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But wherefore do you hold me here so long?
What is it that you would impart to me?
If it be aught toward the general good,
Set honour in one eye and death i' the other,
And I will look on both indifferently;
For let the gods so speed me as I love
The name of honour more than I fear death.
Cas. I know that virtue to be in you, Brutus, 90
As well as I do know your outward favour.
Well, honour is the subject of my story.
I cannot tell what you and other men
Think of this life; but for my single self,
I had as lief not be as live to be
In awe of such a thing as I myself.
I was born free as Cæsar; so were you:
We both have fed as well, and we can both
Endure the winter's cold as well as he :
For once, upon a raw and gusty day,
The troubled Tiber chafing with her shores,
Cæsar said to me, 'Dar'st thou, Cassius, now
Leap in with me into this angry flood,
And swim to yonder point? Upon the word,
Accoutred as I was, I plunged in
And bade him follow; so indeed he did.
The torrent roar'd, and we did buffet it
With lusty sinews, throwing it aside
And stemming it with hearts of controversy;
But ere we could arrive the point propos'd,
Cæsar cried 'Help me, Cassius, or I sink.'
I, as Æneas, our great ancestor,
Did from the flames of Troy upon his shoulder The old Anchises bear, so from the waves of Tiber
Did I the tired Cæsar. And this man
Is now become a god, and Cassius is
A wretched creature and must bend his body
If Cæsar carelessly but nod on him.
He had a fever when he was in Spain,
And when the fit was on him, I did mark
How he did shake; 'tis true, this god did shake;
His coward lips did from their colour fly,
And that same eye whose bend doth awe the
Did lose his lustre; I did hear him groan;
Ay, and that tongue of his that bade the Romans
Mark him and write his speeches in their books,
Alas! it cried 'Give me some drink, Titinius,'
As a sick girl. Ye gods, it doth amaze me
A man of such a feeble temper should
So get the start of the majestic world,
And bear the palm alone. Shout. Flourish.
Another general shout!
I do believe that these applauses are
For some new honours that are heap'd on Cæsar.
Cas. Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow
Rome, thou hast lost the breed of noble bloods!
When went there by an age, since the great flood,
But it was fam'd with more than with one man!
When could they say, till now, that talk'd of
That her wide walks encompass'd but one man!
Now is it Rome indeed and room enough,
When there is in it but one only man,
O! you and I have heard our fathers say,
There was a Brutus once that would have brook'd
The eternal devil to keep his state in Rome,
As easily as a king.
Bru. That you do love me, I am nothing jeal
What you would work me too, I have some aim
How I have thought of this and of these times,
I shall recount hereafter; for this present,
I would not, so with love I might entreat you,
Be any further mov'd. What you have said
I will consider; what you have to say
I will with patience hear, and find a time
Both meet to hear and answer such high things.
Till then, my noble friend, chew upon this: 10
Brutus had rather be a villager
Than to repute himself a son of Rome
Under these hard conditions as this time
Is like to lay upon us.
That my weak words have struck but thus much
Bru. The games are done and Cæsar is returning.
Cas. As they pass by, pluck Casca by the sleeve, And he will, after his sour fashion, tell you What hath proceeded worthy note to-day.
Re-enter CESAR and his Train.
Bru. I will do so. But, look you, Cassius, The angry spot doth glow on Cæsar's brow, And all the rest look like a chidden train: Calpurnia's cheek is pale, and Cicero Looks with such ferret and such fiery eyes As we have seen him in the Capitol, Being cross'd in conference by some senators. Cas. Casca will tell us what the matter is. Cas. Antonius! Ant. Cæsar.
Cas. Let me have men about me that are fat; Sleek-headed men and such as sleep o' nights. Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look: He thinks too much: such men are dangerous. Ant. Fear him not, Cæsar, he's not dangerous; He is a noble Roman, and well given.
Cas. Would he were fatter! But I fear him not:
Yet if my name were liable to fear,
I do not know the man I should avoid
So soon as that spare Cassius. He reads much;
He is a great observer, and he looks
Quite through the deeds of men; he loves no
As thou dost, Antony; he hears no music;
Seldom he smiles, and smiles in such a sort
As if he mock'd himself, and scorn'd his spirit
That could be moy'd to smile at any thing.
Such men as he be never at heart's ease
Whiles they behold a greater than themselves,
And therefore are they very dangerous.
I rather tell thee what is to be fear'd
Than what I fear, for always I am Cæsar.
Come on my right hand, for this ear is deaf,
And tell me truly what thon think'st of him.
Sennet. Exeunt CESAR and his Train.
CASCA stays behind.
Casca. You pull'd me by the cloak; would
you speak with me?
Bru. Ay, Casca; tell us what hath chanced
That Cæsar looks so sad.
taken him at a word, I would I might go to hell
And so he fell.
among the rogues.
came to himself again, he said, If he had done
or said any thing amiss, he desired their wor-
ships to think it was his infirmity. Three or
four wenches, where I stood, cried Alas! good
soul,' and forgave him with all their hearts;
but there's no heed to be taken of them: if
Cæsar had stabbed their mothers, they would
have done no less.
Bru. And after that, he came, thus sad, away?
Cas. Did Cicero say any thing?
Casca. Ay, he spoke Greek.
Cas. To what effect?
Casca. Why, you were with him, were you not? Bru. I should not then ask Casca what hath chanced.
Casca. Why, there was a crown offered him; and, being offered him, he put it by with the back of his hand, thus; and then the people fell a-shouting.
Bru. What was the second noise for?
Casca. Why, for that too.
Cas. They shouted thrice: what was the last
Casca. Nay, an I tell you that, I'll ne'er look
you i' the face again; but those that understood
him smiled at one another and shook their
I could tell you more news too; Marullus
heads; but, for mine own part, it was Greek to
and Flavius, for pulling scarfs off Cæsar's images,
are put to silence. Fare you well.
more foolery yet, if I could remember it.
Cas. Will you sup with me to-night, Casca?
Casca. No, I am promised forth.
Casca. Why, for that too.
Bru. Was the crown offered him thrice? Casca. Ay, marry, was 't, and he put it by thrice, every time gentler than other; and at every putting by mine honest neighbours shouted. 230 Cas. Who offered him the crown? Casca. Why, Antony.
Bru. Tell us the manner of it, gentle Casca. Casca. I can as well be hanged as tell the manner of it: it was mere foolery; I did not mark it. I saw Mark Antony offer him a crown; yet 'twas not a crown neither, 'twas one of these coronets; and, as I told you, he put it by once; but, for all that, to my thinking, he would fain have had it. Then he offered it to him again; And then he put it by again; but, to my thinking, he was very loath to lay his fingers off it. then he offered it the third time; he put it the third time by; and still as he refused it, the rabblement shouted, and clapped their chopped hands, and threw up their sweaty night-caps, and uttered such a deal of stinking breath because Cæsar refused the crown, that it had almost choked Cæsar: for he swounded and fell down at it. And for mine own part, I durst not laugh, 252 for fear of opening my lips and receiving the bad air.
Cas. Will you dine with me to-morrow?
Casca. Ay, if I be alive, and your mind hold,
Cas. Good; I will expect you.
and your dinner worth the eating.
Casca. Do so. Farewell, both.
Bru. What a blunt fellow is this grown to be!
He was quick mettle when he went to school.
Cus. So is he now in execution
Of any bold or noble enterprise,
However he puts on this tardy form.
This rudeness is a sauce to his good wit,
With better appetite.
Which gives men stomach to digest his words
Bru. And so it is.
For this time I will leave
I will come home to you; or, if you will,
To-morrow, if you please to speak with me,
Cas. I will do so: till then, think of the
Come home to me, and I will wait for you.
Well, Brutus, thou art noble; yet, I see,
Thy honourable metal may be wrought
From that it is dispos'd: therefore 'tis meet
That noble minds keep ever with their likes;
For who so firm that cannot be seduc'd?
If I were Brutus now and he were Cassius,
I will this night,
Cæsar doth bear me hard; but he loves Brutus :
In several hands, in at his windows throw,
He should not humour me.
Writings all tending to the great opinion
As if they came from several citizens,
That Rome holds of his name; wherein ob-
Cas. But soft, I pray you: what! did Cæsar
Casca. He fell down in the market-place, and foamed at mouth, and was speechless.
Bru. 'Tis very like: he hath the falling-sickness. Cas. No, Cæsar hath it not; but you, and I, And honest Casca, we have the falling-sickness. Casca. I know not what you mean by that; If the tag-rag but I am sure Cæsar fell down. people did not clap him and hiss him, according as he pleased and displeased them, as they use to do the players in the theatre, I am no true man.
Bru. What said he when he came unto himself? Casca. Marry, before he fell down, when he perceived the common herd was glad he refused An I had been the crown, he plucked me ope his doublet and Offered them his throat to cut. a man of any occupation, if I would not have
Cæsar's ambition shall be glanced at:
And after this let Cæsar seat him sure;
For we will shake him, or worse days endure.
SCENE III.-The Same.
Thunder and lightning. Enter, from opposite sides.
CASCA, with his sword drawn, and CICERO.
Cir. Good even, Casca: brought you Cæsar
Why are you breathless? and why stare you so
Casca. Are not you mov'd, when all the sway | To see the strange impatience of the heavens;
Cic. Why, saw you any thing more wonderful? Casca. A common slave, you know him well by sight,
Held up his left hand, which did flame and burn
Like twenty torches join'd; and yet his hand,
Not sensible of fire, remain'd unscorch'd.
Besides, I have not since put up my sword,
Against the Capitol I met a lion,
Who glar'd upon me, and went surly by,
Without annoying me; and there were drawn
Upon a heap a hundred ghastly women,
Transformed with their fear, who swore they
Cic. Indeed, it is a strange-disposed time: But men may construe things after their fashion, Clean from the purpose of the things themselves. Comes Cæsar to the Capitol to-morrow?
Casca. He doth; for he did bid Antonius Send word to you he would be there to-morrow. Cic. Good night then, Casca: this disturbed sky
A Roman. Cas. Casca, by your voice. Casca. Your ear is good. Cassius, what night is this! 42
Cas. A very pleasing night to honest men.
Casca. Whoever knew the heavens menace so?
Cas. Those that have known the earth so full
For my part, I have walk'd about the streets,
Submitting me unto the perilous night,
And, thus unbraced, Casca. as you see,
Have bar'd my bosom to the thunder-stone;
And when the cross blue lightning seem'd to open
The breast of heaven, I did present myself
Even in the aim and very flash of it.
Casca. But wherefore did you so much tempt the heavens ?
It is the part of men to fear and tremble
When the most mighty gods by tokens send
Such dreadful heralds to astonish us.
Cas. You are dull, Casca, and those sparks of life
That should be in a Roman you do want,
Or else you use not. You look pale, and gaze,
And put on fear, and cast yourself in wonder, 60
Now could I, Casca, name to thee a man
Most like this dreadful night,
That thunders, lightens, opens graves, and roars
As doth the lion in the Capitol,
A man no mightier than thyself or me
In personal action, yet prodigious grown
And fearful as these strange eruptions are.
Casca. 'Tis Cæsar that you mean; is it not,
Cas. Let it be who it is: for Romans now 80 Have thews and limbs like to their ancestors; But, woe the while! our fathers' minds are dead, And we are govern'd with our mothers' spirits; Our yoke and sufferance show us womanish.
Casca. Indeed, they say the senators to morrow Mean to establish Cæsar as a king; And he shall wear his crown by sea and land, In every place, save here in Italy.
Cas. I know where I will wear this dagger then;
Cassius from bondage will deliver Cassins :
Therein, ye gods, you make the weak most strong;
Therein, ye gods, you tyrants do defeat:
Nor stony tower, nor walls of beaten brass,
Nor airless dungeon, nor strong links of iron,
Can be retentive to the strength of spirit;
But life, being weary of these worldly bars,
Never lacks power to dismiss itself.
If I know this, know all the world besides,
That part of tyranny that I do bear
I can shake off at pleasure.
So can I: So every bondman in his own hand bears The power to cancel his captivity.
Cas. And why should Cæsar be a tyrant then!
Poor man! I know he would not be a wolf
But that he sees the Romans are but sheep;
He were no lion were not Romans hinds.
Those that with haste will make a mighty fire
Begin it with weak straws; what trash is Rome,
What rubbish, and what offal, when it serves
For the base matter to illuminate
So vile a thing as Cæsar! But, O grief!
Where hast thou led me? I perhaps speak this
Before a willing bondman; then I know
My answer must be made: but I am arm'd,
And dangers are to me indifferent.
Casca. You speak to Casca, and to such a man
That is no fleering tell-tale. Hold, my hand:
Be factious for redress of all these griefs,
And I will set this foot of mine as far
As who goes furthest.
There's a bargain made, 19
Now know you, Casca, I have mov'd already
Some certain of the noblest-minded Romans
To undergo with me an enterprise
Of honourable-dangerous consequence;
And I do know, by this they stay for me
In Pompey's porch: for now, this fearful night,
There is no stir or walking in the streets;
And the complexion of the element
In favour's like the work we have in hand,
Most bloody, fiery, and most terrible.
Casca. Stand close awhile, for here comes one in haste.
Cas. 'Tis Cinna; I do know him by his gait: He is a friend.
Cinna, where haste you so?
Who's that? Metellus
To our attempts. Am I not stay'd for, Cinna?
What a fearful night is
Cas. No, it is Casca;
Cin. I am glad on 't.
There's two or three of us have seen strange
Cas. Am I not stay'd for? Tell me.
O Cassius! if you could
But win the noble Brutus to our party-
Cas. Be you content.
But for the general. He would be crown'd: How that might change his nature, there's the question.
It is the bright day that brings forth the adder;
And that craves wary walking. Crown him?
And then, I grant, we put a sting in him,
That at his will he may do danger with.
The abuse of greatness is when it disjoins
Remorse from power; and, to speak truth of
I have not known when his affections sway'd 20
More than his reason. But 'tis a common proof,
That lowliness is young ambition's ladder,
But when he once attains the upmost round,
Whereto the climber-upward turns his face;
He then unto the ladder turns his back,
Looks in the clouds, scorning the base degrees
By which he did ascend. So Cæsar may:
Then, lest he may, prevent. And, since the
Will bear no colour for the thing he is,
Good Cinna, take this Fashion it thus; that what he is, augmented, 30
Would run to these and these extremities;
And therefore think him as a serpent's egg
Which, hatch'd, would, as his kind, grow mis-
And look you lay it in the prætor's chair,
Where Brutus may but find it; and throw this
In at his window; set this up with wax
Upon old Brutus' statue: all this done,
Repair to Pompey's porch, where you shall find us.
Is Decius Brutus and Trebonius there?
Cin. All but Metelius Cimber, and he's gone
To seek you at your house. Well, I will hie, 150
And so bestow these papers as you bade me.
Cas. That done, repair to Pompey's theatre.
Come, Casca, you and I will yet ere day
See Brutus at his house: three parts of him
Is ours already, and the man entire
Upon the next encounter yields him ours.
Casca. O he sits high in all the people's hearts:
And that which would appear offence in us,
His countenance, like richest alchemy,
Will change to virtue and to worthiness.
Cas. Him and his worth and our great need of Brutus, thou sleep'st: awake, and see thyself. him
Shall Rome, etc. Speak, strike, redress!
Brutus, thou sleep'st: awake!
The genius and the mortal instruments
Are then in council; and the state of man,
Like to a little kingdom, suffers then
The nature of an insurrection.
If these be motives weak, break off betimes,
And every man hence to his idle bed;
So let high-sighted tyranny range on,
Till each man drop by lottery. But if these,
As I am sure they do, bear fire enough
To kindle cowards and to steel with valour
Luc. Sir, 'tis your brother Cassius at the door, The melting spirits of women, then, countrymen, Who doth desire to see you.
Is he alone? 71
Luc. No, sir, there are more with him.
Do you know them?
Luc. No, sir; their hats are pluck'd about
And half their faces buried in their cloaks,
That by no means I may discover them
By any mark of favour,
What need we any spur but our own cause
To prick us to redress? what other bond
Than secret Romans, that have spoke the word
And will not palter? and what other oath
Than honesty to honesty engag'd,
That this shall be, or we will fall for it?
Swear priests and cowards and men cautelous,
Old feeble carrions and such suffering souls 139
That welcome wrongs; unto bad causes swear
Exit LUCIUS. Such creatures as men doubt; but do not stain
The even virtue of our enterprise,
They are the faction. O conspiracy! Sham'st thou to show thy dangerous brow by night,
When evils are most free? O! then by day
Where wilt thou find a cavern dark enough
To mask thy monstrous visage? Seek none, con-
Hide it in smiles and affability:
For if thou path, thy native semblance on,
Not Erebus itself were dim enough
To hide thee from prevention.
Enter the Conspirators, CASSIUS, CASCA, DECIUS,
CINNA, METELLUS CIMBER, and TREBONIUS.
Cus. I think we are too bold upon your rest:
Good morrow, Brutus; do we trouble you?
Bru. I have been up this hour, awake all night.
Know I these men that come along with you?
Cas. Yes, every man of them; and no man
But honours you; and every one doth wish
You had but that opinion of yourself
Which every noble Roman bears of you.
This is Trebonius.
Cin. O pardon, sir, it doth; and yon grey lines
That fret the clouds are messengers of day. Casca. You shall confess that you are both deceiv'd.
Here as I point my sword, the sun arises, Which is a great way growing on the south, Weighing the youthful season of the year. Some two months hence up higher toward the north
He first presents his fire; and the high east 119 Stands, as the Capitol, directly here.
Bru. Give me your hands all over. one by one. Cas. And let us swear our resolution. Bru. No, not an oath: if not the face of men, The sufferance of our souls, the time's abuse,
Nor the insuppressive mettle of our spirits,
To think that or our cause or our performance
Did need an oath; when every drop of blood
That every Roman bears, and nobly bears,
Is guilty of a several bastardy,
If he do break the smallest particle
Of any promise that hath pass'd from him.
Cas. But what of Cicero? Shall we sound him?
I think he will stand very strong with us.
Casca. Let us not leave him out.
Met. O let us have him, for his silver hairs
Will purchase us a good opinion
And buy men's voices to commend our deeds: It shall be said his judgment rul'd our hands: Our youths and wildness shall no whit appear, But all be buried in his gravity.
Bru. O! name him not; let us not break with him;
For he will never follow any thing
That other men begin.
Casca. Indeed he is not fit.
To cut the head off and then hack the limbs,
Like wrath in death and envy afterwards;
For Antony is but a limb of Cæsar.
Let us be sacrificers, but not butchers, Caius.
We all stand up against the spirit of Cæsar;
And in the spirit of men there is no blood :
O! that we then could come by Cæsar's spirit.
And not dismember Cæsar. But, alas!
Cæsar must bleed for it. And, gentle friends,
Let's kill him boldly, but not wrathfully;
Let's carve him as a dish fit for the gods,
Not hew him as a carcass fit for hounds:
And let our hearts, as subtle masters do,
Stir up their servants to an act of rage,
Aud after seem to chide 'em. This shall make
Our purpose necessary and not envious;
Which so appearing to the common eyes,
We shall be call'd purgers, not murderers.