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Two Crocodile princes, as they play'd on the sand, She caught; and grasping them one in each hand, Thrust the head of one into the throat of the other, And made each Prince Crocodile choke his brother.

And when she had truss'd three couple this way,
She carried them off and hasten'd away,

And plying her oars with might and main,
Cross'd the river and got to the shore again.

When the Crocodile Queen came home, she found
That her eggs were broken and scatter'd around,
And that six young princes, darlings all,
Were missing; for none of them answer'd her call.

Then many a not very pleasant thing
Pass'd between her and the Crocodile King;
"Is this your care of the nest ?" cried she;
"It comes of your gadding abroad," said he.

The Queen had the better in this dispute,
And the Crocodile King found it best to be mute;
While a terrible peal in his ears she rung,
For the Queen as well as a tail had a tongue.

In woeful patience he let her rail,

Standing less in fear of her tongue than her tail; And knowing that all the words which were spoken Could not mend one of the eggs that were broken.

The woman, meantime, was very well pleased,—
She had saved her life, and her heart was eased;
The justice she ask'd in vain for her son,
She had taken herself, and six for one.

"Mash-Allah!" her neighbours exclaim'd in delight.
She gave them a funeral supper that night,
When they all agreed that revenge was sweet,
And young Prince Crocodiles delicate meat.

MARK ANTONY AND VENTIDIUS.

DRYDEN.

Ant. They tell me, 'tis my birth-day; and I'll keep it

With double pomp of sadness;

'Tis what the day deserves, which gave me breath. Why was I raised the meteor of the world,

Hung in the skies, and blazing as I travell'd

Till all my fires were spent, and then cast downwards To be trod out by Cæsar?

Vent. [Aside, and unseen by Antony.] On my soul, 'Tis mournful, wondrous mournful!

Ant.

Count thy gains;

Now, Antony, wouldst thou be born for this?
Glutton of fortune, thy devouring youth

Has starved thy wanting age.

Vent. [Still to himself.] How sorrow shakes him! So, now the tempest tears him up by the roots, And on the ground extends the noble ruin.

Ant. [Having thrown himself down.] Lie there, thou shadow of an emperor;

The place thou pressest on thy mother earth
Is all thy empire now: now it contains thee;
Some few days hence, and then 'twill be too large,
When thou'rt contracted in thy narrow urn,
Shrunk to a few cold ashes: then Octavia
(For Cleopatra will not live to see it)—
Octavia then will have thee all her own,
And bear thee in her widow'd hand to Cæsar.
Cæsar will weep, the crocodile will weep,
To see his rival of the universe

Lie still and peaceful there.

I'll think no more on't.

Give me some music; look that it be sad.
I'll soothe my melancholy, till I swell
And burst myself with sighing-

'Tis somewhat to my humour. Stay, I fancy I'm now turn'd wild, a commoner of nature; Of all forsaken, and forsaking all;

Live in a shady forest's sylvan scene;

Stretch'd at my length beneath some blasted oak,
I lean my head upon the mossy bark,

And look just of a piece, as I grew from it :
My uncomb'd locks, matted like mistletoe,
Hang o'er my hoary face; a murmuring brook
Runs at my foot; the herd come jumping by me,
And fearless quench their thirst, while I look on,
And take me for their fellow-citizen.
More of this image, more; it lulls my thoughts.
Vent. I must disturb him. I can hold no longer.
[Stands before him.
Ant. [Starting up.] Art thou Ventidius ?

Vent.

Are you Antony?

I'm liker what I was, than you to him
When that I left you last.

Ant. I'm angry.

Vent. So am I.

Ant. I would be private. Leave me.
Vent.

And therefore will not leave you.

Sir, I love you,

Will not leave me ?

Ant. Where have you learnt that answer? Who am I? Vent. My emperor; the man I love next heaven.

If I said more, I think 'twere scarce a sin:

You're all that's good and god-like.

Ant.

You will not leave me then?

Vent.

All that's wretched.

"Twas too presuming

To I would not but I dare not leave you; say

And 'tis unkind in you to chide me hence

So soon, when I so far have come to see you.

Ant. Now thou hast seen me, art thou satisfied? For, if a friend, thou hast beheld enough;

And, if a foe, too much.

Vent. Look, emperor, this is no common dew,

I have not wept these forty years; but now
My mother comes afresh into my eyes;

I cannot help her softness.

Ant. By heaven, he weeps, poor, good old man, he weeps!

The big round drops course one another down
The furrows of his cheeks. Stop 'em, Ventidius,
Or shall I blush to death; they set my shame,
That caused 'em, full before me.

Vent.

I'll do my best. Ant. Sure there's contagion in the tears of

friends;

See, I have caught it too.

Believe me, 'tis not

Emperor !

For my own griefs, but thine-Nay, father

Vent.

Ant. Emperor! Why that's the style of victory. The conquering soldier, red with unfelt wounds, Salutes his general so: but never more

Shall that sound reach my ears.

Vent.

Ant. Actium, Actium! Oh

Vent.

I warrant you.

It sits too near you.

Ant. Here, here it lies; a lump of lead by day;

And in my short, distracted, nightly slumbers,

The hag that rides my dreams.

Vent. Out with it; give it vent.
Ant.

I lost a battle.

Vent.

Urge not my shame

So has Julius done.

Ant. Thou favourest me, and speak'st not half thou

think'st;

For Julius fought it out, and lost it fairly:

But Antony—

Vent.

Ant.

Nay, stop not.

Antony

(Well, thou wilt have it), like a coward, fled;

Fled while his soldiers fought; fled first, Ventidius.
Thou long'st to curse me, and I give thee leave.
I know thou cam'st prepared to rail.

I did.

Vent.

Ant. I'll help thee-I have been a man, Ventidius. Vent. Yes, and a brave one; but

Ant.

I know thy meaning. But I have lost my reason, have disgraced The name of soldier with inglorious ease. In the full vintage of my flowing honours, Sate still and saw it press'd by other bands. Fortune came smiling to my youth and woo'd it ; And purple greatness met my ripen'd years. When first I came to empire, I was borne On tides of people, crowding to my triumphs; The wish of nations, and the willing world Received me as its pledge of future peace. I was so great, so happy, so beloved, Fate could not ruin me; till I took pains, And work'd against my fortune, chid her from me, And turn'd her loose: yet still she came again. My careless days and my luxurious nights At length have wearied her, and now she's gone, Gone, gone, divorced for ever. Help me, soldier, To curse this madman, this industrious fool, Who labour'd to be wretch'd. Pr'ythee, curse me. Vent. No.

Ant.

Vent.

Why?

You are too sensible already Of what you've done; too conscious of your failings; And like a scorpion, whipp'd by others first

To fury, sting yourself in mad revenge.

I would bring balm, and pour it in your wounds, Cure your distemper'd mind, and heal your fortunes. Ant. I know thou wouldst.

Vent.

Ant.

I will.

Ha, ha, ha, ha

Vent. You laugh?

Ant.

Give cordials to the dead.

Vent.

I do, to see officious love

You would be lost then

Ant. I am.

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