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Romans, countrymen, and lovers! hear me for my cause; and be silent that you may hear: believe me for mine honour; and have respect to mine honour, that you may believe: censure me in your wisdom; and awake your senses that you may
the better judge. If there be any in this assembly, any dear friend of Cæsar's, to him I say, that Brutus' love to Cæsar was no less than his. If then that friend demand, why Brutus rose against Cæsar, this is my answer,Not that I loved Cæsar less, but that I loved Rome more. Had you rather Cæsar were living, and die all slaves; than that Cæsar were dead, to live all free men? As Cæsar loved me, I weep for him; as he was fortunate, I rejoice at it; as he was valiant, I honour him: but, as he was ambitious, I slew him: There is tears, for his love; joy, for his fortune; honour, for his valour; and death, for his ambition. Who is here so base, that would be a bondman? If any, speak; for him have I offended. Who is here so rude, that would not be a Roman? If any, speak; for him have I offended. Who is here so vile, that will not love his country? If any, speak; for him have I offended. I pause
I pause for a reply. Cit. None, Brutus, none.
[Several speaking at once. Bru. Then none have I offended. I have done no more to Cæsar, than you should do to Brutus. The question of his death is enrolled in the Capitol: his glory not extenuated, wherein he was worthy; nor his offences enforced, for which he suffered death.
Enter Antony and Others, with Cæsar's Body. Here comes his body, mourned by Mark Antony: who, though he had no hand in his death, shall receive the benefit of his dying, a place in the commonwealth; As which of you shall not? With
this I depart; That, as I slew my best lover for the good of Rome, I have the same dagger for myself, when it shall please my country to need my death.
Cit. Live, Brutus, live! live! i Cit. Bring him with triumph home unto his
house. 2 Cit. Give him a statue with his ancestors. 3 Cit. Let him be Cæsar. 4 Cit.
Cæsar's better parts Shall now be crown'd in Brutus. i Cit. We'll bring him to his house with shouts
and clamours. Bru. My countrymen, 2 Cit.
Peace; silence! Brutus speaks. i Cit. Peace, ho!
Bru. Good countrymen, let me depart alone,
his speech Tending to Cæsar's glories; which Mark Antony, By our permission is allow'd to make. I'do entreat you, not a man depart, Save I alone, till Antony have spoke. [Exit.
i Cit. Stay, ho! and let us hear Mark Antony.
3 Cit. Let him go up into the publick chair; We'll hear him: Noble Antony, go up.
Ant. For Brutus' sake, I am beholden to you.
He says, for Brutus' sake, He finds himself beholden to us all. 4 Cit. 'Twere best he speak no harm of Brutus
here. i Cit. This Cæsar was a tyrant.
as-I slew my best lover-] This term, which cannot but sound disgustingly to modern ears, as here applied, Mr. Malone considers as the language of Shakspeare's time, but this opinion, from the want of contemporary examples to confirm it, may admit of a doubt.
Nay, that's certain: We are bless'd, that Rome is rid of him.
2 Cit. Peace; let us hear what Antony can say.
Peace, ho! let us hear him.
your ears; I come to bury Cæsar, not to praise him. The evil, that men do, lives after them; The good is oft interred with their bones; So let it be with Cæsar. The noble Brutus Hath told you, Cæsar was ambitious: : If it were so, it was a grievous fault; And grievously hath Cæsar answer'd it, Here, under leave of Brutus, and the rest, (For Brutus is an honourable man; So are they all, all honourable men;) Come I to speak in Cæsar's funeral. He was ny friend, faithful and just to me: But Brutus says, he was ambitious; And Brutus is an honourable man. He hath brought many captives home to Rome, Whose ransomes did the general coffers fill: Did this in Cæsar seem ambitious ? When that the poor have cried, Cæsar hath wept: Ambition should be made of sterner stuff: Yet Brutus says, he was ambitious; And Brutus is an honourable man. You all did see, that on the Lupercal, I thrice presented him a kingly crown, Which he did thrice refuse. Was this ambition? Yet Brutus says, he was ambitious; And, sure, he is an honourable man. I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke, But here I am to speak what I do know. You all did love him once, not without cause; What cause withholds you then to mourn for him?
O judgment, thou art fled to brutish beasts,
Has he, masters? I fear, there will a worse come in his place. 4 Cit. Mark'd ye his words? He would not take
i Cit. If it be found so, some will dear abide it.
Antony. 4 Cit. Now mark him, he begins again to speak.
Ant. But yesterday, the word of Cæsar might Have stood against the world: now lies he there, And none so poor to do him reverence. O masters! if I were dispos’d to stir Your hearts and minds to mutiny and rage, I should do Brutus wrong, and Cassius wrong, Who, you all know, are honourable men: I will not do them wrong; I rather choose To wrong the dead, to wrong myself, and you, Than I will wrong such honourable men. But here's a parchment, with the seal of Cæsar, I found it in his closet, 'tis his will: Let but the commons hear this testament, (Which, pardon me, I do not mean to read,) And they would go and kiss dead Cæsar's wounds,
9 And none so poor -] The meanest man is now too bigh to do reverence to Cæsar.
And dip their napkins' in his sacred blood;
4 Cit. We'll hear the will: Read it, Mark Antony.
will. Ant. Have patience, gentle friends, I must not
read it; It is not meet you know how Cæsar lov'd you. You are not wood, you are not stones, but men; And, being men, hearing the will of Cæsar, It will inflame you, it will make you mad: 'Tis good you know not that you are his heirs; For if you should, O, what would come of it!
4 Cit. Read the will; we will hear it, Antony; You shall read us the will; Cæsar's will.
Ant. Will you be patient? Will you stay a while? I have o'ershot myself, to tell you of it. I fear, I wrong the honourable men, Whose daggers have stabb’d Cæsar: I do fear it.
4 Cit. They were traitors: Honourable men! Cit. The will! the testament!
2 Cit. They were villains, murderers: The will ! read the will!
Ant. You will compel me then to read the will?
Cit. Come down.
[He comes down from the Pulpit. 3 Cit. You shall have leave.
their napkins-) i. e. their handkerchiefs. Napkin is the Northern term for handkerchief, and is used in this sense at this day in Scotland.