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Famous Affinities of History — Complete by Orr, Lydon

Famous Affinities of History — Complete by Orr, Lydon

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Project Gutenberg's Famous Affinities of History (Complete), by Lyndon Orr
#5 in our series by Lyndon Orr

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Title: Famous Affinities of History (Complete)
The Romance of Devotion
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Author: Lyndon Orr
Release Date: November, 2003 [Etext #4693]
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[This file was first posted on March 3, 2002]
Edition: 10
Language: English
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Project Gutenberg's Famous Affinities of History (Complete), by Lyndon Orr

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FAMOUS AFFINITIES OF HISTORY
THE ROMANCE OF DEVOTION
BY LYNDON ORR
VOLUME I OF IV.

CONTENTS
THE STORY OF ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA

ABELARD AND HELOISE
QUEEN ELIZABETH AND THE EARL OF LEICESTER
MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS AND LORD BOTHWELL
QUEEN CHRISTINA OF SWEDEN AND THE MARQUIS MONALDESCHI
KING CHARLES II. AND NELL GWYN
MAURICE OF SAXONY AND ADRIENNE LECOUVREUR
THE STORY OF PRINCE CHARLES EDWARD STUART

THE STORY OF ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA

Of all love stories that are known to human history, the love
story of Antony and Cleopatra has been for nineteen centuries the
most remarkable. It has tasked the resources of the plastic and
the graphic arts. It has been made the theme of poets and of prose
narrators. It has appeared and reappeared in a thousand forms, and
it appeals as much to the imagination to-day as it did when Antony
deserted his almost victorious troops and hastened in a swift
galley from Actium in pursuit of Cleopatra.

The wonder of the story is explained by its extraordinary nature.
Many men in private life have lost fortune and fame for the love
of woman. Kings have incurred the odium of their people, and have
cared nothing for it in comparison with the joys of sense that
come from the lingering caresses and clinging kisses. Cold-blooded
statesmen, such as Parnell, have lost the leadership of their
party and have gone down in history with a clouded name because of
the fascination exercised upon them by some woman, often far from
beautiful, and yet possessing the mysterious power which makes the
triumphs of statesmanship seem slight in comparison with the
swiftly flying hours of pleasure.

But in the case of Antony and Cleopatra alone do we find a man
flinging away not merely the triumphs of civic honors or the
headship of a state, but much more than these--the mastery of what
was practically the world--in answer to the promptings of a
woman's will. Hence the story of the Roman triumvir and the
Egyptian queen is not like any other story that has yet been told.
The sacrifice involved in it was so overwhelming, so
instantaneous, and so complete as to set this narrative above all
others. Shakespeare's genius has touched it with the glory of a
great imagination. Dryden, using it in the finest of his plays,
expressed its nature in the title "All for Love."

The distinguished Italian historian, Signor Ferrero, the author of
many books, has tried hard to eliminate nearly all the romantic
elements from the tale, and to have us see in it not the triumph
of love, but the blindness of ambition. Under his handling it
becomes almost a sordid drama of man's pursuit of power and of
woman's selfishness. Let us review the story as it remains, even
after we have taken full account of Ferrero's criticism. Has the
world for nineteen hundred years been blinded by a show of
sentiment? Has it so absolutely been misled by those who lived and
wrote in the days which followed closely on the events that make

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