« PreviousContinue »
Were I a common laugher, or did use
To stale with ordinary oaths my love
To every new protester ; or if you know
That I do fawn on men, and hug them hard,
And after scandal them; or if you know
That I profess myself in banqueting
To all the rout, then hold me dangerous.
Bru. What means this shouting? I do fear the people
Choose Cæsar for their king.
· Cas. Ay, do you fear it ?
Then I must think you would not have it so.
Bru. I would not, Cassius; yet I love him well :-
But wherefore do you hold me here so long ?
What is it that you would impart to me?
If it be aught toward the general good,
Set honor in one eye, and death in the other,
And I will look on both indifferently:
For, let the gods so speed me, as I love
The name of honor more than I fear death.
Cas. I know that virtue to be in you, Brutus,
As well as I do know your outward favor.
Well, honor is the subject of my story.-
I cannot tell what you and other men
Think of this life; but, for my single self,
I had as lief not be, as live to be
In awe of such a thing as I myself.
I was born free as Cæsar : so were you :
We both have fed as well; and we can both
Endure the winter's cold as well as he.
For once, upon a raw and gusty day,
The troubled Tyber chafing with his shores,
Cæsar says to me, Darest thou, Cassius, now,
Leap in with me into this angry flood,
And swim to yonder point ? — Upon the word,
Accoutered as I was, I plunged in,
And bade him follow : so, indeed, he did.
The torrent roared, and we did buffet it
With lusty sinews; throwing it aside,
And stemming it with hearts of controversy.
But ere we could arrive the point proposed,
Cæsar cried, Help me, Cassius, or I sink.
I, as Æneas, our great ancestor,
Did from the flames of Troy upon his shoulder .
The old Anchises bear, so from the waves of Tyber
Did I the tired Cæsar: and this man,
Is now become a god; and Cassius is
A wretched creature, and must bend his body,
If Cæsar carelessly but nod on him.
He had a fever when he was in Spain,
And, when the fit was on him, I did mark
How he did shake. 'Tis true, this god did shake :
His coward lips did from their color fly;
And that same eye, whose bend doth awe the world,
Did lose its lustre : I did hear him groan :
Ay, and that tongue of his, that bade the Romans
Mark him, and write his speeches in their books,
Alas! it cried - Give me some drink, Titinius -
As a sick girl. Ye gods, it doth amaze me,
A man of such a feeble temper should
So get the start of the majestic world,
And bear the palm alone.
Bru. Another general shout !
I do believe that these applauses are
For some new honors that are heaped on Cæsar.
Cas. Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world
Like a Colossus : and we petty men
Walk under his huge legs, and peep about
To find ourselves dishonorable graves.
Men at some times are masters of their fates :
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.
Brutus — and Cæsar — what should be in that Cæsar ?
Why should that name be sounded more than your's ?
Write them together; yours is as fair a name :
Sound them; it doth become the mouth as well ;
Weigh them; it is as heavy : conjure with them ;
Brutus will start a spirit as soon as Cæsar.
Now, in the name of all the gods at once,
Upon what meat does this our Cæsar feed,
That he is grown so great ? Age, thou art shamed :
Rome, thou hast lost the breed of noble bloods !
When went there by an age, since the great flood,
But it was famed with more than with one man ?
When could they say, till now, that talked of Rome,
That her wide walks encompassed but one man ?
O! you and I have heard our fathers say,
There was a Brutus once, that would have brooked
The eternal devil, to keep his state in Rome,
As easily as a king.
Bru. That you do love me, I am nothing jealous :
What you would work me to, I have some aim :
How I have thought of this, and of these times,
I shall recount hereafter; for this present,
I would not, so with love I might entreat you,
Be any further moved. What you have said,
I will consider ; what you have to say,
I will with patience hear, and find a time
Both meet to hear and answer such high things.
'Till then, my noble friend, chew upon this;
Brutus had rather be a villager,
Than to repute himself a son of Rome
Under such hard conditions as this time
Is like to lay upon us.
Cas. I am glad that my weak words,
Have struck but thus much show of fire from Brutus.
THE QUARREL OF BRUTUS AND CASSIUS.
Cassius. That you have wrong'd me, doth appear in this; You have condemn’d and noted Lucius Pella, For taking bribes here of the Sardians ; Wherein, my letters, praying on his side, Because I knew the man, were slighted of.
Brutus. You wrong'd yourself, to write in such a case.
Cas. In such a time as this, it is not meet
That every nice offence should bear its comment.
Bru. Let me tell you, Cassius, you yourself
Are much condemned to have an itching palm;
To sell and mart your offices for gold,
Cas. I an itching palm ?
You know that you are Brutus that speak this,
Or, be assured, this speech were else your last.
Bru. The name of Cassius honors this corruption,
And chastisement doth therefore hide his head.
Cas. Chastisement !
Bru. Remember March, the Ides of March remember!
Did not great Julius bleed for justice' sake ?
What villain touched his body, that did stab
And not for justice? What, shall one of us,
That struck the foremost man of all this world,
But for supporting robbers; shall we now
Contaminate our fingers with base bribes ?
And sell the mighty space of our large honors,
For so much trash, as may be grasped thus ?
I had rather be a dog, and bay the moon,
Than such a Roman.
Cas. Brutus, bay not me,
I'll not endure it: you forget yourself,
To hedge me in; I am a soldier, I,
Older in practice, abler than yourself
To make conditions.
Bru. Go to; you're not Cassius.
Cas. I am.
Bru. I say, you are not.
Cas. Urge me no more, I shall forget myself ;
Have mind upon your health, tempt me no farther.
Bru. Away, slight man !
Cas. Is’t possible ?
Bru. Hear me, for I will speak.
Must I give way and room to your rash choler ?
Shall I be frighted when a madman stares ?
Cus. O ye gods ! ye gods! Must I endure all this?
· Bru. All this ? ay, more : fret, till your proud heart break;
Go, show your slaves how.choleric you are,
And make your bondmen tremble. Must I budge ?
Must I observe you ? Must I stand and crouch
Uuder your testy humor ? Never, Cassius,
You shall digest the venom of your spleen,
Though it do split you : for, from this day forth,
I'll use you for my mirth, yea, for my laughter,
When you are waspish.
Cas. Is it come to this ?
Bru. You say, you are a better soldier :
Let it appear so; make your vaunting true,
And it shall please me well : For mine own part,
I shall be glad to learn of nobler men.
Cas. You wrong me every way, you wrong me, Brutus ;
I said, an elder soldier, not a better :
Did I say, better?
Bru. If you did, I care not.
Cas. When Cæsar lived, he durst not thus have moved me.
Bru. Peace, peace : you durst not so have tempted him.
Cas. I durst not ?
Cas. What! durst not tempt him ?