Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

Of any bold or noble enterprise,
However he puts on this tardy form.

This rudeness is a sauce to his good wit,
Which gives men stomach to digest his words
With better appetite.

[you:

Bru. And so it is. For this time I will leave To-morrow, if you please to speak with me, I will come home to you; or, if you will, Come home to me, and I will wait for you.

Cas. I will do so:-till then, think of the world. [Exit Brutus. 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? Cæsar doth bear me hard; but he loves Brutus: If I were Brutus now, and he were Cassius, He should not humour me. I will this night, In several hands, in at his windows throw, As if they came from several citizens, Writings, all tending to the great opinion That Rome holds of his name; wherein obscurely Cæsar's ambition shall be glanced at: And, after this, let Cæsar seat him sure; For we shall shake him, or worse days endure. [Exit. SCENE III.-The same. A Street. Thunder and lightning. Enter, from opposite sides, CASCA, with his sword drawn, and CICERO. Cic. Good even, Casca: Brought you Cæsar home? Why are you breathless? and why stare you so? Casca. Are not you mov'd, when all the sway of earth

Shakes, like a thing uufirm? O, Cicero,
I have seen tempests, when the scolding winds
Have riv'd the knotty oaks; and I have seen
The ambitious ocean swell, and rage, and foam,
To be exalted with the threat'ning clouds :
But never till to-night, never till now,
Did I go through a tempest dropping fire.
Either there is a civil strife in heaven;
Or else the world, too saucy with the gods,
Incenses them to send destruction.

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 saw
Men, all in fire, walk up and down the streets.
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 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 Is not to walk in. Casca.

[Exit Cicero.

Farewell, Cicero.
Enter CASSIUS.
Cas. Who's there?
Casca.

A Roman.

Cas.
Casca, by your voice.
Casca. Your ear is good. Cassius, what night

is this?

Cas. A very pleasing night to honest men.
Casca. Who ever knew the heavens menace so?
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 unbrac'd, 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 Cæsar that you mean: Is it not,
Cassius?

[blocks in formation]

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 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.

Casca.

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 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
Is favour'd, like the work we have in hand,
Most bloody, fiery, and most terrible.

Enter CINNA.

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?

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, Cinna? Tell me. Cin. You are. O, Cassius, if you could but win The noble Bratus to our party

Yes,

Cas. Be you content: Good Cinna, take this paper, 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 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.
[Exit Cinna.

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 him,

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. [Exeunt.

ACT II.

SCENE I.-The same. Brutus's Orchard.
Enter BRUTUS.

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!

Enter 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.

[Exit. 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 upmost round,
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 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 mis-
chievous;
And kill him in the shell.

Re-enter LUCIUS.

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.

[Exit.

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?

My ancestors did from the streets of Rome
The Tarquin drive, when he was call'd a king.
Speak, strike, redress!-Am I entreated then
To speak, and strike? O Rome! I make thee

promise,

[ocr errors]

If the redress will follow, thou receivest 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 [Exit Lucius. Since Cassius first did whet me against Cæsar, I have not slept.

knocks.

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.

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

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 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.
I think he will stand very strong with us.
Cas. But what of Cicero? Shall we sound him?
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; But all be buried in his gravity. Our youths, and wildness, shall no whit appear,

[him;

Bru. O, name him not; let us not break with For he will never follow any thing That other men begin.

Cas. Then leave him out. Casea. Indeed, he is not fit. [Cæsar? Dec. Shall no man else be touch'd, but only 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:
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 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 Cæsar's arm,
When Cæsar's head is off.

[ocr errors]

Cas.

Yet I do fear him:

For in the ingrafted love he bears to Cæsar,-
Bra. 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. (Clock strikes.)

Bru. Peace, count the clock.

The clock hath stricken three.

Cas.
Treb. 'Tis time to part.
Cas.
Bat it is doubtful yet,
Whe'r 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 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 Cæsar 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 you, Brutus:

And, friends, disperse yourselves: but all remember What you have said, and shew yourselves true Ro

mans.

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. Enter PORTIA.

Por.

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 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. Por. Brutus is wise, and, were he not in health, He would embrace the means to come by it.

Bru. Why, so I do :-Good Portia, go to bed. Por. Is Brutus sick? and is it physical To walk unbraced, and suck up the humon

Of the dank morning? What, is Brutus sick;
And will he steal out of his wholesome bed,
To dare the vile contagion of the night?
And tempt the rheumy and unpurged air
To add unto his sickness? No, my Brutus ;
You have some sick offence within your mind,
Which, by the right and virtue of my place,
I ought to know of: And upon my knees
I charm you, by my once commended beauty,
By all your vows of love, and that great voW
Which did incorporate and make us one,
That you unfold to me, yourself, your half,
Why you are heavy; and what men to-night
Have had resort to you: for here have been
Some six or seven, who did hide their faces
Even from darkness.

Bru.

Kneel not, gentle Portia. Por. I should not need, if you were gentle Bratus, Within the bond of marriage, tell me, Brutus, Is it excepted, I should know no secrets That appertain to you? Am I yourself, But, as it were, in sort, or limitation; To keep with you at meals, comfort your bed, And talk to you sometimes? Dwell I but in the suburbs

Of your good pleasure? If it be no more, Portia is Brutus' harlot, not his wife.

Bru. You are my true and honourable wife;
As dear to me, as are the ruddy drops
That visit my sad heart.

Por. If this were true, then should I know this

secret.

I grant, I am a woman; but, withal,
A woman that lord Brutus took to wife:
I grant, I am a woman; but, withal,
A woman well-reputed; Cato's daughter.
Think you, I am no stronger than my sex,
Being so father'd, and so husbanded?
Tell me your counsels, I will not disclose them:
I have made strong proof of my constancy,
Giving myself a voluntary wound
Here, in the thigh: Can I bear that with patience,
And not my husband's secrets?

Bru.

O ye gods, Render me worthy of this noble wife!

(Knocking within.)
Hark, hark! one knocks: Portia, go in a while;
And by and by thy bosom shall partake
The secrets of my heart.

All my engagements I will construe to thee,
All the charactery of my sad brows:-
Leave me with haste.

[Exit Portia.

Enter LUCIUS and LIGARIUS. Lucius, who is that, knocks? Luc. Here is a sick man, that would speak with

you.

Bru. Caius Ligarius, that Metellus spake of.Boy, stand aside.-Caius Ligarius! how? Lig. Vouchsafe good-morrow from a feeble tongue. [Caius, Bru. O, what a time have you chose out, brave To wear a kerchief? 'Would you were not sick! Lig. I am not sick, if Brutus have in hand Any exploit worthy the name of honour.

Bru. Such an exploit have I in hand, Ligarius, Had you a healthful ear to hear of it.

Lig. By all the gods, that Romans bow before, I here discard my sickness. Soul of Rome! Brave son, deriv'd from honourable loins! Thou, like an exorcist, hast conjur'd up My mortified spirit. Now bid me run, And I will strive with things impossible; Yea, get the better of them. What's to do? Bru. A piece of work, that will make sick men whole. [sick?

Lig. But are not some whole, that we must make Bru. That must we also. What it is, my Caius, I shall unfold to thee, as we are going To whom it must be done.

[blocks in formation]

Serv. My lord?

Cas. Go bid the priests do present sacrifice,
And bring me their opinions of success.
Serv. I will, my lord.

You shall not stir out of your house to-day.
Cas. Cæsar shall forth: The things, that threa-
ten'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.

cause,

Lest I be laugh'd at, when I tell them so.

[Exit.

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.

Enter CALPHURNIA.

Cat. What mean you, Cæsar? Think you to Calphurnia here, my wife, stays me at home:
walk forth?
She dreamt to-night she saw my statua,
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,
Signifies, that from you great Rome shall suck
In which so many smiling Romans bath'd,
Reviving blood; and that great men shall press
For tinctures, stains, relics, and cognizance.
This by Calphurnia's dream is signified.

Caes. 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 mock
Apt to be render'd, for some one to say,
Break
up the senate till another time,
When Casar's wife shall meet with better dreams.
If Cæsar hide himself, shall they not whisper,
Lo, Cæsar is afraid?

To your proceeding bids me tell you this;
Pardon me, Cæsar; for my dear, dear love
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 :-

Cæs.
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;
[of princes.
The heavens themselves blaze forth the death
Cas. 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 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.

Cas. 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.

Cal.
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.

Cas. 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.

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »