Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: John D. Cox
Peer Reviewed

Julius Caesar (Modern)


[5.1]
Enter Octavius, Antony, and their army.
Octavius Now, Antony, our hopes are answerèd.
2330You said the enemy would not come down
But keep the hills and upper regions.
It proves not so: their battles are at hand.
They mean to warn us at Philippi here,
Answering before we do demand of them.
2335Antony Tut, I am in their bosoms, and I know
Wherefore they do it. They could be content
To visit other places, and come down
With fearful bravery, thinking by this face
To fasten in our thoughts that they have courage.
2340But 'tis not so.
Enter a Messenger.
Messala
Prepare you, generals!
The enemy comes on in gallant show.
Their bloody sign of battle is hung out,
2345And something to be done immediately.
Antony Octavius, lead your battle softly on
Upon the left hand of the even field.
Octavius Upon the right hand, I; keep thou the left.
Antony Why do you cross me in this exigent?
2350Octavius I do not cross you, but I will do so.
March. Drum. Enter Brutus, Cassius, and their army[: Lucilius, Titinnius, Messala, and others].
Brutus They stand and would have parley.
Cassius Stand fast, Titinius, we must out and talk.
Octavius Mark Antony, shall we give sign of battle?
2355Antony No, Caesar, we will answer on their charge.
Make forth! The generals would have some words.
Octavius Stir not until the signal.
Brutus Words before blows. Is it so, countrymen?
Octavius Not that we love words better, as you do.
2360Brutus Good words are better than bad strokes, Octavius.
Antony In your bad strokes, Brutus, you give good words.
Witness the hole you made in Caesar's heart,
Crying,
"Long live! Hail, Caesar!"
Cassius
Antony,
2365The posture of your blows are yet unknown;
But for your words, they rob the Hybla bees,
And leave them honeyless.
Antony
Not stingless too?
Brutus Oh yes, and soundless too.
2370For you have stol'n their buzzing, Antony,
And very wisely threat before you sting.
Antony Villains! You did not so, when your vile daggers
Hacked one another in the sides of Caesar.
You showed your teeth like apes, 2375and fawned like hounds,
And bowed like bondmen, kissing Caesar's feet,
Whilst damnèd Casca, like a cur, behind
Struck Caesar on the neck. Oh, you flatterers!
Cassius Flatterers? Now, Brutus, thank yourself!
2380This tongue had not offended so today,
If Cassius might have ruled.
Octavius Come, come, the cause. If arguing make us sweat,
The proof of it will turn to redder drops.
Look, I draw a sword against conspirators!
2385When think you that the sword goes up again?
Never till Caesar's three-and-thirty wounds
Be well avenged, or till another Caesar
Have added slaughter to the sword of traitors.
Brutus Caesar, thou canst not die by traitors' hands,
2390Unless thou bring'st them with thee.
Octavius
So I hope.
I was not born to die on Brutus' sword.
Brutus Oh, if thou wert the noblest of thy strain,
Young man, thou couldst not die more honorable.
2395Cassius A peevish schoolboy, worthless of such honor,
Joined with a masker and a reveler.
Antony
Old Cassius still.
Octavius
Come, Antony! Away!
Defiance, traitors, hurl we in your teeth!
2400If you dare fight today, come to the field;
If not, when you have stomachs!
Exeunt Octavius, Antony, and army.
Cassius Why, now blow wind! Swell billow! And swim bark!
2405The storm is up, and all is on the hazard!
Brutus Ho, Lucilius! Hark, a word with you.
Lucilius stands forth.
Lucilius My lord?
[Brutus speaks apart with Lucilius.]
Cassius
Messala.
[Messala stands forth.]
2410Messala
What says my general?
Cassius
Messala,
This is my birthday, as this very day
Was Cassius born. Give me thy hand, Messala,
Be thou my witness, that against my will,
As Pompey was, am I compelled to set
2415Upon one battle all our liberties.
You know that I held Epicurus strong
And his opinion; now I change my mind,
And partly credit things that do presage.
Coming from Sardis, on our former ensign
2420Two mighty eagles fell, and there they perched,
Gorging and feeding from our soldiers' hands,
Who to Philippi here consorted us.
This morning are they fled away and gone,
And in their steads do ravens, crows, and kites
2425Fly o'er our heads and downward look on us
As we were sickly prey. Their shadows seem
A canopy most fatal, under which
Our army lies ready to give up the ghost.
Messala
Believe not so.
2430Cassius
I but believe it partly,
For I am fresh of spirit and resolved
To meet all perils very constantly.
Brutus
Even so, Lucilius.
Cassius
Now, most noble Brutus,
2435The gods today stand friendly, that we may,
Lovers in peace, lead on our days to age.
But since the affairs of men rest still uncertain,
Let's reason with the worst that may befall.
If we do lose this battle, then is this
2440The very last time we shall speak together.
What are you then determinèd to do?
Brutus Even by the rule of that philosophy
By which I did blame Cato for the death
Which he did give himself, I know not how,
2445But I do find it cowardly and vile,
For fear of what might fall, so to prevent
The time of life, arming myself with patience
To stay the providence of some high powers
That govern us below.
2450Cassius
Then, if we lose this battle,
You are contented to be led in triumph
Thorough the streets of Rome?
Brutus No Cassius, no. Think not, thou noble Roman,
2455That ever Brutus will go bound to Rome;
He bears too great a mind. But this same day
Must end that work the ides of March begun,
And whether we shall meet again I know not.
Therefore our everlasting farewell take.
2460Forever and forever, farewell Cassius!
If we do meet again, why we shall smile;
If not, why then this parting was well made.
Cassius Forever and forever, farewell Brutus!
If we do meet again, we'll smile indeed;
2465If not, 'tis true, this parting was well made.
Brutus Why then, lead on. Oh, that a man might know
The end of this day's business ere it come!
But it sufficeth that the day will end,
And then the end is known. Come ho, away!
Exeunt.