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Then, like a burning vessel set adrift,
Cleo. In the first place,
Dol. I wish I could not answer to that quesCleo. Can I do this? ah, no! my love's so true,
tion. That I can neither bide it, where it is,
Cleo. Then pass it over, because it troubles you; Nor show it, where it is not. Nature meant me I should have been more grieved another time. A wife, a silly, harmless household dove, Next, I am to lose my kingdon-Farewell, Egypt! Fond without art, and kind without deceit; Yet is there any more? But fortune, that has inade a inistress of ine, Dol. Madam, I fear Has thrust me out to the wide world, unfurnished Your too deep sense of grief has turned your Of falsehood to be happy. Aler. Force yourself;
Cleo. No, no, I am not run mad; I can bear The event will be, your lover will return
fortune; Doubly desirous to possess the good,
And love inay be expelled by other love, Which once he feared to lose.
As poisons are by poisons. Cleo. I must attempt it;
Dol. -You overjoy me, madam, But oh, with what regret!
To tind your griefs so moderately borne. [Erit Aler. She comes up to Dolabella. You have the worst: all are not false like him. Vent. So now the scene draws near; they're in Cleo. No, heaven forbid they should !
Dol. Some men are constant. Cleo. to Dol. Discoursing with my women! Cleo. And constancy deserves reward, that is Might not I
certain. Share in your entertainment?
Dol. Deserves it not, but give it leave to hope. Char. You have been
Vent. I'll swear thou hast my leave. I have The subject of it, madam.
enough: Cleo. How! and how ?
But how to manage this ! Well, I'll consider. Iras. Such praises of your beauty!
[Exit. Cleo. Mere poetry :
Dol. I came prepared Your Roman wits, your Gallus and Tibullus, To tell you heavy news; news, which I thought Have taught you this from Cytheris and Delia. Would fright the blood from your pale cheeks to Dol. Those Roman wits have never been in hear; Egypt.
But you have met it with a chearfulness, Cytheris and Delia else had been unsung: That makes my task more easy; and my tongne, I, who have seen-had I been born a poet, Which on another's message was employed, Should cbuse a nobler name,
Would gladly speak its own. ('leo. You flatter me;
Cleo. Hold, Dolabella.
Dol. He picked me out, and, as his bosom-
lle charged me with his words. Cleo. Well, he sent you
Cleo. The message then Dol. On a less pleasing errand.
I know was tender, and each accent smooth, Cleo. How ! less pleasing?
To mollify that rugged word ‘Depart! Less to yourself or me?
Dol. Oh! you mistake: he chose the harshest Dol. Madam, to both;
words: For you must mourn, and I must grieve to cause With fiery eyes, and with contracted brows, it.
He coined his face in the severest stamp, Cleo. You, Charmion, and your fellow, stand And fury shook his fabric like an earthquake: at distance.
He heaved for vent, and burst, like bellowing Hold up, my spirits ! [Aside.]-Well, now your Etna, mournful matter,
In sounds scarce human, 'Hence, away for ever! For I am prepared, perhaps can guess it too. "Let her begone, the blot of my renown, Dol. I wish you would, for 'tis a thankless And bane of all my hopes !
otřice To tell ill news; and I, of all your sex,
[All the time of this speech Cleopatra seems Most fear displeasing you,
more and more concerned, till she sinks quite Cleo. Of all your sex,
down. I soonest could forgive you, if you should. “Let her be driven, as far as men can think, Vent. Most delicate advances ! Woman! wo- From man's commerce : she'll poison to the cenman!
tre. Dear, damned unconstant sex!
Cleo. Oh, I can bear no more! [Fuints.
Dol. Help, help! Oh wretch! oh cursed, cur- | Would you indeed! the pretty hand in earnest ? sed wretch!
Aside. Char. Help! chafe her temples, Iras.
Dol. I will, for this reward : [Takes her hand, Iras. Bend, bend her forward quickly.
-Draw it not back; Char. Heaven be praised,
'Tis all I e'er will beg. She comes again!
Vent. They turn upon us. Cleo, Oh, let him not reproach me!
Oct. What quick eyes has guilt! Why have you brought me back to this loathed Vent. Seem not to have observed them, and
being, The abode of falsehood, violated vows And injured love! For pity let me go;
They enter. For, if there be a place of long repose,
Dol. Saw you the emperor, Ventidius? I am sure I want it . My disdainful lord
Vent. No; Can never break that quiet, nor awake
I sought him, but I heard, that he was private, The sleeping soul with hollowing in my tomb None with him but Hipparchus, his freed man. Such words as fright her hence. Unkind! un- Dol. Know you his business? kind!
Vent. Giving him instructions Dol. Believe me 'tis against myself I speak; And letters to his brother, Cæsar,
[Kneeling. Dol. Well, That sure deserves belief. I injured him; He must be found. [Exeunt Dolabella and My friend ne'er spoke these words. Oh! had
Oct. Most glorious impudence ! Ilow often he came back, and every time
Vent, She looked, methought, With something more obliging and inore kind As she would say, "Take your old man, Octavia; To add to what he said; what dear farewells,
I am better here,'
Oct. Let it die. (But what can you not do, who made me false !) Vent. I pity Dolabella! but she is dangerous; I forged that lie, for whose forgiveness kneels Her
power beyond Thessalian charms This self-accused, self-punished, criminal. To draw the moon from heaven; for eloquence Cleo. With how much ease believe we what The sea-green Sirens taught her voice their fatwe wish!
tery; Rise, Dolabella; if you have been guilty, And, while she speaks, night steals upon the day, I have contributed, and too much love
Unmarked of those, that hear: then she's so Has made me guilty too.
charming, The advance of kindness, which I made, was Age buds at sight of her, and swells to youth: feigned,
The holy priests gaze on her when she smiles, To call back fleeting love by jealousy;
And with heaved hands, forgetting gravity, But it would not last! Oh! rather let me lose, They bless her wanton eyes : even I, who hate Than so ignobly trifle with, his heart.
her, Dol. I find your breast fenced round from hu- With a malignant joy behold such beauty, man reach,
And, while I curse, desire it. Antony Transparent as a rock of solid crystal,
Must needs have some remains of passion still, Seen through, but never pierced. My friend, my which may ferment into a worse relapse, friend!
If now not fully cured—But see, he comes What endless treasure hast thou thrown away, I know this minute And scattered. like an infant, in the occan With Cæsar he is endeavouring her peace. Vain sums of wealth, which none can gather Oct. You have prevailed—but for a farther thence !
(Walks off: Cleo. Could you not beg
I'll prove how he will relish this discovery. An hour's admittance to his private ear? What, make a strumpet's peace! it swells my Like one, who wanders through long barren wilds, heart : And yet foreknows no hospitable inn
It must not, shall not be, Is near to succour hunger,
Vent. His guards appear. Eats his fill before his painful march,
Let me begin, and you shall second me.
Ant. Octavia, I was looking for you, my love,
What, are your letters ready? I have given VENTIDIUS, with OCTAVIA, behind.
My last instructions. l'ent. From whence you may discover-Oh, Oct. Mine, my lord, are written. sweet, sweet!
Ant. Ventidius! [Drawing him aside. Vent. My lord?
Vent. Your Cleopatra, Ant. A word in private.
Dolabella's Cleopatra, When saw you Dolabella?
Every man's Cleopatra. Vent. Now, my lord.
Ant. 'Tis false. He parted hence, and Cleopatra with him.
Vent. I do not lie, my lord. Ant. Speak softly; 'twas by my command he is this so strange ? should mistresses be left, went,
And not provide against a time of change? To bear my last farewell.
You know she's not much used to lonely nights. Vent. It looked indeed
Ant. I'll think no more of it. Like your farewell.
I know 'tis false, and see the plot betwixt you. Ant. More softly—My farewell !
You need not have gone this way, Octavia; What secret meaning have you in these words, What harms it you, that Cleopatra's just ? Of • my farewel?' He did it by iny order. She's mine no more. I see and I forgive; Vent. Then he obeyed your order, I suppose. Urge it no farther, love.
[Aloud. Oct. Are you concerned, You bid him do it with all gentleness,
That she's found false? All kindness, and all-love.
Ant. I should be, were it so; Ant. How she mourned !
For, though 'tis past, I would not, that the world The poor forsaken creature !
Should tax my former choice; that I loved one Vent. She took it as she ought; she bore your Of so light note; but I forgive you both. parting,
Vent. What has my age deserved, that you As she did Cæsar's, as she would another's,
should think Were a new love to come.
I would abuse your ears with perjury? Ant. Thou dost belie her,
If heaven be true, she's false. Most basely and maliciously belie her.
Ant. Though heaven and earth Vent. I thought not to displease you : I have Should witness it, I'll not believe her tainted. done.
Vent. I'll bring you, then, a witness Oct. You seem disturbed, my lord. [Coming up. From hell, to prove her so. Nay, go not back, Ant. A very trifle.
[Seeing Aleras just entering, and starting back. Retire, my love.
For stay you must and shall. l'ent. It was indeed a trifc.
Aler. What means my lord ? He sent,
Vent. To make you do what most you hate, Ant. No more. Look how thou disobey'st me; speak truth. Thy life shall answer it.
[Angrily. You are of Cleopatra's private counsel, Oct. Then 'tis no trifle.
Of her bed counsel, her lascivious hours, Vent. (To Oct.] 'Tis less; a very nothing : Are conscious of each nightly change she makes, you too saw it
And watch her as Chaldeans do the moon,
Aler. My noble lord !
No fine set speech, no cadence, no turned periods, Vent. Young? I think him young,
But a plain homespun truth, is what I ask : And handsome too; and so do others think him. I did myself o'erhear your queen make love But what of that? he went by your command, To Dolabella : speak, for I will know, Indeed, 'tis probable, with some kind message, By your confession, what more passed betwixt For she received it graciously: She smiled;
them, And then he grew familiar with her hand, Ilow near the business draws to your employment, Squeczed it, and worried it with ravenous kisses; And when the happy hour ? She blushed, and sighed, and smiled, and blushed Ant. Speak truth, Alexas; whether it offend again;
Or please Ventidius, care not. Justify At last she took occasion to talk softly,
Thy injured queen from malice : dare his worst. And brought her cheek up close, and leaned on Oct. [Aside.] See how he gives him courage, his,
how he fears At which he whispered kisses back on hers; To find her false, and shuts his eyes to truth, And then she cryed aloud, that constancy Willing to be misled! Should be rewarded !—This I saw and heard Aler. As far as love may plead for woman's Ant. What woman was it, whom you heard frailty, and saw
Urged by desert and greatness of the lover, So playful with my friend?
So far, divine Octavia, may my queen Not Cleopatra?
Stand even excused to you for loving him, Vent. Even she, my lord.
Who is your lord; so far from brave Ventidius Ant. My Cleopatra !
May her past actions hope a fair report.
Ant. 'Tis well and truly spoken : Mark, Oct. Wherein have I offended you, my lord,
That I am bid to leave you ? am † false Aler. To you, most noble emperor, her strong Or infamous ? am I a Cleopatra ? passion
Were I she,
And fawn upon my
falsehood. Of sighing kings, and at her feet were laid
Ant. 'Tis too much,
Too heavy to be borne, and you add more!
Of man within, to aid me. And, to be less than wife to you, disdained
Oct. You would mourn Their lawful passion.
In private for your love, who has betrayed you. Ant. 'Tis but truth.
You did but half return to me; your kindness
You make conditions for her,
Or are you turned a Dolabella too,
And let this fury loose? Confirmed those pious thoughts.
Vent. Oh, be advised,
Sweet madam! and retire.
Aler. Else had I never dared to offend his ears When urged with long unkindness and disdain.
Take her again, whom you prefer to me;
Though my just sense of wrongs forbid my stay,
My duty shall be yours. Oct. Must I bear this ? Good heaven! afford To the dear pledges of our former love me patience!
[Aside. My tenderness and care shall be transferred, Vent, Oh, sweet eunuch! my dear half man, And they shall cheer by turns my widowed proceed!
nights. Aler. Yet Dolabella
So take my last farewell! for I despair
Vent. I combat heaven, which blasts my best Rejected, as she is, by him she loved
designs! Ant. Hence from my sight, for I can bear no My last attempt must be to win her back; more! But oh! I fear in vain.
[Erit. Let furies drag thee quick to hell! each torturing Ant. Why was I framed with this plain honest hand
heart, Do thou employ till Cleopatra comes,
Which knows not to disguise its griefs and weakThen join thou too, and help to torture her!
I should have kept the mighty anguish in,
But I am made a shallow-forded stream,
And all my faults exposed.See, where he Leave me, I say !
cones, Oct. My lord!
And worn it into vilcness!
With how secure a brow and specious form
He gilds the secret villain ! Sure that face Lay lulled betwixt your bosoms, and there slept
Dol. If she has wronged you,
Heaven, hell, and you, revenge it! Dol. O my friend!
Ant. If she has wronged ine! Ant. Well, Dolabella, you performed my Thou wouldst evade thy part of guilt: but swear message?
Thou lavest not her. Dol. I did, unwillingly.
Dol. Not so as I love
you. Ant. Unwillingly!
Ant. Not so? Swear, swear, I say, thou dost Was it so hard for you to bear our parting?
not love her. You should have wished it.
Dol. No more than friendship will allow. Dol. Why !
Ant. No more! Ant. Because you love me;
Friendship allows thee nothing : thou art perjuAnd she received my message with as true,
redWith as unfeigned a sorrow as you brought it? And yet thou didst not swear thou lovest her not; Dol. She loves you even to madness.
But not so much, no more. Oh, trifling hypoAnt. Oh! I know it.
crite! You, Dolabella, do not better know
Who durst not own to her thou dost not love, How much she loves me. And should I Nor own to me thou dost! Ventidius heard it, Forsake this beauty, this all perfect creature? Octavia saw it. Dol. I could not, were she mine.
Cleo. They are enemies. Ant. And yet you first
Ant. Alexas is not so; he, he confest it; Persuaded me. How come you altered since ? He, who next hell best knew it, he avowed it.
Dol. I said at first I was not fit to go: Why do I seek a proof beyond yourself? (To Dol. I could not hear her sighs, and see her tears, You, whom I sent to bear my last farewell, But pity must prevail; and so perhaps
Returned to plead her stay. It may again with you; for I have promised, Dol. What shall I answer? That she should take her last farewell; and see, If to have loved be guilt, then I have sinned; She comes to claim my word.
But if to have repented of that love
Can wash away my crime, I have repented; Enter CLEOPATRA.
Yet, if I have offended past forgiveness, Ant. False Dolabella !
Let her not suffer: she is innocent. Dol. What's false, my lord?
Cleo. Ah, what will not a woman do, who Ant. Why, Dolabella's false,
loves ! And Cleopatra's false; both false and faithless. What means will she refuse to keep that heart, Draw near, you well-joined wickedness, you Where all her joys are placed ! 'Twas I encouserpents,
raged, Whom I have in my kindly bosom warmed, 'Twas I blew up the fire, that scorched his soul, Till I am stung to death!
To make you jealous, and by that regain you : Dol. My lord, have I
But all in vain; I could not counterfeit : Deserved to be thus used ?
In spite of all the dams, my love broke o'er, Cleo. Can heaven prepare
And drowned my heart again : Fate took the oce A newer torment? can it find a curse
casion, Beyond our separation?
And thus one minute's feigning has destroyed Ant. Yes, if fate
My whole life's truth.
Seen and broke through at first.
and friendship! When half the globe was mine, I gave it you You have no longer place in human breasts; In duwry with iny heart: I had no use, These two have driven you out: avoid my sight! Vo fruit, of all but you : a friend and mistress I would not kill the man, whom I have loved, Was what the world could give. Oh, Cleopatra ! And cannot hurt the woman; but avoid me! Oh, Dolabella! how could you betray
I do not know how long I can be tame; This tender heart, which, with an infant fondness, For, if I stay one minute more to think Vol. I.