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Table of contents
THE VALLEY OF THE NILE.
THE PTOLEMIES.
ALEXANDRIA.
CLEOPATRA'S FATHER.
ACCESSION TO THE THRONE.
CLEOPATRA AND Caesar.
THE ALEXANDRINE WAR.
CLEOPATRA A QUEEN.
THE BATTLE OF PHILIPPI.
CLEOPATRA AND ANTONY.
THE BATTLE OF ACTIUM.
THE END OF CLEOPATRA.

CHAPTER XII.

 

 

THE END OF CLEOPATRA.

 

 

Infatuation of Antony.--His early character--Powerful influence of 

Cleopatra over Antony,--Indignation at Antony's conduct.--Plans of 

Cleopatra.--Antony becomes a misanthrope.--His hut on the island of 

Pharos--Antony's reconciliation with Cleopatra.--Scenes of 

revelry.--Cleopatra makes a collection of poisons.--Her experiments with 

them.--Antony's suspicions.--Cleopatra's stratagem.--The bite of the 

asp.--Cleopatra's tomb.--Progress of Octavius.--Proposal of 

Antony.--Octavius at Pelusium.--Cleopatra's treasures.--Fears of 

Octavius.--He arrives at Alexandria.--The sally.--The unfaithful 

captain.--Disaffection of Antony's men.--Desertion of the fleet.--False 

rumor of Cleopatra's death.--Antony's despair.--Eros.--Antony's attempt 

to kill himself.--Antony taken to Cleopatra.--She refuses to open the 

door.--Antony taken in at the window.--Cleopatra's grief.--Death of 

Antony.--Cleopatra made prisoner.--Treatment of Cleopatra.--Octavius 

takes possession of Alexandria.--Antony's funeral.--Cleopatra's wretched 

condition.--Cleopatra's wounds and bruises.--She resolves to starve 

herself.--Threats of Octavius.--Their effect.--Octavius visits 

Cleopatra.--Her wretched condition.--The false inventory.--Cleopatra in 

a rage.--Octavius deceived.--Cleopatra's determination.--Cleopatra 

visits Antony's tomb.--Her composure on her return.--Cleopatra's 

supper.--The basket of figs.--Cleopatra's letter to Octavius.--She is 

found dead.--Death of Charmion.--Amazement of the by-standers.--Various 

conjectures as to the cause of Cleopatra's death.--Opinion of 

Octavius.--His triumph. 

 

The case of Mark Antony affords one of the most extraordinary examples 

of the power of unlawful love to lead its deluded and infatuated victim 

into the very jaws of open and recognized destruction that history 

records. Cases similar in character occur by thousands in common life; 

but Antony's, though perhaps not more striking in itself than a great 

multitude of others have been, is the most conspicuous instance that has 

ever been held up to the observation of mankind. 

 

In early life, Antony was remarkable, as we have already seen, for a 

certain savage ruggedness of character, and for a stern and indomitable 

recklessness of will, so great that it seemed impossible that any thing 

human should be able to tame him. He was under the control, too, of an 

ambition so lofty and aspiring that it appeared to know no bounds; and 

yet we find him taken possession of, in the very midst of his career, 

and in the height of his prosperity and success, by a woman, and so 

subdued by her arts and fascinations as to yield himself wholly to her 

guidance, and allow himself to be led about by her entirely at her will. 

She displaces whatever there might have been that was noble and generous 

in his heart, and substitutes therefor her own principles of malice and 

cruelty. She extinguishes all the fires of his ambition, originally so 

magnificent in its aims that the world seemed hardly large enough to 

afford it scope, and instead of this lofty passion, fills his soul with 

a love of the lowest, vilest, and most ignoble pleasures. She leads him 

to betray every public trust, to alienate from himself all the 

affections of his countrymen, to repel most cruelly the kindness and 

devotedness of a beautiful and faithful wife, and, finally to expel this 

wife and all of his own legitimate family from his house; and now, at 

last, she conducts him away in a most cowardly and ignoble flight from 

the field of his duty as a soldier--he knowing, all the time, that she 

is hurrying him to disgrace and destruction, and yet utterly without 

power to break from the control of his invisible chains. 

 

The indignation which Antony's base abandonment of his fleet and army at 

the battle of Actium excited, over all that part of the empire which had 

been under his command, was extreme. There was not the slightest 

possible excuse for such a flight. His army, in which his greatest 

strength lay, remained unharmed, and even his fleet was not defeated. 

The ships continued the combat until night, notwithstanding the betrayal 

of their cause by their commander. They were at length, however, 

subdued. The army, also, being discouraged, and losing all motive for 

resistance, yielded too. In a very short time the whole country went 

over to Octavius's side. 

 

In the mean time, Cleopatra and Antony, on their first return to Egypt, 


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