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He wears the rose
Of youth upon him.

      — Antony and Cleopatra, Act III Scene 13


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The Tragedy of Julius Caesar

Act II

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Scene 1. Rome. BRUTUS’s orchard.

Scene 2. CAESAR’s house.

Scene 3. A street near the Capitol.

Scene 4. Another part of the same street, before the house of BRUTUS.


Act II, Scene 1

Rome. BRUTUS’s orchard.

      next scene .


  • Brutus. What, Lucius, ho! 600
    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!


  • Brutus. Get me a taper in my study, Lucius:
    When it is lighted, come and call me here.


  • Brutus. 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; 615
    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.
    The abuse of greatness is, when it disjoins
    Remorse from power: and, to speak truth of Caesar, 620
    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. 625
    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 colour for the thing he is, 630
    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. 635

Re-enter LUCIUS

  • Lucius. 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. 640

Gives him the letter

  • Brutus. Get you to bed again; it is not day.
    Is not to-morrow, boy, the ides of March?
  • Brutus. Look in the calendar, and bring me word. 645


  • Brutus. The exhalations whizzing in the air
    Give so much light that I may read by them.
    [Opens the letter and reads] 650
    '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. 655
    '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 660
    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!

Re-enter LUCIUS

  • Lucius. Sir, March is wasted fourteen days. 665

Knocking within

  • Brutus. 'Tis good. Go to the gate; somebody knocks.
    [Exit LUCIUS]
    Since Cassius first did whet me against Caesar,
    I have not slept. 670
    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, 675
    Like to a little kingdom, suffers then
    The nature of an insurrection.

Re-enter LUCIUS

  • Lucius. Sir, 'tis your brother Cassius at the door,
    Who doth desire to see you. 680
  • Lucius. No, sir, there are moe with him.
  • Lucius. No, sir; their hats are pluck'd about their ears,
    And half their faces buried in their cloaks, 685
    That by no means I may discover them
    By any mark of favour.
  • Brutus. Let 'em enter.
    [Exit LUCIUS]
    They are the faction. O conspiracy, 690
    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: 695
    For if thou path, thy native semblance on,
    Not Erebus itself were dim enough
    To hide thee from prevention.
    [Enter the conspirators, CASSIUS, CASCA, DECIUS
  • Cassius. I think we are too bold upon your rest:
    Good morrow, Brutus; do we trouble you?
  • Brutus. I have been up this hour, awake all night.
    Know I these men that come along with you?
  • Cassius. Yes, every man of them, and no man here 705
    But honours you; and every one doth wish
    You had but that opinion of yourself
    Which every noble Roman bears of you.
    This is Trebonius.
  • Brutus. He is welcome hither. 710
  • Cassius. This, Casca; this, Cinna; and this, Metellus Cimber.
  • Brutus. They are all welcome.
    What watchful cares do interpose themselves 715
    Betwixt your eyes and night?

BRUTUS and CASSIUS whisper

  • Cinna. O, pardon, sir, it doth; and yon gray lines
    That fret the clouds are messengers of day.
  • Casca. 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, 725
    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.
  • Brutus. Give me your hands all over, one by one. 730
  • Cassius. And let us swear our resolution.
  • Brutus. 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; 735
    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, 740
    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, 745
    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 750
    The even virtue of our enterprise,
    Nor the 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, 755
    Is guilty of a several bastardy,
    If he do break the smallest particle
    Of any promise that hath pass'd from him.
  • Cassius. But what of Cicero? shall we sound him?
    I think he will stand very strong with us. 760
  • Casca. Let us not leave him out.
  • Metellus Cimber. O, let us have him, for his silver hairs
    Will purchase us a good opinion
    And buy men's voices to commend our deeds: 765
    It shall be said, his judgment ruled our hands;
    Our youths and wildness shall no whit appear,
    But all be buried in his gravity.
  • Brutus. O, name him not: let us not break with him;
    For he will never follow any thing 770
    That other men begin.
  • Casca. Indeed he is not fit.
  • Cassius. Decius, well urged: I think it is not meet, 775
    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, 780
    Let Antony and Caesar fall together.
  • Brutus. 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: 785
    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, 790
    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, 795
    Stir up their servants to an act of rage,
    And after seem to chide 'em. This shall make
    Our purpose necessary and not envious:
    Which so appearing to the common eyes,
    We shall be call'd purgers, not murderers. 800
    And for Mark Antony, think not of him;
    For he can do no more than Caesar's arm
    When Caesar's head is off.
  • Cassius. Yet I fear him;
    For in the ingrafted love he bears to Caesar— 805
  • Brutus. 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. 810
  • Trebonius. There is no fear in him; let him not die;
    For he will live, and laugh at this hereafter.

Clock strikes

  • Brutus. Peace! count the clock.
  • Cassius. The clock hath stricken three. 815
  • Cassius. But it is doubtful yet,
    Whether Caesar will come forth to-day, or no;
    For he is superstitious grown of late,
    Quite from the main opinion he held once 820
    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. 825
  • Decius Brutus. 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; 830
    But when I tell him he hates flatterers,
    He says he does, being then most flattered.
    Let me work;
    For I can give his humour the true bent,
    And I will bring him to the Capitol. 835
  • Cassius. Nay, we will all of us be there to fetch him.
  • Brutus. By the eighth hour: is that the uttermost?
  • Cinna. Be that the uttermost, and fail not then.
  • Metellus Cimber. Caius Ligarius doth bear Caesar hard,
    Who rated him for speaking well of Pompey: 840
    I wonder none of you have thought of him.
  • Brutus. Now, good Metellus, go along by him:
    He loves me well, and I have given him reasons;
    Send him but hither, and I'll fashion him.
  • Cassius. The morning comes upon 's: we'll leave you, Brutus. 845
    And, friends, disperse yourselves; but all remember
    What you have said, and show yourselves true Romans.
  • Brutus. Good gentlemen, look fresh and merrily;
    Let not our looks put on our purposes,
    But bear it as our Roman actors do, 850
    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: 855
    Thou hast no figures nor no fantasies,
    Which busy care draws in the brains of men;
    Therefore thou sleep'st so sound.


  • Brutus. 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.
  • Portia. Nor for yours neither. You've ungently, Brutus,
    Stole from my bed: and yesternight, at supper, 865
    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, 870
    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 875
    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 880
    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.
  • Brutus. I am not well in health, and that is all.
  • Portia. Brutus is wise, and, were he not in health, 885
    He would embrace the means to come by it.
  • Brutus. Why, so I do. Good Portia, go to bed.
  • Portia. Is Brutus sick? and is it physical
    To walk unbraced and suck up the humours
    Of the dank morning? What, is Brutus sick, 890
    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 offence within your mind, 895
    Which, by the right and virtue of my place,
    I ought to know of: and, upon my knees,
    I charm you, by my once-commended beauty,
    By all your vows of love and that great vow
    Which did incorporate and make us one, 900
    That you unfold to me, yourself, your half,
    Why you are heavy, and what men to-night
    Have had to resort to you: for here have been
    Some six or seven, who did hide their faces
    Even from darkness. 905
  • Brutus. Kneel not, gentle Portia.
  • 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 910
    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. 915
  • Brutus. You are my true and honourable wife,
    As dear to me as are the ruddy drops
    That visit my sad heart
  • Portia. If this were true, then should I know this secret.
    I grant I am a woman; but withal 920
    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? 925
    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? 930
  • Brutus. O ye gods,
    Render me worthy of this noble wife!
    [Knocking within]
    Hark, hark! one knocks: Portia, go in awhile;
    And by and by thy bosom shall partake 935
    The secrets of my heart.
    All my engagements I will construe to thee,
    All the charactery of my sad brows:
    Leave me with haste.
    [Exit PORTIA] 940
    Lucius, who's that knocks?


  • Lucius. He is a sick man that would speak with you.
  • Brutus. Caius Ligarius, that Metellus spake of.
    Boy, stand aside. Caius Ligarius! how? 945
  • Ligarius. Vouchsafe good morrow from a feeble tongue.
  • Brutus. O, what a time have you chose out, brave Caius,
    To wear a kerchief! Would you were not sick!
  • Ligarius. I am not sick, if Brutus have in hand
    Any exploit worthy the name of honour. 950
  • Brutus. Such an exploit have I in hand, Ligarius,
    Had you a healthful ear to hear of it.
  • Ligarius. By all the gods that Romans bow before,
    I here discard my sickness! Soul of Rome!
    Brave son, derived from honourable loins! 955
    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?
  • Brutus. A piece of work that will make sick men whole. 960
  • Ligarius. But are not some whole that we must make sick?
  • Brutus. That must we also. What it is, my Caius,
    I shall unfold to thee, as we are going
    To whom it must be done.
  • Ligarius. Set on your foot, 965
    And with a heart new-fired I follow you,
    To do I know not what: but it sufficeth
    That Brutus leads me on.


. previous scene      

Act II, Scene 2

CAESAR’s house.

      next scene .

[Thunder and lightning. Enter CAESAR, in his night-gown]

  • Caesar. Nor heaven nor earth have been at peace to-night:
    Thrice hath Calpurnia in her sleep cried out,
    'Help, ho! they murder Caesar!' Who's within? 975

Enter a Servant

  • Caesar. Go bid the priests do present sacrifice
    And bring me their opinions of success.



  • Calpurnia. What mean you, Caesar? think you to walk forth?
    You shall not stir out of your house to-day.
  • Caesar. Caesar shall forth: the things that threaten'd me 985
    Ne'er look'd but on my back; when they shall see
    The face of Caesar, they are vanished.
  • Calpurnia. Caesar, I never stood on ceremonies,
    Yet now they fright me. There is one within,
    Besides the things that we have heard and seen, 990
    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 fought upon the clouds,
    In ranks and squadrons and right form of war, 995
    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, 1000
    And I do fear them.
  • Caesar. 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. 1005
  • Calpurnia. When beggars die, there are no comets seen;
    The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes.
  • Caesar. Cowards die many times before their deaths;
    The valiant never taste of death but once.
    Of all the wonders that I yet have heard. 1010
    It seems to me most strange that men should fear;
    Seeing that death, a necessary end,
    Will come when it will come.
    [Re-enter Servant]
    What say the augurers? 1015
  • Servant. 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.
  • Caesar. The gods do this in shame of cowardice:
    Caesar should be a beast without a heart, 1020
    If he should stay at home to-day 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: 1025
    And Caesar shall go forth.
  • Calpurnia. 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. 1030
    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.
  • Caesar. Mark Antony shall say I am not well,
    And, for thy humour, I will stay at home. 1035
    Here's Decius Brutus, he shall tell them so.
  • Decius Brutus. Caesar, all hail! good morrow, worthy Caesar:
    I come to fetch you to the senate-house.
  • Caesar. And you are come in very happy time, 1040
    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.
  • Caesar. Shall Caesar send a lie?
    Have I in conquest stretch'd mine arm so far,
    To be afraid to tell graybeards the truth?
    Decius, go tell them Caesar will not come.
  • Decius Brutus. Most mighty Caesar, let me know some cause, 1050
    Lest I be laugh'd at when I tell them so.
  • Caesar. 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: 1055
    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: 1060
    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.
  • Decius Brutus. This dream is all amiss interpreted;
    It was a vision fair and fortunate: 1065
    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. 1070
    This by Calpurnia's dream is signified.
  • Caesar. And this way have you well expounded it.
  • Decius Brutus. 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. 1075
    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 some one to say
    'Break up the senate till another time,
    When Caesar's wife shall meet with better dreams.' 1080
    If Caesar hide himself, shall they not whisper
    'Lo, Caesar is afraid'?
    Pardon me, Caesar; for my dear dear love
    To our proceeding bids me tell you this;
    And reason to my love is liable. 1085
  • Caesar. How foolish do your fears seem now, Calpurnia!
    I am ashamed I did yield to them.
    Give me my robe, for I will go.
    And look where Publius is come to fetch me.
  • Caesar. Welcome, Publius.
    What, Brutus, are you stirr'd so early too?
    Good morrow, Casca. Caius Ligarius, 1095
    Caesar was ne'er so much your enemy
    As that same ague which hath made you lean.
    What is 't o'clock?
  • Brutus. Caesar, 'tis strucken eight.
  • Caesar. I thank you for your pains and courtesy. 1100
    [Enter ANTONY]
    See! Antony, that revels long o' nights,
    Is notwithstanding up. Good morrow, Antony.
  • Antony. So to most noble Caesar.
  • Caesar. Bid them prepare within: 1105
    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. 1110
  • Trebonius. Caesar, I will:
    and so near will I be,
    That your best friends shall wish I had been further.
  • Caesar. Good friends, go in, and taste some wine with me; 1115
    And we, like friends, will straightway go together.
  • Brutus. [Aside] That every like is not the same, O Caesar,
    The heart of Brutus yearns to think upon!


. previous scene      

Act II, Scene 3

A street near the Capitol.

      next scene .

Enter ARTEMIDORUS, reading a paper

  • Artemidorus. '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 wronged Caius Ligarius.
    There is but one mind in all these men, and it is 1125
    bent against Caesar. If thou beest not immortal,
    look about you: security gives way to conspiracy.
    The mighty gods defend thee! Thy lover,
    Here will I stand till Caesar pass along, 1130
    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 mayst live;
    If not, the Fates with traitors do contrive. 1135


. previous scene      

Act II, Scene 4

Another part of the same street, before the house of BRUTUS.



  • Portia. I prithee, boy, run to the senate-house;
    Stay not to answer me, but get thee gone:
    Why dost thou stay? 1140
  • Lucius. To know my errand, madam.
  • Portia. I would have had thee there, and here again,
    Ere I can tell thee what thou shouldst do there.
    O constancy, be strong upon my side,
    Set a huge mountain 'tween my heart and tongue! 1145
    I have a man's mind, but a woman's might.
    How hard it is for women to keep counsel!
    Art thou here yet?
  • Lucius. Madam, what should I do?
    Run to the Capitol, and nothing else? 1150
    And so return to you, and nothing else?
  • Portia. 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? 1155
  • Portia. Prithee, listen well;
    I heard a bustling rumour, like a fray,
    And the wind brings it from the Capitol.
  • Lucius. Sooth, madam, I hear nothing. 1160

Enter the Soothsayer

  • Portia. Come hither, fellow: which way hast thou been?
  • Portia. Is Caesar yet gone to the Capitol?
  • Soothsayer. Madam, not yet: I go to take my stand,
    To see him pass on to the Capitol.
  • Portia. Thou hast some suit to Caesar, hast thou not?
  • Soothsayer. That I have, lady: if it will please Caesar 1170
    To be so good to Caesar as to hear me,
    I shall beseech him to befriend himself.
  • Portia. Why, know'st thou any harm's intended towards him?
  • Soothsayer. None that I know will be, much that I fear may chance.
    Good morrow to you. Here the street is narrow: 1175
    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. 1180


  • Portia. I must go in. Ay 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 1185
    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.

Exeunt severally