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me desperate

Without just cause? No, when I found all lost
Beyond repair, I hid me from the world,
And learned to scorn it here, which now I do
So heartily, I think it is not worth
The cost of keeping.

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

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And long to call you chief: by painful journies
I led them, patient both of heat and hunger,
Down from the Parthian marches of the Nile:
Twill do you good to see their sunburnt faces,
Their scarred cheeks, and chopt hands: there's
virtue in them:

They'll sell those mangled limbs at dearer rates
Than yon trim bands can buy.

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.

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On all my other faults, but, on your life,
No word of Cleopatra ! she deserves
More worlds than I can lose.

Vent. Behold, you powers!

To whom you have entrusted humankind;
See Europe, Afric, Asia, put in balance,
And all weighed down by one light worthless

I think the gods are Antonies, and give,
Like prodigals, this nether world away
To none but wasteful hands.

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,
Who, under seeming honesty, hath vented
The burden of thy rank o'erflowing gall.
Oh that thou wert my equal, great in arms
As the first Cæsar was, that I might kill thee,
Without stain to my honour!

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
That name, which I disdain to speak again,
I needed not have sought your abject fortunes,
Come to partake your fate, to die with you.
What hindered me to have led my conquering


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To fill Octavia's bands? I could have been
A traitor then, a glorious happy traitor,
And not have been so called.

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.
Why didst thou tempt my anger by discovery
Of what I would not hear?

Vent. No prince, but you,
Could merit that sincerity, I used;

Nor durst another man have ventured it:
But you, ere love misled your wandering eyes,
Were sure the chief and best of human race,
Framed in the very pride and boast of nature;
So perfect, that the gods, who formed you, won-

At their own skill, and cried,' A lucky hit
Has mended our design! Their envy hindered,
Else you had been immortal, and a pattern,
When heaven would work for ostentation sake,
To copy out again.

Ant. But Cleopatra—

Go on, for I can bear it now.
Vent. No more.

Ant. Thou dar'st not trust my passion, but

thou mayest:

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.
Ant. Indeed I do. Speak this, and this, and
[Embracing him.
Thy praises were unjust: but I'll deserve them,
And yet mend all. Do with me what thou wilt:
Lead me to victory; thou knowest the way.
Vent. And will you leave this
Ant. Prithee do not curse her,

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;
Thou shalt behold me once again in iron,
And at the head of our old troops, that beat
The Parthians, cry aloud, 'Come, follow me.'
Vent. Oh, now I hear my emperor! In that

Octavius fell. Gods! let me see that day,
And if I have ten years behind, take all;
I'll thank you for the exchange.
Ant. Oh, Cleopatra !

Vent. Again!

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
Another soul; your looks are most divine;
You speak a hero, and you move a god.

Ant. Oh, thou hast fired me! my soul's up



And mans each part about me. Once again
That noble eagerness of fight has seized me,
That eagerness, with which I darted upward
To Cassius' camp: in vain the steepy hill
Opposed my way, in vain a war of spears
Sung round my head, and planted all my shield;
I won the trenches, while my foremost men
Lagged on the plain below.

Vent. Ye gods, ye gods,
For such another honour!

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;
I have no more to lose; prepare thy bands;
I am fit to be a captive: Antony

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
By yon insulting Roman, and to wait

Iras. Call reason to assist you.

Cleo. I have none,

And none would have: my love's a noble mad

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Cleo. Never, never, Iras:

But making show as he would rub his eyes,
Disguised and blotted out a falling tear.
Cleo. Did he then weep, and was I worth a

If what thou hast to say be not as pleasing,
Tell me no more, but let ine die contented.
Char. He bid me say, he knew himself so well,
He could deny you nothing, if he saw you,
And therefore-

Cleo. Thou wouldst say he would not see me!
Char. And therefore begged you not to use a

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,
I still must love him.


Now, what news, my Charmion?

Will he be kind? and will he not forsake me?
Am I to live or die? Nay, do I live,

Or am I dead? for when he gave his answer,
Fate took the word, and then I lived or died.
Char. I found him, madam-

Cleo. A long specch preparing!

If thou bringest comfort, haste and give it me,
For never was more necd.

Iras. I know he loves you.

Cleo. Had he been kind, her eyes had told

me so,

Before her tongue could speak it: now she studies
To soften what he said: but give me death
Just as he sent it, Charmion, undisguised,
And in the words he spoke.

Char. I found him then,

Encompassed round, I think, with iron statues,
So mute, so motionless, his soldiers stood,
While awfully he cast his eyes about,
And every leader's hopes and fears surveyed.
Methought he looked resolved, and yet

When he beheld me struggling in the crowd,
He blushed, and bade make way.

Aler. There's comfort yet.

Char. Ventidius fixed his eyes upon my



Respect you as he ought.
Cleo. Is that a word

For Antony to use to Cleopatra ?

Oh, that faint word respect! how I disdain it!
Disdain myself for loving after it!

He should have kept that word for cold Octavia;
Respect is for a wife. Am I that thing,
That dull insipid lump, without desires,
And without power to give them?

Alex. You misjudge;

You see through love, and that deludes your sight,
As what is straight seems crooked through the

But I, who bear my reason undisturbed,
Can see this Antony, this dreaded man,
A fearful slave, who fain would run away,
And shuns his master's eyes; if you pursue him,
My life on it, he still drags a chain along,
That needs must clog his flight.

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
He fears to see my face.

Aler. And would you more?

He shows his weakness, who declines the combat;
And you must urge your fortune. Could he speak
More plainly to my ears the message sounds,
'Come to my rescue, Cleopatra, come!
Come, free me from Ventidius, from my tyrant;
See me, and give me a pretence to leave him.'
[A march.

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,
And sullenly gave place. I told my message,
Just as you gave it, broken and disordered;
I numbered in it all your sighs and tears,
And while I moved your pitiful request,
That you but only begged a last farewell,
He fetched an inward groan, and every time
I named you, sighed, as if his heart were breaking,
But shunned my eyes, and guiltily looked down."
He seemed not now that awful Antony,
Who shook an armed assembly with his nod,

Cleo. You shall rule me,

But all, I fear, in vain. [Exit with Char, and Iras.
Alex. I fear so too,

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,

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Ant. He has more ways than one,

But he would chuse them all before that one.
Vent. He first would chuse an ague or a fever.
Ant. No, it must be an ague, not a fever;
He has not warmth enough to die by that.
Vent. Or old age and a bed.
Ant. Ay, there's his choice;
He would live like a lamp to the last wink,
And crawl upon the utmost verge of life.
Oh, Hercules! why should a man like this,
Who dares not trust his fate for one great action,
Be all the care of heaven? why should he lord it
O'er fourscore thousand men, of whom each one
Is braver than himself?

Vent. You conquered for him;
Philippi knows it: there you shared with him
That empire, which your sword made all your

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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,
But those, she fears, have wearied you already.
Vent. [Aside.] False crocodile!

Alex. And yet she begs not now, you would not
leave her;

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
him forward

With ardour, too heroic, on his foes;
Fall down, as she would do, before his feet,
Lie in his way, and stop the paths of death;
Tell him this god is not invulnerable,
That absent Cleopatra bleeds in him;
And, that you may remember her petition,
She begs you wear these trifles as a pawn,
Which, at your wished return, she will redeem
[Gives jewels to the Commanders.

With all the wealth of Egypt.
This to the great Ventidius she presents,
Whom she can never count her enemy,
Because he loves her lord.

Vent. Tell her I'll none of it;

I am not ashamed of honest poverty:
Not all the diamonds of the east can bribe
Ventidius from his faith. I hope to see
These, and the rest of all her sparkling store,
Where they shall more deservingly be placed.
Ant. And who must wear them then?
Vent. The wronged Octavia.

Ant. You might have spared that word.
Vent. And she that bribe.

Ant. But have I no remembrance?
Alex. Yes, a dear one;
Your slave, the queen-
Ant. My mistress.

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

ask you,

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.
What, to refuse her bracelet! on my soul,
When I lie pensive in my tent alone,
"Twill pass the wakeful hours of winter nights
To tell these pretty beads upon my arm,
To count for every one a soft embrace,
A melting kiss at such and such a time,
And now and then the fury of her love,
When-And what harm's in this?

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;
But shall I speak?

Ant. Yes, freely.

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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,
Took you into my bosom, stained by Cæsar,
And not half mine: I went to Egypt with you,
And hid me from the business of the world,
Shut out inquiring nations from my sight,
To give whole years to you.

Vent. Yes, to your shame be it spoken! [Aside.
Ant. How I loved,

Witness ye days and nights, and all ye hours,
That danced away with down upon your feet,
As all your business were to count my passion.
One day passed by, and nothing saw but love;
Another came, and still 'twas only love:
The suns were wearied out with looking on,
And I untired with loving.

I saw you every day, and all the day,
And every day was still but as the first,
So eager was I still to see you more.
Vent. 'Tis all too true.

Ant. Fulvia, my wife, grew jealous,
As she indeed had reason, raised a war
In Italy, to call me back.

Vent. But yet

You went not.

Ant. While within your arms I lay, The world fell mouldering from my hands each


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