CLEO. And 'tis my wish,
Now he is lost for whom alone I lived.
My sight grows dim, and every object dances, 470 And swims before me, in the maze of death. My spirits, while they were opposed, kept up;
They could not sink beneath a rival's scorn:
But now she's gone, they faint.
ALEX. Mine have had leisure
To recollect their strength, and furnish counsel, 475 To ruin her, who else must ruin you.
CLEO. Vain promiser!
Lead me, my Charmion; nay, your hand too, Iras:
My grief has weight enough to sink you both.
Conduct me to some solitary chamber,
And draw the curtains round; 480 Then leave me to myself, to take alone My fill of grief.
There I till death will his unkindness weep;
As harmless infants moan themselves asleep.
DOLA. Why would you shift it from yourself on
Can you not tell her you must part?
ANT. I cannot.
I could pull out an eye, and bid it go,
And t'other should not weep. O Dolabella,
How many deaths are in this word 'depart!' 5 I dare not trust my tongue to tell her so: One look of hers would thaw me into tears,
And I should melt till I were lost again.
DOLA. Then let Ventidius;
He's rough by nature.
ANT. Oh, he'll speak too harshly; 10 He'll kill her with the news: thou, only thou.
DOLA. Nature has cast me in so soft a mould,
That but to hear a story feigned for pleasure
Of some sad lover's death, moistens my eyes,
And robs me of my manhood. I should speak 15 So faintly, with such fear to grieve her heart, She'd not believe it earnest.
ANT. Therefore -- therefore
Thou only, thou art fit; think thyself me,
And when thou speak'st (but let it first be long),
Take off the edge from every sharper sound, 20 And let our parting be as gently made As other loves begin: wilt thou do this?
DOLA. What you have said so sinks into my soul,
That, if I must speak, I shall speak just so.
ANT. I leave you then to your sad task. Farewell! 25 I sent her word to meet you.
(Goes to the door, and comes back.)
Let her be told, I'll make her peace with mine:
Her crown and dignity shall be preserved,
If I have pow'r with Cæsar. ----- Oh, be sure
To think on that.
DOLA. Fear not, I will remember.30
(ANTONY goes again to the door, and comes
ANT. And tell her, too, how much I was con-strained;
I did not this, but with extremest force:
Desire her not to hate my memory,
For I stiff cherish hers; -- insist on that.
DOLA. Trust me, I'll not forget it.
ANT. Then that's all. 35
(Goes out, aid returns again.)
Wilt thou forgive my fondness this once more?
Tell her, though we shall never meet again,
If I should hear she took another love,
The news would break my heart. Now I must go;
For every time I have returned, I feel 40 My soul more tender; and my next command Would be to bid her stay, and ruin both. Exit.
DORA. Men are but children of a larger growth;
Our appetites as apt to change as theirs,
And full as craving too, and full as vain; 45 And yet the soul, shut up in her dark room, Viewing so clear abroad, at home sees nothing.
But, like a mole in earth, busy and blind,
Works all her folly up, and casts it outward
To the world's open view: thus I discovered, 50 And blamed the love of ruined Antony; Yet wish that I were he, to be so ruined.
Enter VENTIUS above.
VENT. Alone? and talking to himself? concerned
Perhaps my guess is right; he loved her once,
And may pursue it still.
DOLA. O friendship! friendship! 55 Ill canst thou answer this; and reason, worse:
Unfaithful in th' attempt; hopeless to win;
And if I win, undone mere madness all.
And yet th' occasion's fair. What injury
To him, to wear the robe which he throws by? 60
VENT. None, none at all. This happens as I wish,
To ruin her yet more with Antony.
Enter CLEOPATRA, talking with ALEXAS; CHARMION,
IRAS, on the other side.
DOLA. She comes! What charms have sorrow
on that face!
Sorrow seems pleased to dwell with so much sweet-ness;
Yet, now and then, a melancholy smile 65