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from Sir Thomas North's 1579 translation of Plutarch's "life of Cleopatra"

The manner how [Antony] fell in loue with [Cleopatra] was this. Antonius going to make warre with the PARTHIANS, sent to commaunde Cleopatra to appeare personally before him, when he came into CILICIA, to aunswere vnto suche accusacions as were layed against her, being this: that she had aided Cassius and Brutus in their warre against him. The messenger sent vnto Cleopatra to make this summons vnto her, was called Dellius: who when he had throughly considered her beawtie, the excellent grace and sweetenesse of her tongue, he nothing mistrusted that Antonius would doe any hurte to so noble a Ladie, but rather assured him selfe, that within few dayes she should be in great fauor with him. Thereupon he did her great honor, and perswaded her to come into CILICIA, as honorably furnished as she could possible, and bad her not to be affrayed at all of Antonius, for he was a more curteous Lord, then any that she had euer seene. Cleopatra on thother side beleuing Dellius wordes, and gessing by the former accesse and credit she had with Iulius Caesar, and Cneus Pompey (the sonne of Pompey the great) only for her beawtie: she began to haue good hope that she might more easely win Antonius. For Caesar and Pompey knew her when she was but a young thing, & knew not then what the worlde ment: but nowe she went to Antonius at the age when a womans beawtie is at the prime, and she also of best iudgement. So, she furnished her selfe with a world of gifts, store of gold and siluer, and of riches and other sumptuous ornaments, as is credible enough she might bring from so great a house, and from so wealthie and rich a realme as AEGYPT was. But yet she caried nothing with her wherein she trusted more then in her selfe, and in the charmes and inchauntment of her passing beawtie and grace. Therefore when she was sent vnto by diuers letters, both from Antonius him selfe, and also from his frendes, she made so light of it, and mocked Antonius so much, that she disdained to set forward otherwise, but to take her barge in the riuer of Cydnus, the poope whereof was of gold, the sailes of purple, and the owers of siluer, which kept stroke in rowing after the sounde of the musicke of flutes, how boyes, citherns, violls, and such other instruments as they played vpon in the barge. And now for the person of her selfe: she was layed vnder a pauillion of cloth of gold of tissue, apparelled and attired like the goddesse Venus, commonly drawen in picture: and hard by her, on either hand of her, pretie faire boyes apparelled as painters doe set forth god Cupide, with litle fannes in their hands, with the which they fanned wind vpon her. Her Ladies and gentlewomen also, the fairest of them were apparelled like the nymphes Nereides (which are the mermaides of the waters) and like the Graces, some stearing the helme, others tending the tackle and ropes of the barge, out of the which there came a wonderfull passing sweete sauor of perfumes, that perfumed the wharfes side, pestered with innumerable multitudes of people. Some of them followed the barge all alongest the riuers side: others also ranne out of the citie to see her comming in. So that in thend, there ranne such multitudes of people one after an other to see her, that Antonius was left post alone in the market place, in his Imperiall seate to geue audience: and there went a rumor in the peoples mouthes, that the goddesse Venus was come to play with the god Bacchus, for the generall good of all ASIA. When Cleopatra landed, Antonius sent to inuite her to supper to him. But she sent him word againe, he should doe better rather to come and suppe with her. Antonius therefore to shew him selfe curteous vnto her at her arriuall, was contented to obey her, & went to supper to her: where he found such passing sumptuous fare, that no tongue can expresse it. But amongest all other thinges, he most wondered at the infinite number of lightes and torches hanged on the toppe of the house, geuing light in euerie place, so artificially set and ordered by deuises, some round, some square: that it was the rarest thing to behold that eye could discerne, or that euer books could mencion. The next night, Antonius feasting her, contended to passe her in magnificence and finenes: but she ouercame him in both. So that he him selfe began to skorne the grosse seruice of his house, in respect of Cleopatraes sumptuousnes and finenesse. And when Cleopatra found Antonius ieasts and slents to be but grosse, and souldier like, in plaine manner: she gaue it him finely, and without feare taunted him throughly. Now her beawtie (as it is reported) was not so passing, as vnmatchable of other women, nor yet suche, as vpon present viewe did enamor men with her: but so sweete was her companie and conuersacion, that a man could not possiblie but be taken. And besides her beawtie, the good grace she had to talke and discourse, her curteous nature that tempered her words & dedes, was a spurre that pricked to the quick. Furthermore, besides all these, her voyce and words were maruelous pleasant: for her tongue was an instrument of musicke to diuers sports and pastimes, the which she easely turned to any language that pleased her.

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