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Modern Text

CLEOPATRA

                                    Oh, is ’t come to this?

CLEOPATRA

Oh, has it come to this?

ANTONY

I found you as a morsel cold upon
Dead Caesar’s trencher. Nay, you were a fragment
120Of Gneius Pompey’s, besides what hotter hours,
Unregistered in vulgar fame, you have
Luxuriously picked out. For I am sure,
Though you can guess what temperance should be,
You know not what it is.

ANTONY

You were a cold crumb on dead Julius Caesar’s plate when I met you. No, you were one of Gneius Pompey’s leftovers—not to mention your other, more depraved affairs, which have somehow managed to avoid becoming the subject of vulgar gossip. For I’m sure that although you may know what temperance is, you’ve never experienced it firsthand.

CLEOPATRA

                                                Wherefore is this?

CLEOPATRA

Why are you doing this?

ANTONY

125To let a fellow that will take rewards
And say “God quit you!” be familiar with
My playfellow, your hand, this kingly seal
And plighter of high hearts! Oh, that I were
Upon the hill of Basan, to outroar
130The hornèd herd! For I have savage cause,
And to proclaim it civilly were like
A haltered neck which does the hangman thank
For being yare about him.

ANTONY

To let a servant be familiar with my little toy, your hand—a hand that has signed royal treaties and pledged your love to me—oh, if only I were standing on the hill of

Basan

home to herds of bulls (traditional symbols of men with adulterous wives), according to the Bible

Basan
, so that I could roar louder than that horned herd! For I have been savagely abused, and to state my grievances politely would be as absurd as a condemned criminal thanking the hangman for doing his job quickly.
Enter a SERVANT with THIDIAS
A SERVANT enters with THIDIAS.
                                                   Is he whipped?
Has he been whipped?

SERVANT

Soundly, my lord.

SERVANT

Soundly, my lord.

ANTONY

135Cried he? And begged he pardon?

ANTONY

Did he cry? Did he beg my pardon?

SERVANT

He did ask favor.

SERVANT

He did ask for mercy.