Meeting of Antony and Cleopatra
[After the death of Caesar, was formed the second Triumvirate, of which Marc Antony
was the greatest. Having firmly established his power, he hastened to display its pomp.
Passing over to Greece, and making some stay in Athens, he thence proceeded to Asia,
journeying from kingdom to kingdom, attended by conquered monarchs, and giving away
crowns and states with lavish hand. To exhibit now his glory, and render more brilliant still
his triumph, he summoned Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt, to appear before his Tribunal at
Tarsus, to answer the charge of conspiracy against Rome ; that she who had held Caesar
captive in her chains might bow to his power. In all the splendor of her beauty, most
gorgeously displayed, the Semiramis of Egypt approached. Scorning the very appearance of
homage the haughty Eastern syren came with the sole intention of captivating Antony. He,
fascinated by her charms, forgot his ambition and became her willing slave.]
THE arms of the proud Roman had triumphed over all,
His eagle flew, victorious, o'er vanquished tower and wall;
The chiefs of the Athenians, the sovereigns of the East,
Honored his haughty progress, his stately train increased.
While tribute here he levied, a crown he there bestowed,
What wonder that this Consul with pride of conquest glowed?
What wonder, then, forgetting that I, whose proud blood came
From Cheops and Cephreues, of Ptolemy's great name—
That I, upon whose bosom Love lay with pinions furled,
Had but to raise my eyelids to subjugate the world !—
What wonder, then, forgetting that I, of Pharaoh's line,
Unconquered monarch, reigned by right yet more divine—
By right of woman's beauty, than crown far higher power!
Forgetting this, he summoned, and set apart an hour
When I to him should answer at Tarsus, on the plea
Of treason 'gainst the city—'gainst Rome, conspiracy.