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The dearest remembrance will still be the last,
Our sweetest memorial the first kiss of love.
THE DEATH OF CLEOPATRA.
The Princess of antiquity, most renowned for her personal charms, was in
her unrivalled beauty, her mental perfections, her weaknesses, and the
unhappy conclusion of an amorous existence the counterpart of the most
beautiful queen of later times, the unfortunate Mary of Scotland.
Cleopatra was the daughter of Ptolemy Auletes, king of Egypt. She was
early given to wife to her own brother, Ptolemy Dionysius, and ascended
the throne conjointly with him, on the death of their father. It was
doubtless the policy of the kingdom thus to preserve all the royal
honors in one family--the daughter being the queen, as well as the son
king of the country. But her ambitious and intriguing spirit, restrained
by no ties of reciprocal love to her husband, who was also her brother,
sought for means to burst a union at once unnatural and galling: and the
opportunity at length arrived. Julius Caesar, the conqueror of the world,
having pursued the defeated Pompey into Egypt, there beheld Cleopatra in
the zenith of her beauty; and he before whose power the whole world was
kneeling, prostrated himself before a pretty woman. The following is the
account of her first introduction to Caesar, as given by the historian.
It shows that she had no maidenly scruples as to the mode of attaining
Her intrigues to become sole monarch, had made her husband-brother
banish her from the capital. Hearing of the arrival of Caesar, she got
into a small boat, with only one male friend, and in the dusk of the
evening made for the palace where Caesar as well as her husband lodged.
As she saw it difficult to enter it undiscovered by her husband's
friends, she rolled herself up in a carpet. Her companion tied her up at
full length like a bale of goods, and carried her in at the gates to
Caesar's apartments. This stratagem of hers, which was a strong proof of
her wit and ingenuity, is said to have first opened her way to Caesar's
heart, and her conquest advanced rapidly by the charms of her speech and
person. The genius of Shakspeare has well depicted the power of her
beauty at this time. He makes her to say, at a later period of life,
when chagrined at the expected desertion of another lover,--
When thou wast here above the ground, I was
A morsel for a monarch: And great Pompey
Would stand, and make his eyes grow in my brow;
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