ungrateful, cruel, though he be,
Now, what news, my Charmion?
Will he be kind? and will he not forsake me?
Or am I dead? for when he gave his answer,
Cleo. A long specch preparing!
If thou bringest comfort, haste and give it me,
Iras. I know he loves you.
Cleo. Had he been kind, her eyes had told
Before her tongue could speak it: now she studies
Char. I found him then,
Encompassed round, I think, with iron statues,
When he beheld me struggling in the crowd,
Aler. There's comfort yet.
Char. Ventidius fixed his eyes upon my
Respect you as he ought.
For Antony to use to Cleopatra ?
Oh, that faint word respect! how I disdain it!
He should have kept that word for cold Octavia;
Alex. You misjudge;
You see through love, and that deludes your sight,
But I, who bear my reason undisturbed,
Cleo. Could I believe thee
Alex. By every circumstance I know he loves, True, he is hard prest by interest and honour; Yet he but doubts and parleys, and casts out Many a long look for succour.
Cleo. He sends word
Aler. And would you more?
He shows his weakness, who declines the combat;
I hear his trumpets. This way he must pass. Please you retire a while; I'll work him first, pas-That he may bend more casy.
Severely, as he meant to frown me back,
Cleo. You shall rule me,
But all, I fear, in vain. [Exit with Char, and Iras.
Though I concealed my thoughts to make her
But it is our utmost means, and fate befriend it. [Withdraws. A march till all are on.
Enter Lictors with fusces, one bearing the Eagle; then enter ANTONY and VENTIDIUS, followed by other Commanders.
Ant. Octavius is the minion of blind chance,
Ant. He has more ways than one,
But he would chuse them all before that one.
Vent. You conquered for him;
Millions of sighs and tears she sends you too, And would have sent
As many embraces to your arms,
As many dear parting kisses to your lips,
Alex. And yet she begs not now, you would not
That were a wish too mighty for her hopes, And too presuming (for her low fortune and your ebbing love);
That were a wish for her most prosperous days, Her blooming beauty, and your growing kindness. Ant. [Aside.] Well, I must man it out-What would the queen?
Alex. First to these noble warriors, who attend Your daring courage in the chase of fame, (Too daring and too dangerous for her quiet) She humbly recommends all she holds dea All her own cares and fears, the care of you. Vent. Yes, witness Actium.
Ant. Let him speak, Ventidius.
Alex. You, when his matchless valour bears
With ardour, too heroic, on his foes;
With all the wealth of Egypt.
Vent. Tell her I'll none of it;
I am not ashamed of honest poverty:
Ant. You might have spared that word.
Ant. But have I no remembrance?
Alex. Then your mistress.
Your mistress would, she says, have sent her soul, But that you had long since; she humbly begs This ruby bracelet, set with bleeding hearts, (The emblems of her own) may bind your arm. [Presenting a bracelet.
Vent. Now, my best lord, in honour's name I
For manhood's sake, and for your own dear safety, Touch not these poisoned gifts,
Infected by the sender! touch them not!
Myriads of bluest plagues lie underneath them, And more than aconite has dipt the silk.
Ant. Nay, now you grow too cynical, Venti-
A lady's favours may be worn with honour.
Alex. None, none, my lord,
But what's to her, that now 'tis past for ever. Ant. [Going to tie it.] We soldiers are so aukward-help me tie it.
Alex. In faith, my lord, we courtiers too are
In these affairs; so are all men indeed;
Ant. Yes, freely.
Cleo. Oh, heavens! I ruin you!
Ant. You promised me your silence, and you break it,
Ere I have scarce begun.
Cleo. Well, I obey you.
Ant. When I beheld you first, it was in Egypt, Ere Cæsar saw your eyes: you gave me love, And were too young to know it. That I settled Your father in his throne was for your sake; I left the acknowledgment for time to ripen. Cæsar stepped in, and, with a greedy hand, Plucked the green fruit, ere the first blush of red, Yet cleaving to the bough. He was my lord, And was beside too great for me to rival: But I deserved you first, though he enjoyed you. When after I beheld you in Cilicia, An enemy to Rome, I pardoned you. Cleo. I cleared myself
Ant. Again you break your promise!
I loved you still, and took your weak excuses,
Vent. Yes, to your shame be it spoken! [Aside.
Witness ye days and nights, and all ye hours,
I saw you every day, and all the day,
Ant. Fulvia, my wife, grew jealous,
Vent. But yet
You went not.
Ant. While within your arms I lay, The world fell mouldering from my hands each