Antony and Cleopatra

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

ANTONY and EROS enter.
Eros, thou yet behold’st me?
Eros, can you still see me?
                                                        Ay, noble lord.
Yes, noble lord.
Sometimes we see a cloud that’s dragonish,
A vapor sometime like a bear or lion,
A towered citadel, a pendant rock,
5A 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.
Sometimes we see a cloud that looks like a dragon. Sometimes there’s a cloud like a bear or a lion, a castle, a floating rock, a craggy mountain. Or it might look like a blue cliff with trees on it that bow to the ground. These things fool our eyes by seeming solid, when they are actually only air. You’ve seen these illusions. They’re spectacles that appear at sunset.
                                                                  Ay, my lord.
Yes, my lord.
That which is now a horse, even with a thought
10The rack dislimns and makes it indistinct
As water is in water.
What looks like a horse is quick as thought disfigured by the wind, made as difficult to distinguish as water poured into water.
                                         It does, my lord.
That’s true, my lord.
My good knave Eros, now thy captain is
Even such a body. Here I am Antony,
Yet cannot hold this visible shape, my knave.
15I 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
20Unto an enemy’s triumph.
Nay, weep not, gentle Eros. There is left us
Ourselves to end ourselves.
Eros, my young friend, your captain is now just like that cloud. Here and now I seem like Antony, but I can’t keep myself in this form, my boy. I went to war to save Cleopatra, whose love I thought I had, since she had mine—and mine carried with it a million others, those of my soldiers, now lost. The Queen conspired with Caesar to undermine my success and assure his victory. No, don’t cry, kind Eros. We still have the option of killing ourselves.