The Tragedy of Julius Caesar (unsourced edition)/Act II
SCENE I. Rome. BRUTUS'S orchard.
- What, Lucius, ho!—
- I cannot, by the progress of the stars,
- Give guess how near to day.—Lucius, I say!—
- I would it were my fault to sleep so soundly.—
- When, Lucius, when! Awake, I say! What, Lucius!
- Call'd you, my lord?
- Get me a taper in my study, Lucius:
- When it is lighted, come and call me here.
- I will, my lord.
- It must be by his death: and, for my part,
- I know no personal cause to spurn at him,
- But for the general. He would be crown'd:
- How that might change his nature, there's the question:
- It is the bright day that brings forth the adder;
- And that craves wary walking. Crown him?—that:
- And then, I grant, we put a sting in him,
- That at his will he may do danger with.
- Th' abuse of greatness is, when it disjoins
- Remorse from power; and, to speak truth of Caesar,
- I have not known when his affections sway'd
- More than his reason. But 'tis a common proof,
- That lowliness is young ambition's ladder,
- Whereto the climber-upward turns his face;
- But, when he once attains the upmost round,
- He then unto the ladder turns his back,
- Looks in the clouds, scorning the base degrees
- By which he did ascend: so Caesar may;
- Then, lest he may, prevent. And, since the quarrel
- Will bear no color for the thing he is,
- Fashion it thus,—that what he is, augmented,
- Would run to these and these extremities:
- And therefore think him as a serpent's egg
- Which hatch'd, would, as his kind grow mischievous;
- And kill him in the shell.
- The taper burneth in your closet, sir.
- Searching the window for a flint I found
- This paper thus seal'd up, and I am sure
- It did not lie there when I went to bed.
- Get you to bed again; it is not day.
- Is not tomorrow, boy, the Ides of March?
- I know not, sir.
- Look in the calendar, and bring me word.
- I will, sir.
- The exhalations, whizzing in the air
- Give so much light that I may read by them.—
[Opens the letter and reads.]
- "Brutus, thou sleep'st: awake and see thyself.
- Shall Rome, &c. Speak, strike, redress—!
- Brutus, thou sleep'st: awake!—"
- Such instigations have been often dropp'd
- Where I have took them up.
- "Shall Rome, & c." Thus must I piece it out:
- Shall Rome stand under one man's awe? What, Rome?
- My ancestors did from the streets of Rome
- The Tarquin drive, when he was call'd a king.—
- "Speak, strike, redress!"—Am I entreated, then,
- To speak and strike? O Rome, I make thee promise,
- If the redress will follow, thou receivest
- Thy full petition at the hand of Brutus!
- Sir, March is wasted fifteen days.
- 'Tis good. Go to the gate, somebody knocks.—
- Since Cassius first did whet me against Caesar
- I have not slept.
- Between the acting of a dreadful thing
- And the first motion, all the interim is
- Like a phantasma or a hideous dream:
- The genius and the mortal instruments
- Are then in council; and the state of man,
- Like to a little kingdom, suffers then
- The nature of an insurrection.
- Sir, 'tis your brother Cassius at the door,
- Who doth desire to see you.
- Is he alone?
- No, sir, there are more with him.
- Do you know them?
- No, sir, their hats are pluck'd about their ears,
- And half their faces buried in their cloaks,
- That by no means I may discover them
- By any mark of favor.
- Let 'em enter.—
- They are the faction.—O conspiracy,
- Shamest thou to show thy dangerous brow by night,
- When evils are most free? O, then, by day
- Where wilt thou find a cavern dark enough
- To mask thy monstrous visage? Seek none, conspiracy;
- Hide it in smiles and affability:
- For if thou pass, thy native semblance on,
- Not Erebus itself were dim enough
- To hide thee from prevention.
[Enter Cassius, Casca, Decius, Cinna, Metellus Cimber, and Trebonius.
- I think we are too bold upon your rest:
- Good morrow, Brutus; do we trouble you?
- I have been up this hour, awake all night.
- Know I these men that come along with you?
- Yes, every man of them; and no man here
- But honors you; and every one doth wish
- You had but that opinion of yourself
- Which every noble Roman bears of you.
- This is Trebonius.
- He is welcome hither.
- This Decius Brutus.
- He is welcome too.
- This, Casca; this, Cinna; and this, Metellus Cimber.
- They are all welcome.—
- What watchful cares do interpose themselves
- Betwixt your eyes and night?
- Shall I entreat a word?
[BRUTUS and CASSIUS whisper apart.]
- Here lies the east: doth not the day break here?
- O, pardon, sir, it doth, and yon grey lines
- That fret the clouds are messengers of day.
- You shall confess that you are both deceived.
- Here, as I point my sword, the Sun arises;
- Which is a great way growing on the South,
- Weighing the youthful season of the year.
- Some two months hence, up higher toward the North
- He first presents his fire; and the high East
- Stands, as the Capitol, directly here.
- Give me your hands all over, one by one.
- And let us swear our resolution.
- No, not an oath: if not the face of men,
- The sufferance of our souls, the time's abuse—
- If these be motives weak, break off betimes,
- And every man hence to his idle bed;
- So let high-sighted tyranny range on,
- Till each man drop by lottery. But if these,
- As I am sure they do, bear fire enough
- To kindle cowards, and to steel with valour
- The melting spirits of women; then, countrymen,
- What need we any spur but our own cause
- To prick us to redress? what other bond
- Than secret Romans, that have spoke the word,
- And will not palter? and what other oath
- Than honesty to honesty engaged,
- That this shall be, or we will fall for it?
- Swear priests, and cowards, and men cautelous,
- Old feeble carrions, and such suffering souls
- That welcome wrongs; unto bad causes swear
- Such creatures as men doubt: but do not stain
- The even virtue of our enterprise,
- Nor th' insuppressive mettle of our spirits,
- To think that or our cause or our performance
- Did need an oath; when every drop of blood
- That every Roman bears, and nobly bears,
- Is guilty of a several bastardy,
- If he do break the smallest particle
- Of any promise that hath pass'd from him.
- But what of Cicero? Shall we sound him?
- I think he will stand very strong with us.
- Let us not leave him out.
- No, by no means.
- O, let us have him! for his silver hairs
- Will purchase us a good opinion,
- And buy men's voices to commend our deeds:
- It shall be said, his judgment ruled our hands;
- Our youths and wildness shall no whit appear,
- But all be buried in his gravity.
- O, name him not! let us not break with him;
- For he will never follow any thing
- That other men begin.
- Then leave him out.
- Indeed, he is not fit.
- Shall no man else be touch'd but only Caesar?
- Decius, well urged.—I think it is not meet,
- Mark Antony, so well beloved of Caesar,
- Should outlive Caesar: we shall find of him
- A shrewd contriver; and you know his means,
- If he improve them, may well stretch so far
- As to annoy us all: which to prevent,
- Let Antony and Caesar fall together.
- Our course will seem too bloody, Caius Cassius,
- To cut the head off, and then hack the limbs,
- Like wrath in death, and envy afterwards;
- For Antony is but a limb of Caesar.
- Let us be sacrificers, but not butchers, Caius.
- We all stand up against the spirit of Caesar;
- And in the spirit of men there is no blood:
- O, that we then could come by Caesar's spirit,
- And not dismember Caesar! But, alas,
- Caesar must bleed for it! And, gentle friends,
- Let's kill him boldly, but not wrathfully;
- Let's carve him as a dish fit for the gods,
- Not hew him as a carcass fit for hounds;
- And let our hearts, as subtle masters do,
- Stir up their servants to an act of rage,
- And after seem to chide 'em. This shall mark
- Our purpose necessary, and not envious;
- Which so appearing to the common eyes,
- We shall be call'd purgers, not murderers.
- And for Mark Antony, think not of him;
- For he can do no more than Caesar's arm
- When Caesar's head is off.
- Yet I do fear him;
- For in th' ingrafted love he bears to Caesar—
- Alas, good Cassius, do not think of him:
- If he love Caesar, all that he can do
- Is to himself,—take thought and die for Caesar.
- And that were much he should; for he is given
- To sports, to wildness, and much company.
- There is no fear in him; let him not die;
- For he will live, and laugh at this hereafter.
- Peace! count the clock.
- The clock hath stricken three.
- 'Tis time to part.
- But it is doubtful yet
- Whether Caesar will come forth today or no;
- For he is superstitious grown of late,
- Quite from the main opinion he held once
- Of fantasy, of dreams, and ceremonies.
- It may be these apparent prodigies,
- The unaccustom'd terror of this night,
- And the persuasion of his augurers
- May hold him from the Capitol to-day.
- Never fear that: if he be so resolved,
- I can o'ersway him, for he loves to hear
- That unicorns may be betray'd with trees,
- And bears with glasses, elephants with holes,
- Lions with toils, and men with flatterers:
- But when I tell him he hates flatterers,
- He says he does, being then most flattered.
- Let me work;
- For I can give his humor the true bent,
- And I will bring him to the Capitol.
- Nay, we will all of us be there to fetch him.
- By the eighth hour: is that the uttermost?
- Be that the uttermost; and fail not then.
- Caius Ligarius doth bear Caesar hard,
- Who rated him for speaking well of Pompey:
- I wonder none of you have thought of him.
- Now, good Metellus, go along by him:
- He loves me well, and I have given him reason;
- Send him but hither, and I'll fashion him.
- The morning comes upon 's. We'll leave you, Brutus;—
- And, friends, disperse yourselves, but all remember
- What you have said, and show yourselves true Romans.
- Good gentlemen, look fresh and merrily;
- Let not our looks put on our purposes,
- But bear it as our Roman actors do,
- With untired spirits and formal constancy:
- And so, good morrow to you every one.—
[Exeunt all but Brutus.]
- Boy! Lucius!—Fast asleep? It is no matter;
- Enjoy the honey-heavy dew of slumber:
- Thou hast no figures nor no fantasies,
- Which busy care draws in the brains of men;
- Therefore thou sleep'st so sound.
- Brutus, my lord!
- Portia, what mean you? wherefore rise you now?
- It is not for your health thus to commit
- Your weak condition to the raw-cold morning.
- Nor for yours neither. You've ungently, Brutus,
- Stole from my bed: and yesternight, at supper,
- You suddenly arose, and walk'd about,
- Musing and sighing, with your arms across;
- And, when I ask'd you what the matter was,
- You stared upon me with ungentle looks:
- I urged you further; then you scratch'd your head,
- And too impatiently stamp'd with your foot:
- Yet I insisted, yet you answer'd not;
- But, with an angry wafture of your hand,
- Gave sign for me to leave you. So I did;
- Fearing to strengthen that impatience
- Which seem'd too much enkindled; and withal
- Hoping it was but an effect of humour,
- Which sometime hath his hour with every man.
- It will not let you eat, nor talk, nor sleep;
- And, could it work so much upon your shape
- As it hath much prevail'd on your condition,
- I should not know you, Brutus. Dear my lord,
- Make me acquainted with your cause of grief.
- I am not well in health, and that is all.
- Brutus is wise, and, were he not in health,
- He would embrace the means to come by it.
- Why, so I do. Good Portia, go to bed.
- Is Brutus sick? and is it physical
- To walk unbraced and suck up the humours
- Of the dank morning? What, is Brutus sick,
- And will he steal out of his wholesome bed
- To dare the vile contagion of the night,
- And tempt the rheumy and unpurged air
- To add unto his sickness? No, my Brutus;
- You have some sick offense within your mind,
- Which, by the right and virtue of my place,
- I ought to know of: and, upon my knees,
- I charge you, by my once commended beauty,
- By all your vows of love, and that great vow
- Which did incorporate and make us one,
- That you unfold to me, yourself, your half,
- Why you are heavy, and what men to-night
- Have had resort to you; for here have been
- Some six or seven, who did hide their faces
- Even from darkness.
- Kneel not, gentle Portia.
- I should not need, if you were gentle Brutus.
- Within the bond of marriage, tell me, Brutus,
- Is it excepted I should know no secrets
- That appertain to you? Am I yourself
- But, as it were, in sort or limitation,—
- To keep with you at meals, comfort your bed,
- And talk to you sometimes? Dwell I but in the suburbs
- Of your good pleasure? If it be no more,
- Portia is Brutus' harlot, not his wife.
- You are my true and honorable wife;
- As dear to me as are the ruddy drops
- That visit my sad heart.
- If this were true, then should I know this secret.
- I grant I am a woman; but withal
- A woman that Lord Brutus took to wife:
- I grant I am a woman; but withal
- A woman well reputed, Cato's daughter.
- Think you I am no stronger than my sex,
- Being so father'd and so husbanded?
- Tell me your counsels, I will not disclose 'em.
- I have made strong proof of my constancy,
- Giving myself a voluntary wound
- Here in the thigh: can I bear that with patience
- And not my husband's secrets?
- O ye gods,
- Render me worthy of this noble wife!
- Hark, hark, one knocks
- Portia, go in awhile;
- And by and by thy bosom shall partake
- The secrets of my heart:
- All my engagements I will construe to thee,
- All the charactery of my sad brows.
- Leave me with haste.
—Lucius, who's that knocks?
[Re-enter Lucius with Ligarius.]
- Here is a sick man that would speak with you.
- Caius Ligarius, that Metellus spake of.—
- Boy, stand aside.—Caius Ligarius,—how?
- Vouchsafe good-morrow from a feeble tongue.
- O, what a time have you chose out, brave Caius,
- To wear a kerchief! Would you were not sick!
- I am not sick, if Brutus have in hand
- Any exploit worthy the name of honour.
- Such an exploit have I in hand, Ligarius,
- Had you a healthful ear to hear of it.
- By all the gods that Romans bow before,
- I here discard my sickness. Soul of Rome!
- Brave son, derived from honorable loins!
- Thou, like an exorcist, hast conjured up
- My mortified spirit. Now bid me run,
- And I will strive with things impossible;
- Yea, get the better of them. What's to do?
- A piece of work that will make sick men whole.
- But are not some whole that we must make sick?
- That must we also. What it is, my Caius,
- I shall unfold to thee, as we are going,
- To whom it must be done.
- Set on your foot;
- And with a heart new-fired I follow you,
- To do I know not what: but it sufficeth
- That Brutus leads me on.
- Follow me then.
SCENE II. A room in Caesar's palace.
[Thunder and lightning. Enter Caesar, in his nightgown.]
- Nor heaven nor earth have been at peace tonight:
- Thrice hath Calpurnia in her sleep cried out,
- "Help, ho! They murder Caesar!"—Who's within?
[Enter a Servant.]
- My lord?
- Go bid the priests do present sacrifice,
- And bring me their opinions of success.
- I will, my lord.
- What mean you, Caesar? Think you to walk forth?
- You shall not stir out of your house to-day.
- Caesar shall forth: the things that threaten me
- Ne'er look but on my back; when they shall see
- The face of Caesar, they are vanished.
- Caesar, I never stood on ceremonies,
- Yet now they fright me. There is one within,
- Besides the things that we have heard and seen,
- Recounts most horrid sights seen by the watch.
- A lioness hath whelped in the streets;
- And graves have yawn'd, and yielded up their dead;
- Fierce fiery warriors fight upon the clouds,
- In ranks and squadrons and right form of war,
- Which drizzled blood upon the Capitol;
- The noise of battle hurtled in the air,
- Horses did neigh, and dying men did groan;
- And ghosts did shriek and squeal about the streets.
- O Caesar,these things are beyond all use,
- And I do fear them!
- What can be avoided
- Whose end is purposed by the mighty gods?
- Yet Caesar shall go forth; for these predictions
- Are to the world in general as to Caesar.
- When beggars die, there are no comets seen;
- The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes.
- Cowards die many times before their deaths;
- The valiant never taste of death but once.
- Of all the wonders that I yet have heard,
- It seems to me most strange that men should fear;
- Seeing that death, a necessary end,
- Will come when it will come.—
What say the augurers?
- They would not have you to stir forth to-day.
- Plucking the entrails of an offering forth,
- They could not find a heart within the beast.
- The gods do this in shame of cowardice:
- Caesar should be a beast without a heart,
- If he should stay at home today for fear.
- No, Caesar shall not: danger knows full well
- That Caesar is more dangerous than he:
- We are two lions litter'd in one day,
- And I the elder and more terrible;
- And Caesar shall go forth.
- Alas, my lord,
- Your wisdom is consumed in confidence!
- Do not go forth to-day: call it my fear
- That keeps you in the house, and not your own.
- We'll send Mark Antony to the Senate-house,
- And he shall say you are not well to-day:
- Let me, upon my knee, prevail in this.
- Mark Antony shall say I am not well,
- And, for thy humor, I will stay at home.
- Here's Decius Brutus, he shall tell them so.
- Caesar, all hail! Good morrow, worthy Caesar:
- I come to fetch you to the Senate-house.
- And you are come in very happy time
- To bear my greeting to the Senators,
- And tell them that I will not come to-day.
- Cannot, is false; and that I dare not, falser:
- I will not come to-day. Tell them so, Decius.
- Say he is sick.
- Shall Caesar send a lie?
- Have I in conquest stretch'd mine arm so far,
- To be afeard to tell grey-beards the truth?—
- Decius, go tell them Caesar will not come.
- Most mighty Caesar, let me know some cause,
- Lest I be laugh'd at when I tell them so.
- The cause is in my will; I will not come:
- That is enough to satisfy the Senate.
- But, for your private satisfaction,
- Because I love you, I will let you know:
- Calpurnia here, my wife, stays me at home:
- She dreamt to-night she saw my statua,
- Which, like a fountain with an hundred spouts,
- Did run pure blood; and many lusty Romans
- Came smiling and did bathe their hands in it:
- And these does she apply for warnings and portents
- And evils imminent; and on her knee
- Hath begg'd that I will stay at home to-day.
- This dream is all amiss interpreted:
- It was a vision fair and fortunate.
- Your statue spouting blood in many pipes,
- In which so many smiling Romans bathed,
- Signifies that from you great Rome shall suck
- Reviving blood; and that great men shall press
- For tinctures, stains, relics, and cognizance.
- This by Calpurnia's dream is signified.
- And this way have you well expounded it.
- I have, when you have heard what I can say;
- And know it now: The Senate have concluded
- To give this day a crown to mighty Caesar.
- If you shall send them word you will not come,
- Their minds may change. Besides, it were a mock
- Apt to be render'd, for someone to say
- "Break up the Senate till another time,
- When Caesar's wife shall meet with better dreams."
- If Caesar hide himself, shall they not whisper
- "Lo, Caesar is afraid"?
- Pardon me, Caesar; for my dear dear love
- To your proceeding bids me tell you this;
- And reason to my love is liable.
- How foolish do your fears seem now, Calpurnia!
- I am ashamed I did yield to them.
- Give me my robe, for I will go.
[Enter Publius, Brutus, Ligarius, Metellus, Casca, Trebonius, and Cinna.]
- And look where Publius is come to fetch me.
- Good morrow, Caesar.
- Welcome, Publius.—
- What, Brutus, are you stirr'd so early too?—
- Good morrow, Casca.—Caius Ligarius,
- Caesar was ne'er so much your enemy
- As that same ague which hath made you lean.—
- What is't o'clock?
- Caesar, 'tis strucken eight.
- I thank you for your pains and courtesy.
See! Antony, that revels long o'nights,
- Is notwithstanding up.—Good morrow, Antony.
- So to most noble Caesar.
- Bid them prepare within:
- I am to blame to be thus waited for.—
- Now, Cinna;—now, Metellus;—what, Trebonius!
- I have an hour's talk in store for you:
- Remember that you call on me to-day;
- Be near me, that I may remember you.
- Caesar, I will. [Aside.] and so near will I be,
- That your best friends shall wish I had been further.
- Good friends, go in, and taste some wine with me;
- And we, like friends, will straightway go together.
- [Aside.] That every like is not the same, O Caesar,
- The heart of Brutus yearns to think upon!
SCENE III. A street near the Capitol.
[Enter Artemidorus, reading paper.]
- "Caesar, beware of Brutus; take heed of Cassius; come
- not near Casca; have an eye to Cinna; trust not Trebonius; mark
- well Metellus Cimber; Decius Brutus loves thee not; thou hast
- wrong'd Caius Ligarius. There is but one mind in all these men,
- and it is bent against Caesar. If thou be'st not immortal, look
- about you: security gives way to conspiracy. The mighty gods
- defend thee!
- Thy lover, Artemidorus."
- Here will I stand till Caesar pass along,
- And as a suitor will I give him this.
- My heart laments that virtue cannot live
- Out of the teeth of emulation.—
- If thou read this, O Caesar, thou mayest live;
- If not, the Fates with traitors do contrive.
SCENE IV. Another part of the same street, before the house of Brutus.
[Enter Portia and Lucius.]
- I pr'ythee, boy, run to the Senate-house;
- Stay not to answer me, but get thee gone.
- Why dost thou stay?
- To know my errand, madam.
- I would have had thee there, and here again,
- Ere I can tell thee what thou shouldst do there.—
- [Aside.] O constancy, be strong upon my side!
- Set a huge mountain 'tween my heart and tongue!
- I have a man's mind, but a woman's might.
- How hard it is for women to keep counsel!—
- Art thou here yet?
- Madam, what should I do?
- Run to the Capitol, and nothing else?
- And so return to you, and nothing else?
- Yes, bring me word, boy, if thy lord look well,
- For he went sickly forth: and take good note
- What Caesar doth, what suitors press to him.
- Hark, boy! what noise is that?
- I hear none, madam.
- Pr'ythee, listen well:
- I heard a bustling rumour, like a fray,
- And the wind brings it from the Capitol.
- Sooth, madam, I hear nothing.
- Come hither, fellow:
- Which way hast thou been?
- At mine own house, good lady.
- What is't o'clock?
- About the ninth hour, lady.
- Is Caesar yet gone to the Capitol?
- Madam, not yet: I go to take my stand
- To see him pass on to the Capitol.
- Thou hast some suit to Caesar, hast thou not?
- That I have, lady: if it will please Caesar
- To be so good to Caesar as to hear me,
- I shall beseech him to befriend himself.
- Why, know'st thou any harm's intended towards him?
- None that I know will be, much that I fear may chance.
- Good morrow to you.—Here the street is narrow:
- The throng that follows Caesar at the heels,
- Of Senators, of Praetors, common suitors,
- Will crowd a feeble man almost to death:
- I'll get me to a place more void, and there
- Speak to great Caesar as he comes along.
- I must go in.—[Aside.] Ah me, how weak a thing
- The heart of woman is!—O Brutus,
- The heavens speed thee in thine enterprise!—
- Sure, the boy heard me.—Brutus hath a suit
- That Caesar will not grant.—O, I grow faint.—
- Run, Lucius, and commend me to my lord;
- Say I am merry: come to me again,
- And bring me word what he doth say to thee.