A line-by-line translation

Antony and Cleopatra

Antony and Cleopatra Translation Act 2, Scene 7

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Music plays. Enter two or three SERVANTS with a banquet

FIRST SERVANT

Here they’ll be, man. Some o’ their plants are ill-rooted already. The least wind i’ th’ world will blow them down.

FIRST SERVANT

They'll eat in here, friend. Some of them are unsteady on their feet already. The smallest breeze in the world would knock them over. 

SECOND SERVANT

Lepidus is high-colored.

SECOND SERVANT

Lepidus is flushed.

FIRST SERVANT

They have made him drink alms-drink.

FIRST SERVANT

They made him drink extra rounds.

SECOND SERVANT

As they pinch one another by the disposition, he cries out, “No more,” reconciles them to his entreaty and himself to th’ drink.

SECOND SERVANT

As their personalities clash, he cries, "No more quarreling," urges them to be friends, and resigns himself to another drink.

FIRST SERVANT

But it raises the greater war between him and his discretion.

FIRST SERVANT

But all this drinking makes him lose his judgment.

SECOND SERVANT

Why, this it is to have a name in great men’s fellowship. I had as lief have a reed that will do me noservice as a partisan I could not heave.

SECOND SERVANT

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FIRST SERVANT

To be called into a huge sphere, and not to be seen to move in ’t, are the holes where eyes should be, which pitifully disaster the cheeks.

FIRST SERVANT

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A sennet sounded. Enter CAESAR, ANTONY, POMPEY, LEPIDUS, AGRIPPA, MAECENAS, ENOBARBUS, and MENAS, with other captains and a BOY

ANTONY

Thus do they, sir: they take the flow o’ th’ Nile By certain scales i’ th’ Pyramid. They know By th’ height, the lowness, or the mean, if dearth Or foison follow. The higher Nilus swells The more it promises. As it ebbs, the seedsman Upon the slime and ooze scatters his grain, And shortly comes to harvest.

ANTONY

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LEPIDUS

You’ve strange serpents there?

LEPIDUS

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ANTONY

Ay, Lepidus.

ANTONY

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LEPIDUS

Your serpent of Egypt is bred now of your mud by the operation of your sun. So is your crocodile.

LEPIDUS

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ANTONY

They are so.

ANTONY

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POMPEY

[To LEPIDUS] Sit, and some wine. A health to Lepidus!

POMPEY

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They sit and drink

LEPIDUS

I am not so well as I should be, but I’ll ne’er out.

LEPIDUS

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ENOBARBUS

Not till you have slept. I fear me you’ll be in till then.

ENOBARBUS

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LEPIDUS

Nay, certainly, I have heard the Ptolemies’ pyramises are very goodly things. Without contradiction I have heard that.

LEPIDUS

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MENAS

[aside to POMPEY] Pompey, a word.

MENAS

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POMPEY

[aside to MENAS] Say in mine ear. What is ’t?

POMPEY

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MENAS

[aside to POMPEY] Forsake thy seat, I do beseech thee, captain,And hear me speak a word.

MENAS

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POMPEY

[aside to MENAS] Forbear me till anon.—This wine for Lepidus!

POMPEY

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LEPIDUS

What manner o’ thing is your crocodile?

LEPIDUS

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ANTONY

It is shaped, sir, like itself, and it is as broad as it hath breadth. It is just so high as it is, and moves with its own organs. It lives by that which nourisheth it, and, the elements once out of it, it transmigrates.

ANTONY

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LEPIDUS

What color is it of?

LEPIDUS

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ANTONY

Of it own color too.

ANTONY

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LEPIDUS

’Tis a strange serpent.

LEPIDUS

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ANTONY

’Tis so. And the tears of it are wet.

ANTONY

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CAESAR

[aside to ANTONY] Will this description satisfy him?

CAESAR

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ANTONY

[aside to CAESAR] With the health that Pompey gives him, else he is a very epicure.

ANTONY

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MENAS whispers again

POMPEY

[aside to MENAS] Go hang, sir, hang! Tell me of that? Away!Do as I bid you.—Where’s this cup I called for?

POMPEY

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MENAS

[aside to POMPEY] If for the sake of merit thou wilt hear me,Rise from thy stool.

MENAS

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POMPEY

[aside to MENAS] I think th’ art mad.

POMPEY

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He rises, and they walk aside

The matter?

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MENAS

I have ever held my cap off to thy fortunes.

MENAS

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POMPEY

Thou hast served me with much faith. What’s else to say?— [To the others] Be jolly, lords.

POMPEY

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ANTONY

These quicksands, Lepidus,Keep off them, for you sink.

ANTONY

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MENAS

[aside to POMPEY] Wilt thou be lord of all the world?

MENAS

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POMPEY

What sayst thou?

POMPEY

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MENAS

Wilt thou be lord of the whole world? That’s twice.

MENAS

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POMPEY

How should that be?

POMPEY

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MENAS

But entertain it,And, though thou think me poor, I am the manWill give thee all the world.

MENAS

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POMPEY

Hast thou drunk well?

POMPEY

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MENAS

No, Pompey, I have kept me from the cup. Thou art, if thou dar’st be, the earthly Jove. Whate’er the ocean pales or sky inclips Is thine, if thou wilt ha ’t.

MENAS

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POMPEY

Show me which way.

POMPEY

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MENAS

These three world-sharers, these competitors, Are in thy vessel. Let me cut the cable, And, when we are put off, fall to their throats. All there is thine.

MENAS

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POMPEY

Ah, this thou shouldst have done And not have spoke on ’t! In me ’tis villainy, In thee ’t had been good service. Thou must know, ’Tis not my profit that does lead mine honor; Mine honor, it. Repent that e’er thy tongue Hath so betrayed thine act. Being done unknown, I should have found it afterwards well done, But must condemn it now. Desist, and drink.

POMPEY

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He returns to the feast

MENAS

[aside] For this, I’ll never follow thy palled fortunes more. Who seeks and will not take when once ’tis offered Shall never find it more.

MENAS

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POMPEY

This health to Lepidus!

POMPEY

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ANTONY

[To a servant] Bear him ashore.—I’ll pledge it for him,Pompey.

ANTONY

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ENOBARBUS

Here’s to thee, Menas!

ENOBARBUS

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They drink

MENAS

Enobarbus, welcome.

MENAS

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POMPEY

Fill till the cup be hid.

POMPEY

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ENOBARBUS

There’s a strong fellow, Menas.

ENOBARBUS

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Pointing to the servant who carries off LEPIDUS

MENAS

Why?

MENAS

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ENOBARBUS

He bearsThe third part of the world, man. Seest not?

ENOBARBUS

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MENAS

The third part, then, is drunk. Would it were all,That it might go on wheels!

MENAS

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ENOBARBUS

Drink thou. Increase the reels.

ENOBARBUS

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MENAS

Come.

MENAS

Lorem

POMPEY

This is not yet an Alexandrian feast.

POMPEY

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ANTONY

It ripens towards it. Strike the vessels, ho!Here’s to Caesar.

ANTONY

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CAESAR

I could well forbear ’t.It’s monstrous labor when I wash my brainAnd it grows fouler.

CAESAR

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ANTONY

Be a child o’ th’ time.

ANTONY

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CAESAR

Possess it, I’ll make answer.But I had rather fast from all four daysThan drink so much in one.

CAESAR

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ENOBARBUS

[To ANTONY] Ha! My brave emperor,Shall we dance now the Egyptian bacchanalsAnd celebrate our drink?

ENOBARBUS

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POMPEY

Let’s ha ’t, good soldier.

POMPEY

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ANTONY

Come, let’s all take handsTill that the conquering wine hath steeped our senseIn soft and delicate Lethe.

ANTONY

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ENOBARBUS

All take hands. Make battery to our ears with the loud music, The while I’ll place you; then the boy shall sing. The holding every man shall beat as loud As his strong sides can volley.

ENOBARBUS

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Music plays. ENOBARBUS places them hand in hand

The Song.

BOY

(Sings) Come, thou monarch of the vine, Plumpy Bacchus with pink eyne! In thy vats our cares be drowned, With thy grapes our hairs be crowned.

BOY

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ALL

(Singing) Cup us till the world go round, Cup us till the world go round!

ALL

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CAESAR

What would you more? —Pompey, good night. [To ANTONY] Good brother, Let me request you off. Our graver business Frowns at this levity. —Gentle lords, let’s part. You see we have burnt our cheeks. Strong Enobarb Is weaker than the wine; and mine own tongue Splits what it speaks. The wild disguise hath almost Anticked us all. What needs more words? Good night. Good Antony, your hand.

CAESAR

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POMPEY

I’ll try you on the shore.

POMPEY

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ANTONY

And shall, sir. Give ’s your hand.

ANTONY

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POMPEY

O Antony, You have my father’s house.But what? We are friends. Come, down into the boat.

POMPEY

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ENOBARBUS

Take heed you fall not.

ENOBARBUS

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Exeunt all but MENAS and ENOBARBUS

Menas, I’ll not on shore.

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MENAS

No, to my cabin. These drums, these trumpets, flutes! What!Let Neptune hear we bid a loud farewellTo these great fellows. Sound and be hanged, sound out!

MENAS

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Sound a flourish, with drums

ENOBARBUS

Hoo! says ’a. There’s my cap.

ENOBARBUS

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He flings it in the air

MENAS

Hoo! Noble captain, come.

MENAS

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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.