A line-by-line translation

Antony and Cleopatra

Antony and Cleopatra Translation Act 1, Scene 5

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Enter CLEOPATRA, CHARMIAN, IRAS, and MARDIAN

CLEOPATRA

Charmian!

CLEOPATRA

Charmian!

CHARMIAN

Madam?

CHARMIAN

Yes, madam? 

CLEOPATRA

Ha, ha! Give me to drink mandragora.

CLEOPATRA

Ha, ha! Give me mandragora to drink. 

CHARMIAN

Why, madam?

CHARMIAN

Why, madam?

CLEOPATRA

That I might sleep out this great gap of timeMy Antony is away.

CLEOPATRA

So I can sleep through this long period while my Antony is away.

CHARMIAN

You think of him too much.

CHARMIAN

You think about him too much.

CLEOPATRA

Oh, ’tis treason!

CLEOPATRA

Oh, that's treasonous to say!

CHARMIAN

Madam, I trust, not so.

CHARMIAN

Madam, I trust that it isn't. 

CLEOPATRA

Thou, eunuch Mardian!

CLEOPATRA

You, Mardian the eunuch!

MARDIAN

What’s your highness’ pleasure?

MARDIAN

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CLEOPATRA

Not now to hear thee sing. I take no pleasure In aught an eunuch has. ’Tis well for thee That, being unseminared, thy freer thoughts May not fly forth of Egypt. Hast thou affections?

CLEOPATRA

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MARDIAN

Yes, gracious madam.

MARDIAN

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CLEOPATRA

Indeed?

CLEOPATRA

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MARDIAN

Not in deed, madam, for I can do nothing But what indeed is honest to be done. Yet have I fierce affections, and think What Venus did with Mars.

MARDIAN

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CLEOPATRA

O Charmian, Where think’st thou he is now? Stands he or sits he? Or does he walk? Or is he on his horse? O happy horse, to bear the weight of Antony! Do bravely, horse, for wott’st thou whom thou mov’st? The demi-Atlas of this earth, the arm And burgonet of men. He’s speaking now, Or murmuring “Where’s my serpent of old Nile?” For so he calls me. Now I feed myself With most delicious poison. Think on me, That am with Phoebus’ amorous pinches black And wrinkled deep in time. Broad-fronted Caesar, When thou wast here above the ground, I was A morsel for a monarch. And great Pompey Would stand and make his eyes grow in my brow. There would he anchor his aspect, and die With looking on his life.

CLEOPATRA

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Enter ALEXAS

ALEXAS

Sovereign of Egypt, hail!

ALEXAS

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CLEOPATRA

How much unlike art thou Mark Antony! Yet, coming from him, that great med’cine hath With his tinct gilded thee. How goes it with my brave Mark Antony?

CLEOPATRA

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ALEXAS

Last thing he did, dear Queen,He kissed—the last of many doubled kisses—This orient pearl.

ALEXAS

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He gives a pearl.

His speech sticks in my heart.

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CLEOPATRA

Mine ear must pluck it thence.

CLEOPATRA

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ALEXAS

“Good friend,” quoth he, “Say the firm Roman to great Egypt sends This treasure of an oyster, at whose foot, To mend the petty present, I will piece Her opulent throne with kingdoms. All the East, Say thou, shall call her mistress.” So he nodded, And soberly did mount an arm-gaunt steed, Who neighed so high that what I would have spoke Was beastly dumbed by him.

ALEXAS

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CLEOPATRA

What was he, sad or merry?

CLEOPATRA

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ALEXAS

Like to the time o’ th’ year between the extremesOf hot and cold, he was nor sad nor merry.

ALEXAS

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CLEOPATRA

O well-divided disposition! Note him, Note him, good Charmian, ’tis the man, but note him. He was not sad, for he would shine on those That make their looks by his. He was not merry, Which seemed to tell them his remembrance lay In Egypt with his joy, but between both. O heavenly mingle! Be’st thou sad or merry, The violence of either thee becomes, So does it no man else.—Mett’st thou my posts?

CLEOPATRA

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ALEXAS

Ay, madam, twenty several messengers.Why do you send so thick?

ALEXAS

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CLEOPATRA

Who’s born that day When I forget to send to Antony Shall die a beggar. Ink and paper, Charmian. Welcome, my good Alexas. Did I, Charmian, Ever love Caesar so?

CLEOPATRA

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CHARMIAN

Oh, that brave Caesar!

CHARMIAN

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CLEOPATRA

Be choked with such another emphasis!Say, “the brave Antony.”

CLEOPATRA

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CHARMIAN

The valiant Caesar!

CHARMIAN

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CLEOPATRA

By Isis, I will give thee bloody teethIf thou with Caesar paragon againMy man of men.

CLEOPATRA

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CHARMIAN

By your most gracious pardon,I sing but after you.

CHARMIAN

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CLEOPATRA

My salad days, When I was green in judgment, cold in blood, To say as I said then. [To everyone] But, come, away. [To CHARMIAN] Get me ink and paper. He shall have every day a several greeting, Or I’ll unpeople Egypt.

CLEOPATRA

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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.