A line-by-line translation

Antony and Cleopatra

Antony and Cleopatra Translation Act 2, Scene 3

Line Map Clear Line Map Add

Enter ANTONY, CAESAR; OCTAVIA between them

ANTONY

[To OCTAVIA] The world and my great office will sometimesDivide me from your bosom.

ANTONY

[To OCTAVIA] The great responsibilities I have to carry out all over the world will sometimes take me away from you. 

OCTAVIA

All which timeBefore the gods my knee shall bow my prayersTo them for you.

OCTAVIA

And while you are gone, I will kneel before the gods and pray for you. 

ANTONY

[To CAESAR] Good night, sir. —My Octavia, Read not my blemishes in the world’s report. I have not kept my square, but that to come Shall all be done by th’ rule. Good night, dear lady. [To CAESAR] Good night, sir.

ANTONY

[To CAESAR] Good night, sir. 

[To OCTAVIA] My Octavia, don't believe the critical things you will hear about me. I haven't behaved perfectly in the past, but in the future I will abide strictly by the rule-book. Good night, dear lady. 

[To CAESAR] Good night, sir.

CAESAR

Good night.

CAESAR

Good night. 

He exits with OCTAVIA

Enter SOOTHSAYER

ANTONY

Now, sirrah, you do wish yourself in Egypt?

ANTONY

Now, sir, do you wish you were in Egypt?

SOOTHSAYER

Would I had never come from thence, nor you thither.

SOOTHSAYER

I wish I had never left and that you hadn't either.

ANTONY

If you can, your reason?

ANTONY

If you can tell me, why do you say that?

SOOTHSAYER

I see it in my motion, have it not in my tongue. But yet hie you to Egypt again.

SOOTHSAYER

It's a feeling I have, I can't put it into words. But still, return to Egypt. 

ANTONY

Say to me whose fortunes shall rise higher,Caesar’s or mine?

ANTONY

Tell me who will have the better fortune, me or Caesar? 

SOOTHSAYER

Caesar’s. Therefore, O Antony, stay not by his side. Thy dæmon—that thy spirit which keeps thee—is Noble, courageous, high, unmatchable Where Caesar’s is not. But near him thy angel Becomes afeard, as being o’erpowered. Therefore Make space enough between you.

SOOTHSAYER

Caesar. Therefore, Antony, don't stay near him. Your daemon—that spirit that sustains you—is noble, courageous, soaring, unequalled, while Caesar's is not. But when you are near him, your daemon becomes afraid, as if overpowered. Therefore, create some distance between you and Caesar.

ANTONY

Speak this no more.

ANTONY

Don't talk about this anymore. 

SOOTHSAYER

To none but thee, no more but when to thee. If thou dost play with him at any game, Thou art sure to lose, and of that natural luck He beats thee ’gainst the odds. Thy luster thickens When he shines by. I say again, thy spirit Is all afraid to govern thee near him, But, he away, ’tis noble.

SOOTHSAYER

I won't talk about it to anyone but you, and I won't speak about it anymore except to you. If you play games with Caesar, you are sure to lose, and because of your natural misfortune around him, he beats you even when the odds are against him. Your prospects dim while his look bright. I tell you again, your daemon is afraid to guide you when you are near Caesar, but when he's away, your spirit is noble.

ANTONY

Get thee gone.Say to Ventidius I would speak with him.

ANTONY

Get going. Tell Ventidius that I wish to speak with him. 

Exit SOOTHSAYER

[To himself] He shall to Parthia. Be it art or hap, He hath spoken true. The very dice obey him, And in our sports my better cunning faints Under his chance. If we draw lots, he speeds. His cocks do win the battle still of mine When it is all to naught, and his quails ever Beat mine, inhooped, at odds. I will to Egypt. And though I make this marriage for my peace, I’ th’ East my pleasure lies.

[To himself] Ventidius will go to Parthia. Whether it's by skill or by luck, the soothsayer has spoken truthfully. Even the dice obey Caesar, and in our sports, my better skill is overcome by his better luck. If we draw straws, he wins. His roosters win in fights against mine when the odds are completely in my favor, and his quails always beat mine in the ring, even when the odds are against him. I will go to Egypt. And even though I married Octavia to achieve political peace, I can only find pleasure in Egypt. 

Enter VENTIDIUS

O come, Ventidius.You must to Parthia. Your commission’s ready.Follow me and receive ’t.

Oh come, Ventidius. You must go to Parthia. Your orders are ready. Follow me and receive them. 

Exeunt

Antony and cleopatra
Join LitCharts A+ and get the entire Antony and Cleopatra Translation as a printable PDF.
LitCharts A+ members also get exclusive access to:
  • Downloadable translations of every Shakespeare play and sonnet
  • Downloads of 656 LitCharts Lit Guides
  • Explanations and citation info for 16,269 quotes covering 656 books
  • Teacher Editions for every Lit Guide
  • PDFs defining 136 key Lit Terms
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.