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

Act III. Scene I.

Julius Cæsar

Rome.Before the Capitol; the Senate sitting above.


Cæs.[To the Soothsayer.]The ides of March are come.

Sooth.Ay, Cæsar; but not gone.

Art.Hail, Cæsar! Read this schedule.

Dec.Trebonius doth desire you to o’er-read,

At your best leisure, this his humble suit.

Art.O Cæsar! read mine first; for mine’s a suit

That touches Cæsar nearer. Read it, great Cæsar.

Cæs.What touches us ourself shall be last serv’d.

Art.Delay not, Cæsar; read it instantly.

Cæs.What! is the fellow mad?

Pub.Sirrah, give place.

Cæs.What! urge you your petitions in the street?

Come to the Capitol.

CÆSAR goes up to the Senate-House, the rest following.All the Senators rise.

Pop.I wish your enterprise to-day may thrive.

Cas.What enterprise, Popilius?

Pop.Fare you well.[Advances to CÆSAR.

Bru.What said Popilius Lena?

Cas.He wish’d to-day our enterprise might thrive.

I fear our purpose is discovered.

Bru.Look, how he makes to Cæsar: mark him.

Cas.Casca, be sudden, for we fear prevention.

Brutus, what shall be done? If this be known,

Cassius or Cæsar never shall turn back,

For I will slay myself.

Bru.Cassius, be constant:

Popilius Lena speaks not of our purposes;

For, look, he smiles, and Cæsar doth not change.

Cas.Trebonius knows his time; for, look you, Brutus,

He draws Mark Antony out of the way.[Exeunt ANTONY and TREBONIUS.CÆSAR and the Senators take their seats.

Dec.Where is Metellus Cimber? Let him go,

And presently prefer his suit to Cæsar.

Bru.He is address’d; press near and second him.

Cin.Casca, you are the first that rears your hand.

Casca.Are we all ready? What is now amiss,

That Cæsar and his senate must redress?

Met.Most high, most mighty, and most puissant Cæsar,

Metellus Cimber throws before thy seat

A humble heart,—[Kneeling.

Cæs.I must prevent thee, Cimber.

These couchings and these lowly courtesies,

Might fire the blood of ordinary men,

And turn pre-ordinance and first decree

Into the law of children. Be not fond,

To think that Cæsar bears such rebel blood

That will be thaw’d from the true quality

With that which melteth fools; I mean sweet words,

Low-crooked curtsies, and base spaniel fawning.

Thy brother by decree is banished:

If thou dost bend and pray and fawn for him,

I spurn thee like a cur out of my way.

Know, Cæsar doth not wrong, nor without cause

Will he be satisfied.

Met.Is there no voice more worthy than my own,

To sound more sweetly in great Cæsar’s ear

For the repealing of my banish’d brother?

Bru.I kiss thy hand, but not in flattery, Cæsar;

Desiring thee, that Publius Cimber may

Have an immediate freedom of repeal.

Cæs.What, Brutus!

Cas.Pardon, Cæsar; Cæsar, pardon:

As low as to thy foot doth Cassius fall,

To beg enfranchisement for Publius Cimber.

Cæs.I could be well mov’d if I were as you;

If I could pray to move, prayers would move me;

But I am constant as the northern star,

Of whose true-fix’d and resting quality

There is no fellow in the firmament.

The skies are painted with unnumber’d sparks,

They are all fire and every one doth shine,

But there’s but one in all doth hold his place:

So, in the world; ’tis furnish’d well with men,

And men are flesh and blood, and apprehensive;

Yet in the number I do know but one

That unassailable holds on his rank,

Unshak’d of motion: and that I am he,

Let me a little show it, even in this,

That I was constant Cimber should be banish’d,

And constant do remain to keep him so.

Cin.O Cæsar,—

Cæs.Hence! Wilt thou lift up Olympus!

Dec.Great Cæsar,—

Cæs.Doth not Brutus bootless kneel?

Casca.Speak, hands, for me![They stab Cæsar.

Cæs.Et tu, Brute? Then fall, Cæsar![Dies.

Cin.Liberty! Freedom! Tyranny is dead!

Run hence, proclaim, cry it about the streets.

Cas.Some to the common pulpits, and cry out,

‘Liberty, freedom, and enfranchisement!’

Bru.People and senators be not affrighted;

Fly not; stand still; ambition’s debt is paid.

Casca.Go to the pulpit, Brutus.

Dec.And Cassius too.

Bru.Where’s Publius?

Cin.Here, quite confounded with this mutiny.

Met.Stand fast together, lest some friend of Cæsar’s

Should chance—

Bru.Talk not of standing. Publius, good cheer;

There is no harm intended to your person,

Nor to no Roman else; so tell them, Publius.

Cas.And leave us, Publius; lest that the people,

Rushing on us, should do your age some mischief.

Bru.Do so; and let no man abide this deed

But we the doers.


Cas.Where’s Antony?

Tre.Fled to his house amaz’d.

Men, wives and children stare, cry out and run

As it were doomsday.

Bru.Fates, we will know your pleasures.

That we shall die, we know; ’tis but the time

And drawing days out, that men stand upon.

Casca.Why, he that cuts off twenty years of life

Cuts off so many years of fearing death.

Bru.Grant that, and then is death a benefit:

So are we Cæsar’s friends, that have abridg’d

His time of fearing death. Stoop, Romans, stoop,

And let us bathe our hands in Cæsar’s blood

Up to the elbows, and besmear our swords:

Then walk we forth, even to the market-place;

And waving our red weapons o’er our heads,

Let’s all cry, ‘Peace, freedom, and liberty!’

Cas.Stoop, then, and wash. How many ages hence

Shall this our lofty scene be acted o’er,

In states unborn and accents yet unknown!

Bru.How many times shall Cæsar bleed in sport,

That now on Pompey’s basis lies along

No worthier than the dust!

Cas.So oft as that shall be,

So often shall the knot of us be call’d

The men that gave their country liberty.

Dec.What! shall we forth?

Cas.Ay, every man away:

Brutus shall lead; and we will grace his heels

With the most boldest and best hearts of Rome.

Enter a Servant.

Bru.Soft! who comes here? A friend of Antony’s.

Serv.Thus, Brutus, did my master bid me kneel;

Thus did Mark Antony bid me fall down;

And, being prostrate, thus he bade me say:

Brutus is noble, wise, valiant, and honest;

Cæsar was mighty, bold, royal, and loving:

Say I love Brutus, and I honour him;

Say I fear’d Cæsar, honour’d him, and lov’d him.

If Brutus will vouchsafe that Antony

May safely come to him, and be resolv’d

How Cæsar hath deserv’d to lie in death,

Mark Antony shall not love Cæsar dead

So well as Brutus living; but will follow

The fortunes and affairs of noble Brutus

Thorough the hazards of this untrod state

With all true faith. So says my master Antony.

Bru.Thy master is a wise and valiant Roman;

I never thought him worse.

Tell him, so please him come unto this place,

He shall be satisfied; and, by my honour,

Depart untouch’d.

Serv.I’ll fetch him presently.[Exit.

Bru.I know that we shall have him well to friend.

Cas.I wish we may: but yet have I a mind

That fears him much; and my misgiving still

Falls shrewdly to the purpose.

Re-enter ANTONY.

Bru.But here comes Antony. Welcome, Mark Antony.

Ant.O mighty Cæsar! dost thou lie so low?

Are all thy conquests, glories, triumphs, spoils,

Shrunk to this little measure? Fare thee well.

I know not, gentlemen, what you intend,

Who else must be let blood, who else is rank:

If I myself, there is no hour so fit

As Cæsar’s death’s hour, nor no instrument

Of half that worth as those your swords, made rich

With the most noble blood of all this world.

I do beseech ye, if ye bear me hard,

Now, whilst your purpled hands do reek and smoke,

Fulfil your pleasure. Live a thousand years,

I shall not find myself so apt to die:

No place will please me so, no mean of death,

As here by Cæsar, and by you cut off,

The choice and master spirits of this age.

Bru.O Antony! beg not your death of us.

Though now we must appear bloody and cruel,

As, by our hands and this our present act,

You see we do, yet see you but our hands

And this the bleeding business they have done:

Our hearts you see not; they are pitiful;

And pity to the general wrong of Rome—

As fire drives out fire, so pity pity—

Hath done this deed on Cæsar. For your part,

To you our swords have leaden points, Mark Antony;

Our arms, in strength of malice, and our hearts

Of brothers’ temper, do receive you in

With all kind love, good thoughts, and reverence.

Cas.Your voice shall be as strong as any man’s

In the disposing of new dignities.

Bru.Only be patient till we have appeas’d

The multitude, beside themselves with fear,

And then we will deliver you the cause

Why I, that did love Cæsar when I struck him,

Have thus proceeded.

Ant.I doubt not of your wisdom.

Let each man render me his bloody hand:

First, Marcus Brutus, will I shake with you;

Next, Caius Cassius, do I take your hand;

Now, Decius Brutus, yours; now yours, Metellus;

Yours, Cinna; and, my valiant Casca, yours;

Though last, not least in love, yours, good Trebonius.

Gentlemen all,—alas! what shall I say?

My credit now stands on such slippery ground,

That one of two bad ways you must conceit me,

Either a coward or a flatterer.

That I did love thee, Cæsar, O! ’tis true:

If then thy spirit look upon us now,

Shall it not grieve thee dearer than thy death,

To see thy Antony making his peace,

Shaking the bloody fingers of thy foes,

Most noble! in the presence of thy corse?

Had I as many eyes as thou hast wounds,

Weeping as fast as they stream forth thy blood,

It would become me better than to close

In terms of friendship with thine enemies.

Pardon me, Julius! Here wast thou bay’d, brave hart;

Here didst thou fall; and here thy hunters stand,

Sign’d in thy spoil, and crimson’d in thy leth

O world! thou wast the forest to this hart;

And this, indeed, O world! the heart of thee.

How like a deer, strucken by many princes,

Dost thou here lie!

Cas.Mark Antony,—

Ant.Pardon me, Caius Cassius:

The enemies of Cæsar shall say this;

Then, in a friend, it is cold modesty.

Cas.I blame you not for praising Cæsar so;

But what compact mean you to have with us?

Will you be prick’d in number of our friends,

Or shall we on, and not depend on you?

Ant.Therefore I took your hands, but was indeed

Sway’d from the point by looking down on Cæsar.

Friends am I with you all, and love you all,

Upon this hope, that you shall give me reasons

Why and wherein Cæsar was dangerous.

Bru.Or else were this a savage spectacle.

Our reasons are so full of good regard

That were you, Antony, the son of Cæsar,

You should be satisfied.

Ant.That’s all I seek:

And am moreover suitor that I may

Produce his body to the market place;

And in the pulpit, as becomes a friend,

Speak in the order of his funeral.

Bru.You shall, Mark Antony.

Cas.Brutus, a word with you.

[Aside to BRUTUS.]You know not what you do; do not consent

That Antony speak in his funeral:

Know you how much the people may be mov’d

By that which he will utter?

Bru.By your pardon;

I will myself into the pulpit first,

And show the reason of our Cæsar’s death:

What Antony shall speak, I will protest

He speaks by leave and by permission,

And that we are contented Cæsar shall

Have all true rites and lawful ceremonies.

It shall advantage more than do us wrong.

Cas.I know not what may fall; I like it not.

Bru.Mark Antony, here, take you Cæsar’s body.

You shall not in your funeral speech blame us,

But speak all good you can devise of Cæsar,

And say you do ’t by our permission;

Else shall you not have any hand at all

About his funeral; and you shall speak

In the same pulpit whereto I am going,

After my speech is ended.

Ant.Be it so;

I do desire no more.

Bru.Prepare the body then, and follow us.[Exeunt all but ANTONY.

Ant.O! pardon me, thou bleeding piece of earth,

That I am meek and gentle with these butchers;

Thou art the ruins of the noblest man

That ever lived in the tide of times.

Woe to the hand that shed this costly blood;

Over thy wounds now do I prophesy,

Which like dumb mouths do ope their ruby lips,

To beg the voice and utterance of my tongue,

A curse shall light upon the limbs of men;

Domestic fury and fierce civil strife

Shall cumber all the parts of Italy;

Blood and destruction shall be so in use,

And dreadful objects so familiar,

That mothers shall but smile when they behold

Their infants quarter’d with the hands of war;

All pity chok’d with custom of fell deeds:

And Cæsar’s spirit, ranging for revenge,

With Ate by his side come hot from hell,

Shall in these confines with a monarch’s voice

Cry ‘Havoc!’ and let slip the dogs of war;

That this foul deed shall smell above the earth

With carrion men, groaning for burial.

Enter a Servant.

You serve Octavius Cæsar, do you not?

Serv.I do, Mark Antony.

Ant.Cæsar did write for him to come to Rome.

Serv.He did receive his letters, and is coming;

And bid me say to you by word of mouth—[Seeing the body.

O Cæsar!—

Ant.Thy heart is big, get thee apart and weep.

Passion, I see, is catching; for mine eyes,

Seeing those beads of sorrow stand in thine,

Began to water. Is thy master coming?

Serv.He lies to-night within seven leagues of Rome.

Ant.Post back with speed, and tell him what hath chanc’d:

Here is a mourning Rome, a dangerous Rome,

No Rome of safety for Octavius yet;

Hie hence and tell him so. Yet, stay awhile;

Thou shalt not back till I have borne this corpse

Into the market-place; there shall I try,

In my oration, how the people take

The cruel issue of these bloody men;

According to the which thou shalt discourse

To young Octavius of the state of things.

Lend me your hand.[Exeunt, with CÆSAR’S body.