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The Tragedy of Julius Caesar

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Act I, Scene 2

A public place.


[Flourish. Enter CAESAR; ANTONY, for the course; CALPURNIA, PORTIA, DECIUS BRUTUS, CICERO, BRUTUS, CASSIUS, and CASCA; a great crowd following, among them a Soothsayer]

  • Casca. Peace, ho! Caesar speaks.
  • Caesar. Stand you directly in Antonius' way,
    When he doth run his course. Antonius!
  • Caesar. Forget not, in your speed, Antonius,
    To touch Calpurnia; for our elders say, 90
    The barren, touched in this holy chase,
    Shake off their sterile curse.
  • Antony. I shall remember:
    When Caesar says 'do this,' it is perform'd.
  • Caesar. Set on; and leave no ceremony out. 95


  • Casca. Bid every noise be still: peace yet again!
  • Caesar. Who is it in the press that calls on me? 100
    I hear a tongue, shriller than all the music,
    Cry 'Caesar!' Speak; Caesar is turn'd to hear.
  • Brutus. A soothsayer bids you beware the ides of March. 105
  • Caesar. Set him before me; let me see his face.
  • Cassius. Fellow, come from the throng; look upon Caesar.
  • Caesar. What say'st thou to me now? speak once again.
  • Caesar. He is a dreamer; let us leave him: pass. 110

Sennet. Exeunt all except BRUTUS and CASSIUS

  • Cassius. Will you go see the order of the course?
  • Brutus. I am not gamesome: I do lack some part 115
    Of that quick spirit that is in Antony.
    Let me not hinder, Cassius, your desires;
    I'll leave you.
  • Cassius. Brutus, I do observe you now of late:
    I have not from your eyes that gentleness 120
    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.
  • Brutus. Cassius,
    Be not deceived: if I have veil'd my look, 125
    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; 130
    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. 135
  • Cassius. 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?
  • Brutus. No, Cassius; for the eye sees not itself, 140
    But by reflection, by some other things.
  • Cassius. 'Tis just:
    And it is very much lamented, Brutus,
    That you have no such mirrors as will turn
    Your hidden worthiness into your eye, 145
    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. 150
  • Brutus. Into what dangers would you lead me, Cassius,
    That you would have me seek into myself
    For that which is not in me?
  • Cassius. Therefore, good Brutus, be prepared to hear:
    And since you know you cannot see yourself 155
    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 160
    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 165
    To all the rout, then hold me dangerous.

Flourish, and shout

  • Brutus. What means this shouting? I do fear, the people
    Choose Caesar for their king.
  • Cassius. Ay, do you fear it? 170
    Then must I think you would not have it so.
  • Brutus. 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, 175
    Set honour 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 honour more than I fear death.
  • Cassius. I know that virtue to be in you, Brutus, 180
    As well as I do know your outward favour.
    Well, honour 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 185
    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, 190
    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 195
    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, 200
    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 205
    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 210
    How he did shake: 'tis true, this god did shake;
    His coward lips did from their colour fly,
    And that same eye whose bend doth awe the world
    Did lose his lustre: I did hear him groan:
    Ay, and that tongue of his that bade the Romans 215
    Mark him and write his speeches in their books,
    Alas, it cried 'Give me some drink, Tintinius,'
    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 220
    And bear the palm alone.

Shout. Flourish

  • Brutus. Another general shout!
    I do believe that these applauses are
    For some new honours that are heap'd on Caesar. 225
  • Cassius. 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 dishonourable graves.
    Men at some time are masters of their fates: 230
    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; 235
    Sound them, it doth become the mouth as well;
    Weigh them, it is as heavy; conjure with 'em,
    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, 240
    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, 245
    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 250
    The eternal devil to keep his state in Rome
    As easily as a king.
  • Brutus. 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, 255
    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 260
    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 265
    Is like to lay upon us.
  • Cassius. I am glad that my weak words
    Have struck but thus much show of fire from Brutus.
  • Brutus. The games are done and Caesar is returning.
  • Cassius. As they pass by, pluck Casca by the sleeve; 270
    And he will, after his sour fashion, tell you
    What hath proceeded worthy note to-day.

Re-enter CAESAR and his Train

  • Brutus. I will do so. But, look you, Cassius,
    The angry spot doth glow on Caesar's brow, 275
    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. 280
  • Cassius. Casca will tell us what the matter is.
  • Caesar. Let me have men about me that are fat;
    Sleek-headed men and such as sleep o' nights: 285
    Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look;
    He thinks too much: such men are dangerous.
  • Antony. Fear him not, Caesar; he's not dangerous;
    He is a noble Roman and well given.
  • Caesar. Would he were fatter! But I fear him not: 290
    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, 295
    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 300
    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, 305
    And tell me truly what thou think'st of him.

Sennet. Exeunt CAESAR and all his Train, but CASCA

  • Casca. You pull'd me by the cloak; would you speak with me?
  • Brutus. Ay, Casca; tell us what hath chanced to-day,
    That Caesar looks so sad. 310
  • Casca. Why, you were with him, were you not?
  • Brutus. I should not then ask Casca what had chanced.
  • Casca. Why, there was a crown offered him: and being
    offered him, he put it by with the back of his hand,
    thus; and then the people fell a-shouting. 315
  • Brutus. What was the second noise for?
  • Casca. Why, for that too.
  • Cassius. They shouted thrice: what was the last cry for?
  • Casca. Why, for that too.
  • Brutus. Was the crown offered him thrice? 320
  • Casca. Ay, marry, was't, and he put it by thrice, every
    time gentler than other, and at every putting-by
    mine honest neighbours shouted.
  • Cassius. Who offered him the crown?
  • Brutus. Tell us the manner of it, gentle Casca.
  • Casca. I can as well be hanged 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 330
    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 335
    time; he put it the third time by: and still as he
    refused it, the rabblement hooted and clapped their
    chapped 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 340
    Caesar; for he swounded 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.
  • Cassius. But, soft, I pray you: what, did Caesar swound?
  • Casca. He fell down in the market-place, and foamed at 345
    mouth, and was speechless.
  • Brutus. 'Tis very like: he hath the failing sickness.
  • Cassius. No, Caesar hath it not; but you and I,
    And honest Casca, we have the falling sickness.
  • Casca. I know not what you mean by that; but, I am sure, 350
    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.
  • Brutus. What said he when he came unto himself? 355
  • Casca. Marry, before he fell down, when he perceived the
    common herd was glad he refused the crown, he
    plucked 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, 360
    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 365
    soul!' and forgave him with all their hearts: but
    there's no heed to be taken of them; if Caesar had
    stabbed their mothers, they would have done no less.
  • Brutus. And after that, he came, thus sad, away?
  • Cassius. Did Cicero say any thing?
  • Casca. Ay, he spoke Greek.
  • Casca. Nay, an I tell you that, Ill ne'er look you i' the
    face again: but those that understood him smiled at 375
    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 I could 380
    remember it.
  • Cassius. Will you sup with me to-night, Casca?
  • Casca. No, I am promised forth.
  • Cassius. Will you dine with me to-morrow?
  • Casca. Ay, if I be alive and your mind hold and your dinner 385
    worth the eating.
  • Casca. Do so. Farewell, both.


  • Brutus. What a blunt fellow is this grown to be! 390
    He was quick mettle when he went to school.
  • Cassius. 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, 395
    Which gives men stomach to digest his words
    With better appetite.
  • Brutus. And so it is. For this time I will leave you:
    To-morrow, if you please to speak with me,
    I will come home to you; or, if you will, 400
    Come home to me, and I will wait for you.
  • Cassius. I will do so: till then, think of the world.
    [Exit BRUTUS]
    Well, Brutus, thou art noble; yet, I see,
    Thy honourable metal may be wrought 405
    From that it is disposed: therefore it is 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, 410
    He should not humour 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 415
    Caesar's ambition shall be glanced at:
    And after this let Caesar seat him sure;
    For we will shake him, or worse days endure.