Page images
PDF
EPUB

Cleo. Thou teachest, like a fool, the way to lose him. Char. Tempt him not so too far. I wish, forbear: In time we hate that which we often fear.

Enter ANTONY.

But here comes Antony.

Cleo.

I am sick and sullen. Ant. I am sorry to give breathing to my purpose,Cleo. Help me away, dear Charmian, I shall fall; It cannot be thus long; the sides of nature

Will not sustain it.1

Ant.
Now, my dearest queen,-
Cleo. Pray you, stand further from me.
Ant.
What's the matter?
Cleo. I know, by that same eye, there's some good

news.

What says the married woman?-You may go;
'Would she had never given you leave to come!
Let her not say 'tis I that keep you here;
I have no power upon you; hers you are.
Ant. The gods best know,-
Cleo.

O, never was there queen So mightily betrayed! Yet, at the first, I saw the treasons planted.

Ant.

Cleopatra,

Cleo. Why should I think you can be mine, and true, Though you in swearing shake the throned gods, Who have been false to Fulvia? Riotous madness, To be entangled with those mouth-made vows, Which break themselves in swearing!

Most sweet queen,

Ant.

Cleo. Nay, pray you, seek no color for your going; But bid farewell, and go: when you sued staying, Then was the time for words. No going then ;Eternity was in our lips and eyes;

-

1 Thus in Twelfth Night :

"There is no woman's sides

Can bide the beating of so strong a passion."

Bliss in our brows' bent; none our parts so poor,
But was a race of heaven. They are so still,
2
Or thou, the greatest soldier of the world,
Art turned the greatest liar.
Ant.

Cleo. I would I had thy
know

There were a heart in Egypt.
Ant.

1

How now, lady!
inches; thou shouldst

Hear me, queen;

3

The strong necessity of time commands
Our services awhile; but my full heart
Remains in use with you. Our Italy
Shines o'er with civil swords. Sextus Pompeius
Makes his approaches to the port of Rome:
Equality of two domestic powers

Breeds scrupulous faction: the hated, grown to strength,

Are newly grown to love: the condemned Pompey,
Rich in his father's honor, creeps apace

Into the hearts of such as have not thrived
Upon the present state, whose numbers threaten;
And quietness, grown sick of rest, would purge
By any desperate change. My more particular,
And that which most with should safe my going,

you

Is Fulvia's death.

Cleo. Though age from folly could not give me freedom,

It does from childishness.-Can Fulvia die ?6

Ant. She's dead, my queen.

Look here, and, at thy sovereign leisure, read
The garboils she awaked; at the last, best.
See, when, and where she died.

1 The bending or inclination of our brows.

2 i. e. of heavenly motild.

3 The Poet here means, "in pledge:" the use of a thing is the possession of it.

4 Gate.

5 i. e. render my going not dangerous.

6 Cleopatra apparently means to say, "Though age could not exempt me from folly, at least it frees me from a childish and ready belief of every assertion. Is it possible that Fulvia is dead? I cannot believe it."

7 The commotion she occasioned.

Cleo. O, most false love! Where be the sacred vials thou shouldst fill With sorrowful water? I see, I see, In Fulvia's death, how mine received shall be. Ant. Quarrel no more, but be prepared to know The purposes I bear; which are, or cease, As you shall give the advice. By the fire, That quickens Nilus' slime, I go from hence, Thy soldier, servant; making peace, or war, As thou affect'st.

Cleo.

Cut my lace, Charmian, come ;-
But let it be. I am quickly ill, and well;
So Antony loves.

Ant.
My precious queen, forbear;
And give true evidence to his love, which stands
An honorable trial.

Cleo.

So Fulvia told me.
I pr'ythee, turn aside, and weep for her;
Then bid adieu to me, and say, the tears
Belong to Egypt. Good now, play one scene
Of excellent dissembling; and let it look
Like perfect honor.

Ant.

You'll heat my blood; no more. Cleo. You can do better yet; but this is meetly. Ant. Now, by my sword,Cleo. And target,-Still he mends; But this is not the best. Look, pr'ythee, Charmian, How this Herculean Roman 2 does become

The carriage of his chafe.

Ant.
I'll leave you, lady.
Cleo. Courteous lord, one word.
Sir, you and I must part,-but that's not it;
Sir, you and I have loved,-but there's not it;

That you know well. Something it is I would,—
O, my oblivion 3 is a very Antony,

And I am all forgotten.

1 Alluding to the lachrymatory vials filled with tears, which the Romans placed in the tomb of a departed friend.

2 Antony traced his descent from Anton, a son of Hercules.

3 Oblivion is used for oblivious memory, a memory apt to be deceitful.

VOL. VI.

14

Ant.

But that your royalty

Holds idleness your subject, I should take you
For idleness itself.1

2

Cleo.
'Tis sweating labor,
To bear such idleness so near the heart
As Cleopatra this. But, sir, forgive me;
Since my becomings kill me, when they do not
Eye well to you. Your honor calls you hence;
Therefore be deaf to my unpitied folly,
And all the gods go with you! Upon your sword
Sit laurelled victory! and smooth success
Be strewed before your feet!

Ant.

Let us go. Come;
Our separation so abides, and flies,
That thou, residing here, go'st yet with me,
And I, hence fleeting, here remain with thee.
Away.

[Exeunt.

SCENE IV. Rome. An
Rome. An Apartment in Cæsar's
House.

Enter OCTAVIUS CESAR, LEPIDUS, and Attendants.

Cæs. You may see, Lepidus, and henceforth know, It is not Cæsar's natural vice to hate Our great competitor.3 From Alexandria This is the news:-He fishes, drinks, and wastes The lamps of night in revel; is not more manlike Than Cleopatra; nor the queen of Ptolemy More womanly than he; hardly gave audience, or Vouchsafed to think he had partners. You shall find there

1 An antithesis seems intended between royalty and subject.

"But that

I know you to be a queen, and that your royalty holds idleness in subjection to you, I should pose you, from this idle discourse, to be the very genius of idleness itself."

2That which would seem to become me most, is hateful to me when it is not acceptable in your sight.”

3 The old copy reads, "One great competitor." Dr. Johnson proposed the emendation.

A man who is the abstract of all faults

That all men follow.

Lep.
I must not think there are
Evils enough to darken all his goodness.
His faults, in him, seem as the spots of heaven;1
More fiery by night's blackness; hereditary,
Rather than purchased; what he cannot change,
Than what he chooses.

Cæs. You are too indulgent. Let us grant it is not Amiss to tumble on the bed of Ptolemy;

To give a kingdom for a mirth; to sit
And keep the turn of tippling with a slave;

To reel the streets at noon, and stand the buffet
With knaves that smell of sweat. Say, this becomes

him,

3

(As his composure must be rare indeed, Whom these things cannot blemish,) yet must Antony No way excuse his soils, when we do bear So great weight in his lightness. If he filled His vacancy with his voluptuousness, Full surfeits, and the dryness of his bones, Call on him for't; but to confound such time, That drums him from his sport, and speaks as loud As his own state, and ours,-'tis to be chid As we rate boys; who, being mature in knowledge, Pawn their experience to their present pleasure, And so rebel to judgment.

Enter a Messenger.
Here's more news.

Lep.

Mes. Thy biddings have been done; and every hour, Most noble Cæsar, shalt thou have report How 'tis abroad. Pompey is strong at sea; And, it appears, he is beloved of those

That only have feared Cæsar.5 To the ports

1 i. e. the stars.

2 i. e. procured by his own fault.

3 "His trifling levity throws so much burden upon us."

4 i e. "visit him for't."

5 "Those whom not love, but fear, made adherents to Cæsar, now show their affection for Pompey."

« PreviousContinue »