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Last updated: Fri, Jul 31, 2015
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Navigate this workJulius Caesar
Act 1, scene 1
In Rome the people are taking a holiday to celebrate the triumphant return of Julius Caesar. The tribunes Marullus and Flavius try to shame the people into returning to their places of work by reminding them how much they loved Caesar’s rival Pompey, whom Caesar has destroyed and whose sons he has just defeated.Enter Flavius, Marullus, and certain Commoners,
⌜including a Carpenter and a Cobbler,⌝ over the stage.
0001 Hence! Home, you idle creatures, get you home!
0002 Is this a holiday? What, know you not,
0003 Being mechanical, you ought not walk
0004 Upon a laboring day without the sign
0005 5 Of your profession?—Speak, what trade art thou?
CARPENTER 0006 Why, sir, a carpenter.
0007 Where is thy leather apron and thy rule?
0008 What dost thou with thy best apparel on?—
0009 You, sir, what trade are you?
COBBLER 0010 10Truly, sir, in respect of a fine workman, I am
0011 but, as you would say, a cobbler.
0012 But what trade art thou? Answer me directly.
COBBLER 0013 A trade, sir, that I hope I may use with a safe
0014 conscience, which is indeed, sir, a mender of bad
0015 15 soles.
0016 What trade, thou knave? Thou naughty knave, what
p. 9COBBLER 0018 Nay, I beseech you, sir, be not out with me.
0019 Yet if you be out, sir, I can mend you.
0020 20 What mean’st thou by that? Mend me, thou saucy
COBBLER 0022 Why, sir, cobble you.
FLAVIUS 0023 Thou art a cobbler, art thou?
COBBLER 0024 Truly, sir, all that I live by is with the
0025 25 awl. I meddle with no tradesman’s matters nor
0026 women’s matters, but withal I am indeed, sir, a
0027 surgeon to old shoes: when they are in great danger,
0028 I recover them. As proper men as ever trod upon
0029 neat’s leather have gone upon my handiwork.
0030 30 But wherefore art not in thy shop today?
0031 Why dost thou lead these men about the streets?
COBBLER 0032 Truly, sir, to wear out their shoes, to
0033 get myself into more work. But indeed, sir, we
0034 make holiday to see Caesar and to rejoice in his
0035 35 triumph.
0036 Wherefore rejoice? What conquest brings he home?
0037 What tributaries follow him to Rome
0038 To grace in captive bonds his chariot wheels?
0039 You blocks, you stones, you worse than senseless
0040 40 things!
0041 O you hard hearts, you cruel men of Rome,
0042 Knew you not Pompey? Many a time and oft
0043 Have you climbed up to walls and battlements,
0044 To towers and windows, yea, to chimney tops,
0045 45 Your infants in your arms, and there have sat
0046 The livelong day, with patient expectation,
0047 To see great Pompey pass the streets of Rome.
0048 And when you saw his chariot but appear,
0049 Have you not made an universal shout,
0050 50 That Tiber trembled underneath her banks
p. 110051 To hear the replication of your sounds
0052 Made in her concave shores?
0053 And do you now put on your best attire?
0054 And do you now cull out a holiday?
0055 55 And do you now strew flowers in his way
0056 That comes in triumph over Pompey’s blood?
0057 Be gone!
0058 Run to your houses, fall upon your knees,
0059 Pray to the gods to intermit the plague
0060 60 That needs must light on this ingratitude.
0061 Go, go, good countrymen, and for this fault
0062 Assemble all the poor men of your sort,
0063 Draw them to Tiber banks, and weep your tears
0064 Into the channel, till the lowest stream
0065 65 Do kiss the most exalted shores of all.
All the Commoners exit.
0066 See whe’er their basest mettle be not moved.
0067 They vanish tongue-tied in their guiltiness.
0068 Go you down that way towards the Capitol.
0069 This way will I. Disrobe the images
0070 70 If you do find them decked with ceremonies.
MARULLUS 0071 May we do so?
0072 You know it is the feast of Lupercal.
0073 It is no matter. Let no images
0074 Be hung with Caesar’s trophies. I’ll about
0075 75 And drive away the vulgar from the streets;
0076 So do you too, where you perceive them thick.
0077 These growing feathers plucked from Caesar’s wing
0078 Will make him fly an ordinary pitch,
0079 Who else would soar above the view of men
0080 80 And keep us all in servile fearfulness.
They exit ⌜in different directions.⌝