If two Verona teenagers had not
so hastily despaired, then might their all-consuming
love have expanded, til more than they were caught,
with nations, states, and continents entire blooming
fire from their passion. But even then it could not last
in this fashion, no man, no woman can contain
such flame that burns so hot for what is merely mortal.
For all that Cleopatra was called Egypt for her crown,
yet, crouched down at dying Antony’s side, her wide
realm shrinks to a vast expanse of
insignificance, a ludicrous formality in a lover’s last
glance. The land itself, its people, its towns, its trade,
all made to serve as but a name, an endearment,
that, whispered near, meant that he was dying,
Egypt, dying, even as Egypt passed away, vanishing into
an intimate transcendence.