Cleopatra began now to be afraid that she was to lose Antony again, and
she at once began to resort to the usual artifices employed in such
cases, in order to retain her power over him. She said nothing, but
assumed the appearance of one pining under the influence of some secret
suffering or sorrow. She contrived to be often surprised in tears. In
such cases she would hastily brush her tears away, and assume a
countenance of smiles and good humor, as if making every effort to be
happy, though really oppressed with a heavy burden of anxiety and grief.
When Antony was near her she would seem overjoyed at his presence, and
gaze upon him with an expression of the most devoted fondness. When
absent from him, she spent her time alone, always silent and dejected,
and often in tears; and she took care that the secret sorrows and
sufferings that she endured should be duly made known to Antony, and
that he should understand that they were all occasioned by her love for
him, and by the danger which she apprehended that he was about to leave

The friends and secret agents of Cleopatra, who reported these things to
Antony, made, moreover, direct representations to him, for the purpose
of inclining his mind in her favor. They had, in fact, the astonishing
audacity to argue that Cleopatra's claims upon Antony for a continuance
of his love were paramount to those of Octavia. She, that is, Octavia,
had been his wife, they said, only for a very short time. Cleopatra had
been most devotedly attached to him for many years. Octavia was married
to him, they alleged, not under the impulse of love, but from political
considerations alone, to please her brother, and to ratify and confirm a
political league made with him. Cleopatra, on the other hand, had given
herself up to him in the most absolute and unconditional manner, under
the influence solely of a personal affection which she could not
control. She had surrendered and sacrificed every thing to him. For him
she had lost her good name, alienated the affections of her subjects,
made herself the object of reproach and censure to all mankind, and now
she had left her native land to come and join him in his adverse
fortunes. Considering how much she had done, and suffered, and
sacrificed for his sake, it would be extreme and unjustifiable cruelty
in him to forsake her now. She never would survive such an abandonment.
Her whole soul was so wrapped up in him, that she would pine away and
die if he were now to forsake her.

Antony was distressed and agitated beyond measure by the entanglements
in which he found that he was involved. His duty, his inclination
perhaps, certainly his ambition, and every dictate of prudence and
policy required that he should break away from these snares at once and
go to meet Octavia. But the spell that bound him was too mighty to be
dissolved. He yielded to Cleopatra's sorrows and tears. He dispatched a
messenger to Octavia, who had by this time reached Athens, in Greece,
directing her not to come any farther. Octavia, who seemed incapable of
resentment or anger against her husband, sent back to ask what she
should do with the troops, and money, and the military stores which she
was bringing. Antony directed her to leave them in Greece. Octavia did
so, and mournfully returned to her home.

As soon as she arrived at Rome, Octavius, her brother, whose indignation
was now thoroughly aroused at the baseness of Antony, sent to his sister
to say that she must leave Antony's house and come to him. A proper
self-respect, he said, forbade her remaining any longer under the roof
of such a man. Octavia replied that she would not leave her husband's
house. That house was her post of duty, whatever her husband might do,
and there she would remain. She accordingly retired within the precincts
of her old home, and devoted herself in patient and uncomplaining sorrow
to the care of the family and the children. Among these children was one
young son of Antony's, born during his marriage with her predecessor
Fulvia. In the mean time, while Octavia was thus faithfully though
mournfully fulfilling her duties as wife and mother, in her husband's
house at Rome, Antony himself had gone with Cleopatra to Alexandria, and
was abandoning himself once more to a life of guilty pleasure there. The
greatness of mind which this beautiful and devoted wife thus displayed,
attracted the admiration of all mankind. It produced, however, one other
effect, which Octavia must have greatly deprecated. It aroused a strong
and universal feeling of indignation against the unworthy object toward
whom this extraordinary magnanimity was displayed.

In the mean time, Antony gave himself up wholly to Cleopatra's influence
and control, and managed all the affairs of the Roman empire in the East
in the way best fitted to promote her aggrandizement and honor. He made
Alexandria his capital, celebrated triumphs there, arranged ostentatious
expeditions into Asia and Syria with Cleopatra and her train, gave her
whole provinces as presents, and exalted her two sons, Alexander and
Ptolemy, children born during the period of his first acquaintance with
her, to positions of the highest rank and station, as his own
acknowledged sons. The consequences of these and similar measures at
Rome were fatal to Antony's character and standing. Octavius reported
every thing to the Roman Senate and people, and made Antony's
misgovernment and his various misdemeanors the ground of the heaviest
accusations against him. Antony, hearing of these things, sent his
agents to Rome and made accusations against Octavius; but these counter
accusations were of no avail. Public sentiment was very strong and
decided against him at the capital, and Octavius began to prepare for

[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] [20] [21] [22] [23] [24] [25] [26] [27] [28] [29] [30] [31] [32] [33] [34] [35] [36] [37] [38] [39] [40] [41] [42] [43] [44] [45] [46] [47] [48] [49] [50] [51] [52] [53] [54] [55] [56] [57] [58] [59] [60] [61] [62] [63] [64] [65] [66] [67] [68] [69] [70] [71] [72] [73] [74] [75] [76] [77] [78] [79] [80] [81] [82] [83] [84] [85] [86] [87] [88] [89] [90] [91] [92] [93] [94] [95] [96] [97] [98] [99] [100] [101] [102] [103] [104] [105] [106] [107] [108] [109] [110] [111] [112] [113] [114] [115] [116] [117] [118] [119] [120] [121] [122] [123] [124] [125] [126] [127] [128] [129] [130] [131] [132] [133] [134] [135] [136] [137] [138] [139] [140] [141] [142] [143] [144] [145] [146] [147] [148] [149] [150] [151] [152] [153] [154] [155] [156] [157] [158] [159] [160] [161] [162] [163] [164] [165]