What hindered me t' have led my conqu'ring eagles 390 To fill Octavius's bands? I could have been
A traitor then, a glorious, happy traitor,
And not have been so called.
ANT. Forgive me, soldier:
I've been too passionate.
VENT. You thought me false;
Thought my old age betrayed you. Kill me, sir; 395 Pray, kill me; yet you need not, your unkindness Has left your sword no work.
ANT. I did not think so;
I said it in my rage: pr'ythee, forgive me.
Why didst thou tempt my anger, by discovery
Of what I would not hear?
VENT. No prince but YOU 400 Could merit that sincerity I used,
Nor durst another man have ventured it;
But you, ere love misled your wand'ring eyes,
Were sure the chief and best of human race,
Framed in the very pride and boast of nature; 405 So perfect, that the gods, who formed you, wondered At their own skill, and cried, 'A lucky hit
Has mended our design.' Their envy hindered,
Else you had been immortal, and a pattern,
When heav'n would work for ostentation sake, 410 To copy out again.
ANT. But Cleopatra --
Go on; for I can bear it now.
VENT. No more.
ANT. Thou dar'st not trust my passion, but thou
Thou only lov'st, the rest have flattered me.
VENT. Heav'n's blessing on your heart for that kind word! 415 May I believe you love me? Speak again.
ANT. Indeed I do. Speak this, and this, and this.
Thy praises were unjust; but I'll deserve 'em,
And yet mend all. Do with me what thou wilt;
Lead me to victory, thou know'st the way. 420
VENT. And, will you leave this -----
ANT. Pr'ythee, do not curse her,
And I will leave her; though, heav'n knows, I love
Beyond life, conquest, empire, all but honor;
But I will leave her.
VENT. That's my royal master;
And, shall we fight?
ANT. I warrant thee, old soldier, 425 Thou shalt behold me once again in iron;
And at the head of our old troops, that beat
The Parthians, cry aloud, 'Come, follow me!'
VENT. Oh, now I hear my emperor! in that word
Octavius fell. Gods, let me see that day, 430 And, if I have ten years behind, take all; I'll thank you for th' exchange.
ANT. O Cleopatra!
ANT. I've done: in that last sigh, she went.
Cæsar shall know what 'tis to force a lover
From all he holds most dear.
VENT. Methinks you breathe 435 Another soul: your looks are more divine; You speak a hero, and you move a god.
ANT. Oh, thou hast fired me; my soul's up in arms,
And mans each part about me. Once again,
That noble eagerness of fight has seized me; 440 That eagerness with which I darted upward To Cassius's camp; in vain the steepy hill
Opposed my way; in vain a war of spears
Sung round my head, and planted all my shield;
I won the trenches, while my foremost men 445Lagged on the plain below.
VENT. Ye gods, ye gods,
For such another hour!
ANT. Come on, my soldier!
Our hearts and arms are still the same: I long
Once more to meet our foes, that thou and I,
Like Time and Death, marching before our
troops, 450 May taste fate1 to 'em; mow 'em out a passage,
And, ent'ring where the foremost squadrons yield,
Begin the noble harvest of the field. Exeunt.
CLEOPATRA, IRAS, and ALEXAS.
CLEO. What shall I do, or whither shall I turn?
Ventidius has o'ercome, and he will go.
ALEX. He goes to fight for you.
CLEO. Then he would see me, ere he went to
Flatter me not: if once he goes, he's lost, 5 And all my hopes destroyed.
ALEX. Does this weak passion
Become a mighty queen?
CLEO. I am no queen:
Is this to be a queen, to be besieged
By yon insulting Roman, and to wait
Each hour the victor's chain? These ills are
small: 10 For Antony is lost, and I can mourn For nothing else but him. Now come, Octavius,
I have no more to lose; prepare thy bands;
I'm fit to be a captive: Antony