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Julius Caesar - Act 1, scene 3
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Navigate this workJulius Caesar - Act 1, scene 3
Act 1, scene 3
Casca, meeting Cicero, describes the marvels visible in the streets that night and suggests that the marvels foretell important events to come. Cicero having left, Cassius arrives to persuade Casca to join the conspiracy to liberate Rome from the threat of Caesar’s kingship. When Cinna joins them, Cassius sends him to leave letters where Brutus may find them and be persuaded that his opposition to Caesar is desired by many.Thunder and lightning. Enter Casca and Cicero.
0415 Good even, Casca. Brought you Caesar home?
0416 Why are you breathless? And why stare you so?
0417 Are not you moved, when all the sway of earth
0418 Shakes like a thing unfirm? O Cicero,
0419 5 I have seen tempests when the scolding winds
0420 Have rived the knotty oaks, and I have seen
0421 Th’ ambitious ocean swell and rage and foam
0422 To be exalted with the threat’ning clouds;
0423 But never till tonight, never till now,
0424 10 Did I go through a tempest dropping fire.
0425 Either there is a civil strife in heaven,
0426 Or else the world, too saucy with the gods,
0427 Incenses them to send destruction.
0428 Why, saw you anything more wonderful?
0429 15 A common slave (you know him well by sight)
0430 Held up his left hand, which did flame and burn
0431 Like twenty torches joined; and yet his hand,
0432 Not sensible of fire, remained unscorched.
0433 Besides (I ha’ not since put up my sword),
0434 20 Against the Capitol I met a lion,
0435 Who glazed upon me and went surly by
0436 Without annoying me. And there were drawn
0437 Upon a heap a hundred ghastly women,
0438 Transformèd with their fear, who swore they saw
0439 25 Men all in fire walk up and down the streets.
0440 And yesterday the bird of night did sit
0441 Even at noonday upon the marketplace,
0442 Hooting and shrieking. When these prodigies
0443 Do so conjointly meet, let not men say
p. 370444 30 “These are their reasons, they are natural,”
0445 For I believe they are portentous things
0446 Unto the climate that they point upon.
0447 Indeed, it is a strange-disposèd time.
0448 But men may construe things after their fashion,
0449 35 Clean from the purpose of the things themselves.
0450 Comes Caesar to the Capitol tomorrow?
0451 He doth, for he did bid Antonius
0452 Send word to you he would be there tomorrow.
0453 Good night then, Casca. This disturbèd sky
0454 40 Is not to walk in.
CASCA 0455 Farewell, CiceroCicero exits.
0456 Who’s there?
CASCA 0457 A Roman.
CASSIUS 0458 Casca, by your voice.
0459 45 Your ear is good. Cassius, what night is this!
0460 A very pleasing night to honest men.
0461 Who ever knew the heavens menace so?
0462 Those that have known the Earth so full of faults.
0463 For my part, I have walked about the streets,
0464 50 Submitting me unto the perilous night,
0465 And thus unbracèd, Casca, as you see,
0466 Have bared my bosom to the thunder-stone;
0467 And when the cross blue lightning seemed to open
0468 The breast of heaven, I did present myself
0469 55 Even in the aim and very flash of it.
0470 But wherefore did you so much tempt the heavens?
0471 It is the part of men to fear and tremble
0472 When the most mighty gods by tokens send
0473 Such dreadful heralds to astonish us.
0474 60 You are dull, Casca, and those sparks of life
0475 That should be in a Roman you do want,
0476 Or else you use not. You look pale, and gaze,
0477 And put on fear, and cast yourself in wonder,
0478 To see the strange impatience of the heavens.
0479 65 But if you would consider the true cause
0480 Why all these fires, why all these gliding ghosts,
0481 Why birds and beasts from quality and kind,
0482 Why old men, fools, and children calculate,
0483 Why all these things change from their ordinance,
0484 70 Their natures, and preformèd faculties,
0485 To monstrous quality—why, you shall find
0486 That heaven hath infused them with these spirits
0487 To make them instruments of fear and warning
0488 Unto some monstrous state.
0489 75 Now could I, Casca, name to thee a man
0490 Most like this dreadful night,
0491 That thunders, lightens, opens graves, and roars
0492 As doth the lion in the Capitol;
0493 A man no mightier than thyself or me
0494 80 In personal action, yet prodigious grown,
0495 And fearful, as these strange eruptions are.
0496 ’Tis Caesar that you mean, is it not, Cassius?
0497 Let it be who it is. For Romans now
0498 Have thews and limbs like to their ancestors.
0499 85 But, woe the while, our fathers’ minds are dead,
0500 And we are governed with our mothers’ spirits.
0501 Our yoke and sufferance show us womanish.
0502 Indeed, they say the Senators tomorrow
0503 Mean to establish Caesar as a king,
0504 90 And he shall wear his crown by sea and land
0505 In every place save here in Italy.
0506 I know where I will wear this dagger then;
0507 Cassius from bondage will deliver Cassius.
0508 Therein, you gods, you make the weak most strong;
0509 95 Therein, you gods, you tyrants do defeat.
0510 Nor stony tower, nor walls of beaten brass,
0511 Nor airless dungeon, nor strong links of iron,
0512 Can be retentive to the strength of spirit;
0513 But life, being weary of these worldly bars,
0514 100 Never lacks power to dismiss itself.
0515 If I know this, know all the world besides,
0516 That part of tyranny that I do bear
0517 I can shake off at pleasure.Thunder still.
CASCA 0518 So can I.
0519 105 So every bondman in his own hand bears
0520 The power to cancel his captivity.
0521 And why should Caesar be a tyrant, then?
0522 Poor man, I know he would not be a wolf
0523 But that he sees the Romans are but sheep;
0524 110 He were no lion, were not Romans hinds.
0525 Those that with haste will make a mighty fire
0526 Begin it with weak straws. What trash is Rome,
0527 What rubbish, and what offal when it serves
0528 For the base matter to illuminate
0529 115 So vile a thing as Caesar! But, O grief,
0530 Where hast thou led me? I perhaps speak this
0531 Before a willing bondman; then, I know
0532 My answer must be made. But I am armed,
0533 And dangers are to me indifferent.
0534 120 You speak to Casca, and to such a man
0535 That is no fleering telltale. Hold. My hand.
⌜They shake hands.⌝
0536 Be factious for redress of all these griefs,
0537 And I will set this foot of mine as far
0538 As who goes farthest.
CASSIUS 0539 125 There’s a bargain made.
0540 Now know you, Casca, I have moved already
0541 Some certain of the noblest-minded Romans
0542 To undergo with me an enterprise
0543 Of honorable-dangerous consequence.
0544 130 And I do know by this they stay for me
0545 In Pompey’s Porch. For now, this fearful night,
0546 There is no stir or walking in the streets;
0547 And the complexion of the element
0548 ⌜In⌝ favor ’s like the work we have in hand,
0549 135 Most bloody, fiery, and most terrible.
0550 Stand close awhile, for here comes one in haste.
0551 ’Tis Cinna; I do know him by his gait.
0552 He is a friend.—Cinna, where haste you so?
0553 To find out you. Who’s that? Metellus Cimber?
0554 140 No, it is Casca, one incorporate
0555 To our attempts. Am I not stayed for, Cinna?
0556 I am glad on ’t. What a fearful night is this!
0557 There’s two or three of us have seen strange sights.
CASSIUS 0558 Am I not stayed for? Tell me.
0559 145 Yes, you are. O Cassius, if you could
0560 But win the noble Brutus to our party—
p. 45CASSIUS, ⌜handing him papers⌝
0561 Be you content. Good Cinna, take this paper,
0562 And look you lay it in the Praetor’s chair,
0563 Where Brutus may but find it; and throw this
0564 150 In at his window; set this up with wax
0565 Upon old Brutus’ statue. All this done,
0566 Repair to Pompey’s Porch, where you shall find us.
0567 Is Decius Brutus and Trebonius there?
0568 All but Metellus Cimber, and he’s gone
0569 155 To seek you at your house. Well, I will hie
0570 And so bestow these papers as you bade me.
0571 That done, repair to Pompey’s Theater.
0572 Come, Casca, you and I will yet ere day
0573 See Brutus at his house. Three parts of him
0574 160 Is ours already, and the man entire
0575 Upon the next encounter yields him ours.
0576 O, he sits high in all the people’s hearts,
0577 And that which would appear offense in us
0578 His countenance, like richest alchemy,
0579 165 Will change to virtue and to worthiness.
0580 Him and his worth and our great need of him
0581 You have right well conceited. Let us go,
0582 For it is after midnight, and ere day
0583 We will awake him and be sure of him.