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William Shakespeare (1564–1616). The Oxford Shakespeare. 1914.

Act III. Scene II.

Julius Cæsar

The Same.The Forum.

Enter BRUTUS and CASSIUS, and a throng of Citizens.

Citizens.We will be satisfied: let us be satisfied.

Bru.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;

Those that will follow Cassius, go with him;

And public reasons shall be rendered

Of Cæsar’s death.

First Cit.I will hear Brutus speak.

Sec. Cit.I will hear Cassius; and compare their reasons,

When severally we hear them rendered.[Exit CASSIUS, with some of the Citizens; BRUTUS goes into the pulpit.

Third Cit.The noble Brutus is ascended: silence!

Bru.Be patient till the last.

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 free men? 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 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 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.

Citizens.None, Brutus, none.

Bru.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.

Enter ANTONY and Others, with CÆSAR’S body.

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 common wealth; 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.

Citizens.Live, Brutus! live! live!

First Cit.Bring him with triumph home unto his house.

Sec. Cit.Give him a statue with his ancestors.

Third Cit.Let him be Cæsar.

Fourth Cit.Cæsar’s better parts

Shall be crown’d in Brutus.

First Cit.We’ll bring him to his house with shouts and clamours.

Bru.My countrymen,—

Sec. Cit.Peace! silence! Brutus speaks.

First Cit.Peace, ho!

Bru.Good countrymen, let me depart alone,

And, for my sake, stay here with Antony.

Do grace to Cæsar’s corpse, and grace his speech

Tending to Cæsar’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.[Exit.

First Cit.Stay, ho! and let us hear Mark Antony.

Third Cit.Let him go up into the public chair;

We’ll hear him. Noble Antony, go up.

Ant.For Brutus’ sake, I am beholding to you.[Goes up.

Fourth Cit.What does he say of Brutus?

Third Cit.He says, for Brutus’ sake,

He finds himself beholding to us all.

Fourth Cit.’Twere best he speak no harm of Brutus here.

First Cit.This Cæsar was a tyrant.

Third Cit.Nay, that’s certain:

We are bless’d that Rome is rid of him.

Sec. Cit.Peace! let us hear what Antony can say.

Ant.You gentle Romans,—

Citizens.Peace, ho! let us hear him.

Ant.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. The 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.

First Cit.Methinks there is much reason in his sayings.

Sec. Cit.If thou consider rightly of the matter,

Cæsar has had great wrong.

Third Cit.Has he, masters?

I fear there will a worse come in his place.

Fourth Cit.Mark’d ye his words? He would not take the crown;

Therefore ’tis certain he was not ambitious.

First Cit.If it be found so, some will dear abide it.

Sec. Cit.Poor soul! his eyes are red as fire with weeping.

Third Cit.There’s not a nobler man in Rome than Antony.

Fourth Cit.Now mark him; he begins again to speak.

Ant.But yesterday the word of 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.

Fourth Cit.We’ll hear the will: read it, Mark Antony.

Citizens.The will, the will! we will hear Cæsar’s will.

Ant.Have patience, gentle friends; I must not read it:

It is not meet you know how Cæsar lov’d you.

You are not wood, you are not stones, but men;

And, being men, hearing the will of Cæsar,

It will inflame you, it will make you mad.

’Tis good you know not that you are his heirs;

For if you should, O! what would come of it.

Fourth Cit.Read the will! we’ll hear it, Antony;

You shall read us the will, Cæsar’s will.

Ant.Will you be patient? Will you stay awhile?

I have o’ershot myself to tell you of it.

I fear I wrong the honourable men

Whose daggers have stabb’d Cæsar; I do fear it.

Fourth Cit.They were traitors: honourable men!

Citizens.The will! the testament!

Sec. Cit.They were villains, murderers. The will! read the will.

Ant.You will compel me then to read the will?

Then make a ring about the corpse of Cæsar,

And let me show you him that made the will.

Shall I descend? and will you give me leave?

Citizens.Come down.

Sec. Cit.Descend.[ANTONY comes down.

Third Cit.You shall have leave.

Fourth Cit.A ring; stand round.

First Cit.Stand from the hearse; stand from the body.

Sec. Cit.Room for Antony; most noble Antony.

Ant.Nay, press not so upon me; stand far off.

Citizens.Stand back! room! bear back!

Ant.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,

As rushing out of doors, to be resolv’d

If Brutus so unkindly knock’d or no;

For Brutus, as you know, was Cæsar’s angel:

Judge, O you gods! how dearly Cæsar lov’d him.

This was the most unkindest cut of all;

For when the noble Cæsar saw him stab,

Ingratitude, more strong than traitors’ arms,

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 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 but behold

Our Cæsar’s vesture wounded? Look you here,

Here is himself, marr’d, as you see, with traitors.

First Cit.O piteous spectacle!

Sec. Cit.O noble Cæsar!

Third Cit.O woeful day!

Fourth Cit.O traitors! villains!

First Cit.O most bloody sight!

Sec. Cit.We will be revenged.


Fire!—Kill!—Slay! Let not a traitor live.

Ant.Stay, countrymen!

First Citizen.Peace there! Hear the noble Antony.

Sec. Cit.We’ll hear him, we’ll follow him, we’ll die with him.

Ant.Good friends, sweet friends, let me not stir you up

To such a 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 reasons 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 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 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.

Citizens.We’ll mutiny.

First Cit.We’ll burn the house of Brutus.

Third Cit.Away, then! come, seek the conspirators.

Ant.Yet hear me, countrymen; yet hear me speak.

Citizens.Peace, ho!—Hear Antony,—most noble Antony.

Ant.Why, friends, you go to do you know not what.

Wherein hath Cæsar thus deserv’d your loves?

Alas! you know not: I must tell you then.

You have forgot the will I told you of.

Citizens.Most true. The will! let’s stay and hear the will.

Ant.Here is the will, and under Cæsar’s seal.

To every Roman citizen he gives,

To every several man, seventy-five drachmas.

Sec. Cit.Most noble Cæsar! we’ll revenge his death.

Third Cit.O royal Cæsar!

Ant.Hear me with patience.

Citizens.Peace, ho!

Ant.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,

To walk abroad, and recreate yourselves.

Here was a Cæsar! when comes such another?

First Cit.Never, never! Come, away, away!

We’ll burn his body in the holy place,

And with the brands fire the traitors’ houses.

Take up the body.

Sec. Cit.Go fetch fire.

Third Cit.Pluck down benches.

Fourth Cit.Pluck down forms, windows, any thing.[Exeunt Citizens, with the body.

Ant.Now let it work: mischief, thou art afoot,

Take thou what course thou wilt!

Enter a Servant.

How now, fellow!

Serv.Sir, Octavius is already come to Rome.

Ant.Where is he?

Serv.He and Lepidus are at Cæsar’s house.

Ant.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.

Serv.I heard him say Brutus and Cassius

Are rid like madmen through the gates of Rome.

Ant.Belike they had some notice of the people,

How I had mov’d them. Bring me to Octavius.[Exeunt.