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And, thus unbraced, 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


48 unbraced: with doublet open
49 thunder-stone: supposedly cast
60 put on: exhibit the signs of
63 Why: i.e., why we have (or, .
64 from kind: far from their proper character and nature
65 calculate: prophesy; cf. n.
71 monstrous state: unnatural state of affairs

from the sky by thunder
cast.. in: give way to; cf. n.
are acting so)






66 ordinance: ordinary conduct

In personal action, yet prodigious grown
And fearful as these strange eruptions are.

Casca. 'Tis Cæsar that you mean; is it not, Cas


Cas. Let it be who it is: for Romans now Have thews and limbs like to their ancestors; But, woe the while! our fathers' minds are dead, And we are govern'd with our mothers' spirits; Our yoke and sufferance show us womanish.

Casca. Indeed, they say the senators to-morrow Mean to establish Cæsar as a king; 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.


So can I:


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;

78 fearful: inspiring fear eruptions: freaks of nature 82 woe the while: alas for the times

84 yoke and sufferance: patience under the yoke





Thunder still. 100



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 furthest.


handclasp as pledge

118 factious: active griefs: grievances
123 undergo: undertake

126 Pompey's porch; cf. n.
128 complexion
131 Stand close: avoid notice



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

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

Casca. Stand close awhile, for here comes one in



element: visible condition of the sky



106 hinds: female of red deer; also, servants, rustics 107-111 Cf. n. 114 My . made: I shall have to answer for my words 117 That: as fleering: mocking Hold, my hand: here, take this


125 by this: by this time

Cas. 'Tis Cinna; I do know him by his gait: He is a friend.

Enter Cinna.

Cinna, where haste you so?

Cin. To find out you. Who's that?




Cas. No, it is Casca; one incorporate To our attempts. Am I not stay'd for, Cinna? Cin. I am glad on't. What a fearful night is



There's two or three of us have seen strange sights.
Cas. Am I not stay'd for? Tell me.

Yes, you are.


O Cassius, if you could
But win the noble Brutus to our party—

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 144
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:

135 incorporate: joined, affiliated

143 prætor's chair: official seat of judge in Roman tribunal 150 hie: hasten away


And that which would appear offence in us,
His countenance, like richest alchemy,


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.


Scene One

Enter Brutus in his Orchard.

Enter Lucius.

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.

164 Exeunt.

159 countenance: patronage, support
transmuting metals
Scene One S. d. Orchard: garden
5 When: exclamation of impatience
11 spurn at: oppose vindictively
12 general: people's sake, public welfare


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 ques



It is the bright day that brings forth the adder;

alchemy: pseudo-science of 162 conceited: expressed figuratively

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