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XX.-Cassius instigating Brutus to join the Conspiracy against Cæsar.
HONOUR is the subject of my story.-
I cannot tell what you and other men
Think of this life; but for my single self,
I had as lief not be, as live to be
In awe of such a thing as I myself.
I was born free as Cæsar; so were you:
We both have fed as well and we can both
Endure the winter's cold as well as he.
For once upon a raw and gusty day,
The troubled Tiber chafing with his shores,
Cæsar says to me, "Dar'st thou, Cassius, now
Leap in with me into this angry flood,
And swim to yonder point?"-Upon the word,
Accoutred as I was, I plunged in,
And bade him follow; so indeed he did.
The torrent roar'd, and we did buffet it
With lusty sinews throwing it aside,
And stemming it with hearts of controversy.
But ere we could arrive at the point propos'd,
Cæsar cry'd, "Help me, Cassius, or I sink."
I, as Æneas, our great ancestor,
Did from the flames of Troy upon his shoulder
The old Anchises bear, so, from the waves of Tiber,
Did I the tired Cæsar; and this man
Is now become a god; and Cassius is
A wretched creature, and must bend his body
If Cæsar carelessly but nod on him.
He had a fever when he was in Spain,
And when the fit was on him, I did mark
How he did shake: 'tis true; this god did shake:
His coward lips did from their colour fly;
And that same eye, whose bend doth awe the world,
Did lose its lustre ; I did hear him groan:
Ay, and that tongue of his, that bade the Romans
Mark him and write his speeches in their books,
"Alas!" it cry'd-" Give me some drink, Titinius"-
As a sick girl. Ye gods, it doth amaze me,
A man of such a feeble temper should
So get the start of the majestic world,
And bear the palm alone.
Brutus and Cæsar!-What should be in that Cæsar?
Why should that name be sounded more than yours?
Write them together; yours is as fair a name:
Sound them; it doth become the mouth as well:
Weigh them; it is as heavy: conjure with 'em ;
Brutus will start a spirit as soon as Cæsar.
Now in the name of all the gods at once,
Upon what meats doth this our Cæsar feed,
That he has grown so great? Age, thou art asham'd;
Rome, thou hast lost the breed of noble bloods.
When went there by an age, since the great flood,
But it was fam'd with more than with one man?
When could they say, till now,
that talked of Rome,
That her wide walls encompassed but one man?
Oh! you and I have heard our fathers say,
There was a Brutus once, that would have brook'd
Th' infernal devil, to keep his state in Rome,
As easily as a king.
XXI.-Brutus' Harangue on the Death of Cæsar.
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. If there be any in this assembly, any dear friend of Cæsar's, to him, I say, that Brutus' love to Cæsar was no less than his. If, then, that friend demand why Brutus rose against Cæsar, this is my answer: Not that I loved Cæsar less, but that I loved Rome more. Had you rather Cæsar were living, and die all slaves; than that Cæsar were dead, to live all freemen? As Cæsar 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 slew him. There are tears for his love, joy for his fortune, honour for his valour, and death for his ambition.-Who's here so base that would be a bondman? if any, speak; for him I have offended. Who's here so rude, that would not be a Roman? if any, speak; for him I have of fended. Who's here so vile, that will not love his country? if any, speak; for him I have offended.-I pause for a reply
None! Then none have I offended.—I have done no more to Cæsar 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.
Here comes his body, mourn'd 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 good of Rome, I have the same dagger for myself, when it shall please my country to need my death.
XXII.—Antony's Oration over Cæsar's Body.
FRIENDS, Romans, Countrymen! Lend me your ears. I come to bury Cæsar, not to praise him. The evil that men do, lives after them; The good is oft interred with their bones: So let it be with Cæsar! Noble Brutus Hath told you, Cæsar was ambitious. If it were so, it was a grievous fault; And grievously hath Cæsar answer'd it. Here, under leave of Brutus, and the rest, (For Brutus is an honourable man, So are they all, all honourable men) Come I to speak in Cæsar's funeral.
He was my friend, faithful and just to me:
But Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honourable man.
He hath brought many captives home to Rome,
Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill:
Did this in Cæsar seem ambitious?
When that the poor have cried, Cæsar hath wept!
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;
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.
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 Cæsar;
And I must pause till it come back to me.
But yesterday the word, Cæsar, might
Have stood against the world! Now lies he there,
And none so poor to do him reverence.
O Masters! If I were dispos'd 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
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 Cæsar;
I found it in his closet: 'tis his will.
Let but the commons hear this testament,
(Which, pardon me, I do not mean to read)
And they would go and kiss dead Cæsar'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,
Bequeathing it, as a rich legacy,
Unto their issue.
If you have tears, prepare to shed them now.
You all do know this mantle : I remember
The first time ever Cæsar 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-
Through this the well beloved Brutus stabb'd;
And, as he pluck'd his cursed steel away,
Mark how the blood of Cæsar follow'd it!
This, this was the unkindest cut of all!
For when the noble Cæsar saw him stab,
Ingratitude, more strong than traitor's arms,
Quite vanquished him! Then burst his mighty heart,
And in his mantle muffling up his face,
E'en at the base of Pompey's statue,
(Which all the while ran blood) great Cæsar fell.
O what a fall was there, my countrymen!
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 behold
Our Cæsar's vesture wounded? Look ye here!-
Here is himself-marr'd, as you see, by traitors.
Good friends! Sweet friends! Let me not stir you up To any sudden flood of mutiny!
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 reason answer you.
I come not, friends, to steal away your hearts!
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,
Action, nor utterance, nor 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 Cæsar's wounds, poor, poor, dumb mouths,
And bid them speak for me. But, were I Brutus,
And Brutus Antony, there were an Antony
Would ruffle up your spirits, and put a tongue
In every wound of Cæsar, that should move
The stones of Rome to rise and mutiny.
XXIII.-Falstaff's Soliloquy on Honour.
OWE heaven a death! "Tis not due yet; and I would be loth to pay him before his day. What need I be so forward with him that calls not on me? Well, 'tis no matterhonour pricks me on. But how, if honour pricks me off when I come on? How then? Can honour set to a leg? No; or an arm? No; or take away the grief of a wound? No. Honour hath no skill in surgery, then? No. What is honour? A word. What is that word honour? Air; a trim reckoning. Who hath it? He that died a Wednesday. Doth he feel it? No. Doth he hear it? No. Is it insensible then? Yea, to the dead. But will it not live with the living? No. Why? Detraction will not suffer it. Therefore, I'll none of it. Honour is a mere 'scutcheon-and so ends my catechism.
XXIV.-Part of Richard III's Soliloquy, the night preceding the Battle of Bosworth.
'Tis now the dead of night, and half the world
Is with a lonely solemn darkness hung;
Yet I (so coy a dame is sleep to me)
With all the weary courtship of
My care-tir'd thoughts, can't win her to my bed,
Though e'en the stars do wink, as 'twere, with overwatching.
I'll forth, and walk awhile. The air's refreshing,
And the ripe harvest of the new-mown hay
Gives it a sweet and wholesome odour.
How awful is this gloom! And hark! from camp to camp
The hum of either army stilly sounds,
That the fix'd sentinels almost receive
The secret whispers of each other's watch!
Steed threatens steed in high and boasting neighings,
Piercing the night's dull ear. Hark! From the tents,
The armorers, accomplishing the knights,
With clink of hammers closing rivets up,
Give dreadful note of preparation: while some,
Like sacrifices, by their fires of watch,
With patience sit, and inly ruminate
The morning's danger. By yon Heaven, my stern
Impatience chides this tardy-gaited night,
Who, like a foul and ugly witch, does limp
So tediously away. I'll to my couch,
And once more try to sleep her into morning.
XXV.—The World compared to a Stage.
ALL the world's a stage;
And all the men and women, merely players.
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man, in his time, plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first, the Infant;