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Enter a Servant.
Serv. My lord ?
Cæs. Go bid the priests do present sacrifice,
And bring me their opinions of success.
Serv. I will, my lord.
Cal. What mean you, Cæsar? Think you to walk forth?
You shall not stir out of your bouse to-day.
Cæs. Cæsar shall forth : the things that threaten’d me
Ne'er look'd but on my back; when they shall see
The face of Cæsar, they are vanished.
Cal. Cæsar, I never stood on ceremonies,
Yet now they fright me.
There is one within,
Besides the things that we have heard and seen,
Recounts most horrid sights seen by the watch.
A lioness hath whelped in the streets ;
And graves have yawn'd and yielded up their dead :
Fierce fiery warriors fight upon the clouds,
In ranks and squadrons, and right form of war,
Which drizzled blood upon the Capitol:
The noise of battle hurtled in the air,
Horses did neigh, and dying men did groan;
And ghosts did shriek and squeal about the streets.
O Cæsar! these things are beyond all use,
And I do fear them.
What can be avoided
Whose end is purpos'd by the mighty gods?
Yet Cæsar shall go forth; for these predictions
Are to the world in general, as to Cæsar.
Cal. When beggars die, there are no comets seen;
The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes.'
(1) The prodigies and omens mentioned here, and before in the third scene of the first act, are alluded to by Shakspeare in Hamlet also, Act i. Sc. i. where he says that previous to the murder of Cæsar,
“ In the most high and palmy state of Rome,
A little ere the mightiest Julius fell,
The graves stood tenantless, and the sheeted dead
Did squeak and jibber in the open streets.
Stars with trains of fire and dews of blood;
Disasters in the sun; and the moist star
Upon whose influence Neptune's empire stands
Was sick almost to doomsday with eclipse.". And if we believe Virgil and other ancient authors, all this was strictly true. Servius tells us that on the fourteenth of March, the day before the murder, there was an eclipse which lasted some hours; and Plutarch asserts that there was a paleness of the sun for a whole year. But Virgil's account is yet more expressive and particular:
“ He [the sun] first the fate of Cæsar did foretel,
And pitied Rome when Rome in Cæsar fell;
Cæs. Cowards die many times before their deaths;
The valiant never taste of death but once.
Of all the wonders that I yet have heard,
It seems to me most strange that men should fear;
Seeing that death, a necessary end,
Will come when it will come.
Re-enter a Servant.
What say the augurers ?
Serv. They would not have you to stir forth to-day ;
Plucking the entrails of an offering forth,
They could not find a heart within the beast.
Cæs. The gods do this in shame of cowardice:
Cæsar should be a beast without a heart,
If he should stay at home to-day for fear.
No, Cæsar shall not : danger knows full well
That Cæsar is more dangerous than he.
We were two lions litter'd in one day,
And I the elder and more terrible ;
And Cæsar shall go forth.
Alas, my lord,
Your wisdom is consum'd in confidence.
Do not go forth to-day; call it my fear
That keeps you in the house, and not your own.
We 'll send Mark Antony to the senate-house;
And he shall say you are not well to-day :
Let me, upon my knee, prevail in this.
Cæs. Mark Antony shall say I am not well;
And, for thy humour, I will stay at home.
Enter DECIUS. Here's Decius Brutus, he shall tell them so.
Dec. Cæsar, all hail ! Good morrow, worthy Cæsar: I come to fetch you to the senate-house.
In iron clouds conceal'd the public light,
And impious mortals fear'd eternal night.
Nor was the fact foretold by him alone:
Nature herself stood forth and seconded the sun.
Earth, air and seas with prodigies were sign'd,
And birds obscene and howling dogs divin'd.
What clanks were heard in German skies afar,
Of arms and armies rushing to the war!
Pale spectres in the close of night were seen,
And voices heard of more than mortal men
In silent groves : dumb sheep and oxen spoke,
And streams ran backward and their beds forsook
Blood sprang from wells; wolves howl'd in towns by night,
And boding victims did the priests affright.
Such peals of thunder never pour'd from high,
Nor forky lightnings flash'd from such a sullen sky;
Red meteors ran across th' eternal space,
Stars disappear'd, and comets took their place.--Georg. B. i.
Cæs. And you are come in very happy time,
To bear my greeting to the senators,
And tell them that I will not come to-day :
Cannot, is false; and that I dare not, falser;
I will not come to day: Tell them so, Decius.
Cal. Say he is sick.
Shall Cæsar send a lie?
Have I in conquest stretch'd mine arm so far,
To be afeard to tell greybeards the truth?
Decius, go tell them Cæsar will not come.
Dec. Most mighty Cæsar, let me know some cause,
Lest I be laugh'd at when I tell them so.
Cæs. The cause is in my will, I will not come;
That is enough to satisfy the senate.
But, for your private satisfaction,
Because I love you, I will let you know;
Calphurnia here, my wife, stays me at home:
She dreamt to-night she saw my statue,
Which, like a fountain, with a hundred spouts,
Did run pure blood; and many lusty Romans
Came smiling, and did bathe their hands in it.
And these does she apply for warnings, portents,
And evils imminent; and on her knee,
Hath begg'd that I will stay at home to-day.
Dec. This dream is all amiss interpreted;
It was a vision fair and fortunate.
Your statue spouting blood in many pipes,
In which so many smiling Romans bath'd,
Signifies that from you great Rome shall suck
Reviving blood; and that great men shall press
For tinctures, stains, relics, and cognizance."
This by Calphurnia's dream is signified.
Cæs. And this way have you well expounded it.
Dec. I have when you have heard what I can say:
And know it now; the senate have concluded
To give, this day, a crown to mighty Cæsar.
If you shall send them word you will not come,
Their minds may change. Besides, it were a mocka
Apt to be render'd, for some one to say,
“ Break up the senate till another time,
When Cæsar's wife shall meet with better dreams."
If Cæsar hide himself, shall they not whisper,
“ Lo, Cæsar is afraid ?”
(1) Allusion is here made to tincture and cognizance of heraldry, with which Cæsar would reward his faithful countrymen; and to the stains and relics of martyrs' blood, which those who loved and reverenced them would prize most highly. (2) A jeer made in mockery and derision.
Pardon me, Cæsar : for my dear, dear love
To your proceeding bids me tell you this ;
And reason to my love is liable'
Cæs. How foolish do your fears seem now, Calphurnia !
I am ashamed I did yield to them.-
Give me my robe, for I will go :
Enter PUBLIUS, BRUTUS, LIGARIUS, METELLUS, CASCA,
TREBONIUS, and CINNA.
And look where Publius is come to fetch me.
Pub. Good morrow, Cæsar.
What, Brutus, are you stirr'd so early too?
Good morrow, Casca.-Caius Ligarius,
Cæsar was ne'er so much your enemy
As that same ague which hath made you lean.-
What is't o'clock?
Cæsar, 'tis strucken eight.
Cæs. I thank you for your pains and courtesy.
See! Antony, that revels long o' nights,
Is notwithstanding up : Good morrow, Antony.
Ant. So to most noble Cæsar.
Cæs. Bid them
I am to blame to be thus waited for..
Now, Cinna :-Now, Metellus :—What, Trebonius!
I have an hour's talk in store for you;
Remember that you call on me to-day :
Be near me, that I may remember you.
Treb. Cæsar, I will :--and so near will I be, [ Aside. That your best friends shall wish I had been further.
Cæs. Good friends, go in, and taste some wine with me; And we, like friends, will straightway go together.
Bru. That every like is not the same, O Cæsar, The heart of Brutus yearns to think upon !
[Exeunt. SCENE III.-The same. A Street near the Capitol.
Enter ARTEMIDORUS, reading a paper. Art. “ Cæsar, beware of Brutus; take heed of Cassius; come not near Casca; have an eye to Cinna; trust not Trebonius; mark well Metellus Cimber; Decius Brutus loves thee not; thou hast wronged Caius Ligarius. There is but one mind in all these men, and it is bent against Cæsar. If thou beest not immortal look about you. Security gives way to conspiracy. The mighty Gods defend thee ! Thy lover.
" ARTEMIDORUS." Here will I stand till Cæsar pass along,
(1) Reason is subordinate to my love.
And as a suitor will I give him this.
My heart laments that virtue cannot live
Out of the teeth of emulation.
If thou read this, O Cæsar, thou mayst live :
If not, the Fates with traitors do contrive.
SCENE IV.-The same. Another part of the same Street,
before the House of Brutus.
Enter PORTIA and LUCIUS.
Por. I prithee, boy, run to the senate-house;
Stay not to answer me, but get thee gone:
Why dost thou stay?
To know my errand, madam.
Por. I would have had thee there, and here again,
Ere I can tell thee what thou shouldst do there
O constancy, be strong upon my side!
Set a huge mountain 'tween my heart and tongue!
I have a man's mind, but a woman's might.
How hard it is for women to keep counsel !-
Art thou here yet?
Madam, what should I do?
Run to the Capitol, and nothing else?
And so return to you, and nothing else?
Por. Yes, bring me word, boy, if thy lord look well,
For he went sickly forth : and take good note
What Cæsar doth, what suitors press to him.
Hark, boy! what noise is that?
Luc. I hear none, madam,
Prithee, listen well.
I heard a bustling rumour, like a fray,
And the wind brings it from the Capitol.
Luc. Sooth, madam, I hear nothing.
Come hither, fellow;
Which way hast thou been?
At mine own house, good lady.
Por. What is't o'clock ?
About the ninth hour, lady.
Por. Is Cæsar yet gone to the Capitol ?
Sooth. Madam, not
yet: I go to take my stand, To see him pass on to the Capitol ?
Por. Thou hast some suit to Cæsar, hast thou not?
Sooth. That I have lady; if it will please Cæsar
To be so good to Cæsar as to hear me,
I shall beseech him to befriend himself.