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Antony and Cleopatra

Antony and Cleopatra Translation Act 4, Scene 15

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Enter CLEOPATRA and her maids aloft, with CHARMIAN and IRAS

CLEOPATRA

O Charmian, I will never go from hence.

CLEOPATRA

Oh Charmian, I will never leave this place.

CHARMIAN

Be comforted, dear madam.

CHARMIAN

Be comforted, good madam.

CLEOPATRA

No, I will not. All strange and terrible events are welcome, But comforts we despise. Our size of sorrow, Proportioned to our cause, must be as great As that which makes it.

CLEOPATRA

No, I will not. I welcome all strange and terrible events, but I despise comfort. The size of our sorrow is proportionate to the cause of our sorrow, and so it must be as great as the cause. 

Enter below DIOMEDES

How now? Is he dead?

What's going on? Is he dead?

DIOMEDES

His death’s upon him, but not dead.Look out o’ th’ other side your monument.His guard have brought him thither.

DIOMEDES

His death is approaching fast, but he is not dead. Look out from the other side of your tomb. His guards have brought him there.

Enter below ANTONY, and the guard bearing him

CLEOPATRA

O sun, Burn the great sphere thou mov’st in. Darkling stand The varying shore o’ th’ world! O Antony, Antony, Antony! Help, Charmian, help, Iras, help! Help, friends below! Let’s draw him hither.

CLEOPATRA

Oh sun, burn up the path of your orbit and leave it. May all the shores of the world lie in darkness! Oh Antony, Antony, Antony! Help, Charmian, Iras, help! Help, friends below! Let's draw him up here.

ANTONY

Peace!Not Caesar’s valor hath o’erthrown Antony,But Antony’s hath triumphed on itself.

ANTONY

Be at peace! Caesar's bravery did not overthrow me. I conquered myself with my own bravery. 

CLEOPATRA

So it should be, that none but AntonyShould conquer Antony, but woe ’tis so!

CLEOPATRA

That is how it should be, that no one should conquer Antony except Antony himself—but what a pity that it has come to pass!

ANTONY

I am dying, Egypt, dying. Only I here importune death awhile, until Of many thousand kisses the poor last I lay upon thy lips.

ANTONY

I am dying, Queen of Egypt, dying. I just ask now that death hold off for a short while, until I lay the poor last kiss of many thousands of kisses on your lips.

CLEOPATRA

I dare not, dear, Dear my lord, pardon, I dare not, Lest I be taken. Not th’ imperious show Of the full-fortuned Caesar ever shall Be brooched with me. If knife, drugs, serpents, have Edge, sting, or operation, I am safe. Your wife Octavia, with her modest eyes And still conclusion, shall acquire no honor Demuring upon me. But come, come, Antony— Help me, my women—We must draw thee up. Assist, good friends.

CLEOPATRA

I dare not come down to you, dear. My dear lord, forgive me, I dare not, for fear I will be captured. I will never serve as an ornament to adorn the triumphal procession of Caesar, for all his good fortune. As long as knives have edges, serpents have teeth, or drugs have power, I will be safe from him. Your wife Octavia, with her modestly lowered eyes and her silent judgments, will get no honor from gazing upon me. But come, come, Antony—help me, my women—we must draw you up. Help, good friends. 

They begin lifting him

ANTONY

Oh, quick, or I am gone.

ANTONY

Oh, quick, or I will be dead. 

CLEOPATRA

Here’s sport indeed! How heavy weighs my lord! Our strength is all gone into heaviness, That makes the weight. Had I great Juno’s power, The strong-winged Mercury should fetch thee up And set thee by Jove’s side. Yet come a little. Wishers were ever fools. Oh, come, come, come!

CLEOPATRA

Here's a fine game! How heavy my lord is! All our strength is dissolved by sadness—that's what makes the weight so great. If I had great Juno's power, Mercury with his strong wings would bring you up and set you at Jove's side. Still, come a little closer. Wishing has always been a foolish thing to do. Oh, come, come, come!

They heave ANTONY aloft to CLEOPATRA

And welcome, welcome! Die when thou hast lived.Quicken with kissing. Had my lips that power,Thus would I wear them out.

And welcome, welcome! Die only after you have lived. Let kissing bring you back to life. If my lips had the power to do that, I would wear them out like this.

She kisses him

ALL

A heavy sight!

ALL

A sad sight!

ANTONY

I am dying, Egypt, dying.Give me some wine and let me speak a little.

ANTONY

I am dying, Queen of Egypt, dying. Give me some wine and let me speak a little.

CLEOPATRA

No, let me speak, and let me rail so highThat the false huswife Fortune break her wheel,Provoked by my offense.

CLEOPATRA

No, let me speak, I will complain and rant so bitterly that deceitful, treacherous Fortune will be so provoked by my insults that she will give up her power.

ANTONY

One word, sweet Queen:Of Caesar seek your honor, with your safety—Oh!

ANTONY

One word, sweet Queen. Appeal to Caesar to protect your honor and your safety—oh!

CLEOPATRA

They do not go together.

CLEOPATRA

He cannot do both.

ANTONY

Gentle, hear me.None about Caesar trust but Proculeius.

ANTONY

Gentle lady, listen to me. Don't trust any of Caesar's followers except Proculeius.

CLEOPATRA

My resolution and my hands I’ll trust,None about Caesar.

CLEOPATRA

I'll trust my determination and my own hands. I won't trust anyone around Caesar. 

ANTONY

The miserable change now at my end Lament nor sorrow at, but please your thoughts In feeding them with those my former fortunes, Wherein I lived the greatest prince o’ th’ world, The noblest, and do now not basely die, Not cowardly put off my helmet to My countryman —a Roman by a Roman Valiantly vanquished. Now my spirit is going. I can no more.

ANTONY

Do not lament or be sorry for the miserable turn that my life has taken. Rather, please yourself by thinking about the great fortunes I enjoyed in the past, when I was the greatest and noblest prince in the world. I do not die dishonorably now, nor do I surrender like a coward to my fellow countryman. I am a Roman who has been bravely conquered by another Roman. Now my last breath is leaving me. I cannot speak any more. 

CLEOPATRA

Noblest of men, woo’t die? Hast thou no care of me? Shall I abide In this dull world, which in thy absence is No better than a sty? O see, my women, The crown o’ th’ earth doth melt. My lord!

CLEOPATRA

Noblest of men, are you dying? Don't you care about me? Can I remain in this dull world, which will be no better than a pigsty when you are gone from it? Oh look, my women, the greatest monarch of the earth is fading away. My lord!

ANTONY dies

Oh, withered is the garland of the war. The soldier’s pole is fall’n! Young boys and girls Are level now with men. The odds is gone, And there is nothing left remarkable Beneath the visiting moon.

Oh, the glories that crown battle are all gone now. The guide of every soldier has fallen! The men that are left now are no better than young boys and girls. There is no person of distinction left among humankind, and there is no longer anything remarkable on earth.

CHARMIAN

Oh, quietness, lady!

CHARMIAN

Oh, be calm, my lady!

CLEOPATRA swoons

IRAS

She’s dead too, our sovereign.

IRAS

She's dead too, our queen.

CHARMIAN

Lady!

CHARMIAN

Lady!

IRAS

Madam!

IRAS

Madam!

CHARMIAN

O madam, madam, madam!

CHARMIAN

Oh madam, madam, madam!

IRAS

Royal Egypt, Empress!

IRAS

Royal Queen of Egypt, Empress!

CLEOPATRA stirs

CHARMIAN

Peace, peace, Iras.

CHARMIAN

Peace, peace, Iras.

CLEOPATRA

No more but e’en a woman, and commanded By such poor passion as the maid that milks And does the meanest chares. It were for me To throw my scepter at the injurious gods, To tell them that this world did equal theirs Till they had stolen our jewel. All’s but naught. Patience is sottish, and impatience does Become a dog that’s mad. Then is it sin To rush into the secret house of death Ere death dare come to us? How do you, women? What, what, good cheer! Why, how now, Charmian? My noble girls! Ah, women, women! Look, Our lamp is spent, it’s out. Good sirs, take heart. We’ll bury him, and then, what’s brave, what’s noble, Let’s do ’t after the high Roman fashion And make death proud to take us. Come, away. This case of that huge spirit now is cold. Ah, women, women! Come. We have no friend But resolution, and the briefest end.

CLEOPATRA

I am no longer a queen but just an ordinary woman. I am overpowered by the same unworthy emotions as any milkmaid who performs the humblest chores. It would be more fitting for me to hurl my scepter at the gods who have injured me and tell them that this earthly world was as good as their divine world until they stole away the greatest man. Everything is worthless. It is idiotic to be patient and endure things calmly, and to become impatient is quickly to become like a mad dog. In that case, is it really sinful to rush towards death before death comes to us naturally? How are you, my women? What, what, be cheerful! Why, how are you doing there, Charmian? My noble girls! Ah, women, women! Look, our lamp has run out of oil, it's gone out. Good women, take heart. We'll bury him, and then, whatever is brave or noble, we'll do it in the noble Roman style, and die so nobly that death will be proud to take us. Come, away. The body that contained that great spirit is now cold. Ah, women, women! Come. The only thing that can help us is determination, and the quickest possible death. 

Exeunt, those above bearing off ANTONY’s body

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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.