A line-by-line translation

Antony and Cleopatra

Antony and Cleopatra Translation Act 1, Scene 3

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Enter CLEOPATRA, CHARMIAN, ALEXAS, and IRAS

CLEOPATRA

Where is he?

CLEOPATRA

Where is he?

CHARMIAN

I did not see him since.

CHARMIAN

I haven't seen him recently. 

CLEOPATRA

[To ALEXAS] See where he is, who’s with him, what he does. I did not send you. If you find him sad, Say I am dancing. If in mirth, report That I am sudden sick. Quick, and return.

CLEOPATRA

[To ALEXAS] Find out where he is, who he's with, and what he's doing. Don't tell him I sent you. If you see that he's sad, tell him I'm happy. If you see that he's happy, tell him that I've suddenly gotten sick. Go quickly and come back.

Exit ALEXAS

CHARMIAN

Madam, methinks, if you did love him dearly,You do not hold the method to enforceThe like from him.

CHARMIAN

Madam, in my opinion, if you love him so much, then you're not acting in the right way to get him to reciprocate. 

CLEOPATRA

What should I do I do not?

CLEOPATRA

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CHARMIAN

In each thing give him way. Cross him in nothing.

CHARMIAN

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CLEOPATRA

Thou teachest like a fool the way to lose him.

CLEOPATRA

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CHARMIAN

Tempt him not so too far. I wish, forbear.In time we hate that which we often fear.

CHARMIAN

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Enter ANTONY

But here comes Antony.

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CLEOPATRA

I am sick and sullen.

CLEOPATRA

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ANTONY

I am sorry to give breathing to my purpose—

ANTONY

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CLEOPATRA

Help me away, dear Charmian! I shall fall.It cannot be thus long. The sides of natureWill not sustain it.

CLEOPATRA

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ANTONY

Now, my dearest Queen—

ANTONY

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CLEOPATRA

Pray you, stand farther from me.

CLEOPATRA

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ANTONY

What’s the matter?

ANTONY

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CLEOPATRA

I know by that same eye there’s some good news. What, says the married woman you may go? Would she had never given you leave to come! Let her not say ’tis I that keep you here. I have no power upon you. Hers you are.

CLEOPATRA

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ANTONY

The gods best know—

ANTONY

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CLEOPATRA

Oh never was there queenSo mightily betrayed! Yet at the firstI saw the treasons planted.

CLEOPATRA

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ANTONY

Cleopatra—

ANTONY

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CLEOPATRA

Why should I think you can be mine, and true— Though you in swearing shake the thronèd gods— Who have been false to Fulvia? Riotous madness, To be entangled with those mouth-made vows Which break themselves in swearing!

CLEOPATRA

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ANTONY

Most sweet Queen—

ANTONY

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CLEOPATRA

Nay, pray you, seek no color for your going, But bid farewell and go. When you sued staying, Then was the time for words. No going then! Eternity was in our lips and eyes, Bliss in our brows’ bent, none our parts so poor But was a race of heaven. They are so still, Or thou, the greatest soldier of the world, Art turned the greatest liar.

CLEOPATRA

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ANTONY

How now, lady?

ANTONY

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CLEOPATRA

I would I had thy inches. Thou shouldst knowThere were a heart in Egypt.

CLEOPATRA

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ANTONY

Hear me, Queen: The strong necessity of time commands Our services awhile, but my full heart Remains in use with you. Our Italy Shines o’er with civil swords. Sextus Pompeius Makes his approaches to the port of Rome. Equality of two domestic powers Breed scrupulous faction. The hated, grown to strength, Are newly grown to love. The condemned Pompey, Rich in his father’s honor, creeps apace Into the hearts of such as have not thrived Upon the present state, whose numbers threaten; And quietness, grown sick of rest, would purge By any desperate change. My more particular, And that which most with you should safe my going, Is Fulvia’s death.

ANTONY

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CLEOPATRA

Though age from folly could not give me freedom,It does from childishness. Can Fulvia die?

CLEOPATRA

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ANTONY

She’s dead, my Queen.

ANTONY

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He offers letters

Look here, and at thy sovereign leisure readThe garboils she awaked, at the last, best,See when and where she died.

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CLEOPATRA

O most false love! Where be the sacred vials thou shouldst fill With sorrowful water? Now I see, I see, In Fulvia’s death how mine received shall be.

CLEOPATRA

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ANTONY

Quarrel no more, but be prepared to know The purposes I bear, which are or cease As you shall give th’ advice. By the fire That quickens Nilus’ slime, I go from hence Thy soldier, servant, making peace or war As thou affects.

ANTONY

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CLEOPATRA

Cut my lace, Charmian, come!But let it be. I am quickly ill, and well,So Antony loves.

CLEOPATRA

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ANTONY

My precious Queen, forbear,And give true evidence to his love which standsAn honorable trial.

ANTONY

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CLEOPATRA

So Fulvia told me. I prithee, turn aside and weep for her. Then bid adieu to me, and say the tears Belong to Egypt. Good now, play one scene Of excellent dissembling, and let it look Like perfect honor.

CLEOPATRA

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ANTONY

You’ll heat my blood. No more.

ANTONY

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CLEOPATRA

You can do better yet, but this is meetly.

CLEOPATRA

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ANTONY

Now, by my sword—

ANTONY

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CLEOPATRA

And target. Still he mends. [To CHARMIAN] But this is not the best. Look, prithee,Charmian, How this Herculean Roman does become The carriage of his chafe.

CLEOPATRA

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ANTONY

I’ll leave you, lady.

ANTONY

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CLEOPATRA

Courteous lord, one word. Sir, you and I must part, but that’s not it. Sir, you and I have loved, but there’s not it, That you know well. Something it is I would— Oh, my oblivion is a very Antony, And I am all forgotten.

CLEOPATRA

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ANTONY

But that your royaltyHolds idleness your subject, I should take youFor idleness itself.

ANTONY

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CLEOPATRA

’Tis sweating labor To bear such idleness so near the heart As Cleopatra this. But, sir, forgive me, Since my becomings kill me when they do not Eye well to you. Your honor calls you hence. Therefore be deaf to my unpitied folly, And all the gods go with you! Upon your sword Sit laurel victory, and smooth success Be strewed before your feet.

CLEOPATRA

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ANTONY

Let us go. Come. Our separation so abides and flies That thou, residing here, goes yet with me, And I, hence fleeting, here remain with thee. Away!

ANTONY

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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.