Antony and Cleopatra

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 2 Scene 2

page Act 2 Scene 2 Page 10

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MAECENAS

Eight wild boars roasted whole at a breakfast—and but twelve persons there! Is this true?

MAECENAS

We heard that once you were served eight wild boars roasted whole for breakfast—for only twelve people! Is that true?

ENOBARBUS

This was but as a fly by an eagle. We had much more monstrous matter of feast, which worthily deserved noting.

ENOBARBUS

That was nothing. There were many even more memorable feasts.

MAECENAS

She’s a most triumphant lady, if report be square to her.

MAECENAS

She’s a remarkable lady, if the rumors are to be believed.

ENOBARBUS

When she first met Mark Antony, she pursed up his heart upon the river of Cydnus.

ENOBARBUS

From the first time Antony saw her, sailing on her barge on the

Cydnus River

River in southern Turkey.

Cydnus River
, he was hers.

AGRIPPA

There she appeared indeed, or my reporter devised well for her.

AGRIPPA

She made quite an appearance there, or else my informant invented a very flattering description of her.

ENOBARBUS

I will tell you.
The barge she sat in, like a burnished throne,
Burned on the water. The poop was beaten gold,
Purple the sails, and so perfumèd that
205The winds were lovesick with them. The oars were silver,
Which to the tune of flutes kept stroke, and made
The water which they beat to follow faster,
As amorous of their strokes. For her own person,
It beggared all description: she did lie
210In her pavilion—cloth-of-gold, of tissue—
O’erpicturing that Venus where we see
The fancy outwork nature. On each side her
Stood pretty dimpled boys, like smiling Cupids,
With divers-colored fans, whose wind did seem
215To glow the delicate cheeks which they did cool,
And what they undid did.

ENOBARBUS

I’ll tell you. Her barge looked like a golden throne upon the waves, burning bright with the sun’s reflections. The rear deck was covered with hammered gold. The sails were dyed purple, and they were perfumed so heavily that they made the air seem dizzy with love. The oars were made of silver, and the oarsmen rowed in time to flute music. As the oars beat the water, the waves seemed to speed up as if excited by lust. Cleopatra’s appearance was indescribable. As she reclined under a canopy woven from gold thread, she was more beautiful than any artist’s idealized portrait of the goddess Venus. Pretty, Cupid-like boys stood on either side of her, smiling and cooling her with multicolored fans, which seemed to fan the flames in her cheeks even as they cooled them, undoing what they did.