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Ant. We'll to yonder eminence :The preparation is, to-day, by sea; We please them not by land,
Ven. The preparation
Is both for sea and land: On sea, I fear,
'Tis a frail venture, since your loss at Actium.
Ant. I would they fought in fire, or in the air !
We'd fight there too. But, this it is, Ventidius :
Order for sea is given ; and our best force
Is forth to man the gallies. With our foot,
Upon the hills adjoining to the city,
Their naval movements we may best discover,
And look on their endeavours. -Follow me.
Ven. Swallows have built
In Cleopatra's sails their nests; the augurers
Say, they know not,—they cannot tell, look grimly,
And dare not speak their knowledge. Antony
Js valiant, and dejected; and, by starts,
His fretted fortunes give him hope, and fear,
Of what he has, and has not. To the last,
Though my brave general be fall’n to dotage,
My love, against my judgment, clings to him.
Interior of CLEOPATRA's Palace.
Enter CLEOPATRA, CHARMION, and IRAS.
Cle. Hear'st thou how fares the battle?
Now stands surveying our Egyptian gallies
Engaging Cæsar's fleet.
[Shout again. Cle. Now death, or conquest ! Iras. Have comfort, madam; 'twas a cheering shout.
[Shouts repeated Hark! they redouble it. Cle. Good news, kind Heaven!
Alex. O, horror, horror!
Egypt has been ;-our latest hour is come;
Time has unrolld our glories to the last,
And, now, closed up the volume.
Cle. Say the worst.
Alex. Proud on the waves, your well-appointed fleet Row'd forth to sea, and smooth the well-timed oars Were dip: to meet the foe. Soon did they meet, But not as foes! In brief, we saw their caps On either side thrown up; Ægyptian gallies (Received like friends) past through, and fell behind The Roman rear; and, now, they all come forward, And ride within the port.
Cle. Enough, Alexas ;
I've heard my doom !-What says Mark Antony?
Vhere is he? Oh, he will be more enraged
Than Telamon for his shield !
Alex. You must avoid him.
He raves on you, and cries he is betray'd.
Hi: fury shake his fabric like an earthquake;
Heaving for vent, he bursts like bellowing Ætna,
In sounds scarce human. Do not see him yet.
Cle. I must not.--Whither go?
Aler. Retire, awhile,
Within your monument:-meet not this tempest;
It will o'erblow.
Cle. Not till he hears I'm dead ;-
Then would this gust of anger end in grief.
Alex. E'en that way turn it, then ;-let me report
To Antony that you have slain yourself:
When undeceived, his joy will be so great,
He will forgive, if not forget, the ills
Our fleet hath wrought hiin.
Cle. Well, well, be it so. Away, Alexas !
And yet, ’tis not for fear that I avoid him :
I know him noble; when he banish'd me,
And thought me false, he scorn'd to take my life.
But I'll be justified, and then die with him.
(Exeunt CLEOPATRA and her Women,
Within the Torun of Alexandria.
Enter ANTONY and VENTIDIUS.
Ant. Gods! how this foul Ægyptian hath betray'd
Her fleet and Cæsar's mingle in the port,
And there, like long-lost friends, carouse together.
0, sun! thy up-rise shall I see no more ;
Fortune and Antony part here, even here !
All come to this! to this!
Ven. This Ægypt is
One universal traitor ; and their
queen The spirit, and the extract, of 'em all.
Ant. Is there yet left a possibility ? -
The least unmortgaged hope?--for, if there be,
Methinks I should not fall beneath the fate
Of such a boy as Cæsar.
Ven. There are yet
(The remnant now fled with us from the hills)
Three legions left. If death be your design,
As I must wish it now, these are sufficient
To make a heap about us of dead foes,
An honest pile for burial.
Ant. They're enough.
Ven. Now you shall see I love you :--not a word
Of chiding more : By my few hours of life,
I am so pleased with this brave Roman fate,
That I would not be Cæsar to outlive you.
Ant. Who knows but yet we may
Ilow now, Alexas ?
Ven. He comes from Clcopatra ;- from your ruin;
And looks a lie before he utters it.
Hence, villain, hence!
Ant. Away from me for ever!
No syllable co justify thy queen:
Let her begone; the blot of my renown,
And bane of all my hopes ! Let her be driven
As far as man can think, from human commerce ;
She'll poison to the centre !
Alex. Sir, be satisfied,
She'll ne'er molest you more ;---she could not bear
To be accused by you ; but shut herself
Within her monument: Her silent tears
Dropt, as they had not leave, but stole their parting:
At last, with dying looks-
Ant. My heart forebodes !-
Ven. All for the best : Go on.
Alex She sna ch'd her poniard,
And ere we could prevent the fatal blow,
Plunged it within her breast. Go, bear my lord,
(Turning to me, she said,) my last farewell;
And ask him, if he yet suspect my faith :-
More she was saying, but death rush'd betwixt :-
She half pronounced your name with her last breath, And half was lost with it.
Ant. And art thou dead? Dead, Cleopatra ! Oh, then what am I? The murderer of this truth, this innocence ! Thoughts cannot form themselves in words so horrid As can express my guilt! Oh, my poor love! Ven. Is't come to this? the gods have been too
And thus you thank 'em for't.
Ant. [TO ALEXAS.] Why stay'st thou here?
Is it for thee to spy upon my soul,
And see its inward mourning ? get thee hence:
Thou art not worthy to behold what, now,
Becomes a Roman emperor to perform.
(Exit ALEXAS. I will not fight; there's no more work for war; The business of my angry hours is done.
Ven. Cæsar is at your gate.
Ant. Why, let him enter; He's welcome, now.
Ven. What lethargy has crept into your soul?
Ant. 'Tis but a scorn of life, and just desire To free myself from bondage.
Ven. Do it bravely. Ant. I will ; but not by fighting. O, Ventidius : What should I fight for now? My Cleopatra, Now thou art dead, let Cæsar take the world, An empty circle, since the jewel's gone Which made it worth my strife.
Ven. Would you be taken?
Ant. Yes, I would be taken ;
But as a Roman ought,--dead, my Ventidius.
Ven. I shall not outlive you. I could wish
We threw life from us with a better grace;
That, like two lions, taken in the toils,
We might, at least, thrust out our paws, and wound
The hunters that enclose us.