But as the civilest man in the company is commonly the dullest, so these authors, while they are afraid to make you laugh or cry, out of pure good manners make you sleep. A brave man scorns to quarrel once a day; Like Hectors in at every petty fray. I hope to see These and the rest of all her sparkling store, Where they shall more deservingly be placed. Cleopatra flees and Alexas is left behind. Both Antonys are men acknowledging the doom of their fate, but Dryden puts up more of a fight. To my ears, the message sounds-- Come to my rescue, Cleopatra, come; Come, free me from Ventidius; from my tyrant: See me, and give me a pretence to leave him! This honest man, my best, my only friend, Has gathered up the shipwreck of my fortunes; Twelve legions I have left, my last recruits. Would it had slept, Divided far from his; till some remote And future age had called it out, to ruin Some other prince, not him! Yes, to your shame be't spoken.
But he was, on the whole, an honest man, open minded, genial, candid, and modest; the wielder of a style, both in verse and prose, unmatched for clearness, vigor, and sanity. But now they Antony and Dolabella are not on good terms as someday in the past, Dolabella fell in love with Cleopatra and Antony made him leave Egypt. Let it be past with you: Forget him, madam. Let those find fault whose wit's so very small, They've need to show that they can think at all; Errors, like straws, upon the surface flow; He who would search for pearls, must dive below. The emperor approaches, and commands, On pain of death, that none presume to stay.
Yet the foe Seems not to press the siege. Using his Dedication, Dryden took advantage of this political turmoil by attempting to befriend Danby, one of the most powerful members of the Cabinet. Why didst thou tempt my anger, by discovery Of what I would not hear? Thou long'st to curse me, and I give thee leave. You promised me your silence, and you break it Ere I have scarce begun. When he expresses his desire to find Cleopatra innocent, Octavia leaves him. He says that Antony was a brave soldier but Cleopatra has made him useless with her false love. I never will complain, But only keep the barren name of wife, And rid you of the trouble.
A little later, Dolabella and Cleopatra enter, who are unaware of the situation. Octavia tells Antony the war will stop when he returns to his rightful place, by her side. He is seen as dominating the literary life of Restoration England to such a point that the period came to be known in literary circles as the Age of Dryden. I loved you still, and took your weak excuses, Took you into my bosom, stained by Caesar, And not half mine: I went to Egypt with you, And hid me from the business of the world, Shut out inquiring nations from my sight, To give whole years to you. I warrant thee, old soldier. Dolabella and Ventidius scold him for his behavior and force him to accept his wife and daughters. Still, there's plenty to learn from the comparison.
Cleopatra tells him this would make him a traitor and that he cannot go to Caesar. Our little sonneteers, who follow them, have too narrow souls to judge of poetry. From hence it comes that so many satires on poets, and censures of their writings, fly abroad. Oh, she has decked his ruin with her love, Led him in golden bands to gaudy slaughter, And made perdition pleasing: She has left him The blank of what he was. Nevertheless, the inherent lessons are timeless, and if the tale itself is well-worn it is also true that it has the same satisfying feeling as putting on a well-worn shoe. These have been transliterated into Roman characters, and are set off by angle brackets, for example,. Octavia: A Roman: A name, that makes and can unmake a queen.
You will not leave me then? No wonder Antony choose to leave her, although why he'd go to such a lackl I fail to understand why someone who clearly doesn't respect women would write a play about one of history's most impressive women. Caesar stept in, and, with a greedy hand, Plucked the green fruit, ere the first blush of red, Yet cleaving to the bough. Ventidius tells Antony that Cleopatra and Dollabella have become lovers and Octavia also bears witness. I liked the fact that Cleopatra is seen different from the perspective of the other characters and makes the reader wonder how the author actually wanted to picture her. You called; my love obeyed the fatal summons: This raised the Roman arms; the cause was yours.
For what can deserve a greater place in the English chronicle, than the loyalty and courage, the actions and death, of the general of an army, fighting for his prince and country? Thus Cleopatra bids: Let labour cease; To pomp and triumphs give this happy day, That gave the world a lord: 'tis Antony's. Set out before your doors The images of all your sleeping fathers, With laurels crowned; with laurels wreath your posts, And strew with flowers the pavement; let the priests Do present sacrifice; pour out the wine, And call the gods to join with you in gladness. A thousand wishes, and ten thousand prayers, Millions of blessings wait you to the wars; Millions of sighs and tears she sends you too, And would have sent As many dear embraces to your arms, As many parting kisses to your lips; But those, she fears, have wearied you already. I found him, then, Encompassed round, I think, with iron statues; So mute, so motionless his soldiers stood, While awfully he cast his eyes about, And every leader's hopes or fears surveyed: Methought he looked resolved, and yet not pleased. With croaking notes they bode some dire event, And follow dying poets by the scent.
If he have a friend, whose hastiness in writing is his greatest fault, Horace would have taught him to have minced the matter, and to have called it readiness of thought, and a flowing fancy; for friendship will allow a man to christen an imperfection by the name of some neighbour virtue-- Vellem in amicitia sic erraremus; et isti Errori nomen virtus posuisset honestum. Your friends on the other side were only capable of pitying, but not of aiding you; no further help or counsel was remaining to you, but what was founded on yourself; and that indeed was your security; for your diligence, your constancy, and your prudence, wrought most surely within, when they were not disturbed by any outward motion. Dolabella refuses but when Antony insists, he agrees at last. Why then does Antony dream out his hours, And tempts not fortune for a noble day, Which might redeem what Actium lost? The audience had a fine time on't, you may imagine; they sat in a bodily fear, and looked as demurely as they could: for it was a hanging matter to laugh unseasonably; and the tyrants were suspicious, as they had reason, that their subjects had them in the wind; so, every man, in his own defence, set as good a face upon the business as he could. If you hope for greatness from Marc Antony you will only find its potential and a lot of indecision. Antony then tells Ventidus to end his life, but Ventidius refuses and kills himself.