A line-by-line translation

Antony and Cleopatra

Antony and Cleopatra Translation Act 1, Scene 1

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Enter DEMETRIUS and PHILO

PHILO

Nay, but this dotage of our general’s O’erflows the measure. Those his goodly eyes, That o’er the files and musters of the war Have glowed like plated Mars, now bend, now turn The office and devotion of their view Upon a tawny front. His captain’s heart, Which in the scuffles of great fights hath burst The buckles on his breast, reneges all temper And is become the bellows and the fan To cool a gypsy’s lust.

PHILO

I'm telling you, our general's ridiculous infatuation goes beyond the limits of reasonable behavior. Those handsome eyes of his, that used to shine like Mars's when he looked over the lines of troops, now turn away and give their duty and love to a woman with a dark complexion. He used to have the heart of a military commander, which swelled so much during the battles of great wars that it split open the armor on his chest, but now he abandons all self-restraint and only lives to stir up and then satisfy an Egyptian's sexual desire. 

Flourish. Enter ANTONY, CLEOPATRA, her ladies, the train, with eunuchs fanning her

Look where they come. Take but good note, and you shall see in him The triple pillar of the world transformed Into a strumpet’s fool. Behold and see.

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CLEOPATRA

If it be love indeed, tell me how much.

CLEOPATRA

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ANTONY

There’s beggary in the love that can be reckoned.

ANTONY

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CLEOPATRA

I’ll set a bourn how far to be beloved.

CLEOPATRA

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ANTONY

Then must thou needs find out new heaven, new earth.

ANTONY

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Enter a MESSENGER

MESSENGER

News, my good lord, from Rome.

MESSENGER

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ANTONY

Grates me, the sum.

ANTONY

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CLEOPATRA

Nay, hear them, Antony. Fulvia perchance is angry. Or who knows If the scarce-bearded Caesar have not sent His powerful mandate to you, “Do this, or this. Take in that kingdom, and enfranchise that. Perform ’t, or else we damn thee.”

CLEOPATRA

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ANTONY

How, my love?

ANTONY

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CLEOPATRA

Perchance? Nay, and most like. You must not stay here longer. Your dismission Is come from Caesar. Therefore hear it, Antony. Where’s Fulvia’s process? Caesar’s, I would say—both? Call in the messengers. As I am Egypt’s queen, Thou blushest, Antony, and that blood of thine Is Caesar’s homager. Else so thy cheek pays shame When shrill-tongued Fulvia scolds. The messengers!

CLEOPATRA

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ANTONY

Let Rome in Tiber melt and the wide arch Of the ranged empire fall. Here is my space. Kingdoms are clay. Our dungy earth alike Feeds beast as man. The nobleness of life Is to do thus, when such a mutual pair And such a twain can do ’t, in which I bind, On pain of punishment, the world to weet We stand up peerless.

ANTONY

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CLEOPATRA

Excellent falsehood! Why did he marry Fulvia, and not love her? I’ll seem the fool I am not. Antony Will be himself.

CLEOPATRA

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ANTONY

But stirred by Cleopatra. Now, for the love of Love and her soft hours, Let’s not confound the time with conference harsh. There’s not a minute of our lives should stretch Without some pleasure now. What sport tonight?

ANTONY

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CLEOPATRA

Hear the ambassadors.

CLEOPATRA

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ANTONY

Fie, wrangling Queen! Whom every thing becomes—to chide, to laugh, To weep, whose every passion fully strives To make itself, in thee, fair and admired! No messenger but thine, and all alone Tonight we’ll wander through the streets and note The qualities of people. Come, my Queen, Last night you did desire it.— [To the MESSENGER] Speak not to us.

ANTONY

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Exeunt ANTONY and CLEOPATRA with the train

DEMETRIUS

Is Caesar with Antonius prized so slight?

DEMETRIUS

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PHILO

Sir, sometimes when he is not AntonyHe comes too short of that great propertyWhich still should go with Antony.

PHILO

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DEMETRIUS

I am full sorry That he approves the common liar, who Thus speaks of him at Rome, but I will hope Of better deeds tomorrow. Rest you happy!

DEMETRIUS

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Exeunt

Antony and cleopatra
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Maria devlin
About the Translator: Maria Devlin

Maria Devlin received her Ph.D. in English Literature from Harvard University, where she specialized in Renaissance drama. She has worked as a bibliographical and editorial assistant for The Norton Anthology of English Literature and for The Norton Shakespeare. She is currently working with Stephen Greenblatt to design online courses on Shakespeare, including the modules "Hamlet's Ghost" and "Shylock's Bond" offered through HarvardX. She is writing a book on Renaissance comedy.

Maria Devlin wishes to credit the following sources, which she consulted extensively in composing her translations and annotations:

William Shakespeare. The New Oxford Shakespeare: Modern Critical Edition. Eds. Gary Taylor et al. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016.

William Shakespeare. The Norton Shakespeare, 3rd ed. Eds. Stephen Greenblatt et al. New York: W.W. Norton& Company, Inc., 2016.