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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;
(Exit VENTIDIUS. Dol. You'll remeniber To whom you stand obliged ?
Ant. When I forget it,
Dol. I fear she will not.
queen, my Dolabella! Hast thou not still some grudgings of thy fever?
Dol. I would not see her lost.
Ant. When I forsake her,
Re-enter VENTIDIUS with OCTAVIA.
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,
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.
Ant. Yes, begg'd it, my ambassadress.
Dol. You shall not need it.
Oct. My hard fortune
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
Ven. I'm glad it pinches there.
Octavia's virtue? That pride was all I had to bear me up;
That you might think you owed me for your life,
Ant. Therefore you love me not?
Oct. Therefore, my lord,
Ant. Therefore you would leave me?
(Embracing her. I've been a thriftless debtor to your love, But all shall be amended.
Oct. O, blest hour !
Ven. My joy stops at my tongue ;
me where thou wilt; Even to thy brother's camp. Oct. All there are yours.
Enter ALEXAS, hastily.
Ant. 'Tis past !
(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
Enter ANTONY and VENTIDIUS.
Ven. You please to think so.
Ant. Thou see'st it cannot be.
Ant. So cold! wilt thou, as numbers have,
Ven. I shall forsake you when I die; not sooner.
Ant. Fool that I was ! upon my eagle's wing
Ven. We lose time. The day advances.