Antony and Cleopatra

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

ANTONY

I am dying, Egypt, dying. Only
I here importune death awhile, until
20Of many thousand kisses the poor last
I lay upon thy lips.

ANTONY

I am dying, Cleopatra, dying. I just beg death to wait awhile, until I place the last of our 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
25Be 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—
30Help me, my women—We must draw thee up.
Assist, good friends.

CLEOPATRA

I don’t dare come down—forgive me, my lord—I don’t dare, for fear of capture. I will never be exhibited as lucky Caesar’s prize. If knives, poison, or snakes have edge, effect, or venom, I am safe from that fate. Your wife Octavia, with her self-effacing eyes and self-righteous assumptions, won’t get any praise from patronizing me. But come. Come up here, Antony—help me, ladies—we must carry you up. Help us, good friends.
They begin lifting him
They lift him.

ANTONY

                                         Oh, quick, or I am gone.

ANTONY

Oh, quick, before I’m gone.

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,
35The 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

Such exercise! My lord is so heavy! Our strength has all turned into sadness. That’s what makes the weight. If I had the goddess Juno’s power, I would make the strong-winged messenger, Mercury, pick you up and seat you beside Jove. Up just a little more—wishes are always foolish—oh, come on, come on, come on!