Thus, as in a dream of luxury, followed by many ships, we glided on towards the wooded slopes of Taurus, at whose foot lay that ancient city Tarshish. And ever as we came the people gathered on the banks and ran before us, shouting: “Venus is risen from the sea! Venus hath come to visit Bacchus!” We drew near to the city, and all its people—everyone who could walk or be carried—crowded down in thousands to the docks, and with them came the whole army of Antony, so that at length the Triumvir was left alone upon the judgment seat.
Dellius, the false-tongued, came also, fawning and bowing, and in the name of Antony gave the “Queen of Beauty” greeting, bidding her to a feast that Antony had made ready. But she made high answer, and said, “Forsooth, it is Antony who should wait on us; not we on Antony. Bid the noble Antony to our poor table this night—else we dine alone.”
Dellius went, bowing to the ground; the feast was made ready; and then at last I set eyes on Antony. He came clad in purple robes, a great man and beautiful to see, set in the stout prime of life, with bright eyes of blue, and curling hair, and features cut sharply as a Grecian gem. For he was great of form and royal of mien, and with an open countenance on which his thoughts were so clearly written that all might read them; only the weakness of the mouth belied the power of the brow. He came attended by his generals, and when he reached the couch where Cleopatra lay he stood astonished, gazing on her with wide-opened eyes. She, too, gazed on him earnestly; I saw the red blood run up beneath her skin, and a great pang of jealousy seized upon my heart. And Charmion, who saw all beneath her downcast eyes, saw this also and smiled. But Cleopatra spoke no word, only she stretched out her white hand for him to kiss; and he, saying no word, took her hand and kissed it.
“Behold, noble Antony!” she said at last in her voice of music, “thou hast called me, and I am come.”
“Venus has come,” he answered in his deep notes, and still holding his eyes fixed upon her face. “I called a woman—a Goddess hath risen from the deep!”
“To find a God to greet her on the land,” she laughed with ready wit. “Well, a truce to compliments, for being on the earth even Venus is ahungered. Noble Antony, thy hand.”
The trumpets blared, and through the bowing crowd Cleopatra, followed by her train, passed hand in hand with Antony to the feast.
[Here there is another break in the papyrus.]
OF THE FEAST OF CLEOPATRA; OF THE MELTING OF THE PEARL; OF THE SAYING OF HARMACHIS; AND OF CLEOPATRA’S VOW OF LOVE