Cleopatra then began to talk and excuse herself for what she had done,
attributing all the blame of her conduct to Antony. Octavius, however,
interrupted her, and defended Antony from her criminations, saying to
her that it was not his fault so much as hers. She then suddenly changed
her tone, and acknowledging her sins, piteously implored mercy. She
begged Octavius to pardon and spare her, as if now she were afraid of
death and dreaded it, instead of desiring it as a boon. In a word, her
mind, the victim and the prey alternately of the most dissimilar and
inconsistent passions, was now overcome by fear. To propitiate Octavius,
she brought out a list of all her private treasures, and delivered it to
him as a complete inventory of all that she had. One of her treasurers,
however, named Zeleucus, who was standing by, said to Octavius that that
list was not complete. Cleopatra had, he alleged, reserved several
things of great value, which she had not put down upon it.

This assertion, thus suddenly exposing her duplicity, threw Cleopatra
into a violent rage. She sprang from her bed and assaulted her secretary
in a most furious manner. Octavius and the others who were here
interposed, and compelled Cleopatra to lie down again, which she did,
uttering all the time the most grievous complaints at the wretched
degradation to which she was reduced, to be insulted thus by her own
servant at such a time. If she had reserved any thing, she said, of her
private treasures, it was only for presents to some of her faithful
friends, to induce them the more zealously to intercede with Octavius in
her behalf. Octavius replied by urging her to feel no concern on the
subject whatever. He freely gave her, he said, all that she had
reserved, and he promised in other respects to treat her in the most
honorable and courteous manner.

Octavius was much pleased at the result of this interview. It was
obvious, as it appeared to him, that Cleopatra had ceased to desire to
die; that she now, on the contrary, wished to live, and that he should
accordingly succeed in his desire of taking her him to grace his triumph
at Rome. He accordingly made his arrangements for departure, and
Cleopatra was notified that in three days she was to set out, together
with her children, to go into Syria. Octavius said Syria, as he did not
wish to alarm Cleopatra by speaking of Rome. She, however, understood
well where the journey, if once commenced, would necessarily end, and
she was fully determined in her own mind that she would never go there.

She asked to be allowed to pay one parting visit to Antony's tomb. This
request was granted; and she went to the tomb with a few attendants,
carrying with her chaplets and garlands of flowers. At the tomb her
grief broke forth anew, and was as violent as ever. She bewailed her
lover's death with loud cries and lamentations, uttered while she was
placing the garlands upon the tomb, and offering the oblations and
incense, which were customary in those days, as expressions of grief.
"These," said she, as she made the offerings, "are the last tributes of
affection that I can ever pay thee, my dearest, dearest lord. I can not
join thee, for I am a captive and a prisoner, and they will not let me
die. They watch me every hour, and are going to bear me far away, to
exhibit me to thine enemies, as a badge and trophy of their triumph over
thee. Oh intercede, dearest Antony, with the gods where thou art now,
since those that reign here on earth have utterly forsaken me; implore
them to save me from this fate, and let me die here in my native land,
and be buried by thy side in this tomb."

When Cleopatra returned to her apartment again after this melancholy
ceremony, she seemed to be more composed than she had been before. She
went to the bath, and then she attired herself handsomely for supper.
She had ordered supper that night to be very sumptuously served. She was
at liberty to make these arrangements, for the restrictions upon her
movements, which had been imposed at first, were now removed, her
appearance and demeanor having been for some time such as to lead
Octavius to suppose that there was no longer any danger that she would
attempt self-destruction. Her entertainment was arranged, therefore,
according to her directions, in a manner corresponding with the customs
of her court when she had been a queen. She had many attendants, and
among them were two of her own women. These women were long-tried and
faithful servants and friends.

While she was at supper, a man tame to the door with a basket, and
wished to enter. The guards asked him what he had in his basket. He
opened it to let them see; and, lifting up some green leaves which were
laid over the top, he showed the soldiers that the basket was filled
with figs. He said that they were for Cleopatra's supper. The soldiers
admired the appearance of the figs, saying that they were very fine and
beautiful. The man asked the soldiers to take some of them. This they
declined, but allowed the man to pass in. When the supper was ended,
Cleopatra sent all of her attendants away except the two women. They
remained. After a little time, one of these women came out with a letter
for Octavius, which Cleopatra had written, and which she wished to have
immediately delivered. One of the soldiers from the guard stationed at
the gates was accordingly dispatched to carry the letter. Octavius, when
it was given to him, opened the envelope at once and read the letter,
which was written, as was customary in those days, on a small tablet of
metal. He found that it was a brief but urgent petition from Cleopatra,
written evidently in agitation and excitement, praying that he would
overlook her offense, and allow her to be buried with Antony. Octavius
immediately inferred that she had destroyed herself. He sent off some
messengers at once, with orders to go directly to her place of
confinement and ascertain the truth, intending to follow them himself
immediately.

[...]
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