|The Life of Marcus Antonius||Antony and Cleopatra|
|[H]aving by her [Cleopatra] a list of her treasure,
she gave it into his hands; and when Seleucus, one of her stewards,
who was by, pointed out that various articles were omitted, and
charged her with secreting them, she flew up and caught him by the
hair, and struck him several blows on the face. Caesar smiling and
withholding her, "Is it not very hard, Caesar," said she, "when you do
me the honour to visit me in this condition I am in, that I should
be accused by one of my own servants of laying by some women's toys,
not meant to adorn, be sure, my unhappy self, but that I might have
some little present by me to make your Octavia and your Livia, that by
their intercession I might hope to find you in some measure disposed
This is the brief of money, plate, and jewels,
I am possess'd of: 'tis exactly valued;
Not petty things admitted. Where's Seleucus?
This is my treasurer: let him speak, my lord,
Upon his peril, that I have reserved
To myself nothing. Speak the truth, Seleucus.
I had rather seal my lips, than, to my peril,
Speak that which is not.
What have I kept back?
Enough to purchase what you have made known.
Nay, blush not, Cleopatra; I approve
Your wisdom in the deed.
See, Caesar! O, behold,
How pomp is follow'd! mine will now be yours;
And, should we shift estates, yours would be mine.
The ingratitude of this Seleucus does
Even make me wild: O slave, of no more trust
Than love that's hired! What, goest thou back? thou
Go back, I warrant thee; but I'll catch thine eyes,
Though they had wings: slave, soulless villain, dog!
O rarely base!
Good queen, let us entreat you.
O Caesar, what a wounding shame is this,
That thou, vouchsafing here to visit me,
Doing the honour of thy lordliness
To one so meek, that mine own servant should
Parcel the sum of my disgraces by
Addition of his envy! Say, good Caesar,
That I some lady trifles have reserved,
Immoment toys, things of such dignity
As we greet modern friends withal; and say,
Some nobler token I have kept apart
For Livia and Octavia, to induce
Their mediation; must I be unfolded
With one that I have bred? The gods! it smites me
Beneath the fall I have.
Prithee, go hence;
Or I shall show the cinders of my spirits
Through the ashes of my chance: wert thou a man,
Thou wouldst have mercy on me.