All for Love (Dryden)/Act 5
Cleopatra, Charmion, Iras.
Char.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.
Cleop.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.
Iras.Help, O Alexas help!
The Queen grows desperate, her Soul struggles in her,
With all the Agonies of Love and Rage,
And strives to force its passage.
Cleop.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.
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 Atomes,
By its o'erwhelming weight? 'Tis too presuming
For Subjects, to preserve that wilful pow'r
Which courts its own destruction.
Cleop.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 curse thee.
Alex.Suppose from shipwrack'd Seaman near the shore,
Dropping and faint, with 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.
Cleop.Sunk, never more to rise.
Alex.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 hid 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 left
So easie to his hand.
Cleop.Look well thou do't; else⸻
Alex.Else, what your silence threatens⸻Antony
Is mounted up the Pharos; from whose Turret,
He stands surveying our Egyptian Gallies,
Engag'd with Cæsar'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.
Char.Have comfort, Madam: did you mark that Shout?
Second Shout nearer.
Iras.Hark; they redouble it.
Alex.'Tis from the Port.
The loudness shows it near: good News, kind Heavens.
Cleop.Osiris make it so.
Serap.Where, where's the Queen?
Alex.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.
Serap.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.
Cleop.Be more plain:
Say, whence thou com'st, (though Fate is in thy face,
Which from thy haggard eyes looks wildly out,
And threatens ere thou speak'st.)
Serap.I came from Pharos;
From viewing (spare me and imagine it)
Our Lands last hope, your Navy.⸻
They fought not.
Cleop.Then they fled.
Serap.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 cries they shouted back:
'Twas then, false Fortune, like a fawning Strumpet,
About 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 Egyptian Gallies
(Receiv'd like Friends) past through, and fell behind
The Roman rear: and now, they all come forward,
And ride within the Port.
I've heard my doom. This needed not, you Gods:
When I lost Antony, your work was done;
'Tis but superfluous malice. Where's my Lord?
How bears he this last blow?
Serap.His fury cannot be express'd by words:
Thrice he attempted headlong to have faln
Full on his foes, and aim'd at Cæsar's Galley:
With-held, he raves on you; cries, He's betray'd
Should he now find you.⸻
Alex.Shun him, seek your safety,
Till you can clear your innocence.
Alex.You must not, haste you to your Monument,
While I make speed to Cæsar.
I have no business with him.
Alex.I can work him.
To spare your life, and let this madman perish.
Cleop.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.
Serap.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 Cæsar,
Let him expose that fawning eloquence,
And speak to Antony.
Alex.O Heavens! I dare not,
I meet my certain death.
Cleop.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.
Alex.O pity me, and let me follow you.
Cleop.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.
Alex.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.
Ant. within.Which way? where?
Ven. within.This leads to th' Monument.
Alex.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. Exit.
Enter Antony and Ventidius.
Ant.O happy Cæsar! Thou hast men to lead:
Think not 'tis thou hast conquer'd Antony;
But Rome has conquer'd Egypt. I'm betray'd.
Ven.Curse on this treach'rous Train!
Their Soil and Heav'n infect 'em all with baseness:
And their young Souls come tainted to the World
With the first breath they draw.
Ant.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.
Ven.The Nation is
One Universal Traitor; and their Queen
The very Spirit and Extract of 'em all.
Ant.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 Cæsar.
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.
Ven.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.
We'll not divide our Stars; but side by side
Fight emulous: 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.
Ven.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 Cæsar, to out-live you.
When we put off this flesh, and mount together,
I shall be shown to all th' Etherial crowd;
Lo, this is he who dy'd with Antony.
Ant.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, trembling.
Ven.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 has set his count'nance for deceit;
And promises a lye, before he speaks!
Let me dispatch him first. (Drawing.)
Alex.O, spare me, spare me.
Ant.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.
Alex.Sir, she's gone,
Where she shall never be molested more
By Love, or you.
Ant.Fled to her Dollabella!
Die, Traitor, I revoke my Promise, die. (Going to kill him.)
Alex.O hold, she is not fled.
Ant.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 Cæsar.
Alex.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 Cæsar,
Secure by such a bribe!
Ven.She sent it first,
To be more welcome after.
Ant.'Tis too plain;
Else wou'd she have appear'd, to clear her self.
Alex.Too fatally she has; she could not bear
To be accus'd by you; but shut her self
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, ⸻
Ant.My heart forbodes. ⸻
Ven.All for the best: go on.
Alex.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.
Ven.Heav'n be prais'd.
Ant.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!
Ven.Is't come to this? The Gods have been too gracious:
And thus you thank 'em for't.
Ant. to Alex.Why stay'st thou here?
Is it for 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.
Alex. aside.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. Exit.
Ven.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.
Ant.I will not fight: there's no more work for War.
The bus'ness of my angry hours is done.
Ven.Cæsar is at your Gates.
Ant.Why, let him enter;
He's welcom now.
Ven.What Lethargy has crept into your Soul?
Ant.'Tis but a scorn of life, and just desire
To free my self from bondage.
Ven.Do it bravely.
Ant.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 Cæsar 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.
Ven.Wou'd you be taken?
Ant.Yes, I wou'd be taken;
But, as a Roman ought, dead, my Ventidius:
For I'll convey my Soul from Cæsar'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 farther on.
Ven.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 least thrust out our paws, and wound
The Hunters that inclose us.
Ant.I have thought on't.
Ventidius, you must live.
Ven.I must not, Sir.
Ant.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?
Ven.Who shall guard mine,
For living after you?
Ant.Say, I command it.
Ven.If we die well, our deaths will speak themselves,
And need no living witness.
Ant.Thou hast lov'd me,
And fain I wou'd reward thee: I must die;
Kill me, and take the merit of my death
To make thee Friends with Cæsar.
Ven.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?
Ant.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.
Ven.By Heav'n, I will not.
Let it not be t' out-live you.
Ant.Kill me first,
And then die thou: for 'tis but just thou serve
Thy Friend, before thy self.
Ven.Give me your hand.
We soon shall meet again. Now farewel, Emperor. (Embrace.)
Methinks that word's too cold to be my last:
Since Death sweeps all distinctions, 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.
Ant.I do: strike home be sure.
Ven.Home, as my Sword will reach. (Kills himself.)
Ant.O, thou mistak'st;
That wound was none of thine: give it me back:
Thou robb'st me of my death.
Ven.I do indeed;
But, think 'tis the first time I e'er deceiv'd you;
If that may plead my pardon. And you, Gods,
Forgive me, if you will; for I die perjur'd,
Rather then kill my Friend. (Dies.)
Ant.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;
For all the Learn'd are Cowards by profession.
'Tis not worth
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 Cæsar:
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.
Cleop.Where is my Lord? where is he?
Char.There he lies,
And dead Ventidius by him.
Cleop.My fears were Prophets; I am come too late.
O that accurs'd Alexas! (Runs to him.)
Ant.Art thou living?
Or am I dead before I knew? and thou
The first kind Ghost that meets me?
Cleop.Help me seat him.
Send quickly, send for help. (They place him in a Chair.)
Ant.I am answer'd.
We live both. Sit thee down, my Cleopatra:
I'll make the most I can of life, to stay
A moment more with thee.
Cleop.How is it with you?
Ant.'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.
Cleop.Too long, you Heav'ns, you have been cruel to me;
Now show your mended Faith, and give me back
His fleeting life.
Ant.It will not be, my Love.
I keep my Soul by force.
Say but thou art not false.
Cleop.'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 fatal consequence. My Fleet betray'd
Both you and me.
Ant.And Dollabella. ⸻
Cleop.Scarce esteem'd before he lov'd; but hated now.
Ant.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.
Cleop.I will come:
Doubt not, my life, I'll come, and quickly too:
Cæsar shall triumph o'er no part of thee.
Ant.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 us,
And all the Train be ours.
Cleop.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?
Ant.No, not a minute.⸻This one kiss⸻more worth
Than all I leave to Cæsar. (Dies.
Cleop.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
One look: Do any thing that shows you live.
Iras.He's gone too far, to hear you;
And this you see, a lump of sensless Clay,
The leavings of a Soul.
He charg'd you not to grieve.
Cleop.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.
Iras.Will you then die?
Cleop.Why shou'dst thou make that question?
Iras.Cæsar is merciful.
Cleop.Let him be so
To those that want his mercy: my poor Lord
Made no such Cov'nant with him, to spare me
When he was dead. Yield me to Cæsar'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.
Char.Whatever you resolve,
I'll follow ev'n to death.
Iras.I only fear'd
For you; but more shou'd fear to live without you.
Cleop.Why, now 'tis as it shou'd be. Quick, my Friends,
Dispatch; ere this, the Town's in Cæsar'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.
Iras.The Aspicks, Madam?
Cleop.Must I bid you twice? Exeunt Char. and Iras.
'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.
Char.What must be done?
Cleop.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.
Char.To what end
These Ensigns of your Pomp and Royalty?
Cleop.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.
Cleop.Now seat me by my Lord. I claim this place;
For I must conquer Cæsar 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.
Iras.Underneath the fruit the Aspick lies.
Cleop. putting aside the leaves.Welcom, thou kind Deceiver!
Thou best of Thieves; who, with an easie key,
Dost 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, Cæsar's at the Gates.
Cleop.He comes too late t' invade the Rights of Death.
Haste, bare my Arm, and rouze the Serpents fury. [Holds out
her Arm and draws it back.
Woud'st thou conspire with Cæsar, 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
Take hence; the work is done.shows her arm bloody.
Serap. within.Break ope the door,
And guard the Traitor well.
Char.The next is ours.
Iras.Now, Charmion, to be worthy
Of our great Queen and Mistress. [They apply the Aspicks.
Cleop.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. ⸻ Cæsar, thy worst;
Now part us, if thou canst.(Dies.) Iras sinks down at her feet,
Enter Serapion, two Priests, Alexas bound, Egyptians.
2. Priests.Behold, Serapion, what havock Death has made!
Serap.'Twas what I fear'd.
Charmion, is this well done?
Char.Yes, 'tis well done, and like a Queen, the last
Of her great Race: I follow her. (Sinks down; Dies.)
She has done well: much better thus to die,
Than live to make a Holy-day in Rome.
Serap.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.
Cæsar'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.