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Meeting of Antony and Cleopatra, Death of Cleopatra

Cleopatra, San Francisco: Bancroft, 1889

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So, lighting flames far brighter than e'er on altar shone, Till he, the world's great Tribune, knew but my will alone. No stern, ice-blooded Caesar, no calculating lord Weighing 'gainst Cleopatra his honor and his sword— But Antony, a hero, for whom my crown and throne Were doubly worth the losing so that his love were won ! Like very gods we feasted, the sparkling wine outpoured; Still sacrificed to Bacchus, as Eros we adored. Wrapped in his warm embraces, while Sirius lit the dome, What cared I then for Egypt, or what cared he for Rome? He held—Rome's haughtiest Consul—this, every boon above, By my rich kiss made royal, immortal by my love. My fragrant breath inhaling, which e'er inflamed anew, The frenzied blood sent molten his throbbing pulses through. Half maddened by the rapture, his touch's magic charm, I clasped, and kissed, and held him to fire, delight, and calm. So lay we, steeped in pleasure, till dawn had veiled the stars, I yielding love life Venus to him, my Roman Mars, Until the war-note's summons died 'mid soft music rare, While breath of lotus-blossom grew faint on odorous air; Till he, who came to conquer, lay conquered by my side— Gave up for Cleopatra, the world, his fame, his bride, Of all my glorious triumphs, this shall the lustre dim ; He, Latium's conquering Consul—I, conqueror of him!

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