American Egyptomania Search

Meeting of Antony and Cleopatra, Death of Cleopatra

Cleopatra, San Francisco: Bancroft, 1889

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How stirs the blood within me, when they but call his name ! At thought of his embraces my pulses leap in flame! I live but half my being until again I taste The rapture of thy kisses—haste, Antony ! oh, haste! Bring out the regal purple—bring out my diadem ! I'll tire me for the victor with every flaming gem. Though fair as Aphrodite at Tarsus, when we met In city of Serapis, my charms are potent yet. When, flushed with pride of conquest, the consul summons sent That Egypt should attend him, in conscious power I went. Each met to slay the other, and each became the slain, But, by the great Osiris ! I'd die that death again ! 0, that wild night on Cydmus, when Sirius shone above, We poured out full libations, and owned no god but Love ! Then maddened by the rapture of passion's frenzied glow, We burned with fiercer fires than Isis' altars know. Scorning all other triumphs, he reveled in my charms, While all the world I cared for I held within my arms. That night e'en gods might envy ! Come, Antony, once more. I'll rouse my throbbing pulses, like wine my- kisses pour ! Now, by the throne of Pharaoh, let fame, ambition slip ! For Egypt longs to clasp you, an empire, on her lip. The lotus-perfumed breezes blow soft o'er reedy Nile; Our Alexandrian revels and Cleopatra's smile Await to greet the victor. Hark, hark ! that odious shout ! It bath a sound like "Ruin.!'' There Charmian, list without. Who dares to couple ruin with the Triumvir's name? Or who dares cry "Disaster!" and blare forth Egypt's shame? Ha ! by our sire, Sesostris ! by every Ptolemy ! I'll teach the slaves a lesson when comes Marc Antony. Perchance that pale Octavia hath chilled with cold embrace The martial blood within him. Her frozen, marble face Hath turned to ice his fires; thus some mischance hath come. Then needed he his Egypt, to thaw that frost of Rome, But he, the great Triumvir, and Cleopatra's lord Hath won too many triumphs to fall 'heath Caesar's sword. Ho, guards! enforce a silence! When next the rabble cry They'll cheer the mighty Tribune, and hail his victory.

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