A decorative border from Grosart Edition

The Tragedie of Cleopatra title from Grosart Edition



Mysterious Egypt, wonder breeder,
      strict Religions strange observer,
State-orderer zeal, the best rule-keeper,
      fostering still in temperate fervor
O how cam'st thou to lose so wholly
      all religion, law and order?
And thus become the most unholy
      of all Lands, that Nilus border ?
How could confus'd Disorder enter
      where stern Law sate so severely?
How durst weak lust and riot venter
      th'eye of Justice looking nearly?
Could not those means that made thee great
Be still the means to keep thy state?

Ah no, the course of things requireth
      change and alteration ever
That same continuance man desireth,
      th'unconstant world yieldeth never.
We in our counsels must be blinded,
      and not see what doth import us:
And oftentimes the things least minded
      is the thing that most must hurt us.
Yet they that have the stern in guiding,
      'tis their fault that should prevent it;
For oft they seeing their Country sliding,
      take their ease, as though contented.
We imitate the greater powers,
The Princes' manners fashion ours.

Th'example of their light regarding,
      vulgar looseness much incenses:
Vice uncontrolled, grows wide enlarging,
      Kings' small faults be great offences,
And this hath set the window open
      unto license, lust, and riot:
This way confusion first found broken,
      whereby entered our disquiet.
Those laws that old Sesostris founded,
      and the Ptolomies observed,
Hereby first came to be confounded,
      which our state so long preserved.
The wanton luxury of Court,
Did form the people of like sort.

For all (respecting private pleasure,)
      universally consenting
To abuse their time, their treasure,
      in their own delights contenting:
And future dangers naught respecting,
      whereby, (O how easy matter
Made this so general neglecting,
      confus'd weakness to discatter?)
Caesar found th'effect true tried,
      in his easy entrance making:
Who at the sight of arms, descried
      all our people, all forsaking.
For riot (worse than war) so sore
Had wasted all our strength before.

And thus is Egypt servile rendered
      to the insolent destroyer:
And all their sumptuous treasure tendered,
      all her wealth that did betray her.
Which poison (O if heaven be rightful)
      may so far infect their senses,
That Egypt's pleasure so delightful,
      may breed them the like offences.
And Romans learn our way of weakness,
      be instructed in our vices,
That our spoils may spoil your greatness,
      overcome with our devices.
Fill full your hands, and carry home,
Enough from us to ruin Rome.








Transcribed and modernized by Anniina Jokinen from
Daniel, Samuel. The Complete Works in Verse and Prose of Samuel Daniel. vol 3.
A. B. Grosart, ed. New York: Rusell & Russell, Inc., 1885, Reissued in 1963. 75-77.

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Created by Anniina Jokinen on June 4, 1997. Last updated on January 18, 2007.