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Aler. Oh heavens! I dare not:
Ant. They're enough. I meet my certain death.
We'll not divide our stars, but side by side Cleo. Slave, thou deservest it.
Fight emulous, and with malicious eyes Not that I fear my lord will I avoid him; Survey each other's acts: so every
death I know him noble: when he banished me, Thou givest, l'll take on me as a just debt, And thought me false, he scorned to take my life: And pay thee back a soul. But I'll be justitied, and then die with him. Vent. Now you shall see I love you. Not a Aler. Oh! pity me, and let me follow you !
word Cleo. To death, if thou stir hence. Speak, if Of chiding more. By my few hours of life, thou canst,
I am so pleased with this brave Roman fate, Now for thy life, which basely thou wouldst save, That I would not be Cæsar to outlive you! While mine I prize at this. Come, good Serapion. When we put off this flesh, and mount together,
Ereunt Cleo. Ser. Char. and Iras. I shall be shewn to all the ethereal crowd, Alex. Oh, that I less could fear to lose this · Lo! this is he, who died with Antony ! being,
Ant. Who knows but we may pierce through Which, like a snow-ball in my coward hand,
all their troops, The more 'tis grasped the faster melts away: And reach my veterans yet ? 'Tis worth the Poor reason! what a wretched aid art thou !
tempting For still, in spite of thec,
To o'erleap this gulf of fate,
Enter Alexas, trembling.
Vent. See, see that villain !
Within. See Cleopatra stamped upon that face, Vent. This leads to the monument. Within. With all her cunning, all her arts of falsehood! Alex. Ah me! I hear him: yet I'm unprepared: How she looks out through those dissembling My gift of lying's gone;
eyes! And this court-devil, which I so oft have raised, How he has set his countenance for deceit, Forsakes me at my need. I dare not stay, And promises a lie before he speaks! Yet cannot go far hence. [Erit. Let une dispatch him first.
Aler. Oh, spare me, spare
Ant. Hold; he's not worth your killing. On
Aler. Sir, she's gone
By love or you.
Die, traitor! I revoke my promise ; die!
[Going to kill him. Crusted about his soul.
Aler. Oh, hold; she is not fed. Vent. The nation is
Ant. She is; my eyes One universal traitor, and their queen
Are open to her falsehood. My whole life The very spirit and extract of them all.
Has been a golden dream of love and friendship; Ant. Is there yet left
But now I wake, I'm like a merchant roused A possibility of aid and valour?
From soft repose, to see his vessel sinking Is there one god unsworn to my destruction, And all his wealth cast o'er. Ungrateful woman! The least unmortgaged hope? for, if there be, Who followed me but as the swallow summer, Methinks I cannot fall beneath the fate
Hatching her young ones in my kindly beams, Of such a boy as Cæsar.
Singing her flatteries to my morning wake; The world's one half is yet in Antony;
But now my winter comes, she spreads her wings, And from each limb of it, that's hew'd away, And seeks the spring of Cæsar. The soul comes back to me.
Aler. Think not so; Vent. There yet remain
Her fortunes have in all things mixed with yours: Three legions in the town; the last assault Had she betrayed her naval force to Roine, Lopt off the rest. If death be your design, How easily might she have gone to Cæsar; As I must wish it now, these are sufficient Secure by such a bribe? To make a heap about us of dead foes,
Vent. She sent it first, An honest pile for burial.
To be more welcome after.
Ant. Tis too plain,
Ant. Why, let him enter: Else would she have appeared to clear herself. üle's welcome now.
Aler. Too fatally she has; she could not bear Vent. What lethargy has crept into your soul? To be accused by you, but shut herself
Ant. 'Tis but a scorn of life, and just desire Within her monument, looked down and sighed, To free myself from bondage. While from her unchanged face the silent tears Vent. Do it bravely. Dropt, as they had not leave, but stole their part- Ant. I will, but not by fighting. Oh, Ventiing.
dius, Some undistinguished words she inly murmured; What should I fight for now? my queen is dead: At last she raised her eyes, and with such looks I was but great for her: my power, my empire, As dying Lucrece cast
Were but my merchandise to buy her love, Ant. My heart forebodes
And conquered kings my factors. Now she's Vent. All for the best. Go on.
dead, Aler. She snatched her poniard,
Let Cæsar take the world And, ere we could prevent the fatal blow, An empty circle, since the jewel's gone, Plunged it within ber breast; then turned to me; Which made it worth my strife: my being's nau. Go, bear my lord,' said she, “my last farewell,
seous, And ask him if he yet suspect my faith.'
For all the bribes of life are gone away.
But as a Roman ought; dead, my Ventidius And buried half within her.
For I'll convey my soul from Cæsar's reach, Vent. Heaven be praised !
And lay down life myself. 'Tis time the world Ant. Then art thou innocent, my poor dear Should have a lord, and know, whom to obey. love!
We two have kept its homage in suspense, And art thou dead?
And bent the globe, on whose each side we trod, Oh, those two words! their sound should be di- Till it was dinted inwards. Let him walk vided.
Alone upon it: I'm weary of my part. Hadst thou been false and died, or hadst thou My torch is out, and the world stands before me, lived
Like a black desert at the approach of night : And hadst been true-But innocence and death! I'll lay me down and stray no farther on. This shows not well above. Then what am I? Vent. I could be grieved, The murderer of this truth, this innocence ! But that I'll not outlive you. Chuse your death, Thoughts cannot form themselves in words so For I have seen him in such various shapes, horrid
I care not which I take : I'm only troubled As can express my guilt !
The life I bear is worn to such a rag, Vent. Is it come to this? The gods have been 'Tis scarce worth giving. I could wish indeed too gracious,
We threw it from us with a better grace, And thus you thank them for it.
That, like two lions taken in the toils, Ant. (To Aler.] Why stay'st thou here? We might at least thrust out our paws, and wound Is it for thee to spy upon my soul,
The hunters, that enclose us. And see its inward mourning? Get thee hence ! Ant. I have thought on it; Thou art not worthy to behold what now Ventidius, you must live. Becomes a Roman emperor to perform.
Vent. I must not, sir. Aler. He loves her still;
[Aside. Ant. Wilt thou not live to speak some good His grief betrays it. Good! the joy to find
of me? She's yet alive completes the reconcilement : To stand by my fair fame, and guard the apI have saved myself and her. But oh! the Ro- proaches mans !
From the ill tongues of men? Fate comes too fast upon my wit,
Vent. Who shall guard mine Hunts me too hard, and meets me at each double. For living after you?
Erit. Ant. Say, I command it. Vent. Would she had died a little sooner Vent. If we die well, our deaths will speak though,
themselves, Before Octavia went; you might have treated; And need no living witness. Now 'twill look tame, and would not be received. Ant. Thou hast loved me, Come, rouse yourself, and let's die warm to- And fain I would reward thee. I must die; gether.
Kill me, and take the merit of my death, Ant. I will not fight; there's no more work for To make thee friends with Cæsar. war;
Vent. Thank your kindness! The business of my angry hours is done.
You said I loved you, and in recompense Vent. Cæsar is at your gate.
You bid me turn a traitor! Did I think
You would have used me thus ! that I should Char. There he lies, die
And dead Ventidius by him. With a hard thought of you !
Cleo. My fears were prophets! I am come too Ant. Forgive me, Roman.
late! Since I have heard of Cleopatra's death, Oh, that accursed Alexas ! (Runs to him. My reason bears no rule upon my tongue,
Ant. Art thou living?
Cleo. Help me seat him !
Send quickly, send for help! Ant. Kill me first,
[They place him in a chair. And then die thou; for 'tis but just thou serve Ant. I am answered : Thy friend before thyself.
We live both. Sit thee down, my Cleopatra ! Vent. Give me your hand
I'll make the most I can of bfe, to stay
Embrace. Cleo. How is it with you?
But one dear jewel, that his haste forgot,
And he for that returns upon the spur; I will not make a business of a trifle
So I come back for thee. And yet I cannot look on you and kill you : Cleo. Too long, ye heavens! you have been Pray turn your face.
cruel to me! Ånt, I do: strike home; be sure.
Oh, now be kind, and give me back Vent. Home as my sword will reach.
His fleeting life!
[Kills himself. Ant. It will not be, my love! Ant. Oh, thou mistakest !
I keep my soul by force. That wound was none of thine ; give it me back : Say but thou art not false ! Thou robbest me of my death.
Cleo. 'Tis now too late
it and die with you.
(Dies. Both you and me. Ant. Farewell ! ever my leader, even in
Ant. And Dolabelladeath!
Cleo. Scarce esteemed before he loved, but My queen and thou have got the start of me,
hated now. And I'm the lag of honour.—Gone so soon! Ant. Enough! my life's not long enough for Is death no more! He used him carelessly, With a familiar kindness; ere he knocked, Thou say'st, thou wilt come after: I believe thee ; Ran to the door, and took him in his arms, For I can now believe whate'er thou say'st, As who should say, you're welcome at all hours, That we may part more kindly. A friend need give no warning-Books had spoil
Cleo. I will come; ed him,
Doubt not, my life! I'll come, and quickly too! For all the learned are cowards by profession. Cæsar shall triumph o'er no part of thee. 'Tis not worth
Ant. But grieve not, while thou stayest, My further thought; for death, for anght I know, My last disastrous times ! Is but to think no more. Here's to be satisfied. Think we have had a clear and glorious day,
(Falls on his sword. And heaven did kindly to delay the storm, I have missed my heart—Oh, unperforming Just till our close of evening. Ten years love, hand!
And not a moment lost, but all improved Thou never couldst have erred in a worse time. To the utmost joys! What ages have we lived ! My fortune jades me to the last; and death, And now to die each other's ! and so dying, Like a great man, takes state, and makes me wait while hand in hand we walk in groves below, For my admittance (Trampling within. Whole troops of lovers' ghosts shall flock about us, Some, perhaps, from Cæsar!
And all the train be ours. If he should find me living, and suspect,
Cleo. Your words are like the notes of dying That I played booty with my lite! I'll mend
swans, My work ere they can reach me.
Too sweet to last. Were there so many hours [Rises upon his knees. For your unkindness, and not one for love !
Ant. No, not a minute this one kiss-more Enter CLEOPATRA, Charmion, and Iras.
worth Cleo. Where is my lord? where is he? Than all I leave to Cæsar.-
[Dics. Cleo. Oh, tell me so again!
And, oh! 'tis better far to have him thus, And take ten thousand kisses for that word- Than see him in her arms !_0 welcome, welMy lord! my lord ! speak, if you yet have come!
being! Sign to me if you cannot speak! or cast
Enter CuArmion and Iras, with the aspicks, &c. One look! do any thing, that shows you live! Char. What must be done? Iras. He is gone too far to hear you,
Cleo. Short ceremony, friends; And this, you see, a lump of senseless clay, but yet it must be decent. First, this laurel The leavings of a soul.
Shall crown my hero's head: he fell not basely, Char. Remember, madam,
Nor left his shield behind him. Only thou He charged you not to grieve.
Couldst triumph o'er thyself, and thou alone Cleo. And I'll obey him.
Wert worthy so to triumph.
Char. To what end
Cleo. Dull, that thou art! why, 'tis to meet For 'tis to that high title I aspire ;
I'll find once again ; my second spousals For Roman laws to break.
Shall match my first in glory. Haste, haste, both, • Iras. Will you then die?
And dress the bride of Antony ! Cleo. Why shouldst thou make that question ?
Char. Tis done. Fly both, and bring the cure of all our ills. Cleo. Now set me by my lord; I claim this Iras. Cæsar is merciful.
place, Cleo. Let him be so
For I must conquer Cæsar, too, like him, To those, that want his mercy: My poor lord And win my share of the world. Hail, you dear Made no such covenant with bim to spare me,
relicks When he was dead. Yield me to Cæsar's pride! of my immortal love ! What! to be led in triumph through the streets, Oh, let no impious hand remove you hence, A spectacle to base plebeian eyes,
But rest for ever here! let Egypt give While some dejected friend of Antony's, His death that peace, which it denied his life! Close in a corner, shakes his head, and mutters Reach me the casket. A secret curse on her, who ruined hiin!
Iras. Underneath the fruit the aspick lies. I'll none of that.
Cleo. Welcome, thou kind deceiver ! Char. Whatever you resolve,
(Putting aside the leaves. I'll follow, even to death.
Thou best of thieves ! who with an easy key Iras. I only feared
Dost open life, and, unperceived by us, For you, but more should fear to live without Even steals us from ourselves, discharging so you.
Death's dreadful office better than himself, Cleo. Why, now 'tis as it should be. Quick, Touching our limbs so gently into slumber, my friends,
That Death stands by, deceived by his own image, Dispatch! ere this the town's in Cæsar's hands : And thinks himself but sleep. My lord looks down concerned, and fears my Ser. The queen, where is she? [Within. stay,
The town is yielded, Cæsar's at the gates. Lest I should be surprised :
Cleo. He comes too late to invade the rights Keep him not waiting for his love too long.
of death. You, Charmion, bring my crown and richest Haste, haste, my friend, and rouse the serpent's jewels;
fury. With them the wreath of victory I made
(Holds out her arm, and draws it back. (Vain augury !) for him, who now lies dead : Coward fleshYou, Iras, bring the cure of all our ills.
Wouldst thou conspire with Cæsar to betray me, Iras. The aspicks, madam?
As thou wert none of mine? I'll force thee to it, Cleo. Must I bid
And not be sent by him,
[Er. Char. and Iras. And bring myself, my soul, to Antony. 'Tis sweet to die, when they would force life on [Turns aside, and then shows her arm bloody. me,
Take hence : the work is done! To rush into the dark abode of death
Ser. Break ope the door,
[Within. And seize him first! If he be like my love, And guard the traitor well. He is not frightful sure!
Char. The next is ours.
Of our great queen and mistress.
They apply the aspicks. Cleo. Already, death, I feel thee in my Char. Yes, 'tis well done, and like a queen, veins;
the last I go with such a will to find my lord,
Of her great race. I follow her. (Sinks down. Dies. That we shall quickly meet.
Aler. Tis true, A heavy numbness creeps through every limb, She has done well: much better thus to die, And now 'tis at my head : my eyelids fall, Than live to make a holiday in Rome. And my dear love is vanished in a mist!
Ser. See how the lovers lie state together, Where shall I find him, where ? oh! turn me to As they were giving laws to half mankind! him,
The impression of a smile, left in her face, And lay me on his breast !-Cæsar, thy worst ! Shows she died pleased with him, for whom she Now part us if thou canst.
[Dies. lived, (Iras sinks down at her feet and dies, Charmion And went to charm him in another world. stands behind her chair as dressing her head. Cæsar's just entering; grief has now no leisure.
Secure that villain, as our pledge of safety, Enter SERAPION, two Priests, Alexas, bound, To grace the imperial triumph. Sleep, blest and Egyptians.
Secure from human chance, long ages out, 2 Priest. Behold, Serapion, what havoc death While all the storms of fate fly o'er your tomb: has made!
And fame to late posterity shall tell, Ser. Twas what I feared.
No lovers lived so great, or died so well. Charmion, is this well done?