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Dol. Nor I ; nor yet Mæcenas, nor Agrippa : They were your enemies; and I, a friend, Too weak alone; yet 'twas a Roman deed. Ant. 'Twas like a Roman done : Shew me that

person, Who has preserved my life, my love, my honour; Bring us but face to face,

Ven. That task is mine;
And, Heaven, thou know'st how pleasing !

(Exit VENTIDIUS. Dol. You'll remeniber To whom you stand obliged ?

Ant. When I forget it,
Be thou unkind; and that's my greatest curse.
My queen shall give thanks too.

Dol. I fear she will not.
Ant. She shall, she shall: the

queen, my Dolabella! Hast thou not still some grudgings of thy fever?

Dol. I would not see her lost.

Ant. When I forsake her,
Leave me, my better stars ; for she has trutlı
Beyond her beauty. Cæsar tempted her
At no less price than kingdoms, to betray me;
But she resisted all : and yet thou chid'st me
For loving her too well. Could I do so ?
Dol. Yes : there's my reason.

Ant. Where? Octavia there? [Starting back.

Ven. What, is she poison to you? A disease ? Look on her, view her well. Dol. For shame, my lord, if not for lovc, receive

her With kinder



confess a man,
Meet her, embrace her, bid her welcome to you.
Your arms should open, even without your knowledom,
To clasp her in; your feet should turn to wings,
To bear you to her.

Ant. I stood amazed to think how she came hither,

Ven. I sent to her; I brought her in, unknown To Cleopatra's guards.

Dol. Yet, are you cold? Oct. Thas long I have attended for my welcome, Which, as a stranger, sure I might expect. Who am I?

Ant. Cæsar's sister.

Oct. That's unkind ! Had I been nothing more than Cæsar's sister, Know, I had still remain’d in Cæsar's camp; But your Octavia, your much-injured wite, Though banish'd from your bed, driven from your

house, In spite of Cæsar's sister, still is yours. 'Tis true, I have a heart disdains your coldness, And prompts me not to seek what you should offer ; But a wife's virtue still surmounts that pride. I come to claim you as my own; to shew My duty first, to ask, nay beg, your kindness : Your hand, my lord; 'tis mine, and I will have it.

(Taking his hand.
Ven. Do, take it, thou deservest it.
Ant. I fear, Octavia, you have begg'd my life.
Oct. Begg'd it, my lord ?

Ant. Yes, begg'd it, my ambassadress.
Shall I, who, to my kneeling slave, could say,
Rise up, and be a king, shall I fall down,
And cry, forgive me, Cæsar?--No, that word
Would choke me up, and die upon my tongue.

Dol. You shall not need it.
Ant. I will not need it. Come, you've all betray'd

My friend, too! to receive some vile conditions.
My wife has bought me, with her prayers and tears;
And now I must become her branded slave.
In every peevish mood she will upbraid
The life she gave.

Oct. My hard fortune
Subjects me still to your unkind mistakes.
But the conditions I have brought are such
You need not blush to take: I love


Because 'tis mine; it never shall be said
Octavia's husband was her brother's slave.
Sir, you are free; free even from her


loath ;
For, though my brother bargains for your love,
Makes me the price and cement of your peace,
I have a soul like yours: I cannot take
Your love as alms, nor beg what I deserve.
I'll tell my brother we are reconciled;
He shall draw back his troops, and you

shall march
To rule the East; I may be dropt at Athens ;
No matter where, I never will complain,
But only keep the barren name of wife,
And rid you of the trouble.

Ven. Was ever such a strife of sullen honour ? Both scorn to be obliged.

Dol. O, she has touch'd him in the tend'rest part. See how he reddens with despite, and shame, To be outdone in generosity!

Ven. See how he winks ! how he dries up a tear, That fain would fall!

Ant. Octavia, I have heard you, and must praise The greatness of your soul, But cannot yield to what you have proposed; For I can ne'er be conquer'd but by love; But

you do all for duty. You would free me; And would be dropt at Athens; was't not so? Oct. It was, my

Ant. Then I must be obliged
To one who loves me not; who, to herself,
May call me thankless, and ungrateful man ;
I'll not endure it; no.

Ven. I'm glad it pinches there.
Oct. Would you exult o'er


Octavia's virtue? That pride was all I had to bear me up;

That you might think you owed me for your life,
And owed it to my duty, not my love.
I have been injured, and my haughty soul
Could brook but ill the man that slights my bed.

Ant. Therefore you love me not?

Oct. Therefore, my lord,
I should not love you.

Ant. Therefore you would leave me?
Oct. And therefore I should leave you, if I could.
Ant. I am vanquish'd. Take me, Octavia ;-

(Embracing her. I've been a thriftless debtor to your love, But all shall be amended.

Oct. O, blest hour !
Dol. Happy change!

Ven. My joy stops at my tongue ;
But it has found two channels here, for one,
And bubbles out above.
Ant. [To Octavia.] This is thy triumph ; lead

me where thou wilt; Even to thy brother's camp. Oct. All there are yours.

Enter ALEXAS, hastily.
Alex. The queen, my mistress, sir, and yours-

Ant. 'Tis past !
Octavia, you shall stay this night; to-morrow,
Cæsar and we are one.

(Exit, leading OCTAVIA; DOLABELLA follows. Ven. There's news for you ; run, my officious

pandar; Be sure to be the first ; haste forward : go Haste, my dear go-between !--haste ! [Ereut

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Ant. 'Tis plain, Ventidius, Cæsar has dissembled ;
He knows no honour, he and the conditions,
Sent by Octavia and Dolabella,
Were treacherously meant.

Ven. You please to think so.
Ant. Is it not clear?-He'll not withdraw his

Ven. And thus the war continues.I had hopes
To patch up peace.

Ant. Thou see'st it cannot be.
Ven. Well, well!

Ant. So cold! wilt thou, as numbers have,
When fortune is upon the wane, forsake me ?

Ven. I shall forsake you when I die; not sooner.
Ant. My friend!

Ven. Come, cheerly, general; your genius
O'er Cæsar's still may rise. For him you conquer'd;
Philippi knows it ;-then you shared with him
That empire which your sword made all your own.

Ant. Fool that I was ! upon my eagle's wing
I bore this wren, till I was tired of soaring,
And, now, he mounts above me.

Ven. We lose time. The day advances.

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