Internet Shakespeare Editions

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)

    The Tragedy of Julius Caesar
    Enter Flavius, Murellus, and certain commoners over the stage.
    5Hence! Home, you idle creatures! Get you home!
    Is this a holiday? What, know you not,
    Being mechanical, you ought not walk
    Upon a laboring day, without the sign
    Of your profession? Speak, what trade art thou?
    Why, sir, a carpenter.
    Where is thy leather apron and thy rule?
    What dost thou with thy best apparel on?
    You, sir, what trade are you?
    Truly, sir, in respect of a fine workman, I am 15but as you would say, a cobbler.
    But what trade art thou? Answer me directly.
    A trade, sir, that I hope I may use, with a safe conscience, which is indeed sir, a mender of bad soles.
    What trade, thou knave? Thou naughty knave, 20what trade?
    Nay, I beseech you, sir, be not out with me. Yet if you be out, sir, I can mend you.
    What mean'st thou by that? Mend me, thou saucy fellow?
    Why, sir, cobble you.
    Thou art a cobbler, art thou?
    Truly sir, all that I live by is with the awl. I meddle with no tradesman's matters, nor women's matters; but withal I am indeed, sir, a surgeon to old shoes: 30when they are in great danger, I recover them. As proper men as ever trod upon neat's leather, have gone upon my handiwork.
    But wherefore art not in thy shop today?
    Why dost thou lead these men about the streets?
    Truly sir, to wear out their shoes, to get myself into more work. But indeed, sir, we make holiday to see Caesar, and to rejoice in his triumph.
    Wherefore rejoice? What conquest brings he home?
    40What tributaries follow him to Rome,
    To grace in captive bonds his chariot wheels?
    You blocks! You stones! You worse than senseless things!
    O you hard hearts! You cruel men of Rome!
    Knew you not Pompey many a time and oft?
    45Have you climbed up to walls and battlements,
    To towers and windows, yea, to chimney tops,
    Your infants in your arms, and there have sat
    The livelong day, with patient expectation,
    To see great Pompey pass the streets of Rome?
    50And when you saw his chariot but appear,
    Have you not made an universal shout,
    That Tiber trembled underneath her banks
    To hear the replication of your sounds,
    Made in her concave shores?
    55And do you now put on your best attire?
    And do you now cull out a holiday?
    And do you now strew flowers in his way
    That comes in triumph over Pompey's blood?
    60Run to your houses! Fall upon your knees!
    Pray to the gods to intermit the plague
    That needs must light on this ingratitude!
    Go, go, good countrymen, and for this fault
    Assemble all the poor men of your sort;
    65Draw them to Tiber banks, and weep your tears
    Into the channel, till the lowest stream
    Do kiss the most exalted shores of all.
    Exeunt all the Commoners.
    See whe'er their basest mettle be not moved:
    70They vanish tongue-tied in their guiltiness.
    Go you down that way towards the Capitol;
    This way will I. Disrobe the images,
    If you do find them decked with ceremonies.
    May we do so?
    75You know it is the Feast of Lupercal.
    It is no matter. Let no images
    Be hung with Caesar's trophies. I'll about,
    And drive away the vulgar from the streets;
    So do you too, where you perceive them thick.
    80These growing feathers, plucked from Caesar's wing,
    Will make him fly an ordinary pitch,
    Who else would soar above the view of men,
    And keep us all in servile fearfulness.