All for Love (Dryden)/Act 2

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Cleopatra, Iras, and Alexas.

Cleo. WHat shall I do, or whither shall I turn?
Ventidius has o'rcome, and he will go.

Alex.He goes to fight for you.

Cleo.Then he wou'd see me, ere he went to fight:
Flatter me not: if once he goes, he's lost:
And all my hopes destroy'd.

Alex.Does this weak passion
Become a Mighty Queen?

Cleo.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.

Iras.Call Reason to assist you.

Cleo.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.

Iras.Let it be past with you:
Forget him, Madam.

Cleo.Never, never, Iras.
He once was mine; and once, though now 'tis gone,
Leaves a faint Image of possession still.

Alex.Think him unconstant, cruel, and ungrateful.

Cleo.I cannot: if I could, those thoughts were vain;
Faithless, ungrateful, cruel, though he be,
I still must love him.

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.

Char.I found him, Madam——

Cleo.A long Speech preparing?
If thou bring'st comfort, hast, and give it me;
For never was more need.

Iras.I know he loves you.

Cleo.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.

Char.I found 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 bade, make way.

Alex.There's comfort yet.

Char.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'd 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.

Cleop.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 dye contented.

Char.He bid me say, He knew himself so well,
He could deny you nothing, if he saw you;
And therefore——

Cleop.Thou would'st say, he wou'd not see me?

Charm.And therefore beg'd you not to use a power,
Which he could ill resist; yet he should ever
Respect you as he ought.

Cleo.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?

Alex.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.

Cleo.Could I believe thee!——

Alex.By ev'ry circumstance I know he Loves.
True, he's hard prest, by Intrest and by Honor;
Yet he but doubts, and parlyes, and casts out
Many a long look for succor.

Cleo.He sends word,
He fears to see my face.

Alex.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 from 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.

Cleo.You shall rule me;
But all, I fear, in vain. [Exit with Char. and Iras.

Alex.I fear so too;
Though I conceal'd my thoughts, to make her bold:
But, 'tis our utmost means, and Fate befriend it. [Withdraws.

Enter Lictors with Fasces; one bearing the Eagle: then
Enter Antony with Ventidius, follow'd by
other Commanders.

Ant.Octavius is the Minion of blind Chance,

But holds from Virtue nothing.

Ven.Has he courage?

Ant.But just enough to season him from Coward.
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.

Ven.I heard, you challeng'd him.

Ant.I did, Ventidius.
What think'st thou was his answer? 'twas so tame,——
He said he had more wayes than one to dye;
I had not.


Ant.He has more wayes than one;
But he would chuse 'em all before that one.

Ven.He first would chuse an Ague, or a Fever:

Ant.No: it must be an Ague, not a Fever;
He has not warmth enough to dye by that.

Ven.Or old Age, and a Bed.

Ant.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 Heav'n? Why should he Lord it
O're Fourscore thousand Men, of whom, each one
Is braver than himself?

Ven.You conquer'd for him:
Philippi knows it: there you shar'd with him
That Empire, which your Sword made all your own.

Ant.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?

Ven.Sir, we lose time; the Troops are mounted all.

Ant.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 show my Face. Lead, my Deliverer.

Enter Alex.

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.

Ven.Smooth Sycophant!

Alex.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.

Ven. aside.False Crocodyle!

Alex.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 prosp'rous days,
Her blooming Beauty, and your growing kindness.

Ant. aside.Well, I must Man it out; What would the Queen?

Alex.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.

Ven.Yes, witness Actium.

Ant.Let him speak, Ventidius.

Alex.You, when his matchless valor 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 Ægypt:

This, to the great Ventidius she presents,
Whom she can never count her Enemy,
Because he loves her Lord.

Ven.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.

Ant.And who must wear 'em then?

Ven.The wrong'd Octavia.

Ant.You might have spar'd that word.

Ven.And he that Bribe.

Ant.But have I no remembrance?

Alex.Yes, a dear one:
Your Slave, the Queen——

Ant.My Mistress.

Alex.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 Arme.

[Presenting a Bracelet.

Ven.Now, my best Lord, in Honor's name, I ask you,
For Manhood's sake, and for your own dear safety,
Touch not these poyson'd gifts,
Infected by the sender, touch 'em not,
Miriads of blewest Plagues lye underneath 'em,
And more than Aconite has dipt the Silk.

Ant.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?

Alex.None, none my Lord,
But what's to her, that now 'tis past for ever.

Ant. going to tye it.We Soldiers are so aukward———help me tye it.

Alex.In faith, my Lord, we Courtiers too are aukward
In these Affairs: so are all Men indeed;
Ev'n I, who am not one. But shall I speak?

Ant.Yes, freely.

Alex.Then, my Lord, fair hands alone
Are fit to tye it; She, who sent it, can.

Ven.Hell, Death; this Eunuch Pandar ruins you.
You will not see her?

[Alexas whispers an Attendant, who goes out.

Ant.But to take my leave.

Ven.Then I have wash'd an Æhiope. Y'are undone;
Y'are in the Toils; y'are taken; y'are destroy'd:
Her Eyes do Cæsar's work.

Ant.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.
A guest, and kindly us'd, should bid farewel.

Ven.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.

Ant.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.

Ven.Mark the end yet.

Enter Cleopatra, Charmion and Iras.

Ant.Well, Madam, we are met.

Cleo.Is this a Meeting?
Then, we must part?

Ant.We must.

Cleo.Who sayes we must?

Ant.Our own hard fates.

Cleo.We make those Fates our selves.

Ant.Yes, we have made 'em; we have lov'd each other
Into our mutual ruin.

Cleo.The Gods have seen my Joys with envious eyes;
I have no Friends in Heav'n; 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.

Ant.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.

Cleo.You command me,
And I am dumb:

Ven.I like this well: he shows Authority.

Ant.That I derive my ruin
From you alone——

Cleo.O Heav'ns! I ruin you!

Ant.You promis'd me your silence, and you break it
Ere I have scarce begun.

Cleo.Well, I obey you.

Ant.When I beheld you first, it was in Ægypt,
Ere Cæsar 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 th' acknowledgment for time to ripen.
Cæsar stept in, and with a greedy hand
Pluck'd the green fruit, ere the first blush of red
Yet cleaving to the bough. He was my Lord,
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.

Cleo.I clear'd my self——

Ant.Again you break your Promise.
I lov'd you still, and took your weak excuses,
Took you into my bosome, stain'd by Cæsar,
And not half mine: I went to Ægypt 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.

Ven.Yes, to your shame be't spoken. [aside.

Ant.How I lov'd
Witness ye Dayes 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 untyr'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.

Ven.'Tis all too true.

Ant.Fulvia, my Wife, grew jealous,
As she indeed had reason; rais'd a War
In Italy to call me back.

Ven.But yet
You went not.

Ant.While within your arms I lay,
The World fell mouldring from my hands each hour,
And left me scarce a grasp (I thank your love for't.)

Ven.Well push'd: that last was home.

Cleop.Yet may I speak?

Ant.If I have urg'd a falshood, yes; else, not.
Your silence says I have not. Fulvia dy'd;
(Pardon, you gods, with my unkindness dy'd)
To set the World at Peace, I took Octavia,
This Cesar'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 fought by Land, where I was stronger;
You hindred it: yet, when I fought at Sea,
Forsook me fighting; and (Oh stain to Honor!
Oh lasting shame!) I knew not that I fled;
But fled to follow you.

Ven.What haste she made to hoist her purple Sails!
And, to appear magnificent in flight,
Drew half our strength away.

Ant.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 Shipwrack of my Fortunes;
Twelve Legions I have left, my last recruits,
And you have watch'd the news, and bring your eyes
To seize them too. If you have ought to answer,
Now speak, you have free leave.

Alex. aside.She stands confounded:
Despair is in her eyes.

Ven.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 sold.

Cleo.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?

Ant.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.

Cleo.Thus low I thank you.
And, since my innocence will not offend,
I shall not blush to own it.

Ven.After this
I think she'll blush at nothing.

Cleo.You seem griev'd,
(And therein you are kind) that Cæsar 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,
And ne'r had been but yours. But Cæsar first,
You say, possess'd my love. Not so, my Lord;
He first possess'd my Person; you my Love:
Cæsar 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.

Ven.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.

Cleo.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 Cæsar,

Great as the first, and as the second young,
Would court my Love to be refus'd for you!

Ven.Words, words; but Actium, Sir, remember Actium.

Cleo.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.

Ant.We're both unhappy:
If nothing else, yet our ill fortune parts us.
Speak; Would you have me perish, by my stay?

Cleo.If as a friend you ask my Judgment, go;
If as a Lover, stay. If you must perish:
'Tis a hard word; but stay.

Ven.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!

Cleo.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.

Ant.By Hercules, the Writing of Octavius!
I know it well; 'tis that Proscribing hand,
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 Ægypt,
And joyns all Syria to it as a present,
So, in requital, she forsake my fortunes,
And joyn her Arms with his.

Cleo.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 onely you. O let me dye but with you!

Is that a hard request?

Ant.Next living with you,
'Tis all that Heav'n can give.

Alex. aside.He melts; We conquer.

Cleo.No: you shall go: your Int'rest calls you hence;
Yes, your dear interest pulls too strong, for these
Weak Armes 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 Souldiers shout; you then perhaps may sigh,
And muster all your Roman Gravity;
Ventidius chides; and strait your Brow cleares up.
As I had never been.

Ant.Gods, 'tis too much; too much for Man to bear!

Cleo.What is't for me then,
A weak forsaken Woman? and a Lover?—
Here let me breathe my last: envy me not
This minute in your Armes: I'll die apace:
As fast as ere I can; and end your trouble.

Ant.Dye! Rather let me perish: loos'nd Nature
Leap from its hinges. Sink the props of Heav'n,
And fall the Skyes to crush the neather World.
My Eyes, my Soul; my all!——[Embraces her.

Ven.And what's this Toy
In ballance with your fortune, Honor, Fame?

Ant.What is't, Ventidius? it out-weighs 'em all;
Why, we have more than conquer'd Cæsar 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!
Down on thy knees, Blasphemer as thou art,
And ask forgiveness of wrong'd Innocence.

Ven.I'll rather dye, than take it. Will you go?

Ant.Go! Whither? go from all that's excellent!
Faith, Honor, 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 Cæsar,
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.

Cleo.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.

Ven.O Women! Women! Women! all the gods
Have not such pow'r of doing good to Man,
As you of doing harm. [Exit.

Ant.Our Men are Arm'd.
Unbar the Gate that looks to Cæsar's Camp;
I would revenge the Treachery he meant 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 Cæsar we dye. [Exeunt.