He had already done something in this line; and after a series of translations from Juvenal, Persius, and Ovid, he undertook, at the age of sixty-three, the enormous task of turning the entire works of Virgil into English verse. I do, to see officious love. That's my royal master; And, shall we fight? For no Christian monarchy is so absolute, but it is circumscribed with laws; but when the executive power is in the law-makers, there is no further check upon them; and the people must suffer without a remedy, because they are oppressed by their representatives. Antony is about to fight Ventidius, when Alexas arrives and tells them Cleopatra is dead. Octavia goes away and Cleopatra fears that she will lose Antony. How stands the queen affected? Gods, let me see that day, And, if I have ten years behind, take all: I'll thank you for the exchange. Thou favour'st me, and speak'st not half thou think'st; For Julius fought it out, and lost it fairly.
Ventidius says that Octavius is not short of the army and danger stills prevail over them. Yet, I confess, I neither am or ought to be surprised at this indulgence; for your lordship has the same right to favour poetry, which the great and noble have ever had-- Carmen amat, quisquis carmine digna gerit. In faith, my lord, we courtiers too are awkward In these affairs: so are all men indeed: Even I, who am not one. Saying this he distributes bracelets to the soldiers. You are robbed of your privacy and friends, and scarce any hour of your life you can call your own. Meanwhile, Alexas persuades Cleopatra to show Antony that she loves Dolabella and out of jealousy, Antony will return back to her. Ours gives himself for gone; y' have watched your time: He fights this day unarmed,--without his rhyme;-- And brings a tale which often has been told; As sad as Dido's; and almost as old.
And therefore begged you not to use a power, Which he could ill resist; yet he should ever Respect you, as he ought. Three types of comedy appeared in England in the time of Dryden-- the comedy of humors, the comedy of intrigue, and the comedy of manners--and in all he did work that classed him with the ablest of his contemporaries. Then, with so swift an ebb the flood drove backward, It slipt from underneath the scaly herd: Here monstrous phocae panted on the shore; Forsaken dolphins there with their broad tails, Lay lashing the departing waves: hard by them, Sea horses floundering in the slimy mud, Tossed up their heads, and dashed the ooze about them. Although Antony is insulted by Ventidius's opinions regarding Cleopatra and refuses to hear anything negative about her , Antony agrees. They tell him that he should reconcile with Octavia and thus the danger of Caesar will wither away. All things were in the confusion of a chaos, without form or method, if not reduced beyond it, even to annihilation; so that you had not only to separate the jarring elements, but if that boldness of expression might be allowed me to create them. He also reminds her of the last battle in which she left him alone on the battlefield and she ran away.
The occasion is fair, and the subject would be pleasant to handle the difference of styles betwixt him and Fletcher, and wherein, and how far they are both to be imitated. Horace likewise gives it for a rule in his art of poetry-- ------- Vos exemplaria Graeca Nocturna versate manu, versate diurna. I know thou cam'st prepared to rail. It's funny how the end of the play made me think about Romeo and Juliet, same kind of tragedy. Ventidius has o'ercome, and he will go. Alexas, the eunuch, who is in the service of Cleopatra comes to them and scolds Serapion for telling his cooked dreams to others and warns him of doing so. I tell thee, eunuch, she has quite unmanned him.
Please you, retire a while; I'll work him first, That he may bend more easy. The faults my enemies have found are rather cavils concerning little and not essential decencies; which a master of the ceremonies may decide betwixt us. Let those find fault whose wit's so very small, They've need to show that they can think at all; Errors, like straws, upon the surface flow; He who would search for pearls, must dive below. Neither is it enough for them to answer, that they only intend a reformation of the government, but not the subversion of it: on such pretence all insurrections have been founded; it is striking at the root of power, which is obedience. Through a plot by Ventidius, Antony is nearly convinced that Cleopatra and Dolabella are romantically involved. But till some genius, as universal as Aristotle, shall arise, one who can penetrate into all arts and sciences, without the practice of them, I shall think it reasonable, that the judgment of an artificer in his own art should be preferable to the opinion of another man; at least where he is not bribed by interest, or prejudiced by malice. Dryden lived in an age of reaction against excessive religious idealism, and both his character and his works are marked by the somewhat unheroic traits of such a period.
Well pushed: that last was home. About All for Love All for Love or, The World Well Lost is John Dryden's 1677 adaptation of the tragedy of Antony and Cleopatra into a neo-classical quintet with supporting voices: After Cleopatra's desertion of Antony at the battle of Actium, not only his wife Octavia but also his general Ventidius and his friend Dolabella strive to win him over to their side. But now they Antony and Dolabella are not on good terms as someday in the past, Dolabella fell in love with Cleopatra and Antony made him leave Egypt. In these he shows himself not only a critic of sound and penetrating judgment, but the first master of modern English prose style. Ventidius then asks about Antony and is told that he is quite depressed and does not meet anybody. Cleopatra and Octavia have an argument, it seems clear that Octavia is whom Antony rightfully belongs to, even if it is not she whom he loves most. This was good manners with a vengeance; and the audience is like to be much concerned at the misfortunes of this admirable hero.
There is somewhat of a tie in nature betwixt those who are born for worthy actions, and those who can transmit them to posterity; and though ours be much the inferior part, it comes at least within the verge of alliance; nor are we unprofitable members of the commonwealth, when we animate others to those virtues, which we copy and describe from you. Not considering that they are not to expect the same approbation from sober men, which they have found from their flatterers after the third bottle. O that thou wert my equal; great in arms As the first Caesar was, that I might kill thee Without a stain to honour! Cleopatra flees and Alexas is left behind. I would be private: leave me. Both Dolabella and Antony explain how much they missed each other. I never will complain, But only keep the barren name of wife, And rid you of the trouble. When I beheld you first, it was in Egypt.
It makes the determination and certainty of Cleopatra and Octavia all the more heartbreaking since the object of their mutual affection is such a sadsack. But,--let me witness to the worth I hate,-- A braver Roman never drew a sword; Firm to his prince, but as a friend, not slave, He ne'er was of his pleasures; but presides O'er all his cooler hours, and morning counsels: In short the plainness, fierceness, rugged virtue, Of an old true-stampt Roman lives in him. What, to refuse her bracelet! Each player is compelling in dialogue, but as one reads the play, he gets the impression that fate will have its way regardless of the influential forces at work. Young, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, June 1999. My lord, I saw you not, Nor meant my words should reach you ears; but what I uttered was most true. Now, Antony, wouldst thou be born for this? These have been transliterated into Roman characters, and are set off by angle brackets, for example,. Neo-Classicism prevailed during the restoration age when Dryden wrote this play in 1667.
When Cleopatra hears of this Alexas tells her to flee and that he will attempt to make amends with Caesar. Alexas makes a plan to save his life. If a little glittering in discourse has passed them on us for witty men, where was the necessity of undeceiving the world? Is that a word For Antony to use to Cleopatra? Octavia tells Antony that if he returns to her, then the war between he and Caesar will stop, and he may return to his rightful place. I hope I need not to explain myself, that I have not copied my author servilely: Words and phrases must of necessity receive a change in succeeding ages; but it is almost a miracle that much of his language remains so pure; and that he who began dramatic poetry amongst us, untaught by any, and as Ben Jonson tells us, without learning, should by the force of his own genius perform so much, that in a manner he has left no praise for any who come after him. The Revolution of 1688 put an end to Dryden's prosperity; and after a short return to dramatic composition, he turned to translation as a means of supporting himself. Cleopatra arrives, only to see Antony right before he dies from his self-inflicted wounds. I'll soothe my melancholy, till I swell, And burst myself with sighing.
Our hearts and arms are still the same: I long Once more to meet our foes; that thou and I, Like Time and Death, marching before our troops, May taste fate to them; mow them out a passage, And, entering where the foremost squadrons yield, Begin the noble harvest of the field. You do not know How weak you are to her, how much an infant: You are not proof against a smile, or glance: A sigh will quite disarm you. I take the privilege of plain love to speak. I'll think no more on't. I hope to see These and the rest of all her sparkling store, Where they shall more deservingly be placed. When he expresses his desire to find Cleopatra innocent, Octavia leaves him.