[Page] ALL for LOVE: OR, THE World well Lost. A TRAGEDY, As it is Acted at the THEATRE-ROYAL; AND Written in Imitation of Shakespeare's Stile.

Written by Mr. Dryden.

Facile est verbum aliquod ardens (ut ita dicam) notare: Idque re­stinctis animorum incendiis irridere. Cicero.

In the SAVOY: Printed for H. Herringman, and Sold by R. Bently, J. Tonson, F. Saunders, and T. Bennet. 1692.

To the Right Honourable, THOMAS Earl of Danby, Viscount Lati­mer, and Baron OSBORNE of Kiveton in York-shire, Lord High Treasurer of England, One of His Majesties most Ho­nourable Privy Council, and Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, &c.


THE Gratitude of Poets is so troublesome a Virtue to Great Men, that you are often in dan­ger of your own Benefits: For you are threaten'd with some Epistle, and not suffer'd to do Good in quiet, or to compound for their Silence whom you have Oblig'd. Yet, I Confess, I neither am, nor ought to be surpriz'd at this Indulgence; For your Lordship has the same Right to Favour Poetry which the Great and Noble have ever had.

Carmen amat, quisquis carmine digna gerit.

There is somewhat of a tye in Nature betwixt those who are Born for Worthy Actions, and those who can transmit them to Posterity: And though ours be much the inferiour part, it comes at least within the Verge of Alliance; nor are we unprofitable Members of the Common­wealth, when we animate others to those Virtues, which we Copy and Describe from you.

'Tis indeed their Interest, who endeavour the Subversion of Govern­ments, to discourage Poets and Historians; for the best which can happen to them is to be forgotten: But such, who, under KINGS, [Page] are the Fathers of their Country, and by a Just and Prudent ordering of Affairs preserve it, have the same Reason to Cherish the Chroniclers of their Actions, as they have to lay up in safety the Deeds and Evi­ [...] of their Estates: For such Records are their undoubted Titles to the Love and Reverence of After-Ages. Your Lordships Admi­nistration has already taken up a considerable part of the English Annals; and many of its most happy Years are owing to it. His MAJESTY, the most knowing Judge of Men, and the best Master, has acknowledg'd the Ease and Benefit he Receives in the Incomes of His Treasury, which you found not only Disorder'd, but Exhausted. All Things were in the Confusion of a Chaos, without Form or Me­thod, if not reduc'd beyond it, even to Annihilation: So that you had not only to separate the Jarring Elements, but (if that boldness of Expression might be allow'd me) to Create them. Your Enemies had so Embroil'd the Management of your Office, that they look'd on your Advancement as the Instrument of your Ruine. And as if the clog­ging of the Revenue, and the Confusion of Accounts, which you found in your Entrance, were not sufficient, they added their own weight of Malice to the Publick Calamity, by forestalling the Credit which shou'd Cure it: Your Friends on the other side were only capable of Pitying, but not of Aiding you: No farther Help or Counsel was remaining to you, but what was founded on your Self; And that indeed was your Security: For your Diligence, your Constancy, and your Prudence, wrought more surely within, when they were not disturb'd by any out­ward Motion. The highest Virtue is best to be trusted with its Self, for Asistance only can be given by a Genius Superiour to that which it Assists. And 'tis the Noblest kind of Debt, when we are only oblig'd to God and Nature. This then, My Lord, is your just Commenda­tion, That you have wrought out your Self a way to Glory, by those very Means that were design'd for your Destruction: You have not only restor'd, but advanc'd the Revenues of your Master without Grie­vance to the Subject: And as if that were little yet, the Debts of the Exchequer, which lay heaviest both on the Crown, and on private Persons, have by your Conduct been Establish'd in a certainty of Sa­tisfaction. An Action so much the more Great and Honourable, be­cause the Case was without the ordinary Relief of Laws; above the Hopes of the Afflicted, and beyond the Narrowness of the Treasury to Redr [...]ss, had it been manag'd by a less able Hand. 'Tis certainly the Happiest, and most Unenvy'd part of all your Fortune, to do Good to many, while you do Injury to none: To receive at once the Prayers of the Subject, and the Praises of the Prince: And by the care of [Page] your Conduct; to give Him Means of Exerting the chiefest, (if any be the chiefest) of His Royal Virtues: His distributive Justice to the Deserving, and His Bounty and Compassion to the Wanting. The Disposition of Princes towards their People, cannot better be discover'd than in the choice of their Ministers; who, like the Animal Spirits be­twixt the Soul and Body, participate somewhat of both Natures, and make the Communication which is betwixt them. A King, who is Just and Moderate in his Nature, who Rules according to the Laws, whom God made Happy by Forming the Temper of His Soul to the Constitution of His Government, and who makes us Happy, by as­suming over us no other Sovereignty than that wherein our Welfare and Liberty consists; A Prince, I say, of so excellent a Character, and so suitable to the Wishes of all Good Men, could not better have convey'd Himself into His Peoples Apprehensions, than in your Lord­ships Person; who so lively express the same Virtues, that you seem not so much a Copy, as an Emanation of Him. Mod [...]ration is doubtless an Establishment of Greatness; but there is a steadiness of Temper which is likewise requisite in a Minister of State: So equal a mixture of both Virtues, that he may stand like an Isthmus betwixt the two Encrooching Seas of Arbitrary Power, and Lawless Anarchy. The Undertaking would be difficult to any but an Extraordinary Genius, to stand at the Line, and to divide the Limits; to pay what is due to the Great Representative of the Nation, and neither to inhance, nor to yield up the undoubted Prerogatives of the Crown. These, My Lord, are the proper Virtues of a Noble Englishman, as indeed they are properly English Virtues: No People in the World being capable of using them, but we who have the Happiness to be Born under so e­qual, and so well-pois'd a Government. A Government which has all the Advantages of Liberty beyond a Commonwealth, and all the Marks of Kingly Sovereignty without the danger of a Tyranny. Both my Nature, as I am an Englishman, and my Reason, as I am a Man, have bred in me a Loathing to that specious Name of a Repu [...]ck; That mock-appearance of a Liberty, where all who have not part in the Government, are Slaves; And Slaves they are of a viler Note than such as are Subjects to an absolute Dominion. For no Christian Mo­narchy is so Absolute, but 'tis Circumscrib'd with Laws: But when the Executive Power is in the Law-Makers, there is no farther check upon them; and the People must suffer without a Remedy, because they are Oppress'd by their Representatives. If I must s [...]rve, the number of my Masters, who were Born my Equals, would but add to [...] Igno­miny of my Bondage. The Nature of our Government above all others, [Page] is exactly Suited both to the Situation of our Country, and the Temper of the Natives: An Island being more proper for Commerce and for Defence, than for extending its Dominions on the Continent: For what the Valour of its Inhabitants might gain, by Reason of its Re­moteness, and the Casualties of the Seas, it cou'd not so easily preserve: And therefore, neither the Arbitrary Power of one in a Monarchy, n [...]r of many in a Commonwealth, could make us greater than we are. 'Tis true, that vaster and more frequent Taxes might be gather'd, when the Cons [...]nt of the People was not Ask'd or Needed; but this were only by Conquering abroad to be Poor at home: And the Examples of our Neighbours teach us, that they are not always the Happiest Subjects whose Kings extend their Dominions farthest. Since therefore we can­not win by an Offensive War, at least a Land-War, the Model of our Government seems Naturally contriv'd for the Defensive part: And the Cons [...]nt of a People is easily obtain'd to contribute to that Power which must protect it. Felices nimium bona si sua nôrint, Ang­ligenae! And yet there are not wanting Malecontents amongst us, who Surf [...]iting themselves on too much Happiness, wou'd perswàde the Peo­ple that they might be Happier by a Change. 'Twas indeed the Policy of their old For father, when himself was fallen from the Station of Glory, to seduce Mankind into the same Rebellion with him, by telling him he might yet be freer than he was: That is, more free than his Nature wou'd allow, or (if I may so say) than God cou'd make him. We have already all the Liberty which Free-Born Subjects can enjoy; and all beyond it is but License. But if it be Liberty of Conscience which they pretend, the Moderation of our Church is such, that its Practice extends not to the severity of Persecution, and its Discipline is withal so easie, that it allows more freedom to Dissenters than any of the Sects wou'd allow to it. In the mean time, what Right can be pretended by these Men to attempt Innovations in Church or State? Who made them the Trustees, or (to Speak a little nearer their own Language) the Keepers of the Liberty of England? If their Call be extraordinary, let them Convince us by working Miracles; for ordina­ry Vocation they can have none to disturb the Government under which they were Born, and which protects them. He who has often chang'd his Party, and always has made his Interest the Rule of it, gives little E­vidence of his Sincerity for the Publick Good: 'Tis manif [...]st he changes but for himself, and takes the People for Tools to work his Fortune. Yet the Experience of all Ages might [...]t him know, that they who trouble the Waters first, have s [...]ldom the benefit of the Fishing: As they who began the late Rebellion, enjoy'd not the Fruit of their Un­dertaking, [Page] but were crush'd themselves by the Usurpation of their own Instrument. Neither is it enough for them to Answer, that they only intend a Reformation of the Government, but not the Subversion of it: On such pretences all Insurrections have been founded; 'Tis striking at the Root of Power, which is Obedience. Every Remon­strance of private Men, has the seed of Treason in it; and Discour­ses which are couch'd in ambiguous Terms, are therefore the more dangerous, because they do all the Mischief of open Sedition, yet are safe from the Punishment of the Laws. These, My Lord, are Con­siderations which I should not pass so lightly over, had I room to manage them as they deserve: for no Man can be so inconsiderable in a Nation, as not to have a share in the welfare of it; and if he be a true Englishmen, he must at the same time be fir'd with Indigna­tion, and revenge himself as he can on the Disturbers of his Coun­try. And to whom could I more fitly apply my self, than to your Lordship, who have not only an inborn, but an Hereditary Loyalty? The memorable constancy and sufferings of your Father, almost to the [...]uine of his Estate for the Royal Cause, were an earnest of that, which such a Parent and such an Institution wou'd produce in the Person of a Son. But so unhappy an occasion of manifesting your own Zeal in suffering for his present Majesty, the Providence of God, and the Prudence of your Administration, will, I hope, prevent. That as your Fathers Fortune waited on the unhappiness of his Sove­reign, so your own may participate of the better Fate which attends his Son. The Relation which you have by Alliance to the Noble Fa­mily of your Lady, serves to confirm to you both this happy Angury. For what can deserve a greater place in the English Chronicle, than the Loyalty and Courege, the Actions and Death of the General of an Army Fighting for His Prince and Country? The Honour and Gallantry of the Earl of Lindsey, is so illustrious a Subject, that 'tis fit to adorn an Heroick Poem; for He was the Proto-Martyr of the Cause, and the Type of his unfortunate Royal Master.

Yet, after all, My Lord, if I may speak my thoughts, you are happy rather to us than to your self: for the Multiplicity, the Cares, and the Vexations of your Imployment, have betray'd you from your self, and given you up into the Possession of the Publick. You are Robb'd of your Privacy and Friends, and scarce any hour of your Life you can call your own. Those who envy your Fortnne, if they wanted not good Nature, might more justly pity it; and when they see you watch'd by a Croud of Suitors, whose importunity 'tis impossible to avoid, would conclude with Reason, that you have lost much more in [Page] true Content, than you have gain'd by Dignity; and that a private Gentleman is better attended by a single Servant, than your Lordship with so clamorous a Train. Pardon me, My Lord, If I speak like a Philosopher on this Subject; the Fortune which makes a Man un­easie, cannot make him Happy: and a Wise Man must think himself uneasie, when few of his Actions are in his Choice.

This last Consideration has brought me to another, and a very sea­sonable one for your Relief; which is, That while I pity your want of leisure, I have impertinently Detain'd you so long a time. I have put off my own Business, which was my Dedication, till 'tis so late, that I am now asham'd to begin it: And therefore I will say no­thing of the Poem, which I Present to you, because I know not if you are like to have an Hour, which, with a good Conscience, you may throw away in perusing it: And for the Author, I have only to beg the continuance of your Protection to him, who is,

MY LORD, Your Lordships, most Obliged, most Humble, and most Obedient Servant, JOHN DRYDEN.


THe death of Anthony and Cleopatra, is a Subject which has been treated by the greatest Wits of our Nation, after Shakespeare; and by all so variously, that their Example has given me the confidence to try my felf in this Bowe of Ulysses amongst the Crowd of Sutors; and, withal, to take my own measures, in aiming at the Mark. I doubt not but the same Motive has prevailed with all of us in this attempt; I mean the excellency of the Moral: for the chief Persons represented, were famous Patterns of unlawful Love; and their end accordingly was unfortunate. All reasonable Men have long since concluded, That the Heroe of the Poem, ought not to be a Character of perfect Virtue, for, then, he could not, without injustice, be made unhappy; nor yet altogether wicked, because he could not then be pitied: I have therefore steer'd the middle course; and have drawn the character of Anthony as favourably as Plutarch, Appian, and Dion Cassius wou'd give me leave: the like I have observ'd in Cleopatra. That which is wanting to work up the pity to a greater heighth, was not afforded me by the story: for the crimes of Love which they both committed, were not occasioned by any necessity, or fatal ignorance, but were wholly vo­luntary; since our passions are, or ought to be, within our power. The Fabrick of the Play is regular enough, as to the inferior parts of it; and the Unities of Time, Place and Action, more exactly observ'd, than, per­haps, the English Theater requires. Particularly, the Action is so much one, that it is the only of the kind without Episode, or Underplot; every Scene in the Tragedy conducing to the main design, and every Act con­cluding with a turn of it. The greatest error in the contrivance seems to be in the person of Octavia: For, though I might use the privilege of a Poet, to introduce her into Alexandria, yet I had not enough con­sider'd, that the compassion she mov'd to her self and Children, was de­structive to that which I reserv'd for Anthony and Cleopatra; whose mutual love being founded upon vice, must lessen the favour of the Au­dience to them, when Virtue and Innocence were oppress'd by it. And, though I justified Anthony in some measure, by making Octavia's depar­ture, to proceed wholly from her self; yet the force of the first Machine still remain'd; and the dividing of pity, like the cutting of a River into many Channels, abated the strength of the natural Stream. But this is an Objection which none of my Criticks have urg'd against me; and therefore I might have let it pass, if I could have resolv'd to have been partial to my self. The faults my Enemies have found, are rather cavils concerning little, and not essential Decencies; which a Master of the Ceremonies may decide betwixt us. The French Poets, I confess, are strict Observers of these Punctilio's: They would not, for example, have suffer'd Cleopatra and Octavia to have met; or if they had met, there must only have pass'd betwixt them some cold civilities, but no eagerness [Page] of repartée, for fear of offending against the greatness of their Chara­cters, and the modesty of their Sex. This Objection I foresaw, and at the same time contemn'd: for I judg'd it both natural and probable, that Octavia, proud of her new-gain'd Conquest, would search out Cleopatra to triumph over her; and that Cleopatra, thus attack'd, was not of a spirit to shun the encounter: and 'tis not unlikely, that two exaspe­rated Rivals should use such Satyr as I have put into their mouths; for after all, though the one were a Roman, and the other a Queen, they were both Women. 'Tis true, some actions, though natural, are not fit to be represented; and broad obscenities in words, ought in good-manners to be avoided: expressions therefore are a modest cloathing of our thoughts, as Breeches and Petticoats are of our Bodies. If I have kept my self within the bounds of modesty, all beyond it is but nicety and affectation; which is no more but Modesty deprav'd into a Vice: they betray them­selves who are too quick of apprehension in such cases, and leave all r [...]asonable Men to imagine worse of them, than of the Poet.

Honest Montaigne goes yet farther: Nous ne sommes que ceremonie; la ceremonie n [...]s us emporte, & laissons la substance des choses: Nous nous tenons aux b [...]ches, & abandonnons le tronc & le corps. Nous avons appris aux Dames de rougir, oyans seulement no [...]nmer ce qu' elles ne craignent aucunement [...]: Nous n'esons appeller a droict nos membres, & ne craignons par de les employer a toute sorte de debauche. La ceremonie nous defend d'exprimer par paroles les choses licites & naturelles, & nous l'en croyons; la raison nous defend de n'en faire point d'illicites & mauvaises, & personne ne l'en croid. My comfort is, that by this opinion my Enemies are but sucking Criticks, who wou'd fain be nibbling ere their Teeth are come.

Yet; in this nicety of manners does the excellency of French Poetry consist: their Heroes are the most civil people breathing; but their good breeding seldom extends to a word of sense: All their Wit is in their Ceremony; they want the Genius which animates our Stage; and there­fore 'tis but necessary when they cannot please, that they should take care not to offend. But, as the civillest Man in the company is com­monly the dullest, so these Authors, while they are afraid to make you laugh or cry, out of pure good manners, make you sleep. They are so careful not to exasperate a Critick, that they never leave him any work; so busie with the Broom, and make so clean a riddance, that there is little left either for censure or for praise: for no part of a Poem is worth our discommending, where the whole is insipid; as when we have once tasted of pall'd Wine, we stay not to examine it Glass by Glass. But while they affect to shine in ttifles, they are often careless in essentials. Thus their Hippolitus is so scrupulous in point of decency, that he will rather expose himself to death, than accuse his Stepmother to his Father; and my Criticks I am sure will commend him for it: but we of grosser ap­prehensions, are apt to think that this excess of generosity, is not practica­ble but with Fools and Madmen. This was good manners with a venge­ance; and the Audience is like to be much concern'd at the misfortunes of this admirable Heroe: but take Hippolitus out of his Poetick Fit, and [Page] I suppose he would think it a wiser part, to set the Saddle on the right Horse, and chuse rather to live with the reputation of a plain-spoken honest Man, than to die with the infamy of an incestuous Villain. In the mean time we may take notice, that where the Poet ought to have preserv'd the character as it was deliver'd to us by Antiquity, when he should have given us the Picture of a rough young Man, of the Amazonian strain, a jolly Huntsman, and both by his profession and his early rising a Mor­tal Enemy to Love, he has chosen to give him the turn of Gallantry, sent him to travel from Athens to Paris, taught him to make Love and trans­form'd the Hipp [...]litus of Euripides into Monsieur Hippolite. I should not have troubled my self thus far with French Poets, but that I find our Chedreux Criticks wholly form their Judgments by them. But for my part, I desire to be try'd by the Laws of my own Country, for it see [...]s unjust to me, that the French should prescribe here, till they have [...] Our little Sonnettiers who follow them, have too narrow [...] [...] or Poetry. Poets themselves are the most proper, though I conclude [...] the only Criticks. But till some Genius as Universal, as Aristotle, shall arise, who can penetrate into all Arts and Sciences, without the practice of them, I shall think it reasonable, that the Judgment of an Artificer in his own Art should be preferable to the opinion of another Man; at least where he is not brib'd by interest, or prejudic'd by malice: and this, I [...]uppose, is manifest by plain induction: For, first, the Crowd cannot be presum'd to have more than a gross instinct, of what pleases or displeases them: every Man will grant me this; but then, by a particular kindness to himself, he draws his own stake first, and will be distinguish'd from the multitude, of which other Men may think him one. But, if I come closer to those who are allow'd for witty Men, either by the advantage of their quality, or by common fame, and affirm that neither are they qualified to decide Sovereignly, concerning Poetry, I shall yet have a strong party of my opinion; for most of them severally will exclude the rest, either from the number of witty Men, or at least of able Judges. But here again they are all indulgent to themselves: and every one who believes himself a Wit, that is, every Man, will pretend at the same time to a right of judging. But to press it yet farther, there are many witty Men, but few Poets, neither have all Poets a taste of Tragedy. And this is the Rock on which they are daily splitting. Poetry, which is a Picture of Nature, must generally please: but 'tis not be understood that all parts of is must please every Man; therefore is not Tragedy to be judg'd by a witty Man, whose taste is only confin'd to Comedy. Nor is every Man who loves Tragedy a sufficient Judge of it: he must understand the excellencies of it too, or he will only prove a blind Admirer, not a Cri­tick. From hence it comes that so many Satyrs on Poets, and censures of their Writings, fly abroad. Men of pleasant Conversation, (at least esteem'd so) and indu'd with a trifling kind of Fancy, perhaps help'd out with some smattering of Latine, are ambitious to distinguish them­selves from the Herd of Gentlemen, by their Poetry;

Rarus enim fermè sensus communis in illâ
F [...]rtunâ.

[Page] And is not this a wretched affectation, not to be contented with what Fortune has done for them, and sit down quietly with their Estates, but they must call their Wits in question, and needlesly expose their nakedness to publick view? Not considering that they are not to expect the same approbation from sober Men, which they have found from their flatterers after the third Bottle? If a little glittering in discourse has pass'd them on us for witty Men, where was the necessity of undeceiving the World? Would a Man who has an ill Title to an Estate, but yet is in possession of it, would he bring it of his own accord, to be try'd at Westminster? We who write, if we want the Talent, yet have the excuse that we do it for a poor subsistence; but what can be urg'd in their defence, who not having the Vocation of Poverty to scribble out of mere wantonness, take pains to make themselves ridiculous? Horace was certainly in the right, where he said, That no Man is satisfied with his own condition. A Poet is not pleas'd because he is not rich; and the Rich are discontented, because the Poets will not admit them of their number. Thus the case is hard with Writers: if they succeed not, they must starve; and if they do, some malicious Satyr is prepar'd to level them for daring to please without their leave. But while they are so eager to destroy the fame of others, their ambition is manifest in their concernment: some Poem of their own is to be produc'd, and the Slaves are to be laid flat with their faces on the ground, that the Monarch may appear in the greater Majesty.

Dionysius and Nero had the same longings, but with all their power they cou'd never bring their business well about. 'Tis true, they pro­claim'd themselves Poets by sound of Trumpet; and Poets they were upon pain of death to any Man who durst call them otherwise. The Au­dience had a fine time on't, you may imagine; they sate in a bodily fear, and look'd as demurely as they could: for 'twas a hanging matter to laugh unseasonably; and the Tyrants were suspicious, as they had reason, that their Subjects had 'em in the wind; so, every man in his own defence set as good a face upon the business as he could: 'Twas known before-hand that the Monarchs were to be Crown'd Laureats; but when the Shew was over, and an honest Man was suffer'd to depart quietly, he took out his Laughter which he had stifled; with a firm resolution never more to see an Emperor's Play, though he had been ten years a making it. In the mean time, the true Poets were they who made the best Markets, for they had Wit enough to yield the Prize with a good grace, and not contend with him who had thirty [...]egions: They were sure to be rewarded if they confess'd themselves bad Writers, and that was somewhat better than to be Martyrs for their Reputation. Lucan's example was enough to teach them man­ners; and after he was put to Death, for overcoming Nero, the Em­peror carried it without dispute for the best Poet in his Dominions: No man was ambitious of that grinning Honour; for if he heard the malicious Trumpeter proclaiming his Name before his Betters, he knew there was but one way with him. Mecoenas took another Course, and we know he was more than a great Man, for he was witty too: [Page] but finding himself far gone in Poetry, which Seneca assures us was not his Talent, he thought it his best way to be well with Virgil and with Horace; that at least he might be a Poet at the second hand; and we see how happily it has succeeded with him; for his own bad Poetry is forgotten, and their Panegyricks of him still remain. But they who should be our Patrons, are for no such expensive ways to fame: they have much of the Poetry of Mecoenas, but little of his Liberality. They are for persecuting Horace and Virgil, in the Persons of their Successours, (for such is every Man, who has any part of their Soul and Fire, though in a less degree.) Some of their little Zanies yet go farther; for they are Persecutors even of Horace himself, as far as they are able, by their ignorant and vile Imitations of him; by ma­king an unjust use of his Authority, and turning his Artillery against his Friends. But how would he disdain to be Copyed by such hands! I dare answer for him, he would be more uneasie in their Company, than he was with Crispinus their Forefather in the Holy Way; and would no more have allow'd them a place amongst the Criticks, than he would Demetrius the Mimique, and Tigellius the Buffoon;

—Demetri, te (que) Tigelli,
Discipulorum inter jubeo plorare Cathedras.

With what scorn would he look down on such miserable Translators, who make Doggrel of his Latine, mistake his meaning, misapply his Censures, and often contradict their own? He is fix'd as a Land-Mark to set out the bounds of Poetry,

—Saxum, antiquum ingens
Limes agro positus litem ut discerneret arvis:

But other Arms than theirs, and other Sinews are requir'd, to raise the weight of such an Author; and when they would toss him against their Enemies,

Genua labant, gelidus concrevit frigore sanguis,
Tum lapis ipse, viri vacuum per inane volutus
Nec spatium evasit totum, nec pertulit ictum.

For my part, I would wish no other revenge, either for my self or the rest of the Poets, from this Rhyming Judge of the Twelve-penny Gallery, this Legitimate Son of Sternhold, than that he would subscribe his Name to his Censure, or (not to tax him beyond his Learning) set his Mark: for shou'd he own himself publickly, and come from be­hind the Lyons Skin, they whom he condemns wou'd be thankful to him, they whom he praises wou'd chuse to be Condemned; and the Magistrat [...] whom he has Elected, wou'd modestly withdraw from their Employ­ment, to avoid the scandal of his Nomination. The sharpness of [...]is Satyr, next to himself, falls most heavily on his Friends, and they ought never to forgive him for commending them perpetually the wrong way, and sometimes by contraries. If he have a Friend whose hastiness in writing is his greatest fault, Horace wou'd have taught him to [...] minc'd the matter, and to have call'd it read [...]ness of thought, and a flowing Fancy; for Friendship will allow a Man to Christen an imper­fection by the Name of some Neighbour virtue:

[Page] Vellem in amicitiâ sic erraremus; & isti
Errori, nomen virtus poss [...]sset honestum.

But he would never have allow'd him to have call'd a slow Man hasty, or a hasty Writer a slow Drudge, as Juvenal explains it:

——Canibus pigris, scabie (que) vetust [...]
Levibus, & siccae lambentibus or a lueernae
Nomen erit, Pa [...]dus, Tygris, Leo; si quid adhuc est,
Quod fremit in terris violentius.

Yet Lucretius Laughs at a foolish Lover, even for excusing the Im­perfections of his Mistress:

Nigra [...] est, immunda & foetida [...].
Balba loqui non quit, [...]; muta pudens est, &c.

But to drive it, ad Aethiopem Cygnum is not to be indur'd. I leave him to interpret this by the Benefit of his French Version on the other side, and without farther considering him, than I have the rest of my illiterate Censors, whom I have disdain'd to Answer, because they are not qualified for Judges. It remains that I acquaint the Reader, that I have endeavoured in this Play to follow the practice of the Ancients, who, as Mr. Rymer has judiciously observ'd, are and ought to be our Masters. Horace likewise gives it for a Rule in his Art of Poetry,

——Vos exemplaria Graeca
Nocturnâ versate manu, versate diurnâ.

Yet, though their Models are regular, they are too little [...] [...] lish Tragedy; which requires to be built in a larger Compa [...] [...] could give an instance in the Oedipus Tyrannus, which was the Master-piece of Sophocles; but I reserve it for a more fit occasion, which I hope to have hereafter. In my Stile I have profess'd to imitate [...]e Di­vine Shakespeare; which that I might perform more freely, I have dis­incumber'd my self from Rhyme. Not that I condemn my former way, but that this is more proper to my present Purpose. I hope I need not to explain my self, that I have not Copy'd my Author servile [...]y: Words and Phrases must of necessity receive a Change in succeeding Ages: but 'tis almost a Miracle that much of his Language remains so pure; and that he who began Dramatick Poetry amongst us, untaught by any, and, as Ben. Johnson tells us, without Learning, should by the force of his own Genius perform so much, that in a manner he has left no Praise for any who come after him. The occasion is fair, and the Subject would be pleasant to handle the difference of Stiles betwixt him and Fletcher, and wherein, and how far they are both to be imitated. But since I must not be over-consident of my own performance after him, it will be prudence in me to be silent. Yet I hope I may affirm, and without vanity, that by imitating him, I have excell'd my self through­out the Play; and particularly, that I prefer the Scene betwixt Anthony and Ventidius in the first Act, to any thing which I have written in this kind.

PROLOGUE to Anthony and Cleopatra.

WHat Flocks of Criticks hover here to day,
As Vultures wait on Armies for their Prey,
All gaping for the Carcass of a Play!
With Croaking Notes they bode some dire event;
And follow dying Poets by the scent.
Ours gives himself for gone; y'have watch'd your time!
He fights this day unarm'd; without his Rhyme.
And brings a Tale which often has been told;
As sad as Dido's; and almost as old.
His Heroe, whom you Wits his Bully call,
Bates of his mettle; and scarce rants at all:
He's somewhat lewd; but a well-meaning mind;
Weeps much; fights little; but is wond'rous kind.
In short, a Pattern, and Companion fit,
For all thee keeping Tonyes of the Pit.
I cou'd name more; A Wife, and Mistress too;
Both (to be plain) too good for most of you:
The Wife well-natur'd, and the Mistress true.
Now, Poets, if your fame has been his care;
Allow him all the Candour you can spare.
A brave Man scorns to quarrel once a day;
Like Hectors, in at every petty fray,
Let those find fault whose Wit's so very small,
They've need to show that they can think at all:
Errours like Straws upon the surface flow;
He who would search for Pearls must dive below.
Fops may have leave to level all they can;
As Pigmies wou'd be glad to lopp a Man.
Half-Wits are Fleas; so little and so light;
We scarce cou'd know they live; but that they bite.
But, as the Rich, when tir'd with daily Feasts,
For change, become their next poor Tenants Ghests;
Drink hearty Draughts of Ale, from plain brown Bowls,
And snatch the homely Rasher from the Coals:
So you, retiring from much better Cheer,
For once, may venture to do penance here.
And since that plenteous Autumn now is past,
Whose Grapes and Peaches have Indulg'd your taste,
Take in good part from our poor Poets board,
Such rivell'd Fruits as Winter can afford.

Persons Represented.

MArc Anthony,Mr. Hart.
Ventidius, his General,Mr. Mohun.
Dollabella, his Friend,Mr. Clarke.
Alexas, the Queens Eunuch,Mr. Goodman.
Serapion, Priest of Isis, Servant to Anthony,Mr. Griffin.
Another Priest, Servant to Anthony,Mr. Coysh.
Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt,Mrs. Boutell.
Octavia, Anthony's Wife,Mrs. Corey.
Charmion,Cleopatra's Maids.
Anthony's two little Daughters. 

Scene Alexandria.

ALL for LOVE; OR, THE World well Lost.
ACT. I. SCENE, The Temple of Isis.

Enter Serapion, Myris, Priests of Isis.
POrtents and Prodigies are grown so frequent,
That they have lost their Name. Our fruitful Nile
Flow'd e're the wonted Season, with a Torrent
So unexpected, and so wondrous fierce,
That the wild Deluge overtook the haste,
Ev'n of the Hinds that watch'd it: Men and Beasts
Were born above the tops of Trees, that grew
On th' utmost Margin of the Water-mark.
Then, with so swift an Ebb, the Floud drove backward
It slipt from underneath the Scaly Herd:
Here monstrous Phocoe panted on the Shore;
Forsaken Dolphins there, with their broad Tails,
Lay lashing the departing Waves: Hard by 'em,
Sea-Horses floundring in the slimy Mud,
Toss'd up their heads, and dash'd the ooze about 'em.
Enter Alexas behind them.
Avert these Omens, Heav'n.
Last night, between the hours of Twelve and One,
In a lone Isle o'th' Temple, while I walk'd,
A Whirl-wind rose, that, with a violent blast,
Shook all the Dome: the Doors around me clap,
The Iron Wicket that defends the Vault,
Where the long Race of P [...]olomies is lay'd,
Burst open, and disclos'd the mighty dead.
[Page 2] From out each Monument, in order plac'd,
An Armed Ghost start up: the Boy-King last
Rear'd his inglorious head. A peal of groans
Then follow'd, and a lamentable Voice
Cry'd, Egypt is no more. My blood ran back,
My shaking Knees against each other knock'd;
On the cold Pavement, down I fell [...],
And so unfinish'd left the horrid Scene.
Alexas shew­ing himself.
And, Dream'd you this? or, Did invent the Story?
To frighten our Egyptian Boys withal,
And train 'em up betimes in fear of Priesthood?
My Lord, I saw you not,
Nor meant my words should reach your Ears; but what
I utter'd was most true.
A foolish Dream,
Bred from the fumes of indigested Feasts,
And holy Luxury.
I know my duty:
This goes no farther.
'Tis not fit it should.
Nor would the times now bear it, were it true.
All Southern, from you Hills, the Roman Camp
Hangs o'er us black and threatning, like a Storm
Just breaking on our Heads.
Our faint Aegyptians pray for Antony;
But in their Servile Hearts they own Octavius.
Why then does Antony dream out his hours,
And tempts not Fortune for a noble Day,
Which might redeem what Actium lost?
He thinks 'tis past recovery.
Yet the Foe
Seems not to press the Siege.
O, there's the wonder.
Mecoenas and Agrippa, who can most
With Caesar are his Foes. His Wife Octavia,
Driv'n from his House, solicites her Revenge;
And Dolabella, who was once his Friend,
Upon some private grudge, now seeks his ruine:
Yet still War seems on either side to sleep.
'Tis strange that Antony, for some days past,
Has not beheld the face of Cleopatra;
But here, in Isis Temple, lives retir'd,
And makes his Heart a Prey to black despair.
'Tis true; and we much fear he hopes by absence
To cure his mind of Love.
If he be vanquish'd,
Or make his peace, Egypt is doom'd to be
[Page 3] A Roman Province; and our plenteous Harvests
Must then redeem the sca [...]eness of their Soil.
While Antony stood firm, our Alexandria
Rival'd proud Rome (Dominions other Seat)
And fortune striding, like a vas [...] Colossus,
Cou'd fix an equal foot of Empire here.
Had I my wish, these [...] of all Nature
Who Lord it o'er Mankind, should perish, perish,
Each by the others Sword; but, since our Will
Is lamely follow'd by our pow'r, we must
Depend on one; with him to rise or fall.
How stands the Queen affected?
O, she dotes,
She dotes, Serapion, on this vanquish'd Man,
And winds her self about his mighty ruins,
Whom would she yet forsake, yet yield him up,
This hunted Prey, to his pursuers hands,
She might preserve us all; but 'tis in vain—
This changes my designs, this blasts my Counsels,
And makes me use all means to keep him here,
Whom I could wish divided from her Arms
Far as the Earth's deep Center. Well, you know
The state of things; no more of your ill Omens,
And black Prognosticks; labour to confirm
The Peoples Hearts.
Enter Ventidius, talking aside with a Gentleman of Antony's.
These Romans will o're hear us.
But, Who's that Stranger? By his warlike port,
His fierce demeanor, and erected look,
He's of no vulgar note.
O 'tis Ventidius,
Our Emp'rors great Lieutenant in the East,
Who first show'd Rome, that Parthia could be Conquer'd.
When Antony return'd from Syria last,
He left this Man to guard the Roman Frontiers.
You seem to know him well.
Too well. I saw him in Cilicia first,
When Cleopatra there met Antony:
A mortal Foe he was to us, and Aegypt.
But, let me witness to the worth I hate,
A braver Roman never drew a Sword.
Firm to his Prince; but, as a Friend, not Slave.
He ne'r was of his Pleasures; but precides
O're all his cooler hours and morning counsels:
In short, the plainness, fierceness, rugged virtue
Of an old true-stampt Roman lives in him.
His coming bodes I know not what of ill
[Page 4] To our affairs. Withdraw, to mark him better;
And I'll acquaint you, why I sought you here,
And what's our present work,
They withdraw to a corner of the Stage; and Ventidius, with the other, comes forwards to the front.
Not see him, say you?
I say, I must and will.
He has commanded,
On pain of Death, none should approach his Presence:
I bring him news will raise his drooping Spirits,
Give him new life.
He sees not Cleopatra.
Would he had never seen her.
He Eats not, Drinks not, Sieeps not, has no use
Of any thing, but Thought; or, if he Talks,
'Tis to himself, and then 'tis perfect Raving:
Then he defies the World, and bids it pass;
Sometimes he gnaws his Lip, and Curses loud
The Boy Octavius; then he draws his Mouth
Into a scornful Smile, and cries, Take all,
The World's not worth my care.
Just, just his nature.
Virtue's his path; but sometimes 'tis too narrow
For his vast Soul; and then he starts out wide,
And bounds into a Vice that bears him far
From his first course, and plunges him in ills:
But, when his danger makes him find his fault,
Quick to observe, and full of sharp remorse,
He censures eagerly his own misdeeds,
Judging himself with Malice to himself,
And not forgiving what as Man he did,
Because his other parts are more than Man.
He must not thus be lost.
[Alexas and the Priests c [...]e forward.
You have your full Instructions, now advance;
Proclaim your Orders loudly.
Romans, Aegyptians, hear the Queen's Command.
Thus Cleopatra bids, Let Labor cease,
To Pomp and Triumphs give this happy day,
That gave the World a Lord: 'tis Antony's.
Live, Antony; and Cleopatra live.
Be this the general voice sent up to Heav'n,
And every publick place repeat this eccho.
Fine Pageantry!
Set out before your doors
The Images of all your sleeping Fathers,
With Laurels crown'd; with Laurels wreath your posts,
And strow with Flow'rs the Pavement; Let the Priests
Do present Sacrifice; pour out the Wine,
And call the Gods to joyn with you in gladness.
Curse on the Tongue that bids this general joy.
Can they be friends of Antony, who Revel
When Antony's in danger? Hide, for shame,
You Romans, your Great Grandsires Images,
For fear their Souls should animate their Marbles,
To blush at their degenerate Progeny.
A Love which knows no bounds to Antony,
Would mark the Day with Honors; when all Heaven
Labour'd for him, when each propitious Star
Stood wakeful in his Orb, to watch that Hour,
And shed his better influence. Her own Birth-day
Our Queen neglected, like a vulgar Fate,
That pass'd obscurely by.
Would it had slept,
Divided far from his; till some remote
And future Age had call'd it out, to ruin
Some other Prince, not him.
Your Emperor.
Thô grown unkind, would be more gentle, than
T'upbraid my Queen for loving him too well.
Does the mute Sacrifice upbraid the Priest?
He knows him not his Executioner.
O, she has deck'd his ruin with her Love,
Led him in Golden Bands to gaudy slaughter,
And made perdition pleasing: She has left him
The blank of what he was;
I tell thee, Eunuch, she has unmann'd him:
Can any Roman see, and know him now,
Thus alter'd from the Lord of half Mankind,
Unbent, unsinew'd made a Womans Toy,
Shrunk from the vast extent of all his Honours,
And crampt within a corner of the World?
O, Antony!
Thou bravest Soldier, and thou best of Friends!
Bounteous as Nature; next to Nature's God!
Could'st thou but make new Worlds, so wouldst thou give 'em,
As Bounty were thy Being, Rough in Battle,
As the first Romans, when they went to War;
Yet, after Victory, more pitiful,
Than all their Praying Virgins left at home!
Would you could add to those more shining Virtues,
His Truth to her who loves him.
Would I could not.
But, Wherefore waste I precious hours with thee?
Thou art her Darling mischief, her chief Engin,
Antony's other Fate. Go, tell thy Queen,
Ventidius is arriv'd, to end her Charms.
[Page 6] Let your Aegyptian Timbrels play alone;
Nor mix Effeminate Sounds with Roman Trumpets.
You dare not fight for Antony; go Pray,
And keep your Cowards-Holy-day in Temples.
[Exeunt Alex. Serap.
Re-enter the Gentleman of M. Antony.
2 Gent.
The Emperor approaches, and commands,
On pain of death that none presume to stay.
1 Gent.
I dare not disobey him.
[Going out with the other.
Well, I dare.
But, I'll observe him first unseen, and find
Which way his humor drives: the rest I'le venture.
Enter Antony, walking with a disturb'd Motion, before he speaks.
They tell me 'tis my Birth-day, and I'le keep it
With double pomp of sadness
'Tis what the Day deserves, which gave me breath.
Why was I rais'd the Meteor of the World,
Hung in the Skies, and blazing as I travell'd,
Till all my fires were spent; and then cast downward
To be trode out by Caesar?
On my Soul,
'Tis mournful, wondrous mournful!
Count thy Gains.
Now, Antony, Wouldst thou be born for this?
Glutton of Fortune, thy devouring youth
Has starv'd thy wanting Age.
How Sorrow shakes him!
So, now the Tempest tears him [...]p by th' Roots,
And on the ground extends the noble Ruin.
Ant. having thrown himself down.
Lye there, thou shadow of an Emperor;
The place thou pressest on thy Mother-earth
Is all thy Empire now: now it contains thee;
Some few days hence, and then 'twill be too large,
VVhen thou'rt contracted in thy narrow Urn,
Shrunk to a few cold Ashes; then Octavia,
(For Cleopatra will not live to see it)
Octavia then will have thee all her own,
And bear thee in her Widow'd hand to Caesar;
Caesar will weep, the Crocodile will weep,
To see his Rival of the Universe
Lie still and peaceful there. I'le think no more on't.
Give me some Musick; look that it be sad:
I'le sooth my Melancholy till I swell,
And burst my self with sighing—
Sofe Musick.
'Tis somewhat to my humor. Stay, I fancy
[Page 7] I'm now turn'd wild, a Commoner of Nature;
Of all forsaken, and forsaking all;
Live in a shady Forest's Sylvan Scene,
Stretch'd at my length beneath some blasted Oke;
I lean my head upon the Mossy Bark,
And look just of a piece, as I grew from it:
My uncomb'd Locks, matted like Misleto,
Hang o're my hoary Face; a murm'ring Brook
Runs at my foot.
Methinks I fancy
My self there too.
The Herd come jumping by me,
And fearless, quench their thirst, while I look on,
And take me for their fellow-Citizen,
More of this Image, more; it lulls my thoughts.
[Soft Musick again.
I must disturb him; I can hold no longer.
[Stands before him.
starting up.
Art thou Ventidius?
Are you Antony?
I'm liker what I was, than you to him
I left you last.
I'm angry.
So am I.
I would be private: leave me.
Sir, I love you.
And therefore will not leave you.
Will not leave me?
Where have you learnt that Answer? Who am I?
My Emperor; the Man I love next Heaven:
If I said more, I think 'twere scarce a Sin;
Y'are all that's good, and good-like.
All that's wretched.
You will not leave me then?
'Twas too presuming
To say I would not; but I dare not leave you:
And, 'tis unkind in you to chide me hence
So soon, when I so far have come to see you.
Now thou hast seen me, art thou satisfy'd?
For, if a Friend, thou hast beheld enough;
And, if a Foe, too much.
Look, Emperor, this is no common Dew.
I have not wept this Forty years; but now
My Mother comes afresh into my Eyes;
I cannot help her softness.
By Heav'n, he weeps, poor good old Man, he weeps!
The big round drops course one another down
The furrows of his Cheeks. Stop 'em, Ventidius,
Or I shall blush to death: they set my shame,
[Page 8] That caus'd 'em, full before me.
I'll do my best.
Sure there's contagion in the tears of Friends:
See, I have caught it too. Believe me, 'tis not
For my own griefs, but thine—Nay, Father.
Emperor! Why, that's the style of victory,
The Conqu'ring Soldier, red with unfelt wounds,
Salutes his General so: but never more
Shall that sound reach my Ears.
I warrant you.
Actium, Actium! Oh—
It sits too near you.
Here, here it lies; a lump of Lead by day,
And, in my short distracted nightly slumbers,
The Hag that rides my Dreams—
Out with it; give it vent.
Urg not my shame.
I lost a Battel.
So has Julius done.
Thou favour'st me, and speak'st not half thou think'st;
For Julins fought it out, and lost it fairly:
But Antony
Nay, stop not.
(Well, thou wilt have it) like a Coward fled,
Fled while his Soldiers fought; fled first, Ventidius.
Thou long'st to curse me, and I give the leave.
I know thou com'st prepar'd to rail.
I did.
I'll help thee——I have been a Man, Ventidius.
Yes, and a brave one; but—
I know thy meaning.
But, I have lost my Reason, have disgrac'd
The name of Soldier, with inglorious ease.
In the full Vintage of my flowing honours,
Sate still, and saw it prest by other hands.
Fortune came smiling to my youth, and woo'd it,
And purple greatness met my ripen'd years.
When first I came to Empire, I was born
On Tides of people, crouding to my Triumphs;
The wish of Nations; and the willing World
Receiv'd me as its pledge of future peace;
I was so great, so happy, so belov'd,
Fate could not ruine me; till I took pains
And work'd against my Fortune, chid her from me,
And turn'd her loose; yet still she came again.
[Page 9] My careless days, and my luxurious nights,
At length have weary'd her, and now she's gone,
Gone, gone, divorc'd for ever. Help me, Soldier,
To curse this Madman, this industrious Fool,
Who labour'd to be wretched: prithee curse me.
You are too sensible already
Of what y'have done, too conscious of your failings,
And, like a Scorpion, whipt by others first
To fury, sting your self in mad revenge.
I would bring Balm and pour it in your Wounds,
Cure your distemper'd mind, and heal your fortunes.
I know thou would'st.
I will.
Ha, ha, ha, ha.
You Laugh.
I do, to see officious love
Give Cordials to the dead.
You would be lost then?
I am.
I say, you are not. Try your fortune.
I have to th'utmost. Dost thou think me desperate.
Without just cause? No, when I found all lost
Beyond repair, I hid me from the World,
And learnt to scorn it here; which now I do
So heartily, I think it is not worth
The cost of keeping.
Caesar thinks not so:
He'll thank you for the gift he could not take.
You would be kill'd, like Tully, would you? do,
Hold out your Throat to Casar, and dye tamely.
No, I can kill my self; and so resolve.
I can die with you too, when time shall serve;
But Fortune calls upon us now to live,
To Fight, to Conquer.
Sure thou Dream'st, Ventidius.
No, 'tis you Dream; you sleep away your hours
In desperate sloth, miscall'd Philosophy.
Up, up, for Honor's sake; twelve Legions wait you,
And long to call you Chief: by painful Journeys,
I led 'em, patient, both of heat and hunger,
Down from the Parthian Marches, to the Nile.
'Twill do you good to see their Sun-burnt Faces,
Their skar'd Cheeks and chopt hands; there's virtue in 'em,
They'll sell those mangled Limbs at dearer Rates
Than you trim Bands can buy.
Where left you them?
I said, in lower Syria.
Bring 'em hither;
There may be life in these.
They will not come.
Why did'st thou mock my hopes with promis'd aids
To double my despair? They're mutinous.
Most firm and loyal.
Yet they will not March
To succour me. Oh trifler!
They petition
You would make hast to head 'em.
I'm besieg [...]d.
There's but one way shut up: How came I hither?
I will not stir.
They would perhaps desire
A better reason.
I have never us'd
My Soldiers to demand a reason of
My actions. Why did they refuse to March?
They said, they would not fight for Cleopatra.
What was't they said?
They said they would not fight for Cleopatra.
Why should they fight, indeed, to make her Conquer,
And make you more a Slave? to gain you Kingdoms,
Which, for a Kiss, at your next Midnight Feast,
You'll sell to her? then she new names her Jewels,
And calls this Diamond such or such a Tax,
Each Pendant in her ear shall be a Province.
Ventidius, I allow your Tongue free licence
On all my other faults; but, on your life,
No word of Cleopatra: She deserves
More World's than I can lose.
Behold, you Pow'rs,
To whom you have intrusted Humankind;
See Europe, Africk, Asia, put in balance,
And all weigh'd down by one light worthless Woman!
I think the Gods are Antony's, and give
Like Prodigals, this neather World away,
To none but wastful hands.
You grow presumptuous.
I take the priviledge of plain love to speak.
Plain love! plain arrogance, plain insolence:
Thy Men are Cowards; thou an envious Traitor;
Who, under seeming honesty, hast vented
The burden of thy rank o'reflowing Gall.
O that thou wert my equal; great in Arms.
[Page 11] As the first Caesar was, that I might kill thee
Without a Stain to Honour!
You may k [...]e;
You have done more already, call'd me Traytor.
Art thou not one?
For showing you your self,
Which none else durst have done; but had I been
That name, which I disdain to speak again,
I needed not have sought your abject fortunes,
Come to partake your fate, to dye with you.
What hindred me t'have led my Conqu'ring Eagles
To fill Octavius's Bands? I could have been
A Traytor then, a glorious happy Traytor,
And not have been so call'd.
Forgive me, Soldier:
I've been too passionate,
You thought me false;
Thought my old Age betray'd you: kill me, Sir;
Pray kill me; yet you need not, your unkindness
Has left your Sword no work.
I did not think so;
I said it in my rage: prithee forgive me:
Why did'st thou tempt my Anger, by discovery
Of what I would not hear?
No Prince but you,
Could merit that sincerity I us'd,
Nor durst another Man have ventur'd it;
But you, e're Love misled your wandring Eyes,
Were sure the chief and best of Human Race,
Fram'd in the very pride and boast of Nature,
So perfect, that the Gods who form'd you, wonder'd
At their own skill, and cry'd, A lucky hit
Has mended our design. Their envy hindred,
Else you had been Immortal, and a pattern,
When Heav'n would work for ostentation sake,
To copy out again.
But Cleopatra
Go on; for I can bear it now.
No more.
Thou dar'st not trust my Passion; but thou may'st:
Thou only lov'st; the rest have flatter'd me.
Heav'ns blessing on your heart for that kind word.
May I believe you love me? speak again.
Indeed I do. Speak this, and this, and this.
[Hugging him.
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.
And, Will you leave this—
Prithee 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.
That's my Royal Master.
And, Shall we Fight?
I warrant thee, old Soldier,
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.
O now I hear my Emperor! in that word
Octavius fell. Gods, let me see that day,
And if I have Ten years behind, take all;
Ill thank you for th' exchange.
Oh Cleopatra!
I've done: in that last Sigh she went.
Coesar shall know what 'tis to force a Lover,
From all he holds most dear.
Methinks you breath
Another Soul: Your looks are more Divine;
You speak a Heroe, and you move a God.
O, thou hast fir'd me; my Soul's up in Arms,
And Mans each part about me: once again,
That noble eagerness of Fight has seiz'd me;
That eagerness with which I darted upward
To Cassius's Camp: In vain the steepy Hill.
Oppos'd my way; in vain a War of Spears
Sung round my head; and planted all my shield:
I won the Trenches, while my formost Men
Lagg'd on the Plain below.
Ye Gods, ye Gods,
For such another hour.
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,
May taste fate to 'em; Mowe 'em out a passage,
And entring where the foremost Squadrons yield,
[...]egin the noble Harvest of the Field.


Cleopatra, Iras, and Alexas.
WHat shall I do, or whither shall I turn?
Ventidius has o'rcome, and he will go.
He goes to Fight for you.
Then he would see me e're he went to fight:
Flatter me not: if once he goes, he's lost:
And all my hopes destroy'd.
Does this weak passion
Become a Mighty Queen?
I am no Queen;
Is this to be a Queen, to be besieg'd
By yon insulting Roman; and to wait
Each hour the Victor's Chain? These ills are small;
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
Has taught my mind the fortune of a Slave.
Call Reason to assist you.
I have none.
And none would have: my Love's a noble madness.
Which shows the cause deserv'd it. Moderate sorrow
Fits vulgar Love; and for a vulgar Man:
But I have lov'd with such transcendent passion,
I soar'd, at first, quite out of Reasons view,
And now am lost above it—No, I'm proud
'Tis thus, would Antony could see me now;
Think you he would not sigh? though he must leave me,
Sure he would sigh; for he is noble-natur'd,
And bears a tender heart [...] I know him well.
Ah, no, I know him not; I knew him once,
But now 'tis past.
Let it be past with you:
Forget him, Madam.
Never, never, Iras.
He once was mine; and once, though now 'tis gone,
Leaves a faint Image of possession still.
Think him unconstant, cruel, and ungrateful:
I cannot: if I could, those thoughts were vain;
Faithless, ungrateful, cruel, though he be,
I still must love him.
[Page 14] Enter Charmion.
Now, What news my Charmion?
Will he be kind? and Will he not forsake me?
Am I to live, or dye? nay, Do I live?
Or am I dead? for when he gave his answer,
Fate took the word, and then I liv'd, or dy'd.
I found him, Madam—
A long Speech preparing?
If thou bring'st comfort, hast, and give it me;
For never was more need.
I know he loves you.
Had he been kind, her Eyes had told me so,
Before her Tongue could speak it: now she studies,
To soften what he said; but give me death,
Just as he sent it, Charmion, undisguis'd,
And in the words he spoke.
I sound him then
Incompass'd round, I think, with Iron Statues,
So mute, so motionless his Soldiers stood,
While awfully he cast his Eyes about,
And ev'ry Leaders hopes or fears survey'd:
Methought he look'd resolv'd, and yet not pleas'd.
When he beheld me strugling in the croud,
He blush'd, and bad, make way.
There's comfort yet.
Ventidius fixt his Eyes upon my passage,
Severely, as he meant to frown me back,
And sullenly gave place: I told my message.
Just as you gave it, broken and disorder'd;
I numbred in it all your sighs and tears,
And while I mov'd your pitiful request,
That you but only beg'd a last farewel,
He fetch an inward groan, and ev'ry time
I nam'd you, sigh'd, as if his heart were breaking,
But shun'd my Eyes, and guiltily look'd down;
He seem'd not now that awful Antony
Who shook an Arm'd Assembly with his Nod,
But making show as he would rub his Eyes,
Disguis'd and blotted out a falling tear.
Did he then weep? and, Was I worth a tear?
If what thou hast to say be not as pleasing,
Tell me no more, but let me die contented.
He bid me say, He knew himself so well,
He could deny you nothing, if he saw you;
And therefore—
Thou would say, he wou'd not see me?
And therefore beg'd you not to use a power,
[Page 15] Which he could ill resist; yet he should ever
Respect you as he ought.
Is that a word
For Antony to use to Cleopatra?
Oh that faint word, Respect! how I disdain it!
Disdain my self, for loving after it!
He should have kept that word for cold Octavia.
Respect is for a Wife: Am I that thing,
That dull insipid lump, without desires,
And without pow'r to give 'em?
You misjudge;
You see through Love, and that deludes your sight:
As, what is strait, seems crooked through the Water;
But I, who bear my reason undisturb'd,
Can see this Antony, this dreaded Man,
A fearful slave, who fain would run away,
And shuns his Master's Eyes: if you pursue him,
My life on't, he still drags a chain along,
That needs must clog his flight.
Could I believe thee!—
By ev'ry circumstance I know he Loves.
True, he's hard prest, by Interest and by Honour;
Yet he but doubts, and parlies, and casts out
Many a long lookt for succour.
He sends word,
He fears to see my face,
And would you more?
He shows his weakness who declines the Combat;
And you must urge your fortune. Could he speak
More plainly? To my Ears, the Message sounds
Come to my rescue, Cleopatra, come;
Come, free me [...]rom Ventidius; from my Tyrant:
See me, and give me a pretence to leave him.
I hear his Trumpets. This way he must pass.
Please you, retire a while; I'll work him first,
That he may bend more easie.
You shall rule me;
But all, I fear, in vain.
[Exit with Char. and Iras
I fear soo too!
Though I conceal'd my thoughts, to make her b [...]ld:
But, 'tis our utmost means, and Fate befriend it.
Enter Lictors with Fasces; one bearing the Eagle: then Enter Antony with Ventidius, follow'd by other Commanders.
Octavius is the Minion of blind Chance,
But holds from Virtue nothing.
Has he courage?
But just enough to season him from Coward.
[Page 16] O, 'tis the coldest youth upon a Charge,
The most deliberate fighter! if he ventures
(As in Illyria once they say he did
To storm a Town) 'tis when he cannot chuse,
When all the World have fixt their Eyes upon him;
And then he lives on that for seven years after,
But, at a close revenge he never fails.
I heard, you challeng'd him.
I did, Ventidius.
What think'st thou was his answer? 'twas so tame,—
He said he had more ways than one to die;
I had not.
He has more ways than one;
But he would chuse 'em all before that one.
He first would chuse an Ague, or a Fever:
No: it must be an Ague, not a Fever;
He has not warmth enough to die by that.
Or old Age, and a Bed.
I, there's his choice.
He would live, like a Lamp, to the last wink,
And crawl upon the utmost verge of life:
O Hercules! Why should a Man like this,
Who dares not trust his fate for one great action,
Be all the care of Heaven? Why should he Lord it
O're Fourscore thousand Men, of whom, each one
Is braver than himself?
You conquer'd for him:
Philippi knows it: there you shar'd with him
That Empire, which your Sword made all your own.
Fool that I was, upon my Eagles Wings
I bore this Wren, till I was tir'd with soaring,
And now he mounts above me.
Good Heav'ns, Is this, is this the Man who braves me?
Who bids my age make way: drives me before him,
To the World's ridge, and sweeps me off like rubbish?
Sir, we lose time; the Troops are mounted all.
Then give the word to March:
I long to leave this Prison of a Town,
To joyn thy Legions; and, in open Field,
Once more to shew my Face. Lead, my Deliverer.
Enter Alex.
Great Emperor,
In mighty Arms renown'd above Mankind,
But, in soft pity to th' opprest, a God:
This message sends the mournful Cleopatra
To her departing Lord.
Smooth Sycophant!
A thousand Wishes, and ten thousand Prayers,
Millions of Blessings wait you to the Wars,
Millions of Sighs and Tears she sends you too,
And would have sent
As many dear embraces to your Arms,
As many parting Kisses to your Lips;
But those, she fears, have weary'd you already.
False Crocodyle!
And yet she begs not now, you would not leave her,
That were a wish too mighty for her hopes,
Too presuming for her low Fortune, and your ebbing Love,
That were a wish for her more prosperous days,
Her blooming Beauty, and your growing kindness.
Well, I must Man it out; What would the Queen?
First, to these Noble Warriors, who attend,
Your daring Courage in the chase of Fame,
(Too daring, and too dang'rous for her Quiet)
She humbly recommends all she holds dear,
All her own Cares and Fears, the care of you.
Yes, witness Actium.
Let him speak, Ventidius.
You, when his matchless Valour bears him forward,
With Ardor too Heroick, on his Foes
Fall down, as she would do, before his Feet;
Lye in his way, and stop the paths of Death;
Tell him, this God is not invulnerable,
That absent Cleopatra bleeds in him;
And, that you may remember her Petition,
She begs you wear these Trifles, as a pawn,
Which, at your wisht return, she will redeem.
Gives Jewels to the Commanders.
With all the Wealth of Aegypt:
This, to the great Ventidius she presents,
Whom she can never count her Enemy,
Because he loves her Lord.
Tell her I'll none on't;
I'm not asham'd of honest Poverty:
Not all the Diamonds of the East can bribe
Ventidius from his Faith. I hope to see
These, and the rest of all her sparkling store,
Where they shall more deservingly be plac'd.
And who must wear 'em then?
The wrong'd Octavia.
You might have spar'd that word.
And he that Bribe.
But have I no remembrance?
[Page 18] Alex.
Yes, a dear one:
Your Slave, the Queen—
My Mistress.
Then your Mistress,
Your Mistress would, she says, have sent her Soul,
But that you had long since; she humbly begs
This Ruby Bracelet, set with bleeding Hearts,
(The emblems of her own) may bind your Arm.
[Presenting a Bracelet:
Now, my best Lord, in Honor's name, I ask you,
For Manhood's sake, and for your own dear safety,
Touch not these poison'd Gifts,
Infected by the Sender, touch 'em not,
Miriads of bluest Plagues lye underneath 'em,
And more than Aconite has dipt the Silk.
Nay, now you grow too Cynical, Ventidius.
A Lady's Favours may be worn with Honor.
What, to refuse her Bracelet! On my Soul,
When I lye pensive in my Tent alone,
'Twill pass the wakeful hours of Winter nights,
To tell these pretty Beads upon my Arm,
To count for every one a soft embrace,
A melting Kiss at such and such a time;
And now and then the fury of her Love.
When—And what harm's in this?
None, none my Lord,
But what's to her, that now 'tis past for ever.
going to tye it.
We Soldiers are so awkward——help me tye it.
In faith, my Lord, we Courtiers too are awkward
In these Affairs: so are all Men indeed;
Ev'n I, who am not one. But shall I speak?
Yes, freely.
Then, my Lord, fair hands alone
Are fit to tye it; She, who sent it, can.
Hell, Death; this Eunuch Pandar ruins you.
You will not see her?
[Alexas whispers an Attendant, who goes out.
But to take my leave.
Then I have wash'd an Aethiope. Y'are undone;
Y'are in the Toils; y'are taken; y'are destroy'd:
Her Eyes do Caesar's Work.
You fear too soon.
I'm constant to my self: I know my strength;
And yet she shall not think me barbarous, neither.
Born in the depths of Africk: I'm a Roman.
Bred to the Rules of soft Humanity.
[Page 19] A guest, and kindly us'd, should bid farewel.
You do not know
How weak you are to her, how much an Infant:
You are not proof against a Smile or Glance;
A Sigh will quite disarm you.
See, she comes!
Now you shall find your error. Gods, I Thank you:
I form'd the danger greater than it was,
And, now 'tis near, 'tis lessen'd.
Mark the end yet.
Enter Cleopatra, Charmion and Iras.
Well, Madam, we are met.
Is this a Meeting?
Then, we must part?
We must.
Who says we must?
Our own hard fates.
We make those Fates our selves.
Yes, we have made 'em; we have lov'd each other
Into our mutual Ruin.
The Gods have seen my Joys with envious Eyes;
I have no Friends in Heaven; and all the World,
(As 'twere the bus'ness of Mankind to part us)
Is arm'd against my Love: ev'n you your self
Joyn with the rest; you, you are arm'd against me.
I will be justify'd in all I do
To late Posterity, and therefore hear me.
If I mix a Lye
With any Truth, reproach me freely with it;
Else, favor me with silence.
You command me,
And I am dumb.
I like this well: he shews Authority.
That I derive my ruin
From you alone——
O Heav'ns! I ruin you!
You promis'd me your silence, and you break it
E're I have scarce begun.
Well, I obey you.
When I beheld you first, it was in Aegypt,
E're Caesar saw your Eyes; you gave me love,
And were too young to know it, that I setled
Your Father in his Throne, was for your sake,
I left the acknowledgment for time to ripen.
Caesar stept in, and with a greedy hand
Pluck'd the green Fruit, e'er the first blush of Red
Yet cleaving to the bough. He was my Lord,
[Page 20] And was, beside, too great for me to Rival,
But, I deserv'd you first, though he enjoy'd you.
When after, I beheld you in Cilicia,
An Enemy to Rome, I pardon'd you.
I clear'd my self—
Again you break your Promise.
I lov'd you still, and took your weak excuses,
Took you into my Bosom, stain'd by Caesar,
And not half mine: I went to Aegypt with you,
And hid me from the bus'ness of the World,
Shut out enquiring Nations from my sight,
To give whole years to you.
Yes, to your shame be't spoken.
How I lov'd
Witness ye Days and Nights, and all your Hours,
That Danc'd away with Down upon your Feet,
As all your bus'ness were to count my Passion.
One day past by, and nothing saw but Love;
Another came, and still 'twas only Love:
The Suns were weary'd out with looking on,
And I untir'd with Loving.
I saw you ev'ry day, and all the day;
And ev'ry day was still but as the first:
So eager was I still to see you more.
'Tis all too true.
Fulvia, my Wife, grew jealous,
As she indeed had reason; rais'd a War
In Italy to call me back.
But yet
You went not.
While within your Arms I lay,
The World sell mouldring from my Hands each Hour,
And left me scarce a grasp (I thank your love for't.)
Well push'd: that last was home.
Yet may I speak?
If I have urg'd a falshood, yes, else, not.
Your silence says I have not. Fulvio dy'd;
(Pardon, you gods, with my unkindness dy'd)
To set the World at Peace, I took Octavia,
This Caesar's Sister; in her pride of youth
And flow'r of Beauty did I wed that Lady,
Whom blushing I must praise, because I left her.
You call'd; my Love obey'd the fatal Summons:
This rais'd the Roman Arms; the Cause was yours,
I would have sought by Land, where I was stronger;
You hindred it: yet, when I fought at Sea,
Forsook me fighting; and (Oh stain to Honor!
[Page 21] Oh lasting shame!) I knew not that I fled;
But fled to follow you.
What haste she made to hoist her purple Sails!
And to appear magnificent in flight,
Drew half our strength away.
All this you caus'd.
And, Would you multiply more ruins on me?
This honest Man, my best, my only Friend,
Has gather'd up the Shipwreck of my Fortunes;
Twelve Legions I have left, my last recruits,
And you have watch'd the news, and bring your eyes
To seise them too. If you have ought to answer,
Now speak, you have free leave.
She stands confounded:
Despair is in her Eyes.
Now lay a sigh i'th' way, to stop his passage:
Prepare a Tear, and bid it for his Legions;
'Tis like they shall be fold.
How shall I plead my cause, when you, my Judge
Already have condemn'd me? Shall I bring
The Love you bore me for my Advocate?
That now is turn'd against me, that destroys me;
For, love once past, is, at the best, forgotten;
But oftner sours to hate: 'twill please my Lord
To ruine me, and therefore I'll be guilty.
But, could I once have thought it would have pleas'd you,
That you would pry, with narrow searching Eyes
Into my faults, severe to my destruction:
And watching all advantages with care,
That serve to make me wretched? Speak, my Lord,
For I end here. Though I deserve this usage,
Was it like you to give it?
O you wrong me,
To think I sought this parting, or desir'd
To accuse you more than what will clear my self,
And justifie this breach.
Thus low I thank you.
And since my innocence will not offend,
I shall not blush to own it.
After this
I think she'll blush at nothing.
You seem griev'd,
(And therein you are kind) that Caesar first
Enjoy'd my love, though you deserv'd it better:
I grieve for that, my Lord, much more than you;
For, had I first been yours, it would have sav'd
My second choice: I never had been his,
[Page 22] And ne'r had been but yours. But Caesar first,
You say, possess'd my love. Not so, my Lord;
He first possess'd my Person; you my Love:
Caesar lov'd me; but I lov'd Antony.
If I endur'd him after, 'twas because
I judg'd it due to the first name of Men;
And, half constrain'd, I gave, as to a Tyrant,
What he would take by force.
O Syren! Syren!
Yet grant that all the love she boasts were true,
Has she not ruin'd you? I still urge that,
The fatal consequence.
The consequence indeed,
For I dare challenge him, my greatest Foe,
To say it was design'd: 'tis true, I lov'd you,
And kept you far from an uneasie Wife,
(Such Fulvia was.)
Yes, but he'll say, you left Octavia for me;—
And, Can you blame me to receive that love,
Which quitted such desert, for worthless me?
How often have I wish'd some other Caesar,
Great as the first, and as the second young,
Would court my Love to be refus'd for you!
Words, words; but Actium, Sir, remember Actium.
Ev'n there, I dare his Malice. True, I Counsel'd
To fight at Sea; but I betray'd you not.
I fled; but not to the Enemy. 'Twas fear;
Would I had been a Man, not to have fear'd,
For none would then have envy'd me your friendship,
Who envy me your Love.
We're both unhappy:
If nothing else, yet our ill fortune parts us.
Speak; Would you have me perish, by my stay?
If as a friend you ask my Judgment, go;
If as a Lover, stay. If you must perish:
'Tis a hard word; but stay.
See now th' effects of her so boasted love!
She strives to drag you down to ruine with her:
But, could she 'scape without you, oh how soon
Would she let go her hold, and haste to shore,
And never look behind!
Then judge my love by this.
[Giving Antony a Writing.
Could I have born
A life or death, a happiness or woe
From yours divided, this had giv'n me means.
By Hercules, the Writing of Octavius!
I know it well; 'tis that prescribing hand,
[Page 23] Young as it was, that led the way to mine,
And left me but the second place in Murder.—
See, see, Ventidius! here he offers Aegypt,
And joyns all Syria to it as a present,
So, in requital, she forsake my fortunes,
And joyn her Arms with his.
And yet you leave me!
You leave me, Antony; and yet I love you.
Indeed I do: I have refus'd a Kingdom,
That's a Trifle:
For I could part with life; with any thing,
But only you. O let me die, but with you!
Is that a hard request?
Next living with you,
'Tis all that Heav'n can give.
He melts; We conquer.
No: you shall go: your Int'rest calls you hence;
Yes, your dear interest pulls too strong, for these
Weak Arms to hold you here.—
[Takes his hand.
Go; leave me, Soldier;
(For you're no more a Lover:) leave me dying:
Push me all pale and panting from your Bosome,
And, when your March begins, let one run after
Breathless almost for Joy; and cry, she's dead:
The Soldiers shout; you then perhaps may sigh,
And muster all your Roman Gravity;
Ventidius chides; and strait your Brow clears up.
As I had never been.
Gods, 'tis too much; too much for Man to bear!
What is't for me then,
A weak forsaken Woman? and a Lover?—
Here let me breath my last: envy me not
This minute in your Arms: I'll die apace:
As fast as e'er I can; and end your trouble.
Dye! Rather let me perish: loos'nd Nature
Leap from its hinges. Sink the props of Heav'n,
And fall the Skies to crush the neather World.
My Eyes, my Soul; my all!—
[Embraces her.
And what's this Toy
In ballance with your Fortune, Honor, Fame?
What is't, Ventidius? it out-weighs 'em all;
Why, we have more than Conquer'd Caesar now:
My Queen's not only Innocent, but Loves me.
This, this is she who drags me down to ruin!
'But, could she 'scape without me, with what haste
Would she let slip her hold, and make to shore,
And never look behind!
[Page 24] Down on thy knees, Blasphemer as thou art,
And ask forgiveness of wrong'd Innocence.
I'll rather die, than take it. Will you go?
Go! Whither? go from all that's excellent!
Faith, Honour, Virtue, all good things forbid,
That I should go from her, who sets my love
Above the price of Kingdoms. Give, you Gods,
Give to your Boy, your Caesar,
This Rattle of a Globe to play withal,
This Gu-gau World, and put him cheaply off:
I'll not be pleas'd with less than Cleopatra.
She wholly yours. My heart's so full of joy,
That I shall do some wild extravagance
Of Love in publick; and the foolish World,
Which knows not tenderness, will think me Mad.
O Women! Women! Women! all the Gods
Have not such pow'r of doing good to Man,
As you of doing harm.
Our Men are Arm'd.
Unbar the Gate that looks to Caesar's Camp;
I would revenge the Treachery he mea [...] me;
And long security makes Conquest easie.
I'm eager to return before I go;
For, all the pleasures I have known, beat thick
On my remembrance: how I long for Night!
That both the sweets of mutual love may try,
And once Triumph o'er Caesar e're we die.


At one door, Enter Cleopatra, Charmion, Iras, and Alexas, a Train of Aegyptians: at the other, Antony and Romans. The en­trance on both sides is prepar'd by Musick; the Trumpets first sound­ing on Antony's part: then answer'd by Timbrels, &c. on Cleopa­tra's. Charmion and Iras hold a Laurel Wreath betwixt them. A Dance of Aegyptians. After the Ceremony, Cleopatra Crowns Antony.
I Thought how those white arms would fold me in,
And strain me close, and melt me into love;
So pleas'd with that sweet Image, I sprung forwards,
And added all my strength to every blow.
Come to me, come my Soldier, to my Arms,
You've been too long away from my embraces;
But, when I have you fast, and all my own,
With broken murmurs, and with amorous sighs,
I'll say, you were unkind, and punish you,
And mark you red with many an eager kiss.
My Brighter Venus!
O my greater Mars!
Thou joinst us well, my Love!
Suppose me come from the Phlegraean Plains,
Where gasping Gyants lay, cleft by my Sword:
And Mountain tops par'd off each other blow,
To bury those I slew: receive me, Goddess:
Let Caesar spread his subtle Nets, like Vulcan,
In thy embraces I would be beheld
By Heav'n and Earth at once:
And make their envy what they meant their sport
Let those who took us blush; I would love on
With awful State, regardless of their frowns,
As their superior God.
There's no satiety of Love, in thee;
Enjoy'd, thou still art new; perpetual Spring
Is in thy arms; the ripen'd fruit but falls,
And blossoms rise to fill its empty place;
And I grow rich by giving.
Enter Ventidius, and stands apart.
O, now the danger's past, your General [...]
He joyns not in your joys, nor minds your Triumphs,
[Page 26] But, with contracted brows, looks frowning on,
As envying your Success.
Now, on my Soul, he loves me; truly loves me;
He never flatter'd me in any vice,
But awes me with his virtue: ev'n this minute
Methinks he has a right of chiding me.
Lead to the Temple: I'll avoid his presence;
It checks too strong upon me.
[Exeunt the rest.
As Antony is going, Ventidius pulls him by the Robe.
look­ing back.
'Tis the old argument; I pr'ythee spare me.
But this one hearing, Emperor.
Let go
My Robe; or, by my Father Hercules—.
By Hercules his Father, that's yet greater,
I bring you somewhat you would wish to know.
Thou see'st we are observ'd; attend me here,
And I'll return.
I'm waining in his favour, yet I love him;
I love this Man, who runs to meet his ruin;
And, sure the Gods, like me, are fond of him:
His Virtues lye so mingled with his Crimes,
As would confound their choice to punish one,
And not reward the other.
Enter Antony.
We can conquer,
You see, without your aid.
We have dislodg'd their Troops,
They look on us at distance, and, like Curs
Scap'd from the Lions paws, they bay far off,
And lick their wounds, and saintly threaten War.
Five thousand Romans with their faces upward,
[...]ye breathless on the Plain.
'Tis well: and he
Who lost 'em, could have spar'd Ten thousand more,
Yet if, by this advantage, you could gain
An easier Peace, while Caesar doubts the Chance
Of Arms!—
O think not on't, Ventidius;
The Boy pursues my ruin, he [...]ll no peace:
His malice is considerate in advantage;
O, he's the coolest Murderer, so stanch,
He kills, and keeps his temper.
Have you no friend
In all his Army, who has power to move him,
Mecaenas, or Agrippa might do much.
They're both too deep in Caesar's interests,
We'll work it out by dint of Sword, or perish,
[...]ain I would find some other.
Thank thy love.
Some four or five such Victories as this,
Will save thy farther pains.
Expect no more; Caesar is on his Guard:
I know, Sir, you have conquer'd against odds;
But still you draw Supplies from one poor Town,
And of Aegyptians: He has all the World,
And, at his back, Nations come pouring in,
To fill the gaps you make. Pray think again.
Why dost thou drive me from my self, to search
For Foreign aids? to hunt my memory,
And range all o'er a wast and barren place
To find a Friend? The wretched have no Friends—
Yet I had one, the bravest Youth of Rome,
Whom Caesar loves beyond the Love of Women;
He could resolve his mind, as Fire does Wax,
From that hard rugged Image, melt him down,
And mould him in what softer form he pleas'd.
Him would I see; that Man of all the world:
Just such a one we want.
He lov'd me too.
I was his Soul; he liv'd not but in me:
We were so clos'd within each others Breasts,
The Rivets were not found that join'd us first.
That does not reach us yet: we were so mixt,
As meeting Streams, both to our selves were lost;
We were one Mass; we could not give or take,
But from the same; for he was I, I he.
He moves as I would wish him.
After this,
I need not tell his Name: 'twas Dollabella.
He's now in Caesar's Camp.
No matter where,
Since he's no longer mine. He took unkindly
That I forbad him Cleopatra's sight;
Because I fear'd he lov'd her: he confess'd
He had a warmth, which, for my sake, he stifled;
For 'twere impossible that two, so one,
Should not have lov'd the same. When he departed,
He took no leave; and that confirm'd my thoughts.
It argues that he lov'd you more than her,
[...]lse he had staid; but he perceiv'd you jealous,
And would not grieve his Friend: I know he love you.
I should have seen him then ere now.
He has thus long been lab'ring for your Peace.
Would he were here.
Would you believe he lov'd you?
I read your Answer in your Eyes; you would.
Not to conceal it longer, he has sent
A Messenger from Caesar's Camp, with Letters.
Let him appear.
I'll bring him instantly.
Exit Ventidius, and Re-enters immediately with Dollabella.
'Tis he himself, himself, by holy Friendship
[Runs to embrace him.
Art thou return'd at last, my better half?
Come, give me all my self.
Let me not live,
If the young Bridegroom, Ionging for his Night,
Was ever half so fond.
I must be silent; for my Soul is busie
About a noble Work: she's new come home,
Like a long absent Man, and wanders o'er
Each Room, a Stranger to her own, to loo [...]
If all be safe.
Thou hast what's left of m [...]
For I am now so sunk from what I was,
Thou find'st me at my lowest Water-mark.
The Rivers that ran in, and rais'd my Fortunes,
Are all dry'd up, or take another course:
What I have left is from my native Spring;
I've still a Heart that swells, in scorn of Fate.
And lifts me to my Banks.
Still you are Lord of all the World to me.
Why, then I yet am so; for thou art all.
If I had any Joy when thou wert absent,
I grudg'd it to my self; methought I robb'd
Thee of thy part. But, Oh my Dollabella!
Thou hast beheld me other than I am.
Hast thou not seen my morning Chambers fill'd
With Sc [...]pter'd Slaves, who waited to salute me:
With Eastern Monarchs, who forgot the Sun,
To worship my uprising? Menial Kings
Ran coursing up and down my Palace-yard,
Stood silent in my Presence, watch'd my Eyes,
And, at my least Command, all started out
Like Racers to the Gaol.
Slaves to your Fortune.
Fortune is Caesar's now; and what am I?
What you have made your self; I will not flatter.
Is this friendly done?
Yes, when his end is so, I must join with him;
Indeed I must, and yet you must not chide:
[Page 29] Why am I else your Friend?
Take heed, young Ma [...],
How thou upbraid'st my Love: The Queen has Eyes,
And thou too hast a Soul. Canst thou remember
When, swell'd with hatred, thou beheld'st her first
As Accessary to thy Brothers Death?
Spare my Remembrance; 'twas a guilty day,
And still the blush hangs here.
To clear her self,
For sending him no Aid, she came from Egypt.
Her Gally down the Silver Cydnos row'd,
The Tackling Silk, the Streamers wav'd with Gold,
The gentle Winds were lodg'd in Purple Sails:
Her Nymphs, like Nereids, round her Couch, were plac'd;
Where she, another Sea-born Venus, lay.
No more: I would not hear it.
O, you must!
She lay, and leant her Cheek upon her Hand,
And cast a Look so languishingly sweet,
As if, secure of all Beholders Hearts,
Neglecting she could take 'em: Boy's, like Cupids,
Stood fanning, with their painted Wings, the Winds
That plaid about her Face: But if she smil'd,
A darting Glory seem'd to blaze abroad:
That Mens desiring Eyes were never weary'd;
But hung upon the Object: To soft Flutes
The Silver Oars kept Time; and while they plaid,
The Hearing gave new Pleasure to the Sight;
And both to Thought: 'twas Heav'n or somewhat more;
For she so charm'd all Hearts, that gazing Crowds
Stood panting on the shore, and wanted Breath
To give their welcome Voice.
Then, Dollabella, where was then thy Soul?
Was not thy Fury quite disarm'd with Wonder?
Didst tho [...] not shrink behind me from those Eyes,
And whisper in my Ears? Oh, tell her not
That I accus'd her wi [...]h my Brothers Death!
And should my Weakness be a Plea fer yours?
Mine was an Age when Love might be excus'd,
When kindly war [...]th, and when my springing youth
Made it a Debt to Nature. Yours—
Speak boldly.
Yours, he would say; in your declining Age,
When no more heat was left but what you forc'd,
When all the Sap was needful for the Trunk,
When it went down, then you constrain'd the Course,
And robb'd from Nature, to supply Desire;
[Page 30] In you (I would not use so harsh a Word)
But 'tis plain Dotage.
'Twas urg'd too home.
But yet the loss was private that I made;
'Twas but my self I lost: I lost no Legions;
I had no World to lose, no Peoples Love.
This from a Friend?
Yes, Anthony, a true one;
A Friend so tender, that each Word I speak
Stabs my own Heart, before it reach your Ear.
O, judge me not less kind because I chide:
To Caesar I excuse you.
O ye Gods!
Have I then liv'd to be excus'd to Caesar?
As to your Equal:
While I wear this, he never shall be more.
I bring Conditions from him.
Are they Noble?
Methinks thou shouldst not bring 'em else; yet he
Is sull of deep dissembling; knows no Honour,
Divided from his Int'rest. Fate mistook him;
For Nature meant him for an Usurer,
He's fit indeed to buy, not conquer Kingdoms.
Then, granting this,
What Pow'r was theirs who wrought so hard a Temper
To honourable Terms!
It was my Dollabella, or some God.
Nor I; nor yet Mecoenas, nor Agrippa:
They were your Enemies; and I a Friend
Too weak alone; yet 'twas a Roman's Deed.
'Twas like a Roman done: show me that Man
Who has preserv'd my Life, my Love, my Honour;
Let me but see his Face.
That task is mine,
And, Hea [...]'n thou know'st how pleasing.
Exit Vent.
You'll remember
To whom you stand oblig'd?
When I forget it,
Be thou unkind, and that's my greatest curse.
My Queen shall thank him too.
I fear she will not.
But she shall do't: the Queen, my Dollabella!
Hast thou not still some grudgings of thy Fever?
I would not see her lost.
Wh [...]n I sorsake her,
Leave me, my be [...]ter Sta [...]s; f [...]r she has truth
[Page 31] Beyond her beauty. Caesar 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?
Yes there's my reason.
Re-enter Ventidius, with Octavia, leading Antony's two little Daughters.
Where?—Octavia there!
(Starting back.)
What, is she poyson to you? a Disease?
Look on her, view her well; and those she brings:
Are they all Strangers to your eyes? has Nature
No secret Call, no whisper they are yours?
For shame, my Lord, if not for Love, receive 'em
With kinder Eyes. If you confess a Man,
Meet 'em, embrace 'em, bid 'em welcome to you.
Your Arms should open, ev'n without; your knowledge,
To clasp 'em in; your Feet should turn to Wings,
To bear you to 'em; and your Eyes dart out,
And aim a kiss ere you could reach the Lips.
I stood amaz'd to think how they came hither.
I sent for 'em; I brought 'em in, unknown
To Cleopatra's Guards.
Yet are you cold?
Thus long I have attended for my welcome;
Which, as a Stranger, sure I might expect,
Who am I?
Caesar's Sister.
That's unkind!
Had I been nothing more than Caesar's Sister,
Know, I had still remain'd in Caesar's Camp;
But you Octavi [...], your much injur'd Wise,
Tho' banish'd from your Bed, driv'n from your House,
In spight of Caesar'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 show
My Duty first, to ask, nay beg, your kindness:
Your hand, my Lord; 'tis mine, and I will have it.
[T [...]king h [...]s hand.
Do, take it, thou deserv'st it.
On my Soul,
And so she does: she's neither too submissive,
Nor yet too haughty; but so just a mean,
Shows, as it ought, a Wife and Roman too.
I [...]ear, Octavia, you have begg'd my Life.
Begg'd it, my Lord?
Yes, begg'd it, my Ambassadress,
[Page 32] Poorly and basely begg'd it of your Brother.
Poorly and bafely I could never beg;
Nor could my Brother grant.
Shall I, who, to my kneeling Slave, could say,
Rise up, and be a King; shall I fall down
And cry, Forgive me, Caesar? shall I set
A Man, my Equal, in the place of Jove,
As he could give me being? No; that word,
Forgive, would choak me up,
And die upon my Tongue.
You shall not need it.
I will not need it. Come, you've all betray'd me:
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: if I but look awry,
She cries, I'll tell my Brother.
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 your Honour,
Because 'tis mine; it never shall be said
Octavia's Husband was her Brothers Slave.
Sir, you are Free; Free, ev'n from her you loath;
For, tho' 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 reconcil'd;
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.
Was ever such a strife of sullen Honour!
Both scorn'd to be oblig'd.
Oh, she has toucht him in the tender'st part;
S [...]e how he reddens with despight and shame
To be out-done in Generosity!
See how he winks! how he dries up a Tear,
That fain would fall!
Octavia, I have heard you, and must praise
The greatness of your Soul;
But cannot yield to what you have propos'd:
For I can ne'er be conquer'd but by Love;
A [...]d you do all for Duty. You would free me,
[Page 33] And would be dropt at Athens; was't not so?
It was, my Lord.
Then I must be oblig'd
To one who Loves me not, who, to her self,
May call me thankless and ungrateful Man:
I'll not endure it, no.
I'm glad it pinches there.
Would you triumph o'er poor Octavia's Virtue?
That Pride was all I had to bear me up;
That you might think you ow'd me for your Life,
And ow'd it to my Duty, not my Love.
I have been injur'd, and my haughty Soul
Could brook but ill the Man who slights my Bed.
Therefore you Love me not.
Therefore, my Lord,
I should not love you.
Therefore you wou'd leave me?
And therefore I should leave you—if I could.
Her Soul's too great, after such injuries,
To say she Loves; and yet she lets you see it.
Her modesty and silence plead her Cause.
Oh, Dollabella, which way shall I turn?
I find a secret yielding in my Soul;
But Cleopatra, who would die with me,
Must she be left? Pity pleads for Octavia;
But does it not plead more for Cleopatra?
Justice and Pity both plead for Octavia;
For Cleopatra, neither.
One would be ruin'd with you; but she first
Had ruin'd you: the other, you have ruin'd,
And yet she would preserve you.
In every thing their Merits are unequal.
Oh, my distracted Soul!
Sweet Heav'n compose it.
Come, come, my Lord, if I can pardon you,
Methinks you should accept it. Look on these;
Are they not yours? Or stand they thus neglected
As they are mine? Go to him, Children, go;
Kneel to him, take him by the hand, speak to him;
For you may speak, and he may own you too,
Without a Blush; and so he cannot all
His Children: go, I say, and pull him to me,
And pull him to your selves, from that bad Woman.
You, Agrippina, hang upon his Arms;
And you, Antonia, clasp about his Waste:
If he will shake you off, if he will dash you
Against the Pavement, you must bear it, Children;
[Page 34] For you are mine, and I was born to suffer.
[Here the Children go to him, &c.
Was ever sight so moving! Emperor!
Both Childr.
I am vanquish'd: take me,
Octavia; take me, Children; share me all.
(Embracing them.)
I've been a thriftless Debtor to your Loves,
And run out much, in Riot, from your Stock;
But all shall be amended.
O blest hour!
O happy Change!
My joy stops at my tongue;
But it has found two Channels here for one,
And Bubbles out above.
Ant. to Octav.
This is thy Triumph; lead me where thou wilt;
Ev'n to thy Brothers Camp.
All there are yours.
Enter Alexas hastily.
The Queen, my Mistress, Sir, and yours—
'Tis past. Octavia, you shall stay this night; To morrow,
Caesar and we are one.
[Ex. leading Octavia, Doll. and the Children follow.
There's News for you; run,
My officious Eunuch,
Be sure to be the first; haste forward:
Haste, my dear Eunuch, haste.
This downright fighting Fool, this thick-scull'd Hero,
This blunt unthinking Instrument of Death,
With plain dull Virtue, has out-gone my Wit:
Pleasure forsook my early'st Infancy,
The Luxury of others robb'd my Cradle,
And ravish'd thence the Promise of a Man:
Cast out from Nature, disinherited
Of what her meanest Children claim by kind;
Yet, Greatness kept me from Contempt: that's gone.
Had Cleopatra follow'd my advice,
Then he had been betray'd, who now forsakes.
She dies for love; but she has known its joys:
Gods, is this just, that I, who knows no joys,
Must die, because she loves?
Enter Cleopatra, Charmion, Iras, Train.
Oh, Madam, I have seen what blasts my Eyes!
Octavia's here!
Peace with that Raven's note.
I know it too; and now am in
The Pangs of Death.
You are no more a Queen;
Egypt is lost.
[Page 35] Cleop.
What tell'st thou me of Egypt?
My Life, my Soul is lost! Octavia has him!
O fatal Name to Cleopatra's love!
My kisses, my embraces now are hers;
While I—But thou hast seen my Rival; speak,
Does she deserve this Blessing? Is she fair,
Bright as a Goddess? and is all perfection
Confin'd to her? It is. Poor I was made
Of that course matter which, when she was finish'd,
The Gods threw by, for rubbish.
She's indeed a very Miracle.
Death to my hopes, a Miracle!
A Miracle;
I mean of Goodness; for in Beauty, Madam,
You make all Wonders cease.
I was too rash:
Take this in part of recompence. But, Oh,
[Giving a Ring.
I fear thou flatter'st me.
She comes! she's here!
Flie, Madam, Caesar s Sister!
Were she the Sister of the Thund'rer Jove,
And bore her Brother's Lightning in her Eyes,
Thus would I face my Rival.
[Meets Octav. with Ventid. Octav. bears up to her. Their Trains come up on either side.
I need not ask if you are Cleopatra,
Your haughty Carriage—
Shows I am a Queen:
Nor need I ask you who you are.
A Roman:
A Name that makes, and can unmake a Queen.
Your Lord, the Man who serves me, is a Roman.
He was a Roman, till he lost that Name
To be a Slave in Egypt; but I come
To free him thence.
Peace, peace, my Lover's Juno.
When he grew weary of that Houshold-Clog,
He chose my easier Bonds.
I wonder not
Your Bonds are easie; you have long been practis'd
In that lascivious Art: he's not the first
For whom you spread your snares: let Caesar witness.
I lov'd not Caesar; 'twas but gratitude
I paid his Love: the worst your Malice can,
Is but to say the greatest of Mankind
Has been my Slave. The next, but far above him,
[Page 36] In my Esteem, is he whom Law calls yours,
But whom his Love made mine.
Oct. coming up close to her.
I would view nearer
That Face, which has so long usurp'd my right,
To find th' inevitable Charms, that catch
Mankind so sure, that ruin'd my dear Lord.
O, you do well to search; for had you known
But half these Charms, you had not lost his heart.
Far be their knowledge from a Roman Lady,
Far from a modest Wife. Shame of our Sex,
Dost thou not Blush, to own those black Endearments
That make sin pleasing?
You may Blush, who want 'em: if bounteous Nature, if indulgent Heav'n
Have giv'n me Charms to please the bravest Man;
Should I not thank 'em? should I be asham'd,
And not be Proud? I am, that he has lov'd me;
And, when I love not him, Heav'n change this Face
For one like that.
Thou lov'st him not so well.
I Love him better, and deserve him more.
You do not; cannot: you have been his ruine.
W [...]o made him cheap at Rome, but Cleopatra?
Who made him scorn'd abroad, but Cleopatra?
At Actium, who betray'd him? Cleopatra.
Who made his Children Orphans? and poor me
A wretched Widow? only Cleopatra?
Yet she who loves him best is Cleopatra.
If you have suffer'd, I have suffer'd more.
You bear the specious Title of a Wife,
To gild your Cause, and draw the pitying World
To favour it: the World contemns poor me;
For I have lost my Honour, lost my Fame,
And stain'd the Glory of my Royal House,
And all to bear the branded Name of Mistress.
There wants but Life, and that too I would lose
For him I love.
Be't so then; take thy Wish.
Exit cum suis.
And 'tis my Wish,
Now he is lost for whom alone I liv'd.
My sight grows dim, and every Object dances,
And swims before me, in the maze of Death.
My Spirits, while they were oppos'd, kept up;
They could not sink beneath a Rivals scorn:
But now she's gone they faint.
Mine have had leisure
To recollect their Strength, and furnish Counsel,
[Page 37] To ruine her; who else must ruine you.
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;
Then leave me to my self, to take alone
My fill of Grief:
There I till Death will his unkindness weep:
As harmless Infants moan themselves asleep.


Antony, Dollabella.
WHy would you shift it from your self, on me?
Can you not tell her you must part?
I cannot,
I could pull out an Eye, and bid it go,
And t'other should not weep. Oh, Dollabella,
How many Deaths are in this word Depart!
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 agen.
Then let Ventidius;
He's rough by Nature.
Oh, he'll speak too harshly;
He'll kill her with the News: Thou, only thou.
Nature has cast me in so soft a Mould,
That but to hear a Story feign'd for Pleasure
Of some sad Lovers Death, moistens my Eyes,
And robs me of my Manhood.—I should speak
So faintly; with such fear to grieve her Heart,
She'd not believe it earnest.
Therefore; therefore
Thou only, thou art fit: think thy self me,
And when thou speak'st (but let it first be long)
Take off the edge from every Sharper sound,
And let our parting be as gently made
As other Loves begin: wilt thou do this?
What you have said, so sinks into my Soul,
That, if I must speak, I shall speak just so.
I leave you then to your sad task: Farewel.
I sent her word to meet you.
(Goes to the door, and comes back.)
I forgot;
Let her be told, I'll make her peace with mine:
Her Crown and Dignity shall be preserv'd,
If I have pow'r with Caesar.—O, be sure
To think on that.
Fear not, I will remember.
[Ant [...]ny goes agi [...] to the door, and c [...]mes back.
And tell her, too, how much I was constrain'd;
I did not this, but with extreamest force:
D [...]sire her not to hate my Memory,
For I still cherish hers;—insist on that.
Trust me, I'll not forget it.
Then that's all.
(Goes out, and returns again.)
Wilt thou forgive my fondness this once more?
Tell her, tho' 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 return'd, I feel
My Soul more tender; and my next Command
Would be to bid her stay, and ruine both.
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;
And yet the Soul, shut up in her dark Room,
Viewing so clear abroad, at home sees nothing;
But, like a Mole in Earth, busie and blind,
Works all her folly up, and casts it outward
To the Worlds open view: thus I discover'd,
And blam'd the Love of ruin'd Antony;
Yet wish that I were he, to be so ruin'd.
Enter Ventidius above.
Alone? and Talking to himself? concern'd too?
Perhaps my Guess is right; he lov'd her once,
And may pursue it still.
O Friendship! Friendship!
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?
None, none at all. This happens as I wish,
To ruine her yet more with Antony.
Enter Cleopatra, talking with Alexas, Charmion, Iras on the other side.
She comes! What Charms have sorrow on that Face!
Sorrow seems pleas'd to dwell with so much sweetness;
[Page 39] Yet, now and then, a Melancholy smile
Breaks loose, like Lightning, in a Winter's night,
And shows a moments day.
If she should love him too! Her Eunuch there!
That Porcpisce bodes ill weather. Draw, draw nearer,
Sweet Devil, that I may hear.
Believe me; try
[Dollabella goes over to Charmi [...]n and Iras; seems to talk with them.
To make him jealous; jealousie is like
A polisht Glass held to the lips when Life's in doubt:
If there be Breath, 'twill catch the damp and show it.
I grant you Jealousie's a Proof of Love,
But 'tis a weak and unavailing Med'cine;
It puts out the Disease, and makes it show,
But has no pow'r to cure.
'Tis your last Remedy, and strongest too:
And then this Dollabella, who so fit
To practice on? He's handsome, valiant, young,
And looks as he were laid for Nature's bait
To catch weak Womens Eyes.
He stands already more than half suspected
Of loving you: the least kind word, or glance,
You give this Youth, will kindle him with Love:
Then, like a burning Vessel set adrift,
You'll send him down amain before the Wind,
To fire the Heart of jealous Antony.
Can I do this? Ah no; my Love's so true,
That I can neither hide it where it is,
Nor show it where it is not. Nature meant me
A Wife, a silly harmless houshold Dove,
Fond without Art; and kind without Deceit;
But Fortune, that has made a Mistress of me,
Hast thrust me out to the wide World, unfurnish'd
Of falshood to be happy.
Force your self.
Th' event wil be, your Lover will return
Doubly desirous to possess the good
Which once he [...]ar'd to lose.
I must Attempt it;
But Oh with what regret!
Exit. Alex. (She comes up to Dollabella.)
So, now the Scene draws near; they're in my reach.
Cleop. to Dol.
Discoursing with my Women! Might not I
Share in your Entertainment?
You have been
The Subject of it, Madam.
How; and how?
Such praises of your Beauty!
[Page 40] Cleop.
Mere Poetry.
Your Roman Wits, your Gallus and Tibullus,
Have taught you this [...]rom Citheris and Delia.
Those Roman Wits have never been in Egypt,
Citheris and Delia else had been unsung:
I, who have seen—had I been born a Poet,
Should chuse a nobler Name.
You flatter me.
But, 'tis your Nation's vice: all of your Country
Are flatterers, and all false. Your Friend's like you.
I'm sure he sent you not to speak these words.
No, Madam; yet he sent me—
Well, he sent you—
Of a less pleasing Errand.
How less pleasing?
Less to you self, or me?
Madam, to both;
For you must mourn, and I must grieve to cause it.
You, Charmion, and your Fellow, stand at distance.
Hold up, my Spirits.—Well, now your mournful matter;
For I'm prepar'd, perhaps can Guess it too.
I wish you would; for 'tis a thankless office
To tell ill News: and I, of all your Sex,
Most fear displeasing you.
Of all your Sex,
I soonest could forgive you, if you should.
Most delicate advances! Woman! Woman!
Dear damn'd, inconstant Sex!
In the first place,
I am to be forsaken; is't not so?
I wish I could not Answer to that Question.
Then pass it o'er, because it troubles you:
I should have been more griev'd another time.
Next, I'm to lose my Kingdom.—Farewel, Egypt.
Yet, is there any more?
Madam, I fear
Your too deep Sense of Grief has turn'd your Reason.
No, no, I'm not run mad; I can bear Fortune:
And Love may be expell'd by other Love,
As Poysons are by Poysons.
—You o'erjoy me, Madam,
To find your Griefs so moderately born.
You've heard the worst; all are not false, like him.
No; Heav'n forbid they should.
Some Men are constant.
And Constancy deserves Reward, that's certain.
Deserves it not; but give it leave to hope.
I'll swear thou hast my leave. I have enough:
But how to manage this! Well, I'll consider.
I came prepar'd,
To tell you heavy News; News, which I thought,
Would fright the Blood from your pale Cheeks to hear:
But you have met it with a Cheerfulness
That makes my Task more easie; and my Tongue,
Which on anothers Message was employ'd,
Would gladly speak its own.
Hold, Dollabella.
First tell me, were you chosen by my Lord?
Or sought you this Employment?
He pick'd me out; and, as his Bosom-Friend,
He Charg'd me with his words.
The Message then
I know was tender, and each Accent smooth,
To molli [...]e that rugged word Depart.
Oh, you mistake: he chose the harshest words,
With fiery Eyes, and with contracted Brows,
He Coyn'd his Face in the severest stamp:
And fury shook his Fabrick like an Earthquake;
He heav'd for vent, and burst like bellowing Aetna,
In Sounds scarce humane, "Hence, away for ever:
"Let her be gone, the blot of my renown,
"And bane of all my hopes:
[All the time of this Speech, Cleop. seems more and more concern'd, till she sinks quite down.
"Let her be driv'n a [...] far as Men can think
"From Mans commerce: She'll poyson to the Center.
Oh, I can bear no more!
Help, help: Oh Wretch! Oh cursed, cursed Wretch!
What have I done?
Help, chafe her Temples, Iras.
Bend, bend her forward quickly.
Heav'n be prais'd,
She comes again.
Oh, let him not approach me.
Why have you brought me back to this loath'd Being,
Th' abode of Falshood, violated Vows,
And injur'd Love? For Pity, let me go;
For, if there be a place of long repose,
I'm sure I want it. My disdainful Lord
Can never break that quiet; nor awake
The sleeping Soul, with hollowing in my Tomb
Such words as fright her hence, Unkind, unkind.
Believe me, 'tis against my self I speak,
That sure deserves Belief; I inju [...]'d him:
[Page 42] My Friend ne'er spoke those words. Oh, had you seen
How often he came back, and every time
With something more obliging and more kind,
To add to what he said; what dear Farewels;
How almost vanquisht by his Love he parted,
And lean'd to what unwillingly he left:
I, Traitor as I was, for love of you,
(But what can you not do, who made me false!)
I forg'd that Lye; for whose forgiveness kneels
This self-accus'd, self-punish'd Criminal.
With how much ease believe we what we wish!
Rise, D [...]llabella; if you have been Guilty,
I have contributed, and too much Love
Has made me Guilty too.
Th' advance of kindness which I made, was feign'd,
To call back fleeting Love by Jealousie;
But 'twould not last. Oh, rather let me lose
Than so ignobly trifle with his heart.
I find your Breast fenc'd round from humane reach,
Transparent as a Rock of solid Chrystal;
Seen through, but never pierc'd. My Friend, my Friend!
What endless Treasure hast thou thrown away,
And scatter'd, like an Infant, in the Ocean,
Vain sums of Wealth which none can gather thence.
Could you not beg
An hours Admittance to his private Ear?
Like one who wanders through long barren Wilds,
And yet foreknows no Hospitable Inn.
Is near to succour Hunger,
Eats his fill, before his painful March:
So would I feed a while my famish'd Eyes
B for [...] we part; for I have far to go,
If Death be far, and never must return.
Ventidius, with Octavia, behind.
From hence you may discover—Oh, sweet, sweet!
Would you indeed? the pretty hand in Earnest?
[Takes her hand.
I will, for this Reward.—Draw it not back,
'Tis all I e'er will beg.
They turn upon us.
What quick Eyes has Guilt!
Seem not to have observ'd 'em, and go on.
They Enter.
Saw you the Emperor, Ventidius? Ven. No.
I sought him; but I heard that he was private,
None with him, but Hipparchus his Freedman.
Know you his bus'ness?
Giving him Instructions,
And Letters, to his Brother C [...]r.
[Page 43] Dolla.
He must be found.
Exeunt Dol. and Cleop.
Most glorious impudence!
She look'd methought
As she would say, Take your old Man, Octavia;
Thank you, I'm better here.
Well, but what use
Make we of this Discovery?
Let it die.
I pity Dollabella; but she's dangerous:
Her Eyes have pow'r beyond Thessalian Charms
To draw the Moon from Heav'n; for Eloquence,
The Sea-green Syrens taught her Voice their flatt'ry;
And, while she speaks, Night steals upon the Day,
Unmark'd of those that hear: Then she's so charming,
Age buds at sight of her, and swells to youth:
The holy Priests gaze on her when she smiles;
And with heav'd hands forgetting Gravity,
They bless her wanton Eyes: Even I who hate her,
With a malignant joy behold such Beauty;
And, while I Curse, desire it. Anthony
Must needs have some remains of Passion still,
Which may ferment into a worse Relapse,
If now no [...] fully cur'd. I know, this minute,
With C [...]sar he's endeavouring her Peace.
You have prevail'd:—but for a farther purpose Walks off.
I'll prove how he will relish this Discovery.
What, make a S [...]rumpet's peace: it swells my Heart:
It must not, [...]na' not be
His Guards appear.
Let me begin, and you shall second me.
Enter Antony.
Octavia, I was looking you, my Love:
What, are your Letters ready? I have giv'n
My last Instructions.
Mine, my Lord, are written.
[Drawirg [...] [...]de.
My Lord?
A word in private.
When saw you Dollabella?
Now, my Lord,
He parted hence; and Cleopatra with him.
Speak softly. 'Twas by my Command he went,
To bear my last farewel.
It look'd indeed
Like your farewel.
More softly.—My farewel?
[Page 44] What secret meaning have you in those words
Of my Farewel? He did it by my Order.
Then he obey'd your Order. I suppose
You bid him do it with all Gentleness,
All kindness, and all—love.
How she mourn'd,
The poor forsaken Creature!
She took it as she ought; she bore your parting
As she did Caesar's, as she would anothers,
Were a new Love to come.
Thou dost belye her;
Most basely, and maliciously belye her.
I thought not to displease you; I have done.
coming up.
You seem disturb'd, my Lord.
A very trifle.
Retire, my Love.
It was indeed a trifle.
He sent—
No more. Look how thou disobey'st me;
Thy Life shall answer it.
Then 'tis no trifle.
Ven. to Octav.
'Tis less; a very nothing: you too saw it,
As well as I, and therefore 'tis no Secret.
She saw it!
Yes: she saw young Dollabella
Young Dollabella!
Young, I think him young,
And handsom too; and so do others think him.
But what of that? He went by your Command,
Indeed 'tis probable, with some kind Message;
For she receiv'd it graciously; she smil'd:
And then he grew familiar with her Hand,
Squeez'd it, and worry'd it with ravenous Kisses;
She blush'd, and sigh'd, and smil'd, and blush'd again;
At last she took occasion to Talk softly,
And brought her Cheek up close, and lean'd on his:
At which, he whisper'd Kisses back on hers;
And then she cry'd aloud, That Constancy
Should be rewarded.
This I saw and heard.
What Womam was it, whom you heard and saw
So playful with my Friend!
Not Cleopatra?
Ev'n she, my Lord!
My Cleopatra?
Your Cleopatra;
Dollabella's Cleopatra?
Every Man's Cleopatra.
Tou [...]t.
I do not lye, my Lord.
Is this so strange? should Mistresses be left,
And not provide against a time of Change?
You know she's not much us'd to lonely Nights.
I'll think no more on't.
I know 'tis false, and see the Plot betwixt you.
You needed not have gone this way, Octavia.
What harms it you that Cleopatra's just?
She's mine no more. I see; and I forgive:
Urge it no farther, Love.
Are you concern'd
That she's found false?
I should be, were it so;
For, tho 'tis past, I would not that the World
Should Tax my former Choice: That I lov'd one
Of so light Note; but I forgive you both.
What has my Age deserv'd, that you should think
I would abuse your Ears with Perjury?
If Heav'n be true, she's false.
Tho Heav'n and 'Earth
Should witness it, I'll not believe her tainted.
I'll bring you then a Witness
From Hell to prove her so. Nay, go not back;
[Seeing Alexas just entring, and starting back.
For stay you must and shall.
What means my Lord?
To make you do what most you hate; speak truth.
You are of Cleopatra's private Counsel,
Of her Bed-Counsel, her lascivious hours;
Are conscious of each Nightly change she makes,
And watch her, as Chaldeans do the Moon,
Can tell what Signs she passes through, what day.
My Noble Lord.
My most Illustrious Pandar,
No fine set Speech, no Cadence, to turn'd Periods,
But a pla [...] home-spun Truth, is what I ask:
I did, my self, o'er hear your Queen make love
To Dollabella. Speak; for I will know,
By your Confession, what more past betwixt 'em;
How near the bus'ness draws to your Employment;
And when the happy hour.
Speak truth, Alexas, whether it offend
Or please Ventidius, care not: justifie
Thy injur'd Queen from Malice: dare his worst.
See how he gives him Courage! how he fears
To find her false! and shuts his Eyes to truth,
Willing to be mi [...]ed!
[Page 46] Alex.
As far as love may plead for Woman's frailty,
U g'd by desert and greatness of the Lover;
So far (Divine Octavia!) may my Queen
Stand ev [...] excus'd to yo [...], for loving him,
Who is your Lord: so far, from brave Venttdius,
May her past Actions hope a fair Report.
Tis well, and truly spoken: mark, Ventidius.
To you, most Noble Emperor, her strong Passion
Stands not excus'd, but wholly justifi'd.
Her Beauty's Charms alone, without her Crown,
From Ind and Meroe drew the distant Vows
Of sighing Kings; and at her Feet were laid
The Scepters of the Earth, expos'd on heaps,
To choose where she would Reign:
She thought a Roman only could deserve her;
And, of all Romans, only Antony.
And, to be l [...]ss than Wife to you, disdain'd
Their lawful Passion.
'Tis but Truth.
And yet, tho' Love, and your unmatch'd Desert,
Have drawn her from the due regard of Honor,
At last, Heav'n open'd her unwilling Eyes
To see the wrongs she offer'd fair Octavia,
Whose holy Bed she lawfully usurpt,
The sad Effects of this improsperous War,
Confirm'd those pious Thoughts.
O, wheel you there?
Observe him now; the Man begins to mend,
And Talk substantial Reason. Fear not, Eunuch,
The Emperor has giv'n thee leave to speak.
Else had I never dar'd t' offend his Ears
With what the last necessity has urg'd
On my forsaken Mistress; yet I must not
Presume to say her Heart is wholly alter'd.
No, dare not for thy Life, I Charge thee dare not,
Pronounce that fatal word.
Must I bear this? good Heav'n, afford me patience.
On, sweet Eunuch; my dear half Man, proceed.
Yet Dollabella
Has lov'd her long, he, next my God-like Lord,
Deserves her best; and should she meet his Passion,
Rejected, as she is, by him she lov'd——
Hence, from my sight; for I can bear no more:
Let Furies drag thee quick to Hell; each torturing hand
Do thou employ, till Cleopatra comes,
Then joyn thou too, and help to torture her.
Exit Alexas, thrust out by Antony.
[Page 47] Octav.
'Tis not well,
Indeed, my Lord, 'tis much unkind to me,
To show this Passion, this extreme Concernment
For an abandon'd, faithless Prostitute.
Octavia, leave me: I am much disorder'd.
Leave me, I say.
My Lord?
I bid you leave me.
Obey him, Madam: best withdraw a while,
And see how this will work.
Wherein have I offended you, my Lord,
That I am bid to leave you? Am I false,
Or infamous? Am I a Cleopatra?
Were I she,
Base as she is, you would not bid me leave you;
But hang upon my Neck, take slight Excuses,
And fawn upon my Falshood.
'Tis too much,
Too much, Octavia; I am prest with Sorrows
Too heavy to be born; and you add more:
I would retire, and recollect what's left
Of Man within, to aid me.
You would mourn
In private, for your Love, who has betray'd you;
You did but half return to me: your kindness
Linger'd behind with her. I hear, my Lord,
You make Conditions for her,
And would include her Treaty. Wondrous proofs
Of Love to me!
Are you my Friend, Ventidius?
Or are you turn'd a Dollabella too,
And let this Fury loose?
Oh, be advis'd,
Sweet Madam, and retire.
Yes, I will go; but never to return.
You shall no more be haunted with this Fury.
My Lord, my Lord, Love will not always last,
When urg'd with long unkindness, and disdain;
Take her again whom you perfer to me;
She stays but to be call'd. Poor cozen'd Man!
Let a feign'd parting give her back your Heart,
Which a feign'd Love first got; for injur'd me,
Tho my just Sense of wrongs forbid my stay,
My Duty shall be yours.
To the dear Pledges of our former Love,
My tenderness and care shall be transferr'd,
And they shall Cheer, by Turns, my Widow'd Nights:
[Page 48] So, take my last farewel; for I despair
To have you whole, and scorn to take you half.
I combat Heav'n, which blasts my best Designs:
My last Attempt must be to win her back;
But Oh, I fear in vain.
Why was I fram'd with this plain honest Heart,
Which knows not to disguise its Griefs, and Weakness,
But bears its workings outward to the World?
I should have kept the mighty Anguish in,
And forc'd a Smile at Cleopatra's falshood:
Octavia had believ'd it, and had staid;
But I am made a shallow-forded Stream,
Seen to the Bottom: all my clearness scorn'd,
And all my Faults expos'd!—See, where he comes
Enter Dollabella.
Who has prophan'd the Sacred Name of Friend,
And worn it into Vileness!
With how secure a Brow, and specious Form
He gilds the secret Villain! Sure that Face
Was meant for Honesty; but Heav'n mis-match'd it,
And furnish'd Treason out with Natures Pomp,
To make its work more easie.
O, my Friend!
Well, Dollabella, you perform'd my Message?
I did, unwillingly.
Was it so hard for you to bear our parting?
You should have wisht it.
Because you love me.
And she receiv'd my Message, with as true,
With as unfeign'd a Sorrow, as you brought it?
She loves you, ev'n to madness.
Oh, I know it.
You, Dollabella, do not better know
How much she loves me. And should I
Forsake this Beauty? This all-perfect Creature?
I could not, were she mine.
And yet you first
Perswaded me: how come you alter'd since?
I said at first I was not fit to go;
I could not hear her sighs, and see her tears,
But Pity must prevail: and so, perhaps,
It may again with you; for I have promis'd
That she should take her last farewel: and, see,
She comes to claim my word.
[Page 49] Enter Cleopatra.
False Dollabella!
What's false, my Lord?
Why, Dollabella's false;
And Cleopatra's false; both false and faithless.
Draw near, you well-joyn'd wickedness, you Serpents,
Whom I have, in my kindly Bosom, warm
Till I am stung to Death.
My Lord, have I
Deserv'd to be thus us'd?
Can Heav'n prepare
A newer Torment? Can it find a Curse
Beyond our Separation?
Yes, if Fate
Be just, much greater: Heav'n should be ingenious
In punishing such Crimes. The rowling Stone,
And gnawing Vulture, we slight Pains, invented
When Jove was young, and no Examples known
Of mighty Ills; but you have ripen'd sin
To such a monstrous growth, 'twill pose the Gods
To find an equal Torture. Two, two such,
Oh there's no farther Name, two such—to me,
To me, who lock'd my Soul within your Breasts,
Had no Desires, no Joys, no Life, but you;
When half the Globe was mine, I gave it you
In Dowry with my Heart; I had no use,
No fruit of all, but you: a Friend and Mistress
Was what the World could give. Oh, Cleopatra!
Oh, Dollabella! how could you betray
This tender Hea [...]t, which with an Infant-fondness.
Lay lull'd betwixt your Bosoms, and there slept
Secure of injur'd Faith?
If she has wrong'd you,
Heav'n, Hell, and You revenge it.
If she wrong'd me,
Thou wouldst evade thy part of Guilt; but swear
Thou lov'st not her.
Not so as I love you.
Not so! Swear, swear, I say; thou dost not love her;
No more than Friendship will allow.
No more?
Friendship allows thee nothing: thou art perjur'd.—
And yet thou didst not swear thou lov'dst her not;
But [...] so much, no more. Oh trifling Hypocrite,
Who dar'st not own to her thou dost not love,
Not own to me thou dost! Ventidius heard it;
Octavia saw it.
[Page 50] Cleop.
They are Enemies.
Alexas Is not so: he, he confest it.
He, who, next Hell, best knew it, he avow'd it.
(To Dol.)
Why do I seek a Proof beyond your self?
You whom I sent to bear my last Farewel,
Return'd to plead her stay.
What shall I Answer?
If to have lov'd be guilt, then I have sinn'd;
But if to have repented of that Love
Can wash away my Crime, I have repented.
Yet, if I have offended past forgiveness,
Let not her suffer: she is innocent.
Ah, what will not a Woman do who loves!
What means will she refuse, to keep that Heart
Where all her joys are plac'd! 'Twas I encourag'd,
Twas I blew up the Fire that scorch'd his Soul,
To make you jealous; and by that regain you.
But all in vain; I could not Counterfeit:
In spight of all the Damms, my Love broke o'er,
And drown'd my Heart again: Fate took th' occasion;
And thus one minutes feigning has destroy'd
My whole Life's truth.
Thin Cobweb Arts of Falshood;
Se [...]n, and broke through at first.
Forgive your Mistress.
Forgive you Friend.
You have convinc'd your selves,
You plead each others Cause: What Witness have you,
That you but meant to raise my Jealousie?
Our selves, and Heav'n.
Guilt witnesses for Guilt. Hence, Love and Friendship;
You have no longer place in human Breasts,
These two have driv'n you out: avoid my sight;
I would not kill the Man whom I lov'd;
And cannot hurt the Woman; but avoid me,
I do not know how long I can be tame;
For, if I stay one minute more to think
How I am wrong'd, my Justice and Revenge
Will cry so loud within me, that my Pity
Will not be heard for either.
Heav'n has but
Our sorrow for our sins; and then delights
To pardon erring Man: sweet Mercy seems
Its darling Attribute, which limits Justice;
As if there were Degrees in Infinite;
And Infinite would rather want perfection
Than punish to extent.
I can forgive
A Foe; but not a Mistress, and a Friend:
Treason is there in its most horrid shape,
Where trust is greatest: and the Soul resign'd
Is stabb'd by its own Guards: I'll hear no more;
Hence from my sight for ever.
How? for ever,
I cannot go one moment from your sight,
And must I go for ever?
My Joys, my only Joys are center'd here:
What place have I to go to? my own Kingdom?
That I have lost for you: or to the Romans?
They hate me for your sake: or must I wander
The wide World o'er, a helpless, banish'd Woman,
Banish'd for love of you; banish'd from you?
I, there's the Banishment! Oh hear me; hear me,
With strictest Justice: For I beg no favour:
And if I have offended you: then kill me,
But do not banish me.
I must not hear you.
I have a Fool within me takes your part;
But Honour stops my Ears.
For pity hear me!
Wou'd you cast off a Slave who follow'd you,
Who crouch'd beneath your Spurn?—He has no pity!
See, if he gives one tear to my Departure;
One look, one kind farewel: Oh Iron heart!
Let all the Gods look down, and judge betwixt us,
If he did ever love!
No more: Alexas!
A perjur'd Villain!
Anth. to Cleop.
Your Alexas; yours.
O 'twas his Plot: his ruinous Design
[...]'ingage you in my love by jealousie.
Hear him; confront him with me; let him speak.
I have; I have.
And if he clear me not—
Your Creature! one who hangs upon your Smiles!
Watches your Eye to say or to unsay
Whate'er you please! I am not to be mov'd.
Then must we part? Farewel, my cruel Lord,
Th'appearance is against me; and I go
Unjustifi'd, for ever from your sight.
How I have lov'd, you know; how yet I love,
My only Comfort is, I know my self:
I love you more, ev'n now you are unkind,
Than when you lov'd me most; so well, so truly,
[Page 52] I'll never strive against it; but die pleas'd
To think you once were mine.
Good Heav'n, they weep at parting.
Must I weep too? that calls 'em innocent.
I must not weep; and yet I must, to think
That I must not forgive—
Live; but live wretched, 'tis but just you shou'd,
Who made me so: Live from each others sight:
Let me not hear you meet: Set all the Earth,
And all the Seas, betwixt your sunder'd Loves:
View nothing common but the Sun and Skys:
Now, all take several ways;
And each your own sad fate with mine deplore;
That you were false, and I could trust no more.
Exeunt severally.


Cleopatra, Charmion, Iras.
BE juster, Heav'n: such Virtue punish'd thus,
Will make us think that Chance rules all above,
And shuffles, with a Random hand, the Lots
Which Man is forc'd to draw.
I cou'd tear out these Eyes, that gain'd his Heart,
And had not pow'r to keep it. O the Curse
Of doting on, ev'n when I find it Dotage!
Bear witness, Gods, you heard him bid me go;
You whom he mock'd with imprecating Vows
Of promis'd Faith—I'll die, I will not bear it.
You may hold me.—
[She pulls out her Dagger, and they hold her.
But I can keep my Breath; I can die inward,
And choak this Love.
Enter Alexas.
Help, O Alexas help!
The Queen grows desperate, her Soul struggles in her,
With all the Agonies of Love and Rage,
And strives to sorce its Passage.
Let me go.
Art thou there, Traitor!—O
O, for a little Breath, to vent my Rage!
Give, give me way, and let me loose upon him.
[Page 53] Alex.
Yes, I deserve it, for my ill-tim'd truth.
Was it for me to prop
The Ruins of a falling Majesty?
To place my self beneath the mighty flaw,
Thus to be crush'd, and pounded into Atoms,
By its o'erwhelming weight? 'Tis too presuming
For Subjects, to preserve that wilful pow'r
Which Courts its own Destruction.
I wou'd reason
More calmly with you. Did not you o'er-rule,
And force my plain, direct, and open Love
Into these crooked paths of Jealousie?
Now, what's th' event? Octavia is remov'd;
But Cleopatra's banish'd. Thou, thou, Villain,
Has push'd my Boat, to open Sea; to prove,
At my sad Cost, if thou canst steer it back.
It cannot be; I'm lost too far; I'm ruin'd:
Hence, thou Impostor, Traitor, Monster, Devil.—
I can no more: thou, and my Griefs, have sunk
Me down so low, that I want voice to Cu [...]e thee.
Suppose from Shipwrack'd Seaman near the shore,
Dropping and faint, wi [...]h climbing up the Cliff,
If, from above, some Charitable hand
Pull him to safety, hazarding himself
To draw the others weight; wou'd he look back
And Curse him for his Pains? The Case is yours;
But one step more, and you have gain'd the heighth.
Sunk, never more to rise.
Octavia's gone, and Dollabella banish'd.
Believe me, Madam, Antony is yours.
His Heart was never lost; but started off
To Jealousie, Love's last retreat and covert:
Where it lies h [...]d in Shades, watchful in silence,
And list'ning for the Sound that calls it back,
Some other, any Man, ('tis so advanc'd)
May perfect this unfinish'd work, which I
(Unhappy only to my self) have lest
So easie to his hand.
Look well thou do't; else—
Else, what your silence threatens—Antony
Is mounted up the Pharos; from whose Turret,
He stands surveying our Egyptian Gallies,
Engag'd with Caesar's Fleet: now Death, or Conquest.
If the first happen, Fate acquits my Promise:
If we o'ercome, the Conqueror is yours.
A distant shout within.
Have comfort, Madam: did you mark that Shout?
[Page 52] [...][Page 53] [...]
[Page 52] Second Shout nearer.
Hark; they redouble it.
'Tis from the Port.
The loudness shows it near: good News, kind Heavens.
Osiris make it so.
Enter Serapion.
Where, where's the Queen?
How frightfully the holy Coward stares!
As if not yet recover'd of th' Assault,
When all his Gods, and what's more dear to him,
His Offerings were at stake.
O horror, horror!
Egypt has been; our latest hour is come:
The Queen of Nations from her ancient Seat,
Is Sunk for ever in the dark Abyss:
Time has unrowl'd her Glories to the last,
And now clos'd up the Volume.
Be more plain:
Say, whence thon com'st, (though Fate is in thy Face,
Which from thy haggard Eyes looks wildly out,
And threatens ere thou speak'st.)
I came from Pharos;
From viewing (spare me and imagine it)
Our Lands last hope, your Navy.—
They fought not.
Then they fled.
Nor that. I saw,
With Antony, your well appointed Fleet
Row out; and thrice he wav'd his hand on high,
And thrice with cheerful Crys they shouted back:
'Twas then, false Fortune, like a fawning Strumpet,
[...]out to leave the Bankrupt Prodigal,
With a dissembling Smile would kiss at parting,
And flatter to the last; the well-tim'd Oars
Now dipt from every Bank, now smoothly run
To meet the Foe; and soon indeed they met,
But not as Foes. In few, we saw their Caps
On either side thrown up; the Egpptian Gallies
(Receiv'd like Friends) past through, and fell behind
The Roman rear: and now, they all come forward,
And ride within the Po [...]t.
Enough, Serapion:
I've heard my doom. This needed not, you Gods:
When I lost Antony, your work was done;
'Tis but [...] malice. Where's my Lord?
How bears he this last [...]low?
[Page 53] Serap.
His fury cannot be express'd by words:
Thrice he Attempted headlong to have faln
Full on his Foes, and aim'd at Caesar's Galley:
With-held, he raves on you; Crys, He's betray'd
Should he now find you.—
Shun him, 'seek your safety,
Till you can clear your Innocence.
I'll stay.
You must not, haste you to your Monument,
While I make speed to Caesar.
Caesar! No,
I have no business with him.
I can work him.
To spare your Life, and let this Madman perish.
Base fawning Wretch! wouldst thou betray him too?
Hence from my sight, I will not hear a Traytor;
'Twas thy Design brought all this ruine on us;
Serapion, thou art honest; Counsel me:
But haste, each moment's precious.
Retire; you must not yet see Antony.
He who began this mischief,
'Tis just he tempt the Danger: let him clear you;
And, since he offer'd you his servile tongue,
To gain a poor precarious Life from Caesar,
Let him expose that fawning Eloquence,
And speak to Antony.
O Heavens! I dare not,
I meet my certain Death.
Slave, thou deserv'st it.
Not that I fear my Lord, will 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 justifi'd, and then die with him.
O pity me, and let me follow you.
To Death, if thou stir hence. Speak, if thou canst,
Now for thy Life, which basely thou wou'dst save;
While mine I prize at this. Come, good Serapion.
Exeunt Clop. Serap. Char. Iras.
O that I less cou'd fear to lose this Being,
Which, like a Snow-ball, in my Coward hand,
The more 'tis grasp'd, the faster melts away.
Poor Reason! what a wretched Aid art thou!
For still in spight of thee,
These two long Lovers, Soul and Body, dread
Their final Separation. Let me think:
What can I say, to save my self from Death?
No matter what becomes of Cleopatra.
[Page 56] Ant. within.
Which way? where?
Ven. within.
This leads to th' Monument.
Ah me! I hear him; yet I'm unprepar'd:
My gift of lying's gone;
And this Court-Devil, which I so oft have rais'd,
Forsakes me at my need. I dare not stay;
Yet cannot far go hence.
Enter Antony and Ventidius.
O happy Caesar! Thou hast Men to lead:
Think not 'tis thou hast conquer'd Antony;
B [...]t Rome has conquer'd Egypt. I'm betray'd.
Curse on this treach'rous Train!
Their So [...]l and Heav'n infect 'em all with Baseness:
And their young Souls come tainted to the World
With the first breath they draw.
Th' Original Villain sure no God created;
He was a Bastard of the Sun, by Nile.
Ap'd into Man: with all his Mother's Mud
Crusted about his Soul.
The Nation is
One Universal Traitor; and their Queen
The very Spirit and Extract of 'em all.
Is there yet left
A possibility of Aid from Valour?
Is there one God unsworn to my Destruction?
The least unmortgag'd hope? for, if there be,
Methinks I cannot fall beneath the Fate
Of such a Boy as Caesar.
The World's one half is yet in Antony;
And, from each Limb of it that's hew'd away,
The Soul comes back to me.
There yet remain
Three Legions in the Town. The last Assault
Lopt off the rest: 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.
They're enough.
We'll not divide our-Stars; but side by side
Fight em [...]lous: and with malicious Eyes
Survey each other's Acts: so every Death
Thou giv'st, I'll take on me, as a just Debt,
And pay thee back a Soul.
Now you shall see I love you. Not a word
Of chiding more. By my few hours of Life,
I am so pleas'd with this brave Roman Fate,
That I wou'd not be Caesar, to out-live you.
When we put off this Flesh, and mount together,
[Page 57] I shall be shown to all th' Etherial crowd;
Lo, this is he who dy'd with Antony.
Who knows but we may pierce through all their Troops,
And reach my Veterans yet? 'Tis worth the tempting,
T' o'er-leap this Gulph of Fate,
And leave our wand'ring Destinies behind.
Enter Alexas, trombling.
See, see, that Villain;
See Cleopatra stampt upon that Face,
With all her cunning, all her Arts of Falshood!
How she looks out through those dissembling Eyes!
How he sets his Count'nance for deceit;
And promises a Lye, before he speaks!
Let me dispatch him first.
O, spare me, spare me.
Hold; he's not worth your killing. On thy Life,
(Which thou mayst keep, because I scorn to take it)
No Syllable to justifie thy Queen;
Save thy base tongue its Office.
Sir she's gone,
Where she shall never be molested more
By Love, or you.
Fled to her Dollabella!
Die, Traitor, I revoke my Promise, die.
(Going to kill him.)
O hold, she is not fled.
She is: my Eyes
Are open to her Falshood; my whole Life
Has been a Golden dream, of Love and Friendship.
But, now I wake, I'm like a Merchant, rows'd
From soft repose, to see his Vessel sinking,
And all his Wealth cast o'er. Ingrateful Woman!
Who follow'd me, but as the Swallow Summer,
Hatching her young ones in my kindly Beams,
Singing her flatt'ries to my morning wake;
But, now my Winter comes, she spread her wings,
And seeks the Spring of Caesar.
Think not so:
Her Fortunes have, in all things, mixt with yours.
Had she betray'd her Naval force to Rome,
How easily might she have gone to Caesar,
Secure by such a Bride!
She sent it first,
To be more welcome after.
'Tis too plain;
Else wou'd she have appear'd, to clear her self.
Too fatally she has; she could not bear
To be accus'd by you; but shut her self
[Page 58] Within her Monument: look'd down, and sigh'd;
While, from her unchang'd face, the silent tears
Dropt, as they had not leave, but stole their parting.
Some undistinguish'd words she inly murmur'd;
At last, she rais'd her Eyes; and, with such Looks
As dying Lucrece cast,—
My heart forbodes.—
All for the best: go on.
She snatch'd her Ponyard,
And, ere we cou'd prevent the fatal Blow,
Plung'd it within her Breast: then turn'd to me,
Go, bear my Lord (said she) my last Farewel;
And ask him if he yet suspect my Faith.
More she was saying, but Death rush'd betwixt.
She half pronounc'd your Name with her last Breath,
And bury'd half within her.
Heav'n be prais'd.
Then art thou innocent, my poor dear Love?
And art thou dead?
O those two words! their Sound shou'd be divided:
Hadst thou been false, and dy'd; or hadst thou liv'd,
And hadst been true—. But Innocence and Death!
This shows not well above. Then what am I,
The Murderer of this Truth, this Innocence!
Thoughts cannot form themselves in words so horrid
As can express my Guilt!
Is't come to this? The Gods have been too graciou:
And thus you thank 'em for't.
Ant. to Alex.
Why stay'st thou here?
Is [...] [...]or 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.
He loves her still:
His grief betrays it. Good! The joy to find
She's yet alive, compleats the Reconcilement.
I've sav'd my self, and her. But, Oh! the Romans!
Fate comes too fast upon my Wit.
Hunts me too hard, and meets me at each double:
Wou'd she had dy'd a little sooner tho,
Before Octavia went; you might have treated:
Now 'twill look tame, and wou'd not be receiv'd.
Come, rouze your self, and lets die warm together.
I will not fight: there's no more work for War.
The bus'ness of my angry hours is done.
V [...]n.
Caesar is at your Gates.
Why, let him enter,
[...] welcome now.
What Lethargy has crept into your Soul?
'Tis but a scorn of Life, and just desire
To free my self from Bondage.
Do it bravely.
I will; but not by fighting. O, Ventidius!
What shou'd I fight for now? My Queen is dead.
I was but great for her; my Pow'r, my Empire,
Were but my Merchandise to buy her Love;
And conquer'd Kings, my Factors. Now she's dead,
Let Caesar take the World,—
An Empty Circle, since the Jewel's gone
Which made it worth my strife: my Being's nauseous;
For all the Bribes of Life are gone away.
Wou'd you be taken?
Yes, I wou'd be taken;
But, as a Roman ought, dead, my Ventidius:
For I'll convey my Soul from Caesar's reach,
And lay down life my self. 'Tis time the World
Shou'd have a Lord, and know whom to obey.
We two have kept its Homage in suspence,
And bent the Globe on whose each side we trod,
Tell it was dinted inwards: Let him walk
Alone upon't; I'm weary of my part.
My Torch is out; and the World stands before me
Like a black Desart, at the approach of Night:
I'll lay me down, and stray no [...]arther on.
I cou'd be griev'd,
But that I'll not out-live you: choose your Death;
For, I have seen him in such various shapes,
I care not which I take: I'm only troubled
The Life I bear, is worn to such a Rag,
'Tis scarce worth giving. I cou'd wish indeed
We threw it from us with a better Grace;
That, like two Lyons taken in the Toils,
We might at last thrust out our paws, and wound
The Hunters that inclose us.
I have thought on't.
Ventidius, you must live.
I must not Sir.
Wilt thou not live, to speak some good of me?
To stand by my fair Fame, and guard th' approaches
From the ill Tongues of Men?
Who shall guard mine,
For living after you?
Say, I command it.
If we die well, our Deaths w [...]ll speak themselves,
And need no living Witness.
Thou hast lov'd me,
And [...]ain I wou'd reward thee: I must die;
Kill me, and take the Merit of my Death
To make thee Friends with C [...]sar.
Thank your kindness.
You said I lov'd you; and, in recompence,
You bid me turn a Traitor: did I think
You wou'd have us'd me thus? that I shou'd die
With a hard thought of you?
Forgive me, Roman.
Since I have heard of Cleopatra's Death,
My Reason bears no rule upon my Tongue,
But lets my thoughts break all at Random out:
I've thought better; do not deny me twice.
By Heav'n, I will not.
Let it not be t' out-live you.
Kill me first,
And then die thou: for 'tis but just thou serve
Thy Friend, before thy self.
Give me your ha [...]d.
We soon shall meet again. Now farewel, Emperor.
Methinks that word's too cold to be my last:
Since Death sweeps dsstinctions, Farewel, Friend.
That's all.——
I will not make a bus'ness of a trifle:
And yet I cannot look on you, and kill you;
Pray turn your Face.
I do: strike home sure.
Home, as my Sword will reach.
(Kills himself.)
O, thou mistak'st;
That wound was none of thine: give it me back:
Thou robb'st me of my Death.
I do indeed;
But, think 'tis the first time I e'er deceiv'd you;
I [...] that may plead my Pardon. And you, Gods,
Forgive me, if you will; for I die perjur'd,
Rather then kill my Friend.
Farewel. Ever my Leader, ev'n in Death!
My Queen and thou have got the start of me,
And I'm the lag of Honour.——Gone so soon?
Is Death no more? He us'd him carelesly,
With a familiar kindness: ere he knock'd,
Ran to the Door, and took him in his Arms,
As who shou'd say, Y' are welcome at all hours,
A Friend need give no warning. Books had spoil'd him;
[...]or all the Learn'd are Cowards by profession.
'Tis not worth
[Page 61] My farther thought: for Death, for ought I know,
Is but to think no more Here's to be satisfi'd.
(Falls on his Sword.)
I've mist my heart. O unperforming hand!
Thou never cou'dst have err'd in a worse time.
My Fortune jades me to the last; and Death,
Like a great Man, takes state, and makes me wait
For my Admittance——.
(Trampling within.)
Some perhaps from Caesar:
If he shou'd find me living, and suspect
That I plaid booty with my Life! I'll mend
My work, ere they can reach me.
(Rises upon his Knees.)
Enter Cleopatra, Charmion, Iras.
Where is my Lord? where is he?
There he lies,
And dead Ven [...]idius by him.
My sears were Prophets; I am come too late.
O that accurs'd Alexas!
(Runs to him.)
Art thou living?
Or am I dead before I knew? and thou
T [...]e first kind Ghost that meets me?
Help me Seat him.
Send quickly, send for help.
(They place him in a Chair.)
I am answer'd.
We live both. Sit thee down, my Cleopatr [...]:
I'll make the most I can of Life, to stay
A moment more with thee.
How is it with you?
Tis as with a Man
Removing in a hurry; all pack'd up,
But one dear Jewel that his haste forgot;
And he, for that returns upon the spur:
So I come back, for thee.
Too long, you Heav'ns, you have been cruel to me;
Now show your mended Faith, and give me back
His fleeting Life.
It will not be, my Love.
I keep my Soul by force.
Say but thou art not false.
'Tis now too late
To say I'm true: I'll prove it, and die with you,
Unknown to me, Alexas feign'd my Death:
Which, when I knew, I hasted to prevent
This [...]atal consequence. My Fleet betray'd
Both you and me.
And Dollabella.——
Scarce esteem'd before he lov'd; but hated now.
Enough: my Life's not long enough for more.
Thou sayst thou wilt come after: I believe thee;
For I can now believe whate'er thou sayst,
That we may part more kindly.
I will come:
Doubt not, my Life, I'll come, and quickly too:
Caesar shall triumph o'er no part of thee.
But grieve not, while thou stay'st
My last disastrous Times:
Think we have had a clear and glorious day;
And Heav'n did kindly to delay the Storm
Just till our close of Ev'ning. Ten years love,
And not a moment lost, but all improv'd
To th' utmost Joys: What Ages have we liv'd?
And now to die each others; and, so dying,
While hand in hand we walk in Groves below,
Whole Troops of Lovers Ghosts shall flock about u [...],
And all the Train be ours.
Your words are like the Notes of dying Swans,
Too sweet to last. Were there so many hours
For your unkindness, and not one for Love?
No, not a minute.—This one kiss—more worth
Than all I leave to Caesar.
O, tell me so again,
And take Ten thousand kisses, for that word.
My Lord, my Lord: speak, if you yet have being;
Sigh to me, if you cannot speak; or cast
O [...]e look: Do any thing that shows you live.
He's gone too far, to hear you;
And this you see, a Lump of sensless [...]lay,
The leavings of a Soul.
C [...]ar.
Remember Madam,
He charg'd you not to grieve.
And I'll obey him.
I have not lov'd a Roman not to know
What should become of his Wife; his Wife, my Charmion [...]
For 'tis to that high Title I aspire,
And now I'll not die less. Let dull Octavia
Survive, to mourn him dead: my Nobler Fate
Shall knit our Spousals with a tie too strong
For Roman Laws to break.
Will you then die?
Why shou'dst thou make that Question?
Caesar is most merciful.
Let him be so [...]
To [...]hose that want his Mercy: my poor Lord
Made no such Cov'nant with him to spare me
[Page 63] When he was dead. Yield me to Caesar's pride?
What, to be led in Triumph through the Streets,
A Spectacle to base Plebeian Eyes;
While some dejected Friend of Antony's,
Close in a Corner, shakes his Head, and mutters
A Secret Curse on her who ruin'd him?
I'll none of that.
Whatever you resolve,
I'll follow ev'n to Death.
I only fear'd
For you; but more shou'd fear to live without you.
Why, now 'tis as it shou'd be. Quick, my Friends,
Dispatch; ere this, the Town's in Caesar's hands:
My Lord looks down concern'd, and fears my stay,
Lest I shou'd be surpriz'd;
Keep him not waiting for his Love too long.
You, Charmion, bring my Crown and richest Jewels,
With 'em, the Wreath of Victory I made
(Vain Augury!) for him who now lies dead;
You, Iras, bring the Cure of all our Ills.
The Aspicks, Madam?
Must I bid you twice?
Exeunt Char. and I [...]as.
'Tis sweet to die, when they wou'd force life on me,
To rush into the dark aboad of Death,
And seize him first; if he be like my Love,
He is not frightful sure.
We're now alone, in secresie and silence;
And is not this like Lovers? I may kiss
These pale, cold Lips; Octavia does not see me;
And, Oh! 'tis better far to have him thus,
Than see him in her Arms.—O welcome, welcome.
Enter Charmion, Iras.
What must be done?
Short Ceremony, Friends:
But yet it must be decent. First, this Laurel
Shall Crown my Hero's Head: he fell not basely,
Nor left his Shield behind him. Only thou
Cou'dst triumph o'er thy self; and thou alone
Wert worthy so to triumph.
To what end
These Ensigns of your Pomp and Royalty?
Dull, that thou art! why, 'tis to meet my Love;
As when I saw him first, on Cydnos bank,
All sparkling, like a Goddess; so adorn'd,
I'll find him once again: my second Spousals
Shall match my first, in Glory. Haste, haste, both,
And dress the Bride of Antony.
[Page 64] Char.
'Tis done.
Now seat me by my Lord. I claim this place;
For I must Conquer Caesar too, like him,
And win my share o'th' World. Hail, you dear Relicks
Of my Immortal Love!
O let no Impious hand remove you hence;
But rest for ever here: let Egypt give
His Death that Peace, which it deny'd his Life.
Reach me the Casket.
I [...]s.
Underneath the fruit the Aspick lies.
putting aside the leaves
Welcom, thou kind Deceiver!
Thou best of Thieves; who, with an easie key,
Do'st open Life, and unperceiv'd by us,
Ev'n steal us from our selves: discharging so
Death's dreadful Office, better than himself,
Touching our Limbs so gently into slumber,
That Death stands by, deceiv'd by his own Image,
And thinks himself but Sleep.
Serap. within.
The Queen, where is she?
The Town is yielded, Caesar's at the Gates.
He comes too late to invade the Rights of Death.
Haste, bare my Arm, and rouze the Serpents fury.
[Holds out her Arm and draws it back.
Coward Flesh—
Woud'st thou conspire with Caesar, to betray me,
As thou wert none of mine? I'll force thee to't,
And not be sent by him,
But bring my Self, my Soul to Antony.
[Turns aside, and then shows her Arm bloody.
Take hence; the work is done.
Serap. within.
Break ope the Door,
And guard the Traitor well.
The next is ours.
Now, Charmion, to be worthy
Of your great Queen and Mistress.
[They apply the Aspicks.
Already, Death I feel thee in my Veins;
I go with such a will to find my Lord,
That we shall quickly meet.
A heavy numness creeps through every Limb,
And now 'tis at my Head: my Eye-lids fall,
And my dear Love is vanish'd in a Mist.
Where shall I find him, where? O turn me to him,
And lay me on his Breast.—Caesar, thy worst;
Now part us, if thou caust.
(Dies.) Iras sinks down at her feet, and dies Charmion stands behind her Chair, as dressing her Head.
Enter S [...]on, two Priests, Alexas bound, Egyptians.
2. Pr [...].
[...], Serapion, what havock Death has made!
'Twas [...] [...]ar'd.
Charmion, is this well done?
[Page 65] Char.
Yes, 'tis well done, and like a Queen, the last
Of her great Race: I follow her.
(Sinks down; Dies.)
'Tis true,
She has done well: much better thus to die,
Than live to make a Holy-day in Rome.
See, see how the Lovers sit in State together,
As they were giving Laws to half Mankind.
Th' impression of a Smile left in her Face,
Shows she dy'd pleas'd with him for whom she liv'd,
And went to Charm him in another World.
Caesars's just entring; grief has now no leisure.
Secure that Villain, as our pledge of safety
To grace th' Imperial Triumph. Sleep, blest Pair,
Secure from humane Chance, long Ages out,
While all the Storms of Fate fly o'er your Tomb;
And Fame, to late Posterity, shall tell,
No Lovers liv'd so great, or dy'd so well.


POets, like Disputants, when Reasons fail,
Have one sure Refurge left and that's to rail;
Fop, Coxcomb, Fool, are thunder'd through the Pit;
And this is all their Equipage of Wit.
We wonder how the Devil this diff'rence grows,
Betwixt our Fools in Verse, and yours in Prose?
For, 'Faith, the quarrel rightly understood,
'Tis Civil War with their own Flesh and Blood.
The Thread-bare Author hates the gawdy Coat;
And swears at the Gilt Coach, but swears a foot:
For 'tis observ'd of every Scribling Man,
He grows a Fop as fast as e'er he can;
Prunes up, and asks his Oracle the Glass,
If Pink or Purple best become his Face.
For our poor Wretch, he neither rails nor prays;
Nor likes your Wit just as you like his Plays;
He has not yet so much of Mr. Bays.
He does his best; and, if he cannot please,
Wou'd quietly sue out his Writ of Ease.
Yet, if he might his own Grand Jury call,
By the Fair Sex he begs to stand or fall.
Let Caesar's Pow'r the Mens ambition move,
But grace you him who lost the World for Love.
Yet if some' antiquated Lady say,
The last Age is not Copy'd in his Play;
Heav'n help the Man who for that Face must drudge,
Which only has the wrinkles of a Judge.
Let not the Young and Beauteous joyn with those;
For shou'd you raise such numerous Hosts of Foes,
Young Wits and Sparke he to his aid must call;
'Tis more than one Man's work to please you all.

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