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So vile a thing as Cæsar! But, O grief !
I perhaps speak this
Before a willing bondman: then I know
My answer must be made : but I'm prepar'd,
And dangers are to me indifferent. [Casca.] You speak to Casca ; and
such a one
As 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.
[Cassius.] There's a bargain made.
Now, know you, Casca, I have mov'd already
Some certain of the noblest-minded Romans,
To undergo with me an enterprise
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 nor walking in the streets ;
And the complexion of the elements
Is like unto the work we have in hand,
Most bloody, fiery, and terrible.
[Casca.] O Cassius ! if the brother of your wife,
The noble Brutus, could be brought to join us,
So high he sits in all the people's hearts,
That, what in us might seem offence, his countenance
Would turn to virtue and to worthiness. [Cassius.] Him and his worth, and our great need of him,
You have right well conceited. Yet ere day
We'll see him at his house : three parts of him
Are ours already, and the man entire
Upon the next encounter yields him ours.
Go, lay this paper in the prætor's chair
Where Brutus may but find it : and throw this
In at his window : this, set up with wax
Upon old Brutus' statue : all this done,
Repair to Pompey's porch, where you shall find us.
We do not follow the conspirators to their conference, but go before them to the house of Brutus : he is alone in his garden. [Brutus.] 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.-
Awake, I say! What, Lucius! Oh, you a're come:
Get me a taper in my study, Lucius :
When it is lighted, come and call me here.
It must be by his death : and, for my part,
I know no perso'nal 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.
Greatness is then misus'd, when it disjoins
Pity from power : yet, to speak truth of Cæsar,
I have not known the time his passions sway'd
More than his reason. But 'tis common proof,
That lowliness is young 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
By which he did ascend : so Cæsar may;
Then lest it may,-prevent.
And, siuce the quarrel
Will bear no colour for the thing he is,
Fashion it thus, that what he is, augmented,
Would run to 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.- Lucius, what now ? [Lucius.] The taper burneth in your closet, sir.
Searching the window for a flint, I found
(Brutus.] Get you to bed again; it is not day.
Is not to-morrow, boy, the ides of March ?
[Lucius.] I know not, sir.
[Brutus.] Look in the calendar, and bring me word.-
The exhalations whizzing in the air,
Give so much light that I may read by them.
“Brutus, thou sleep'st; awake, and see thyself:
Shall Rome,-et cetera : speak, strike, redress!
Brutus thou sleep’st; awake !”—
Such instigations have been often dropp'd
When I have taken them up.
“ Shall Rome,-et cetera ?” Thus must I piece it-
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 receiv'st
Thy full petition at the hand of Brutus.
-Now, Lucius, what says the calendar ? [Lucius.] Sir, March is wasted fourteen days. [Brutus.] 'Tis good.—Go to the gate ; somebody knocks.
Since Cassius first
Did whet me against Cæsar, I've not slept.
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,
Like to a little kingdom, suffers then
The nature of an insurrection.-Well,
Who is at the door ?
[Lucius.] Sir, your brother Cassius,
Who doth desire to see you. [Brutus.] Is he alone ? [Lucius.] No, sir ; there are more with him.
[Brutus.] Do you know them ? [Lucius.] No, sir.
They have their faces buried in their cloaks. [Brutus.] Well, let them enter.— conspiracy,
Sham’st thou to show thy dangerous brow by night?
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,
Or Erebus will not be dim enough
To hide thee from prevention. Cassius enters, and with him several men with their faces muffled in their gowns : Cassius speaks : [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
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 ; this, Decimus Brutus ;
This is Casca, this is Metellus Cimber,
And this is Cinna.
[Brutus.] Welcome; they are all welcome!
Cassius takes Brutus aside, and detains him some minutes in whispered conference: Brutus then comes to the rest, and speaks :
Give me your hands all over, one by one.
[Cassius.] And let us swear-
[Brutus.] No, Cassius, not an oath ;
No other bond
Than honesty to honesty engag'd,
That this shall be, or we will fall by it.
Swear knaves, and cowards, and such suffering souls
As welcome wrongs; unto bad causes swear
Such creatures as men doubt; but do not stain
The even virtue of our enterprise
To think that or our cause or our performance
Doth need an oath; when every drop of blood
That every Roman bears, and nobly bears,
Is guilty of a several bastardy,
If he do break the smallest particle
Of any promise that hath pass'd his lips. (Cassius.] But what of Cicéro did you say, Metellus ? [Metellus.] That we should sound him ; for his silver hairs
Will purchase us a good opinion,
And buy men's voices to commend our deeds;
It shall be said his judgement rul’d our hands.
What is the advice of Brutus ? [Brutus.] Not to break with him ;
For he will never follow anything,
That other men begin; pray, leave him out. [Casca.] Shall no man else be touch'd but only Cæsar ? [Cassius.] Casca, well urg’d: I do not think it meet,
Mark Antony, so well belov'd of Cæsar,
Should outlive Cæsar : we shall find in him
A shrewd contriver; and, to make sure prevention,
Let Antony and Cæsar 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 afterward :
Let us be sacrificers, but not butchers, Caius.
We all stand up against the spi'rit of Cæsar ;
And in the spirit of man, there is no blood.
Oh, that we then could come by Cæsar's spirit,
And not dismember Cæsar! But, alas,
Cæsar 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,