Antony and Cleopatra

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 5 Scene 2

page Act 5 Scene 2 Page 13

Original Text

Modern Text

Exit IRAS. A noise within
IRAS exits. A noise offstage.
Wherefore’s this noise?
What’s that noise?
Enter a GUARDSMAN
A GUARDSMAN enters.

GUARDSMAN

                                               Here is a rural fellow
That will not be denied your Highness’ presence.
235He brings you figs.

GUARDSMAN

There’s a farmer here who won’t leave without seeing your Highness. He has brought you figs.

CLEOPATRA

Let him come in.

CLEOPATRA

Let him come in.
Exit GUARDSMAN
The GUARDSMAN exits.
                                   What poor an instrument
May do a noble deed! He brings me liberty.
My resolution’s placed, and I have nothing
Of woman in me. Now from head to foot
240I am marble-constant. Now the fleeting moon
No planet is of mine.
What a poor instrument, that can do such a noble deed! He brings me freedom. My mind is made up. There’s nothing of the weak woman left in me. Now from head to foot I’m as firm as marble. Now the inconstant moon has nothing to do with me.
Enter GUARDSMAN, and COUNTRYMAN bringing in a basket
The GUARDSMAN enters with a COUNTRYMAN, who carries a basket.

GUARDSMAN

                                          This is the man.

GUARDSMAN

This is the man.

CLEOPATRA

Avoid, and leave him.

CLEOPATRA

Leave us.
Exit GUARDSMAN
The GUARDSMAN exits.
Hast thou the pretty worm of Nilus there,
That kills and pains not?
Do you have in there the pretty snake of the Nile that kills without pain?

COUNTRYMAN

245 Truly, I have him, but I would not be the party that should desire you to touch him, for his biting is immortal. Those that do die of it do seldom or never recover.

COUNTRYMAN

I certainly do have him, but I wouldn’t advise you to touch him. His bite is fatal. People who die of it seldom or never recover.