Alex. Theres comfert yet.
Char. Ventidius fixed his eyes upon my passage
Severely, as he meant to frown me back,
gave place: I told my message,
Just as you gave it, broken and disordered;
I numbered in it all your sighs
And while I moved your pitiful request,
That you but only begged a last farewell,
He fetched an
inward groan; and every time
I named you, sighed, as if his heart were breaking,
But, shunned my eyes,
and guiltily looked down;
He seemed not now that awful Antony,
Who shook an armed assembly with his
But, making show as he would rub his eyes,
Disguised and blotted out a falling tear.
Cleo. 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.
Char. He bid me say,He knew himself so well,
He could deny you nothing, if he saw you;
Cleo. Thou wouldst say, he would not see me?
Char. And therefore begged you not to use a power,
Which he could ill resist; yet he should ever
you, as he ought.
Cleo. Is that a word
For Antony to use to Cleopatra?
O that faint word, respect? how I disdain it!
myself, for loving after it!
He should have kept that word for cold Octavia.
Respect is for a wife: Am I that
That dull, insipid lump, without desires,
And without power to give them?
Alex. You misjudge;
You see through love, and that deludes your sight;
As, what is straight, seems crooked
through the water:
But I, who bear my reason undisturbed,
Can see this Antony, this dreaded man,
slave, who fain would run away,
And shuns his masters eyes: If you pursue him,
My life ont, he still drags
a chain along
That needs must clog his flight.
Cleo. Could I believe thee!
Alex. By every circumstance I know he loves.
True, hes hard prest, by interest and by honour;
Yet he but
doubts, and parleys, and casts out
Many a long look for succour.
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, free me from Ventidius; from my tyrant:
See me, and give me a pretence to leave him!
hear his trumpets. This way he must pass.
Please you, retire a while; Ill work him first,
That he may bend
Cleo. You shall rule me;
But all, I fear, in vain.
[Exit with Charmion and Iras.
Alex. I fear so too;
Though I concealed my thoughts, to make her bold;
But tis our utmost means, and
fate befriend it!
Enter Lictors with Fasces; one bearing the Eagle; then enter
Antony with Ventidius, followed by other
Ant. Octavius is the minion of blind chance,
But holds from virtue nothing.