by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

A camp, at a small distance from Rome.
A camp, at a small distance from Rome.
AUFIDIUS and his Lieutenant enter.
Do they still fly to the Roman?
Do they still obey the Roman?
I do not know what witchcraft’s in him, but
Your soldiers use him as the grace ’fore meat,
Their talk at table, and their thanks at end;
5And you are darken’d in this action, sir,
Even by your own.
I don’t know what spell he has them under, but your soldiers pray to him before eating, talk about him throughout their meal, and thank him at the end. And you are being overlooked, sir, by your own men.
I cannot help it now,
Unless, by using means, I lame the foot
Of our design. He bears himself more proudlier,
10Even to my person, than I thought he would
When first I did embrace him: yet his nature
In that’s no changeling; and I must excuse
What cannot be amended.
I can’t help that now, not without risking our plan. He carries himself more proudly, even in front of me, than I thought he would when I decided to join with him. But that’s always been his nature, and I have to excuse what can’t be changed.
Yet I wish, sir,—
15I mean for your particular,—you had not
Join’d in commission with him; but either
Had borne the action of yourself, or else
To him had left it solely.
Yet I wish, sir—I mean for you personally—that you hadn’t shared your command with him. I wish either that you had been the commander yourself, or else that you had given him the sole command.
I understand thee well; and be thou sure,
20when he shall come to his account, he knows not
What I can urge against him. Although it seems,
And so he thinks, and is no less apparent
To the vulgar eye, that he bears all things fairly.
And shows good husbandry for the Volscian state,
25Fights dragon-like, and does achieve as soon
As draw his sword; yet he hath left undone
That which shall break his neck or hazard mine,
Whene’er we come to our account.
I understand. Rest assured that he must answer for what he’s done, and he doesn’t know what I can accuse him of. While to the naked eye it seems, and he thinks, that he’s behaving fairly and that he’s taking good care of the Volscian state by fighting like a dragon and achieving victory as soon as he draws his sword, there’s something he has failed to do that will break his neck or risk mine, whenever we come to our reconciliation.