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)

    Enter Octavius, Antony, and their army.
    Now, Antony, our hopes are answerèd.
    2330You said the enemy would not come down
    But keep the hills and upper regions.
    It proves not so: their battles are at hand.
    They mean to warn us at Philippi here,
    Answering before we do demand of them.
    Tut, I am in their bosoms, and I know
    Wherefore they do it. They could be content
    To visit other places, and come down
    With fearful bravery, thinking by this face
    To fasten in our thoughts that they have courage.
    2340But 'tis not so.
    Enter a Messenger.
    Prepare you, generals!
    The enemy comes on in gallant show.
    Their bloody sign of battle is hung out,
    2345And something to be done immediately.
    Octavius, lead your battle softly on
    Upon the left hand of the even field.
    Upon the right hand, I; keep thou the left.
    Why do you cross me in this exigent?
    I do not cross you, but I will do so.
    March. Drum. Enter Brutus, Cassius, and their army[: Lucilius, Titinnius, Messala, and others].
    They stand and would have parley.
    Stand fast, Titinius, we must out and talk.
    Mark Antony, shall we give sign of battle?
    No, Caesar, we will answer on their charge.
    Make forth! The generals would have some words.
    Stir not until the signal.
    Words before blows. Is it so, countrymen?
    Not that we love words better, as you do.
    Good words are better than bad strokes, Octavius.
    In your bad strokes, Brutus, you give good words.
    Witness the hole you made in Caesar's heart,
    2365The posture of your blows are yet unknown;
    But for your words, they rob the Hybla bees,
    And leave them honeyless.
    Not stingless too?
    Oh yes, and soundless too.
    2370For you have stol'n their buzzing, Antony,
    And very wisely threat before you sting.
    Villains! You did not so, when your vile daggers
    Hacked one another in the sides of Caesar.
    You showed your teeth like apes, 2375and fawned like hounds,
    And bowed like bondmen, kissing Caesar's feet,
    Whilst damnèd Casca, like a cur, behind
    Struck Caesar on the neck. Oh, you flatterers!
    Flatterers? Now, Brutus, thank yourself!
    2380This tongue had not offended so today,
    If Cassius might have ruled.
    Come, come, the cause. If arguing make us sweat,
    The proof of it will turn to redder drops.
    Look, I draw a sword against conspirators!
    2385When think you that the sword goes up again?
    Never till Caesar's three-and-thirty wounds
    Be well avenged, or till another Caesar
    Have added slaughter to the sword of traitors.
    Caesar, thou canst not die by traitors' hands,
    2390Unless thou bring'st them with thee.
    So I hope.
    I was not born to die on Brutus' sword.
    Oh, if thou wert the noblest of thy strain,
    Young man, thou couldst not die more honorable.
    A peevish schoolboy, worthless of such honor,
    Joined with a masker and a reveler.
    Old Cassius still.
    Come, Antony! Away!
    Defiance, traitors, hurl we in your teeth!
    2400If you dare fight today, come to the field;
    If not, when you have stomachs!
    Exeunt Octavius, Antony, and army.
    Why, now blow wind! Swell billow! And swim bark!
    2405The storm is up, and all is on the hazard!
    Ho, Lucilius! Hark, a word with you.
    Lucilius stands forth.
    My lord?
    [Brutus speaks apart with Lucilius.]
    [Messala stands forth.]
    What says my general?
    This is my birthday, as this very day
    Was Cassius born. Give me thy hand, Messala,
    Be thou my witness, that against my will,
    As Pompey was, am I compelled to set
    2415Upon one battle all our liberties.
    You know that I held Epicurus strong
    And his opinion; now I change my mind,
    And partly credit things that do presage.
    Coming from Sardis, on our former ensign
    2420Two mighty eagles fell, and there they perched,
    Gorging and feeding from our soldiers' hands,
    Who to Philippi here consorted us.
    This morning are they fled away and gone,
    And in their steads do ravens, crows, and kites
    2425Fly o'er our heads and downward look on us
    As we were sickly prey. Their shadows seem
    A canopy most fatal, under which
    Our army lies ready to give up the ghost.
    Believe not so.
    I but believe it partly,
    For I am fresh of spirit and resolved
    To meet all perils very constantly.
    Even so, Lucilius.
    Now, most noble Brutus,
    2435The gods today stand friendly, that we may,
    Lovers in peace, lead on our days to age.
    But since the affairs of men rest still uncertain,
    Let's reason with the worst that may befall.
    If we do lose this battle, then is this
    2440The very last time we shall speak together.
    What are you then determinèd to do?
    Even by the rule of that philosophy
    By which I did blame Cato for the death
    Which he did give himself, I know not how,
    2445But I do find it cowardly and vile,
    For fear of what might fall, so to prevent
    The time of life, arming myself with patience
    To stay the providence of some high powers
    That govern us below.
    Then, if we lose this battle,
    You are contented to be led in triumph
    Thorough the streets of Rome?
    No Cassius, no. Think not, thou noble Roman,
    2455That ever Brutus will go bound to Rome;
    He bears too great a mind. But this same day
    Must end that work the ides of March begun,
    And whether we shall meet again I know not.
    Therefore our everlasting farewell take.
    2460Forever and forever, farewell Cassius!
    If we do meet again, why we shall smile;
    If not, why then this parting was well made.
    Forever and forever, farewell Brutus!
    If we do meet again, we'll smile indeed;
    2465If not, 'tis true, this parting was well made.
    Why then, lead on. Oh, that a man might know
    The end of this day's business ere it come!
    But it sufficeth that the day will end,
    And then the end is known. Come ho, away!