Dola. O friendship! friendship!
Ill canst thou answer this; and reason, worse:
Unfaithful in the attempt; hopeless to win;
And if I win, undone: mere madness all.
And yet the occasion’s fair. What injury
To him, to wear the robe which he throws by!

Vent. None, none at all. This happens as I wish,
To ruin her yet more with Antony.

Enter Cleopatra, talking with Alexas; Charmion, Iras on the other side.

Dola. She comes! What charms have sorrow on that face!
Sorrow seems pleased to dwell with so much sweetness;
Yet, now and then, a melancholy smile
Breaks loose, like lightning in a winter’s night,
And shows a moment’s day.

Vent. If she should love him too! her eunuch there!
That porc’pisce bodes ill weather. Draw, draw nearer,
Sweet devil, that I may hear.

Alex. Believe me; try

[Dolabella goes over to Charmion and Iras; seems to talk with them.
To make him jealous; jealousy is like
A polished glass held to the lips when life’s in doubt;
If there be breath, ’twill catch the damp, and show it.

Cleo. I grant you, jealousy’s a proof of love,
But ’tis a weak and unavailing medicine;
It puts out the disease, and makes it show,
But has no power to cure.

Alex. ’Tis your last remedy, and strongest too:
And then this Dolabella, who so fit
To practise on? He’s handsome, valiant, young,
And looks as he were laid for nature’s bait,
To catch weak women’s eyes.
He stands already more than half suspected
Of loving you: the least kind word or glance
You give this youth, will kindle him with love:
Then, like a burning vessel set adrift,
You’ll send him down amain before the wind,
To fire the heart of jealous Antony.

Cleo. Can I do this? Ah, no; my love’s so true,
That I can neither hide it where it is,
Nor show it where it is not. Nature meant me
A wife; a silly, harmless, household dove,
Fond without art, and kind without deceit;
But Fortune, that has made a mistress of me,
Has thrust me out to the wide world, unfurnished
Of falsehood to be happy.

Alex. Force yourself.
The event will be, your lover will return,
Doubly desirous to possess the good
Which once he feared to lose.

Cleo. I must attempt it;
But oh, with what regret!

[Exit Alexas. She comes up to Dolabella.

Vent. So, now the scene draws near; they’re in my reach.

Cleo. [to Dol.]. Discoursing with my women! might not]
Share in your entertainment?

Char. You have been
The subject of it, madam.

Cleo. How! and how?

Iras. Such praises of your beauty!

Cleo. Mere poetry.
Your Roman wits, your Gallus and Tibullus,
Have taught you this from Cytheris and Delia.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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