« FöregåendeFortsätt »
Gone, gone, divorced for ever. Help me, sol- Vent. Most firm and loyal.
Ant. Yet they will not march
You would make haste to head them.
Ant. I'm besieged. Ant. Why?
Vent. There's but one way shut up-How came Vent. You are too sensible already
I hither? Of what you have done, too conscious of your
Ant. I will not stir.
Vent. They would perhaps desire
Ant. I have never used
Vent. They said they would not fight for CleoAnt. I know thou wouldst.
patra. Vent. I will.
Ant. What was it they said ? Ant. Ha, ha, ha, ha!
Vent. They said they would not fight for CleoVent. You laugh.
patra : Ant. I do, to see officious love
Why should they fight indeed to make her conGive cordials to the dead.
quer, . Vent. You would be lost then?
And make you more a slave? to gain you kingAnt. I am.
doms, Vent. I say you are not. Try your fortune. Which for a kiss, at your next midnight feast, Ant. I have to the utmost. Dost thou think You'll sell to her -Then she new-names her me desperate
jewels, Without just cause ? No, when I found all lost And calls this diamond such or such a tax; Beyond repair, I hid me from the world, Each pendant in her ear shall be a province. And learned to scorn it here, which now I do Ant. Ventidius, I allow your tongue free liv So heartily, I think it is not worth The cost of keeping:
On all my other faults, but, on your life, Vent. Cæsar thinks not so;
No word of Cleopatra ! she deserves He'll thank you for the gift, he could not take. More worlds than I can lose. You would be killed like Tully, would you? Do; Vent. Behold, you powers ! Hold out your throat to Cæsar, and die tamely. To whom you have entrusted humankind;
Ant. No, I can kill myself, and so resolve. See Europe, Afric, Asia, put in balance, Vent. I can die with you too, when time shall And all weighed down by one light worthless serve;
woman! But fortune calls upon us now to live,
I think the gods are Antonies, and give, To fight, to conquer.
Like prodigals, this nether world away
To none but wasteful hands.
Vent. I take the privilege of plain love to In desperate sloth, miscalled philosophy.
speak. Up, up, for honour's sake! twelve legions wait Ant. Plain love! plain arrogance, plain insoyou,
lence ! And long to call you chief: by painful journies Thy men are cowards, thou an envious traitor, I led them, patient both of heat and hunger, Who, under seeming honesty, hath vented Down from the Parthian marches of the Nile: The burden of thy rank o’erflowing gall. Twill do you good to see their sunburnt faces, Oh that thou wert my equal, great in arms Their scarred cheeks, and chopt hands: there's As the first Cæsar was, that I might kill thee, virtue in them :
Without stain to my honour ! They'll sell those mangled limbs at dearer rates Vent. You may kill me : Than yon trim bands can buy.
You have done more already, called me traitor. Ani. Where left you them?
Ant. Art thou not one? Vent. I said in Lower Syria.
Vent. For shewing you yourself, Ant. Bring them hither;
Which none else durst have done? But had I been There may be life in these.
That name, which I disdain to speak again, Vent. They will not come.
I needed not have sought your abject fortunes, Ant. Why didst thou mock my hopes with Come to partake your fate, to die with you. promised aids
What hindered me to have led my conquering To double my despair? they are mutinous.
To fill Octavia's bands ? I could have been And I will leave her, though heaven knows I love A traitor then, a glorious happy traitor,
Beyond life, conquest, empire, all but honour : And not have been so called.
But I will leave her, Ant. Forgive me, soldier;
Vent. That is my royal master. I have been too passionate.
And shall we fight? Vent. You thought me false,
Ant, I warrant thee, old soldier; Thought my old age betrayed you, Kill me, sir, Thou shalt behold me once again in iron, Pray kill me: yet you need not; your unkindness And at the head of our old troops, that beat Has left your sword no work.
The Parthians, cry aloud, ‘Corne, follow me.' Ant, I did not think so;
Vent. Oh, now I hear my emperor! In that I said it in my rage: prithee forgive me.
word Why didst thou tempt my anger by discovery
Octavius fell. Gods ! let me see that day, Of what I would not hear?
And if I have ten years behind, take all; Vent. No prince, but you,
I'll thank you for the exchange. Could merit that sincerity, I used;
Ant. oh, Cleopatra ! Nor durst another man have ventured it :
Vent. Again! But you, ere love misled your wandering eyes, Ant. I have done; in that last sigh she went. Were sure the chief and best of human race, Cæsar shall know what it is to force a lover Framed in the very pride and boast of nature ; From all he holds most dear, So perfect, that the gods, who formed you, won- Vent. Methinks you breathe dered
Another soul; your looks are most divine; At their own skill, and cried, “ A lucky hit You speak a hero, and you move a god. Has mended our design ! Their envy hindered, Ant. Oh, thou hast fired me! my soul's up in Else you had been immortal, and a pattern,
arms, When heaven would work for ostentation sake, And mans cach part about ine. Once again To copy out again.
That noble eagerness of tight has seized ine, Ant. But Cleopatra
That eagerness, with which I darted upward Go on, for I can bear it now,
To Cassius' camp: in vain the steepy hill Vent. No more.
Opposed my way, in vain a war of spears Ant. Thou dar’st not trust my passion, but Sung round my head, and planted all my shield; thou mayest:
I won the trenches, while my foremost men
For such another honour !
[Embracing him. Once more to meet our foes, that thou and I, Thy praises were unjust: but I'll deserve them, Like Time and Death, marching before our troops, And yet mend all. Do with me what thou wilt : May taste fate to them, mow them out a passage, Lead me to victory; thou knowest the way. And, entering where the foremost squadrons Vent. And will you leave this
yield, Ant. Prithee do not curse her,
Begin the noble harvest of the field, Ereunt.
SCENE I.-A grand Saloon.
Each hour the victor's chain? These ills are
small, Enter CLEOPATRA, IRAS, and Alexas. For Antony is lost, and I can mourn Cleo. What shall I do, or whither shall I turn! For nothing else but him. Now come, Octavius ; Ventidius has o'ercome, and he will go.
I have no more to lose; prepare thy bands; Aler. He goes to fight for you,
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. fight.
Iras. Call reason to assist you. Flatter me not; if once he goes, he is lost,
Cleo. I have mone, And all my hopes destroyed.
And none would have: my love's a noblo madAler. Does this weak passion
ness, Become a mighty queen?
Which shows, the cause deserved it. Moderate Cleo. I am no queen: Is this to be a queen, to be besieged
Fits vulgar love, and for a vulgar man; By yon insulting Roman, and to wait
But I have loved with such transcendent passion. VOL. I.
I soared at first quite out of reason's view, But making show as he would rub his eyes,
If what thou hast to say be not as pleasing,
And thereforeIras. Let it be past with you:
Cleo. Thou wouldst say he would not see me! Forget him, madam.
Char. And therefore begged you not to use a Cleo. Never, never, Iras :
power, He once was mine, and once, though now it is Which he could ill resist; yet he should ever gone,
Respect you as he ought. Leaves a faint image of possession still
Cleo. Is that a word Aler. Think him inconstant, cruel, and un- For Antony to use to Cleopatra? grateful.
Oh, that faint word respect! how I disdain it! Cleo. I cannot; if I could, those thoughts were Disdain myself for loving after it! vain :
He should have kept that word for cold Octavia; Faithless, ungrateful, cruel, though he be, Respect is for a wife. Am I that thing, I still must love him.
That dull insipid lump, without desires,
And without power to give them?
Aler. You inisjudge;
You see through love, and that deludes your sight, Will he be kind? and will he not forsake me? As what is straight seems crooked through the Am I to live or die? Nay, do I live,
water; Or am I dead? for when he
bis answer, But I, who bear my reason undisturbed, Fate took the word, and then I lived or died. Can sce this Antony, this dreaded man, Char. I found him, madam
A fearful slave, who fain would run away, Cleo. A long speech preparing!
And shuns his master's eyes; if you pursue him, If thou bringest comfort, haste and give it me, My life on it, he still drags a chain along, For never was more need.
That needs must clog his flight. Iras. I know he loves you.
Cleo. Could I believe theeCleo. Had he been kind, her eyes had told Aler. By every circumstance I know he loves. me so,
True, he is hard prest by interest and honour; Before her tongue could speak it: now she studies Yet he but doubts and parleys, and casts out To soften what he said: but give me death Many a long look for succour. Just as he sent it, Charmion, undisguised,
Cleo. He sends word And in the words he spoke.
Ile fears to see my face. Char. I found him then,
Aler. And would
you more? Encompassed round, I think, with iron statues, He shows his weakness, who declines the combat ; So mute, so motionless, his soldiers stood, And you must urge your fortune. Could he speak While awfully he cast his eyes about,
More plainly? to my ears the message sounds, And every leader's hopes and fears surveyed. "Come to my rescue, Cleopatra, come! Methought he looked resolved, and yet not Come, free me from Ventidius, from my tyrant; pleased :
See me, and give me a pretence to leave him? When he beheld me struggling in the crowd, He blushed, and bade make way.
I hear his trumpets. This way
he must pass. Aler. There's comfort yet.
Please you retire a while; l'll work him first, Char. Ventidius fixed his eyes upon my pas- That he may bend more casy. sage
Cleo. You shall rule me, Severely, as he meant to frown me back, But all, I fear, in vain. [Erit with Char. and Iras. And sullenly gave place. I told my message,
Aler. I fear so too, Just as you gave it, broken and disordered; Though I concealed my thoughts to make her I numbered in it all your sighs and tears, And while I moved your pitiful request,
But it is our utmost means, and fate befriend it. That you but only begged a last farewell,
[Withdraws. A march till all are on. He fetched an inward groan, and every time I named you, sighed, as if his heart were breaking, Enter Lictors with fusces, one bearing the Eagle; But shunned my eyes, and guiltily looked down.
then enter Antony and VÆNTIDIUS, followed lle seemed not now that awful Antony,
by other Communders. Who shook an armed assembly with his nod, Ant. Octavius is the minion of blind chance,
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, himn;
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, Aler. 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.
Vent. 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.
Aler. You, when his matchless valour bears Vent. Or old age and a bed.
him forward Ant. Ay, there's bis choice;
With ardour, too heroic, on his foes; He would live like a lamp tc 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,
Whom she can never count her enemy,
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. Ant. 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 queen-
Aler. Then your mistress.
Your mistress would, she says, have sent her soul, Aler. Great emperor,
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 bracelet. To her departing lord.
Vent. Now, my best lord, in honour's name I
Touch not these poisoned gifts,
Myriads of bluest plagues lie underneath them, Cleo. The gods have seen my joys with envious And more than aconite has dipt the siłk.
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 agaiost 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
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 bands 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. Her eyes do Cæsar's work.
Cleo. I cleared myselfdni. 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 busom, 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; l'ent. 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, l'ent. Mark the end yet.
And I untired with loving.
I Enter CLEOPATRA, CHARMION, and Iras.
saw you erery 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 cach Into our mutual ruin,