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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 Brutus and goes into the pulpit, and Cassius with the plebians.
    We will be satisfied! Let us be satisfied!
    Then follow me, and give me audience, friends.
    Cassius, go you into the other street,
    And part the numbers.
    Those that will hear me speak, let 'em stay here;
    1535Those that will follow Cassius, go with him;
    And public reasons shall be rendered
    Of Caesar's death.
    1 Plebian
    I will hear Brutus speak.
    2 Plebian
    I will hear Cassius and compare their reasons,
    1540When severally we hear them renderèd.
    [Exit Cassius, with some of the Plebians.]
    3 Plebian
    The noble Brutus is ascended. Silence!
    Be patient till the last.
    Romans, countrymen, and lovers! Hear me for my cause, and be silent, that you may hear. Believe me for 1545mine honor, and have respect to mine honor that you may believe. Censure me in your wisdom, and awake your senses that you may the better judge. If there be any in this assembly, any dear friend of Caesar's, to him I say, that Brutus' love to Caesar was no less than his. If 1550then that friend demand why Brutus rose against Caesar, this is my answer: not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more. Had you rather Caesar were living and die all slaves, than that Caesar were dead to live all free men? As Caesar loved me, I weep for him; 1555as he was fortunate, I rejoice at it; as he was valiant, I honor him; but as he was ambitious, I slew him. There is tears for his love; joy, for his fortune; honor, for his valor; and death, for his ambition. Who is here so base that would be a bondman? If any, speak, for him 1560have I offended. Who is here so rude that would not be a Roman? If any, speak, for him have I offended. Who is here so vile that will not love his country? If any, speak, for him have I offended. I pause for a reply.
    None, Brutus, none.
    Then none have I offended. I have done no more to Caesar than you shall do to Brutus. The question of his death is enrolled in the Capitol; his glory not extenuated, wherein he was worthy; nor his offenses enforced, for which he suffered death.
    1570Enter Mark Antony, with Caesar's body.
    Here comes his body, mourned by Mark Antony, who, though he had no hand in his death, shall receive the benefit of his dying, a place in the commonwealth, as which of you shall not? With this, I depart, that as I slew my 1575best lover for the good of Rome, I have the same dagger for myself, when it shall please my country to need my death.
    Live Brutus! Live! Live!
    1 Plebian
    Bring him with triumph home unto his house.
    15802 Plebian
    Give him a statue with his ancestors.
    3 Plebian
    Let him be Caesar.
    4 Plebian
    Caesar's better parts,
    Shall be crowned in Brutus.
    1 Plebian
    We'll bring him to his house 1585with shouts and clamors.
    My countrymen!
    2 Plebian
    Peace! Silence! Brutus speaks.
    1 Plebian
    Peace, ho!
    Good countrymen, let me depart alone,
    1590And for my sake, stay here with Antony.
    Do grace to Caesar's corpse, and grace his speech
    Tending to Caesar's glories, which Mark Antony
    By our permission is allowed to make.
    I do entreat you, not a man depart,
    1595Save I alone, till Antony have spoke.
    1 Plebian
    Stay, ho! And let us hear Mark Antony.
    3 Plebian
    Let him go up into the public chair.
    We'll hear him. Noble Antony, go up.
    For Brutus' sake, I am beholding to you.
    16004 Plebian
    What does he say of Brutus?
    3 Plebian
    He says, for Brutus' sake
    He finds himself beholding to us all.
    4 Plebian
    'Twere best he speak no harm of Brutus here!
    1 Plebian
    This Caesar was a tyrant.
    16053 Plebian
    Nay, that's certain:
    We are blest that Rome is rid of him.
    2 Plebian
    Peace! Let us hear what Antony can say.
    You gentle Romans--
    Peace, ho! Let us hear him.
    Friends! Romans! Countrymen! Lend me your ears.
    I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.
    The evil that men do lives after them;
    The good is oft interrèd with their bones:
    So let it be with Caesar. The noble Brutus
    1615Hath told you Caesar was ambitious.
    If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
    And grievously hath Caesar answered it.
    Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest--
    For Brutus is an honorable man,
    1620So are they all, all honorable men--
    Come I to speak in Caesar's funeral.
    He was my friend: faithful and just to me.
    But Brutus says he was ambitious,
    And Brutus is an honorable man.
    1625He hath brought many captives home to Rome,
    Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill.
    Did this in Caesar seem ambitious?
    When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept;
    Ambition should be made of sterner stuff.
    1630Yet Brutus says he was ambitious,
    And Brutus is an honorable man.
    You all did see that on the Lupercal
    I thrice presented him a kingly crown,
    Which he did thrice refuse. Was this ambition?
    1635Yet Brutus says he was ambitious,
    And sure he is an honorable man.
    I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke,
    But here I am, to speak what I do know.
    You all did love him once, not without cause.
    1640What cause withholds you, then, to mourn for him?
    O judgment! Thou art fled to brutish beasts,
    And men have lost their reason! Bear with me;
    My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar,
    And I must pause till it come back to me.
    16451 Plebian
    Methinks there is much reason in his sayings.
    2 Plebian
    If thou consider rightly of the matter,
    Caesar has had great wrong.
    3 Plebian
    Has he, masters?
    I fear there will a worse come in his place.
    4 Plebian
    Marked ye his words? He would not take the crown;
    1650Therefore 'tis certain he was not ambitious.
    1 Plebian
    If it be found so, some will dear abide it.
    2 Plebian
    Poor soul, his eyes are red as fire with weeping.
    3 Plebian
    There's not a nobler man in Rome than Antony.
    4 Plebian
    Now mark him, he begins again to speak.
    But yesterday, the word of Caesar might
    Have stood against the world. Now lies he there,
    And none so poor to do him reverence.
    O masters! If I were disposed to stir
    Your hearts and minds to mutiny and rage,
    1660I should do Brutus wrong, and Cassius wrong,
    Who you all know are honorable men.
    I will not do them wrong; I rather choose
    To wrong the dead, to wrong myself and you,
    Than I will wrong such honorable men.
    1665But here's a parchment with the seal of Caesar;
    I found it in his closet. 'Tis his will.
    Let but the commons hear this testament,
    Which pardon me, I do not mean to read,
    And they would go and kiss dead Caesar's wounds,
    1670And dip their napkins in his sacred blood,
    Yea, beg a hair of him for memory,
    And dying, mention it within their wills,
    Bequeathing it as a rich legacy
    Unto their issue.
    16754 Plebian
    We'll hear the will! Read it, Mark Antony!
    The will! The will! We will hear Caesar's will!
    Have patience, gentle friends. I must not read it.
    It is not meet you know how Caesar loved you.
    You are not wood, you are not stones, but men;
    1680And being men, hearing the will of Caesar,
    It will inflame you; it will make you mad.
    'Tis good you know not that you are his heirs,
    For if you should, oh, what would come of it?
    4 Plebian
    Read the will! We'll hear it, Antony!
    1685You shall read us the will! Caesar's will!
    Will you be patient? Will you stay awhile?
    I have o'ershot myself to tell you of it,
    I fear I wrong the honorable men
    Whose daggers have stabbed Caesar. I do fear it.
    16904 Plebian
    They were traitors! "Honorable men"?
    The will! The testament!
    2 Plebian
    They were villains, murderers! The will! Read the will!
    You will compel me then to read the will?
    1695Then make a ring about the corpse of Caesar,
    And let me show you him that made the will.
    Shall I descend? And will you give me leave?
    Come down!
    2 Plebian
    17003 Plebian
    You shall have leave.
    4 Plebian
    A ring!
    Stand round!
    1 Plebian
    Stand from the hearse! Stand from the body!
    2 Plebian
    Room for Antony! Most noble Antony!
    Nay, press not so upon me! Stand far'er off.
    Stand back! Room! Bear back!
    If you have tears, prepare to shed them now.
    You all do know this mantle; I remember
    The first time ever Caesar put it on.
    'Twas on a summer's evening in his tent,
    1710That day he overcame the Nervii.
    Look, in this place ran Cassius' dagger through.
    See what a rent the envious Casca made.
    Through this, the well-belovèd Brutus stabbed,
    And as he plucked his cursèd steel away,
    1715Mark how the blood of Caesar followed it,
    As rushing out of doors to be resolved
    If Brutus so unkindly knocked or no;
    For Brutus, as you know, was Caesar's angel.
    Judge, O you gods, how dearly Caesar loved him.
    1720This was the most unkindest cut of all,
    For when the noble Caesar saw him stab,
    Ingratitude, more strong than traitors' arms,
    Quite vanquished him; then burst his mighty heart,
    And in his mantle muffling up his face,
    1725Even at the base of Pompey's statue,
    Which all the while ran blood, great Caesar fell.
    Oh, what a fall was there, my countrymen!
    Then I, and you, and all of us fell down,
    Whilst bloody treason flourished over us.
    1730Oh, now you weep, and I perceive you feel
    The dint of pity. These are gracious drops.
    Kind souls, what weep you when you but behold
    Our Caesar's vesture wounded? Look you here!
    Here is himself, marred as you see with traitors.
    17351 Plebian
    Oh, piteous spectacle!
    2 Plebian
    O noble Caesar!
    3 Plebian
    Oh, woeful day!
    4 Plebian
    Oh, traitors! Villains!
    1 Plebian
    Oh, most bloody sight!
    17402 Plebian
    We will be revenged!
    Revenge! About! Seek! Burn! Fire! Kill! Slay!
    Let not a traitor live!
    Stay, countrymen!
    1 Plebian
    Peace there! Hear the noble Antony!
    17452 Plebian
    We'll hear him! We'll follow him! We'll die with him.
    Good friends! Sweet friends! Let me not stir you up
    To such a sudden flood of mutiny.
    They that have done this deed are honorable.
    1750What private griefs they have, alas, I know not,
    That made them do it. They are wise and honorable,
    And will no doubt with reasons answer you.
    I come not, friends, to steal away your hearts.
    I am no orator, as Brutus is,
    1755But, as you know me all, a plain blunt man
    That love my friend, and that they know full well
    That gave me public leave to speak of him:
    For I have neither wit, nor words, nor worth,
    Action, nor utterance, nor the power of speech
    1760To stir men's blood. I only speak right on.
    I tell you that which you yourselves do know;
    Show you sweet Caesar's wounds, poor poor dumb mouths,
    And bid them speak for me. But were I Brutus,
    And Brutus Antony, there were an Antony
    1765Would ruffle up your spirits and put a tongue
    In every wound of Caesar that should move
    The stones of Rome to rise and mutiny.
    We'll mutiny!
    1 Plebian
    We'll burn the house of Brutus!
    17703 Plebian
    Away then! Come, seek the conspirators!
    Yet hear me countrymen! Yet hear me speak!
    Peace, ho! Hear Antony! Most noble Antony!
    Why, friends, you go to do you know not what.
    Wherein hath Caesar thus deserved your loves?
    1775Alas you know not. I must tell you then:
    You have forgot the will I told you of.
    Most true! The will! Let's stay and hear the will!
    Here is the will, and under Caesar's seal.
    To every Roman citizen he gives,
    1780To every several man, seventy-five drachmas.
    2 Plebian
    Most noble Caesar! We'll revenge his death!
    3 Plebian
    O royal Caesar!
    Hear me with patience.
    Peace ho!
    Moreover, he hath left you all his walks,
    His private arbors, and new-planted orchards
    On this side Tiber. He hath left them you
    And to your heirs forever--common pleasures
    To walk abroad and recreate yourselves.
    1790Here was a Caesar! When comes such another?
    1 Plebian
    Never, never! Come! Away! Away!
    We'll burn his body in the holy place,
    And with the brands fire the traitors' houses!
    Take up the body!
    17952 Plebian
    Go! Fetch fire!
    3 Plebian
    Pluck down benches!
    4 Plebian
    Pluck down forms, windows, anything!
    Exit Plebians [with the body].
    Now let it work! Mischief, thou art a-foot:
    1800Take thou what course thou wilt.
    How now, fellow?
    Enter servant.
    Sir, Octavius is already come to Rome.
    Where is he?
    He and Lepidus are at Caesar's house.
    And thither will I straight to visit him.
    He comes upon a wish. Fortune is merry,
    And in this mood will give us anything.
    I heard him say Brutus and Cassius
    1810Are rid like madmen through the gates of Rome.
    Belike they had some notice of the people
    How I had moved them. Bring me to Octavius.