Page images
PDF
EPUB

But holds from virtue nothing.

Millions of sighs and tears she sends you too, Vent. Has he courage?

And would have sent Ant. But just enough to season him from As many embraces to your arms, coward.

As many dear parting kisses to your lips, Oh! 'tis the coldest youth upon a charge, But those, she fears, have wearied you already. The most deliberate fighter! if he ventures Vent. (Aside.] False crocodile ! (As in Illyria once they said he did)

Aler. And yet she begs not now, you would not To storm a town, 'tis when he cannot chuse,

leave her; When all the world have fixed their eyes upon That were a wish too mighty for her hopes, him;

And too presuming (for her low fortune and your And then he lives on that for seven years after : ebbing love); But at a close revenge he never fails.

That were a wish for her most prosperous days, Vent. I heard you challenged him.

Her blooming beauty, and your growing kindness. Ant. I did, Ventidius :

Ant. (Aside.) Well, I must man it out--What What thinkest thou was his answer? 'twas so tame would the queen? -He said, he had more ways than one to die, Alex. First to these noble warriors, who attend I had not.

Your daring courage in the chase of fame, Vent. Poor!

(Too daring and too dangerous for her quiet) Ant. He has more ways than one,

She humbly recommends all she holds dear, But he would chuse them all before that one. All her own cares and fears, the care of you.

l'ent. He first would chuse an ague or a fever. Vent. Yes, witness Actium.

Ant. No, it must be an ague, not a fever; Ant. Let him speak, Ventidius. He has not warmth enough to die by that.

Alex. You, when his matchless valour bears Vent. Or old age and a bed.

him forward Ant. Ay, there's his choice;

With ardour, too heroic, on his foes; He would live like a lamp to the last wink, Fall down, as she would do, before his feet, And crawl upon the utmost verge of life. Lie in his way, and stop the paths of death; Oh, Hercules! why should a man like this, Tell him this god is not invulnerable, Who dares not trust his fate for one great action, That absent Cleopatra bleeds in him ; Be all the care of heaven? why should he lord it And, that you may remember her petition, O'er fourscore thousand men, of whom each one She begs you wear these trifles as a pawn, Is braver than himself?

Which, at your wished return, she will redeem Vent. You conquered for him ;

[Gives jewels to the Commanders. Philippi knows it: there you shared with him With all the wealth of Egypt. That empire, which your sword made all your This to the great Ventidius she presents, own.

Whom she can never count her enemy,
Ant. Fool that I was ! upon my eagle's wings Because he loves her lord.
I bore this wren till I was tired with soaring,

Vent. Tell ber I'll none of it;
And now he mounts above me.

I am not ashamed of honest poverty : Good heavens! is this, is this the man, who Not all the diamonds of the east can bribe braves me,

Ventidius from his faith. I hope to see Who bids my age make way, drives me before These, and the rest of all her sparkling store, him

Where they shall more deservingly be placed. To the world's ridge, and sweeps me off like rub- Ant. And who must wear thein then? bish?

Vent. The wronged Octavia. Vent. Sir, we lose time; the troops are mount- Ant. You might have spared that word. ed all.

Vent. And she that bribe. Art. Then give the word to march:

Ant. But have I no remembrance? I long to leave this prison of a town,

Aler. Yes, a dear one; To join thy legions, and in open field

Your slave, the queenOnce more to show my face. Lead, my deliverer! Ant. My mistress.

Aler. Then

your mistress. Enter ALEXAS.

Your mistress would, she says, have sent her soul, Aler. Great emperor,

But that you had long since; she humbly begs In mighty arms renowned above mankind, This ruby bracelet, set with bleeding hearts, But, in soft pity to the oppressed, a god, (The emblems of her own) may bind your arm. This message sends the mournful Cleopatra

[Presenting a brucelet. To her departing lord.

Vent. Now, my best lord, in honour's name I
Vent. Smooth sycophant!
Ales. A thousand wishes, and ten thousand For manhood's sake, and for your own dear safety,
prayers,

Touch not these poisoned gifts,
Millions of blessings, wait you to the wars ; Infected by the sender! touch them not!

ask you,

Myriads of bluest plagues lie underneath them, Cleo. The gods have seen my joys with envious And more than aconite has dipt the silk.

eyes; Ant. Nay, now you grow too cynical, Venti- I have no friends in heaven; and all the world dius;

(As 'twere the business of mankind to part us) A lady's favours may be worn with honour. Is armed against my love; even you yourself What, to refuse her bracelet ! on my soul, Join with the rest: you, you are armed against me. When I lie pensive in my tent alone,

Ant. I will be justified in all I do 'Twill pass the wakeful hours of winter nights To late posterity, and therefore hear me. To tell these pretty beads upon my arm,

If I mix a lie To count for every one a soft embrace,

With any truth, reproach me freely with it, A melting kiss at such and such a time,

Else favour me with silence. And now and then the fury of her love,

Cleo. You command me, When—And what harm's in this?

And I am dumb. Aler. None, none, my lord,

Vent. I like this well : he shows authority. But what's to her, that now 'tis past for ever. Ant. That I derive my ruin Ant. [Going to tie it.] We soldiers are so From

you

aloneaukward-help me tie it.

Cleo. Oh, heavens! I ruin you! Aler. In faith, my lord, we courtiers too are Ant. You promised me your silence, and you aukward

break it, In these affairs; so are all men indeed;

Ere I have scarce begun. But shall I speak?

Cleo. Well, I obey you. Ant. Yes, freely.

Ant. When I beheld you first, it was in Egypt, Aler. Then, my lord, fair hands alone Ere Cæsar saw your eyes : you gave me love, Are fit to tie it; she, who sent it, can.

And were too young to know it. That I settled Vent. Hell ! death! this eunuch pandar ruins, Your father in his throne was for your sake; you.

I left the acknowledgment for time to ripen. You will not see her? [Aleras whispers Cæsar stepped in, and, with a greedy hand,

an attendant, who goes out. Plucked the green fruit, ere the first blush of red, Ant. But to take my leave.

Yet cleaving to the bough. He was my lord, Vent. Then I have washed an Ethiop. You And was beside too great for me to rival : are undone!

But I deserved you first, though he enjoyed you. You're in the toils! you're taken! you're des- When after I beheld you in Cilicia, troyed!

An enemy to Rome, I pardoned you. Iler eyes do Cæsar's work.

Cleo. I cleared myselfAnt. You fear too soon :

Ant. Again you break your promise! I am constant to myself: I know my strength; I loved you still, and took your weak excuses, And yet she shall not think me barbarous neither, Took you into my bosom, stained by Cæsar, Born in the deeps of Afric: I'm a Roman, And not half mine: I went to Egypt with you, Bred to the rules of soft humanity.

And hid me from the business of the world, A guest, and kindly used, should bid farewell. Shut out inquiring nations from my sight, Vent. You do not know

To give whole years to you. How weak you are to her, how much an infant; Vent. Yes, to your shame be it spoken! (Aside, You are not proof against a smile or glance; Ant. How I loved, A sigh will quite disarm you.

Witness ye days and nights, and all ye hours, Ant. See, she comes !

That danced away with down upon your feet, Now you shall find your error. Gods! I thank As all your business were to count my passion. you;

One day passed by, and nothing saw but love; I formed the danger greater than it was, Another came, and still 'twas only love: And now 'tis near 'tis lessened.

The suns were wearied out with looking on, Vent. Mark the end yet.

And I untired with loving. Enter CLEOPATRA, CHARMION, and Iras.

I saw you every day, and all the day,

And every day was still but as the first, Ant. Well, madam, we are met.

So eager was I still to see you more. Cleo. Is this a meeting !

Vent. 'Tis all too true. Then we must part !

Ant. Fulvia, my wife, grew jealous, Ant. We must.

As she indeed had reason, raised a war Cleo. Who says we must ?

In Italy, to call me back. Ant. Our own hard fates.

Vent. But yet Cleo. We make those fates ourselves.

You went not. Ant. Yes, we have made them; we have loved Ant. While within your arms I lay, each other,

The world fell mouldering from my hands each Into our mutual ruin.

hour,

To say

Yes;

And left me scarce a grasp; I thank your

love Vent. After this, for't.

I think she'll blush at nothing. Vent. Well pushed: that last was home. Cleo. You seem grieved Cleo. Yet may I speak ?

(And therein you are kind) that Cæsar first Ant. If I have urged a falsehood, yes; else not. Enjoyed my love, though you deserved it better; Your silence says I have not. Fulvia died : For had I first been yours, it would have saved (Pardon, you gods! with my unkindness died.) My second choice; I never had been his,

To set the world at peace, I took Octavia, And ne'er had been but yours. But Cæsar first,
This Cæsar's sister. In her pride of youth You say, possessed my love. Not so, my lord :
And flower of beauty did I wed that lady, He first possessed my person, you my love:
Whom, blushing, I must praise, although I left Cæsar loved me, but I loved Antony:
her.

If I endured him after, 'twas because
You called; my love obeyed the fatal summons: I judged it due to the first name of men;
This raised the Roman arms; the cause was yours. And, half constrained, I gave, as to a tyrant,
I would have fought by land, where I was stronger; What he would take by force.
You bindered it; yet, when I fought by sea, Vent. Oh, siren ! siren!
Forsook me fighting; and-oh stain to honour ! Yet grant that all the love she boasts were true,
Oh lasting shame! I knew not that I fled, Has she not ruined you? I still urge that,
But fled to follow you.

The fatal consequence. Vent. What haste she made to hoist her purple Cleo. The consequence indeed, sails!

For I dare challenge him, my greatest foe, And to appear magnificent in flight,

it was designed. It is true I loved you, Drew half our strength away.

And kept you far from an uneasy wife, Ant. All this you caused:

Such Fulvia was. And would you multiply more ruins on me?

but he'll say you left Octavia for me: This honest man, my best, my only friend, And can you blame me to receive that love, Has gathered up the shipwreck of my fortunes : Which quitted such desert for worthless me? Twelve legions I have left, my last recruits, How often have I wished some other Cæsar, And you have watched the news, and bring your Great as the first, and as the second young, eyes

Would court my love, to be refused for you! To seize them too. If you have aught to answer, Vent. Words, words! but Actium, sir, rememNow speak, you have free leave.

ber Actium! Aler. She stands confounded :

Cleo. Ev'n there I dare his malice. True, I Despair is in her eyes.

Aside. counselled Vent. Now lay a sigh in the way to stop his To fight at sea; but I betrayed you not: passage;

I fed, but not to the enemy. 'Twas fear: Prepare a tear, and bid it for his legions : Would I had been a man not to have feared! 'Tis like they shall be sold.

For none would then have envied me your friendCleo. How shall I plead my cause, when you, ship, my judge,

Who envy me your love. Already have condemned me? Shall I bring Ant. We are both unhappy : The love, you bore me, for my advocate ? If nothing else, yet our ill fortune parts us. That now is turned against me, that destroys me; Speak! would you have me perish by my stay? For love, once past, is, at the best, forgotten, Cleo. If, as a friend, you ask my judgment, go; But oftener sours to hate. It will please iny lord If, as a lover, stay. If you must perish To ruin me, and therefore I'll be guilty;

'Tis a hard word—but stay. But could I once have thought it would have Vent. See now the effects of her so boasted pleased you,

love! That you would pry with narrow searching eyes She strives to drag you down to ruin with her; Into my faults, severe to my destruction, But could she 'scape without you, oh, how soon And watching all advantages with care, Would she let go her hold, and haste to shore, That serve to make me wretched ! Speak, my And never look behind! lord,

Cleo. Then judge my love by this. For I end here. Though I deserve this usage,

[Giving Antony a writing. Was it like you to give it?

Could I have borne Ant. Oh, you wrong me,

A life or death, a happiness or woe, To think I sought this parting, or desired From yours divided, this had given me means. To accuse you more than what will clear myself, Ant. By Hercules the writing of Octavius ! And justify this breach.

I know it well : tis that proscribing hand, Cleo. Thus low I thank you,

Young as it was, that led the way to mine, And, since my innocence will not offend, And left me but the second place in murderI shall not blush to own it,

See, see, Ventidius! here he offers Egypt,

And joins all Syria to it as a present,

Ant. What is it, Ventidius? it outweighs them So in requital she forsakes my fortunes,

all. And joins her arms with his.

Why, we have more than conquered Cæsar now; Cleo. And yet you leave me!

My queen's not only, innocent, but loves me. You leave me, Antony; and yet I love you! This, this is she, who drags me down to ruin ! Indeed I do! I have refused a kingdom, But, could she escape without me, with what That's a trifle;

haste For I could part with life, with any thing, Would she let slip her hold, and make to shore, But only you. Oh let me die but with you! And never look behind ! Is that a hard request?

Down on thy knees, blasphemer as thou art, Ant. Next living with you

And ask forgiveness of wronged innocence. 'Tis all, that heaven can give.

Vent. I'll rather die than take it. Will you Aler. He melts; we conquer.

[Aside. go? Cleo. No, you shall go; your interest call you Ant. Go! whither? go from all that's excclhence :

lent! Yes,

your dear interest pulls to strong for these Faith, honour, virtue, all good things, forbid Weak arms to hold you here [Takes his hand. That I should go from her, who sets my love Go, leave me, soldier,

Above the price of kingdoms. Give, you gods! (For you're no more a lover) leave me dying; Give to your boy, your Cæsar, Push me all pale and panting from your bosom, This rattle of a globe to play withal, And, when your march begins, let one run after, This gewgaw world, and put him cheaply off; Breathless almost for joy, and cry, ' She’s dead! I'U not be pleased with less than Cleopatra. The soldiers shout. You then perhaps may sigh, Cleo. She's wholly yours. My heart's so full And inuster all your Roman gravity ;

of joy, Ventidius chides, and straight your brow clears That I shall do some wild extravagance up,

Of love in public, and the foolish world, As I had never been.

Which knows not tenderness, will think me mad. Ant. Gods ! 'tis too much ! too much for man Vent. Oh women! women! women ! all the to hear !

gods Cleo. What is it for me then,

Have not such power of doing good to man A weak forsaken woman, and a lover?

As you of doing harm.

[Erit. Here let me breathe my last; envy me not

Ant. Our men are armed : This minute in your arms! I'll die apace,

Unbar the gate, that looks to Cæsar's camp; As fast as e'er I can, and end your trouble. I would revenge the treachery he meant me, Ant. Die !-rather let me perish, loosened And long security makes conquest easy.

I'm eager to return before I go, Leap from its hinges, sink the props of heaven, For all the pleasures I have known beat thick And fall the skies to crush the nether world! On my remembrance. How I long for night! My eyes! my soul! my all ! [Embraces her. That both the sweets of mutual love may try, Vent. And what's this toy,

And triumph once o'er Cæsar ere we die. In balance with your fortune, honour, fame?

(Ereunt.

nature

ACT III,

SCENE I.

Ant: My brighter Venus ! Enter CLEOPATRA, CHARMION, IRAS, ALEXAS,

Cleo. Oh, my greater Mars !

Ant: Thou joinest us well, my love. and a train of Egyptians, Antony and Romans; Suppose me come from the Phlegræan plains, CLEOPATRA crowns ANTONY.

Where gasping giants lay cleft by my sword, Ant. I Thought how those white arms would And mountain-tops pard off each other blow fold me in,

To bury those I slew ; receive me, goddess ! And strain me close and melt me into love : Let Cæsar spread his subtle nets, like Vulcan; So pleased with that sweet image I sprung for- In thy embraces I would be beheld wards,

By heaven and earth at once, And added all my strength to every blow. And make their envy what they meant their Cleo. Come to me, come, my soldier, to my sport, arms!

Let those, who took us, blush; I would love on, You have been too long away from my embraces; With awful state, regardless of their frowns, But when I have you fast, and all my own,

As their superior god. With broken murmurs and with amorous sighs There's no satiety of love in thee; I'll say you are unkind, and punish you, Enjoyed, thou still art new; perpetual spring And mark you red with many an eager kiss. Is in thy arms; the ripened fruit but falls,

me.

And blossoms rise to fill its empty place,

Vent. Fain I would find some other. And I grow rich by giving.

Ant. Thank thy love.

Some four or five such victories as this
Enter Ventidius, and stands apart.

Will save thy farther pains. Aler. Oh, now the danger's past, your general Vent. Expect no more; Cæsar is on his guard. comes ;

I know, sir, you have conquered against odds ; He joins not in your joys, nor minds your triumphs, But still you draw supplies from one poor town, But with contracted brows looks frowning on, And of Egyptians; he has all the world, As envying your success.

And at his beck nations come pouring in Ant. Now,on my soul, he loves me, truly loves me; To fill the gaps you make. Pray think again. He never flattered me in any vice,

Ant. Why dost thou drive me from myself to But awes me with his virtue : even this minute,

search Methinks, he has a right of chiding me.

For foreign aids, to hunt my memory, Lead to the temple; I'll avoid his presence; And range all o'er a wide and barren place, It checks too strong upon me. (Ereunt the rest. To find a friend? The wretched have no

(As Antony is going, Ventidius pulls him friendsby the robe.

Yet I have one, the bravest youth of Rome, Vent. Emperor!

Whom Cæsar loves beyond the love of women; Ant. Tis the old argument; I prithee spare He could resolve his mind, as fire does wax,

From that hard rugged image melt him down,

(Looking back. And mould him in what softer form he pleased, Vent. But this one hearing, emperor.

Vent. Him would I see, that man of all the Ant. Let go

world! My robe, or by my father Hercules

Just such a one we want. Vent. By Hercules' father-that's yet greater,

Ant. He loved me too; I bring you somewhat you would wish to know, I was his soul; he lived not but in me : Ant. Thou seest we are observed; attend me We were so closed within each other's breasts, here,

The rivets were not found, that joined us first, And I'll return.

[Erit. That does not reach us yet: we were so mixt Vent. I'm waning in his favour, yet I love him; As meeting streams, both to ourselves were lost: I love this man, who runs to meet his ruin! We were one mass : we could not give or take And sure the gods, like me, are fond of him: But from the same; for he was I, I he. His virtues lie so mingled with his crimes,

Vent. He moves as I would wish him. [Aside. As would confound their choice to punish one,

Ant. After this And not reward the other.

I need not tell his name : 'twas Dolabella.

Vent. He is now in Cæsar's camp.
Enter ANTONY.

Ant. No matter where,
Ant. We can conquer,

Since he is no longer mine. He took unkindly, You see, without your aid :

That I forbad him Cleopatra's sight, We have dislodged their troops.

Because I feared he loved her. He confest They look on us at distance, and like curs, He had a warmth, which for my sake he stifled ; Scaped from the lion's paws, they bay far off, For 'twere impossible, that two, so one, And lick their wounds, and faintly threaten war. Should not have loved the same. When be des Five thousand Romans, with their faces upward, parted, Lie breathless on the plain.

He took no leave, and that confirmed my thoughts. Vent. Tis well; and he

Vent. It argues, that he loved you more than Who lost them could have spared ten thousand her, more:

Else he had staid; but he perceived you jealous, Yet if by this advantage you could gain And would not grieve his friend. I know he An easier peace, while Cæsar doubts the chance Of arms

Ant. I should have seen him, then, ere now. Ant. Oh, think not on it, Ventidius !

Vent. Perhaps The boy pursues my ruin; he'll no peace ! He has thus long been labouring for your peace. His malice is considerate in advantage :

Ant. Would he were here! Oh, he's the coolest murderer ! so staunch, Vent. Would you believe he loved you? He kills and keeps his temper.

I read your answer in your eyes, you would, Vent. Have you no friend

Not to conceal it longer, he has sent In all his army, who has power to move him? A messenger from Cæsar's camp with letters. Mecenas or Agrippa might do much.

Ant. Let him appear. Ant. They're both too deep in Cæsar's in- Vent. I'll bring him instantly. terests.

[Erit Ventidius, and re-enters immediately We'l work it out by dint of sword, or perish,

with Dolabella

loves you.

« EelmineJätka »