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The Tragedy of Julius Caesar

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Act III, Scene 2

The Forum.


Enter BRUTUS and CASSIUS, and a throng of Citizens

  • Citizens. We will be satisfied; let us be satisfied.
  • Brutus. Then follow me, and give me audience, friends.
    Cassius, go you into the other street,
    And part the numbers.
    Those that will hear me speak, let 'em stay here; 1535
    Those that will follow Cassius, go with him;
    And public reasons shall be rendered
    Of Caesar's death.
  • First Citizen. I will hear Brutus speak.
  • Second Citizen. I will hear Cassius; and compare their reasons, 1540
    When severally we hear them rendered.
    [Exit CASSIUS, with some of the Citizens. BRUTUS
    goes into the pulpit]
  • Third Citizen. The noble Brutus is ascended: silence!
  • Brutus. Be patient till the last. 1545
    Romans, countrymen, and lovers! hear me for my
    cause, and be silent, that you may hear: believe me
    for mine honour, and have respect to mine honour, that
    you may believe: censure me in your wisdom, and
    awake your senses, that you may the better judge. 1550
    If there be any in this assembly, any dear friend of
    Caesar's, to him I say, that Brutus' love to Caesar
    was no less than his. If then that friend demand
    why Brutus rose against Caesar, this is my answer:
    —Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved 1555
    Rome more. Had you rather Caesar were living and
    die all slaves, than that Caesar were dead, to live
    all free men? As Caesar loved me, I weep for him;
    as he was fortunate, I rejoice at it; as he was
    valiant, I honour him: but, as he was ambitious, I 1560
    slew him. There is tears for his love; joy for his
    fortune; honour for his valour; and death for his
    ambition. Who is here so base that would be a
    bondman? If any, speak; for him have I offended.
    Who is here so rude that would not be a Roman? If 1565
    any, speak; for him have I offended. Who is here so
    vile that will not love his country? If any, speak;
    for him have I offended. I pause for a reply.
  • All. None, Brutus, none.
  • Brutus. Then none have I offended. I have done no more to 1570
    Caesar than you shall do to Brutus. The question of
    his death is enrolled in the Capitol; his glory not
    extenuated, wherein he was worthy, nor his offences
    enforced, for which he suffered death.
    [Enter ANTONY and others, with CAESAR's body] 1575
    Here comes his body, mourned by Mark Antony: who,
    though he had no hand in his death, shall receive
    the benefit of his dying, a place in the
    commonwealth; as which of you shall not? With this
    I depart,—that, as I slew my best lover for the 1580
    good of Rome, I have the same dagger for myself,
    when it shall please my country to need my death.
  • All. Live, Brutus! live, live!
  • First Citizen. Bring him with triumph home unto his house.
  • Second Citizen. Give him a statue with his ancestors. 1585
  • Third Citizen. Let him be Caesar.
  • Fourth Citizen. Caesar's better parts
    Shall be crown'd in Brutus.
  • First Citizen. We'll bring him to his house
    With shouts and clamours. 1590
  • Brutus. My countrymen,—
  • Second Citizen. Peace, silence! Brutus speaks.
  • First Citizen. Peace, ho!
  • Brutus. Good countrymen, let me depart alone,
    And, for my sake, stay here with Antony: 1595
    Do grace to Caesar's corpse, and grace his speech
    Tending to Caesar's glories; which Mark Antony,
    By our permission, is allow'd to make.
    I do entreat you, not a man depart,
    Save I alone, till Antony have spoke. 1600


  • First Citizen. Stay, ho! and let us hear Mark Antony.
  • Third Citizen. Let him go up into the public chair;
    We'll hear him. Noble Antony, go up.
  • Antony. For Brutus' sake, I am beholding to you. 1605

Goes into the pulpit

  • Fourth Citizen. What does he say of Brutus?
  • Third Citizen. He says, for Brutus' sake,
    He finds himself beholding to us all.
  • Fourth Citizen. 'Twere best he speak no harm of Brutus here. 1610
  • First Citizen. This Caesar was a tyrant.
  • Third Citizen. Nay, that's certain:
    We are blest that Rome is rid of him.
  • Second Citizen. Peace! let us hear what Antony can say.
  • Antony. You gentle Romans,— 1615
  • Citizens. Peace, ho! let us hear him.
  • Antony. Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
    I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.
    The evil that men do lives after them;
    The good is oft interred with their bones; 1620
    So let it be with Caesar. The noble Brutus
    Hath told you Caesar was ambitious:
    If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
    And grievously hath Caesar answer'd it.
    Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest— 1625
    For Brutus is an honourable man;
    So are they all, all honourable men—
    Come I to speak in Caesar's funeral.
    He was my friend, faithful and just to me:
    But Brutus says he was ambitious; 1630
    And Brutus is an honourable man.
    He hath brought many captives home to Rome
    Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill:
    Did this in Caesar seem ambitious?
    When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept: 1635
    Ambition should be made of sterner stuff:
    Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
    And Brutus is an honourable man.
    You all did see that on the Lupercal
    I thrice presented him a kingly crown, 1640
    Which he did thrice refuse: was this ambition?
    Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
    And, sure, he is an honourable man.
    I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke,
    But here I am to speak what I do know. 1645
    You all did love him once, not without cause:
    What cause withholds you then, to mourn for him?
    O judgment! thou art fled to brutish beasts,
    And men have lost their reason. Bear with me;
    My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar, 1650
    And I must pause till it come back to me.
  • First Citizen. Methinks there is much reason in his sayings.
  • Second Citizen. If thou consider rightly of the matter,
    Caesar has had great wrong.
  • Third Citizen. Has he, masters? 1655
    I fear there will a worse come in his place.
  • Fourth Citizen. Mark'd ye his words? He would not take the crown;
    Therefore 'tis certain he was not ambitious.
  • First Citizen. If it be found so, some will dear abide it.
  • Second Citizen. Poor soul! his eyes are red as fire with weeping. 1660
  • Third Citizen. There's not a nobler man in Rome than Antony.
  • Fourth Citizen. Now mark him, he begins again to speak.
  • Antony. But yesterday the word of Caesar might
    Have stood against the world; now lies he there.
    And none so poor to do him reverence. 1665
    O masters, if I were disposed to stir
    Your hearts and minds to mutiny and rage,
    I should do Brutus wrong, and Cassius wrong,
    Who, you all know, are honourable men:
    I will not do them wrong; I rather choose 1670
    To wrong the dead, to wrong myself and you,
    Than I will wrong such honourable men.
    But here's a parchment with the seal of Caesar;
    I found it in his closet, 'tis his will:
    Let but the commons hear this testament— 1675
    Which, pardon me, I do not mean to read—
    And they would go and kiss dead Caesar's wounds
    And dip their napkins in his sacred blood,
    Yea, beg a hair of him for memory,
    And, dying, mention it within their wills, 1680
    Bequeathing it as a rich legacy
    Unto their issue.
  • Fourth Citizen. We'll hear the will: read it, Mark Antony.
  • All. The will, the will! we will hear Caesar's will.
  • Antony. Have patience, gentle friends, I must not read it; 1685
    It is not meet you know how Caesar loved you.
    You are not wood, you are not stones, but men;
    And, being men, bearing the will of Caesar,
    It will inflame you, it will make you mad:
    'Tis good you know not that you are his heirs; 1690
    For, if you should, O, what would come of it!
  • Fourth Citizen. Read the will; we'll hear it, Antony;
    You shall read us the will, Caesar's will.
  • Antony. Will you be patient? will you stay awhile?
    I have o'ershot myself to tell you of it: 1695
    I fear I wrong the honourable men
    Whose daggers have stabb'd Caesar; I do fear it.
  • Fourth Citizen. They were traitors: honourable men!
  • All. The will! the testament!
  • Second Citizen. They were villains, murderers: the will! read the will. 1700
  • Antony. You will compel me, then, to read the will?
    Then make a ring about the corpse of Caesar,
    And let me show you him that made the will.
    Shall I descend? and will you give me leave?
  • Several Citizens. Come down. 1705
  • Second Citizen. Descend.
  • Third Citizen. You shall have leave.

ANTONY comes down

  • Fourth Citizen. A ring; stand round.
  • First Citizen. Stand from the hearse, stand from the body. 1710
  • Second Citizen. Room for Antony, most noble Antony.
  • Antony. Nay, press not so upon me; stand far off.
  • Several Citizens. Stand back; room; bear back.
  • Antony. If you have tears, prepare to shed them now.
    You all do know this mantle: I remember 1715
    The first time ever Caesar put it on;
    'Twas on a summer's evening, in his tent,
    That day he overcame the Nervii:
    Look, in this place ran Cassius' dagger through:
    See what a rent the envious Casca made: 1720
    Through this the well-beloved Brutus stabb'd;
    And as he pluck'd his cursed steel away,
    Mark how the blood of Caesar follow'd it,
    As rushing out of doors, to be resolved
    If Brutus so unkindly knock'd, or no; 1725
    For Brutus, as you know, was Caesar's angel:
    Judge, O you gods, how dearly Caesar loved him!
    This was the most unkindest cut of all;
    For when the noble Caesar saw him stab,
    Ingratitude, more strong than traitors' arms, 1730
    Quite vanquish'd him: then burst his mighty heart;
    And, in his mantle muffling up his face,
    Even at the base of Pompey's statua,
    Which all the while ran blood, great Caesar fell.
    O, what a fall was there, my countrymen! 1735
    Then I, and you, and all of us fell down,
    Whilst bloody treason flourish'd over us.
    O, now you weep; and, I perceive, you feel
    The dint of pity: these are gracious drops.
    Kind souls, what, weep you when you but behold 1740
    Our Caesar's vesture wounded? Look you here,
    Here is himself, marr'd, as you see, with traitors.
  • First Citizen. O piteous spectacle!
  • Second Citizen. O noble Caesar!
  • Third Citizen. O woful day! 1745
  • Fourth Citizen. O traitors, villains!
  • First Citizen. O most bloody sight!
  • Second Citizen. We will be revenged.
  • All. Revenge! About! Seek! Burn! Fire! Kill! Slay!
    Let not a traitor live! 1750
  • Antony. Stay, countrymen.
  • First Citizen. Peace there! hear the noble Antony.
  • Second Citizen. We'll hear him, we'll follow him, we'll die with him.
  • Antony. Good friends, sweet friends, let me not stir you up
    To such a sudden flood of mutiny. 1755
    They that have done this deed are honourable:
    What private griefs they have, alas, I know not,
    That made them do it: they are wise and honourable,
    And will, no doubt, with reasons answer you.
    I come not, friends, to steal away your hearts: 1760
    I am no orator, as Brutus is;
    But, as you know me all, a plain blunt man,
    That love my friend; and that they know full well
    That gave me public leave to speak of him:
    For I have neither wit, nor words, nor worth, 1765
    Action, nor utterance, nor the power of speech,
    To stir men's blood: I only speak right on;
    I tell you that which you yourselves do know;
    Show you sweet Caesar's wounds, poor poor dumb mouths,
    And bid them speak for me: but were I Brutus, 1770
    And Brutus Antony, there were an Antony
    Would ruffle up your spirits and put a tongue
    In every wound of Caesar that should move
    The stones of Rome to rise and mutiny.
  • All. We'll mutiny. 1775
  • First Citizen. We'll burn the house of Brutus.
  • Third Citizen. Away, then! come, seek the conspirators.
  • Antony. Yet hear me, countrymen; yet hear me speak.
  • All. Peace, ho! Hear Antony. Most noble Antony!
  • Antony. Why, friends, you go to do you know not what: 1780
    Wherein hath Caesar thus deserved your loves?
    Alas, you know not: I must tell you then:
    You have forgot the will I told you of.
  • All. Most true. The will! Let's stay and hear the will.
  • Antony. Here is the will, and under Caesar's seal. 1785
    To every Roman citizen he gives,
    To every several man, seventy-five drachmas.
  • Second Citizen. Most noble Caesar! We'll revenge his death.
  • Third Citizen. O royal Caesar!
  • Antony. Hear me with patience. 1790
  • All. Peace, ho!
  • Antony. Moreover, he hath left you all his walks,
    His private arbours and new-planted orchards,
    On this side Tiber; he hath left them you,
    And to your heirs for ever, common pleasures, 1795
    To walk abroad, and recreate yourselves.
    Here was a Caesar! when comes such another?
  • First Citizen. Never, never. Come, away, away!
    We'll burn his body in the holy place,
    And with the brands fire the traitors' houses. 1800
    Take up the body.
  • Second Citizen. Go fetch fire.
  • Third Citizen. Pluck down benches.
  • Fourth Citizen. Pluck down forms, windows, any thing.

Exeunt Citizens with the body

  • Antony. Now let it work. Mischief, thou art afoot,
    Take thou what course thou wilt!
    [Enter a Servant]
    How now, fellow!
  • Servant. Sir, Octavius is already come to Rome. 1810
  • Antony. Where is he?
  • Servant. He and Lepidus are at Caesar's house.
  • Antony. And thither will I straight to visit him:
    He comes upon a wish. Fortune is merry,
    And in this mood will give us any thing. 1815
  • Servant. I heard him say, Brutus and Cassius
    Are rid like madmen through the gates of Rome.
  • Antony. Belike they had some notice of the people,
    How I had moved them. Bring me to Octavius.