The plains of Philippi. Another part of the battlefield.
(Brutus; Dardanius; Clitus; Strato; Volumnius; Antony; Octavius; Messala; Lucilius)
The defeated Brutus begs one of his last few followers to kill him, but they all refuse. Having seen Caesar’s ghost again, Brutus knows that it is time for him to die. Finally, Strato agrees to hold the sword so that Brutus can run on it. As he dies, Brutus insists he is much more willing to kill himself than he was to kill Caesar. Antony and Octavius pay their respects to Brutus’s body, acknowledging that he alone of all the conspirators committed his crime because he thought it was the right thing to do, not out of personal spite. (87 lines)
Enter Brutus, Dardanius, Clitus, Strato, and Volumnius.
Come, poor remains of friends, rest on this rock.
Statilius show’d the torchlight, but, my lord,
He came not back. He is or ta’en or slain.
Sit thee down, Clitus; slaying is the word,
It is a deed in fashion. Hark thee, Clitus.
What, I, my lord? No, not for all the world.
Peace then, no words.
I’ll rather kill myself.
Hark thee, Dardanius.
Shall I do such a deed?
What ill request did Brutus make to thee?
To kill him, Clitus. Look, he meditates.
Now is that noble vessel full of grief,
That it runs over even at his eyes.
Come hither, good Volumnius; list a word.
What says my lord?
Why, this, Volumnius:
The ghost of Caesar hath appear’d to me
Two several times by night; at Sardis once,
And this last night, here in Philippi fields.
I know my hour is come.
Not so, my lord.
Nay, I am sure it is, Volumnius.
Thou seest the world, Volumnius, how it goes;
Our enemies have beat us to the pit.
It is more worthy to leap in ourselves
Than tarry till they push us. Good Volumnius,
Thou know’st that we two went to school together;
Even for that our love of old, I prithee
Hold thou my sword—hilts, whilest I run on it.
That’s not an office for a friend, my lord.
Fly, fly, my lord, there is no tarrying here.
Farewell to you, and you, and you, Volumnius.
Strato, thou hast been all this while asleep;
Farewell to thee too, Strato. Countrymen,
My heart doth joy that yet in all my life
I found no man but he was true to me.
I shall have glory by this losing day
More than Octavius and Mark Antony
By this vile conquest shall attain unto.
So fare you well at once, for Brutus’ tongue
Hath almost ended his live’s history.
Night hangs upon mine eyes, my bones would rest,
That have but labor’d to attain this hour.
Alarum. Cry within, “Fly, fly, fly!”
Fly, my lord, fly.
Hence! I will follow.
Exeunt Clitus, Dardanius, and Volumnius.
I prithee, Strato, stay thou by thy lord.
Thou art a fellow of a good respect;
Thy life hath had some smatch of honor in it.
Hold then my sword, and turn away thy face,
While I do run upon it. Wilt thou, Strato?
Give me your hand first. Fare you well, my lord.
Farewell, good Strato.
Runs on his sword.
Caesar, now be still,
I kill’d not thee with half so good a will.
Alarum. Retreat. Enter Antony, Octavius, Messala, Lucilius, and the army.
What man is that?
My master’s man. Strato, where is thy master?
Free from the bondage you are in, Messala;
The conquerors can but make a fire of him;
For Brutus only overcame himself,
And no man else hath honor by his death.
So Brutus should be found. I thank thee, Brutus,
That thou hast prov’d Lucilius’ saying true.
All that serv’d Brutus, I will entertain them.
Fellow, wilt thou bestow thy time with me?
Ay, if Messala will prefer me to you.
Do so, good Messala.
How died my master, Strato?
I held the sword, and he did run on it.
Octavius, then take him to follow thee,
That did the latest service to my master.
This was the noblest Roman of them all:
All the conspirators, save only he,
Did that they did in envy of great Caesar;
He, only in a general honest thought
And common good to all, made one of them.
His life was gentle, and the elements
So mix’d in him that Nature might stand up
And say to all the world, “This was a man!”
According to his virtue let us use him,
With all respect and rites of burial.
Within my tent his bones tonight shall lie,
Most like a soldier, ordered honorably.
So call the field to rest, and let’s away,
To part the glories of this happy day.