Page images

Confin'd in all she has, her monument,
Of thy intents desires instruction;
That she preparedly may frame herself
To the way she's forc'd to.

Oct. Bid her have good heart;

She soon shall know of us, by some of ours,
How honourably and how kindly we
Determin'd for her; for Cæsar cannot live
To be ungentle.

Mar. So the gods preserve thee!

Oct. Come hither, Proculeius; Go, and say


We purpose her no shame: give her what comforts
The quality of her passion shall require;
Lest, in her greatness, by some mortal stroke
She do defeat us: for her life in Rome
Would be eternaling our triumph: Go;

And, with your speediest, bring us what she says,
And how you find of her.

Proc. Cæsar, I shall.


Oct. Gallus, go you along. [Exit GALLUS.] Where's Dolabella,

To second Proculeius?

Agrip. Dolabella!

Oct. Let him alone; for I remember now
How he's employ'd; he shall in time be ready.
Go with me to my tent: where you shall see,
How hardly I was drawn into this war;
How calm and gentle I proceeded still
In all my writings: Go with me, and see
What I can show in this.




A Room in the Monument.


Cleo. My desolation does begin to make
A better life: 'Tis paltry to be Cæsar;
Not being Fortune, he's but Fortune's knave,
A minister of her will; and it is great
To do that thing that ends all other deeds;
Which shackles accidents, and bolts up change;
Which sleeps, and never palates more the dung,
The beggar's nurse and Cæsar's.

at the Door of the Monument, without.

Proc. Cæsar sends greeting to the Queen of Egypt; And bids thee study on what fair demands

Thou mean'st to have him grant thee.

Cleo. What's thy name?

Proc. My name is Proculeius.

Cleo. Antony

Did tell me of you, bade me trust you; but

I do not greatly care to be deceiv'd,

That have no use for trusting. If your master

Would have a queen his beggar, you must tell him,

That majesty, to keep decorum, must
No less beg than a kingdom: if he please
To give me conquer'd Egypt for my son,
He gives me so much of my own, as I
Will kneel to him with thanks.

Proc. Be of good cheer;

You are fallen into a princely hand, fear nothing:
Make your full reference freely to my lord,
Who is so full of grace, that it flows over
On all that need: Let me report to him
Your sweet dependency; and you shall find
A conqueror, that will pray in aid for kindness,
Where he for grace is kneel'd to.

Cleo. Pray you, tell him

I am his fortune's vassal, and I send him
The greatness he has got. I hourly learn
A doctrine of obedience; and would gladly
Look him i' the face.

Proc. This I'll report, dear lady.

Have comfort; for, I know, your plight is pity'd
Of him that caus'd it. Fare

you well.

Enter into the Monument, from behind, PROCULEIUS and SOLDIERS, hastily.

Iras. O, royal queen!

Char. O Cleopatra! thou art taken, queen!

Cleo. Quick, quick, good hands.

[Drawing a Dagger.

Proc. Hold, worthy lady, hold: [Staying her. Do not yourself such wrong; who are in this

Reliev'd, but not betray'd.

Cleo. What, of death too,

That rids our dogs of languish?
Proc. Cleopatra,

Do not abuse my master's bounty, by

The undoing of yourself: let the world see

His nobleness well acted, which your death

Will never let come forth.

Cleo. Where art thou, death?

Come hither, come! come, come, and take a queen

Worth many babes and beggars!

Proc. O, temperance, lady.

Cleo. Sir, I will eat no meat; I'll not drink, sir:

If idle talk will once be necessary,

I'll not speak neither: this mortal house I'll ruin,
Do Cæsar what he can. Know, sir, that I
Will not wait pinion'd at your master's court;
Nor once be chastis'd with the sober eye
Of dull Octavia. Shall they hoist me up,
And show me to the shouting varletry
Of censuring Rome? Rather a ditch in Egypt
Be gentle grave unto me; rather on Nilus' mud
Lay me stark naked, and let the water-flies
Blow me into abhorring; rather make
My country's high pyramides my gibbet,
And hang me up in chains.

Proc. You do extend

These thoughts of horror farther than

Find cause for it in Cæsar.


Dol. Proculeius,

[blocks in formation]

What thou hast done, thy master Cæsar knows,
And he hath sent for thee: as for the queen,

I'll take her to my guard.

Proc. So, Dolabella,

It shall content me best: be gentle to her.

To Cæsar I will speak what you shall please,
If you'll employ me to him.

Cleo, Say, I would die.

[Exeunt PROCULEIUS, and Soldiers,

Dol. Most noble empress, you have heard of me?
Cleo. I cannot tell.

Dol. Assuredly you have.

Cleo. No matter, sir, what I have heard, or known. You laugh, when boys, or women, tell their dreams; Is't not your trick?

Dol. I understand not, madam.

Cleo. I dreamt there was an Emperor Antony!—
Oh! such another sleep! that I might see
But such another man!


Dol. If it might please you,

Cleo. His face was as the heavens: and therein stuck

A sun and moon; which kept their course, and lighted

The little O o'the earth.

Dol. Most sovereign creature,

Cleo. His legs bestrid the ocean; his rear'd arm
Crested the world: his voice was property'd
As all the tuned spheres, when that to friends;
But when he meant to quail and shake the orb,
He was as rattling thunder. For his bounty,
There was no winter in't; an autumn 'twas,
That grew the more by reaping: His delights
Were dolphin like; they show'd his back above
The element they liv'd in:-In his livery

Walk'd crowns, and crownets; realms and islands


As plates dropt from his pocket.

Dol. Cleopatra,

Cleo. Think you there was, or might be, such a man, As this I dreamt of.

Dol. Gentle madam, no.

Cleo. You lie, up to the hearing of the gods. But, if there be, or ever were, one such,

It's past the size of dreaming: Nature wants stuff To vie strange forms with fancy; yet to imagine An Antony, were nature's piece 'gainst fancy, Condemning shadows quite.

"Dol. Hear me, good madam:

Your loss is as yourself, great; and you bear it
As answering to the weight: 'Would I might never
O'ertake pursu'd success, but I do feel,

By the rebound of yours, a grief that smites
My very heart at root.

Cleo. I thank you, sir.,

Know you, what Cæsar means to do with me?

« PreviousContinue »