Continue reading with a SparkNotes PLUS trial

Original Text

Modern Text

Enter CLEOPATRA , CHARMIAN , IRAS , and ALEXAS
CLEOPATRA , CHARMIAN , IRAS , and ALEXAS enter.

CLEOPATRA

Where is the fellow?

CLEOPATRA

Where is that messenger?

ALEXAS

Half afeard to come.

ALEXAS

Hes afraid to come in.

CLEOPATRA

Go to, go to.Come hither, sir.

CLEOPATRA

Oh, come on.Come here, sir.
Enter the MESSENGER as before
The MESSENGER enters.

ALEXAS

Good majesty,
Herod of Jewry dare not look upon you
But when you are well pleased.

ALEXAS

Gracious Queen, even Herod of Judea wouldnt dare look at you unless you were in a good mood.

CLEOPATRA

That Herods head
5 Ill have! But how? When Antony is gone,
Through whom I might command it? (toMESSENGER) Come thou near.

CLEOPATRA

Ill have Herods head chopped off! But now that Antonys gone, who will do it for me? (toMESSENGER) Come closer.

MESSENGER

Most gracious majesty!

MESSENGER

Most formidable Queen!

CLEOPATRA

Didst thou behold Octavia?

CLEOPATRA

Did you see Octavia?

MESSENGER

Ay, dread Queen.

MESSENGER

Yes, revered Queen.

CLEOPATRA

Where?

CLEOPATRA

Where?

MESSENGER

Madam, in Rome.
I looked her in the face, and saw her led
10 Between her brother and Mark Antony.

MESSENGER

In Rome, Madam. I saw her face as she walked with her brother and Mark Antony.

CLEOPATRA

Is she as tall as me?

CLEOPATRA

Is she as tall as I am?

MESSENGER

She is not, madam.

MESSENGER

She is not, madam.

CLEOPATRA

Didst hear her speak? Is she shrill-tongued or low?

CLEOPATRA

Did you hear her speak? Is her voice pitched high or low?

MESSENGER

Madam, I heard her speak. She is low-voiced.

MESSENGER

Madam, I heard her speak. She has a low-pitched voice.

CLEOPATRA

Thats not so good. He cannot like her long.

CLEOPATRA

Thats not in her favor. He cant like her very long.

CHARMIAN

15 Like her? O Isis, tis impossible.

CHARMIAN

Like her? Oh, Isis, thats impossible.

CLEOPATRA

I think so, Charmian. Dull of tongue, and dwarfish.
What majesty is in her gait? Remember,
If eer thou lookedst on majesty.

CLEOPATRA

Youre right, Charmian. Shes both dull-spoken and dwarfishly little.Did she carry herself with majesty? Compare her to any memory you might have of royalty.

MESSENGER

She creeps.
Her motion and her station are as one.
20 She shows a body rather than a life,
A statue than a breather.

MESSENGER

She creeps along. Moving or standing still, her bearing is about the same. She has a body, not a life. Shes more like a statue than a living, breathing human being.

CLEOPATRA

Is this certain?

CLEOPATRA

Is this true?

MESSENGER

Or I have no observance.

MESSENGER

If not, then I have no powers of observation.

CHARMIAN

Three in Egypt
Cannot make better note.

CHARMIAN

There arent three people in all of Egypt who could do better.

CLEOPATRA

Hes very knowing,
I do perceive t. Theres nothing in her yet.
25 The fellow has good judgment.

CLEOPATRA

Hes very observant. I can tell. She doesnt have anything going for her so far. This messenger is wise.

CHARMIAN

Excellent.

CHARMIAN

Very wise.

CLEOPATRA

(toMESSENGER) Guess at her years, I prithee.

CLEOPATRA

(toMESSENGER) How old do you think she is?

MESSENGER

Madam, she was a widow

MESSENGER

She was a widow previously, madam.

CLEOPATRA

Widow? Charmian, hark.

CLEOPATRA

A widow? Do you hear that, Charmian?

MESSENGER

And I do think shes thirty.

MESSENGER

And I think shes at least thirty.

CLEOPATRA

Bearst thou her face in mind? Is t long or round?

CLEOPATRA

Do you remember her face? Was it long or round?

MESSENGER

Round, even to faultiness.

MESSENGER

Round enough to be unattractive.

CLEOPATRA

For the most part, too, they are foolish that are so.
Her hair, what color?

CLEOPATRA

Usually that means a person is foolish. What color is her hair?

MESSENGER

Brown, madam, and her forehead
35 As low as she would wish it.

MESSENGER

Brown, madam, and she wouldnt want her forehead to be any lower.

CLEOPATRA

(giving money) Theres gold for thee.
Thou must not take my former sharpness ill.
I will employ thee back again; I find thee
Most fit for business. Go make thee ready;
Our letters are prepared.

CLEOPATRA

Heres gold for you. You mustnt hold my earlier outburst against me. Ill hire you again to go back to Rome. I find that youre very good at this kind of work. Go, prepare to travel. My letters are ready to go.

CHARMIAN

A proper man.

CHARMIAN

Hes an admirable man.

CLEOPATRA

40 Indeed, he is so. I repent me much
That so I harried him. Why, methinks, by him,
This creatures no such thing.

CLEOPATRA

He certainly is. Im very sorry I was so hard on him. Why, from what he says, Octavia isnt worth getting upset over.

CHARMIAN

Nothing, madam.

CHARMIAN

Not a bit, madam.

CLEOPATRA

The man hath seen some majesty and should know.

CLEOPATRA

This mans been around royalty. He should recognize it when he sees it.

CHARMIAN

Hath he seen majesty? Isis else defend,
45 And serving you so long!

CHARMIAN

Been around royalty! Isis forbid it were otherwise, since hes been in your service so long.

CLEOPATRA

I have one thing more to ask him yet, good Charmian
But tis no matter; thou shalt bring him to me
Where I will write. All may be well enough.

CLEOPATRA

I want to ask him one more thing, Charmian. But its not important. Bring him to my writing room. Everything may still be all right.

CHARMIAN

I warrant you, madam.

CHARMIAN

I assure you it is, madam.
Exit MESSENGER The MESSENGER exits.