Fiction > Harvard Classics > John Dryden > All for Love
John Dryden (1631–1700).  All for Love.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
Act IV
  Dola.  Why would you shift it from yourself on me?
Can you not tell her, you must part?
  Ant.  I cannot.
I could pull out an eye, and bid it go,        5
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.        10
  Dola.  Then let Ventidius;
He’s rough by nature.
  Ant.  Oh, he’ll speak too harshly;
He’ll kill her with the news: Thou, only thou.
  Dola.  Nature has cast me in so soft a mould,        15
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.        20
  Ant.  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,        25
As other loves begin: Wilt thou do this?
  Dola.  What you have said so sinks into my soul,
That, if I must speak, I shall speak just so.
  Ant.  I leave you then to your sad task: Farewell.
I sent her word to meet you.  [Goes to the door, and comes back.        30
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 Cæsar.—Oh, be sure
To think on that.        35
  Dola.  Fear not, I will remember.  [ANTONY goes again to the door, and comes back.
  Ant.  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.        40
  Dola.  Trust me. I’ll not forget it.
  Ant.  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,        45
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.
  Dola.  Men are but children of a larger growth;        50
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,        55
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
  Vent.  Alone, and talking to himself? concerned too?
Perhaps my guess is right; he loved her once,
And may pursue it still.
  Dola.  O friendship! friendship!
Ill canst thou answer this; and reason, worse:        65
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,        70
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        75
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.        80
  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,        85
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        90
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,        95
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,        100
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,        105
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        110
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 I        115
Share in your entertainment?
  Char.  You have been
The subject of it, madam.
  Cleo.  How! and how!
  Iras.  Such praises of your beauty!        120
  Cleo.  Mere poetry.
Your Roman wits, your Gallus and Tibullus,
Have taught you this from Cytheris and Delia.
  Dola.  Those Roman wits have never been in Egypt;
Cytheris and Delia else had been unsung:        125
I, who have seen—had I been born a poet,
Should choose a nobler name.
  Cleo.  You flatter me.
But, ’tis your nation’s vice: All of your country
Are flatterers, and all false. Your friend’s like you.        130
I’m sure, he sent you not to speak these words.
  Dola.  No, madam; yet he sent me—
  Cleo.  Well, he sent you—
  Dola.  Of a less pleasing errand.
  Cleo.  How less pleasing?        135
Less to yourself, or me?
  Dola.  Madam, to both;
For your must mourn, and I must grieve to cause it.
  Cleo.  You, Charmion, and your fellow, stand at distance.—
Hold up, my spirits.  [Aside.]—Well, now your mournful matter;        140
For I’m prepared, perhaps can guess it too.
  Dola.  I wish you would; for ’tis a thankless office,
To tell ill news: And I, of all your sex,
Most fear displeasing you.
  Cleo.  Of all your sex,        145
I soonest could forgive you, if you should.
  Vent.  Most delicate advances! Women! women!
Dear, damned, inconstant sex!
  Cleo.  In the first place,
I am to be forsaken; is’t not so?        150
  Dola.  I wish I could not answer to that question.
  Cleo.  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 any more?        155
  Dola.  Madam, I fear
Your too deep sense of grief has turned your reason.
  Cleo.  No, no, I’m not run mad; I can bear fortune:
And love may be expelled by other love,
As poisons are by poisons.        160
  Dola.  Your o’erjoy me, madam,
To find your griefs so moderately borne.
You’ve heard the worst; all are not false like him.
  Cleo.  No; Heaven forbid they should.
  Dola.  Some men are constant.        165
  Cleo.  And constancy deserves reward, that’s certain.
  Dola.  Deserves it not; but give it leave to hope.
  Vent.  I’ll swear, thou hast my leave. I have enough:
But how to manage this! Well, I’ll consider.  [Exit.
  Dola.  I came prepared        170
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,        175
Would gladly speak its own.
  Cleo.  Hold, Dolabella.
First tell me, were you chosen by my lord?
Or sought you this employment?
  Dola.  He picked me out; and, as his bosom friend,        180
He charged me with his words.
  Cleo.  The message then
I know was tender, and each accent smooth,
To mollify that rugged word, Depart.
  Dola.  Oh, you mistake: He chose the harshest words;        185
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 Ætna,
In sounds scarce human—“Hence away for ever,        190
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.”
  Cleo.  Oh, I can bear no more!        195
  Dola.  Help, help!—O wretch! O cursed, cursed wretch!
What have I done!
  Char.  Help, chafe her temples, Iras.
Iras; Bend, bend her forward quickly.
  Char.  Heaven be praised,        200
She comes again.
  Cleo.  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;        205
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!        210
  Dola.  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,        215
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?)        220
I forged that lie; for whose forgiveness kneels
This self-accused, self-punished criminal.
  Cleo.  With how much ease believe we what we wish!
Rise, Dolabella; if you have been guilty,
I have contributed, and too much love        225
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.        230
  Dola.  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,        235
Vain sums of wealth, which none can gather thence!
  Cleo.  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        240
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.        245
  Vent.  From hence you may discover—oh, sweet, sweet!
Would you indeed? The pretty hand in earnest?
  Dola.  I will, for this reward.  [Takes her hand.
Draw it not back.        250
’Tis all I e’er will beg.
  Vent.  They turn upon us.
  Octav.  What quick eyes has guilt!
  Vent.  Seem not to have observed them, and go on.  [They enter.
  Dola.  Saw you the emperor, Ventidius?        255
  Vent.  No.
I sought him; but I heard that he was private,
None with him but Hipparchus, his freedman.
  Dola.  Know you his business?
  Vent.  Giving him instructions,        260
And letters to his brother Cæsar.
  Dola.  Well,
He must be found.  [Exeunt DOLABELLA and CLEOPATRA.
  Octav.  Most glorious impudence!
  Vent.  She looked, methought,        265
As she would say—Take your old man, Octavia;
Thank you, I’m better here.—
Well, but what use
Make we of this discovery?
  Octav.  Let it die.        270
  Vent.  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,        275
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,        280
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,        285
With Cæsar he’s endeavouring her peace.
  Octav.  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.        290
  Vent.  His guards appear.
Let me begin, and you shall second me.
  Ant.  Octavia, I was looking you, my love:
What, are your letters ready? I have given        295
My last instructions.
  Octav.  Mine, my lord, are written.
  Ant.  Ventidius.  [Drawing him aside.
  Vent.  My lord?
  Ant.  A word in private.—        300
When saw you Dolabella?
  Vent.  Now, my lord,
He parted hence; and Cleopatra with him.
  Ant.  Speak softly.—’Twas by my command he went,
To bear my last farewell.        305
  Vent.  It looked indeed  [Aloud.
Like your farewell.
  Ant.  More softly.—My farewell?
What secret meaning have you in those words
Of—My farewell? He did it by my order.        310
  Vent.  Then he obeyed your order. I suppose  [Aloud.
You bid him do it with all gentleness,
All kindness, and all-love.
  Ant.  How she mourned,
The poor forsaken creature!        315
  Vent.  She took it as she ought; she bore your parting
As she did Cæsar’s, as she would another’s,
Were a new love to come.
  Ant.  Thou dost belie her;  [Aloud.
Most basely, and maliciously belie her.        320
  Vent.  I thought not to displease you; I have done.
  Octav.  You seemed disturbed, my Lord.  [Coming up.
  Ant.  A very trifle.
Retire, my love.
  Vent.  It was indeed a trifle.        325
He sent—
  Ant.  No more. Look how thou disobey’st me;  [Angrily.
Thy life shall answer it.
  Octav.  Then ’tis no trifle.
  Vent.  [to OCTAV.] ’Tis less; a very nothing: You too saw it,        330
As well as I, and therefore ’tis no secret.
  Ant.  She saw it!
Vent; Yes: She saw young Dolabella—
  Ant.  Young Dolabella!
  Vent.  Young, I think him young,        335
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,        340
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;        345
And then she cried aloud—That constancy
Should be rewarded.
  Octav.  This I saw and heard.
  Ant.  What woman was it, whom you heard and saw
So playful with my friend?        350
Not Cleopatra?
  Vent.  Even she, my lord.
  Ant.  My Cleopatra?
  Vent.  Your Cleopatra;
Dolabella’s Cleopatra; every man’s Cleopatra.        355
  Ant.  Thou liest.
  Vent.  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.        360
  Ant.  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:        365
Urge it no further, love.
  Octav.  Are you concerned,
That she’s found false?
  Ant.  I should be, were it so;
For, though ’tis past, I would not that the world        370
Should tax my former choice, that I loved one
Of so light note; but I forgive you both.
  Vent.  What has my age deserved, that you should think
I would abuse your ears with perjury?
If Heaven be true, she’s false.        375
  Ant.  Though heaven and earth
Should witness it, I’ll not believe her tainted.
  Vent.  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.        380
  Alex.  What means my lord
  Vent.  To make you do what most you hate,—speak truth.
Your are of Cleopatra’s private counsel,
Of her bed-counsel, her lascivious hours;
Are conscious of each nightly change she makes,        385
And watch her, as Chaldæans do the moon,
Can tell what signs she passes through, what day.
  Alex.  My noble lord!
  Vent.  My most illustrious pander,
No fine set speech, no cadence, no turned periods,        390
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;        395
And when the happy hour.
  Ant.  Speak truth, Alexas; whether it offend
Or please Ventidius, care not: Justify
Thy injured queen from malice: Dare his worst.
  Octav.  [aside]. See how he gives him courage! how he fears        400
To find her false! and shuts his eyes to truth,
Willing to be misled!
  Alex.  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        405
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.
  Ant.  ’Tis well, and truly spoken: mark, Ventidius.
  Alex.  To you, most noble emperor, her strong passion        410
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,        415
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.        420
  Ant.  ’Tis but truth.
  Alex.  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,        425
Whose holy bed she lawlessly usurped.
The sad effects of this improsperous war
Confirmed those pious thoughts.
  Vent.  [aside]. Oh, wheel you there?
Observe him now; the man begins to mend,        430
And talk substantial reason.—Fear not, eunuch;
The emperor has given thee leave to speak.
  Alex.  Else had I never dared to offend his ears
With what the last necessity has urged
On my forsaken mistress; yet I must not        435
Presume to say, her heart is wholly altered.
  Ant.  No, dare not for thy life, I charge thee dare not
Pronounce that fatal word!
  Octav.  Must I bear this? Good Heaven, afford me patience.  [Aside.
  Vent.  On, sweet eunuch; my dear half-man, proceed.        440
  Alex.  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—
  Ant.  Hence from my sight! for I can bear no more:        445
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.
  Octav.  ’Tis not well.        450
Indeed, my lord, ’tis much unkind to me,
To show this passion, this extreme concernment,
For an abandoned, faithless prostitute.
  Ant.  Octavia, leave me; I am much disordered:
Leave me, I say.        455
  Octav.  My lord!
  Ant.  I bid you leave me.
  Vent.  Obey him, madam: best withdraw a while,
And see how this will work.
  Octav.  Wherein have I offended you, my lord,        460
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,        465
And fawn upon my falsehood.
  Ant.  ’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        470
Of man within, to aid me.
  Octav.  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,        475
You make conditions for her,
And would include her treaty. Wondrous proofs
Of love to me!
  Ant.  Are you my friend, Ventidius?
Or are you turned a Dolabella too,        480
And let this fury loose?
  Vent.  Oh, be advised,
Sweet madam, and retire.
  Octav.  Yes, I will go; but never to return.
You shall no more be haunted with this Fury.        485
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,        490
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,        495
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.
  Vent.  I combat Heaven, which blasts my best designs;
My last attempt must be to win her back;        500
But oh! I fear in vain.  [Exit.
  Ant.  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,        505
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,        510
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        515
Was meant for honesty; but Heaven mismatched it,
And furnished treason out with nature’s pomp,
To make its work more easy.
  Dola.  O my friend!
  Ant.  Well, Dolabella, you performed my message?        520
  Dola.  I did, unwillingly.
  Ant.  Unwillingly?
Was it so hard for you to bear our parting?
You should have wished it.
  Dola.  Why?        525
  Ant.  Because you love me.
And she received my message with as true,
With as unfeigned a sorrow as you brought it?
  Dola.  She loves you, even to madness.
  Ant.  Oh, I know it.        530
You, Dolabella, do not better know
How much she loves me. And should I
Forsake this beauty? This all-perfect creature?
  Dola.  I could not, were she mine.
  Ant.  And yet you first        535
Persuaded me: How come you altered since?
  Dola.  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,        540
That she should take her last farewell: And, see,
She comes to claim my word.
  Ant.  False Dolabella!
  Dola.  What’s false, my lord?        545
  Ant.  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.        550
  Dola.  My lord, have I
Deserved to be thus used?
  Cleo.  Can Heaven prepare
A newer torment? Can it find a curse
Beyond our separation?        555
  Ant.  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        560
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,        565
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!        570
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?
  Dola.  If she has wronged you,        575
Heaven, hell, and you revenge it.
  Ant.  If she has wronged me!
Thou wouldst evade thy part of guilt; but swear
Thou lov’st not her.
  Dola.  Not so as I love you.        580
  Ant.  Not so? Swear, swear, I say, thou dost not love her.
  Dola.  No more than friendship will allow.
  Ant.  No more?
Friendship allows thee nothing: Thou art perjured—
And yet thou didst not swear thou lov’st her not;        585
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.
  Cleo.  They are enemies.        590
  Ant.  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.        595
  Dola.  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,        600
Let not her suffer: She is innocent.
  Cleo.  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,        605
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        610
My whole life’s truth.
  Ant.  Thin cobweb arts of falsehood;
Seen, and broke through at first.
  Dola.  Forgive your mistress.
  Cleo.  Forgive your friend.        615
  Ant.  You have convinced yourselves.
You plead each other’s cause: What witness have you,
That you but meant to raise my jealousy?
  Cleo.  Ourselves, and Heaven.
  Ant.  Guilt witnesses for guilt. Hence, love and friendship!        620
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;        625
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.
  Dola.  Heaven has but        630
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        635
Than punish to extent.
  Ant.  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,        640
Is stabbed by its own guards: I’ll hear no more;
Hence from my sight for ever!
  Cleo.  How? for ever!
I cannot go one moment from your sight,
And must I go for ever?        645
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,        650
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.        655
  Ant.  I must not hear you.
I have a fool within me takes your part;
But honour stops my ears.
  Cleo.  For pity hear me!
Would you cast off a slave who followed you?        660
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!        665
  Ant.  No more: Alexas!
  Dola.  A perjured villain!
  Ant.  [to CLEO.]. Your Alexas; yours.
  Cleo.  Oh, ’twas his plot; his ruinous design,
To engage you in my love by jealousy.        670
Hear him; confront him with me; let him speak.
  Ant.  I have; I have.
  Cleo.  And if he clear me not—
  Ant.  Your creature! one, who hangs upon your smiles!
Watches your eye, to say or to unsay,        675
Whate’er you please! I am not to be moved.
  Cleo.  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,        680
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.        685
  Ant.  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,        690
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;        695
And each your own sad fate, with mine, deplore;
That you were false, and I could trust no more.  [Exeunt severally.


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