Rome. A public place.
(Caesar; Antony; Calphurnia; Portia; Decius; Cicero; Brutus; Cassius; Casca; Citizens; Soothsayer; Murellus; Flavius)
Caesar and his suite enter. Antony is dressed running the Lupercal race. Caesar reminds him to touch Calphurnia as he runs, as this may cure her barrenness. A soothsayer cries out and warns Caesar to beware the Ides of March, but the great man pays him no heed. Cassius talks to Brutus when the latter chooses not to view the races. He has noticed that Brutus is not happy of late. Cassius reminds him that his ancestor freed Rome from the tyranny of the monarchy. Brutus, who loves Caesar, nevertheless fears that the mob might acclaim him king, which he could not stand; Cassius, on the other hand, is sharply envious of Caesar’s elevation, pointing out that he is only a man, in many ways a weak man, but is being turned into a god by the people. Caesar leaves the forum and admits to Antony that he is weary of Cassius. Casca tells Cassius and Brutus how Caesar was offered a crown but, to the people’s delight, rejected it, though it seemed clear he hoped they would encourage him to take it, and fell down in a fit. They arrange to meet again the next day; Casca mentions that Flavius and Murellus have been arrested. Cassius sees that he will have to do more to make Brutus take action, and plans to send him letters written in various hands urging him to take down Caesar. (284 lines)
Enter Caesar, Antony for the course, Calphurnia, Portia, Decius, Cicero, Brutus, Cassius, Casca, Citizens, and a Soothsayer; after them Murellus and Flavius.
Peace ho, Caesar speaks.
Here, my lord.
Stand you directly in Antonio’s way
When he doth run his course. Antonio!
Caesar, my lord?
Forget not in your speed, Antonio,
To touch Calphurnia; for our elders say,
The barren, touched in this holy chase,
Shake off their sterile curse.
I shall remember:
When Caesar says, “Do this,” it is perform’d.
Set on, and leave no ceremony out.
Ha? Who calls?
Bid every noise be still; peace yet again!
Who is it in the press that calls on me?
I hear a tongue shriller than all the music
Cry “Caesar!” Speak, Caesar is turn’d to hear.
Beware the ides of March.
What man is that?
A soothsayer bids you beware the Ides of March.
Set him before me, let me see his face.
Fellow, come from the throng, look upon Caesar.
What say’st thou to me now? Speak once again.
Beware the Ides of March.
He is a dreamer, let us leave him. Pass.
Exeunt. Manent Brutus and Cassius.
Will you go see the order of the course?
I pray you do.
I am not gamesome; I do lack some part
Of that quick spirit that is in Antony.
Let me not hinder, Cassius, your desires;
I’ll leave you.
Brutus, I do observe you now of late;
I have not from your eyes that gentleness
And show of love as I was wont to have.
You bear too stubborn and too strange a hand
Over your friend that loves you.
Be not deceiv’d. If I have veil’d my look,
I turn the trouble of my countenance
Merely upon myself. Vexed I am
Of late with passions of some difference,
Conceptions only proper to myself,
Which give some soil, perhaps, to my behaviors;
But let not therefore my good friends be griev’d
(Among which number, Cassius, be you one),
Nor construe any further my neglect,
Than that poor Brutus, with himself at war,
Forgets the shows of love to other men.
Then, Brutus, I have much mistook your passion,
By means whereof this breast of mine hath buried
Thoughts of great value, worthy cogitations.
Tell me, good Brutus, can you see your face?
No, Cassius; for the eye sees not itself
But by reflection, by some other things.
And it is very much lamented, Brutus,
That you have no such mirrors as will turn
Your hidden worthiness into your eye,
That you might see your shadow. I have heard
Where many of the best respect in Rome
(Except immortal Caesar), speaking of Brutus
And groaning underneath this age’s yoke,
Have wish’d that noble Brutus had his eyes.
Into what dangers would you lead me, Cassius,
That you would have me seek into myself
For that which is not in me?
Therefore, good Brutus, be prepar’d to hear;
And since you know you cannot see yourself
So well as by reflection, I, your glass,
Will modestly discover to yourself
That of yourself which you yet know not of.
And be not jealous on me, gentle Brutus:
Were I a common laughter, or did use
To stale with ordinary oaths my love
To every new protester; if you know
That I do fawn on men and hug them hard,
And after scandal them; or if you know
That I profess myself in banqueting
To all the rout, then hold me dangerous.
Flourish and shout.
What means this shouting? I do fear the people
Choose Caesar for their king.
Ay, do you fear it?
Then must I think you would not have it so.
I would not, Cassius, yet I love him well.
But wherefore do you hold me here so long?
What is it that you would impart to me?
If it be aught toward the general good,
Set honor in one eye and death i’ th’ other,
And I will look on both indifferently;
For let the gods so speed me as I love
The name of honor more than I fear death.
I know that virtue to be in you, Brutus,
As well as I do know your outward favor.
Well, honor 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 Caesar, 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 her shores,
Caesar said 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 the point propos’d,
Caesar cried, “Help me, Cassius, or I sink!”
I, as Aeneas, 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 Caesar. And this man
Is now become a god, and Cassius is
A wretched creature, and must bend his body
If Caesar 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 color fly,
And that same eye whose bend doth awe the world
Did lose his 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 cried, “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.
Another general shout!
I do believe that these applauses are
For some new honors that are heap’d on Caesar.
Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world
Like a Colossus, and we petty men
Walk under his huge legs, and peep about
To find ourselves dishonorable graves.
Men at some time are masters of their fates;
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.
Brutus and Caesar: what should be in that “Caesar”?
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 “Caesar.”
Now in the names of all the gods at once,
Upon what meat doth this our Caesar feed
That he is grown so great? Age, thou art sham’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 talk’d of Rome,
That her wide walks encompass’d but one man?
Now is it Rome indeed and room enough,
When there is in it but one only man.
O! You and I have heard our fathers say
There was a Brutus once that would have brook’d
Th’ eternal devil to keep his state in Rome
As easily as a king.
That you do love me, I am nothing jealous;
What you would work me to, I have some aim.
How I have thought of this, and of these times,
I shall recount hereafter. For this present,
I would not (so with love I might entreat you)
Be any further mov’d. What you have said
I will consider; what you have to say
I will with patience hear, and find a time
Both meet to hear and answer such high things.
Till then, my noble friend, chew upon this:
Brutus had rather be a villager
Than to repute himself a son of Rome
Under these hard conditions as this time
Is like to lay upon us.
I am glad that my weak words
Have struck but thus much show of fire from Brutus.
Enter Caesar and his Train.
The games are done, and Caesar is returning.
As they pass by, pluck Casca by the sleeve,
And he will (after his sour fashion) tell you
What hath proceeded worthy note today.
I will do so. But look you, Cassius,
The angry spot doth glow on Caesar’s brow,
And all the rest look like a chidden train:
Calphurnia’s cheek is pale, and Cicero
Looks with such ferret and such fiery eyes
As we have seen him in the Capitol,
Being cross’d in conference by some senators.
Casca will tell us what the matter is.
Let me have men about me that are fat,
Sleek-headed men and such as sleep a-nights.
Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look,
He thinks too much; such men are dangerous.
Fear him not, Caesar, he’s not dangerous,
He is a noble Roman, and well given.
Would he were fatter! But I fear him not.
Yet if my name were liable to fear,
I do not know the man I should avoid
So soon as that spare Cassius. He reads much,
He is a great observer, and he looks
Quite through the deeds of men. He loves no plays,
As thou dost, Antony; he hears no music;
Seldom he smiles, and smiles in such a sort
As if he mock’d himself, and scorn’d his spirit
That could be mov’d to smile at any thing.
Such men as he be never at heart’s ease
Whiles they behold a greater than themselves,
And therefore are they very dangerous.
I rather tell thee what is to be fear’d
Than what I fear; for always I am Caesar.
Come on my right hand, for this ear is deaf,
And tell me truly what thou think’st of him.
Sennet. Exeunt Caesar and his Train. Casca stays.
You pull’d me by the cloak, would you speak with me?
Ay, Casca, tell us what hath chanc’d today
That Caesar looks so sad.
Why, you were with him, were you not?
I should not then ask Casca what had chanc’d.
Why, there was a crown offer’d him; and being offer’d him, he put it by with the back of his hand thus, and then the people fell a-shouting.
What was the second noise for?
Why, for that too.
They shouted thrice; what was the last cry for?
Why, for that too.
Was the crown offer’d him thrice?
Ay, marry, was’t, and he put it by thrice, every time gentler than other; and at every putting-by mine honest neighbors shouted.
Who offer’d him the crown?
Tell us the manner of it, gentle Casca.
I can as well be hang’d as tell the manner of it: it was mere foolery, I did not mark it. I saw Mark Antony offer him a crown—yet ’twas not a crown neither, ’twas one of these coronets—and as I told you, he put it by once; but for all that, to my thinking, he would fain have had it. Then he offer’d it to him again; then he put it by again; but, to my thinking, he was very loath to lay his fingers off it. And then he offer’d it the third time; he put it the third time by; and still as he refus’d it, the rabblement howted, and clapp’d their chopp’d hands, and threw up their sweaty night-caps, and utter’d such a deal of stinking breath because Caesar refus’d the crown, that it had, almost, chok’d Caesar, for he swounded, and fell down at it; and for mine own part, I durst not laugh, for fear of opening my lips and receiving the bad air.
But soft I pray you; what, did Caesar swound?
He fell down in the market-place, and foam’d at mouth, and was speechless.
’Tis very like, he hath the falling sickness.
No, Caesar hath it not; but you, and I,
And honest Casca, we have the falling sickness.
I know not what you mean by that, but I am sure Caesar fell down. If the tag-rag people did not clap him and hiss him, according as he pleas’d and displeas’d them, as they use to do the players in the theatre, I am no true man.
What said he when he came unto himself?
Marry, before he fell down, when he perceiv’d the common herd was glad he refus’d the crown, he pluck’d me ope his doublet, and offer’d them his throat to cut. And I had been a man of any occupation, if I would not have taken him at a word, I would I might go to hell among the rogues. And so he fell. When he came to himself again, he said, if he had done or said any thing amiss, he desir’d their worships to think it was his infirmity. Three or four wenches, where I stood, cried, “Alas, good soul!” and forgave him with all their hearts. But there’s no heed to be taken of them; if Caesar had stabb’d their mothers, they would have done no less.
And after that, he came thus sad away?
Did Cicero say any thing?
Ay, he spoke Greek.
To what effect?
Nay, and I tell you that, I’ll ne’er look you i’ th’ face again. But those that understood him smil’d at one another, and shook their heads; but, for mine own part, it was Greek to me. I could tell you more news too. Murellus and Flavius, for pulling scarfs off Caesar’s images, are put to silence. Fare you well. There was more foolery yet, if I could remember it.
Will you sup with me tonight, Casca?
No, I am promis’d forth.
Will you dine with me tomorrow?
Ay, if I be alive, and your mind hold, and your dinner worth the eating.
Good, I will expect you.
Do so. Farewell both.
What a blunt fellow is this grown to be!
He was quick mettle when he went to school.
So is he now in execution
Of any bold or noble enterprise,
However he puts on this tardy form.
This rudeness is a sauce to his good wit,
Which gives men stomach to digest his words
With better appetite.
And so it is. For this time I will leave you;
Tomorrow, if you please to speak with me,
I will come home to you; or, if you will,
Come home to me, and I will wait for you.
I will do so; till then, think of the world.
Well, Brutus, thou art noble; yet I see
Thy honorable mettle may be wrought
From that it is dispos’d; therefore it is meet
That noble minds keep ever with their likes;
For who so firm that cannot be seduc’d?
Caesar doth bear me hard, but he loves Brutus.
If I were Brutus now and he were Cassius,
He should not humor me. I will this night,
In several hands, in at his windows throw,
As if they came from several citizens,
Writings, all tending to the great opinion
That Rome holds of his name; wherein obscurely
Caesar’s ambition shall be glanced at.
And after this let Caesar seat him sure,
For we will shake him, or worse days endure.