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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 honour in one eye, and death i' the other,
And I will look on both indifferently:
For, let the gods so speed me, as I love
The name of honour more than I fear death.
Cas. I know that virtue to be in you, Brutus,
As well as I do know your outward favour.
Well, honour 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 her shores,
Cæsar said to me, Dar'st thou, Cassius, now
Leap in with me into this angry flood,
And swim to yonder point? Upon the word,
Accoutred as I was, I plunged in,
And bade him follow: so, indeed, he did.
The torrent roar'd; 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 Eneas, 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 colour fly;
And that same eye, whose bend doth awe the world,
Did lose his 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 honours that are heap'd 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 dishonourable graves.
Men at some time 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 yours?
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 them,
Brutus will start a spirit as soon as Cæsar.
Now in the names of all the gods at once,
Upon what meat doth 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 talk'd of Rome,
That her wide walks encompass'd but one man ?
Now is it Rome indeed, and room enough,
When there is in it but one only man.
O! you and I have heard our fathers say,
There was a Brutus once, that would have brook'd
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, chewt upon this;
Brutus had rather be a villager,
Than to repute himself a son of Rome
Under these hard conditions as this time
Is like to lay upon us.
Cas. I am glad, that my weak words
Have struck but this much show of fire from Brutus.
Re-enter CESAR, and his Train.
Bru. The games are done, and Cæsar is returning.
Cas. As they pass by, pluck Casca by the sleeve;
And he will, after his sour fashion, tell you
What hath proceeded, worthy note, to-day.
Bru. I will do so:-But, look you, Cassius,
The angry spot doth glow on Cæsar's brow,
And all the rest look like a chidden train :
Calphurnia's cheek is pale; and Cicero
Looks with such ferret and such fiery eyes,
As we have seen him in the Capitol,
Being cross'd in conference by some senators.
Cas. Casca will tell us what the matter is.
Cas. Let me have men about me that are fat;
Sleek-headed men, and such as sleep o' nights:
Yond' Cassius has a lean and hungry look;
He thinks too much: such men are dangerous.
Ant. Fear him not, Cæsar, he's not dangerous.
He is a noble Roman, and well given.
Cas. 'Would he were fatter:-But I fear him not:
Yet if my name were liable to fear,
I do not know the man I should avoid
So soon as that spare Cassius. He reads much;
He is a great observer, and he looks
Quite through the deeds of men: he loves no plays,
As thou dost, Antony; he hears no music:
Seldom he smiles; and smiles in such a sort,
As if he mock'd himself, and scorn'd his spirit
That could be moved to smile at any thing.
Such men as he be never at heart's ease,
Whiles they behold a greater than themselves;
And therefore are they very dangerous.
I rather tell thee what is to be fear'd,
Than what I fear, for always I am Cæsar.
Come on my right hand, for this ear is deaf,
And tell me truly what thou think'st of him.
[Exeunt CESAR and his Train. CASCA stays behind.
Casca. You pull'd me by the cloak; Would you speak with me?
Bru. Ay, Casca; tell us what hath chanced to-day,
That Cæsar looks so sad.
Casca. Why you were with him, were you not? Bru. I should not then ask Casca what hath chanced. Casca. Why, there was a crown offer'd him: and being offer'd him, he put it by with the back of his hand, thus; and then the people fell a-shouting.
Bru. What was the second noise for?
Casca. Why, for that too.
Cas. They shouted thrice; What was the last cry for?
Casca. Why, for that too.
Bru. Was the crown offer'd him thrice?
Casca. Ay, marry, was't, and he put it by thrice, every time gentler than other; and at every putting by, mine honest neigh
Cas. Who offered him the crown?
Casca. Why, Antony.
Bru. Tell us the manner of it, gentle Casca.
mere foolery. I did not mark it. I saw Mark Antony offer him Casca. I can as well be hanged, as tell the manner of it: it was a crown;-yet 'twas not a crown neither, 'twas one of these coro
nets; and, as I told you, he put it by once; but, for all that, to my thinking, he would fain have had it. Then he offered it to him again; then he put it by again: but, to my thinking, he was very loath to lay his fingers off it. And then he offered it the third time; he put it the third time by: and still as he refused it, the rabblement hooted, and clapped their chopped hands, and threw up their sweaty night-caps, and uttered such a deal of stinking breath because Cæsar refused the crown, that it had almost choked Cæsar; for he swooned, and fell down at it: And for mine own part I durst not laugh, for fear of opening my lips, and receiving the bad air.
Cas. But, soft, I pray you:
What? did Cæsar swoon?
Casca. He fell down in the market-place, and foamed at the mouth, and was speechless.
Bru. Tis very like: he hath the falling-sickness. Cas. No, Cæsar hath it not; but, you and I, And honest Casca, we have the falling-sickness.
Casca. I know not what you mean by that; but, I am sure, Cæsar fell down. If the tag-rag people did not clap him, and hiss him, according as he pleased and displeased them, as they use to do the players in the theatre, I am no true* man.
Bru. What said he, when he came unto himself?
Casca. Marry, before he fell down, when he perceived the common herd was glad he refused the crown, he plucked me ope his doublet, and offered them his throat to cut.-An I had been a man of any occupation,t if I would not have taken him at a word, I would I might go to hell among the rogues :-and so he fell. When he came to himself again, he.said, If he had done, or said, any thing amiss, he desired their worships to think it was his infirmity. Three or four wenches, where I stood, cried Alas, good soul!-and forgave him with all their hearts: But there's no heed to be taken of them; if Cæsar had stabbed their mothers, they would have done no less.
Bru. And after that, he came, thus sad, away?
Cas. Did Cicero say anything?
Casca. Ay, he spoke Greek.
Cas. To what effect?
Casca. Nay, an I tell you that, I'll ne'er look you i' the face again: But those, that understood him, smiled at one another, and shook their heads; but for mine own part, it was Greek to me. I could tell you more news too: Marullus and Flavius, for pulling scarfs off Cæsar's images, are put to silence. Fare you well. There was more foolery yet, if I could remember it.
Cas. Will you sup with me to-night, Casca?
Casca. No, I am promised forth.
Cas. Will you dine with me to-morrow?
Casca. Ay, if I be alive, and your mind hold, and your dinner worth eating.
Cas. Good: I will expect you.
Casca. Do so: Farewell, both.
Bru. What a blunt fellow is this grown to be?
He was quick mettle, when he went to school.
Cas. So is he now, in execution
Of any bold or noble enterprise,
However he puts on this taray form.
This rudeness is a sauce to his good wit,
Which gives men stomach to digest his words
With better appetite.
Bru. And so it is. For this time I will leave you:
To-morrow if you please to speak with me,
I will come home to you; or, if you will,
Come home with me, and I will wait for you.
Cas. I will do so :-till then, think of the world.
Well, Brutus, thou art noble; yet, I see,
Thy honourable metal may be wrought
From that it is disposed:* Therefore 'tis meet
That noble minds keep ever with their likes:
For who so firm, that cannot be seduced?
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 the 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 will shake him, or worse days endure.
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 you not moved, when all the sway of earth
Shakes, like a thing unfirm? O Cicero,
I have seen tempests, when the scolding winds
Have rived 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 anything 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),
* Diverted from its original constitution.
Has an unfavourable opinion of me.