Antony and Octavius. Scenes for the Study - Scene the Ninth


Dolabella . Where hast thou put Caesarion?
Scopas . Nigh at hand.
Dolabella . What is he doing?
Scopas . Just what lads like most;
Munching a water-melon.
There is good,
At least good-nature, in that simple soul.
While most were sleeping in the night of noon
I brought him hither. Thirsty were we both
And wine I offer'd him: he pusht it by
And said, " I drink no wine; bring water-melons."
I brought him one: he cut it fairly thro',
And gave me half before he toucht the other,
Saying, " but keep the seeds, the round and black,
That I may plant them, when we get to Rome,
With my own hands in garden all my own."
Dolabella . Poor innocent!
Scopas . I could not help but smile.
Dolabella . For once I envy thee.
But call him in.
Scopas . Ho! youngster! here!
Caesarion . What means that loud rude speech?
This man seems civiler; I may converse
With him, but never more, thou churl, with thee.
Dolabella . I would, my fair young friend, his voice less rough,
But honest Romans are sometimes abrupt.
Scopas is sorry.
Caesarion . Honest! sorry too!
I then was wrong, and am more vext than he.
Scopas . Boy! I could wish I never saw thy face
Nor heard thy tongue.
Caesarion . What can he mean?
Dolabella . He feels
The offence he gave.
Caesarion . Good man, be comforted,
And let my hand atone for face and tongue.
Scopas ( to D OLABELLA ). That smile disarms me.
Dolabella . My sweet prince, observe
How he repents.
I have some words to speak
In private to him: but I first would hear
How fare your little brothers.
Caesarion . They are gone,
Both gone: two maidens carried them away
Before a noble-looking man they call
Dolabella . Gone? say you? and with Agrippa?
O that I could have seen them ere they went!
Caesarion . No matter; I will tell you all about them,
It is not much, if you desire to know.
One can not talk, the other talks all day,
One smiles at me, the other pulls my hair,
But he smiles too, and then runs off as fleet
As my gazelle, yet easier to be caught.
You have heard all, and now will I return
And leave you, as you wish: I know my way.
Dolabella . The duty must be done; 'tis Caesar's will.
Scopas . Then done it shall be.
Dolabella . Take this token: here;
Take this too; ninety golden of like weight
Lie in the leather.
Scopas . Thanks; the deed is done. [ Alone .
What do these letters, bright and sharp, denote?
CÆSAR DICTATOR ; and what else beneath?
Gods above! PERPETUO too!
Ashes may be perpetual: nothing more
Remains of our dictator. Take the urn,
Empty it, weigh its inwards: poise the two,
This inch-broad coin with it; and what I toss
On my forefinger is the solider.
I must go in.
Caesarion . 'Tis very kind in you
To visit me again: you bear no malice.
I know at once who loves me.
Scopas . And do I?
Caesarion . One moment yes, one moment no. My handsome
And gentle cousin does not love me quite;
I wish he did, I want so to love him .
How cool and quiet is this small dim room!
It wants no cushion: I begin to think
The hard stone-seat refreshes more the limbs.
Will you not try?
Scopas . Not yet; but presently.
Caesarion . My mother is not here; you need not mind.
People must not sit down before a queen;
But before boys, whatever boys they are,
Men may, and should.
Oh! what can I have done?
And did you strike me? Would you strike again?
What runs into my sandals from my breast?
Oh! it begins to pain me . . sadly, sadly!
Scopas . By all the Gods and Goddesses above!
I have no strength to strike the boy again.
Caesarion . O father! father! where is now that face
So gravely fond that bent o'er your Caesarion?
And, mother! thou too gone! In all this gloom
Where shall I find thee? Scopas! Scopas! help!
Scopas . Away with me! Where is the door? Against it
Stands he? or follows he? Crazed! I am crazed!
O had but he been furious! had he struck me!
Struggled, or striven, or lookt despitefully!
Anything, anything but call my name
So tenderly. O had that mild reproach
Of his been keener when his sense return'd,
Only to leave him ever-lastingly,
I might not have been, what I now am, frantic.
Upturn'd to me those wandering orbs, outspred
Those quivering arms, falling the last of him,
And striking once, and only once, the floor,
It shook my dagger to the very hilt,
And ran like lightning up into my brain.
Rate this poem: 


No reviews yet.