At one door enter Cleopatra, Charmion, Iras, and Alexas, a Train of Egyptians: at the other Antony
and Romans. The entrance on both sides is prepared by music; the trumpets first sounding on Antonys
part: then answered by timbrels, etc., on Cleopatras. Charmion and Iras hold a laurel wreath betwixt
them. A dance of Egyptians. After the ceremony, Cleopatra crowns Antony.
Ant. I thought how those white arms would fold me in,
And strain me close, and melt me into love;
pleased with that sweet image, I sprung forwards,
And added all my strength to every blow.
Cleo. Come to me, come, my soldier, to my arms!
Youve been too long away from my embraces;
when I have you fast, and all my own,
With broken murmurs, and with amorous sighs,
Ill say, you were
unkind, and punish you,
And mark you red with many an eager kiss.
Ant. My brighter Venus!
Cleo. O my greater Mars!
Ant. Thou joinst us well, my love!
Suppose me come from the Phlegræan plains,
Where gasping giants
lay, cleft by my sword,
And mountain-tops paired off each other blow,
To bury those I slew. Receive me,
Let Cæsar spread his subtle nets; like Vulcan,
In thy embraces I would be beheld
By heaven and
earth at once;
And make their envy what they meant their sport.
Let those, who took us, blush; I would
With awful state, regardless of their frowns,
As their superior gods.
Theres no satiety of love in
Enjoyed, thou still art new; perpetual spring
Is in thy arms; the ripened fruit but falls,
rise to fill its empty place;
And I grow rich by giving.
Enter Ventidius, and stands apart.
Alex. Oh, now the dangers past, your general comes!
He joins not in your joys, nor minds your triumphs:
with contracted brows, looks frowning on,
As envying your success.
Ant. Now, on my soul, he loves me; truly loves me:
He never flattered me in any vice,
But awes me with
his virtue: even this minute,
Methinks, he has a right of chiding me.
Lead to the temple: Ill avoid his presence;
checks too strong upon me.
[Exeunt the rest.
[As Antony is going, Ventidius pulls him by the robe.
Ant. Tis the old argument; I prythee, spare me.
Vent. But this one hearing, emperor.
Ant. Let go
My robe; or, by my father Hercules
Vent. By Hercules father, thats yet greater,
I bring you somewhat you would wish to know.
Ant. Thou seest we are observed; attend me here,
And Ill return.
Vent. I am waning 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 lie so mingled with his crimes,
As would confound their choice
to punish one,
And not reward the other.