In the mean time, Octavius had heard of the mortal wound which Antony
had given himself; for one of the by-standers had seized the sword the
moment that the deed was done, and had hastened to carry it to Octavius,
and to announce to him the death of his enemy. Octavius immediately
desired to get Cleopatra into his power. He sent a messenger, therefore,
to the tomb, who attempted to open a parley there with her. Cleopatra
talked with the messenger through the keyholes or crevices, but could
not be induced to open the door. The messenger reported these facts to
Octavius. Octavius then sent another man with the messenger, and while
one was engaging the attention of Cleopatra and her women at the door
below, the other obtained ladders, and succeeded in gaining admission
into the window above. Cleopatra was warned of the success of this
stratagem by the shrieks of her women, who saw the officer coming down
the stairs. She looked around, and observing at a glance that she was
betrayed, and that the officer was coming to seize her, she drew a
little dagger from her robe, and was about to plunge it into her breast,
when the officer grasped her arm just in time to prevent the blow. He
took the dagger from her, and then examined her clothes to see that
there were no other secret weapons concealed there.

The capture of the queen being reported to Octavius, he appointed an
officer to take her into close custody. This officer was charged to
treat her with all possible courtesy, but to keep a close and constant
watch over her, and particularly to guard against allowing her any
possible means or opportunity for self-destruction.

In the mean time, Octavius took formal possession of the city, marching
in at the head of his troops with the most imposing pomp and parade. A
chair of state, magnificently decorated, was set up for him on a high
elevation in a public square; and here he sat, with circles of guards
around him, while the people of the city, assembled before him in the
dress of suppliants, and kneeling upon the pavement, begged his
forgiveness, and implore him to spare the city. These petitions the
great conqueror graciously condescended to grant.

Many of the princes and generals who had served under Antony came next
to beg the body of their commander, that they might give it an honorable
burial. These requests, however, Octavius would not accede to, saying
that he could not take the body away from Cleopatra. He, however, gave
Cleopatra leave to make such arrangements for the obsequies as she
thought fit, and allowed her to appropriate such sums of money from her
treasures for this purpose as she desired. Cleopatra accordingly made
the necessary arrangements, and superintended the execution of them;
not, however, with any degree of calmness and composure, but in a state,
on the contrary, of extreme agitation and distress. In fact, she had
been living now so long under the unlimited and unrestrained dominion of
caprice and passion, that reason was pretty effectually dethroned, and
all self-control was gone. She was now nearly forty years of age, and,
though traces of her inexpressible beauty remained, her bloom was faded,
and her countenance was wan with the effects of weeping, anxiety, and
despair. She was, in a word, both in body and mind, only the wreck and
ruin of what she once had been.

When the burial ceremonies were performed, and she found that all was
over--that Antony was forever gone, and she herself hopelessly and
irremediably ruined--she gave herself up to a perfect frensy of grief.
She beat her breast, and scratched and tore her flesh so dreadfully, in
the vain efforts which she made to kill herself, in the paroxysms of her
despair, that she was soon covered with contusions and wounds, which,
becoming inflamed and swelled, made her a shocking spectacle to see, and
threw her into a fever. She then conceived the idea of pretending to be
more sick than she was, and so refusing food and starving herself to
death. She attempted to execute this design. She rejected every medical
remedy that was offered her, and would not eat, and lived thus some days
without food. Octavius, to whom every thing relating to his captive was
minutely reported by her attendants, suspected her design. He was very
unwilling that she should die, having set his heart on exhibiting her to
the Roman people, on his return to the capital, in his triumphal
procession. He accordingly sent her orders, requiring that she should
submit to the treatment prescribed by the physician, and take her food,
enforcing these his commands with a certain threat which he imagined
might have some influence over her. And what threat does the reader
imagine could possibly be devised to reach a mind so sunk, so desperate,
so wretched as hers? Every thing seemed already lost but life, and life
was only an insupportable burden. What interests, then, had she still
remaining upon which a threat could take hold?

Octavius, in looking for some avenue by which he could reach her,
reflected that she was a mother. Caesarion, the son of Julius Caesar, and
Alexander, Cleopatra, and Ptolemy, Antony's children, were still alive.
Octavius imagined that in the secret recesses of her wrecked and ruined
soul there might be some lingering principle of maternal affection
remaining which he could goad into life and action. He accordingly sent
word to her that, if she did not yield to the physician and take her
food, he would kill every one of her children.

The threat produced its effect. The crazed and frantic patient became
calm. She received her food. She submitted to the physician. Under his
treatment her wounds began to heal, the fever was allayed, and at length
she appeared to be gradually recovering.

When Octavius learned that Cleopatra had become composed, and seemed to
be in some sense convalescent, he resolved to pay her a visit. As he
entered the room where she was confined, which seems to have been still
the upper chamber of her tomb, he found her lying on a low and miserable
bed, in a most wretched condition, and exhibiting such a spectacle of
disease and wretchedness that he was shocked at beholding her. She
appeared, in fact, almost wholly bereft of reason. When Octavius came
in, she suddenly leaped out of the bed, half naked as she was, and
covered with bruises and wounds, and crawled miserably along to her
conqueror's feet in the attitude of a suppliant. Her hair was torn from
her head, her limbs were swollen and disfigured, and great bandages
appeared here and there, indicating that there were still worse injuries
than these concealed. From the midst of all this squalidness and misery
there still beamed from her sunken eyes a great portion of their former
beauty, and her voice still possessed the same inexpressible charm that
had characterized it so strongly in the days of her prime. Octavius made
her go back to her bed again and lie down.

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