« PreviousContinue »
Sweep your way clear at Rome. Nay, look not sad,
pray, a little: pray you now :-
E'en of myself.—I'll see you by and by. He throws himself on a seat in an attitude of despair: Eros, his constant and favourite servant, acquainted with his habits, brings in Cleopatra, who enters, supported by her attendants, Charmian and Iras: she stands at some distance : Antony does not yet see her, but continues to speak as to himself :
The boyish Cæsar at Philippi kept
He-yet now,—no matter!
I've swerv'd most vilely from my former self. [Eros.] Most noble sir, arise; the queen approaches :
Her head's declin'd, and death will seize her, if
She cannot comfort you : behold, my lord. [Antony.] O, whither hast thou led me, Egypt? Where,
Where is the honour I have left behind,
Of all but thee forgetful ? [Cleopatra.] O my lord,
Forgive my fearful sails ! I little thought
You would have follow'd.
My heart was to thy rudder tied by strings,
Thy full supremacy thou knewst, and that
I who have play'd with one half of the world,
I have sent a messenger,
We scorn thee and thy blows. An hour or two is passed in banqueting before the ambassador to Cæsar returns : other friends of Antony, and among
them Enobarbus, enter with the ambassador : Antony calls to the latter :
What is his answer ? [Ambassador.] To your request he has no ears. The queen
Shall not want favour from him, so she drive
Take your life from you, here. [Antony.) Do you hear that ?
To the boy Cæsar send this grizzled head,
of youth upon him, which the world requires
To be adorn'd by manhood ; that his coin,
Stay, I will write it : follow me within. During Antony's absence, Enobarbus is busy in observing those who remain, and in meditating on what occurs: he speaks as to himself : [Enobarbus.] Yes, like enough that the high-battled Cæsar
Will quit his state, and stage himself, to fight
And earns a place in story. He stands aside for a time while Cleopatra is conferring with Thyreus, the messenger from Cæsar : but quits his place before the conference is ended, to inform Antony of what is passing. Cleopatra rises from her seat : [Cleopatra.] Now, speak the will of Cæsar. [Thyreus.] Hear it apart. [Cleopatra.] There are none here but friends. [Thyreus.] So haply are they friends of Antony.
[Cleopatra.] They are my friends, and would be Cæsar's too,
If Cæsar were my friend. [Thyreus.] Renowned queen,
Then thus doth Cæsar speak : Cæsar entreats
As blemishes deserv’d. [Cleopatra.] He is a god,
And knows the truth : mine honour was not yielded,
But conquer'd merely.
What you require of him ? fo'r he partly begs
The universal landlord.
Ŝay that I kiss great Cæsar's conquering hand;
To hear the doom of Egypt. [Thyreus.] 'Tis
My lips upon your hand.
Oft hath bestow'd his lips there, as if kisses
At this moment, Enobarbus brings in Antony, who speaks : [Antony.) Favours, by Jove that thunders!
What art thou, fellow ? [Thyreus.] One, that but performs
The bidding of the worthiest man to have
Ay, ay, you kite! what, ho!—now gods and devils !
I'm Antony yet. -Here, take this Jack, -away with him, and whip him. A momentary interval in Antony's gust of passion, allows us to hear Enobarbus speaking to himself : [Enobarbus.] 'Tis better playing with a lion's whelp,
Than with an old one dying. [Antony.] Moon and stars !
Whip him!-Were twenty of the tributaries,
That wait at table-
Do not believe-
But when we in our viciousness grow hard,