Internet Shakespeare Editions

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

Julius Caesar (Folio 1, 1623)

Thunder, and Lightning. Enter Caska,
and Cicero.
Cic. Good euen, Caska: brought you Caesar home?
Why are you breathlesse, and why stare you so?
435Cask. Are not you mou'd, when all the sway of Earth
Shakes, like a thing vnfirme? O Cicero,
I haue seene Tempests, when the scolding Winds
Haue riu'd the knottie Oakes, and I haue seene
Th'ambitious Ocean swell, and rage, and foame,
440To be exalted with the threatning Clouds:
But neuer till to Night, neuer till now,
Did I goe through a Tempest-dropping-fire.
Eyther there is a Ciuill strife in Heauen,
Or else the World, too sawcie with the Gods,
445Incenses them to send destruction.
Cic. Why, saw you any thing more wonderfull?
Cask. A common slaue, you know him well by sight,
Held vp his left Hand, which did flame and burne
Like twentie Torches ioyn'd; and yet his Hand,
450Not sensible of fire, remain'd vnscorch'd.
Besides, I ha'not since put vp my Sword,
Against the Capitoll I met a Lyon,
Who glaz'd vpon me, and went surly by,
Without annoying me. And there were drawne
455Vpon a heape, a hundred gastly Women,
Transformed with their feare, who swore, they saw
Men, all in fire, walke vp and downe the streetes.
And yesterday, the Bird of Night did sit,
Euen at Noone-day, vpon the Market place,
460Howting, and shreeking. When these Prodigies
Doe so conioyntly meet, let not men say,
These are their Reasons, they are Naturall:
For I beleeue, they are portentous things
Vnto the Clymate, that they point vpon.
465Cic. Indeed, it is a strange disposed time:
But men may construe things after their fashion,
Cleane from the purpose of the things themselues.
Comes Caesar to the Capitoll to morrow?
Cask. He doth: for he did bid Antonio
470Send word to you, he would be there to morrow.
Cic. Good-night then, Caska:
This disturbed Skie is not to walke in.
Cask. Farewell Cicero. Exit Cicero.
Enter Cassius.
475Cassi. Who's there?
Cask. A Romane.
Cassi. Caska, by your Voyce.
Cask. Your Eare is good.
Cassius, what Night is this?
480Cassi. A very pleasing Night to honest men.
Cask. Who euer knew the Heauens menace so?
Cassi. Those that haue knowne the Earth so full of
The Tragedie of Julius Caesar 113
For my part, I haue walk'd about the streets,
485Submitting me vnto the perillous Night;
And thus vnbraced, Caska, as you see,
Haue bar'd my Bosome to the Thunder-stone:
And when the crosse blew Lightning seem'd to open
The Brest of Heauen, I did present my selfe
490Euen in the ayme, and very flash of it.
Cask. But wherefore did you so much tempt the Hea- (uens?
It is the part of men, to feare and tremble,
When the most mightie Gods, by tokens send
Such dreadfull Heraulds, to astonish vs.
495Cassi. You are dull, Caska:
And those sparkes of Life, that should be in a Roman,
You doe want, or else you vse not.
You looke pale, and gaze, and put on feare,
And cast your selfe in wonder,
500To see the strange impatience of the Heauens:
But if you would consider the true cause,
Why all these Fires, why all these gliding Ghosts,
Why Birds and Beasts, from qualitie and kinde,
Why Old men, Fooles, and Children calculate,
505Why all these things change from their Ordinance,
Their Natures, and pre-formed Faculties,
To monstrous qualitie; why you shall finde,
That Heauen hath infus'd them with these Spirits,
To make them Instruments of feare, and warning,
510Vnto some monstrous State.
Now could I (Caska) name to thee a man,
Most like this dreadfull Night,
That Thunders, Lightens, opens Graues, and roares,
As doth the Lyon in the Capitoll:
515A man no mightier then thy selfe, or me,
In personall action; yet prodigious growne,
And fearefull, as these strange eruptions are.
Cask. 'Tis Caesar that you meane:
Is it not, Cassius?
520Cassi. Let it be who it is: for Romans now
Haue Thewes, and Limbes, like to their Ancestors;
But woe the while, our Fathers mindes are dead,
And we are gouern'd with our Mothers spirits,
Our yoake, and sufferance, shew vs Womanish.
525Cask. Indeed, they say, the Senators to morrow
Meane to establish Caesar as a King:
And he shall weare his Crowne by Sea, and Land,
In euery place, saue here in Italy.
Cassi. I know where I will weare this Dagger then;
530Cassius from Bondage will deliuer Cassius:
Therein, yee Gods, you make the weake most strong;
Therein, yee Gods, you Tyrants doe defeat.
Nor Stonie Tower, nor Walls of beaten Brasse,
Nor ayre-lesse Dungeon, nor strong Linkes of Iron,
535Can be retentiue to the strength of spirit:
But Life being wearie of these worldly Barres,
Neuer lacks power to dismisse it selfe.
If I know this, know all the World besides,
That part of Tyrannie that I doe beare,
540I can shake off at pleasure. Thunder still.
Cask. So can I:
So euery Bond-man in his owne hand beares
The power to cancell his Captiuitie.
Cassi. And why should Caesar be a Tyrant then?
545Poore man, I know he would not be a Wolfe,
But that he sees the Romans are but Sheepe:
He were no Lyon, were not Romans Hindes.
Those that with haste will make a mightie fire,
Begin it with weake Strawes. What trash is Rome?
550What Rubbish, and what Offall? when it serues
For the base matter, to illuminate
So vile a thing as Caesar. But oh Griefe,
Where hast thou led me? I (perhaps) speake this
Before a willing Bond-man: then I know
555My answere must be made. But I am arm'd,
And dangers are to me indifferent.
Cask. You speake to Caska, and to such a man,
That is no flearing Tell-tale. Hold, my Hand:
Be factious for redresse of all these Griefes,
560And I will set this foot of mine as farre,
As who goes farthest.
Cassi. There's a Bargaine made.
Now know you, Caska, I haue mou'd already
Some certaine of the Noblest minded Romans
565To vnder-goe, with me, an Enterprize,
Of Honorable dangerous consequence;
And I doe know by this, they stay for me
In Pompeyes Porch: for now this fearefull Night,
There is no stirre, or walking in the streetes;
570And the Complexion of the Element
Is Fauors, like the Worke we haue in hand,
Most bloodie, fierie, and most terrible.
Enter Cinna.
Caska. Stand close a while, for heere comes one in
Cassi. 'Tis Cinna, I doe know him by his Gate,
He is a friend. Cinna, where haste you so?
Cinna. To finde out you: Who's that, Metellus
580Cassi. No, it is Caska, one incorporate
To our Attempts. Am I not stay'd for, Cinna?
Cinna. I am glad on't.
What a fearefull Night is this?
There's two or three of vs haue seene strange sights.
585Cassi. Am I not stay'd for? tell me.
Cinna. Yes, you are. O Cassius,
If you could but winne the Noble Brutus
To our party---
Cassi. Be you content. Good Cinna, take this Paper,
590And looke you lay it in the Pretors Chayre,
Where Brutus may but finde it: and throw this
In at his Window; set this vp with Waxe
Vpon old Brutus Statue: all this done,
Repaire to Pompeyes Porch, where you shall finde vs.
595Is Decius Brutus and Trebonius there?
Cinna. All, but Metellus Cymber, and hee's gone
To seeke you at your house. Well, I will hie,
And so bestow these Papers as you bad me.
Cassi. That done, repayre to Pompeyes Theater.
600 Exit Cinna.
Come Caska, you and I will yet, ere day,
See Brutus at his house: three parts of him
Is ours alreadie, and the man entire
Vpon the next encounter, yeelds him ours.
605Cask. O, he sits high in all the Peoples hearts:
And that which would appeare Offence in vs,
His Countenance, like richest Alchymie,
Will change to Vertue, and to Worthinesse.
Cassi. Him, and his worth, and our great need of him,
610You haue right well conceited: let vs goe,
For it is after Mid-night, and ere day,
We will awake him, and be sure of him.
kk3 Actus
114The Tragedie of Julius Caesar