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Which gives men ftomach to digeft his words
With better appetite.

Bru. And fo it is. For this time I will leave you :
To-morrow, 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.
Caf. I will do fo:-till then, think of the world:
[Exit Brutus.

Well, Brutus, thou art noble: yet, I fee,
Thy honourable metal may be wrought
From that it is difpos'd: Therefore 'tis meet
That noble minds keep ever with their likes:
For who fo firm, that cannot be feduc'd?
Cafar doth bear me hard; but he loves Brutus :
If I were Brutus now, and he were Caffius,
He should not humour me 2. 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

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Cafea. Your ear is good. Caffius, what night is
Caf. A very pleating night to honest men.

That Rome holds of his name; wherein obfcurely 20 Cafca. Who ever knew the heavens menace fo?

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Thunder and Lightning. Enter Cafca, bis fword drawn; and Cicero, meeting bim.

Cic. Good even, Cafca: Brought you Cæfar home?

Why are you breathlefs? and why ftare you fo? Cafca. Are you not mov'd, when all the fway of earth 3

Shakes, like a thing unfirm? O Cicero,

I have seen tempefts, when the fcolding winds
Have riv'd the knotty oaks; and I have seen
The ambitious ocean fwell, and rage, and foam,
To be exalted with the threatning clouds:
But never 'till to-night, never 'till now,
Did I go through a tempeft dropping fire.
Either there is a civil ftrife in heaven;
Or elfe the world, too faucy with the gods,
Incenses them to fend deftruction.

Cic. Why, faw you any thing more wonderful?
Cafca. A common flave (you know him well by

Held up his left hand, which did flame, and burn
Like twenty torches join'd; and yet his hand,
Not fenfible of fire, remain'd unfcorch'd.
Befides, (I have not fince put up my sword)
Against the Capitol I met a lion,

Who glar'd upon me, and went furly by,
Without annoying me, and there were drawn
Upon a heap a hundred ghaftly women,
Transformed with their fear; who fwore, they faw
Men, all in fire, walk up and down the streets.
And, yesterday, the bird of night did fit,
Even at noon-day, upon the market-place,
Hooting, and fhrieking. When thefe prodigies


Caf. Thofe, that have known the earth fo full of


For my part, I have walk'd about the streets,
Submitting me unto the perilous night;

25 And, thus unbraced, Cafca, as you see,



Have bar'd my bofom to the thunder-ftone :
And, when the crofs blue lightning feem'd to open
The breaft of heaven, I did prefent myself
Even in the aim and very flash of it.

Cafea. But wherefore did you so much tempt
the heavens ?

It is the part of men to fear and tremble,
When the most mighty gods, by tokens, fend
Such dreadful heralds to aftonish us.

Caf. You are dull, Cafca; and thofe fparks of
That fhould be in a Roman, you do want,
Or elfe you ufe not: You look pale, and gaze,
And put on fear, and caft yourself in wonder,
To fee the ftrange impatience of the heavens :
40 But if you would confider the true caufe,

Why all thefe fires, why all these gliding ghofts,
Why birds, and beasts, from quality and kind 4;
Why old men fools, and children calculate 5;
Why all these things change, from their ordinance,
45 Their natures, and pre-formed faculties,

To monftrous quality; why, you shall find,
That heaven hath infus'd them with these spirits,
To make them inftruments of fear, and warning,
Unto fome monftrous ftate.

50 Now could I, Cafca, name to thee a man
Moft like this dreadful night;

That thunders, lightens, opens grayes, and roars
As doth the lion in the Capitol :

A man no mightier than thyfelf, or me,

55 In perfonal action; yet prodigious grown,
And fearful, as thefe ftrange eruptions are.

Cafca. 'Tis Cæfar that you mean: Is it not, Caffius?
Caf. Let it be who it is: for Romans now
Have theys 7 and limbs like to their ancestors;
60 But, woe the while! our fathers' minds are dead,
And we are govern'd with our mothers' fpirits;

1 i. e. The best metal or temper may be worked into qualities contrary to its original conftitution. The meaning is, Cæfar loves Brutus, but if Brutus and I were to change places, bis love fhould not bumour me, fhould not take hold of my affection, fo as to make me forget my principles. weight or momentum of this globe. 4 i. e. why they deviate from quality and nature.

3 The whole si. e. foretel

or propbely. • Prodigious is portentous. 7 Theres is an obfolete word implying nerves or muscular


Our yoke and fufferance fhew us womanish.

Cafea. Indeed, they say, the fenators to-morrow Mean to establish Cæfar as a king:

And he fhall wear his crown by fea, and land,
In every place, fave here in Italy.

Caf. I know where I will wear this dagger then;
Caffius from bondage will deliver Caffius:
Therein, ye gods, you make the weak most strong;
Therein, ye gods, you tyrants do defeat:
Nor ftony tower, nor walls of beaten brass,
Nor airless dungeon, nor strong links of iron,
Can be retentive to the strength of spirit ;
But life, being weary of these worldly bars,
Never lacks power to dismiss itself.

If I know this, know all the world befides,
That part of tyranny, that I do bear,
I can shake off at pleasure.

Cafca. So can I:

So every bondman in his own hand bears
The power to cancel his captivity.

Caf. And why should Cæfar be a tyrant then?
Poor man! I know, he would not be a wolf,
But that he fees, the Romans are but sheep;
He were no lion, were not Romans hinds.
Thofe that with hafte will make a mighty fire,
Begin it with weak straws: What trash is Rome,
What rubbish, and what offal, when it ferves
For the base matter to illuminate

So vile a thing as Cæfar? But, O, grief!
Where haft thou led me? I, perhaps, fpeak this
Before a willing bondman: then I know
My answer must be made: But I am arm'd,
And dangers are to me indifferent.

Cafea. You speak to Cafca: and to fuch a man,
That is no flearing tell-tale. Hold my hand :
Be factious for redress of all these griefs;
And I will fet this foot of mine as far,
As who goes fartheft.

Caf. There's a bargain made.

Now know you, Casca, I have mov'd already
Some certain of the nobleft-minded Romans,
To undergo, with me, an enterprize
Of honourable-dangerous confequence;
And I do know, by this, they stay for me


In Pompey's porch: For now, this fearful night, There is no ftir or walking in the streets;

And the complexion of the element,

It favours 3 like the work we have in hand,

5 Moft bloody, fiery, and most terrible. Enter Cinna.

Cafca. Stand close awhile, for here comes one in hafte.

Caf. 'Tis Cinna, I do know him by his gait; 10 He is a friend.-Cinna, where hafte you so? Cin. To find out you: Who's that? Metellus Cimber?

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Caf. Be you content: Good Cinna, take this paAnd look you lay it in the prætor's chair, Where Brutus may but find it; and throw this In at his window; fet this up with wax

25 Upon old Brutus' statue: all this done, Repair to Pompey's porch, where you shall find us. Is Decius Brutus, and Trebonius, there?

Cin. All but Metellus Cimber; and he's gone To feek you at your house. Well, I will hie, 30 And fo beftow thefe papers as you bade me. Caf. That done, repair to Pompey's theatre.

[Exit Cinna Come, Cafca, you and I will, yet, ere day, See Brutus at his houfe: three parts of him 35 Is ours already; and the man entire, Upon the next encounter, yields him ours.

Cafea. O, he fits high in all the people's hearts:
And that, which would appear offence in us,
His countenance, like richest alchymy,

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And then, I grant, we put a sting in him,
That at his will he may do danger with.
The abuse of greatness is, when it disjoins
Remorfe1 from power: And, to speak truthof Cæfar,
I have not known when his affections sway'd
More than his reafon. But 'tis a common proof 2,
That lowlinefs is young ambition's ladder,
Whereto the climber-upward turns his face :
But when he once attains the upmost round,
He then unto the ladder turns his back;
Looks in the clouds, scorning the bare degrees 3
By which he did afcend: So Cæfar may;
Then, left he may, prevent. And, fince the quarrel
Will bear no colour for the thing he is,
Fashion it thus; that what he is, augmented,
Would run to these, and these extremities:
And therefore think him as a ferpent's egg,
Which, hatch'd, would, as his kind, grow mif-
And kill him in the shell.

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Bru. Let them enter.
They are the faction. O confpiracy!
15 Sham'st thou to fhew thy dangerous brow by night,
When evils are most free? O, then, by day,
Where wilt thou find a cavern dark enough [racy;
To mark thy monstrous visage? Seek none, confpi-
Hide it in fmiles, and affability:

|20|For if thou path, thy native semblance on ",
Not Erebus itfelf were dim enough


To hide thee from prevention.

Enter Caffius, Cafca, Decius, Cinna, Metellus, and

Caf. I think, we are too bold upon your reft:
Good morrow, Brutus; Do we trouble you?
Bru. I have been up this hour; awake, all night.
Know I thefe men, that come along with you?

Caf. Yes, every man of them; and no man here,
3c But honours you: and every one doth wish,
You had but that opinion of yourself,
Which every noble Roman bears of you.
This is Trebonius.


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Here, as I point my fword, the fun arifes ;
50 Which is a great way growing on the fouth,
Weighing the youthful feafon of the year.
Some two months hence, up higher toward the north
He first prefents his fire; and the high east
Stands, as the Capitol, directly here.

[Knocks within.

Bru. 'Tis good. Go to the gate; fomebody knocks. [Exit Lucius. Since Caffius first did whet me against Cæfar, I have not flept.

And the first motion, all the interim is

Like a phantafma, or a hideous dream:
The genius, and the mortal inftruments,
Are then in council+; and the state of man,


Between the acting of a dreadful thing,

Bru. Give me your hands all over, one by one.
Caf. And let us fwear our refolution.
Bru. No, not an oath; If not the face of men,

3 i. e. low steps. 4 Shakspeare here

1 i. e. pity. 2. e. common obfervation, or experience. defcribes what paffes in a single bofom, the infurrection which a confpirator feels agitating the little kingdom of his own mind; when the genius, or power that watches for his protection, and the mortal inftruments, the paffions which excite him to a deed of honour and danger, are in council and debate; when the defire of action, and the care of fafety, keep the mind in continual fluctuation and disturbance. 5 Caffius married Junia, Brutus' fifter. 6 i. e, if thou walk in thy true form.


The fufferance of our fouls, the time's abuse,-
If these be motives weak, break off betimes,
And every man hence to his idle bed;
So let high-fighted tyranny range on,


O, that we then could come by Cæsar's spirit,
And not difmember Cæfar! But, alas,
Cæfar must bleed for it; And, gentle friends,
Let's kill him boldly, but not wrathfully;
Let's carve him as a dish fit for the gods,
Not hew him as a carcase fit for hounds:
And let our hearts, as fubtle mafters do,
Stir up their fervants to an act of rage,
And after feem to chide them. This fhall make
ro Our purpofe neceffary, and not envious:
Which fo appearing to the common eyes,
We shall be call'd purgers, not murderers.
And for Mark Antony, think not of him;
For he can do no more than Cæfar's arm,
When Ceiar's head is off.

"Till each man drop by lottery 1. But if thefe,
As I am fure they do, bear fire enough
To kindle cowards, and to fteel with valour
The melting spirits of women; then, countrymen,
What need we any fpur, but our own cause,
To prick us to redrefs? what other bond,
Than fecret Romans, that have spoke the word,
And will not palter? and what other oath,
Than honesty to honesty engag'd,
That this fhall be, or we will fall for it?
Swear priefts, and cowards, and men cautelous 2,15
Old feeble carrions, and such suffering fouls
That welcome wrongs; unto bad causes swear
Such creatures as men doubt: but do not stain
The even virtue of our enterprize,
Nor the infuppreffive mettle of our spirits,
To think, that, or our cause, or our performance,
Did need an oath; when every drop of blood,
That every Roman bears, and nobly bears,
Is guilty of a feveral bastardy,

If he do break the smallest particle

Caf. But what of Cicero? Shall we found him?

Caf. Yet I fear him:

For in the ingrafted love he bears to Cæfar,-
Bru. Alas, good Caffius, do not think of him:
If he love Cæfar, all that he can do

20 Is to himself; take thought 3, and die for Cæfar:
And that were much he should; for he is given
To fports, to wildness, and much company.
Treb. There is no fear in him; let him not die;
For he will live, and laugh at this hereafter.
[Clock ftrikes.


Of any promise that hath past from him. >>

I think, he will stand very strong with us.
Cafca. Let us not leave him out.


Met. O, let us have him; for his filver hairs Will purchase us a good opinion,

Cin. No, by no means.

Bru. Peace, count the clock.

Caf. The clock hath ftrucken three.
Treb. "Tis time to part.

Caf. But it is doubtful yet,

Whe'r Cæfar will come forth to-day, or no:
For he is fuperftitious grown of late;
Quite from the main opinion he held once
Of fantasy, of dreams, and ceremonies :
It may be, thefe apparent prodigies,
35 The unaccustom'd terror of this night,
And the perfuafion of his augurers,
May hold him from the Capitol to-day.

And buy men's voices to commend our deeds:
It shall be faid, his judgement rul'd our hands;
Our youths, and wildness, shall no whit appear,
But all be bury'd in his gravity.

Bru. O, name him not: let us not break with
For he will never follow any thing
That other men begin.

Caf. Then leave him out.

Cafea. Indeed, he is not fit.

Dec. Shall no man elfe be touch'd, but only Cæfar?
Caf. Decius, well urg'd:-I think, it is not meet,
Mark Antony, fo well belov'd of Cæfar,
Should out-live Cæfar: We shall find of him
A fhrewd contriver; and, you know, his means,
If he improve them, may well stretch so far,
As to annoy us all: which, to prevent,
Let Antony and Cæfar fall together.


Dec. Never fear that: If he be fo refolv'd,
I can o'erfway him: for he loves to hear,
40 That unicorns may be betray'd with trees 4,
And bears with glaffes, elephants with holes,
Lions with toils, and men with flatterers:
But, when I tell him, he hates flatterers,
He fays, he does; being then most flattered.
45 Let me work:

Bru. Our courfe will feem too bloody, Caius 50
To cut the head off, and then hack the limbs;
Like wrath in death, and envy afterwards:
For Antony is but a limb of Cæfar.

Let us be facrificers, but not butchers, Caius.
We all stand up against the spirit of Cæfar;
And in the spirit of men there is no blood:

For I can give his humour the true bent;
And I will bring him to the Capitol.

Caf. Nay, we will all of us be there to fetch him.
Bru. By the eighth hour: Is that the uttermoft?
Cin. Be that the uttermost, and fail not then.
Met. Caius Ligarius doth bear Cæfar hard 5,
Who rated him for speaking well of Pompey;
I wonder, none of you have thought of him.
Bru. Now, good Metellus, go along to him:
55 He loves me well, and I have given him reafons;
Send him but hither, and I'll fashion him.

Perhaps the poet here alludes to the custom of decimation, i. e. the selection by lot of every tenth foldier, in a general mutiny, for punishment. 2 i. e. cautious. 3 That is, turn melancholy. 4 Unicorns are faid to have been taken by one who, running behind a tree, eluded the violent push the animal was making at him, so that his horn spent its force on the trunk, and stuck fast, detaining the beaft till he was dispatched by the hunter. Bears are reported to have been furprised by means of a mirror, which they would gaze on, affording their purfuers an opportunity of taking the furer aim. Elephants were feduced into pitfalls lightly covered with hurdles and turf, on which a proper bait to tempt them was exposed. 5 i. e. bates Cæfar,


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Stole from my bed: And yesternight, at supper,
You fuddenly arose, and walk'd about,
Mufing, and fighing, with your arms across:
And when I afk'd you what the matter was,
You ftar'd upon me with ungentle looks:

I urg'd you further; then you scratch'd your head,
And too impatiently stamp'd with your foot:
Yet I infifted, yet you answer'd not;

But, with an angry wafture of your hand,
Gave fign for me to leave you: So I did;
Fearing to ftrengthen that impatience,
Which feem'd too much enkindled; and, withal,
Hoping it was but an effect of humour,
Which fometime hath his hour with every man.
It will not let you eat, nor talk, nor fleep;
And, could it work fo much upon your shape,
As it hath much prevail'd on your condition,
I should not know you, Brutus. Dear my lord,
Make me acquainted with your cause of grief.

Bru. I am not well in health, and that is all.
Por. Brutus is wife, and, were he not in health,
He would embrace the means to come by it.

Bru. Why, fo I do :-Good Portia, go to bed.
Por. Is Brutus fick? and is it phyfical
To walk unbraced, and fuck up the humours
Of the dank morning? What, is Brutus fick;
And will he steal out of his wholesome bed,
To dare the vile contagion of the night?
And tempt the rheumy and unpurged air
To add unto his ficknefs? No, my Brutus;
You have fome fick offence within your mind,
Which, by the right and virtue of my place,
I ought to know of: And, upon my knees,




[I charm you, by my once commended beauty,
By all your vows of love, and that great vow
Which did incorporate and make us one,
That you unfold to me, yourself, your half,
Why you are heavy: and what men to-night
Have had refort to you: for here have been
Some fix or seven, who did hide their faces
Even from darkness.

Bru. Kneel not, gentle Portia.

Por. I should not need, if you were gentle Brutus.
Within the bond of marriage, tell me, Brutus,
Is it excepted, I should know no fecrets
That appertain to you? Am I yourself,

But, as it were, in fort, or limitation;

To keep with you at meals, comfort your bed,
And talk to you sometimes? Dwell I but in
the fuburbs

Of your good pleafure? If it be no more,
Portia is Brutus' harlot, not his wife.

Bru. You are my true and honourable wife;
As dear to me as are the ruddy drops

That vift my fad heart.


Por. If this were true, then should I know this

I grant, I am a woman; but, withal,

A woman that lord Brutus took to wife :

I grant, I am a woman; but, withal,

A woman well-reputed; Cato's daughter.
Think you, I am no stronger than my fex,
Being fo father'd, and so husbanded?

30 Tell me your counfels, I will not disclose them:
I have made ftrong proof of my conftancy,


Giving myself a voluntary wound

Here, in the thigh: can I bear that with patience,
And not my husband's fecrets?

Bru. O ye gods,

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› Comfort your bed, "is but an odd phrafe, and gives as odd an idea," fays Mr. Theobald. He therefore fubftitutes, confort. But this good old word, however difufed through modern refinement, was not fo difcarded by Shakspeare. Henry VIII. as we read in Cavendish's Life of Wolfey, in commendation of queen Katharine, in public faid, “She hath beene to me a true obedient wife, and as "comfortable as I could wish." In our marriage ceremony, alfo, the husband promises to comfort his wife; and Barrett's Alvearie, or Quadruple Dictionary, 1582, fays, that to comfort is, "to recreate, to "folace, to make pastime." 2 Perhaps here is an allufion to the place in which the harlots of Shakfpeare's age refided.

3 i. e, all that is character'd on, &C.

• I here

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