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Antony and Cleopatra

Antony and Cleopatra Translation Act 4, Scene 14

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Enter ANTONY and EROS

ANTONY

Eros, thou yet behold’st me?

ANTONY

Eros, you still see me?

EROS

Ay, noble lord.

EROS

Yes, my noble lord. 

ANTONY

Sometimes we see a cloud that’s dragonish, A vapor sometime like a bear or lion, A towered citadel, a pendant rock, A forkèd mountain, or blue promontory With trees upon ’t that nod unto the world And mock our eyes with air. Thou hast seen these signs. They are black vesper’s pageants.

ANTONY

Sometimes we see a cloud that looks like a dragon, and sometimes a mist that looks like a bear or a lion, like a fortress with towers, an overhanging rock, a mountain with many peaks. Sometimes we see a blue rock with trees on it that shake before our eyes and make mockeries of our sight since they are made only of air. You have seen the signs. They are the apparitions that tell us night and death are coming.

EROS

Ay, my lord.

EROS

Yes, my lord.

ANTONY

That which is now a horse, even with a thoughtThe rack dislimns and makes it indistinctAs water is in water.

ANTONY

We see a shape that now looks like a horse, and even as we think it, the cloud dims and makes the shape indistinct, like one drop in a body of water. 

EROS

It does, my lord.

EROS

It does, my lord.

ANTONY

My good knave Eros, now thy captain is Even such a body. Here I am Antony, Yet cannot hold this visible shape, my knave. I made these wars for Egypt, and the Queen, Whose heart I thought I had, for she had mine— Which whilst it was mine had annexed unto ’t A million more, now lost —she, Eros, has Packed cards with Caesar and false-played my glory Unto an enemy’s triumph. Nay, weep not, gentle Eros. There is left us Ourselves to end ourselves.

ANTONY

My good young man Eros, your captain's body behaves in just the same way now. I am myself for now, but I cannot maintain this bodily form, my boy. I went to war for the sake of Egypt and the Queen. I thought I had the Queen's love, for she had mine—and until I loved her, I had the love of a million more people, which I have now lost. But now she has concocted a plot with Caesar, Eros, and betrayed me so that an enemy may defeat me and destroy my glory. No, do not weep, gentle Eros. We still have enough of our own power to put an end to our lives. 

Enter MARDIAN

Oh, thy vile lady!She has robbed me of my sword.

Oh, your despicable mistress! She has destroyed all my fortitude.

MARDIAN

No, Antony,My mistress loved thee, and her fortunes mingledWith thine entirely.

MARDIAN

No, Antony, my mistress loved you, and her fate was inseparable from yours. 

ANTONY

Hence, saucy eunuch! Peace!She hath betrayed me and shall die the death.

ANTONY

Get out, you shameless eunuch! Be quiet! She has betrayed me and she will die as she deserves. 

MARDIAN

Death of one person can be paid but once, And that she has discharged. What thou wouldst do Is done unto thy hand. The last she spake Was “Antony, most noble Antony!” Then in the midst a tearing groan did break The name of Antony. It was divided Between her heart and lips. She rendered life, Thy name so buried in her.

MARDIAN

A person can only die once, and she has done that. What you intended to do, she has done for you. The last words she spoke were, "Antony, most noble Antony!" Then she broke off in the middle of saying your name to let out a heart-rending groan. She spoke half of the word, the other half remained in her heart. And so she died with your name buried inside her. 

ANTONY

Dead, then?

ANTONY

She is dead, then?

MARDIAN

Dead.

MARDIAN

Dead.

ANTONY

Unarm, Eros. The long day’s task is done,And we must sleep. [To MARDIAN] That thou depart’st hence safeDoes pay thy labor richly. Go.

ANTONY

[To EROS] Take off my armor, Eros. Our long day's work is finished, and we must sleep. 

[To MARDIAN] It's reward enough for your pains that I let you leave here unharmed. Go.

Exit MARDIAN

Off, pluck off! The sevenfold shield of Ajax cannot keep The battery from my heart. O, cleave, my sides! Heart, once be stronger than thy continent. Crack thy frail case!—Apace, Eros, apace. No more a soldier. Bruisèd pieces, go. You have been nobly borne. (to EROS) From me awhile.

ANTONY

Off, take my armor off! [EROS removes his armor] Not even the shield of Ajax, with all its seven layers, can protect my heart from this assault. Oh, if only my sides would burst open! I wish my heart were stronger than the weak body that contains it and crack open. Quickly, Eros, quickly. I am no longer a soldier. Let these damaged pieces of armor be cast aside. I wore them nobly. Eros, leave me alone for a while.

Exit EROS

I will o’ertake thee, Cleopatra, and Weep for my pardon. So it must be, for now All length is torture. Since the torch is out, Lie down and stray no farther. Now all labor Mars what it does. Yea, very force entangles Itself with strength. Seal then, and all is done.— Eros! —I come, my Queen. —Eros!— Stay for me. Where souls do couch on flowers, we’ll hand in hand, And with our sprightly port make the ghosts gaze. Dido and her Aeneas shall want troops, And all the haunt be ours. —Come, Eros, Eros!

[As if to CLEOPATRA] I will follow you into death, Cleopatra, and weep until you forgive me. It must be like this, since now, any more time spent alive is torture. Since the light of my life is gone, I will end my life and go on no further. Now anything I tried to do would only make matters worse. Yes, even strength defeats itself by what it tries to do. Let me end it, then and everything will be done. 

[Calling] Eros! 

[As if to CLEOPATRA] I come, my Queen. 

[Calling] Eros! 

[As if to CLEOPATRA] Wait for me. In that place where souls sleep on flowers, we'll walk hand in hand, and ghosts will gaze at us because of our cheerful demeanor. No one will pay attention to Dido and Aeneas, and the place will be ours.

[Calling] Come, Eros, Eros!

Enter EROS

EROS

What would my lord?

EROS

What do you want, my lord?

ANTONY

Since Cleopatra died I have lived in such dishonor that the gods Detest my baseness. I, that with my sword Quartered the world, and o’er green Neptune’s back With ships made cities, condemn myself to lack The courage of a woman —less noble mind Than she which by her death our Caesar tells “I am conqueror of myself.” Thou art sworn, Eros, That when the exigent should come which now Is come indeed, when I should see behind me Th’ inevitable prosecution of Disgrace and horror, that on my command, Thou then wouldst kill me . Do ’t. The time is come. Thou strik’st not me, ’tis Caesar thou defeat’st. Put color in thy cheek.

ANTONY

Since Cleopatra died, my life has had such dishonor that even the gods hate how disgraceful I am. I, who divided the world into quarters and sailed across the green sea with so many ships that they appeared to make a city on the waves—I disgrace myself by having less courage than a woman. I have a less noble mind than she, who tells Caesar with her death, "I am conqueror of myself." You have sworn, Eros, that when it became necessary, as it is now, when I could see inevitable disgrace and horror looming, that you would kill me on my command. Do it. The time has come. It isn't me you strike, it's Caesar you're defeating. Pull yourself together. 

EROS

The gods withhold me!Shall I do that which all the Parthian darts,Though enemy, lost aim and could not?

EROS

May the gods prevent me! All of the Parthians' arrows missed their target and could not kill you, how could I kill you instead?

ANTONY

Eros, Wouldst thou be windowed in great Rome and see Thy master thus with pleached arms, bending down His corrigible neck, his face subdued To penetrative shame, whilst the wheeled seat Of fortunate Caesar, drawn before him, branded His baseness that ensued?

ANTONY

Eros, would you rather look down from a window in the great city of Rome and see your master displayed like this, with his arms tied, bending his neck in submission, his face subdued by penetrating shame, while lucky Caesar's chariot was drawn before him, indicating to everyone that the man who walked behind was disgraced?

EROS

I would not see ’t.

EROS

I couldn't look at it. 

ANTONY

Come, then, for with a wound I must be cured.Draw that thy honest sword, which thou hast wornMost useful for thy country.

ANTONY

Come, then, for you can only help me by wounding me. Draw your faithful sword, which you have used to do good service for your country. 

EROS

O sir, pardon me!

EROS

Oh sir, pardon me!

ANTONY

When I did make thee free, swor’st thou not then To do this when I bade thee? Do it at once, Or thy precedent services are all But accidents unpurposed. Draw and come.

ANTONY

When I freed you from servitude, didn't you swear to me then that you would do this when I told you to? Do it immediately, or all your previous service to me was nothing but an accident, not something you intended to do. Draw your sword and come. 

EROS

Turn from me then that noble countenanceWherein the worship of the whole world lies.

EROS

Turn away from me, then, that noble face that the whole world used to worship.

ANTONY

Lo thee!

ANTONY

Here you are!

He turns away

EROS

My sword is drawn.

EROS

My sword is drawn.

ANTONY

Then let it do at onceThe thing why thou hast drawn it.

ANTONY

Then do it at once, the thing you drew it in order to do.

EROS

My dear master,My captain, and my emperor, let me say,Before I strike this bloody stroke, farewell.

EROS

My dear master, my captain, and my emperor, before I strike this deadly stroke, let me say goodbye to you.

ANTONY

’Tis said, man, and farewell.

ANTONY

You've said it, man, goodbye.

EROS

Farewell, great chief. Shall I strike now?

EROS

Goodbye, great captain. Shall I strike now?

ANTONY

Now, Eros.

ANTONY

Now, Eros.

EROS

Why, there then!

EROS

Why, then there it is!

Stabs himself

Thus I do escape the sorrowOf Antony’s death.

In this way I escape the sorrow of seeing Antony's death.

He dies

ANTONY

Thrice nobler than myself, Thou teachest me, O valiant Eros, what I should and thou couldst not. My Queen and Eros Have by their brave instruction got upon me A nobleness in record. But I will be A bridegroom in my death, and run into ’t As to a lover’s bed. Come then, and Eros, Thy master dies thy scholar. To do thus I learned of thee.

ANTONY

You are three times nobler than I am. Oh brave Eros, you teach me how to do the thing that I should do and that you couldn't do. In this brave deed that they've taught me, my Queen and Eros have gained a noble reputation ahead of me, recorded in the history books. But I will embrace death as willingly as a bridegroom embraces his bride, and seek it as eagerly as a lover's bed. Come then. Eros, I was once your master but now I am your student. I learned how to do this from you.

He falls on his sword

How! Not dead? Not dead?The guard, ho! Oh, dispatch me!

How could this be? I'm not dead? Not dead? Guards, hey there! Oh, finish me off! 

Enter DERCETUS and others of a GUARD

FIRST GUARD

What’s the noise?

FIRST GUARD

What's all this noise?

ANTONY

I have done my work ill, friends. Oh, make an endOf what I have begun!

ANTONY

I've done my work badly, my friends. Oh, finish what I started!

SECOND GUARD

The star is fall’n.

SECOND GUARD

The greatest man has fallen.

FIRST GUARD

And time is at his period.

FIRST GUARD

And time comes to a halt.

ALL

Alas, and woe!

ALL

Alas, the sorrow!

ANTONY

Let him that loves me strike me dead.

ANTONY

If anyone loves me, let him kill me.

FIRST GUARD

Not I.

FIRST GUARD

Not I.

SECOND GUARD

Nor I.

SECOND GUARD

Nor I.

THIRD GUARD

Nor anyone.

THIRD GUARD

Nor anyone.

Exeunt GUARD

DERCETUS

Thy death and fortunes bid thy followers fly.

DERCETUS

Your death and your fallen fortunes show your followers that they ought to leave you.

He takes up ANTONY’s sword

This sword but shown to Caesar, with this tidings,Shall enter me with him.

If I just show this sword to Caesar and tell him this news, I'll gain favor with him.

Enter DIOMEDES

DIOMEDES

Where’s Antony?

DIOMEDES

Where's Antony?

DERCETUS

There, Diomed, there.

DERCETUS

There, Diomed, there.

DIOMEDES

Lives he? Wilt thou not answer, man?

DIOMEDES

Is he alive? Won't you answer, man?

Exit DERCETUS

ANTONY

Art thou there, Diomed? Draw thy sword and give meSufficing strokes for death.

ANTONY

Are you there, Diomed? Draw your sword and strike me hard enough to kill me. 

DIOMEDES

Most absolute lord,My mistress Cleopatra sent me to thee.

DIOMEDES

Greatest lord, my mistress Cleopatra sent me to you.

ANTONY

When did she send thee?

ANTONY

When did she send you?

DIOMEDES

Now, my lord.

DIOMEDES

Just now, my lord.

ANTONY

Where is she?

ANTONY

Where is she?

DIOMEDES

Locked in her monument. She had a prophesying fear Of what hath come to pass. For when she saw— Which never shall be found—you did suspect She had disposed with Caesar, and that your rage Would not be purged, she sent you word she was dead. But fearing since how it might work, hath sent Me to proclaim the truth, and I am come, I dread, too late.

DIOMEDES

Locked in her tomb. She was afraid of what she foresaw might happen. For when she saw that you suspected her of plotting with Caesar—something you will never find to be true—and that your rage could not be overcome, she sent you a message that she was dead. But then she became afraid of what effect the news might have on you, and she sent me to tell you the truth. Now I'm afraid that I've arrived too late. 

ANTONY

Too late, good Diomed. Call my guard, I prithee.

ANTONY

Too late, good Diomed. Call my guard, please.

DIOMEDES

What ho, the Emperor’s guard! The guard, what ho!Come, your lord calls!

DIOMEDES

Hey there, the Emperor's guard! The guard, hey there! Come, your lord is calling you!

Enter four or five of the GUARD of Antony

ANTONY

Bear me, good friends, where Cleopatra bides.’Tis the last service that I shall command you.

ANTONY

Good friends, carry me to where Cleopatra is. This is the last service that I will command you to carry out. 

FIRST GUARD

Woe, woe are we, sir, you may not live to wearAll your true followers out.

FIRST GUARD

We are sorrowful, sorrowful, sir, that you will not live longer than your followers.

ALL

Most heavy day!

ALL

Most sorrowful day!

ANTONY

Nay, good my fellows, do not please sharp fate To grace it with your sorrows. Bid that welcome Which comes to punish us, and we punish it, Seeming to bear it lightly. Take me up. I have led you oft; carry me now, good friends, And have my thanks for all.

ANTONY

No, my good friends, do not give cruel fate the satisfaction of seeing your sorrows. If we welcome something that was intended to punish us, we punish it in return by seeming not to mind it. Pick me up. I have often led you; carry me now, good friends. I thank you for everything.

Exeunt, bearing ANTONY and the body of EROS

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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.