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Cassius writes certain anonymous papers to Brutus, instigating him to join with the conspirators; these are secretly conveyed by Cinna, and are found by Brutus.
In the morning, the whole of the conspirators, headed by Cassius, repair to Brutns, to urge their solicitations personally.
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.
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 :-
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 ?—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
Remorse from power: And to speak truth of Cæsar,
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,
Whereto the climber-upward turns his face :
But when he once attains the utmost round,
Ile 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 quarrel
Will bear no color 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.
Inic. The taper burneth in your closet, sir.
Searching the window for a flint, I found
This paper, thus seald 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.
(Exit. Bru. The exhalations, whizzing in the air, Give so much light, that I may read by them.
(Opens the lette, and reads. Brutus, thou sleep'st; awake, and see thyself. Shall Rome, fc. Speak, strike, redress! Brutus, thou sleep'st; awake, Such instigations have been often dropp'd Where I have took them up. Shall Rome, fc. Thus must I piece it out; Shall Rome stand under one man's awe? What! Rome ? My ancestors did from the streets of Rome The Tarquin drive, when he was callid a king. Speak, strike, redress !-Am I entreated then To speak, and strike ? O Rome! I make thee promise, If the redress will follow, thou receiv'st Thy full petition at the hand of Brutus !
Re-enter LUCIUS. Luc. Sir, March is wasted fourteen days.
(Knock within Bru. 'Tis good. Go to the gate : somebody knocks.
Since Cassius first did whet me against Cæsar,
I have not slept.
Between the acting of a dreadful thing,
And the first motion, all the interim is
Like a phantasma, or a hideous dream :
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.
Luc. Sir, 'tis your brother Cassius at the door,
Who doth desire to see you.
Is he alone?
Luc. No, sir, there are more with him.
Do you know then ? Luc. No, sir ; their hats are pluck'd about their ears,
And half their faces buried in their cloaks,
That by no means I may discover them
By any mark of favor.
Brú. Let them enter.
They are the faction! O conspiracy!
Shain'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, conspiracy !
Hide it in smiles and affability :
For if thou put thy native semblance on,
Not Erebus itself were dim enough
To hide thee from prevention.
Enter Cassius, Casca, DECIUS, CINNA, METELLUS CIMBER, and
Cas. 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 here,
But honors you : and every one doth wish,
You had but that opinion of yourself
Which every noble Roman bears of you.
This is Trebonius.
He is welcome hither.
Cas. This, Decius Brutus.
He is welcome too.
Cas. This, Casca; this, Cinna;
And this, Metellus Cimber.
They are all welcome.
What watchful cares do interpose themselves
Betwixt your eyes and night?
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,
each man drop by lottery. But if these,
As I am sure they do, bear fire enough
To kindle cowards, and to steel with valor
The melting spirits of women; then, countrymen,
What need we any spur but our own cause,
To urge us to redress ?
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.
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.
Bru. O, name him not; let us not break with him :
For he will never follow any thing
That other men begin.
Then leave him out.
Casca. Indeed, he is not fit.
Dec. Shall no man else be touchd but only Cæsar ?
Cas. Decius, well urg'd :-I think it is not meet,
Mark Antony, so well belov’d of Cæsar,
Should outlive Cæsar: 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 Cæsar, fall together.
Bru. Our course will seem too bloody, Caius Cassius,
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 no butchers, Caius.
We all stand up against the spirit of Cæsar;
And in the spirit of men there is no blood :
0, 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,
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 callid purgers, not murderers.
And for Mark Antony, think not of him ;
For he can do no more than Cæsar's arm,
When Cæsar's head is off.
Yet I do fear him ;
For in the ingrafted love he bears to Cæsar,-
Bru. Alas, good Cassius, do not think of him :
If he love Cæsar, all that he can do
Is to himself; take thought, and die for Cæsar :
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.
[Cock strikes. Bru. Peace, count the clock.
The clock hath stricken three.
Treb. 'Tis time to part.
But it is doubtful yet,
Whether Cæsar 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 auguries,
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 humor 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.
Cas. The morning comes upon us : We'll leave you, Brutus :-
And, friends, disperse yourselves : but all remember
you have said, and show yourselves true Romans. 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. [Exeunt 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 !
Bru. Portia, what mean you ? Wherefore rise 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, Brutus,
Stole from my room: And yesternight, at supper,
You sudden.y arose, and walked about,
Musing and sighing, with your arms across :
And when I ask'd you what the inatter was,
You star'd upon me with ungentle looks :