Page images

Nor airless dungeon, nor strong links of iron,
Can be retentive to the strength of spirit;
But life, being weary of these worldly bars,
Never lacks power to dismiss itself.
If I know this, know all the world besides,
That part of tyranny, that I do bear,
I can shake off at pleasure.

Casca. So can I :
So every bondman in his own hand bears
The power to cancel his captivity.

Cas. And why should Cæsar be a tyrant then?
Poor man! I know, he would not be a wolf,
But that he sees the Romans are but sheep:
He were no lion, were not Romans hinds.8
Those that with haste will make a mighty fire,
Begin it with weak straws: What trash is Rome,
What rubbish, and what offal, when it serves.
For the base matter to illuminate
So vile a thing as Cæsar? But, O, grief!
Where hast thou led me? I, perhaps, speak this
Before a willing bondman: then I know
My answer must be made : But I am arm’d,
And dangers are to me indifferent.

Casca. You speak to Casca ; and to such a man, That is no fleering tell-tale. Hold' my hand : Be factious' for redress of all these griefs ; And I will set this foot of mine as far, As who goes farthest. Cas.

There's a bargain made. Now know you, Casca, I have moy'd already

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

Some certain of the noblest-minded Romans,
To undergo, with me, an enterprize
Of honourable-dangerous consequence;
And I do know, by this, they stay for me
In Pompey's porch : for now, this fearful night,
There is no stir, or walking in the streets ;
And the complexion of the element,
Is favour'd, 2 like the work we have in hand,
Most bloody, fiery, and most terrible.

Enter CINNA.
Casca. Stand close awhile, for here comes one in

haste. Cas. 'Tis Cinna, I do know him by his gait;3 He is a friend.-Cinna, where haste you so ?

Cin. To find out you: Who's that? Metellus Cimber?

Cas. No, it is Casca ; one incorporate
To our attempts. Am I not staid for, Cinna?

Cin. I am glad on't. What a fearful night is this? There's two or three of us have seen strange sights.

Cas. Am I not staid for, Cinna? Tell me.

You are. O, Cassius, if you could but win
The noble Brutus to our party-

Cas. Be you content: Good Cinna, take this paper,
And look you lay it in the prætor's chair,
Where Brutus may but find it; and throw this
In at his window : set this up with wax
Upon old Brutus' statue : all this done,
Repair to Pompey's porch, where you shall find us.
Is Decius Brutus, and Trebonius, there?


2 Resembles.

3 Air of walking.

Cin. All but Metellus Cimber ; and he's gone
To seek you at your house. Well, I will hie,
And so bestow these papers as you bade me.
Cas. That done, repair to Pompey's theatre.

[Exit CINNA.
Come, Casca, you and I will, yet, ere day,
See Brutus at his house: three parts of him
Is ours already; and the man entire,
Upon the next encounter, yields him ours.

Casca. O, he sits high, in all the people's hearts : And that, which would appear offence in us, His countenance, like richest alchymy, Will change to virtue, and to worthiness.

Cas. Him, and his worth, and our great need of him, You have right well conceited. Let us go, For it is after midnight ; and, ere day, We will awake him, and be sure of him. [Exeunt.


SCENE I. The same.

Brutus's Orchard.


Bru. What, Lucius! ho !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 ? 4 Awake, I say : What Lucius!

4 An exclamation of impatience.

Enter LUCIUS. Luc. Call’d you, my lord ?

Bru. Get me a taper in my study, Lucius : When it is lighted, come and call me here. Luc. I will, my lord.

[Erit. Bru. 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; 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 Remorses from power: And, to speak truth of Cæsar, I have not known when his affections sway'd More than his reason. But 'tis a common proof, That lowliness is

ambition's ladder, Whereto the climber-upward turns his face: But when he once attains the upmost round, He then unto the ladder-turns his back, Looks in the clouds, scorning the base degrees 7 By which he did ascend : So Cæsar may; Then, lest he may, prevent. And, since the quarrel Will bear no colour for the thing he is, 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 mis


chievous; And kill him in the shell. s Pity, tenderness. 6 Experience. 7 Low steps. & Nature.

Re-enter Lucius.
Luc. The taper burneth in your closet, sir.
Searching the window for a flint, I found

thus seal'd up; and, I am sure, It did not lie there, when I went to bed.

Bru. Get you to bed again, it is not day.
Is not to-morrow, boy, the ides of March?

Luc. I know not, sir.
Bru. Look in the calendar, and bring me word.
Luc. I will, sir.

(Exit. Bru. The exhalations, whizzing in the air, Give so much light, that I may read by them.

[Opens the Letter, and Reads. Brutus, thou sleep'st; awake, and see thyself. Shall Rome, fc. Speak, strike, redress! Brutus, thou sleep'st ; awake, Such instigations have been often dropp'd Where I have took them up. 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 then 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 !

[ocr errors]

Re-enter LUCIUS.
Luc. Sir, March is wasted fourteen days.

[Knock within, Bru. 'Tis good. Go to the gate; somebody knocks.


« PreviousContinue »