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Antony and Cleopatra

Antony and Cleopatra Translation Act 3, Scene 3

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Enter CLEOPATRA, CHARMIAN, IRAS, and ALEXAS

CLEOPATRA

Where is the fellow?

CLEOPATRA

Where is the man?

ALEXAS

Half afeard to come.

ALEXAS

He's afraid to come.

CLEOPATRA

Go to, go to.—Come hither, sir.

CLEOPATRA

Never mind that, never mind. Come here, sir.

Enter the MESSENGER as before

ALEXAS

Good majesty,Herod of Jewry dare not look upon youBut when you are well pleased.

ALEXAS

Good queen, not even King Herod dares to come in your presence except when you are in a good mood.

CLEOPATRA

That Herod’s headI’ll have! But how? When Antony is gone,Through whom I might command it? [To MESSENGER] Come thou near.

CLEOPATRA

I'll have King Herod's head! But how? When Antony is gone, who will carry out my orders? 

[To the MESSENGER] Come closer.

MESSENGER

Most gracious majesty!

MESSENGER

Most gracious queen!

CLEOPATRA

Didst thou behold Octavia?

CLEOPATRA

Did you see Octavia? 

MESSENGER

Ay, dread Queen.

MESSENGER

Yes, oh powerful Queen.

CLEOPATRA

Where?

CLEOPATRA

Where?

MESSENGER

Madam, in Rome.I looked her in the face, and saw her ledBetween her brother and Mark Antony.

MESSENGER

Madam, in Rome. I looked at her face, and I saw her walking between her brother and Mark Antony.

CLEOPATRA

Is she as tall as me?

CLEOPATRA

Is she as tall as me?

MESSENGER

She is not, madam.

MESSENGER

She is not, madam.

CLEOPATRA

Didst hear her speak? Is she shrill-tongued or low?

CLEOPATRA

Did you hear her speak? Does she have a high voice or a low one?

MESSENGER

Madam, I heard her speak. She is low-voiced.

MESSENGER

Madam, I heard her speak. She has a low voice.

CLEOPATRA

That’s not so good. He cannot like her long.

CLEOPATRA

That's not very good for Octavia. He cannot like her for long.

CHARMIAN

Like her? O Isis, ’tis impossible.

CHARMIAN

Like her? By Isis, that is impossible. 

CLEOPATRA

I think so, Charmian. Dull of tongue, and dwarfish.—What majesty is in her gait? Remember,If e’er thou looked’st on majesty.

CLEOPATRA

I think so, Charmian. She has a dull voice and she's short—does she walk in an elegant way? Recall, if you ever looked at a queen.

MESSENGER

She creeps. Her motion and her station are as one. She shows a body rather than a life, A statue than a breather.

MESSENGER

She has a slow, hunched walk. She looks the same walking and standing still. She has a body, not a form with life in it. She's more like a statue than a living, breathing woman. 

CLEOPATRA

Is this certain?

CLEOPATRA

Is this certain?

MESSENGER

Or I have no observance.

MESSENGER

It is, or I have no power to observe.

CHARMIAN

Three in EgyptCannot make better note.

CHARMIAN

There's not three people in Egypt who can observe better than he can.

CLEOPATRA

He’s very knowing,I do perceive ’t. There’s nothing in her yet.The fellow has good judgment.

CLEOPATRA

He's very shrewd, I can tell. I haven't heard about any good qualities in Octavia yet. The man has good judgment. 

CHARMIAN

Excellent.

CHARMIAN

Excellent.

CLEOPATRA

[To MESSENGER] Guess at her years, I prithee.

CLEOPATRA

[To the MESSENGER] Please, guess how old she is. 

MESSENGER

Madam, she was a widow—

MESSENGER

Madam, she was a widow—

CLEOPATRA

Widow? Charmian, hark.

CLEOPATRA

Widow? Charmian, pay attention to this.

MESSENGER

And I do think she’s thirty.

MESSENGER

And I think she's around thirty.

CLEOPATRA

Bear’st thou her face in mind? Is ’t long or round?

CLEOPATRA

Do you remember her face? Is it long or round?

MESSENGER

Round, even to faultiness.

MESSENGER

Round, even to a fault.

CLEOPATRA

For the most part, too, they are foolish that are so.Her hair, what color?

CLEOPATRA

For the most part, people with round faces are foolish. What color is her hair?

MESSENGER

Brown, madam, and her foreheadAs low as she would wish it.

MESSENGER

Brown, madam, and her forehead is so low that she wouldn't want it any lower.

CLEOPATRA

[giving money] There’s gold for thee. Thou must not take my former sharpness ill. I will employ thee back again; I find thee Most fit for business. Go make thee ready; Our letters are prepared.

CLEOPATRA

[Giving the MESSENGER money] Here's money for you. You must not hold my previous hostility against me. I'll employ you for another task; I find that you're a very useful man. Get ready to go; our letters are ready.

Exit MESSENGER

CHARMIAN

A proper man.

CHARMIAN

An admirable man. 

CLEOPATRA

Indeed, he is so. I repent me muchThat so I harried him. Why, methinks, by him,This creature’s no such thing.

CLEOPATRA

Indeed, he is. I'm very sorry that I harassed him so much. Why, judging by his report, I think that this Octavia woman really has no good qualities to speak of. 

CHARMIAN

Nothing, madam.

CHARMIAN

None, madam. 

CLEOPATRA

The man hath seen some majesty and should know.

CLEOPATRA

Antony has seen what royalty looks like, and he should know it when he sees it. 

CHARMIAN

Hath he seen majesty? Isis else defend,And serving you so long!

CHARMIAN

Has he seen royalty? Isis forbid that he has not seen royalty, after serving you so long!

CLEOPATRA

I have one thing more to ask him yet, good Charmian—But ’tis no matter; thou shalt bring him to meWhere I will write. All may be well enough.

CLEOPATRA

I have one more thing to ask him still, good Charmian—but it doesn't matter. You'll bring him to me and I'll write my letter. All may be well enough. 

CHARMIAN

I warrant you, madam.

CHARMIAN

I assure you, madam.

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.