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About this text

  • Title: Julius Caesar (Modern)
  • Editor: John D. Cox
  • General textual editor: Eric Rasmussen
  • Coordinating editor: Michael Best
  • ISBN: 978-1-55058-366-3

    Copyright John D. Cox. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Editor: John D. Cox
    Peer Reviewed

    Julius Caesar (Modern)

    Cassius That you have wronged me doth appear in this:
    You have condemned and noted Lucius Pella
    For taking bribes here of the Sardians,
    Wherein my letters, praying on his side,
    Because I knew the man, was slighted off
    1975Brutus You wronged yourself to write in such a case.
    Cassius In such a time as this, it is not meet
    That every nice offense should bear his comment.
    Brutus Let me tell you, Cassius, you yourself
    Are much condemned to have an itching palm,
    1980To sell and mart your offices for gold
    To undeservers.
    I, an itching palm?
    You know that you are Brutus that speaks this,
    Or by the gods, this speech were else your last!
    1985Brutus The name of Cassius honors this corruption,
    And chastisement doth therefore hide his head.
    Cassius Chastisement!
    Brutus Remember March, the ides of March remember.
    Did not great Julius bleed for justice' sake?
    1990What villain touched his body that did stab
    And not for justice? What, shall one of us
    That struck the foremost man of all this world
    But for supporting robbers, shall we now
    Contaminate our fingers with base bribes,
    1995And sell the mighty space of our large honors
    For so much trash as may be graspèd thus?
    I had rather be a dog and bay the moon
    Than such a Roman.
    Brutus, bait not me!
    2000I'll not endure it. You forget yourself
    To hedge me in. I am a soldier, I,
    Older in practice, abler than yourself
    To make conditions.
    Brutus Go to. You are not Cassius.
    2005Cassius I am.
    Brutus I say, you are not.
    Cassius Urge me no more! I shall forget myself.
    Have mind upon your health. Tempt me no farther.
    Brutus Away, slight man.
    Is't possible?
    Hear me, for I will speak.
    Must I give way and room to your rash choler?
    Shall I be frighted when a madman stares?
    Cassius O ye gods! Ye gods! Must I endure all this?
    2015Brutus All this? Ay, more. Fret till your proud heart break.
    Go show your slaves how choleric you are,
    And make your bondmen tremble. Must I budge?
    Must I observe you? Must I stand and crouch
    Under your testy humor? By the gods,
    2020You shall digest the venom of your spleen,
    Though it do split you. For from this day forth,
    I'll use you for my mirth, yea for my laughter,
    When you are waspish.
    Is it come to this?
    2025Brutus You say you are a better soldier.
    Let it appear so; make your vaunting true,
    And it shall please me well. For mine own part,
    I shall be glad to learn of noble men.
    Cassius You wrong me every way. 2030You wrong me, Brutus.
    I said an elder soldier, not a better.
    Did I say "better"?
    If you did, I care not.
    Cassius When Caesar lived, he durst not thus have moved me.
    2035Brutus Peace, peace! You durst not so have tempted him.
    Cassius I durst not?
    Brutus No.
    What? durst not tempt him?
    For your life you durst not.
    2040Cassius Do not presume too much upon my love;
    I may do that I shall be sorry for.
    Brutus You have done that you should be sorry for.
    There is no terror, Cassius, in your threats,
    For I am armed so strong in honesty
    2045That they pass by me as the idle wind,
    Which I respect not. I did send to you
    For certain sums of gold, which you denied me,
    For I can raise no money by vile means.
    By heaven, I had rather coin my heart
    2050And drop my blood for drachmas than to wring
    From the hard hands of peasants their vile trash
    By any indirection. I did send
    To you for gold to pay my legions,
    Which you denied me. Was that done like Cassius?
    2055Should I have answered Caius Cassius so?
    When Marcus Brutus grows so covetous,
    To lock such rascal counters from his friends,
    Be ready, gods: with all your thunderbolts
    Dash him to pieces.
    I denied you not.
    You did.
    I did not. He was but a fool
    That brought my answer back. Brutus hath rived my hart.
    A friend should bear his friend's infirmities,
    2065But Brutus makes mine greater than they are.
    Brutus I do not, till you practice them on me.
    You love me not.
    I do not like your faults.
    Cassius A friendly eye could never see such faults.
    2070Brutus A flatterer's would not, though they do appear
    As huge as high Olympus.
    Cassius Come, Antony, and young Octavius, come,
    Revenge yourselves alone on Cassius,
    For Cassius is aweary of the world,
    2075Hated by one he loves, braved by his brother,
    Checked like a bondman, all his faults observed,
    Set in a notebook, learned, and conned by rote
    To cast into my teeth. Oh, I could weep
    My spirit from mine eyes. There is my dagger,
    2080And here my naked breast; within, a heart
    Dearer than Pluto's mine, richer than gold.
    If that thou be'est a Roman, take it forth.
    I that denied the gold will give my heart.
    Strike as thou did'st at Caesar, for I know,
    2085When thou did'st hate him worst, thou loved'st him better
    Than ever thou loved'st Cassius.
    Sheath your dagger.
    Be angry when you will, it shall have scope;
    Do what you will, dishonor shall be humor.
    2090O Cassius, you are yokèd with a lamb
    That carries anger as the flint bears fire,
    Who much enforcèd, shows a hasty spark,
    And straight is cold again.
    Hath Cassius lived
    2095To be but mirth and laughter to his Brutus,
    When grief and blood ill-tempered vexeth him?
    Brutus When I spoke that, I was ill-tempered too.
    Cassius Do you confess so much? Give me your hand.
    And my heart too.
    O Brutus!
    What's the matter?
    Cassius Have not you love enough to bear with me,
    When that rash humor which my mother gave me
    Makes me forgetful?
    Yes, Cassius, and from henceforth,
    When you are over-earnest with your Brutus,
    He'll think your mother chides, and leave you so.
    Enter a Poet, [Lucilius, and Titinius].
    Poet Let me go in to see the generals!
    2110There is some grudge between 'em. 'Tis not meet
    They be alone.
    You shall not come to them!
    Poet Nothing but death shall stay me.
    Cassius How now? What's the matter?
    2115Poet For shame, you generals! What do you mean?
    Love, and be friends, as two such men should be,
    For I have seen more years, I'm sure, than ye.
    Cassius Ha, ha! How vilely doth this cynic rhyme!
    Brutus Get you hence, sirrah! Saucy fellow, hence!
    2120Cassius Bear with him, Brutus; 'tis his fashion.
    Brutus I'll know his humor, when he knows his time.
    What should the wars do with these jigging fools?
    Companion, hence.
    Away, away be gone.
    Exit Poet
    2125Brutus Lucilius and Titinius, bid the commanders
    Prepare to lodge their companies tonight.
    Cassius And come yourselves, and bring Messala with you
    Immediately to us.
    [Exeunt Lucilius and Titinius]
    Lucius, a bowl of wine.
    2130Cassius I did not think you could have been so angry.
    Brutus O Cassius, I am sick of many griefs.
    Cassius Of your philosophy you make no use,
    If you give place to accidental evils.
    Brutus No man bears sorrow better. Portia is dead.
    2135Cassius Ha? Portia?
    Brutus She is dead.
    Cassius How scaped I killing, when I crossed you so?
    O insupportable and touching loss!
    Upon what sickness?
    Impatient of my absence,
    And grief that young Octavius with Mark Antony
    Have made themselves so strong--for with her death
    That tidings came--with this she fell distract,
    And, her attendants absent, swallowed fire.
    And died so?
    Even so.
    O ye immortal gods!
    Enter Boy with wine and tapers.
    Brutus Speak no more of her. Give me a bowl of wine.
    2150In this I bury all unkindness, Cassius.
    Cassius My heart is thirsty for that noble pledge.
    Fill, Lucius, till the wine o'erswell the cup.
    I cannot drink too much of Brutus' love.
    [Drinks. Exit Lucius.]
    Enter Titinius and Messala.
    2155Brutus Come in, Titinius. Welcome, good Messala.
    Now sit we close about this taper here,
    And call in question our necessities.
    Portia, art thou gone?
    No more I pray you.
    Messala, I have here received letters
    That young Octavius and Mark Antony
    Come down upon us with a mighty power,
    Bending their expedition toward Philippi.
    2165Messala Myself have letters of the self-same tenor.
    Brutus With what addition?
    Messala That by proscription and bills of outlawry
    Octavius, Antony, and Lepidus
    Have put to death an hundred senators.
    2170Brutus Therein our letters do not well agree:
    Mine speak of seventy senators that died
    By their proscriptions, Cicero being one.
    Cicero one?
    Cicero is dead,
    And by that order of proscription.
    2175Had you your letters from your wife, my Lord?
    Brutus No, Messala.
    Messala Nor nothing in your letters writ of her?
    Nothing, Messala.
    That methinks is strange.
    2180Brutus Why ask you? Hear you ought of her in yours?
    Messala No, my lord.
    Brutus Now as you are a Roman, tell me true.
    Messala Then like a Roman, bear the truth I tell.
    2185For certain she is dead, and by strange manner.
    Brutus Why farewell Portia. We must die, Messala.
    With meditating that she must die once,
    I have the patience to endure it now.
    Messala Even so great men great losses should endure.
    2190Cassius I have as much of this in art as you,
    But yet my nature could not bear it so.
    Brutus Well, to our work alive. What do you think
    Of marching to Philippi presently?
    I do not think it good.
    Your reason?
    This it is:
    'Tis better that the enemy seek us,
    So shall he waste his means, weary his soldiers,
    Doing himself offense, whilst we, lying still,
    2200Are full of rest, defense, and nimbleness.
    Brutus Good reasons must of force give place to better.
    The people 'twixt Philippi and this ground
    Do stand but in a forced affection,
    For they have grudged us contribution.
    2205The enemy, marching along by them,
    By them shall make a fuller number up,
    Come on refreshed, new-added, and encouraged,
    From which advantage shall we cut him off,
    If at Philippi we do face him there,
    2210These people at our back.
    Hear me, good brother--
    Brutus Under your pardon. You must note, beside,
    That we have tried the utmost of our friends,
    Our legions are brim full, our cause is ripe.
    2215The enemy increaseth every day;
    We, at the height, are ready to decline.
    There is a tide in the affairs of men,
    Which taken at the flood leads on to fortune;
    Omitted, all the voyage of their life
    2220Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
    On such a full sea are we now afloat,
    And we must take the current when it serves,
    Or lose our ventures.
    Then with your will go on.
    We'll along 2225ourselves and meet them at Philippi.
    Brutus The deep of night is crept upon our talk,
    And nature must obey necessity,
    Which we will niggard with a little rest.
    There is no more to say.
    No more, good night,
    Early tomorrow will we rise, and hence.
    Enter Lucius.
    My gown.
    [Exit Lucius.]
    Farewell, good Messala.
    Good night Titinius. Noble, noble Cassius,
    2235Good night, and good repose.
    Cassius O my dear brother!
    This was an ill beginning of the night.
    Never come such division 'tween our souls;
    Let it not, Brutus.
    Enter Lucius with the gown.
    Everything is well.
    Good night, my lord.
    Good night, good brother.
    Titinius, Messala
    Good night, Lord Brutus.
    Farewell, everyone.
    Exeunt [Cassius, Titinius, Messala].
    Give me the gown. Where is thy instrument?
    Here in the tent.
    What? Thou speak'st drowsily!
    Poor knave, I blame thee not; thou art o'er-watched.
    2250Call Claudio and some other of my men.
    I'll have them sleep on cushions in my tent.
    Varrus and Claudio!
    Enter Varrus and Claudio.
    Calls my Lord?
    2255Brutus I pray you, sirs, lie in my tent and sleep.
    It may be I shall raise you by and by
    On business to my brother Cassius.
    Varrus So please you, we will stand and watch your pleasure.
    2260Brutus I will not have it so. Lie down, good sirs.
    It may be I shall otherwise bethink me.
    Look, Lucius, here's the book I sought for so:
    I put it in the pocket of my gown.
    Lucius I was sure your lordship did not give it me.
    2265Brutus Bear with me, good boy. I am much forgetful.
    Canst thou hold up thy heavy eyes awhile,
    And touch thy instrument a strain or two?
    Ay, my lord, an't please you.
    It does, my boy:
    2270I trouble thee too much, but thou art willing.
    Lucius It is my duty, sir.
    Brutus I should not urge thy duty past thy might;
    I know young bloods look for a time of rest.
    Lucius I have slept, my lord, already.
    2275Brutus It was well done, and thou shalt sleep again.
    I will not hold thee long. If I do live,
    I will be good to thee.
    Music and a song.
    This is a sleepy tune. O murd'rous slumber,
    2280Layest thou thy leaden mace upon my boy
    That plays the music? Gentle knave, good night.
    I will not do thee so much wrong to wake thee.
    If thou dost nod, thou break'st thy instrument.
    I'll take it from thee, and, good boy, good night.
    2285Let me see, let me see. Is not the leaf turned down
    Where I left reading? Here it is I think.
    Enter the Ghost of Caesar.
    How ill this taper burns. Ha! Who comes here?
    I think it is the weakness of mine eyes
    2290That shapes this monstrous apparition.
    It comes upon me! Art thou anything?
    Art thou some god, some angel, or some devil
    That mak'st my blood cold and my hair to stare?
    Speak to me what thou art!
    Thy evil spirit, Brutus.
    Why com'st thou?
    Ghost To tell thee thou shalt see me at Philippi.
    Brutus Well; then I shall see thee again?
    Ghost Ay, at Philippi.
    2300Brutus Why, I will see thee at Philippi, then.
    Now I have taken heart, thou vanishest.
    [Exit Ghost.]
    Ill spirit, I would hold more talk with thee.
    Boy! Lucius! Varrus! Claudio! Sirs! Awake!
    2305Lucius The strings, my lord, are false.
    Brutus He thinks he still is at his instrument.
    Lucius, awake!
    Lucius My lord?
    Brutus Did'st thou dream, Lucius, that thou so criedst 2310out?
    Lucius My Lord, I do not know that I did cry.
    Brutus Yes that thou did'st. Did'st thou see anything?
    Lucius Nothing my Lord.
    Brutus Sleep again, Lucius. Sirrah Claudio!
    Fellow! 2315Thou! Awake!
    My lord?
    My lord?
    Brutus Why did you so cry out, sirs, in your sleep?
    Varrus; Claudio
    Did we my Lord?
    Ay. Saw you anything?
    No, my lord. I saw nothing.
    Nor I my Lord.
    Brutus Go, and commend me to my brother Cassius.
    Bid him set on his powers betimes before,
    2325And we will follow.
    Varrus; Claudio
    It shall be done, my lord.