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Held up his left hand, which did flame and burn
Like twenty torches join'd; and yet his hand,
Not sensible of fire, remained 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 saw
Men all in fire walk up and down the streets.
And, yesterday, the bird of night did sit,
Even at noon-day, upon the market-place,
Hooting and shrieking. When these prodigies
Do so conjointly meet, let not men say
“These are their reasons,—They are natural;”
For, I believe, they are portentous things
Unto the climate that they point upon.
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 Caesar 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 ls not to walk in.
Casca. Farewell, Cicero. [Erit Cicero.
Cas. Who's there ! Casca. A Roman. Cas. Casca, by your voice. Casca. Your ear is good. Cassius, what night is this 1 Cas. A very pleasing night to honest men. Casca. Who ever knew the heavens menace so 1 Cas. Those that have known the earth so full of faults. 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, To see the strange impatience of the heavens: But if you would consider the true cause Why all these fires, why all these gliding ghosts, Why birds and beasts, from quality and kind; Why old men, fools, and children calculate; Why all these things change from their ordinance, Their natures, and pre-formed faculties, To monstrous quality, why, you shall find, That heaven hath infus'd them with these spirits, To make them instruments of fear and warning Unto some monstrous state. 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 Caesar that you mean: Is it not,
Cas. Let it be who it is: for Romans now
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 Caesar 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 Cassius:
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 wordly 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. [Thunder still.
Casca. So can I:
So every bondman in his own hand bears
The power to cancel his captivity.
Cas. And why should Caesar be a tyrant then f
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 Caesar! 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 farthest.
Cas. There's a bargain made.
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 Cin. To find out you: Who's that? Metellus Cimber 1 Cas. No, it is Casca; one incorporate To our attempts. Am I not staid for, Cinna? Cin. I am glad on’t. What a fearful night is this There's two or three of us have seen strange sights.
Cas. Am I not staid for 1 Tell me. Cin. O, Cassius, if you could but win the noble Brutus To our party Cas. Be you content: Good Cinna, take this paper, And look you, lay it in the praetor'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 Metellus Cimber; and he's gone To seek you at your house. Well, I will hie, 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 alchymy,
Will change to virtue and to worthiness.
Cas. Him, and his worth, and our great need of
You have right well conceited. Let us go,
For it is after midnight; and ere day
We will awake him, and be sure of him. [Ereunt.
Bru. What, Lucius' ho!— I cannot, by the progress of the stars, Give guess how near to day.—Lucius, I say!— I would it were my fault to sleep so soundly.— When, Lucius, when Awake, I say! What, Lucius!
Luc. Call'd you, my lord? Bru. Get me a taper in my study, Lucius: When it is lighted, come and call me here. Luc. I will, my lord. [Erit. Bru. It must be by his death: and, for my part, I know no personal cause to spurn at him, But for the general. He would be crown'd:— slow that might change his nature, there's the . . question. t is the bright day that brings forth the adder; And that craves wary walking. Crown him?— That: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 emorse from power: And, to speak truth of Caesar, I have not known when his affections sway'd More than his reason. But 'tis a common proof That lowliness is young ambition's ladder, hereto the climber-upward turns his face: But when he once attains the utmost round, He then unto the ladder turns his back, ooks in the clouds, scorning the base degrees By which he did ascend: So Caesar may : on lest he may, prevent. And, since the quarrel Will bear no colour for the thing he is, Fashion it thus; that what he is, augmented, Would run to these and these extremities: And therefore think him as a serpent's egg,
Which, hatch'd, would as his kind grow mischievous; And kill him in the shell.
Luc. The taper burneth in your closet, sir. Searching the window for a flint, I found This paper, thus seal’d up; and, I am sure, It did not lie there when I went to bed. Bru. Get you to bed again, it is not day. Is not to-morrow, boy, the ides of March? Luc. I know not, sir. Bru. Look in the calendar, and bring me word. Luc. I will, sir. [Erit. Bru. The exhalations, whizzing in the air, Give so much light that I may read by them. [Opens the letter, and reads. “Brutus, thou sleep'st; awake, and see thyself. Shall Rome, &c. Speak, strike, redress! Brutus, thou sleep'st; awake!”— Such instigations have been often dropp'd Where I have took them up. “Shall Rome, &c.” Thus must I piece it out; Shall Rome stand under one man's awe ? What! Rome 1 My ancestors did from the streets of Rome The Tarquin drive, when he was call'd a king. “Speak, strike, redress!”—Am I entreated To speak, and strike 1 O Rome! I make thee promise, If the redress will follow, thou receivest Thy full petition at the hand of Brutus!
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 here 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. Bru. He is welcome hither. Cas. This Decius Brutus. Bru. He is welcome too. Cas. This, Casca; this, Cinna; and this, Metellus Cimber. Bru. They are all welcome. What watchful cares do interpose themselves Betwixt your eyes and night? Cas. Shall I entreat a word? [They whisper. Dec. Here lies the east: Doth not the day break here 1 Casca. No. 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
He first presents his fire; and the high east
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,_
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
The melting spirits of women; then, countrymen,
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
That welcome wrongs; unto bad causes swear
Such creatures as men doubt: but do not stain
The even virtue of our enterprise,
Nor the insuppressive metal 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 1
I think he will stand very strong with us.
Casca. Let us not leave him out.
Cin. No, by no means.
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
For he will never follow anything
That other men begin.
Cas. Then leave him out.
Casca. Indeed, he is not fit.
Dec. Shall no man else be touch'd but only Caesar?
Cas. Decius, well urg'd :—I think it is not meet,
Mark Antony, so well belov'd of Caesar,
Should outlive Caesar: We shall find of him
A shrewd contriver; and you know his means,
If he improve them, may well stretch so far
As to annoy us all : which to prevent,
Let Antony and Caesar fall together.
Bru. Our course will seem too bloody, Caius
To cut the head off, and then hack the limbs;
Like wrath in death, and envy afterwards:
For Antony is but a limb of Caesar.
Let us be sacrificers, but not butchers, Caius.
We all stand up against the spirit of Caesar;
And in the spirit of men there is no blood:
O, that we then could come by Caesar's spirit,
And not dismember Caesar! But, alas, -
Caesar 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 carcase fit for hounds:
And let our hearts, as subtle masters do,
Stir up their servants to an act of rage,
And after seem to chide them. This shall make
Our purpose necessary, and not envious:
Which so appearing to the common eyes,
We shall be call'd purgers, not murderers.
And for Mark Antony, think not of him;
For he can do no more than Caesar's arm,
When Caesar's head is off.
Cas. Yet I fear him :
For in the ingrafted love he bears to Caesar,
Bru. Alas, good Cassius! do not think of him:
If he love Caesar, all that he can do
Is to himself—take thought, and die for Caesar:
And that were much he should; for he is given
To sports, to wildness, and much company.
Treb. There is no fear in him; let him not die;
For he will live, and laugh at this hereafter.
Bru. Peace! count the clock.
Cas. The clock hath stricken three.
Treb. 'Tis time to part.
Cas. But it is doubtful yet
Whether Caesar will come forth to-day, or no;
For he is superstitious grown of late;
Quite from the main opinion he held once
Of fantasy, of dreams, and ceremonies;
It may be, these apparent prodigies,
The unaccustom'd terror of this night,
And the persuasion of his augurers,
May hold him from the Capitol to-day.
Dec. Never fear that: If he be so resolv'd
I can o'ersway him : for he loves to hear
That unicorns may be betray'd with trees,
And bears with glasses, elephants with holes,
Lions with toils, and men with flatterers:
But when I tell him he hates flatterers,
He says he does; being then most flattered.
Let me work:
For I can give his humour the true bent;
And I will bring him to the Capitol.
Cas. Nay, we will all of us be there to fetch him.
Bru. By the eighth hour: Is that the uttermost?
Cin. Be that the uttermost, and fail not then.
Met. Caius Ligarius doth bear Caesar hard,
Who rated him for speaking well of Pompey;
I wonder none of you have thought of him.
Bru. Now, good Metellus, go along by him:
He loves me well, and I have given him reasons;
Send him but hither, and I'll fashion him.
Cas. The morning comes upon us: We'll leave
And, friends, disperse yourselves: but all remember
What you have said, and show yourselves true
Bru. Good gentlemen, look fresh and merrily;
Let not our looks put on our purposes;
But bear it as our Roman actors do,
With untir’d spirits and formal constancy:
And so, good-morrow to you every one.
[Ereunt all but BRutus.
Boy! Lucius !—Fast asleep ! It is no matter;
Enjoy the honey-heavy dew of slumber:
Thou hast no figures, nor no fantasies,
Which busy care draws in the brains of men:
Therefore thou sleep'st so sound.
Brutus, my lord! Wherefore rise
Bru. Portia, what mean you?
you now !
It is not for your health thus to commit
Your weak condition to the raw-cold morning.
Por. Nor for yours neither. You have ungently,
Stole from my bed: And yesternight, at supper,
You suddenly arose, and walk’d about,
Musing and sighing, with your arms across:
And when I ask'd you what the matter was,
You star'd upon me with ungentle looks:
I urg'd you further; then you scratch'd your head,
And too impatiently stamp'd with your foot:
Yet I insisted, yet you answer'd not;
But, with an angry wafture of your hand,
Gave sign for me to leave you : So I did;
Fearing to strengthen that impatience
Which seem'd too much enkindled; and, withal,
Hoping it was but an effect of humour,
Which sometime hath his hour with every man.
It will not let you eat, nor talk, nor sleep;
And, could it work so much upon your shape,
As it hath much prevail'd on your condition,
I should not know you, Brutus. Dear my lord,
Make me acquainted with your cause of grief.
Bru. I am not well in health, and that is all.