Antony and Cleopatra

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

CLEOPATRA

                             Noblest of men, woo’t die?
Hast thou no care of me? Shall I abide
In this dull world, which in thy absence is
No better than a sty? O see, my women,
The crown o’ th’ earth doth melt. My lord!

CLEOPATRA

Most noble man, will you die? Don’t you care about me? Shall I stay in this dreary world, which is no better than a pigsty without you? Oh, look, ladies. The best of the world disappears. My lord!
ANTONY dies
ANTONY dies.
65Oh, withered is the garland of the war.
The soldier’s pole is fall’n! Young boys and girls
Are level now with men. The odds is gone,
And there is nothing left remarkable
Beneath the visiting moon.
Oh, the glory of war has faded. The flags have fallen. Young boys and girls are equal to men. There is nothing distinctive, nothing remarkable left in the world.

CHARMIAN

                                                 Oh, quietness, lady!

CHARMIAN

Oh, stay calm, lady!
CLEOPATRA swoons
CLEOPATRA faints.

IRAS

70She’s dead too, our sovereign.

IRAS

Our Queen is dead too.

CHARMIAN

Lady!

CHARMIAN

Lady!

IRAS

Madam!

IRAS

Madam!

CHARMIAN

O madam, madam, madam!

CHARMIAN

Oh, madam, madam, madam!

IRAS

Royal Egypt, Empress!

IRAS

Royal Egypt, Empress!
CLEOPATRA stirs
CLEOPATRA wakes up.

CHARMIAN

75Peace, peace, Iras.

CHARMIAN

Quiet, quiet, Iras.

CLEOPATRA

No more but e’en a woman, and commanded
By such poor passion as the maid that milks
And does the meanest chares. It were for me
To throw my scepter at the injurious gods,
80To tell them that this world did equal theirs
Till they had stolen our jewel. All’s but naught.
Patience is sottish, and impatience does
Become a dog that’s mad. Then is it sin
To rush into the secret house of death
85Ere death dare come to us? How do you, women?
What, what, good cheer! Why, how now, Charmian?
My noble girls! Ah, women, women! Look,
Our lamp is spent, it’s out. Good sirs, take heart.
We’ll bury him, and then, what’s brave, what’s noble,
90Let’s do ’t after the high Roman fashion
And make death proud to take us. Come, away.
This case of that huge spirit now is cold.
Ah, women, women! Come. We have no friend
But resolution, and the briefest end.

CLEOPATRA

Now I am no more than a woman, ruled by the same lowly passion as the maid who milks and does the humblest chores. I might now hurl my scepter at the destructive gods and tell them that this earthly world was as good as their heavenly one, until they stole away its jewel, Antony. Now all is for nothing. Patience is foolish. Impatience suits a mad dog. So why should it be a sin to rush toward death, to seek it out in its hiding place before it dares to come to find me? How are you, my ladies? Tell me! Cheer up! How are you, Charmian? My gallant girls! Ah, ladies, look: the light of our lives has gone out. Good noble ladies, be brave. We’ll bury him, and then we’ll commit acts as brave and fine as any Romans, and make death proud to take us. Come on, you can go. The container of that great soul is now cold. Ah, ladies, ladies! Let’s go. We have no friends but determination and the quickest death.