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Navigate this workJulius Caesar
Act 1, scene 2
A soothsayer advises Caesar that the fifteenth of March will be a dangerous day for him. When Caesar and others exit, Cassius and Brutus remain behind. Cassius urges Brutus to oppose Caesar for fear that Caesar may become king. After Brutus and Cassius talk with Casca about Mark Antony’s public offer of the crown to Caesar, Brutus agrees to continue his conversation with Cassius the next day. Cassius, alone at the end of the scene, expresses his surprise that Brutus, who is one of Caesar’s favorites, is willing to conspire against Caesar and decides to take immediate advantage of this willingness.Enter Caesar, Antony for the course, Calphurnia, Portia,
Decius, Cicero, Brutus, Cassius, Casca, a Soothsayer;
after them Marullus and Flavius ⌜and Commoners.⌝
CASCA 0082 Peace, ho! Caesar speaks.
CAESAR 0083 Calphurnia.
CALPHURNIA 0084 Here, my lord.
0085 5 Stand you directly in Antonius’ way
0086 When he doth run his course.—Antonius.
ANTONY 0087 Caesar, my lord.
0088 Forget not in your speed, Antonius,
0089 To touch Calphurnia, for our elders say
0090 10 The barren, touchèd in this holy chase,
0091 Shake off their sterile curse.
ANTONY 0092 I shall remember.
0093 When Caesar says “Do this,” it is performed.
0094 Set on and leave no ceremony out.⌜Sennet.⌝
SOOTHSAYER 0095 15Caesar.
CAESAR 0096 Ha! Who calls?
0097 Bid every noise be still. Peace, yet again!
0098 Who is it in the press that calls on me?
0099 I hear a tongue shriller than all the music
0100 20 Cry “Caesar.” Speak. Caesar is turned to hear.
0101 Beware the ides of March.
CAESAR 0102 What man is that?
0103 A soothsayer bids you beware the ides of March.
0104 Set him before me. Let me see his face.
0105 25 Fellow, come from the throng.
⌜The Soothsayer comes forward.⌝
0106 Look upon Caesar.
0107 What sayst thou to me now? Speak once again.
SOOTHSAYER 0108 Beware the ides of March.
0109 He is a dreamer. Let us leave him. Pass.
Sennet. All but Brutus and Cassius exit.
0110 30 Will you go see the order of the course?
BRUTUS 0111 Not I.
CASSIUS 0112 I pray you, do.
0113 I am not gamesome. I do lack some part
0114 Of that quick spirit that is in Antony.
0115 35 Let me not hinder, Cassius, your desires.
0116 I’ll leave you.
0117 Brutus, I do observe you now of late.
0118 I have not from your eyes that gentleness
0119 And show of love as I was wont to have.
0120 40 You bear too stubborn and too strange a hand
0121 Over your friend that loves you.
BRUTUS 0122 Cassius,
0123 Be not deceived. If I have veiled my look,
0124 I turn the trouble of my countenance
0125 45 Merely upon myself. Vexèd I am
0126 Of late with passions of some difference,
0127 Conceptions only proper to myself,
0128 Which give some soil, perhaps, to my behaviors.
0129 But let not therefore my good friends be grieved
0130 50 (Among which number, Cassius, be you one)
p. 170131 Nor construe any further my neglect
0132 Than that poor Brutus, with himself at war,
0133 Forgets the shows of love to other men.
0134 Then, Brutus, I have much mistook your passion,
0135 55 By means whereof this breast of mine hath buried
0136 Thoughts of great value, worthy cogitations.
0137 Tell me, good Brutus, can you see your face?
0138 No, Cassius, for the eye sees not itself
0139 But by reflection, by some other things.
CASSIUS 0140 60’Tis just.
0141 And it is very much lamented, Brutus,
0142 That you have no such mirrors as will turn
0143 Your hidden worthiness into your eye,
0144 That you might see your shadow. I have heard
0145 65 Where many of the best respect in Rome,
0146 Except immortal Caesar, speaking of Brutus
0147 And groaning underneath this age’s yoke,
0148 Have wished that noble Brutus had his eyes.
0149 Into what dangers would you lead me, Cassius,
0150 70 That you would have me seek into myself
0151 For that which is not in me?
0152 Therefore, good Brutus, be prepared to hear.
0153 And since you know you cannot see yourself
0154 So well as by reflection, I, your glass,
0155 75 Will modestly discover to yourself
0156 That of yourself which you yet know not of.
0157 And be not jealous on me, gentle Brutus.
0158 Were I a common laughter, or did use
0159 To stale with ordinary oaths my love
0160 80 To every new protester; if you know
0161 That I do fawn on men and hug them hard
0162 And after scandal them, or if you know
p. 190163 That I profess myself in banqueting
0164 To all the rout, then hold me dangerous.
Flourish and shout.
0165 85 What means this shouting? I do fear the people
0166 Choose Caesar for their king.
CASSIUS 0167 Ay, do you fear it?
0168 Then must I think you would not have it so.
0169 I would not, Cassius, yet I love him well.
0170 90 But wherefore do you hold me here so long?
0171 What is it that you would impart to me?
0172 If it be aught toward the general good,
0173 Set honor in one eye and death i’ th’ other
0174 And I will look on both indifferently;
0175 95 For let the gods so speed me as I love
0176 The name of honor more than I fear death.
0177 I know that virtue to be in you, Brutus,
0178 As well as I do know your outward favor.
0179 Well, honor is the subject of my story.
0180 100 I cannot tell what you and other men
0181 Think of this life; but, for my single self,
0182 I had as lief not be as live to be
0183 In awe of such a thing as I myself.
0184 I was born free as Caesar; so were you;
0185 105 We both have fed as well, and we can both
0186 Endure the winter’s cold as well as he.
0187 For once, upon a raw and gusty day,
0188 The troubled Tiber chafing with her shores,
0189 Caesar said to me “Dar’st thou, Cassius, now
0190 110 Leap in with me into this angry flood
0191 And swim to yonder point?” Upon the word,
0192 Accoutered as I was, I plungèd in
0193 And bade him follow; so indeed he did.
0194 The torrent roared, and we did buffet it
p. 210195 115 With lusty sinews, throwing it aside
0196 And stemming it with hearts of controversy.
0197 But ere we could arrive the point proposed,
0198 Caesar cried “Help me, Cassius, or I sink!”
0199 I, as Aeneas, our great ancestor,
0200 120 Did from the flames of Troy upon his shoulder
0201 The old Anchises bear, so from the waves of Tiber
0202 Did I the tired Caesar. And this man
0203 Is now become a god, and Cassius is
0204 A wretched creature and must bend his body
0205 125 If Caesar carelessly but nod on him.
0206 He had a fever when he was in Spain,
0207 And when the fit was on him, I did mark
0208 How he did shake. ’Tis true, this god did shake.
0209 His coward lips did from their color fly,
0210 130 And that same eye whose bend doth awe the world
0211 Did lose his luster. I did hear him groan.
0212 Ay, and that tongue of his that bade the Romans
0213 Mark him and write his speeches in their books,
0214 “Alas,” it cried “Give me some drink, Titinius”
0215 135 As a sick girl. You gods, it doth amaze me
0216 A man of such a feeble temper should
0217 So get the start of the majestic world
0218 And bear the palm alone.
BRUTUS 0219 Another general shout!
0220 140 I do believe that these applauses are
0221 For some new honors that are heaped on Caesar.
0222 Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world
0223 Like a Colossus, and we petty men
0224 Walk under his huge legs and peep about
0225 145 To find ourselves dishonorable graves.
0226 Men at some time are masters of their fates.
0227 The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
0228 But in ourselves, that we are underlings.
p. 230229 “Brutus” and “Caesar”—what should be in that
0230 150 “Caesar”?
0231 Why should that name be sounded more than
0233 Write them together, yours is as fair a name;
0234 Sound them, it doth become the mouth as well;
0235 155 Weigh them, it is as heavy; conjure with ’em,
0236 “Brutus” will start a spirit as soon as “Caesar.”
0237 Now, in the names of all the gods at once,
0238 Upon what meat doth this our Caesar feed
0239 That he is grown so great? Age, thou art shamed!
0240 160 Rome, thou hast lost the breed of noble bloods!
0241 When went there by an age, since the great flood,
0242 But it was famed with more than with one man?
0243 When could they say, till now, that talked of Rome,
0244 That her wide walks encompassed but one man?
0245 165 Now is it Rome indeed, and room enough
0246 When there is in it but one only man.
0247 O, you and I have heard our fathers say
0248 There was a Brutus once that would have brooked
0249 Th’ eternal devil to keep his state in Rome
0250 170 As easily as a king.
0251 That you do love me, I am nothing jealous.
0252 What you would work me to, I have some aim.
0253 How I have thought of this, and of these times,
0254 I shall recount hereafter. For this present,
0255 175 I would not, so with love I might entreat you,
0256 Be any further moved. What you have said
0257 I will consider; what you have to say
0258 I will with patience hear, and find a time
0259 Both meet to hear and answer such high things.
0260 180 Till then, my noble friend, chew upon this:
0261 Brutus had rather be a villager
0262 Than to repute himself a son of Rome
p. 250263 Under these hard conditions as this time
0264 Is like to lay upon us.
CASSIUS 0265 185I am glad that my weak words
0266 Have struck but thus much show of fire from
Enter Caesar and his train.
0268 The games are done, and Caesar is returning.
0269 As they pass by, pluck Casca by the sleeve,
0270 190 And he will, after his sour fashion, tell you
0271 What hath proceeded worthy note today.
0272 I will do so. But look you, Cassius,
0273 The angry spot doth glow on Caesar’s brow,
0274 And all the rest look like a chidden train.
0275 195 Calphurnia’s cheek is pale, and Cicero
0276 Looks with such ferret and such fiery eyes
0277 As we have seen him in the Capitol,
0278 Being crossed in conference by some senators.
0279 Casca will tell us what the matter is.
CAESAR 0280 200Antonius.
ANTONY 0281 Caesar.
0282 Let me have men about me that are fat,
0283 Sleek-headed men, and such as sleep a-nights.
0284 Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look.
0285 205 He thinks too much. Such men are dangerous.
0286 Fear him not, Caesar; he’s not dangerous.
0287 He is a noble Roman, and well given.
0288 Would he were fatter! But I fear him not.
0289 Yet if my name were liable to fear,
p. 270290 210 I do not know the man I should avoid
0291 So soon as that spare Cassius. He reads much,
0292 He is a great observer, and he looks
0293 Quite through the deeds of men. He loves no plays,
0294 As thou dost, Antony; he hears no music;
0295 215 Seldom he smiles, and smiles in such a sort
0296 As if he mocked himself and scorned his spirit
0297 That could be moved to smile at anything.
0298 Such men as he be never at heart’s ease
0299 Whiles they behold a greater than themselves,
0300 220 And therefore are they very dangerous.
0301 I rather tell thee what is to be feared
0302 Than what I fear; for always I am Caesar.
0303 Come on my right hand, for this ear is deaf,
0304 And tell me truly what thou think’st of him.
Sennet. Caesar and his train exit
⌜but Casca remains behind.⌝
CASCA 0305 225You pulled me by the cloak. Would you speak
0306 with me?
0307 Ay, Casca. Tell us what hath chanced today
0308 That Caesar looks so sad.
CASCA 0309 Why, you were with him, were you not?
0310 230 I should not then ask Casca what had chanced.
CASCA 0311 Why, there was a crown offered him; and, being
0312 offered him, he put it by with the back of his hand,
0313 thus, and then the people fell a-shouting.
BRUTUS 0314 What was the second noise for?
CASCA 0315 235Why, for that too.
0316 They shouted thrice. What was the last cry for?
CASCA 0317 Why, for that too.
BRUTUS 0318 Was the crown offered him thrice?
CASCA 0319 Ay, marry, was ’t, and he put it by thrice, every
0320 240 time gentler than other; and at every putting-by,
0321 mine honest neighbors shouted.
p. 29CASSIUS 0322 Who offered him the crown?
CASCA 0323 Why, Antony.
0324 Tell us the manner of it, gentle Casca.
CASCA 0325 245I can as well be hanged as tell the manner of it.
0326 It was mere foolery; I did not mark it. I saw Mark
0327 Antony offer him a crown (yet ’twas not a crown
0328 neither; ’twas one of these coronets), and, as I told
0329 you, he put it by once; but for all that, to my
0330 250 thinking, he would fain have had it. Then he offered
0331 it to him again; then he put it by again; but to my
0332 thinking, he was very loath to lay his fingers off it.
0333 And then he offered it the third time. He put it the
0334 third time by, and still as he refused it the rabblement
0335 255 hooted and clapped their chopped hands and
0336 threw up their sweaty nightcaps and uttered such a
0337 deal of stinking breath because Caesar refused the
0338 crown that it had almost choked Caesar, for he
0339 swooned and fell down at it. And for mine own part,
0340 260 I durst not laugh for fear of opening my lips and
0341 receiving the bad air.
0342 But soft, I pray you. What, did Caesar swoon?
CASCA 0343 He fell down in the marketplace and foamed at
0344 mouth and was speechless.
0345 265 ’Tis very like; he hath the falling sickness.
0346 No, Caesar hath it not; but you and I
0347 And honest Casca, we have the falling sickness.
CASCA 0348 I know not what you mean by that, but I am
0349 sure Caesar fell down. If the tag-rag people did not
0350 270 clap him and hiss him, according as he pleased and
0351 displeased them, as they use to do the players in the
0352 theater, I am no true man.
0353 What said he when he came unto himself?
CASCA 0354 Marry, before he fell down, when he perceived
0355 275 the common herd was glad he refused the crown,
0356 he plucked me ope his doublet and offered them his
0357 throat to cut. An I had been a man of any occupation,
0358 if I would not have taken him at a word, I
0359 would I might go to hell among the rogues. And so
0360 280 he fell. When he came to himself again, he said if he
0361 had done or said anything amiss, he desired their
0362 Worships to think it was his infirmity. Three or four
0363 wenches where I stood cried “Alas, good soul!” and
0364 forgave him with all their hearts. But there’s no
0365 285 heed to be taken of them; if Caesar had stabbed
0366 their mothers, they would have done no less.
0367 And, after that, he came thus sad away?
CASCA 0368 Ay.
CASSIUS 0369 Did Cicero say anything?
CASCA 0370 290Ay, he spoke Greek.
CASSIUS 0371 To what effect?
CASCA 0372 Nay, an I tell you that, I’ll ne’er look you i’ th’
0373 face again. But those that understood him smiled at
0374 one another and shook their heads. But for mine
0375 295 own part, it was Greek to me. I could tell you more
0376 news too: Marullus and Flavius, for pulling scarves
0377 off Caesar’s images, are put to silence. Fare you
0378 well. There was more foolery yet, if I could remember
CASSIUS 0380 300Will you sup with me tonight, Casca?
CASCA 0381 No, I am promised forth.
CASSIUS 0382 Will you dine with me tomorrow?
CASCA 0383 Ay, if I be alive, and your mind hold, and your
0384 dinner worth the eating.
CASSIUS 0385 305Good. I will expect you.
CASCA 0386 Do so. Farewell both.He exits.
0387 What a blunt fellow is this grown to be!
0388 He was quick mettle when he went to school.
0389 So is he now in execution
0390 310 Of any bold or noble enterprise,
0391 However he puts on this tardy form.
0392 This rudeness is a sauce to his good wit,
0393 Which gives men stomach to digest his words
0394 With better appetite.
0395 315 And so it is. For this time I will leave you.
0396 Tomorrow, if you please to speak with me,
0397 I will come home to you; or, if you will,
0398 Come home to me, and I will wait for you.
0399 I will do so. Till then, think of the world.
0400 320 Well, Brutus, thou art noble. Yet I see
0401 Thy honorable mettle may be wrought
0402 From that it is disposed. Therefore it is meet
0403 That noble minds keep ever with their likes;
0404 For who so firm that cannot be seduced?
0405 325 Caesar doth bear me hard, but he loves Brutus.
0406 If I were Brutus now, and he were Cassius,
0407 He should not humor me. I will this night
0408 In several hands in at his windows throw,
0409 As if they came from several citizens,
0410 330 Writings, all tending to the great opinion
0411 That Rome holds of his name, wherein obscurely
0412 Caesar’s ambition shall be glancèd at
0413 And after this, let Caesar seat him sure,
0414 For we will shake him, or worse days endure.