Act IV. Scene I
 

Enter ANTONY and DOLABELLA

DOLABELLA
Why would you shift it from yourself on me?
Can you not tell her, you must part?

ANTONY
I cannot.
I could pull out an eye, and bid it go,
And t'other should not weep. O Dolabella,
How many deaths are in this word, DEPART!
I dare not trust my tongue to tell her so:
One look of hers would thaw me into tears,
And I should melt, till I were lost again.

DOLABELLA
Then let Ventidius;
He's rough by nature.

ANTONY
Oh, he'll speak too harshly;
He'll kill her with the news: Thou, only thou.

DOLABELLA
Nature has cast me in so soft a mould,
That but to hear a story, feigned for pleasure,
Of some sad lover's death, moistens my eyes,
And robs me of my manhood. I should speak
So faintly, with such fear to grieve her heart,
She'd not believe it earnest.

ANTONY
Therefore,--therefore
Thou only, thou art fit: Think thyself me;
And when thou speak'st (but let it first be long),
Take off the edge from every sharper sound,
And let our parting be as gently made,
As other loves begin: Wilt thou do this?

DOLABELLA
What you have said so sinks into my soul,
That, if I must speak, I shall speak just so.

ANTONY
I leave you then to your sad task: Farewell.
I sent her word to meet you.

[Goes to the door, and comes back.]

I forgot;
Let her be told, I'll make her peace with mine,
Her crown and dignity shall be preserved,
If I have power with Caesar.--Oh, be sure
To think on that.

DOLABELLA
Fear not, I will remember.

[ANTONY goes again to the door, and comes back.]

ANTONY
And tell her, too, how much I was constrained;
I did not this, but with extremest force.
Desire her not to hate my memory,
For I still cherish hers:--insist on that.

DOLABELLA
Trust me. I'll not forget it.

ANTONY
Then that's all.

[Goes out, and returns again.]

Wilt thou forgive my fondness this once more?
Tell her, though we shall never meet again,
If I should hear she took another love,
The news would break my heart.--Now I must go;
For every time I have returned, I feel
My soul more tender; and my next command
Would be, to bid her stay, and ruin both.

[Exit.]

DOLABELLA
Men are but children of a larger growth;
Our appetites as apt to change as theirs,
And full as craving too, and full as vain;
And yet the soul, shut up in her dark room,
Viewing so clear abroad, at home sees nothing:
But, like a mole in earth, busy and blind,
Works all her folly up, and casts it outward
To the world's open view: Thus I discovered,
And blamed the love of ruined Antony:
Yet wish that I were he, to be so ruined.

Enter VENTIDIUS above

VENTIDIUS
Alone, and talking to himself? concerned too?
Perhaps my guess is right; he loved her once,
And may pursue it still.

DOLABELLA
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!

VENTIDIUS
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.

DOLABELLA
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.

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

ALEXAS
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.

CLEOPATRA
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.

ALEXAS
'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.

CLEOPATRA
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.

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

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

[Exit ALEXAS. She comes up to DOLABELLA.]

VENTIDIUS
So, now the scene draws near; they're in my reach.

CLEOPATRA
[to DOLABELLA.]
Discoursing with my women! might not I
Share in your entertainment?

CHARMION
You have been
The subject of it, madam.

CLEOPATRA
How! and how!

IRAS
Such praises of your beauty!

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

DOLABELLA
Those Roman wits have never been in Egypt;
Cytheris and Delia else had been unsung:
I, who have seen--had I been born a poet,
Should choose a nobler name.

CLEOPATRA
You flatter me.
But, 'tis your nation's vice: All of your country
Are flatterers, and all false. Your friend's like you.
I'm sure, he sent you not to speak these words.

DOLABELLA
No, madam; yet he sent me--

CLEOPATRA
Well, he sent you--

DOLABELLA
Of a less pleasing errand.

CLEOPATRA
How less pleasing?
Less to yourself, or me?

DOLABELLA
Madam, to both;
For you must mourn, and I must grieve to cause it.

CLEOPATRA
You, Charmion, and your fellow, stand at distance.--
Hold up, my spirits. [Aside.]--Well, now your mournful matter;
For I'm prepared, perhaps can guess it too.

DOLABELLA
I wish you would; for 'tis a thankless office,
To tell ill news: And I, of all your sex,
Most fear displeasing you.

CLEOPATRA
Of all your sex,
I soonest could forgive you, if you should.

VENTIDIUS
Most delicate advances! Women! women!
Dear, damned, inconstant sex!

CLEOPATRA
In the first place,
I am to be forsaken; is't not so?

DOLABELLA
I wish I could not answer to that question.

CLEOPATRA
Then pass it o'er, because it troubles you:
I should have been more grieved another time.
Next I'm to lose my kingdom--Farewell, Egypt!
Yet, is there ary more?

DOLABELLA
Madam, I fear
Your too deep sense of grief has turned your reason.

CLEOPATRA
No, no, I'm not run mad; I can bear fortune:
And love may be expelled by other love,
As poisons are by poisons.

DOLABELLA
You o'erjoy me, madam,
To find your griefs so moderately borne.
You've heard the worst; all are not false like him.

CLEOPATRA
No; Heaven forbid they should.

DOLABELLA
Some men are constant.

CLEOPATRA
And constancy deserves reward, that's certain.

DOLABELLA
Deserves it not; but give it leave to hope.

VENTIDIUS
I'll swear, thou hast my leave. I have enough:
But how to manage this! Well, I'll consider.

[Exit.]

DOLABELLA
I came prepared
To tell you heavy news; news, which I thought
Would fright the blood from your pale cheeks to hear:
But you have met it with a cheerfulness,
That makes my task more easy; and my tongue,
Which on another's message was employed,
Would gladly speak its own.

CLEOPATRA
Hold, Dolabella.
First tell me, were you chosen by my lord?
Or sought you this employment?

DOLABELLA
He picked me out; and, as his bosom friend,
He charged me with his words.

CLEOPATRA
The message then
I know was tender, and each accent smooth,
To mollify that rugged word, DEPART.

DOLABELLA
Oh, you mistake: He chose the harshest words;
With fiery eyes, and contracted brows,
He coined his face in the severest stamp;
And fury shook his fabric, like an earthquake;
He heaved for vent, and burst like bellowing Aetna,
In sounds scarce human--"Hence away for ever,
Let her begone, the blot of my renown,
And bane of all my hopes!"

[All the time of this speech, CLEOPATRA seems more
and more concerned, till she sinks quite down.]

"Let her be driven, as far as men can think,
From man's commerce! she'll poison to the centre."

CLEOPATRA
Oh, I can bear no more!

DOLABELLA
Help, help!--O wretch! O cursed, cursed wretch!
What have I done!

CHARMION
Help, chafe her temples, Iras.

IRAS
Bend, bend her forward quickly.

CHARMION
Heaven be praised,
She comes again.

CLEOPATRA
Oh, let him not approach me.
Why have you brought me back to this loathed being;
The abode of falsehood, violated vows,
And injured love? For pity, let me go;
For, if there be a place of long repose,
I'm sure I want it. My disdainful lord
Can never break that quiet; nor awake
The sleeping soul, with hollowing in my tomb
Such words as fright her hence.--Unkind, unkind!

DOLABELLA
Believe me, 'tis against myself I speak;

[Kneeling.]

That sure desires belief; I injured him:
My friend ne'er spoke those words. Oh, had you seen
How often he came back, and every time
With something more obliging and more kind,
To add to what he said; what dear farewells;
How almost vanquished by his love he parted,
And leaned to what unwillingly he left!
I, traitor as I was, for love of you
(But what can you not do, who made me false?)
I forged that lie; for whose forgiveness kneels
This self-accused, self-punished criminal.

CLEOPATRA
With how much ease believe we what we wish!
Rise, Dolabella; if you have been guilty,
I have contributed, and too much love
Has made me guilty too.
The advance of kindness, which I made, was feigned,
To call back fleeting love by jealousy;
But 'twould not last. Oh, rather let me lose,
Than so ignobly trifle with his heart.

DOLABELLA
I find your breast fenced round from human reach,
Transparent as a rock of solid crystal;
Seen through, but never pierced. My friend, my friend,
What endless treasure hast thou thrown away;
And scattered, like an infant, in the ocean,
Vain sums of wealth, which none can gather thence!

CLEOPATRA
Could you not beg
An hour's admittance to his private ear?
Like one, who wanders through long barren wilds
And yet foreknows no hospitable inn
Is near to succour hunger, eats his fill,
Before his painful march;
So would I feed a while my famished eyes
Before we part; for I have far to go,
If death be far, and never must return.

VENTIDIUS with OCTAVIA, behind

VENTIDIUS
From hence you may discover--oh, sweet, sweet!
Would you indeed? The pretty hand in earnest?

DOLABELLA
I will, for this reward.

[Takes her hand.]

Draw it not back.
'Tis all I e'er will beg.

VENTIDIUS
They turn upon us.

OCTAVIA
What quick eyes has guilt!

VENTIDIUS
Seem not to have observed them, and go on.

[They enter.]

DOLABELLA
Saw you the emperor, Ventidius?

VENTIDIUS
No.
I sought him; but I heard that he was private,
None with him but Hipparchus, his freedman.

DOLABELLA
Know you his business?

VENTIDIUS
Giving him instructions,
And letters to his brother Caesar.

DOLABELLA
Well,
He must be found.

[Exeunt DOLABELLA and CLEOPATRA.]

OCTAVIA
Most glorious impudence!

VENTIDIUS
She looked, methought,
As she would say--Take your old man, Octavia;
Thank you, I'm better here.--
Well, but what use
Make we of this discovery?

OCTAVIA
Let it die.

VENTIDIUS
I pity Dolabella; but she's dangerous:
Her eyes have power beyond Thessalian charms,
To draw the moon from heaven; for eloquence,
The sea-green Syrens taught her voice their flattery;
And, while she speaks, night steals upon the day,
Unmarked of those that hear. Then she's so charming,
Age buds at sight of her, and swells to youth:
The holy priests gaze on her when she smiles;
And with heaved hands, forgetting gravity,
They bless her wanton eyes: Even I, who hate her,
With a malignant joy behold such beauty;
And, while I curse, desire it. Antony
Must needs have some remains of passion still,
Which may ferment into a worse relapse,
If now not fully cured. I know, this minute,
With Caesar he's endeavouring her peace.

OCTAVIA
You have prevailed:--But for a further purpose

[Walks off.]

I'll prove how he will relish this discovery.
What, make a strumpet's peace! it swells my heart:
It must not, shall not be.

VENTIDIUS
His guards appear.
Let me begin, and you shall second me.

Enter ANTONY

ANTONY
Octavia, I was looking you, my love:
What, are your letters ready? I have given
My last instructions.

OCTAVIA
Mine, my lord, are written.

ANTONY
Ventidius.

[Drawing him aside.]

VENTIDIUS
My lord?

ANTONY
A word in private.--
When saw you Dolabella?

VENTIDIUS
Now, my lord,
He parted hence; and Cleopatra with him.

ANTONY
Speak softly.--'Twas by my command he went,
To bear my last farewell.

VENTIDIUS
It looked indeed

[Aloud.]

Like your farewell.

ANTONY
More softly.--My farewell?
What secret meaning have you in those words
Of--My farewell? He did it by my order.

VENTIDIUS
Then he obeyed your order. I suppose

[Aloud.]

You bid him do it with all gentleness,
All kindness, and all--love.

ANTONY
How she mourned,
The poor forsaken creature!

VENTIDIUS
She took it as she ought; she bore your parting
As she did Caesar's, as she would another's,
Were a new love to come.

ANTONY
Thou dost belie her;

[Aloud.]

Most basely, and maliciously belie her.

VENTIDIUS
I thought not to displease you; I have done.

OCTAVIA
You seemed disturbed, my Lord.

[Coming up.]

ANTONY
A very trifle.
Retire, my love.

VENTIDIUS
It was indeed a trifle.
He sent--

ANTONY
No more. Look how thou disobey'st me;

[Angrily.]

Thy life shall answer it.

OCTAVIA
Then 'tis no trifle.

VENTIDIUS
[to OCTAVIA.]
'Tis less; a very nothing: You too saw it,
As well as I, and therefore 'tis no secret.

ANTONY
She saw it!

VENTIDIUS
Yes: She saw young Dolabella--

ANTONY
Young Dolabella!

VENTIDIUS
Young, I think him young,
And handsome too; and so do others think him.
But what of that? He went by your command,
Indeed 'tis probable, with some kind message;
For she received it graciously; she smiled;
And then he grew familiar with her hand,
Squeezed it, and worried it with ravenous kisses;
She blushed, and sighed, and smiled, and blushed again;
At last she took occasion to talk softly,
And brought her cheek up close, and leaned on his;
At which, he whispered kisses back on hers;
And then she cried aloud--That constancy
Should be rewarded.

OCTAVIA
This I saw and heard.

ANTONY
What woman was it, whom you heard and saw
So playful with my friend?
Not Cleopatra?

VENTIDIUS
Even she, my lord.

ANTONY
My Cleopatra?

VENTIDIUS
Your Cleopatra;
Dolabella's Cleopatra; every man's Cleopatra.

ANTONY
Thou liest.

VENTIDIUS
I do not lie, my lord.
Is this so strange? Should mistresses be left,
And not provide against a time of change?
You know she's not much used to lonely nights.

ANTONY
I'll think no more on't.
I know 'tis false, and see the plot betwixt you.--
You needed not have gone this way, Octavia.
What harms it you that Cleopatra's just?
She's mine no more. I see, and I forgive:
Urge it no further, love.

OCTAVIA
Are you concerned,
That she's found false?

ANTONY
I should be, were it so;
For, though 'tis past, I would not that the world
Should tax my former choice, that I loved one
Of so light note; but I forgive you both.

VENTIDIUS
What has my age deserved, that you should think
I would abuse your ears with perjury?
If Heaven be true, she's false.

ANTONY
Though heaven and earth
Should witness it, I'll not believe her tainted.

VENTIDIUS
I'll bring you, then, a witness
From hell, to prove her so.--Nay, go not back;

[Seeing ALEXAS just entering, and starting back.]

For stay you must and shall.

ALEXAS
What means my lord?

VENTIDIUS
To make you do what most you hate,--speak truth.
You are of Cleopatra's private counsel,
Of her bed-counsel, her lascivious hours;
Are conscious of each nightly change she makes,
And watch her, as Chaldaeans do the moon,
Can tell what signs she passes through, what day.

ALEXAS
My noble lord!

VENTIDIUS
My most illustrious pander,
No fine set speech, no cadence, no turned periods,
But a plain homespun truth, is what I ask.
I did, myself, o'erhear your queen make love
To Dolabella. Speak; for I will know,
By your confession, what more passed betwixt them;
How near the business draws to your employment;
And when the happy hour.

ANTONY
Speak truth, Alexas; whether it offend
Or please Ventidius, care not: Justify
Thy injured queen from malice: Dare his worst.

OCTAVIA
[aside.] See how he gives him courage! how he fears
To find her false! and shuts his eyes to truth,
Willing to be misled!

ALEXAS
As far as love may plead for woman's frailty,
Urged by desert and greatness of the lover,
So far, divine Octavia, may my queen
Stand even excused to you for loving him
Who is your lord: so far, from brave Ventidius,
May her past actions hope a fair report.

ANTONY
'Tis well, and truly spoken: mark, Ventidius.

ALEXAS
To you, most noble emperor, her strong passion
Stands not excused, but wholly justified.
Her beauty's charms alone, without her crown,
From Ind and Meroe drew the distant vows
Of sighing kings; and at her feet were laid
The sceptres of the earth, exposed on heaps,
To choose where she would reign:
She thought a Roman only could deserve her,
And, of all Romans, only Antony;
And, to be less than wife to you, disdained
Their lawful passion.

ANTONY
'Tis but truth.

ALEXAS
And yet, though love, and your unmatched desert,
Have drawn her from the due regard of honour,
At last Heaven opened her unwilling eyes
To see the wrongs she offered fair Octavia,
Whose holy bed she lawlessly usurped.
The sad effects of this improsperous war
Confirmed those pious thoughts.

VENTIDIUS
[aside.] Oh, wheel you there?
Observe him now; the man begins to mend,
And talk substantial reason.--Fear not, eunuch;
The emperor has given thee leave to speak.

ALEXAS
Else had I never dared to offend his ears
With what the last necessity has urged
On my forsaken mistress; yet I must not
Presume to say, her heart is wholly altered.

ANTONY
No, dare not for thy life, I charge thee dare not
Pronounce that fatal word!

OCTAVIA
Must I bear this? Good Heaven, afford me patience.

[Aside.]

VENTIDIUS
On, sweet eunuch; my dear half-man, proceed.

ALEXAS
Yet Dolabella
Has loved her long; he, next my god-like lord,
Deserves her best; and should she meet his passion,
Rejected, as she is, by him she loved----

ANTONY
Hence from my sight! for I can bear no more:
Let furies drag thee quick to hell; let all
The longer damned have rest; each torturing hand
Do thou employ, till Cleopatra comes;
Then join thou too, and help to torture her!

[Exit ALEXAS, thrust out by ANTONY.]

OCTAVIA
'Tis not well.
Indeed, my lord, 'tis much unkind to me,
To show this passion, this extreme concernment,
For an abandoned, faithless prostitute.

ANTONY
Octavia, leave me; I am much disordered:
Leave me, I say.

OCTAVIA
My lord!

ANTONY
I bid you leave me.

VENTIDIUS
Obey him, madam: best withdraw a while,
And see how this will work.

OCTAVIA
Wherein have I offended you, my lord,
That I am bid to leave you? Am I false,
Or infamous? Am I a Cleopatra?
Were I she,
Base as she is, you would not bid me leave you;
But hang upon my neck, take slight excuses,
And fawn upon my falsehood.

ANTONY
'Tis too much.
Too much, Octavia; I am pressed with sorrows
Too heavy to be borne; and you add more:
I would retire, and recollect what's left
Of man within, to aid me.

OCTAVIA
You would mourn,
In private, for your love, who has betrayed you.
You did but half return to me: your kindness
Lingered behind with her, I hear, my lord,
You make conditions for her,
And would include her treaty. Wondrous proofs
Of love to me!

ANTONY
Are you my friend, Ventidius?
Or are you turned a Dolabella too,
And let this fury loose?

VENTIDIUS
Oh, be advised,
Sweet madam, and retire.

OCTAVIA
Yes, I will go; but never to return.
You shall no more be haunted with this Fury.
My lord, my lord, love will not always last,
When urged with long unkindness and disdain:
Take her again, whom you prefer to me;
She stays but to be called. Poor cozened man!
Let a feigned parting give her back your heart,
Which a feigned love first got; for injured me,
Though my just sense of wrongs forbid my stay,
My duty shall be yours.
To the dear pledges of our former love
My tenderness and care shall be transferred,
And they shall cheer, by turns, my widowed nights:
So, take my last farewell; for I despair
To have you whole, and scorn to take you half.

[Exit.]

VENTIDIUS
I combat Heaven, which blasts my best designs;
My last attempt must be to win her back;
But oh! I fear in vain.

[Exit.]

ANTONY
Why was I framed with this plain, honest heart,
Which knows not to disguise its griefs and weakness,
But bears its workings outward to the world?
I should have kept the mighty anguish in,
And forced a smile at Cleopatra's falsehood:
Octavia had believed it, and had stayed.
But I am made a shallow-forded stream,
Seen to the bottom: all my clearness scorned,
And all my faults exposed.--See where he comes,

Enter DOLLABELLA

Who has profaned the sacred name of friend,
And worn it into vileness!
With how secure a brow, and specious form,
He gilds the secret villain! Sure that face
Was meant for honesty; but Heaven mismatched it,
And furnished treason out with nature's pomp,
To make its work more easy.

DOLABELLA
O my friend!

ANTONY
Well, Dolabella, you performed my message?

DOLABELLA
I did, unwillingly.

ANTONY
Unwillingly?
Was it so hard for you to bear our parting?
You should have wished it.

DOLABELLA
Why?

ANTONY
Because you love me.
And she received my message with as true,
With as unfeigned a sorrow as you brought it?

DOLABELLA
She loves you, even to madness.

ANTONY
Oh, I know it.
You, Dolabella, do not better know
How much she loves me. And should I
Forsake this beauty? This all-perfect creature?

DOLABELLA
I could not, were she mine.

ANTONY
And yet you first
Persuaded me: How come you altered since?

DOLABELLA
I said at first I was not fit to go:
I could not hear her sighs, and see her tears,
But pity must prevail: And so, perhaps,
It may again with you; for I have promised,
That she should take her last farewell: And, see,
She comes to claim my word.

Enter CLEOPATRA

ANTONY
False Dolabella!

DOLABELLA
What's false, my lord?

ANTONY
Why, Dolabella's false,
And Cleopatra's false; both false and faithless.
Draw near, you well-joined wickedness, you serpents,
Whom I have in my kindly bosom warmed,
Till I am stung to death.

DOLABELLA
My lord, have I
Deserved to be thus used?

CLEOPATRA
Can Heaven prepare
A newer torment? Can it find a curse
Beyond our separation?

ANTONY
Yes, if fate
Be just, much greater: Heaven should be ingenious
In punishing such crimes. The rolling stone,
And gnawing vulture, were slight pains, invented
When Jove was young, and no examples known
Of mighty ills; but you have ripened sin,
To such a monstrous growth, 'twill pose the gods
To find an equal torture. Two, two such!--
Oh, there's no further name,--two such! to me,
To me, who locked my soul within your breasts,
Had no desires, no joys, no life, but you;
When half the globe was mine, I gave it you
In dowry with my heart; I had no use,
No fruit of all, but you: A friend and mistress
Was what the world could give. O Cleopatra!
O Dolabella! how could you betray
This tender heart, which with an infant fondness
Lay lulled betwixt your bosoms, and there slept,
Secure of injured faith?

DOLABELLA
If she has wronged you,
Heaven, hell, and you revenge it.

ANTONY
If she has wronged me!
Thou wouldst evade thy part of guilt; but swear
Thou lov'st not her.

DOLABELLA
Not so as I love you.

ANTONY
Not so? Swear, swear, I say, thou dost not love her.

DOLABELLA
No more than friendship will allow.

ANTONY
No more?
Friendship allows thee nothing: Thou art perjured--
And yet thou didst not swear thou lov'st her not;
But not so much, no more. O trifling hypocrite,
Who dar'st not own to her, thou dost not love,
Nor own to me, thou dost! Ventidius heard it;
Octavia saw it.

CLEOPATRA
They are enemies.

ANTONY
Alexas is not so: He, he confessed it;
He, who, next hell, best knew it, he avowed it.
Why do I seek a proof beyond yourself?

[To DOLABELLA.]

You, whom I sent to bear my last farewell,
Returned, to plead her stay.

DOLABELLA
What shall I answer?
If to have loved be guilt, then I have sinned;
But if to have repented of that love
Can wash away my crime, I have repented.
Yet, if I have offended past forgiveness,
Let not her suffer: She is innocent.

CLEOPATRA
Ah, what will not a woman do, who loves?
What means will she refuse, to keep that heart,
Where all her joys are placed? 'Twas I encouraged,
'Twas I blew up the fire that scorched his soul,
To make you jealous, and by that regain you.
But all in vain; I could not counterfeit:
In spite of all the dams my love broke o'er,
And drowned by heart again: fate took the occasion;
And thus one minute's feigning has destroyed
My whole life's truth.

ANTONY
Thin cobweb arts of falsehood;
Seen, and broke through at first.

DOLABELLA
Forgive your mistress.

CLEOPATRA
Forgive your friend.

ANTONY
You have convinced yourselves.
You plead each other's cause: What witness have you,
That you but meant to raise my jealousy?

CLEOPATRA
Ourselves, and Heaven.

ANTONY
Guilt witnesses for guilt. Hence, love and friendship!
You have no longer place in human breasts,
These two have driven you out: Avoid my sight!
I would not kill the man whom I have loved,
And cannot hurt the woman; but avoid me:
I do not know how long I can be tame;
For, if I stay one minute more, to think
How I am wronged, my justice and revenge
Will cry so loud within me, that my pity
Will not be heard for either.

DOLABELLA
Heaven has but
Our sorrow for our sins; and then delights
To pardon erring man: Sweet mercy seems
Its darling attribute, which limits justice;
As if there were degrees in infinite,
And infinite would rather want perfection
Than punish to extent.

ANTONY
I can forgive
A foe; but not a mistress and a friend.
Treason is there in its most horrid shape,
Where trust is greatest; and the soul resigned,
Is stabbed by its own guards: I'll hear no more;
Hence from my sight for ever!

CLEOPATRA
How? for ever!
I cannot go one moment from your sight,
And must I go for ever?
My joys, my only joys, are centred here:
What place have I to go to? My own kingdom?
That I have lost for you: Or to the Romans?
They hate me for your sake: Or must I wander
The wide world o'er, a helpless, banished woman,
Banished for love of you; banished from you?
Ay, there's the banishment! Oh, hear me; hear me,
With strictest justice: For I beg no favour;
And if I have offended you, then kill me,
But do not banish me.

ANTONY
I must not hear you.
I have a fool within me takes your part;
But honour stops my ears.

CLEOPATRA
For pity hear me!
Would you cast off a slave who followed you?
Who crouched beneath your spurn?--He has no pity!
See, if he gives one tear to my departure;
One look, one kind farewell: O iron heart!
Let all the gods look down, and judge betwixt us,
If he did ever love!

ANTONY
No more: Alexas!

DOLABELLA
A perjured villain!

ANTONY
[to CLEOPATRA.] Your Alexas; yours.

CLEOPATRA
Oh, 'twas his plot; his ruinous design,
To engage you in my love by jealousy.
Hear him; confront him with me; let him speak.

ANTONY
I have; I have.

CLEOPATRA
And if he clear me not--

ANTONY
Your creature! one, who hangs upon your smiles!
Watches your eye, to say or to unsay,
Whate'er you please! I am not to be moved.

CLEOPATRA
Then must we part? Farewell, my cruel lord!
The appearance is against me; and I go,
Unjustified, for ever from your sight.
How I have loved, you know; how yet I love,
My only comfort is, I know myself:
I love you more, even now you are unkind,
Then when you loved me most; so well, so truly
I'll never strive against it; but die pleased,
To think you once were mine.

ANTONY
Good heaven, they weep at parting!
Must I weep too? that calls them innocent.
I must not weep; and yet I must, to think
That I must not forgive.--
Live, but live wretched; 'tis but just you should,
Who made me so: Live from each other's sight:
Let me not hear you meet. Set all the earth,
And all the seas, betwixt your sundered loves:
View nothing common but the sun and skies.
Now, all take several ways;
And each your own sad fate, with mine, deplore;
That you were false, and I could trust no more.

[Exeunt severally.]