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Antony and Cleopatra

Antony and Cleopatra Translation Act 2, Scene 6

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Flourish. Enter POMPEY and MENAS at one door, with drum and trumpet; at another CAESAR, LEPIDUS, ANTONY, ENOBARBUS, MAECENAS, and AGRIPPA, with soldiers marching

POMPEY

Your hostages I have, so have you mine,And we shall talk before we fight.

POMPEY

I have hostages of yours and you have hostages of mine, so we'll talk before we fight. 

CAESAR

Most meet That first we come to words, and therefore have we Our written purposes before us sent, Which, if thou hast considered, let us know If ’twill tie up thy discontented sword And carry back to Sicily much tall youth That else must perish here.

CAESAR

It is very appropriate that we talk first, and for that reason we sent our proposals beforehand. So, if you have considered them, let us know if we can convince you to stop waging such an unsatisfying war, and take your brave young troops back to Sicily, who would otherwise die here. 

POMPEY

To you all three, The senators alone of this great world, Chief factors for the gods: I do not know Wherefore my father should revengers want, Having a son and friends, since Julius Caesar, Who at Philippi the good Brutus ghosted, There saw you laboring for him. What was ’t That moved pale Cassius to conspire? And what Made the all-honored, honest Roman Brutus, With the armed rest, courtiers of beauteous freedom, To drench the Capitol, but that they would Have one man but a man? And that is it Hath made me rig my navy, at whose burden The angered ocean foams, with which I meant To scourge th’ ingratitude that despiteful Rome Cast on my noble father.

POMPEY

Let me tell the three of you, the sole rulers of this great world and gods' only messengers on earth: I don't know why my father's death shouldn't be avenged, since he has a son and friends to do it. You fought on behalf of Julius Caesar, who appeared as a ghost to the good Brutus at Philippi. Why was it that pale Cassius started conspiring against Caesar? And what drove Brutus, who was honest and honored by all, along with the rest of the armed conspirators who were seeking glorious freedom, to drench the Capitol in Caesar's blood, except that they didn't want one man to have more power than anyone else? And that is what made me equip my navy, under which the angry sea now foams. With this navy, I intend to punish spiteful Rome for its ingratitude towards my noble father. 

CAESAR

Take your time.

CAESAR

Go carefully now.

ANTONY

Thou canst not fear us, Pompey, with thy sails.We’ll speak with thee at sea. At land, thou know’stHow much we do o’ercount thee.

ANTONY

You cannot scare us, Pompey, with your navy. We'll engage your forces at sea. By land, you know how much greater our force is than yours. 

POMPEY

At land indeed Thou dost o’ercount me of my father’s house, But since the cuckoo builds not for himself, Remain in ’t as thou mayst.

POMPEY

On land, indeed, you cheated me out of my father's house. But, since I know you're not making it your own, remain in it for the time being. 

LEPIDUS

Be pleased to tell us—For this is from the present—how you takeThe offers we have sent you.

LEPIDUS

Please tell us—because this is not what we've come to discuss—your response to the offers we've sent you.

CAESAR

There’s the point.

CAESAR

That's the main point. 

ANTONY

Which do not be entreated to, but weighWhat it is worth embraced.

ANTONY

Don't let yourself be tricked into anything, but consider carefully how much our offer is worth if you agree to it. 

CAESAR

And what may follow,To try a larger fortune.

CAESAR

And what may happen to you if you try to win a larger fortune by fighting us instead. 

POMPEY

You have made me offer Of Sicily, Sardinia. And I must Rid all the sea of pirates, then, to send Measures of wheat to Rome. This ’greed upon To part with unhacked edges and bear back Our targes undinted.

POMPEY

You have offered me Sicily and Sardinia. In return, I would rid the whole sea of pirates and send shipments of wheat to Rome. If we both agree to this, we will part peacefully, without drawing swords against each other and without denting our shields.

CAESAR, ANTONY, LEPIDUS

That’s our offer.

CAESAR, ANTONY, LEPIDUS

That's our offer. 

POMPEY

Know then I came before you here a man prepared To take this offer, but Mark Antony Put me to some impatience. [To ANTONY] —Though I lose The praise of it by telling, you must know, When Caesar and your brother were at blows, Your mother came to Sicily and did find Her welcome friendly.

POMPEY

You should know, then, that I came here prepared to accept your offer, but Mark Antony irritated me somewhat.

[To ANTONY]
 Even though I detract from the honor of my good deed by telling you about it, you should know that when Caesar and your brother were at war, your mother came to Sicily and found warm hospitality. 

ANTONY

[To POMPEY] I have heard it, Pompey,And am well studied for a liberal thanksWhich I do owe you.

ANTONY

[To POMPEY] I have heard that, Pompey, and I intend to thank you generously, which I know I owe you.

POMPEY

Let me have your hand.

POMPEY

Give me your hand.

They clasp hands

I did not think, sir, to have met you here.

I didn't think that I would meet you here, sir.

ANTONY

The beds i’ th’ East are soft, and thanks to you,That called me timelier than my purpose hither,For I have gained by ’t.

ANTONY

The East is a very pleasant place, and I thank you for calling me away from it earlier than I had intended, because it has been good for me.

CAESAR

[To POMPEY] Since I saw you lastThere’s a change upon you.

CAESAR

[To POMPEY] Since I last saw you, you've changed somehow.

POMPEY

Well, I know not What counts harsh Fortune casts upon my face, But in my bosom shall she never come To make my heart her vassal.

POMPEY

Well, I can't tell how hard times have affected my face, but I will never let those hard times subdue my courage. 

LEPIDUS

Well met here.

LEPIDUS

It is good for us all to meet here.

POMPEY

I hope so, Lepidus. Thus we are agreed.I crave our composition may be writtenAnd sealed between us.

POMPEY

I hope so, Lepidus. We're agreed on this. I'd like our agreements to be written down and sealed by all of us. 

CAESAR

That’s the next to do.

CAESAR

That's the next thing for us to do.

POMPEY

We’ll feast each other ere we part, and let’sDraw lots who shall begin.

POMPEY

We'll throw feasts for each other before we part, and we'll draw straws to see who will host the first one. 

ANTONY

That will I, Pompey.

ANTONY

I will, Pompey.

POMPEY

No, Antony, take the lot. But, first or last, Your fine Egyptian cookery shall have The fame. I have heard that Julius Caesar Grew fat with feasting there.

POMPEY

No, Antony, draw straws with us. But, whether you go first or last, your fine Egyptian style of cooking will carry away all the honor. I've heard that Julius Caesar grew fat from feasting while he was there.

ANTONY

You have heard much.

ANTONY

You've heard a lot.

POMPEY

I have fair meanings, sir.

POMPEY

I mean well, sir.

ANTONY

And fair words to them.

ANTONY

And your words sound good.

POMPEY

Then so much have I heard.And I have heard Apollodorus carried—

POMPEY

That's what I heard. And I've heard that Apollodorus carried—

ENOBARBUS

[interrupting POMPEY] No more of that. He did so.

ENOBARBUS

[Interrupting POMPEY] No more about that. He did exactly that. 

POMPEY

What, I pray you?

POMPEY

What did he carry, I ask you?

ENOBARBUS

A certain queen to Caesar in a mattress.

ENOBARBUS

A certain queen to Caesar in a mattress. 

POMPEY

I know thee now. How far’st thou, soldier?

POMPEY

I know who you are now. How are you doing, soldier?

ENOBARBUS

Well,And well am like to do, for I perceive,Four feasts are toward.

ENOBARBUS

Well, and I believe I'll continue to do well, for I hear there are four feasts planned.

POMPEY

Let me shake thy hand.I never hated thee. I have seen thee fightWhen I have envied thy behavior.

POMPEY

Let me shake your hand. I never bore you ill will. I've seen you fight so well that I envied your achievements. 

ENOBARBUS

Sir,I never loved you much, but I ha’ praised yeWhen you have well deserved ten times as muchAs I have said you did.

ENOBARBUS

Sir, I have never been very fond of you, but I have praised you—when you deserved ten times as much praise as what I gave you. 

POMPEY

Enjoy thy plainness. It nothing ill becomes thee.— Aboard my galley I invite you all. Will you lead, lords?

POMPEY

Keep speaking straightforwardly like this. It suits you.

[To CAESAR, ANTONY, and LEPIDUS] I invite you all to come aboard my ship. Will you go first my lords?

CAESAR, ANTONY, LEPIDUS

Show ’s the way, sir.

CAESAR, ANTONY, LEPIDUS

Please, lead us, sir.

POMPEY

Come.

POMPEY

Come.

Exeunt all but ENOBARBUS and MENAS

MENAS

(aside] Thy father, Pompey, would ne’er have made thistreaty. [To ENOBARBUS] You and I have known, sir.

MENAS

[To himself] Your father, Pompey, would never have made a treaty like this. 

[To ENOBARBUS] You and I have met before, sir.

ENOBARBUS

At sea, I think.

ENOBARBUS

At sea, I think.

MENAS

We have, sir.

MENAS

We have, sir.

ENOBARBUS

You have done well by water.

ENOBARBUS

Your side has done well at sea.

MENAS

And you by land.

MENAS

And your side has done well on land.

ENOBARBUS

I will praise any man that will praise me, though it cannot be denied what I have done by land.

ENOBARBUS

I'll say good things about anyone who says good things about me, but no one can deny what I have accomplished on land.

MENAS

Nor what I have done by water.

MENAS

Or what I have accomplished at sea. 

ENOBARBUS

Yes, something you can deny for your own safety: you have been a great thief by sea.

ENOBARBUS

Yes, there is something you ought to deny for your own good—the fact that you have been a thief at sea.

MENAS

And you by land.

MENAS

And you've been a thief on land. 

ENOBARBUS

There I deny my land service. But give me your hand, Menas.

ENOBARBUS

I deny that. But give me your hand, Menas.

They clasp hands

If our eyes had authority, here they might take two thieves kissing.

If our eyes were policemen, they could arrest two thieves conspiring here.

MENAS

All men’s faces are true, whatsome’er their hands are.

MENAS

All men have honest faces, even if their hands tend to steal. 

ENOBARBUS

But there is never a fair woman has a true face.

ENOBARBUS

But no beautiful woman has an honest face. 

MENAS

No slander. They steal hearts.

MENAS

That's true. They steal men's hearts. 

ENOBARBUS

We came hither to fight with you.

ENOBARBUS

We came here to fight with you.

MENAS

For my part, I am sorry it is turned to a drinking. Pompey doth this day laugh away his fortune.

MENAS

For my part, I'm sorry that the fighting has turned into feasting. By entertaining your leaders today, Pompey throws away his fortune.

ENOBARBUS

If he do, sure he cannot weep ’t back again.

ENOBARBUS

If he does, I'm sure he cannot get it back by crying. 

MENAS

You’ve said, sir. We looked not for Mark Antony here. Pray you, is he married to Cleopatra?

MENAS

That's true, sir. We didn't expect to see Mark Antony here. Please tell me, is he married to Cleopatra?

ENOBARBUS

Caesar’s sister is called Octavia.

ENOBARBUS

Caesar's sister is called Octavia.

MENAS

True, sir. She was the wife of Caius Marcellus.

MENAS

True, sir. She was the wife of Caius Marcellus.

ENOBARBUS

But she is now the wife of Marcus Antonius.

ENOBARBUS

But now she's the wife of Mark Antony.

MENAS

Pray ye, sir?

MENAS

Really, sir?

ENOBARBUS

’Tis true.

ENOBARBUS

It's true.

MENAS

Then is Caesar and he forever knit together.

MENAS

Then Caesar and he are bound in friendship forever.

ENOBARBUS

If I were bound to divine of this unity, I would not prophesy so.

ENOBARBUS

If I had to make a prediction, I wouldn't guess so. 

MENAS

I think the policy of that purpose made more in the marriage than the love of the parties.

MENAS

I think the marriage was arranged more for that political purpose, rather than the love between the couple. 

ENOBARBUS

I think so too. But you shall find the band that seems to tie their friendship together will be the very strangler of their amity. Octavia is of a holy, cold, and still conversation.

ENOBARBUS

I think so too. But you'll find that the arrangement that was supposed to bind them in friendship will turn out to kill their friendship. Octavia has a very pious, cold, and quiet temperament. 

MENAS

Who would not have his wife so?

MENAS

Who wouldn't want a wife like that?

ENOBARBUS

Not he that himself is not so, which is Mark Antony. Hewill to his Egyptian dish again. Then shall the sighs of Octavia blow the fire up in Caesar, and, as I said before, that which is the strength of their amity shall prove the immediate author of their variance. Antony will use his affection where it is. He married but his occasion here.

ENOBARBUS

Not someone who doesn't share that disposition—Mark Antony. He'll return to his Egyptian lover again. Then Octavia's sorrow will anger Caesar, and, as I said before, the source of their friendship will ultimately prove a source of conflict. Antony will return to the woman he's really fond of. He only married Octavia for pragmatic reasons. 

MENAS

And thus it may be. Come, sir, will you aboard? I have a health for you.

MENAS

And it may turn out that way. Come, sir, will you come aboard? I'll drink a toast to you. 

ENOBARBUS

I shall take it, sir. We have used our throats in Egypt.

ENOBARBUS

I'll take it, sir. We're used to drinking in Egypt.

MENAS

Come, let’s away.

MENAS

Come, 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.