Cleopatra. - Poem by Robert Crawford
The asp, her baby, on her breast,
She falls asleep,
Ever, like Antony, to rest
While Nile shall keep
Its course, and Egypt be a name
Whose utterance stirs
The shadow on the Roman's fame,
His love and hers.
Out of the mire and mirth of Time,
By thought removed,
The life that might have shone sublime,
Nor unbeloved —
A doting mallard when her sail
From Actium flew,
He knew her love was, passion-pale,
The sword that slew!
Ah! even though her love was lust,
The swarthy Queen,
When her babe gave the mortal thrust,
A woman's mien
Wore, as her Circean eyes their last
Looked on the slave
And with her fatal witchery passed
Into the grave.
She yet shall stand in Beauty's list
A thing superb,
The Roman's light in Egypt's mist —
A lover's verb
That through his moods and tenses toned
A royal way,
And took Death rather than be loaned
To Caesar's sway.
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