Antony and Cleopatra

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 5 Scene 2

page Act 5 Scene 2 Page 5

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DOLABELLA

                                             If it might please ye—

DOLABELLA

If you’d like—

CLEOPATRA

His face was as the heavens, and therein stuck
80A sun and moon, which kept their course and lighted
The little “O,” the earth.

CLEOPATRA

Authority radiated from his face, and his presence brought knowledge and order to the people of earth.

DOLABELLA

                                                Most sovereign creature—

DOLABELLA

Your majesty—

CLEOPATRA

His legs bestrid the ocean. His reared arm
Crested the world. His voice was propertied
As all the tunèd spheres, and that to friends.
85But when he meant to quail and shake the orb,
He was as rattling thunder. For his bounty,
There was no winter in ’t, an autumn ’twas
That grew the more by reaping. His delights
Were dolphinlike; they showed his back above
90The element they lived in. In his livery
Walked crowns and crownets. Realms and islands were
As plates dropped from his pocket.

CLEOPATRA

His power extended from one shore to the other, as if he straddled the ocean with his legs. When he raised his arm in command, the world trembled. He spoke exquisitely to his friends, but when he wanted to terrify the world, his voice was like thunder. There was no end to his generosity. The more he gave, the more he wanted to give. His amusements showed another side of him, one detached from his world of responsibility and duty. Kings and noblemen served him. Kingdoms and provinces dropped from his pockets like loose change.

DOLABELLA

                                                                    Cleopatra—

DOLABELLA

Cleopatra—

CLEOPATRA

Think you there was or might be such a man
As this I dreamt of?

CLEOPATRA

Do you think there ever was, or could there ever be, a man such as the one I dreamed about?

DOLABELLA

                                       Gentle madam, no.

DOLABELLA

No, gentle madam.

CLEOPATRA

95You lie up to the hearing of the gods.
But if there be nor ever were one such,
It’s past the size of dreaming. Nature wants stuff
To vie strange forms with fancy, yet t’ imagine
An Antony were nature’s piece ’gainst fancy,
100Condemning shadows quite.

CLEOPATRA

The gods can hear you lying! But if there ever were such a man, simple dreams could never contain his greatness. When it comes to creating fantastical things, the natural world cannot compete with imagination. And yet, if the natural world could create something like Antony, it would have a masterpiece to rival anything fantasy might construct. Antony would easily outshine all imaginary beings.