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Bru. I will do so :-But, look you, Cassius,
Cas. Casca will tell us what the matter is.
Cæs. Let me have men about me that are fat;
Ant. Fear him not, Cæsar, he's not dangerous 16: He is a noble Roman, and well given.
Cæs. 'Would he were fatter:- But I fear him not: Yet if
my name were liable to fear,
Cassius. He reads much;
16 • When Cæsar's friends complained unto him of Antonius and Dolabella, that they pretended some mischief towards him, he answered, As for those fat men and smooth-combed heads (quoth he), I never reckon of them; but these pale-visaged and carrion-lean people, I fear them most; meaning Brutus and Cassius.'-North’s Plutarch, 1579.
And in another place:— Cæsar had Cassius in great jealousy, and suspected him much; whereapon he said on a time to his friends, What will Cassius do, think you? I like not his pale looks.'
17 Shakspeare considered this as an infallible mark of an austere disposition. The reader will remember the passage in, The Merchant of Venice so often quoted:
• The man who hath no music in himself
That could be mov'd to smile at any thing.
behind. Casca. You pulld me by the cloak; Would you speak with me?
Bru. Ay, Casca; tell us what bath chanc'd to-day, That Cæsar looks so sad.
Casca. Why you were with him, were you not? Bru. I should not then ask Casca what hath
chanc'd. Casca. Why, there was a crown offer'd him 18 and being offer'd him, he put it by with the back of his hand, thus; and then the people fell a' shouting.
Bru. What was the second noise for?
Casca. Why, for that too.
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.
Cas. Who offered him the crown?
18 Thus in the old translation of Plutarch: '
he came to Cæsar, and presented him a diadem wreathed about with laurel.'
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 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 time; he put it the third time by: and still as he refused it, the rabblement hooted, and clapped their chopped hands, and threw up their sweaty night-caps, and uttered such a deal of stinking breath because Cæsar refused the crown, that it had almost choked Cæsar; for he swooned, 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. Cas. But, soft, I pray you: What? did Cæsar
swoon? Casca. He fell down in the market-place, and foamed at mouth, and was speechless.
Bru. 'Tis very like: he hath the falling-sickness.
Cas. No, Cæsar 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, Cæsar 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 19 man.
Bru. What said he, when he came unto himself?
Casca. Marry, before he fell down, when he perceiv'd 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
19 i.e. no honest man.
man of any occupation 20, if I would not have taken him at a word, 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 soul!-and forgave him with all their hearts: But there's no heed to be taken of them; if Cæsar had stabbed their mothers, they would have done no less.
Bru. And after that, he came, thus sad,
Casca. Nay, an I tell you that, I'll ne'er look you i’ the face again: But those, that understood him, smiled at 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 Cæsar's images, are put to silence. Fare you well. There was more foolery yet, if I could remember it.
Cas. Will you sup with me to-night, Casca ?
Casca. Ay, if I be alive, and your mind hold, and your dinner worth the eating.
Cas. Good; I will expect you. Casca. Do so: Farewell, both. [Erit CASCA. 20 * Had I been a mechanic, one of the plebeians to whom he offered his throat.' So in Coriolanus :
You have made good work,
The breath of garlick-eaters.'
Bru. What a blunt fellow is this grown to be? He was quick mettle, when he went to school.
Cas. So he is now, in execution
Bru. And so it is. For this time I will leave you:
[Erit BRUTUS. Well, Brutus, thou art noble; yet, I see, Thy honourable metal may be wrought From that it is disposed 21: Therefore 'tis meet That noble minds keep ever with their likes : For who so firm, that cannot be seduc'd ? Cæsar doth bear me hard 22 ; but he loves Brutus: If I were Brutus now, and he were Cassius, He should not humour me 23. 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 Cæsar's ambition shall be glanced at: And, after this, let Cæsar seat him sure; For we will shake him, or worse days endure.
[Erit. 21 • The best metal or temper may be worked into qualities contrary to its disposition, or what it is disposed to.'
22 • Has an unfavourable opinion of me.' The same phrase occurs again in the first scene of Act iji.
23 I think Warburton's explanation of this passage the true one :-'If I were Brutus (said he), and Brutus Cassius, he should not cajole me as I do him.' To humour signifies to turn and wind by inflaming his passions.