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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, Brutus, Cassius, Casca, Decius, Metellus, Trebonius, Cinna, Antony, Lepidus, Artemidorus, Publius, [Popilius Lena,] and the Soothsayer.
    The ides of March are come.
    Ay, Caesar, but not gone.
    Hail, Caesar! Read this schedule.
    Trebonius doth desire you to o'erread,
    At your best leisure, this his humble suit.
    O Caesar, read mine first, for mine's a suit
    1210That touches Caesar nearer. Read it, great Caesar.
    What touches us ourself shall be last served.
    Delay not Caesar, read it instantly!
    What, is the fellow mad?
    Sirrah, give place.
    What, urge you your petitions in the street?
    Come to the Capitol.
    [Caesar and his train move away.]
    I wish your enterprise today may thrive.
    What enterprise, Popilius?
    Fare you well.
    [moves toward Caesar]
    What said Popilius Lena?
    He wished today our enterprise might thrive:
    I fear our purpose is discoverèd.
    Look how he makes to Caesar: mark him.
    Casca, be sudden, for we fear prevention.
    1225Brutus, what shall be done? If this be known,
    Cassius or Caesar never shall turn back,
    For I will slay myself.
    Cassius, be constant.
    Popilius Lena speaks not of our purposes,
    1230For look he smiles, and Caesar doth not change.
    Trebonius knows his time, for look you, Brutus,
    He draws Mark Antony out of the way.
    [Exeunt Antony and Trebonius.]
    Where is Metellus Cimber? Let him go,
    And presently prefer his suit to Caesar.
    He is addressed. Press near, and second him.
    Casca, you are the first that rears your hand.
    Are we all ready? What is now amiss,
    That Caesar and his senate must redress?
    Most high, most mighty, and most puissant Caesar!
    1240Metellus Cimber throws before thy seat
    An humble heart.
    I must prevent thee, Cimber.
    These couchings and these lowly courtesies
    Might fire the blood of ordinary men,
    1245And turn preordinance and first decree
    Into the lane of children. Be not fond
    To think that Caesar bears such rebel blood
    That will be thawed from the true quality
    With that which melteth fools--I mean sweet words,
    1250Low-crookèd curtsies, and base spaniel fawning.
    Thy brother by decree is banishèd.
    If thou doest bend, and pray, and fawn for him,
    I spurn thee like a cur out of my way!
    Know, Caesar doth not wrong, nor without cause
    1255Will he be satisfied.
    Is there no voice more worthy than my own
    To sound more sweetly in great Caesar's ear
    For the repealing of my banished brother?
    I kiss thy hand, but not in flattery, Caesar,
    1260Desiring thee, that Publius Cimber may
    Have an immediate freedom of repeal.
    What, Brutus?
    Pardon, Caesar! Caesar, pardon!
    As low as to thy foot doth Cassius fall
    1265To beg enfranchisement for Publius Cimber.
    I could be well moved, if I were as you.
    If I could pray to move, prayers would move me.
    But I am constant as the northern star,
    Of whose true fixed and resting quality,
    1270There is no fellow in the firmament.
    The skies are painted with unnumbered sparks;
    They are all fire, and every one doth shine;
    But there's but one in all doth hold his place.
    So in the world: 'tis furnished well with men,
    1275And men are flesh and blood, and apprehensive;
    Yet in the number I do know but one
    That unassailable holds on his rank
    Unshaked of motion, and that I am he,
    Let me a little show it, even in this:
    1280That I was constant Cimber should be banished,
    And constant do remain to keep him so.
    O Caesar--
    Hence! Wilt thou lift up Olympus?
    Great Caesar--
    Doth not Brutus bootless kneel?
    Speak, hands, for me!
    They stab Caesar.
    Et tu Brutè? --Then fall, Caesar!
    Liberty! Freedom! Tyranny is dead!
    1290Run hence! Proclaim! Cry it about the streets!
    Some to the common pulpits and cry out!
    Liberty, freedom, and enfranchisement!
    People and senators, be not affrighted.
    Fly not! Stand still! Ambition's debt is paid.
    Go to the pulpit, Brutus.
    And Cassius too.
    Where's Publius?
    Here, quite confounded with this mutiny.
    Stand fast together, lest some friend of Caesar's
    1300Should chance--
    Talk not of standing. Publius, good cheer.
    There is no harm intended to your person,
    Nor to no Roman else. So tell them, Publius.
    And leave us, Publius, lest that the people
    1305Rushing on us, should do your age some mischief.
    Do so, and let no man abide this deed
    But we the doers.
    Enter Trebonius.
    Where is Antony?
    Fled to his house amazed.
    Men, wives, and children, stare, cry out, and run
    As it were doomsday.
    Fates, we will know your pleasures.
    That we shall die, we know. 'Tis but the time
    1315And drawing days out that men stand upon.
    Why, he that cuts off twenty years of life
    Cuts off so many years of fearing death.
    Grant that, and then is death a benefit.
    So are we Caesar's friends, that have abridged
    1320His time of fearing death. Stoop, Romans, stoop,
    And let us bathe our hands in Caesars blood
    Up to the elbows, and besmear our swords.
    Then walk we forth, even to the marketplace,
    And waving our red weapons o'er our heads,
    1325Let's all cry, "Peace, freedom, and liberty!"
    Stoop then, and wash. How many ages hence
    Shall this our lofty scene be acted o'er,
    In states unborn and accents yet unknown!
    How many times shall Caesar bleed in sport,
    1330That now on Pompey's basis lies along,
    No worthier than the dust!
    So oft as that shall be,
    So often shall the knot of us be called
    The men that gave their country liberty.
    What, shall we forth?
    Ay, every man away.
    Brutus shall lead, and we will grace his heels
    With the most boldest and best hearts of Rome.
    Enter a servant.
    Soft, who comes here? A friend of Antony's.
    Thus, Brutus, did my master bid me kneel.
    Thus did Mark Antony bid me fall down,
    And being prostrate, thus he bade me say:
    "Brutus is noble, wise, valiant, and honest;
    1345Caesar was mighty, bold, royal, and loving.
    Say I love Brutus, and I honor him;
    Say I feared Caesar, honored him, and loved him.
    If Brutus will vouchsafe that Antony
    May safely come to him, and be resolved
    1350How Caesar hath deserved to lie in death,
    Mark Antony shall not love Caesar dead
    So well as Brutus living, but will follow
    The fortunes and affairs of noble Brutus
    Thorough the hazards of this untrod state,
    1355With all true faith."
    So says my master Antony.
    Thy master is a wise and valiant Roman;
    I never thought him worse.
    Tell him, so please him come unto this place,
    He shall be satisfied, and by my honor
    1360Depart untouched.
    I'll fetch him presently.
    Exit servant.
    I know that we shall have him well to friend.
    I wish we may, but yet have I a mind
    That fears him much, and my misgiving still
    1365Falls shrewdly to the purpose.
    Enter Antony.
    But here comes Antony: Welcome, Mark Antony.
    O mighty Caesar! Dost thou lie so low?
    1370Are all thy conquests, glories, triumphs, spoils,
    Shrunk to this little measure? Fare thee well.
    I know not, gentlemen, what you intend,
    Who else must be let blood, who else is rank;
    If I myself, there is no hour so fit
    1375As Caesar's death's hour, nor no instrument
    Of half that worth as those your swords, made rich
    With the most noble blood of all this world.
    I do beseech ye, if you bear me hard,
    Now, whilst your purpled hands do reek and smoke,
    1380Fulfill your pleasure. Live a thousand years,
    I shall not find myself so apt to die;
    No place will please me so, no mean of death,
    As here by Caesar, and by you cut off,
    The choice and master spirits of this age.
    O Antony! Beg not your death of us.
    Though now we must appear bloody and cruel,
    As by our hands and this our present act
    You see we do. Yet see you but our hands
    And this, the bleeding business they have done.
    1390Our hearts you see not; they are pitiful,
    And pity to the general wrong of Rome--
    As fire drives out fire, so pity, pity--
    Hath done this deed on Caesar. For your part,
    To you our swords have leaden points, Mark Antony.
    1395Our arms in strength of malice, and our hearts
    Of brothers' temper, do receive you in,
    With all kind love, good thoughts, and reverence.
    Your voice shall be as strong as any man's,
    In the disposing of new dignities.
    Only be patient, till we have appeased
    The multitude, beside themselves with fear,
    And then we will deliver you the cause
    Why I, that did love Caesar when I struck him,
    Have thus proceeded.
    I doubt not of your wisdom.
    Let each man render me his bloody hand.
    First, Marcus Brutus. will I shake with you;
    Next, Caius Cassius, do I take your hand;
    Now, Decius Brutus yours; now yours, Metellus;
    1410Yours, Cinna; and my valiant Casca, yours;
    Though last, not least in love, yours, good Trebonius.
    Gentlemen all. Alas, what shall I say?
    My credit now stands on such slippery ground,
    That one of two bad ways you must conceit me:
    1415Either a coward, or a flatterer.
    That I did love thee, Caesar, oh, 'tis true!
    If then thy spirit look upon us now,
    Shall it not grieve thee dearer than thy death
    To see thy Antony making his peace,
    1420Shaking the bloody fingers of thy foes--
    Most noble -- in the presence of thy corpse?
    Had I as many eyes as thou hast wounds,
    Weeping as fast as they stream forth thy blood,
    It would become me better, than to close
    1425In terms of friendship with thine enemies.
    Pardon me Julius! Here was't thou bayed, brave hart,
    Here did'st thou fall, and here thy hunters stand
    Signed in thy spoil and crimsoned in thy Lethe.
    O world! Thou wast the forest to this hart,
    1430And this indeed, O world, the heart of thee!
    How like a deer, strucken by many princes,
    Dost thou here lie!
    Mark Antony--
    Pardon me, Caius Cassius.
    1435The enemies of Caesar shall say this;
    Then in a friend it is cold modesty.
    I blame you not for praising Caesar so,
    But what compact mean you to have with us?
    Will you be pricked in number of our friends,
    1440Or shall we on, and not depend on you?
    Therefore I took your hands, but was indeed
    Swayed from the point by looking down on Caesar.
    Friends am I with you all, and love you all,
    Upon this hope, that you shall give me reasons,
    1445Why and wherein Caesar was dangerous.
    Or else were this a savage spectacle.
    Our reasons are so full of good regard
    That were you, Antony, the son of Caesar,
    You should be satisfied.
    That's all I seek,
    And am moreover suitor that I may
    Produce his body to the marketplace,
    And in the pulpit, as becomes a friend,
    Speak in the order of his funeral.
    You shall, Mark Antony.
    Brutus, a word with you:
    You know not what you do! Do not consent
    That Antony speak in his funeral.
    Know you how much the people may be moved
    1460By that which he will utter?
    By your pardon:
    I will myself into the pulpit first,
    And show the reason of our Caesar's death.
    What Antony shall speak, I will protest
    1465He speaks by leave and by permission,
    And that we are contented Caesar shall
    Have all true rites and lawful ceremonies.
    It shall advantage more than do us wrong.
    I know not what may fall. I like it not.
    Mark Antony, here, take you Caesar's body.
    You shall not in your funeral speech blame us,
    But speak all good you can devise of Caesar,
    And say you do't by our permission.
    Else shall you not have any hand at all
    1475About his funeral. And you shall speak
    In the same pulpit whereto I am going,
    After my speech is ended.
    Be it so.
    I do desire no more.
    Prepare the body, then, and follow us.
    [Exeunt all but] Antony.
    O pardon me, thou bleeding piece of earth,
    That I am meek and gentle with these butchers!
    Thou art the ruins of the noblest man
    1485That ever livèd in the tide of times.
    Woe to the hand that shed this costly blood!
    Over thy wounds now do I prophesy,
    Which like dumb mouths do ope their ruby lips,
    To beg the voice and utterance of my tongue:
    1490A curse shall light upon the limbs of men,
    Domestic fury and fierce civil strife
    Shall cumber all the parts of Italy;
    Blood and destruction shall be so in use,
    And dreadful objects so familiar,
    1495That mothers shall but smile when they behold
    Their infants quartered with the hands of war,
    All pity choked with custom of fell deeds;
    And Caesar's spirit ranging for revenge,
    With Atè by his side come hot from hell,
    1500Shall in these confines, with a monarch's voice,
    Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war,
    That this foul deed shall smell above the earth
    With carrion men, groaning for burial.
    Enter Octavius' servant.
    1505You serve Octavius Caesar, do you not?
    I do, Mark Antony.
    Caesar did write for him to come to Rome.
    He did receive his letters and is coming,
    And bid me say to you by word of mouth--
    1510O Caesar!
    Thy heart is big. Get thee apart and weep.
    Passion I see is catching, for mine eyes,
    Seeing those beads of sorrow stand in thine,
    Begin to water. Is thy master coming?
    He lies tonight within seven leagues of Rome.
    Post back with speed, And tell him what hath chanced.
    Here is a mourning Rome, a dangerous Rome,
    No Rome of safety for Octavius yet.
    1520Hie hence, and tell him so. Yet stay awhile;
    Thou shalt not back till I have borne this corpse
    Into the marketplace. There shall I try
    In my oration how the people take
    The cruel issue of these bloody men,
    1525According to the which, thou shalt discourse
    To young Octavius of the state of things.
    Lend me your hand.