Internet Shakespeare Editions

About this text

  • Title: Anthony and Cleopatra (Modern)
  • Editor: Randall Martin
  • ISBN: 978-1-55058-433-2

    Copyright Randall Martin. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Editor: Randall Martin
    Not Peer Reviewed

    Anthony and Cleopatra (Modern)

    Enter Cleopatra, Charmian, [and] Iras.
    My desolation does begin to make
    A better life. 'Tis paltry to be Caesar:
    Not being Fortune, he's but Fortune's knave,
    A minister of her will; and it is great
    3205To do that thing that ends all other deeds,
    Which shackles accidents and bolts up change,
    Which sleeps and never palates more the dung,
    The beggar's nurse, and Caesar's.
    Enter Proculeius.
    Caesar sends greeting to the Queen of Egypt,
    And bids thee study on what fair demands
    Thou mean'st to have him grant thee.
    What's thy name?
    My name is Proculeius.
    Did tell me of you, bade me trust you, but
    I do not greatly care to be deceived
    That have no use for trusting. If your master
    Would have a queen his beggar, you must tell him
    3220That majesty, to keep decorum, must
    No less beg than a kingdom. If he please
    To give me conquered Egypt for my son,
    He gives me so much of mine own as I
    Will kneel to him with thanks.
    Be of good cheer:
    You're fall'n into a princely hand. Fear nothing;
    Make your full reference freely to my lord,
    Who is so full of grace that it flows over
    On all that need. Let me report to him
    3230Your sweet dependency, and you shall find
    A conqueror that will pray in aid for kindness,
    Where he for grace is kneeled to.
    Pray you tell him,
    I am his fortune's vassal, and I send him
    3235The greatness he has got. I hourly learn
    A doctrine of obedience, and would gladly
    Look him i'th'face.
    This I'll report, dear lady.
    Have comfort, for I know your plight is pitied
    3240Of him that caused it.
    [Enter Gallus and Soldiers from behind.
    You see how easily she may be surprised.
    Guard her till Caesar come.
    [Exit Gallus.]
    Royal queen!
    Oh Cleopatra, thou art taken, queen!
    [Drawing a dagger] Quick, quick, good hands!
    [Disarming her] Hold, worthy lady, hold:
    Do not yourself such wrong, who are in this
    Relieved but not betrayed.
    What, of death too,
    That rids our dogs of languish?
    Do not abuse my master's bounty by
    Th'undoing of yourself. Let the world see
    His nobleness well acted, which your death
    Will never let come forth.
    Where art thou, Death?
    3255Come hither, come! Come, come, and take a queen
    Worth many babes and beggars!
    Oh temperance, lady.
    Sir, I will eat no meat; I'll not drink, sir;
    If idle talk will once be necessary
    3260I'll not sleep neither. This mortal house I'll ruin,
    Do Caesar what he can. Know, sir, that I
    Will not wait pinioned at your master's court,
    Nor once be chastised with the sober eye
    Of dull Octavia. Shall they hoist me up
    3265And show me to the shouting varletry
    Of censuring Rome? Rather a ditch in Egypt
    Be gentle grave unto me. Rather on Nilus' mud
    Lay me stark-naked and let the water-flies
    Blow me into abhorring. Rather make
    3270My country's high pyramides my gibbet,
    And hang me up in chains!
    You do extend
    These thoughts of horror further than you shall
    Find cause in Caesar.
    3275Enter Dolabella.
    What thou hast done thy master Caesar knows,
    And he hath sent for thee. For the queen,
    I'll take her to my guard.
    So Dolabella,
    It shall content me best. Be gentle to her.
    [To Cleopatra] To Caesar I will speak what you shall please,
    If you'll employ me to him.
    Say I would die.
    Exit Proculeius [with Soldiers].
    Most noble empress, you have heard of me.
    I cannot tell.
    Assuredly you know me.
    No matter, sir, what I have heard or known.
    You laugh when boys or women tell their dreams--
    3290Is't not your trick?
    I understand not, madam.
    I dreamt there was an emperor Antony.
    Oh, such another sleep, that I might see
    But such another man.
    If it might please ye.
    His face was as the heav'ns, and therein stuck
    A sun and moon which kept their course, and lighted
    The little O, the earth.
    Most sovereign creature.
    His legs bestrid the ocean; his reared arm
    Crested the world. His voice was propertied
    As all the tunèd spheres, and that to friends--
    But when he meant to quail and shake the orb,
    3305He was as rattling thunder. For his bounty,
    There was no winter in't--an autumn 'twas,
    That grew the more by reaping. His delights
    Were dolphin-like; they showed his back above
    The element they lived in. In his livery
    Walked crowns and crownets; realms and islands were
    3310As plates dropped from his pocket.
    Think you there was, or might be such a man
    As this I dreamt of?
    Gentle madam, no.
    You lie up to the hearing of the gods.
    But if there be, or ever were one such,
    It's past the size of dreaming. Nature wants stuff
    To vie strange forms with fancy, yet t'imagine
    An Antony were nature's piece 'gainst fancy,
    3320Condemning shadows quite.
    Hear me, good madam:
    Your loss is as yourself, great, and you bear it
    As answering to the weight. Would I might never
    O'er-take pursued success, but I do feel,
    3325By the rebound of yours, a grief that smites
    My very heart at root.
    I thank you, sir.
    Know you what Caesar means to do with me?
    I am loath to tell you what I would you knew.
    Nay, pray you, sir.
    Though he be honorable--
    He'll lead me then in triumph.
    Madam, he will, I know't.
    Enter Proculeius, Caesar, Gallus, Maecenas, 3335and others of his train.
    All [but Caesar]
    Make way there! Caesar!
    Which is the Queen of Egypt?
    It is the emperor, madam.
    Cleopatra kneels.
    Arise, you shall not kneel.
    3340I pray you rise; rise, Egypt.
    Sir, the gods
    Will have it thus.
    [Cleopatra rises.]
    My master and my lord
    I must obey.
    Take to you no hard thoughts.
    The record of what injuries you did us,
    3345Though written in our flesh, we shall remember
    As things but done by chance.
    Sole sir o'th'world,
    I cannot project mine own cause so well
    To make it clear, but do confess I have
    3350Been laden with like frailties, which before
    Have often shamed our sex.
    Cleopatra, know
    We will extenuate rather than enforce;
    If you apply yourself to our intents,
    3355Which towards you are most gentle, you shall find
    A benefit in this change; but if you seek
    To lay on me a cruelty by taking
    Antony's course, you shall bereave yourself
    Of my good purposes and put your children
    3360To that destruction which I'll guard them from
    If thereon you rely. I'll take my leave.
    And may through all the world; 'tis yours, and we
    Your scutcheons and your signs of conquest shall
    Hang in what place you please. [Giving a paper] Here, my good lord.
    You shall advise me in all for Cleopatra.
    This is the brief of money, plate and jewels
    I am possessed of. 'Tis exactly valued,
    Not petty things admitted. Where's Seleucus?
    [Enter Seleucus.]
    Here, madam.
    This is my treasurer; let him speak, my lord,
    Upon his peril, that I have reserved
    To myself nothing. Speak the truth, Seleucus.
    Madam, I had rather seal my lips
    Than to my peril speak that which is not.
    What have I kept back?
    Enough to purchase what you have made known.
    Nay, blush not, Cleopatra. I approve
    Your wisdom in the deed.
    See, Caesar! Oh, behold
    3380How pomp is followed! Mine will now be yours,
    And should we shift estates, yours would be mine.
    The ingratitude of this Seleucus does
    Even make me wild. O slave, of no more trust
    Than love that's hired! What, goest thou back? Thou shalt
    3385Go back, I warrant thee, but I'll catch thine eyes
    Though they had wings! Slave, soulless, villain, dog!
    O rarely base!
    Good queen, let us entreat you.
    O Caesar, what a wounding shame is this,
    3390That--thou vouchsafing here to visit me,
    Doing the honor of thy lordliness
    To one so meek--that mine own servant should
    Parcel the sum of my disgraces by
    Addition of his envy. Say, good Caesar,
    3395That I some lady-trifles have reserved,
    Immoment toys, things of such dignity
    As we greet modern friends withal; and say
    Some nobler token I have kept apart
    For Livia and Octavia, to induce
    3400Their mediation--must I be unfolded
    With one that I have bred? The gods, it smites me
    Beneath the fall I have! [To Seleucus] Prithee go hence,
    Or I shall show the cinders of my spirits
    Through th'ashes of my chance. Were't thou a man,
    3405Thou wouldst have mercy on me.
    Forbear, Seleucus.
    [Exit Seleucus].
    Be it known that we, the greatest, are misthought
    For things that others do, and when we fall,
    We answer others' merits in our name,
    3410Are therefore to be pitied.
    Not what you have reserved nor what acknowledged
    Put we i'th' roll of conquest. Still be't yours;
    Bestow it at your pleasure, and believe
    3415Caesar's no merchant to make prize with you
    Of things that merchants sold. Therefore be cheered,
    Make not your thoughts your prisons. No, dear queen,
    For we intend so to dispose you as
    Yourself shall give us counsel. Feed and sleep.
    3420Our care and pity is so much upon you
    That we remain your friend; and so adieu.
    My master and my lord.
    Not so. Adieu.
    Exeunt Caesar and his train.
    He words me, girls, he words me that I
    Should not be noble to myself.
    But hark thee, Charmian.
    [Cleopatra whispers to Charmian.]
    Finish, good lady; the bright day is done,
    And we are for the dark.
    [To Charmian] Hie thee again.
    I have spoke already, and it is provided;
    Go put it to the haste.
    Madam, I will.
    Enter Dolabella.
    Where's the queen?
    Behold, sir.
    [Exit Charmian].
    Madam, as thereto sworn by your command,
    Which my love makes religion to obey,
    3440I tell you this: Caesar through Syria
    Intends his journey, and within three days.
    You with your children will he send before.
    Make your best use of this. I have performed
    Your pleasure, and my promise.
    I shall remain your debtor.
    I your servant.
    Adieu, good queen, I must attend on Caesar.
    Farewell and thanks. Exit [Dolabella].
    Now Iras, what think'st thou?
    3450Thou, an Egyptian puppet shall be shown
    In Rome as well as I. Mechanic slaves
    With greasy aprons, rules and hammers shall
    Uplift us to the view. In their thick breaths
    Rank of gross diet, shall we be enclouded,
    3455And forced to drink their vapor.
    The gods forbid.
    Nay, 'tis most certain, Iras. Saucy lictors
    Will catch at us like strumpets, and scald rhymers
    Ballad us out a tune. The quick comedians
    3460Extemporally will stage us, and present
    Our Alexandrian revels: Antony
    Shall be brought drunken forth, and I shall see
    Some squeaking Cleopatra boy my greatness
    I'th'posture of a whore.
    O the good gods!
    Nay, that's certain.
    I'll never see't! For I am sure my nails
    Are stronger than mine eyes.
    Why, that's the way
    To fool their preparation 3470and to conquer
    Their most absurd intents.
    Enter Charmian.
    Now, Charmian.
    Show me, my women, like a queen. Go fetch
    My best attires. I am again for Cydnus
    3475To meet Mark Antony. Sirrah Iras, go--
    Now, noble Charmian, we'll dispatch indeed--
    And when thou hast done this chare, I'll give thee leave
    To play till doomsday. Bring our crown, and all.
    [Exit Iras].
    A noise within.
    3480Wherefore's this noise?
    Enter a Guardsman.
    Here is a rural fellow
    That will not be denied your highness' presence.
    He brings you figs.
    Let him come in.
    Exit Guardsman.
    What poor an instrument
    May do a noble deed! He brings me liberty.
    My resolution's placed, and I have nothing
    Of woman in me. Now from head to foot
    3490I am marble constant; now the fleeting moon
    No planet is of mine.
    Enter Guardsman and Clown [with a basket].
    This is the man.
    Avoid, and leave him.
    Exit Guardsman.
    3495Hast thou the pretty worm
    Of Nilus there,
    That kills and pains not?
    Truly I have him; but I would not be the party that should desire you to touch him, for his biting is immortal. Those that do die of it, do seldom or ne3500ver recover.
    Remember'st thou any that have died on't?
    Very many men, and women too. I heard of one of them no longer than yesterday--a very honest woman, but something given to lie, as a woman should not 3505do but in the way of honesty--how she died of the biting of it, what pain she felt. Truly, she makes a very good report o'th'worm. But he that will believe all that they say shall never be saved by half that they do. But this is most falliable: the worm's an odd worm.
    Get thee hence. Farewell.
    I wish you all joy of the worm.
    You must think this, look you, that the worm will do his kind.
    Ay, ay, farewell.
    Look you, the worm is not to be trusted but in the keeping of wise people, for indeed there is no goodness in the worm.
    Take thou no care; it shall be heeded.
    Very good. Give it nothing, I pray you, for it is not worth the feeding.
    Will it eat me?
    You must not think I am so simple, but I know the devil himself will not eat a woman; I know that 3525a woman is a dish for the gods if the devil dress her not. But truly, these same whoreson devils do the gods great harm in their women, for in every ten that they make, the devils mar five.
    Well, get thee gone. Farewell.
    Yes forsooth. I wish you joy o'th'worm.
    Exit [leaving the basket].
    [Enter Iras with royal attire].
    Give me my robe, put on my crown. I have
    Immortal longings in me.
    [Charmian and Iras dress her].
    Now no more
    The juice of Egypt's grape shall moist this lip.
    Yare, yare, good Iras. Quick, methinks I hear
    3535Antony call; I see him rouse himself
    To praise my noble act; I hear him mock
    The luck of Caesar, which the gods give men
    To excuse their after wrath. Husband, I come.
    Now to that name, my courage prove my title.
    3540I am fire and air; my other elements
    I give to baser life. So, have you done?
    Come then, and take the last warmth of my lips.
    [She kisses them].
    Farewell, kind Charmian; Iras, long farewell.
    [Iras falls and dies.]
    Have I the aspic in my lips? Dost fall?
    3545If thou and nature can so gently part,
    The stroke of death is as a lover's pinch,
    Which hurts and is desired. Dost thou lie still?
    If thus thou vanishest, thou tell'st the world
    It is not worth leave-taking.
    Dissolve, thick cloud and rain, that I may say
    The gods themselves do weep.
    This proves me base:
    If she first meet the curlèd Antony,
    He'll make demand of her, and spend that kiss
    3555Which is my heaven to have.
    [She takes an asp from the basket and applies it to her breast].
    Come, thou mortal wretch:
    With thy sharp teeth this knot intrinsicate
    Of life at once untie. Poor venomous fool,
    Be angry, and dispatch. Oh, could'st thou speak,
    That I might hear thee call great Caesar ass
    O eastern star!
    Peace, peace.
    Dost thou not see my baby at my breast,
    That sucks the nurse asleep?
    O break! O break!
    As sweet as balm, as soft as air, as gentle.
    O Antony! Nay, I will take thee too.
    [She applies another asp to her arm.]
    What should I stay--
    [She] dies.
    In this wild world? So fare thee well.
    Now boast thee, Death: in thy possession lies
    3570A lass unparalleled. Downy windows, close,
    And golden Phoebus never be beheld
    Of eyes again so royal. Your crown's awry.
    I'll mend it, and then play--
    Enter the Guard rustling in.
    3575First Guard
    Where's the queen?
    Speak softly, wake her not.
    First Guard
    Caesar hath sent--
    Too slow a messenger.
    [She applies an asp.]
    Oh, come apace, dispatch, I partly feel thee.
    3580First Guard
    Approach, ho! All's not well. Caesar's beguiled.
    Second Guard
    There's Dolabella, sent from Caesar; call him.
    [Exit a Guardsman].
    First Guard
    What work is here, Charmian? Is this well done?
    It is well done, and fitting for a princess
    Descended of so many royal kings.
    Ah, soldier.
    Charmian dies.
    Enter Dolabella.
    How goes it here?
    3590Second Guard
    All dead.
    Caesar, thy thoughts
    Touch their effects in this. Thyself art coming
    To see performed the dreaded act which thou
    So sought'st to hinder.
    3595Enter Caesar and all his train, marching.
    All [in Caesar's train]
    A way there! A way for Caesar!
    Oh sir, you are too sure an augurer.
    That you did fear is done.
    Bravest at the last,
    3600She leveled at our purposes, and being royal
    Took her own way. The manner of their deaths?
    I do not see them bleed.
    Who was last with them?
    First Guard
    A simple countryman, that brought her figs.
    3605This was his basket.
    Poisoned then.
    First Guard
    O Caesar,
    This Charmian lived but now, she stood and spake.
    I found her trimming up the diadem
    3610On her dead mistress; tremblingly she stood,
    And on the sudden dropped.
    O noble weakness!
    If they had swallowed poison, 'twould appear
    By external swelling; but she looks like sleep,
    3615As she would catch another Antony
    In her strong toil of grace.
    Here on her breast
    There is a vent of blood, and something blown.
    The like is on her arm.
    3620First Guard
    This is an aspic's trail, and these fig leaves
    Have slime upon them, such as th'aspic leaves
    Upon the caves of Nile.
    Most probable
    That so she died, for her physician tells me
    3625She hath pursued conclusions infinite
    Of easy ways to die. Take up her bed,
    And bear her women from the monument.
    She shall be buried by her Antony.
    No grave upon the earth shall clip in it
    3630A pair so famous. High events as these
    Strike those that make them, and their story is
    No less in pity than his glory which
    Brought them to be lamented. Our army shall
    In solemn show attend this funeral,
    3635And then to Rome. Come, Dolabella, see
    High order in this great solemnity.
    Exeunt omnes [, soldiers carrying the bodies of Cleopatra, on her bed, and of Charmian and Iras].