Antony and Cleopatra

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

Flourish. Enter POMPEY and MENAS at one door, with drum and trumpet; at another CAESAR, LEPIDUS, ANTONY, ENOBARBUS, MAECENAS, and AGRIPPA, with soldiers marching
A trumpet fanfare sounds. POMPEY and MENAS enter through one stage door to the music of a drum and a trumpet. CAESAR, LEPIDUS, ANTONY, ENOBARBUS, MAECENAS, and AGRIPPA enter through another door, followed by soldiers.
Your hostages I have, so have you mine,
And we shall talk before we fight.
                                                                Most meet
That first we come to words, and therefore have we
Our written purposes before us sent,
5Which, if thou hast considered, let us know
If ’twill tie up thy discontented sword
And carry back to Sicily much tall youth
That else must perish here.
It’s proper that we speak first, which is why we sent our proposals ahead of us for your consideration. If you’ve had time to think over these points, let us know whether they will relieve your frustration. If yes, then a lot of brave young men can return to Sicily who would otherwise die here.
                                                      To you all three,
The senators alone of this great world,
10Chief factors for the gods: I do not know
Wherefore my father should revengers want,
Having a son and friends, since Julius Caesar,
Who at Philippi the good Brutus ghosted,
There saw you laboring for him. What was ’t
15That moved pale Cassius to conspire? And what
Made the all-honored, honest Roman Brutus,
With the armed rest, courtiers of beauteous freedom,
To drench the Capitol, but that they would
Have one man but a man? And that is it
20Hath made me rig my navy, at whose burden
The angered ocean foams, with which I meant
To scourge th’ ingratitude that despiteful Rome
Cast on my noble father.
I address the three of you, the sole rulers of this world and the main arbiters of the gods’ will. I don’t know why my father’s death shouldn’t be avenged, since he has a son and friends to do it. You avenged Julius Caesar’s death at Philippi, where his ghost haunted his killer, Brutus. Why did Cassius conspire against Caesar? And why did the honorable, well-intentioned Brutus and the others, men devoted to the ideal of freedom, assassinate Caesar? They didn’t want one man to be king in Rome.
And that’s why I’ve built my navy, which is so huge that the weight of the ships makes the sea foam with anger. I will punish Rome for her ingratitude toward my noble father.