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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


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 28 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

32 Which hatch'd, would, as his kind, grow mischievous, And kill him in the shell.

Enter Lucius.
Luc. 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?

40 Luc. I know not, sir. Bru. Look in the calendar, and bring me word.


15 Crown him that; cf. n.

19 Remorse: mercy, conscience 20 affections: passions

21 proof: proved experience 26 degrees: steps, rungs 28 prevent: be beforehand quarrel: attack on him, accusation 29 colour: justification

30 Fashion: put, formulate 31 these and these: such and such 33 as his kind: as is the nature of his species

35 closet: study 64 Like a phantasma, or a hideous dream: The genius and the mortal instruments 44 exhalations: meteors 58 Thy full petition: full measure of what thou askest 59 fourteen; cf. n. 61, 62 Cf. n. 64 motion: instigation, inception 65 phantasma: vision, phantasmagorio 66 genius: the guardian spirit, within man mortal instruments: hu

Luc. I will, sir.

Exit. Bru. The exhalations whizzing in the air 44 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!'

48 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?

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

56 If the redress will follow, thou receivest Thy full petition at the hand of Brutus !

Enter Lucius. Luc. Sir, March is wasted fourteen days. 59

Knocking within. Bru. 'Tis good. Go to the gate: somebody knocks.

[Exit Lucius.] 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

man faculties

Are then in council; and the state of man,
Like to a little kingdom, suffers then
The nature of an insurrection.


Enter Lucius.


Luc. Sir, 'tis your brother Cassius at the door,
Who doth desire to see you.

Is he alone?
Luc. No, sir, there are moe with him.

Do you know them?
Luc. No, sir; their hats are pluck'd about their

And half their faces buried in their cloaks,
That by no means I may discover them
By any mark of favour.
Let 'em enter.


[Exit Lucius.)
They are the faction. O conspiracy,
Sham'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, con-

Hide it in smiles and affability:
For if thou path, thy native semblance on,
Not Erebus itself were dim enough

84 To hide thee from prevention. Enter the Conspirators, Cassius, Casca, Decius,

Cinna, Metellus, and Trebonius.

80 88

70 brother: he had married Brutus' sister, Junia 72 moe: more, others 76 mark of favour: trait of countenance 77 faction: band of conspirators 83 path: walk, proceed native: natural on: being on 84 Erebus: gloomy region leading to Hades (the name signifies 'darkness')

85 prevention: being forestalled


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 honours you; and every one doth wish
You had but that opinion of yourself

92 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?
Cas. Shall I entreat a word?

[Brutus and Cassius) whisper. Dec. Here lies the east: doth not the day break

here? Casca. No.

Cin. O pardon, sir, it doth; and yon grey lines That fret the clouds are messengers of day. 104 Casca. You shall confess that you both

deceiv’d. Here, as I point my sword, the sun arises; Which is a great way growing on the south, Weighing the youthful season of the year. 108 Some two months hence up higher toward the north He first presents his fire; and the high east Stands, as the Capitol, directly here.



86 bold: i.e., in intruding
104 fret: chequer
107 growing on: tending toward

90 and no: and there is no

106 as: where 108 Weighing: on account of 116 betimes: before it's too late 118 high-sighted: haughty




Bru. Give me your hands all over, one by one. 112
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,
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 th' 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
112 all over: successively
114 face of men: mute appeal in the people's looks
115 sufferance: suffering, distress

abuse: abuses of the time

119 lottery: arbitrary decree 123 What: why

125 Than secret: than that of resolute 126 palter: play fast and loose

129 cautelous: crafty, deceitful 130 carrions: wretches no better than soulless carcasses suffering: long-suffering

133 even: just 134 insuppressive: irrepressible 135 or . . . or: either ... or 138 Is individually condemned as illegitimate




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