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A foe, but not a mistress and a friend: Treason is there in its most horrid shape, Where trust is greatest; and the soul resigned
Is stabbed by its own guards. I'll hear no more: Hence from my sight for ever!
Cleo. How? for ever!
I cannot go one moment from your sight,
My joys, my only joys, are centred here:
With strictest justice, for I beg no favour,
Ant. I must not hear you;
I have a fool within me takes your part,
Cleo. For pity hear me !
Would you cast off a slave, who followed you, Who crouched beneath your spurn? He has no pity!
See, if he gives one tear to my departure,
One look, one kind farewell: oh, iron heart!
Ant. No more. Alexas!
Dol. A perjured villain!
Ant. to Cleo. Your Alexas! yours!
Cleo. Oh, 'twas his plot; his ruinous design To engage you in my love by jealousy.
Hear him; confront him with me; let him speak. Ant. I have, I have.
Cleo. And if he clear me not
Ant. Your creature! one, who hangs upon
Watches your eye, to say or unsay
Whate'er you please. I am not to be moved. Cleo. Then must we part? farewell, my cruel lord!
appearance is against me; and I go,
I love you more, even now you are unkind,
Ant. Good Heaven! they weep at parting.
Live, but live wretched; 'tis but just you should,
And each your own sad fate with mine deplore, That you were false, and I could trust no more. [Exeunt severally.
SCENE I-The Temple.
Enter CLEOPATRA, CHARMION, and IRAS. Char. Be just, heaven! such virtue, punished thus,
Will make us think, that chance rules all above, And shuffles, with a random hand, the lots, Which man is forced to draw.
Cleo. I could tear out these eyes, that gained his heart,
And had not power to keep it. Oh, the curse
[She pulls out her dagger, and they hold her. But I can keep my breath; I can die inward, And choke this love.
Iras Help, oh, Alexas, help!
The queen grows desperate, her soul struggles in her,
With all the agonies of love and rage,
Cleo. Let me go.
Art thou there, traitor !-Oh,
Oh for a little breath to vent my rage!
The ruins of a falling majesty,
To place myself beneath the mighty flaw,
Cleo. I would reason
More calmly with you. Did you not o'errule
Dropping and faint with climbing up the cliff,
Cleo. Sunk, never more to rise.
Aler. Octavia's gone, and Dolabella banished. Believe me, madam, Antony is yours: His heart was never lost, but started off To jealousy, love's last retreat, and covert, Where it lies hid in shades, watchful in silence, And listening for the sound, that calls it back. Some other, any man, 'tis so advanced, May perfect this unfinished work, which I (Unhappy only to myself) have left So easy to his hand.
Cleo. Look well thou dost, else—————— Aler. Else what your silence threatens-Antony
Is mounted up the Pharos, from whose turret He stands surveying our Egyptian gallies Engaged with Cæsar's fleet: now death or conquest!
If the first happen, fate acquits my promise; If we o'ercome, the conqueror is yours. [A distant shout within.
Char. Have comfort, madam: did you mark that shout? [Second shout nearer. Iras. Hark! they redouble it.
Aler. Tis from the port;
Ser. No; They fought not.
Cleo. Then they fled.
Ser. Nor that: I saw,
With Antony, your well-appointed fleet
The Roman rear; and now they all come forward, And ride within the port.
Cleo. Enough, Serapion;
I have heard my doom. This needed not, you gods!
When I lost Antony, your work was done. 'Tis but superfluous malice. Where's my lord? How bears he this last blow?
Ser. His fury cannot be expressed by words: Thrice he attempted headlong to have fallen Full on his foes, and aimed at Cæsar's galley: Withheld, he raves on you, cries he's betrayed. Should he now find you
Alex. Shun him, seek your safety, Till you can clear your innocence. Cleo. I'll stay.
Alex. You must not; haste you to the monu-
While I make speed to Cæsar.
The loudness shows it near. Good news, kind I have no business with him.
Cleo. Osiris make it so!
Ser. Where, where's the queen?
Aler. How frightfully the holy coward stares! As if not yet recovered of the assault, When all his gods, and what's more dear to him, His offerings, were at stake.
Ser. Oh, horror, horror!
Egypt has been; the latest hour is come.
Alex, I can work him
To spare your life, and let this madman perish. Cleo. Base fawning wretch! wouldst thou betray him too?
Hence from my sight! I will not hear a traitor :
Ser. Retire; you must not see Antony.
'Tis just he tempt the danger: let him clear you;
Alex. Oh heavens! I dare not:
I meet my certain death.
Cleo. Slave, thou deservest it.
Not that I fear my lord will I avoid him;
Alex. Oh! pity me, and let me follow you! Cleo. To death, if thou stir hence. Speak, if thou canst,
Now for thy life, which basely thou wouldst save, While mine I prize at this. Come, good Serapion. [Exeunt Cleo. Ser. Char, and Iras. Alex. Oh, that I less could fear to lose this being,
Which, like a snow-ball in my coward hand,
These two long lovers, soul and body, dread
Vent. This leads to the monument.
And this court-devil, which I so oft have raised,
Enter ANTONY and VENTIDIUS. Ant. Oh, happy Cæsar! thou hast men to lead. Think not 'tis thou hast conquered Antony, But Rome has conquered Egypt. I'm betrayed. Vent. Curse on this treacherous train!
Their soil and heaven infect them all with base
And their young souls come tainted to the world, With the first breath they draw.
Ant. The original villain sure no god created; He was a bastard of the Sun by Nile; Aped into man with all his mother's mud Crusted about his soul.
Vent. The nation is
One universal traitor, and their queen
A possibility of aid and valour?
Is there one god unsworn to my destruction,
The world's one half is yet in Antony,
Vent. There yet remain
Three legions in the town; the last assault
Ant. They're enough.
We'll not divide our stars, but side by side
Vent. Now you shall see I love you. Not a word
Of chiding more. By my few hours of life,
Ant. Who knows but we may pierce through
And reach my veterans yet? "Tis worth the tempting
To o'erleap this gulf of fate,
And leave our wandering destinies behind.
Vent. See, see that villain!
How he has set his countenance for deceit,
Aler. Oh, spare me, spare me! Ant. Hold; he's not worth your killing. On thy life, (Which thou mayest keep, because I scorn to take it)
No syllable to justify thy queen;
Alex. Sir, she's gone
Where she shall never be molested more,
Ant Fled to her Dolabella!
Are open to her falsehood. My whole life
Alex. Think not so;
Her fortunes have in all things mixed with yours: Had she betrayed her naval force to Rome, How easily might she have gone to Cæsar; Secure by such a bribe?
Vent. She sent it first, To be more welcome after.
Aler. She snatched her poniard,
And buried half within her.
Vent. Heaven be praised!
Ant. Why, let him enter:
Vent. What lethargy has crept into your soul?
Ant. I will, but not by fighting. Oh, Venti-
What should I fight for now? my queen is dead:
Let Cæsar take the world
An empty circle, since the jewel's gone,
Which made it worth my strife: my being's nau
For all the bribes of life are gone away.
Vent. Would you be taken?
But as a Roman ought; dead, my Ventidius-
Ant. Then art thou innocent, my poor dear Should have a lord, and know, whom to obey. love!
And art thou dead?
We two have kept its homage in suspense,
Oh, those two words! their sound should be di- Till it was dinted inwards. Let him walk
Hadst thou been false and died, or hadst thou
And hadst been true-But innocence and death!
As can express my guilt!
Alone upon it: I'm weary of my part.
But that I'll not outlive you. Chuse your death,
Vent. Is it come to this? The gods have been 'Tis scarce worth giving. I could wish indeed
And thus you thank them for it.
Ant. [To Alex.] Why stay'st thou here?
Is it for thee to spy upon my soul,
And see its inward mourning? Get thee hence!
His grief betrays it. Good! the joy to find
I have saved myself and her. But oh! the Ro-
Fate comes too fast upon my wit,
Hunts me too hard, and meets me at each double.
We threw it from us with a better grace,
We might at least thrust out our paws, and wound
Ant. I have thought on it;
Ventidius, you must live.
Vent. I must not, sir.
Ant. Wilt thou not live to speak some good
To stand by my fair fame, and guard the ap
From the ill tongues of men?
Ant. Say, I command it.
Vent. If we die well, our deaths will speak themselves,
And need no living witness.
Ant. Thou hast loved me,
And fain I would reward thee. I must die;
Vent. Thank your kindness!
But think, 'tis the first time I e'er deceived you,
My queen and thou have got the start of me,
For all the learned are cowards by profession.
My further thought; for death, for aught I know, Is but to think no more. Here's to be satisfied. [Falls on his sword. I have missed my heart-Oh, unperforming hand!
Thou never couldst have erred in a worse time. My fortune jades me to the last; and death, Like a great man, takes state, and makes me wait For my admittance- [Trampling within.
Some, perhaps, from Cæsar!
If he should find me living, and suspect,
[Rises upon his knees.
Enter CLEOPATRA, CHARMION, and IRAS. Cleo. Where is my lord? where is he?
We live both. Sit thee down, my Cleopatra!
Cleo. How is it with you?
Cleo. Too long, ye heavens! you have been cruel to me!
Oh, now be kind, and give me back
Ant. It will not be, my love!
Cleo. 'Tis now too late
To say I'm true; I'll prove it and die with you.
Ant. And Dolabella
Cleo. Scarce esteemed before he loved, but hated now.
Ant. Enough! my life's not long enough for
Thou say'st, thou wilt come after: I believe thee; For I can now believe whate'er thou say'st, That we may part more kindly.
Cleo. I will come;
Doubt not, my life! I'll come, and quickly too! Cæsar shall triumph o'er no part of thee.
Ant. But grieve not, while thou stayest, My last disastrous times! Think we have had a clear and glorious day, And heaven did kindly to delay the storm, Just till our close of evening. Ten years love, And not a moment lost, but all improved To the utmost joys! What ages have we lived! And now to die each other's! and so dying, While hand in hand we walk in groves below, Whole troops of lovers' ghosts shall flock about us, And all the train be ours.
Cleo. Your words are like the notes of dying