The Tragedy of Julius Caesar

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Act III, Scene 1

Rome. Before the Capitol; the Senate sitting above.

       
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A crowd of people; among them ARTEMIDORUS and the Soothsayer. Flourish. Enter CAESAR, BRUTUS, CASSIUS, CASCA, DECIUS BRUTUS, METELLUS CIMBER, TREBONIUS, CINNA, ANTONY, LEPIDUS, POPILIUS, PUBLIUS, and others.

  • Caesar. [To the Soothsayer] The ides of March are come.
  • Decius Brutus. Trebonius doth desire you to o'erread,
    At your best leisure, this his humble suit. 1200
  • Artemidorus. O Caesar, read mine first; for mine's a suit
    That touches Caesar nearer: read it, great Caesar.
  • Caesar. What touches us ourself shall be last served.
  • Caesar. What, is the fellow mad? 1205
  • Cassius. What, urge you your petitions in the street?
    Come to the Capitol.
    [CAESAR goes up to the Senate-House, the rest
    following]
    1210
  • Popilius. I wish your enterprise to-day may thrive.
  • Cassius. What enterprise, Popilius?

Advances to CAESAR

  • Brutus. What said Popilius Lena? 1215
  • Cassius. He wish'd to-day our enterprise might thrive.
    I fear our purpose is discovered.
  • Brutus. Look, how he makes to Caesar; mark him.
  • Cassius. Casca, be sudden, for we fear prevention.
    Brutus, what shall be done? If this be known, 1220
    Cassius or Caesar never shall turn back,
    For I will slay myself.
  • Brutus. Cassius, be constant:
    Popilius Lena speaks not of our purposes;
    For, look, he smiles, and Caesar doth not change. 1225
  • Cassius. Trebonius knows his time; for, look you, Brutus.
    He draws Mark Antony out of the way.

Exeunt ANTONY and TREBONIUS

  • Decius Brutus. Where is Metellus Cimber? Let him go,
    And presently prefer his suit to Caesar. 1230
  • Brutus. He is address'd: press near and second him.
  • Cinna. Casca, you are the first that rears your hand.
  • Caesar. Are we all ready? What is now amiss
    That Caesar and his senate must redress?
  • Metellus Cimber. Most high, most mighty, and most puissant Caesar, 1235
    Metellus Cimber throws before thy seat
    An humble heart,—

Kneeling

  • Caesar. I must prevent thee, Cimber.
    These couchings and these lowly courtesies 1240
    Might fire the blood of ordinary men,
    And turn pre-ordinance and first decree
    Into the law of children. Be not fond,
    To think that Caesar bears such rebel blood
    That will be thaw'd from the true quality 1245
    With that which melteth fools; I mean, sweet words,
    Low-crooked court'sies and base spaniel-fawning.
    Thy brother by decree is banished:
    If thou dost bend and pray and fawn for him,
    I spurn thee like a cur out of my way. 1250
    Know, Caesar doth not wrong, nor without cause
    Will he be satisfied.
  • Metellus Cimber. Is there no voice more worthy than my own
    To sound more sweetly in great Caesar's ear
    For the repealing of my banish'd brother? 1255
  • Brutus. I kiss thy hand, but not in flattery, Caesar;
    Desiring thee that Publius Cimber may
    Have an immediate freedom of repeal.
  • Cassius. Pardon, Caesar; Caesar, pardon: 1260
    As low as to thy foot doth Cassius fall,
    To beg enfranchisement for Publius Cimber.
  • Cassius. 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, 1265
    Of whose true-fix'd and resting quality
    There is no fellow in the firmament.
    The skies are painted with unnumber'd sparks,
    They are all fire and every one doth shine,
    But there's but one in all doth hold his place: 1270
    So in the world; 'tis furnish'd well with men,
    And 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, 1275
    Let me a little show it, even in this;
    That I was constant Cimber should be banish'd,
    And constant do remain to keep him so.
  • Caesar. Hence! wilt thou lift up Olympus? 1280
  • Caesar. Doth not Brutus bootless kneel?
  • Casca. Speak, hands for me!
    [CASCA first, then the other Conspirators and
    BRUTUS stab CAESAR]
    1285
  • Caesar. Et tu, Brute! Then fall, Caesar.

Dies

  • Cinna. Liberty! Freedom! Tyranny is dead!
    Run hence, proclaim, cry it about the streets.
  • Cassius. Some to the common pulpits, and cry out 1290
    'Liberty, freedom, and enfranchisement!'
  • Brutus. People and senators, be not affrighted;
    Fly not; stand stiff: ambition's debt is paid.
  • Casca. Go to the pulpit, Brutus.
  • Cinna. Here, quite confounded with this mutiny.
  • Metellus Cimber. Stand fast together, lest some friend of Caesar's
    Should chance—
  • Brutus. Talk not of standing. Publius, good cheer; 1300
    There is no harm intended to your person,
    Nor to no Roman else: so tell them, Publius.
  • Cassius. And leave us, Publius; lest that the people,
    Rushing on us, should do your age some mischief.
  • Brutus. Do so: and let no man abide this deed, 1305
    But we the doers.

Re-enter TREBONIUS

  • Trebonius. Fled to his house amazed:
    Men, wives and children stare, cry out and run 1310
    As it were doomsday.
  • Brutus. Fates, we will know your pleasures:
    That we shall die, we know; 'tis but the time
    And drawing days out, that men stand upon.
  • Cassius. Why, he that cuts off twenty years of life 1315
    Cuts off so many years of fearing death.
  • Brutus. Grant that, and then is death a benefit:
    So are we Caesar's friends, that have abridged
    His time of fearing death. Stoop, Romans, stoop,
    And let us bathe our hands in Caesar's blood 1320
    Up to the elbows, and besmear our swords:
    Then walk we forth, even to the market-place,
    And, waving our red weapons o'er our heads,
    Let's all cry 'Peace, freedom and liberty!'
  • Cassius. Stoop, then, and wash. How many ages hence 1325
    Shall this our lofty scene be acted over
    In states unborn and accents yet unknown!
  • Brutus. How many times shall Caesar bleed in sport,
    That now on Pompey's basis lies along
    No worthier than the dust! 1330
  • Cassius. So oft as that shall be,
    So often shall the knot of us be call'd
    The men that gave their country liberty.
  • Cassius. Ay, every man away: 1335
    Brutus shall lead; and we will grace his heels
    With the most boldest and best hearts of Rome.

Enter a Servant

  • Brutus. Soft! who comes here? A friend of Antony's.
  • Servant. Thus, Brutus, did my master bid me kneel: 1340
    Thus did Mark Antony bid me fall down;
    And, being prostrate, thus he bade me say:
    Brutus is noble, wise, valiant, and honest;
    Caesar was mighty, bold, royal, and loving:
    Say I love Brutus, and I honour him; 1345
    Say I fear'd Caesar, honour'd him and loved him.
    If Brutus will vouchsafe that Antony
    May safely come to him, and be resolved
    How Caesar hath deserved to lie in death,
    Mark Antony shall not love Caesar dead 1350
    So well as Brutus living; but will follow
    The fortunes and affairs of noble Brutus
    Thorough the hazards of this untrod state
    With all true faith. So says my master Antony.
  • Brutus. Thy master is a wise and valiant Roman; 1355
    I never thought him worse.
    Tell him, so please him come unto this place,
    He shall be satisfied; and, by my honour,
    Depart untouch'd.
  • Servant. I'll fetch him presently. 1360

Exit

  • Brutus. I know that we shall have him well to friend.
  • Cassius. I wish we may: but yet have I a mind
    That fears him much; and my misgiving still
    Falls shrewdly to the purpose. 1365
  • Brutus. But here comes Antony.
    [Re-enter ANTONY]
    Welcome, Mark Antony.
  • Antony. O mighty Caesar! dost thou lie so low?
    Are all thy conquests, glories, triumphs, spoils, 1370
    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
    As Caesar's death hour, nor no instrument 1375
    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,
    Fulfil your pleasure. Live a thousand years, 1380
    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.
  • Brutus. O Antony, beg not your death of us. 1385
    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:
    Our hearts you see not; they are pitiful; 1390
    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:
    Our arms, in strength of malice, and our hearts 1395
    Of brothers' temper, do receive you in
    With all kind love, good thoughts, and reverence.
  • Cassius. Your voice shall be as strong as any man's
    In the disposing of new dignities.
  • Brutus. Only be patient till we have appeased 1400
    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.
  • Antony. I doubt not of your wisdom. 1405
    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;
    Yours, Cinna; and, my valiant Casca, yours; 1410
    Though last, not last 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,
    Either a coward or a flatterer. 1415
    That I did love thee, Caesar, O, 'tis true:
    If then thy spirit look upon us now,
    Shall it not grieve thee dearer than thy death,
    To see thy thy Anthony making his peace,
    Shaking the bloody fingers of thy foes, 1420
    Most noble! in the presence of thy corse?
    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
    In terms of friendship with thine enemies. 1425
    Pardon me, Julius! Here wast thou bay'd, brave hart;
    Here didst thou fall; and here thy hunters stand,
    Sign'd in thy spoil, and crimson'd in thy lethe.
    O world, thou wast the forest to this hart;
    And this, indeed, O world, the heart of thee. 1430
    How like a deer, strucken by many princes,
    Dost thou here lie!
  • Antony. Pardon me, Caius Cassius:
    The enemies of Caesar shall say this; 1435
    Then, in a friend, it is cold modesty.
  • Cassius. I blame you not for praising Caesar so;
    But what compact mean you to have with us?
    Will you be prick'd in number of our friends;
    Or shall we on, and not depend on you? 1440
  • Antony. Therefore I took your hands, but was, indeed,
    Sway'd 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
    Why and wherein Caesar was dangerous. 1445
  • Brutus. 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.
  • Antony. That's all I seek: 1450
    And am moreover suitor that I may
    Produce his body to the market-place;
    And in the pulpit, as becomes a friend,
    Speak in the order of his funeral.
  • Brutus. You shall, Mark Antony. 1455
  • Cassius. Brutus, a word with you.
    [Aside to BRUTUS]
    You know not what you do: do not consent
    That Antony speak in his funeral:
    Know you how much the people may be moved 1460
    By that which he will utter?
  • Brutus. 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 1465
    He 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.
  • Cassius. I know not what may fall; I like it not. 1470
  • Brutus. 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 1475
    About his funeral: and you shall speak
    In the same pulpit whereto I am going,
    After my speech is ended.
  • Antony. Be it so.
    I do desire no more. 1480
  • Brutus. Prepare the body then, and follow us.

Exeunt all but ANTONY

  • 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 1485
    That ever lived 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— 1490
    A 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 1495
    That mothers shall but smile when they behold
    Their infants quarter'd with the hands of war;
    All pity choked with custom of fell deeds:
    And Caesar's spirit, ranging for revenge,
    With Ate by his side come hot from hell, 1500
    Shall 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 a Servant] 1505
    You serve Octavius Caesar, do you not?
  • Antony. Caesar did write for him to come to Rome.
  • Servant. He did receive his letters, and is coming;
    And bid me say to you by word of mouth— 1510
    O Caesar!—

Seeing the body

  • Antony. 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, 1515
    Began to water. Is thy master coming?
  • Servant. He lies to-night within seven leagues of Rome.
  • Antony. 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; 1520
    Hie hence, and tell him so. Yet, stay awhile;
    Thou shalt not back till I have borne this corse
    Into the market-place: there shall I try
    In my oration, how the people take
    The cruel issue of these bloody men; 1525
    According to the which, thou shalt discourse
    To young Octavius of the state of things.
    Lend me your hand.

Exeunt with CAESAR's body

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