Pho. Proud Pompey shews how much he scorns your youth, In thinking that you cannot keep your own From such as are or’e come. If you are tired With being a King, let not a stranger take What nearer pledges challenge: resign rather The government of Egypt and of Nile To Cleopatra, that has title to them, At least defend them from the Roman gripe, What was not Pompeys, while the wars endured, The Conquerour will not challenge; by all the world Forsaken and despis’d, your gentle Guardian His hopes and fortunes desperate, makes choice of What Nation he shall fall with: and pursu’d By their pale ghosts, slain in this Civil war, He flyes not Caesar only, but the Senate, Of which, the greater part have cloi’d the hunger Of sharp Pharsalian fowl, he flies the Nations That he drew to his Quarrel, whose Estates Are sunk in his: and in no place receiv’d, Hath found out Egypt, by him yet not ruin’d: And Ptolomy, things consider’d, justly may Complain of Pompey: wherefore should he stain Our Egypt, with the spots of civil war? Or make the peaceable, or quiet Nile Doubted of Caesar? wherefore should he draw His loss, and overthrow upon our heads? Or choose this place to suffer in? already We have offended Caesar, in our wishes, And no way left us to redeem his favour But by the head of Pompey.
Ach. Great Osiris,
Defend thy AEgypt from such cruelty,
And barbarous ingratitude!
Pho. Holy trifles, And not to have place in designs of State; This sword, which Fate commands me to unsheath, I would not draw on Pompey, if not vanquish’d. I grant it rather should have pass’d through Caesar, But we must follow where his fortune leads us; All provident Princes measure their intents According to their power, and so dispose them: And thinkst thou (Ptolomy) that thou canst prop His Ruines, under whom sad Rome now suffers? Or ’tempt the Conquerours force when ’tis confirm’d? Shall we, that in the Battail sate as Neuters Serve him that’s overcome? No, no, he’s lost. And though ’tis noble to a sinking friend To lend a helping hand, while there is hope He may recover, thy part not engag’d Though one most dear, when all his hopes are dead, To drown him, set thy foot upon his head.
Ach. Most execrable Counsel.
Pho. To be follow’d,
’Tis for the Kingdoms safety.
Ptol. We give up
Our absolute power to thee: dispose of it
As reason shall direct thee.
Pho. Good Achillas, Seek out Septimius: do you but sooth him, He is already wrought: leave the dispatch To me of Labienus: ’tis determin’d Already how you shall proceed: nor Fate Shall alter it, since now the dye is cast, But that this hour to Pompey is his last. [Exit.