Antony and Cleopatra

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

CHARMIAN

Dissolve, thick cloud, and rain, that I may say
The gods themselves do weep!

CHARMIAN

Clouds, dissolve into rain, so that I could say the gods themselves are weeping!

CLEOPATRA

                                                             This proves me base.
If she first meet the curlèd Antony,
He’ll make demand of her and spend that kiss
300Which is my heaven to have. —Come, thou mortal wretch,

CLEOPATRA

This proves that I’m petty: if Iras meets Antony before me, he’ll want her first and give her the kiss that is my bliss to have.
Come, you deadly villain.
She places an asp on her breast
She puts the snake on her breast.
With thy sharp teeth this knot intrinsicate
Of life at once untie. Poor venomous fool
Be angry and dispatch. Oh, couldst thou speak,
That I might hear thee call great Caesar ass
305Unpolicied!
Separate me from life with your sharp teeth. Poor poisonous fool, be angry and bite. Oh, if you could speak, I might hear you call Caesar an ass who’s been outsmarted!

CHARMIAN

                        O eastern star!

CHARMIAN

Oh, eastern star!

CLEOPATRA

                                                      Peace, peace!
Dost thou not see my baby at my breast,
That sucks the nurse asleep?

CLEOPATRA

Quiet, quiet! Don’t you see my baby suckling at my breast so that its nurse will fall asleep?

CHARMIAN

                                                       Oh, break! Oh, break!

CHARMIAN

Oh, if my heart would only break!

CLEOPATRA

As sweet as balm, as soft as air, as gentle—
O Antony!—Nay, I will take thee too.

CLEOPATRA

The poison is as sweet as balm, as soft as air, as gentle—Oh, Antony!—No, I’ll take you too.
Applying another asp to her arm
She puts another snake on her arm.
310What should I stay—
Why should I stay—
Dies
She dies.

CHARMIAN

In this wild world? So, fare thee well.
Now boast thee, Death, in thy possession lies
A lass unparalleled. Downy windows, close,

CHARMIAN

In this vile world? So, good-bye. Now, Death, you can boast that you have an incomparable girl in your possession. Close, soft eyes.