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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)

    Enter Caesar, Antony for the course, Calpurnia, Portia, 85Decius, Cicero, Brutus, Cassius, Casca, a Soothsayer; after them Murellus and Flavius.
    Peace ho! Caesar speaks.
    Here, my Lord.
    Stand you directly in Antonio's way
    When he doth run his course. Antonio!
    Caesar, my Lord?
    Forget not in your speed, Antonio,
    95To touch Calpurnia, for our elders say,
    The barren touchèd in this holy chase,
    Shake off their sterile curse.
    I shall remember.
    When Caesar says, "Do this," it is performed.
    Set on, and leave no ceremony out.
    Ha? Who calls?
    Bid every noise be still! Peace yet again!
    Who is it in the press that calls on me?
    105I hear a tongue shriller than all the music
    Cry "Caesar." Speak! Caesar is turned to hear.
    Beware the ides of March.
    What man is that?
    A soothsayer bids you beware the ides of March.
    Set him before me. Let me see his face.
    Fellow, come from the throng! Look upon Caesar.
    What say'st thou to me now? Speak once again.
    Beware the ides of March.
    He is a dreamer. Let us leave him. Pass.
    Exeunt [all but Brutus and Cassius].
    Will you go see the order of the course?
    Not I.
    I pray you, do.
    I am not gamesome. I do lack some part
    120Of that quick spirit that is in Antony.
    Let me not hinder, Cassius, your desires.
    I'll leave you.
    Brutus, I do observe you now of late.
    I have not from your eyes that gentleness
    125And show of love as I was wont to have.
    You bear too stubborn and too strange a hand
    Over your friend that loves you.
    Be not deceived. If I have veiled my look,
    130I turn the trouble of my countenance
    Merely upon myself. Vexed I am
    Of late with passions of some difference,
    Conceptions only proper to myself,
    Which give some soil, perhaps, to my behaviors;
    135But let not therefore my good friends be grieved,
    Among which number, Cassius, be you one,
    Nor construe any further my neglect
    Than that poor Brutus with himself at war,
    Forgets the shows of love to other men.
    Then Brutus, I have much mistook your passion,
    By means whereof, this breast of mine hath buried
    Thoughts of great value, worthy cogitations.
    Tell me, good Brutus, can you see your face?
    No, Cassius, 145for the eye sees not itself
    But by reflection, by some other things.
    'Tis just.
    And it is very much lamented, Brutus,
    That you have no such mirrors as will turn
    150Your hidden worthiness into your eye,
    That you might see your shadow. I have heard,
    Where many of the best respect in Rome,
    Except immortal Caesar, speaking of Brutus
    155And groaning underneath this age's yoke,
    Have wished that noble Brutus had his eyes.
    Into what dangers, would you lead me, Cassius,
    That you would have me seek into myself
    160For that which is not in me?
    Therefore, good Brutus, be prepared to hear;
    And since you know you cannot see yourself
    So well as by reflection, I, your glass,
    Will modestly discover to yourself
    165That of yourself which you yet know not of.
    And be not jealous on me, gentle Brutus.
    Were I a common laughter, or did use
    To stale with ordinary oaths my love
    To every new protester; if you know
    170That I do fawn on men and hug them hard
    And after scandal them; or if you know
    That I profess myself in banqueting
    To all the rout, then hold me dangerous.
    Flourish, and shout.
    What means this shouting? I do fear the people
    Choose Caesar for their king.
    Ay, do you fear it?
    Then must I think you would not have it so.
    I would not, Cassius, yet I love him well.
    But wherefore do you hold me here so long?
    What is it that you would impart to me?
    If it be ought toward the general good,
    Set honor in one eye and death i'th'other,
    185And I will look on both indifferently.
    For let the gods so speed me, as I love
    The name of honor more than I fear death.
    I know that virtue to be in you, Brutus,
    As well as I do know your outward favor.
    190Well, honor is the subject of my story.
    I cannot tell what you and other men
    Think of this life, but for my single self,
    I had as lief not be, as live to be
    In awe of such a thing as I myself.
    195I was born free as Caesar, so were you;
    We both have fed as well; and we can both
    Endure the winter's cold, as well as he.
    For once, upon a raw and gusty day,
    The troubled Tiber, chafing with her shores,
    200Caesar said to me, "Dar'st thou, Cassius, now
    Leap in with me into this angry flood
    And swim to yonder point?" Upon the word,
    Accoutrèd as I was, I plungèd in,
    And bade him follow. So indeed he did.
    205The torrent roared, and we did buffet it
    With lusty sinews, throwing it aside,
    And stemming it with hearts of controversy.
    But ere we could arrive the point proposed,
    Caesar cried, "Help me, Cassius, or I sink."
    210I, as Aeneas, our great ancestor,
    Did from the flames of Troy upon his shoulder
    The old Anchises bear, so, from the waves of Tiber
    Did I the tirèd Caesar. And this man
    Is now become a god, and Cassius is
    215A wretched creature and must bend his body
    If Caesar carelessly but nod on him.
    He had a fever when he was in Spain,
    And when the fit was on him, I did mark
    How he did shake. 'Tis true, this god did shake.
    220His coward lips did from their color fly,
    And that same eye, whose bend doth awe the world,
    Did lose his luster. I did hear him groan.
    Ay, and that tongue of his, that bade the Romans
    Mark him and write his speeches in their books,
    225"Alas," it cried, "Give me some drink, Titinius,"
    As a sick girl. Ye gods, it doth amaze me
    A man of such a feeble temper should
    So get the start of the majestic world
    And bear the palm alone.
    230Shout. Flourish.
    Another general shout?
    I do believe that these applauses are
    For some new honors that are heaped on Caesar.
    Why man, he doth bestride the narrow world
    235Like a colossus, and we petty men
    Walk under his huge legs, and peep about
    To find ourselves dishonorable graves.
    Men at some time are masters of their fates.
    The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
    240But in ourselves that we are underlings.
    "Brutus" and "Caesar." What should be in that "Caesar"?
    Why should that name be sounded more than yours?
    Write them together: yours is as fair a name.
    Sound them: it doth become the mouth as well.
    245Weigh them: it is as heavy. Conjure with 'em:
    "Brutus" will start a spirit as soon as "Caesar."
    Now in the names of all the gods at once,
    Upon what meat doth this our Caesar feed
    That he is grown so great? Age, thou art shamed!
    250Rome, thou hast lost the breed of noble bloods!
    When went there by an age since the great flood,
    But it was famed with more than with one man?
    When could they say, till now, that talked of Rome,
    That her wide walks encompassed but one man?
    255Now is it Rome indeed, and room enough
    When there is in it but one only man.
    Oh, you and I have heard our fathers say
    There was a Brutus once that would have brooked
    Th'eternal devil to keep his state in Rome
    260As easily as a king.
    That you do love me, I am nothing jealous.
    What you would work me to, I have some aim.
    How I have thought of this and of these times
    I shall recount hereafter. For this present,
    265I would not, so with love I might entreat you,
    Be any further moved. What you have said,
    I will consider; what you have to say,
    I will with patience hear, and find a time
    Both meet to hear and answer such high things.
    270Till then, my noble friend, chew upon this:
    Brutus had rather be a villager
    Than to repute himself a son of Rome
    Under these hard conditions as this time
    Is like to lay upon us.
    I am glad that my weak words
    Have struck but thus much show of fire from Brutus.
    Enter Caesar and his train.
    The games are done, and Caesar is returning.
    As they pass by, pluck Casca by the sleeve,
    And he will, after his sour fashion, tell you
    What hath proceeded worthy note today.
    I will do so. But look you, Cassius,
    285The angry spot doth glow on Caesar's brow,
    And all the rest look like a chidden train:
    Calpurnia's cheek is pale, and Cicero
    Looks with such ferret and such fiery eyes
    As we have seen him in the Capitol,
    290Being crossed in conference by some senators.
    Casca will tell us what the matter is.
    Let me have men about me that are fat,
    295Sleek-headed men, and such as sleep o'nights.
    Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look.
    He thinks too much. Such men are dangerous.
    Fear him not Caesar, he's not dangerous,
    He is a noble Roman, and well given.
    Would he were fatter! But I fear him not.
    Yet if my name were liable to fear,
    I do not know the man I should avoid
    So soon as that spare Cassius. He reads much,
    He is a great observer, and he looks
    305Quite through the deeds of men. He loves no plays,
    As thou dost, Antony; he hears no music;
    Seldom he smiles, and smiles in such a sort
    As if he mocked himself and scorned his spirit
    That could be moved to smile at anything.
    310Such men as he be never at heart's ease
    Whiles they behold a greater than themselves,
    And therefore are they very dangerous.
    I rather tell thee what is to be feared
    Than what I fear, for always I am Caesar.
    315Come on my right hand, for this ear is deaf,
    And tell me truly, what thou think'st of him.
    Exeunt Caesar and [all] his train [but Casca].
    You pulled me by the cloak. Would you speak with me?
    Ay, Casca. Tell us what hath chanced today,
    That Caesar looks so sad.
    Why, you were with him, were you not?
    I should not then ask Casca what had chanced.
    Why, there was a crown offered him; and being 325offered him, he put it by with the back of his hand, thus, and then the people fell a-shouting.
    What was the second noise for?
    Why, for that too.
    They shouted thrice. What was the last cry for?
    Why, for that too.
    Was the crown offered him thrice?
    Ay, marry, was't, and he put it by thrice, every time gentler than other; and at every putting by, mine honest neighbors shouted.
    Who offered him the crown?
    Why, Antony.
    Tell us the manner of it, gentle Casca.
    I can as well be hanged as tell the manner of it. It was mere foolery. I did not mark it. I saw 340Mark Antony offered him a crown; yet 'twas not a crown, neither; 'twas one of these coronets. And as I told you, he put it by once; but for all that, to my thinking, he would fain have had it. Then he offered it to him again; then he put it by again. But to my 345thinking, he was very loath to lay his fingers off it. And then he offered it the third time; he put it the third time by. And still as he refused it, the rabblement hooted, and clapped their chapped hands, and threw up their sweaty nightcaps, and uttered such a deal of stinking breath, 350because Caesar refused the crown, that it had almost choked Caesar, for he swooned, and fell down at it. And for mine own part, I durst not laugh, for fear of opening my lips and receiving the bad air.
    But soft, I pray you: what, did Caesar swoon?
    He fell down in the marketplace and foamed at mouth, and was speechless.
    'Tis very like. He hath the falling sickness.
    No, Caesar hath it not, but you and I,
    360And honest Casca: we have the falling sickness.
    I know not what you mean by that, but I am sure Caesar fell down. If the tag-rag people did not clap him, and hiss him, according as he pleased, and displeased them, as they use to do the players in the 365theater, I am no true man.
    What said he, when he came unto himself?
    Marry, before he fell down, when he perceived the common herd was glad he refused the crown, he plucked me ope his doublet, and offered them his throat 370to cut. And I had been a man of any occupation, if I would not have taken him at a word, I would I might go to hell among the rogues, and so he fell. When he came to himself again, he said, if he had done or said anything amiss, he desired their worships to think 375it was his infirmity. Three or four wenches where I stood, cried, "Alas, good soul," and forgave him with all their hearts. But there's no heed to be taken of them. If Caesar had stabbed their mothers, they would have done no less.
    And after that, he came thus sad away.
    Did Cicero say anything?
    Ay, he spoke Greek.
    To what effect?
    Nay, and I tell you that, I'll ne'er look you i'th'face again. But those that understood him, smiled at one another and shook their heads. But for mine own part, it was Greek to me. I could tell you more news too: Murellus and Flavius, for pulling scarves 390off Caesar's images, are put to silence. Fare you well. There was more foolery yet, if I could remember it.
    Will you sup with me tonight, Casca?
    No, I am promised forth.
    Will you dine with me tomorrow?
    Ay, if I be alive, and your mind hold, and your dinner worth the eating.
    Good, I will expect you.
    Do so. Farewell both.
    What a blunt fellow is this grown to be?
    He was quick mettle when he went to school.
    So is he now, in execution
    Of any bold, or noble enterprise,
    However he puts on this tardy form.
    405This rudeness is a sauce to his good wit,
    Which gives men stomach to digest his words
    With better appetite.
    And so it is.
    For this time I will leave you:
    410Tomorrow, if you please to speak with me,
    I will come home to you, or if you will,
    Come home to me, and I will wait for you.
    I will do so. Till then, think of the world.
    Exit Brutus.
    415Well, Brutus, thou art noble, yet I see
    Thy honorable mettle may be wrought
    From that it is disposed. Therefore it is meet
    That noble minds keep ever with their likes,
    For who so firm that cannot be seduced?
    420Caesar doth bear me hard, but he loves Brutus.
    If I were Brutus now, and he were Cassius,
    He should not humor me. I will this night
    In several hands in at his windows throw,
    As if they came from several citizens,
    425Writings, all tending to the great opinion
    That Rome holds of his name, wherein obscurely
    Caesar's ambition shall be glancèd at.
    And after this, let Caesar seat him sure,
    For we will shake him, or worse days endure.