Before Brutus’s tent.
(Brutus; Cassius; Poet; Lucilius; Titinius; Lucius; Messala; Varrus; Claudio; Ghost of Caesar)
Cassius reproves Brutus for paying no attention to his letters begging for mercy on a friend; Brutus accuses him of taking bribes. Brutus cannot abide this, as it ruins the image of the conspirators as noble, ethical men, which he thinks their strongest point. The two quarrel bitterly, Cassius pointing out that he is the more experienced soldier. In the end they are reconciled. Brutus tells Cassius that Portia has committed suicide, and that his grief is only one of the cares pressing on him and making him short-tempered. They hear that the triumvirate has put to death possibly as many as a hundred senators. Other news informs them that the enemy is gathering at Philippi; Cassius would rather not fight there, but Brutus insists. Brutus has Lucius play him some music, but the servant is exhausted and falls asleep. The Ghost of Caesar appears, naming itself as Brutus’s evil spirit, and tells him that they will meet again at Philippi. Brutus seeks to see whether anybody else saw the ghost, but no-one has. (347 lines)
That you have wrong’d me doth appear in this:
You have condemn’d and noted Lucius Pella
For taking bribes here of the Sardians;
Wherein my letters, praying on his side,
Because I knew the man, was slighted off.
You wrong’d yourself to write in such a case.
In such a time as this it is not meet
That every nice offense should bear his comment.
Let me tell you, Cassius, you yourself
Are much condemn’d to have an itching palm,
To sell and mart your offices for gold
I, an itching palm?
You know that you are Brutus that speaks this,
Or, by the gods, this speech were else your last.
The name of Cassius honors this corruption,
And chastisement doth therefore hide his head.
Remember March, the ides of March remember:
Did not great Julius bleed for justice’ sake?
What villain touch’d his body, that did stab
And not for justice? What? Shall one of us,
That struck the foremost man of all this world
But for supporting robbers, shall we now
Contaminate our fingers with base bribes?
And sell the mighty space of our large honors
For so much trash as may be grasped thus?
I had rather be a dog, and bay the moon,
Than such a Roman.
Brutus, bait not me,
I’ll not endure it. You forget yourself
To hedge me in. I am a soldier, I,
Older in practice, abler than yourself
To make conditions.
Go to; you are not, Cassius.
I say you are not.
Urge me no more, I shall forget myself;
Have mind upon your health; tempt me no farther.
Away, slight man!
Hear me, for I will speak.
Must I give way and room to your rash choler?
Shall I be frighted when a madman stares?
O ye gods, ye gods, must I endure all this?
All this? Ay, more. Fret till your proud heart break;
Go show your slaves how choleric you are,
And make your bondmen tremble. Must I bouge?
Must I observe you? Must I stand and crouch
Under your testy humor? By the gods,
You shall digest the venom of your spleen
Though it do split you; for, from this day forth,
I’ll use you for my mirth, yea, for my laughter,
When you are waspish.
Is it come to this?
You say you are a better soldier:
Let it appear so; make your vaunting true,
And it shall please me well. For mine own part,
I shall be glad to learn of noble men.
You wrong me every way; you wrong me, Brutus:
I said an elder soldier, not a better.
Did I say “better”?
If you did, I care not.
When Caesar liv’d, he durst not thus have mov’d me.
Peace, peace, you durst not so have tempted him.
I durst not?
What? Durst not tempt him?
For your life you durst not.
Do not presume too much upon my love,
I may do that I shall be sorry for.
You have done that you should be sorry for.
There is no terror, Cassius, in your threats;
For I am arm’d so strong in honesty
That they pass by me as the idle wind,
Which I respect not. I did send to you
For certain sums of gold, which you denied me;
For I can raise no money by vile means.
By heaven, I had rather coin my heart
And drop my blood for drachmaes than to wring
From the hard hands of peasants their vile trash
By any indirection. I did send
To you for gold to pay my legions,
Which you denied me. Was that done like Cassius?
Should I have answer’d Caius Cassius so?
When Marcus Brutus grows so covetous
To lock such rascal counters from his friends,
Be ready, gods, with all your thunderbolts,
Dash him to pieces!
I denied you not.
I did not. He was but a fool that brought
My answer back. Brutus hath riv’d my heart.
A friend should bear his friend’s infirmities;
But Brutus makes mine greater than they are.
I do not, till you practice them on me.
You love me not.
I do not like your faults.
A friendly eye could never see such faults.
A flatterer’s would not, though they do appear
As huge as high Olympus.
Come, Antony, and young Octavius, come,
Revenge yourselves alone on Cassius,
For Cassius is a-weary of the world;
Hated by one he loves, brav’d by his brother,
Check’d like a bondman, all his faults observ’d,
Set in a note-book, learn’d, and conn’d by rote,
To cast into my teeth. O, I could weep
My spirit from mine eyes! There is my dagger,
And here my naked breast; within, a heart
Dearer than Pluto’s mine, richer than gold:
If that thou be’st a Roman, take it forth.
I, that denied thee gold, will give my heart:
Strike as thou didst at Caesar; for I know,
When thou didst hate him worst, thou lovedst him better
Than ever thou lovedst Cassius.
Sheathe your dagger.
Be angry when you will, it shall have scope;
Do what you will, dishonor shall be humor.
O Cassius, you are yoked with a lamb
That carries anger as the flint bears fire,
Who, much enforced, shows a hasty spark,
And straight is cold again.
Hath Cassius liv’d
To be but mirth and laughter to his Brutus,
When grief and blood ill-temper’d vexeth him?
When I spoke that, I was ill-temper’d too.
Do you confess so much? Give me your hand.
And my heart too.
What’s the matter?
Have not you love enough to bear with me,
When that rash humor which my mother gave me
Makes me forgetful?
Yes, Cassius, and from henceforth,
When you are over-earnest with your Brutus,
He’ll think your mother chides, and leave you so.
Enter a Poet to Lucilius and Titinius as they stand on guard.
Let me go in to see the generals.
There is some grudge between ’em; ’tis not meet
They be alone.
You shall not come to them.
Nothing but death shall stay me.
Brutus and Cassius step out of the tent.
How now? What’s the matter?
For shame, you generals! What do you mean?
Love, and be friends, as two such men should be,
For I have seen more years, I’m sure, than ye.
Ha, ha! How vildly doth this cynic rhyme!
Get you hence, sirrah; saucy fellow, hence!
Bear with him, Brutus, ’tis his fashion.
I’ll know his humor, when he knows his time.
What should the wars do with these jigging fools?
Away, away, be gone!
Lucilius and Titinius, bid the commanders
Prepare to lodge their companies tonight.
And come yourselves, and bring Messala with you
Immediately to us.
Exeunt Lucilius and Titinius.
To Lucius within.
Lucius, a bowl of wine!
Brutus and Cassius return into the tent.
I did not think you could have been so angry.
O Cassius, I am sick of many griefs.
Of your philosophy you make no use,
If you give place to accidental evils.
No man bears sorrow better. Portia is dead.
She is dead.
How scap’d I killing when I cross’d you so?
O insupportable and touching loss!
Upon what sickness?
Impatient of my absence,
And grief that young Octavius with Mark Antony
Have made themselves so strong—for with her death
That tidings came. With this she fell distract,
And (her attendants absent) swallow’d fire.
And died so?
O ye immortal gods!
Enter Boy Lucius with wine and tapers.
Speak no more of her. Give me a bowl of wine.
In this I bury all unkindness, Cassius.
My heart is thirsty for that noble pledge.
Fill, Lucius, till the wine o’erswell the cup;
I cannot drink too much of Brutus’ love.
Enter Titinius and Messala.
Come in, Titinius. Welcome, good Messala.
Now sit we close about this taper here,
And call in question our necessities.
Portia, art thou gone?
No more, I pray you.
Messala, I have here received letters
That young Octavius and Mark Antony
Come down upon us with a mighty power,
Bending their expedition toward Philippi.
Myself have letters of the self-same tenure.
With what addition?
That by proscription and bills of outlawry
Octavius, Antony, and Lepidus
Have put to death an hundred senators.
Therein our letters do not well agree;
Mine speak of seventy senators that died
By their proscriptions, Cicero being one.
Cicero is dead,
And by that order of proscription.
Had you your letters from your wife, my lord?
Nor nothing in your letters writ of her?
That, methinks, is strange.
Why ask you? Hear you aught of her in yours?
No, my lord.
Now as you are a Roman tell me true.
Then like a Roman bear the truth I tell:
For certain she is dead, and by strange manner.
Why, farewell, Portia. We must die, Messala.
With meditating that she must die once,
I have the patience to endure it now.
Even so great men great losses should endure.
I have as much of this in art as you,
But yet my nature could not bear it so.
Well, to our work alive. What do you think
Of marching to Philippi presently?
I do not think it good.
This it is:
’Tis better that the enemy seek us;
So shall he waste his means, weary his soldiers,
Doing himself offense, whilst we, lying still,
Are full of rest, defense, and nimbleness.
Good reasons must of force give place to better:
The people ’twixt Philippi and this ground
Do stand but in a forc’d affection,
For they have grudg’d us contribution.
The enemy, marching along by them,
By them shall make a fuller number up,
Come on refresh’d, new-added, and encourag’d;
From which advantage shall we cut him off
If at Philippi we do face him there,
These people at our back.
Hear me, good brother.
Under your pardon. You must note beside
That we have tried the utmost of our friends,
Our legions are brimful, our cause is ripe:
The enemy increaseth every day;
We, at the height, are ready to decline.
There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.
Then with your will go on;
We’ll along ourselves, and meet them at Philippi.
The deep of night is crept upon our talk,
And nature must obey necessity,
Which we will niggard with a little rest.
There is no more to say?
No more. Good night.
Early tomorrow will we rise, and hence.
Farewell, good Messala.
Good night, Titinius. Noble, noble Cassius,
Good night, and good repose.
O my dear brother!
This was an ill beginning of the night.
Never come such division ’tween our souls!
Let it not, Brutus.
Enter Lucius with the gown.
Every thing is well.
Good night, my lord.
Good night, good brother.
Good night, Lord Brutus.
Farewell every one.
Exeunt all but Brutus and Lucius.
Give me the gown. Where is thy instrument?
Here in the tent.
What, thou speak’st drowsily?
Poor knave, I blame thee not, thou art o’erwatch’d.
Call Claudio and some other of my men,
I’ll have them sleep on cushions in my tent.
Varrus and Claudio!
Enter Varrus and Claudio.
Calls my lord?
I pray you, sirs, lie in my tent and sleep;
It may be I shall raise you by and by
On business to my brother Cassius.
So please you, we will stand and watch your pleasure.
I will not have it so. Lie down, good sirs,
It may be I shall otherwise bethink me.
Varrus and Claudio lie down.
Look, Lucius, here’s the book I sought for so;
I put it in the pocket of my gown.
I was sure your lordship did not give it me.
Bear with me, good boy, I am much forgetful.
Canst thou hold up thy heavy eyes awhile,
And touch thy instrument a strain or two?
Ay, my lord, an’t please you.
It does, my boy.
I trouble thee too much, but thou art willing.
It is my duty, sir.
I should not urge thy duty past thy might;
I know young bloods look for a time of rest.
I have slept, my lord, already.
It was well done, and thou shalt sleep again;
I will not hold thee long. If I do live,
I will be good to thee.
Music, and a song.
This is a sleepy tune. O murd’rous slumber!
Layest thou thy leaden mace upon my boy,
That plays thee music? Gentle knave, good night;
I will not do thee so much wrong to wake thee.
If thou dost nod, thou break’st thy instrument,
I’ll take it from thee; and, good boy, good night.
Let me see, let me see; is not the leaf turn’d down
Where I left reading? Here it is, I think.
Enter the Ghost of Caesar.
How ill this taper burns! Ha! Who comes here?
I think it is the weakness of mine eyes
That shapes this monstrous apparition.
It comes upon me. Art thou any thing?
Art thou some god, some angel, or some devil,
That mak’st my blood cold, and my hair to stare?
Speak to me what thou art.
Thy evil spirit, Brutus.
Why com’st thou?
To tell thee thou shalt see me at Philippi.
Well; then I shall see thee again?
Ay, at Philippi.
Why, I will see thee at Philippi then.
Now I have taken heart thou vanishest.
Ill spirit, I would hold more talk with thee.
Boy, Lucius! Varrus! Claudio! Sirs, awake!
The strings, my lord, are false.
He thinks he still is at his instrument.
Didst thou dream, Lucius, that thou so criedst out?
My lord, I do not know that I did cry.
Yes, that thou didst. Didst thou see any thing?
Nothing, my lord.
Sleep again, Lucius. Sirrah Claudio!
Fellow thou, awake!
Why did you so cry out, sirs, in your sleep?
Did we, my lord?
Ay. Saw you any thing?
No, my lord, I saw nothing.
Nor I, my lord.
Go and commend me to my brother Cassius;
Bid him set on his pow’rs betimes before,
And we will follow.
It shall be done, my lord.