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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

What should I be doing that I'm not doing?

CHARMIAN

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

CHARMIAN

Let him have his own way in everything. Don't oppose him at all. 

CLEOPATRA

Thou teachest like a fool the way to lose him.

CLEOPATRA

You fool, you're telling me the best way to lose him. 

CHARMIAN

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

CHARMIAN

Don't test him so much. I wish that you'd cut it out. Often, we end up bringing about the very thing we are afraid will happen, and we hate it when we do. 

Enter ANTONY

But here comes Antony.

But here comes Antony. 

CLEOPATRA

I am sick and sullen.

CLEOPATRA

I'm sick and out of sorts. 

ANTONY

I am sorry to give breathing to my purpose—

ANTONY

I'm sorry to have to tell you what I came to tell you. 

CLEOPATRA

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

CLEOPATRA

Help me away, dear Charmian! I will faint. I cannot last much longer. This body of mine can't take it.

ANTONY

Now, my dearest Queen—

ANTONY

Now, my dearest Queen—

CLEOPATRA

Pray you, stand farther from me.

CLEOPATRA

Please, stand further away from me.

ANTONY

What’s the matter?

ANTONY

What's the matter?

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

I can tell by your expression that you've received some good news. What, does your wife tell you to come home? I wish she had never allowed you to come here! Don't let her say that it's I who kept you here. I don't have any power over you. You belong to her. 

ANTONY

The gods best know—

ANTONY

The gods know best—

CLEOPATRA

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

CLEOPATRA

Oh, there never was a queen who was betrayed so terribly! But I saw from the start the signs that you would betray me. 

ANTONY

Cleopatra—

ANTONY

Cleopatra—

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

Why did I think that you could belong to me and be true to me—even though your vows to the gods seemed to shake the heavens—when you have been untrue to your wife? It's absolute insanity, to be taken in by those insincere vows that are broken the moment they are made!

ANTONY

Most sweet Queen—

ANTONY

Most sweet Queen—

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

No, please, don't try to come up with an excuse for leaving, just say goodbye and go. When you begged to stay, that was the time for talking. There was no talk of leaving then! You wanted to enjoy my lips and eyes for eternity, you found bliss in the curve of my eyebrow. No part of my body was anything less than a heavenly creation. And that's still true, or else you, the greatest soldier in the world, have become the greatest liar. 

ANTONY

How now, lady?

ANTONY

What are you saying, my lady?

CLEOPATRA

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

CLEOPATRA

I wish I were as big as you. Then you would know that there is someone in Egypt who has as much courage as you. 

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

Listen to me, Queen. There is a situation I must take care of, but my heart remains here with you. Italy, my country, is consumed by civil war. Sextus Pompeius draws near the port of Rome. When there are two equally strong powers in one country, it creates distrust and disagreement. The people who were once hated are now loved, once they have gained power. Pompey, who was once condemned, has gained honor thanks to his father's good reputation; he has started to win over the people who haven't succeeded under the current government, and there are enough of them to pose a threat. And when our idleness makes us sick in times of peace, we can only cure ourselves through acts of violence. But my personal motivation, which should make you approve of my leaving, is Fulvia's death. 

CLEOPATRA

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

CLEOPATRA

Even though getting older cannot keep me totally free from foolishness, it does mean that I'm not as foolish as a child. Is it possible Fulvia is dead? 

ANTONY

She’s dead, my Queen.

ANTONY

She's dead, my queen.

He offers letters

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

Look here, and when your royal highness has time to spare, read about the conflicts she began, as she achieved her best at the end of her life. Read when and where she died.

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

Oh you unfaithful lover! Where are the tears that you should be shedding in sorrow? Now I see, I see from Fulvia's death, that you wouldn't cry over my death either. 

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

Don't fight with me anymore, but listen to my plans, which I will execute or abandon according to what you tell me. I swear by the fire of the sun that causes plants to grow on the banks of the Nile, I will leave here as your soldier and servant, and I will seek peace or war as you wish.

CLEOPATRA

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

CLEOPATRA

Cut my lace, Charmian, come! No, let it be. I move quickly between sickness and health, just the way Antony loves. 

ANTONY

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

ANTONY

My precious Queen, please stop this, and be honest that my love is true. It would be found honorable if put to the test. 

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

Yes, that's what Fulvia told me. Please, turn away and cry for her. Then say goodbye to me, and tell me that you're crying for me. Come on now, act one scene of excellent deception, and let it seem perfectly honorable. 

ANTONY

You’ll heat my blood. No more.

ANTONY

You'll make me angry. No more of this.

CLEOPATRA

You can do better yet, but this is meetly.

CLEOPATRA

You can give a better performance than that, but that was pretty good.

ANTONY

Now, by my sword—

ANTONY

Now, I swear by my sword—

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

And by your shield. His acting keeps getting better.

[To CHARMIAN] But this still isn't his best work. Look, I tell you, Charmian, how well this Herculean Roman puts on the appearance of rage.  

ANTONY

I’ll leave you, lady.

ANTONY

I'll leave you, lady. 

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

Courteous lord, one word. Sir, you and I must part, but that's not what I wanted to say. Sir, you and I have loved each other, but that's not what I wanted to say either. You know that well. There's something I would like to say, oh, my memory is deserting me just like you are, and I'm forgetting everything, just like you've forgotten me. 

ANTONY

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

ANTONY

If you weren't the queen of immaturity, I would think you were immaturity itself. 

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

It's hard work to be foolish deep down the way I am. But, sir, forgive me, since these changes in my behavior disgust me when they don't please you. Your honor requires you to leave. Therefore pay no attention to my foolishness and don't pity me, and may all the gods bless you on your way! I hope that you find victory in battle and that you succeed easily in all your plans.

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

Let us go. Come. We are so bound together, even in our separation, that even if you stay here, you'll still be with me, and I, when I leave, will still be here with you. Away, let's go! 

Exeunt

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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.