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Antony and Cleopatra

Antony and Cleopatra Translation Act 5, Scene 1

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Enter CAESAR, with AGRIPPA, DOLABELLA, MAECENAS, GALLUS, and PROCULEIUS, and his council of war

CAESAR

Go to him, Dolabella, bid him yield.Being so frustrate, tell him, he mocksThe pauses that he makes.

CAESAR

Go to Antony, Dolabella, and tell him to surrender. His delay in doing so makes him look ridiculous. 

DOLABELLA

Caesar, I shall.

DOLABELLA

Caesar, I will. 

Exit

Enter DERCETUS, with the sword of ANTONY

CAESAR

Wherefore is that? And what art thou that dar’stAppear thus to us?

CAESAR

What is that? And who are you to dare and appear before me armed? 

DERCETUS

I am called Dercetus. Mark Antony I served, who best was worthy Best to be served. Whilst he stood up and spoke, He was my master, and I wore my life To spend upon his haters. If thou please To take me to thee, as I was to him I’ll be to Caesar. If thou pleasest not, I yield thee up my life.

DERCETUS

My name is Dercetus. I served Mark Antony, who was the man most worthy of being served. While he was alive, he was my master, and I used my life to oppose those who hated him. If it pleases you to employ me as Antony did I'll be loyal to you, Caesar. If not, I surrender my life to you. 

CAESAR

What is ’t thou say’st?

CAESAR

What do you mean?

DERCETUS

I say, O Caesar, Antony is dead.

DERCETUS

I mean, Caesar, that Antony is dead. 

CAESAR

The breaking of so great a thing should make A greater crack. The round world Should have shook lions into civil streets And citizens to their dens. The death of Antony Is not a single doom. In the name lay A moiety of the world.

CAESAR

It should cause a greater disturbance when someone so great dies. The globe should have shaken so much that lions left their dens and entered the city streets and the citizens fled to the lions' dens. His death was not the death of an ordinary man. He controlled half of the world. 

DERCETUS

He is dead, Caesar, Not by a public minister of justice, Nor by a hirèd knife, but that self hand Which writ his honor in the acts it did Hath, with the courage which the heart did lend it, Splitted the heart. This is his sword. I robbed his wound of it. Behold it stained With his most noble blood.

DERCETUS

He is dead. He wasn't killed by a public minister of justice or a hired assassin. With a courageous heart, he killed himself with the same hand that he performed many honorable acts. This is his sword. I took it away after it wounded him. See how it's stained with his most noble blood. 

CAESAR

Look you, sad friends,The gods rebuke me, but it is tidingsTo wash the eyes of kings.

CAESAR

[Weeping] See, my sad friends, the gods might criticize me for weeping, but this news is enough to make even a king cry.

AGRIPPA

And strange it isThat nature must compel us to lamentOur most persisted deeds.

AGRIPPA

And it is strange that our nature makes us weep for something that we tried hard to achieve

MAECENAS

His taints and honorsWaged equal with him.

MAECENAS

His flaws and his virtues fought inside him, both with equal power. 

AGRIPPA

A rarer spirit neverDid steer humanity, but you gods will give usSome faults to make us men. Caesar is touched.

AGRIPPA

No man was ever governed with such an uncommonly noble spirit. But the gods give us some faults to make us human. Caesar is emotional over the news. 

MAECENAS

When such a spacious mirror’s set before him,He needs must see himself.

MAECENAS

When he thinks about such a great man, he sees what he himself could become. 

CAESAR

O Antony, I have followed thee to this, but we do launch Diseases in our bodies. I must perforce Have shown to thee such a declining day, Or look on thine. We could not stall together In the whole world. But yet let me lament With tears as sovereign as the blood of hearts That thou, my brother, my competitor In top of all design, my mate in empire, Friend and companion in the front of war, The arm of mine own body, and the heart Where mine his thoughts did kindle —that our stars, Unreconcilable, should divide Our equalness to this. Hear me, good friends—

CAESAR

Oh Antony, I was trying to end your life, but we have to get rid of a disease if it threatens our body. Either I would have had to die, or you would have. The world wasn't big enough for both of us. But I will still weep, with tears as powerful as the blood in my heart, for you, my brother, my greatest competitor, my co-ruler of the empire, my friend and companion on the battlefield, the arm of my own body, and to whom I confided all my thoughts—I weep that our partnership was divided by our irreconcilable fates. Listen to me, good friends—

Enter an EGYPTIAN

But I will tell you at some meeter season. The business of this man looks out of him. We’ll hear him what he says. (to EGYPTIAN) Whence are you?

CAESAR

But I'll tell you what I have to say at a more appropriate time. This man looks like he's here on urgent business. We'll hear what he has to say. 

[To the EGYPTIAN] Who sent you?

EGYPTIAN

A poor Egyptian yet, the Queen my mistress, Confined in all she has, her monument, Of thy intents desires instruction, That she preparedly may frame herself To th’ way she’s forced to.

EGYPTIAN

That poor Egyptian, the Queen my mistress. She has locked herself in her tomb—which is now all she has left—and she wants to know what you intend to do, so that she can prepare herself for her fate.

CAESAR

Bid her have good heart. She soon shall know of us, by some of ours, How honorable and how kindly we Determine for her, for Caesar cannot live To be ungentle.

CAESAR

Tell her to take comfort. I will soon send some messengers to tell her how honorable and kind my plans are for her. For it is impossible for me not to be gracious and noble. 

EGYPTIAN

So the gods preserve thee!

EGYPTIAN

May the gods bless you. 

Exit

CAESAR

Come hither, Proculeius. Go and say We purpose her no shame. Give her what comforts The quality of her passion shall require, Lest, in her greatness, by some mortal stroke She do defeat us, for her life in Rome Would be eternal in our triumph. Go, And with your speediest bring us what she says And how you find of her.

CAESAR

Come here, Proculeius. Go and tell Cleopatra that we have no intention of disrespecting her. Give her whatever comforts she requires, given her current emotional state. Otherwise, her nobility may lead her to kill herself and so prevent me from gaining undying glory by bringing her to Rome as my captive. Go, and then report back with her response quickly and tell me how she appears. 

PROCULEIUS

Caesar, I shall.

PROCULEIUS

Caesar, I will. 

Exit PROCULEIUS

CAESAR

Gallus, go you along.

CAESAR

Gallus, get going.

Exit GALLUS

Where’s Dolabella,To second Proculeius?

Where's Dolabella? I want him to go with Proculeius.

ALL

Dolabella!

ALL

Dolabella!

CAESAR

Let him alone, for I remember now How he’s employed. He shall in time be ready. Go with me to my tent, where you shall see How hardly I was drawn into this war, How calm and gentle I proceeded still In all my writings. Go with me and see What I can show in this.

CAESAR

Forget it, I just remembered that I sent him on an errand. He'll be ready shortly. Come with me to my tent, and see how I was drawn into this war against my will and how calm and gentle I always was. Come with me and I will prove it. 

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.