The Tragedy of Julius Caesar (unsourced edition)/Act I
SCENE I. Rome. A street.
[Enter Flavius, Marullus, and a Throng of Citizens.]
- Hence! 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 but, 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, what 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 with awl.
- I am indeed, sir, a surgeon to old shoes; when they are in
- great danger, I re-cover 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?
- What 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
- Have you climb'd 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.
- And 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?
- And 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?
- Be gone!
- Run 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,
- Draw them to Tiber banks, and weep your tears
- Into the channel, till the lowest stream
- Do kiss the most exalted shores of all.
See whether their basest metal be not moved;
- They 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 deck'd with ceremonies.
- May we do so?
- You 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.
- These growing feathers pluck'd 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.
SCENE II. The same. A public place.
[Enter, in procession, with music, Caesar; Antony, for the course; Calpurnia, Portia, Decius, Cicero, Brutus, Cassius, and Casca; a great crowd following, among them a Soothsayer.]
- Peace, ho! Caesar speaks.
- Here, my lord.
- Stand you directly in Antonius' way,
- When he doth run his course.—Antonius,—
- Caesar, my lord?
- Forget not in your speed, Antonius,
- To touch Calpurnia; for our elders say,
- The barren, touched in this holy chase,
- Shake off their sterile curse.
- I shall remember.
- When Caesar says "Do this," it is perform'd.
- 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?
- I hear a tongue, shriller than all the music,
- Cry "Caesar"! Speak, Caesar is turn'd 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.
[Sennet. 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
- Of 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
- And 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 veil'd my look,
- I 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;
- But 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, for the eye sees not itself
- But by reflection, by some other thing.
- 'Tis just:
- And it is very much lamented, Brutus,
- That you have no such mirrors as will turn
- Your 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,
- And groaning underneath this age's yoke,
- Have wish'd that noble Brutus had his eyes.
- Into what dangers would you lead me, Cassius,
- That you would have me seek into myself
- For 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
- That of yourself which you yet know not of.
- And be not jealous on me, gentle Brutus;
- Were I a common laugher, or did use
- To stale with ordinary oaths my love
- To every new protester; if you know
- That 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 aught toward the general good,
- Set honor in one eye and death i' the other
- And 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.
- Well, 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.
- I 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,
- Caesar said to me, "Darest thou, Cassius, now
- Leap in with me into this angry flood
- And swim to yonder point?" Upon the word,
- Accoutred as I was, I plunged in,
- And bade him follow: so indeed he did.
- The torrent roar'd, 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!
- I, 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 tired Caesar: and this man
- Is now become a god; and Cassius is
- A 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:
- His 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,
- 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.
- Another general shout!
- I do believe that these applauses are
- For some new honors that are heap'd on Caesar.
- Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world
- Like 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,
- But 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;
- Weigh them, it is as heavy; conjure with them,
- "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!
- Rome, 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 talk'd of Rome,
- That her wide walls encompass'd but one man?
- Now is it Rome indeed, and room enough,
- When there is in it but one only man.
- O, you and I have heard our fathers say
- There was a Brutus once that would have brook'd
- Th' eternal devil to keep his state in Rome,
- As 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,
- I 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.
- Till 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.
- 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.
[Re-enter Caesar and his Train.]
- I will do so.—But, look you, Cassius,
- The 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,
- Being cross'd in conference by some senators.
- Casca will tell us what the matter is.
- Let me have men about me that are fat;
- Sleek-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
- Quite 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 mock'd himself and scorn'd his spirit
- That could be moved to smile at any thing.
- Such 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 fear'd
- Than what I fear, for always I am Caesar.
- Come on my right hand, for this ear is deaf,
- And tell me truly what thou think'st of him.
[Exeunt Caesar and his Train. Casca stays.]
- You pull'd 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 offer'd him; and being offer'd 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 offer'd 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
- Who offer'd him the crown?
- Why, Antony.
- Tell us the manner of it, gentle Casca.
- I can as well be hang'd, as tell the manner of it: it was
- mere foolery; I did not mark it. I saw Mark Antony offer 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
- thinking, 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 shouted, and clapp'd
- their chopt hands, and threw up their sweaty night-caps, and
- uttered such a deal of stinking breath because 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 market-place, and foam'd at mouth, and was
- 'Tis very like: he hath the falling-sickness.
- No, Caesar hath it not; but you, and I,
- And 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 theatre, 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 pluck'd me ope his
- doublet, and offered them his throat to cut: an 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
- any thing amiss, he desired their worships to think it 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 stabb'd their
- mothers, they would have done no less.
- And, after that he came, thus sad away?
- Did Cicero say any thing?
- Ay, he spoke Greek.
- To what effect?
- Nay, an I tell you that, I'll ne'er look you i' the 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: Marullus and Flavius, for pulling
- scarfs off Caesar's images, are put to silence. Fare you well.
- There was more foolery yet, if 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.
- This 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:
- Tomorrow, 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.—
- Well, Brutus, thou art noble; yet, I see,
- Thy honorable metal may be wrought,
- From that it is disposed: therefore 'tis meet
- That noble minds keep ever with their likes;
- For who so firm that cannot be seduced?
- Caesar 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,
- Writings all tending to the great opinion
- That Rome holds of his name; wherein obscurely
- Caesar's ambition shall be glanced at:
- And after this let Caesar seat him sure;
- For we will shake him, or worse days endure.
SCENE III. The same. A street.
[Thunder and lightning. Enter, from opposite sides, CASCA, with his sword drawn, and CICERO.]
- Good even, Casca: brought you Caesar home?
- Why are you breathless, and why stare you so?
- Are not you moved, when all the sway of earth
- Shakes like a thing unfirm? O Cicero,
- I have seen tempests, when the scolding winds
- Have rived the knotty oaks; and I have seen
- Th' ambitious ocean swell and rage and foam,
- To be exalted with the threatening clouds:
- But never till tonight, never till now,
- Did I go through a tempest dropping fire.
- Either there is a civil strife in heaven,
- Or else the world too saucy with the gods,
- Incenses them to send destruction.
- Why, saw you anything more wonderful?
- A common slave—you'd know him well by sight—
- Held up his left hand, which did flame and burn
- Like twenty torches join'd, and yet his hand
- Not sensible of fire remain'd unscorch'd.
- Besides,—I ha' not since put up my sword,—
- Against the Capitol I met a lion,
- Who glared upon me, and went surly by,
- Without annoying me: and there were drawn
- Upon a heap a hundred ghastly women,
- Transformed with their fear; who swore they saw
- Men, all in fire, walk up and down the streets.
- And yesterday the bird of night did sit
- Even at noonday upon the marketplace,
- Howling and shrieking. When these prodigies
- Do so conjointly meet, let not men say
- "These are their reasons; they are natural";
- For I believe they are portentous things
- Unto the climate that they point upon.
- Indeed, it is a strange-disposed time.
- But men may construe things after their fashion,
- Clean from the purpose of the things themselves.
- Comes Caesar to the Capitol tomorrow?
- He doth, for he did bid Antonius
- Send word to you he would be there to-morrow.
- Good then, Casca: this disturbed sky
- Is not to walk in.
- Farewell, Cicero.
- Who's there?
- A Roman.
- Casca, by your voice.
- Your ear is good. Cassius, what night is this!
- A very pleasing night to honest men.
- Who ever knew the heavens menace so?
- Those that have known the earth so full of faults.
- For my part, I have walk'd about the streets,
- Submitting me unto the perilous night;
- And, thus unbraced, Casca, as you see,
- Have bared my bosom to the thunder-stone;
- And when the cross blue lightning seem'd to open
- The breast of heaven, I did present myself
- Even in the aim and very flash of it.
- But wherefore did you so much tempt the Heavens?
- It is the part of men to fear and tremble,
- When the most mighty gods by tokens send
- Such dreadful heralds to astonish us.
- You are dull, Casca;and those sparks of life
- That should be in a Roman you do want,
- Or else you use not. You look pale and gaze,
- And put on fear and cast yourself in wonder,
- To see the strange impatience of the Heavens:
- But if you would consider the true cause
- Why all these fires, why all these gliding ghosts,
- Why birds and beasts, from quality and kind;
- Why old men, fools, and children calculate;—
- Why all these things change from their ordinance,
- Their natures, and preformed faculties
- To monstrous quality;—why, you shall find
- That Heaven hath infused them with these spirits,
- To make them instruments of fear and warning
- Unto some monstrous state. Now could I, Casca,
- Name to thee a man most like this dreadful night;
- That thunders, lightens, opens graves, and roars,
- As doth the lion in the Capitol;
- A man no mightier than thyself or me
- In personal action; yet prodigious grown,
- And fearful, as these strange eruptions are.
- 'Tis Caesar that you mean; is it not, Cassius?
- Let it be who it is: for Romans now
- Have thews and limbs like to their ancestors;
- But, woe the while! our fathers' minds are dead,
- And we are govern'd with our mothers' spirits;
- Our yoke and sufferance show us womanish.
- Indeed they say the senators to-morrow
- Mean to establish Caesar as a king;
- And he shall wear his crown by sea and land,
- In every place save here in Italy.
- I know where I will wear this dagger then;
- Cassius from bondage will deliver Cassius:
- Therein, ye gods, you make the weak most strong;
- Therein, ye gods, you tyrants do defeat:
- Nor stony tower, nor walls of beaten brass,
- Nor airless dungeon, nor strong links of iron
- Can be retentive to the strength of spirit;
- But life, being weary of these worldly bars,
- Never lacks power to dismiss itself.
- If I know this, know all the world besides,
- That part of tyranny that I do bear
- I can shake off at pleasure.
- So can I:
- So every bondman in his own hand bears
- The power to cancel his captivity.
- And why should Caesar be a tyrant then?
- Poor man! I know he would not be a wolf,
- But that he sees the Romans are but sheep:
- He were no lion, were not Romans hinds.
- Those that with haste will make a mighty fire
- Begin it with weak straws: what trash is Rome,
- What rubbish, and what offal, when it serves
- For the base matter to illuminate
- So vile a thing as Caesar! But, O grief,
- Where hast thou led me? I perhaps speak this
- Before a willing bondman: then I know
- My answer must be made; but I am arm'd,
- And dangers are to me indifferent.
- You speak to Casca; and to such a man
- That is no fleering tell-tale. Hold, my hand:
- Be factious for redress of all these griefs;
- And I will set this foot of mine as far
- As who goes farthest.
- There's a bargain made.
- Now know you, Casca, I have moved already
- Some certain of the noblest-minded Romans
- To undergo with me an enterprise
- Of honorable-dangerous consequence;
- And I do know by this, they stay for me
- In Pompey's Porch: for now, this fearful night,
- There is no stir or walking in the streets;
- And the complexion of the element
- Is favor'd like the work we have in hand,
- Most bloody, fiery, and most terrible.
- Stand close awhile, for here comes one in haste.
- 'Tis Cinna; I do know him by his gait;
- He is a friend.—
Cinna, where haste you so?
- To find out you. Who's that? Metellus Cimber?
- No, it is Casca, one incorporate
- To our attempts. Am I not stay'd for, Cinna?
- I am glad on't. What a fearful night is this!
- There's two or three of us have seen strange sights.
- Am I not stay'd for? tell me.
- You are. O Cassius, if you could but win
- The noble Brutus to our party,—
- Be you content. Good Cinna, take this paper,
- And look you lay it in the praetor's chair,
- Where Brutus may but find it; and throw this
- In at his window; set this up with wax
- Upon old Brutus' statue: all this done,
- Repair to Pompey's Porch, where you shall find us.
- Is Decius Brutus and Trebonius there?
- All but Metellus Cimber, and he's gone
- To seek you at your house. Well, I will hie
- And so bestow these papers as you bade me.
- That done, repair to Pompey's theatre.—
Come, Casca, you and I will yet, ere day,
- See Brutus at his house: three parts of him
- Is ours already; and the man entire,
- Upon the next encounter, yields him ours.
- O, he sits high in all the people's hearts!
- And that which would appear offense in us,
- His countenance, like richest alchemy,
- Will change to virtue and to worthiness.
- Him, and his worth, and our great need of him,
- You have right well conceited. Let us go,
- For it is after midnight; and, ere day,
- We will awake him, and be sure of him.