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The sufferance 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,
'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 spur, but our own cause,
To prick us to redress? 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 fuch fuffering 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?
O, that we then could come by Cæfar's spirit,
And not difmember Cæfar! But, alas,
Cæfar muft 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
Our purpose 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.
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.
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,
And buy men's voices to commend our deeds:
It shall be said, his judgement rul'd our hands;
Our youths, and wildness, shall no whit appear,
But all be bury'd in his gravity.
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, these apparent prodigies,
35 The unaccustom'd terror of this night,
[him; And the perfuafion of his augurers,
May hold him from the Capitol to-day.
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 ftretch 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 toits, 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 uttermoft, 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.
1 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 expofed. 5 i. e. bates Cæfar.
Bru. Portia, what mean you? Wherefore rife you
It is not for your health, thus to commit
Your weak condition to the raw cold morning.
Por. Nor for yours neither. You have ungent-
Stole from my bed: And yesternight, at fupper,
You fuddenly arose, and walk'd about,
Mufing, and fighing, with your arms across :
And when I ask'd you what the matter was,
You star'd upon me with ungentle looks:
I urg'd you further; then you fcratch'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 feven, who did hide their faces
Even from darkness.
Bru. Kneel not, gentle Portia.
Por. I fhould 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;
15 To keep with you at meals, comfort your bed,
And talk to you fometimes? Dwell I but in
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 sex,
Being fo father'd, and so husbanded?
30 Tell me your counfels, I will not disclose them:
I have made ftrong proof of my constancy,
Giving myfelf a voluntary wound
Here, in the thigh: can I bear that with patience,
And not my husband's fecrets?
Render me worthy of this noble wife!
› Comfort your bed, "is but an odd phrafe, and gives as odd an idea," says Mr. Theobald. He therefore fubftitutes, confort. But this good old word, however difused 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, also, the husband promises to comfort his wife; and Barrett's Alvearie, er 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.
Serv. They would not have you to ftir forth to-
Plucking the entrails of an offering forth,
They could not find a heart within the beast.
Caf. The gods do this in fhame of cowardice:
ICCæfar should be a beast without a heart,
If he fhould ftay at home to-day for fear.
No, Caefar fhall not: danger knows full well,
That Cæfar is more dangerous than he.
We were two lions litter'd in one day,
15 And I the elder and more terrible;
And Cæfar fhall go forth.
Thunder and lightning. Enter Cæfar, in bis Night-gown-20
Caf. Nor heaven, nor earth, have been at peace
Thrice hath Calphurnia in her sleep cry'd out,
Help, bo! They murder Cafar. Who's within?
Enter a Servant.
Caf. Go bid the pricfts do prefent facrifice,
And bring me their opinions of fuccefs.
Serv. I will, my lord.
Your wifdom is confum'd in confidence.
Do not go forth to-day: call it my fear,
That keeps you in the house, and not your own.
We'll fend Mark Antony to the fenate-house;
And he shall fay, you are not well to-day:
Let me, upon my knee, prevail in this.
Caf. Mark Antony shall say, I am not well; 25 And, for thy humour, I will stay at home. Enter Decius.
Cal. What mean you, Cæfar? Think you to walk
You shall not ftir out of your house to-day. [forth?
Caf. Cæfar fhall forth: the things that threat-
Ne'er look'd but on my back; when they fhall fee 35
The face of Cæfar, they are vanifhed.
Cal. Cæfar, I never ftood on ceremonies 1,
Yet now they fright me. There is one within,
Befides the things that we have heard and feen,
Recounts most horrid fights seen by the watch.
A lioness hath whelped in the streets;
And graves have yawn'd, and yielded up their dead:
Fierce fiery warriors fight upon the clouds,
In ranks, and fquadrons, and right form of war,
Which drizzled blood upon the Capitol :
The noife of battle hurtled in the air,
Horfes did neigh, and dying men did groan;
And ghofts did fhriek, and squeal about the streets.
O Cæfar! these things are beyond all ufe,
And I do fear them.
Caf. What can be avoided,
Whofe end is purpos'd by the mighty gods?
Yet Cæfar fhall go forth; for thefe predictions
Are to the world in general, as to Cæfar.
Here's Decius Brutus, he fhall tell them fo. [Cæfar:
Dec. Cæfar, all hail! Good morrow, worthy
I come to fetch you to the fenate-house.
Caf. And you are come in very happy time,
To bear my greeting to the fenators,
And tell them, that I will not come to-day:
Cannot, is falfe; and that I dare not, falfer;
I will not come to-day: Tell them fo, Decius.
Cal. Say, he is fick.
Caf. Shall Cæfar fend a lye?
Have I in conqueft ftretch'd mine arm fo far,
To be afeard to tell grey-beards the truth?-
Decius, go tell them, Cæfar will not come. [cause,
40 Dec. Moft mighty Cæfar, let me know fome
Left I be laugh'd at, when I tell them fo.
Caf. The cause is in my will, I will not come;
That is enough to fatisfy the fenate.
But, for your private satisfaction,
45 Becaufe I love you, I will let you know.
Calphurnia here, my wife, ftays me at home;
She dreamt to-night the faw my statue,
Which, like a fountain, with a hundred fpouts,
Did run pure blood; and many lufty Romans
50 Came fmiling, and did bathe their hands in it.
And thefe does the apply for warnings, and por-
And evils imminent; and on her knee [tents,
Hath begg'd, that I will stay at home to-day.
Cal. When beggars die, there are no comets 55
The heavens themfelves blaze forth the death of
Caf. Cowards die many times before their deaths;
The valiant never taste of death but once.
Of all the wonders that I yet have heard,
Dec. This dream is all amifs interpreted;
It was a vifion, fair and fortunate:
Your ftatue fpouting blood in many pipes,
In which fo many fmiling Romans bath'd,
Signifies, that from you great Rome shall fuck
Reviving blood; and that great men shall prefs
60 For tinctures, ftains, relicks, and cognisance 3.
1i. e. I never paid a ceremonious or fuperftitious regard to prodigies or omens. 2 To burtle is, perhaps, to clash, or move with violence and noise. 3 There are two allufions in this speech; one to coats armorial, to which princes make additions, or give new tinctures, and new marks of cognisance z the other to martyrs, whofe reliques are preferved with veneration. The Romans, fays Decius, all come to you as to a faint, for reliques, as to a prince, for honours.
If you fhall fend them word, you will not come,
Their minds may change. Befides, it were a mock,
Apt to be render'd, for some one to say,
"Break up the fenate 'till another time,
"WhenCæfar'swife fhall meet with better dreams." 10
If Cæfar hide himself, shall they not whisper,
"Lo, Cæfar is afraid?"
Pardon me, Cæfar; for my dear, dear love
To your proceeding bids me tell you this;
And reafon to my love is liable '.
Here will I ftand, 'till Cæfar pafs along,
And as a fuitor will I give him this.
My heart laments, that virtue cannot live
Out of the teeth of emulation.
If thou read this, O Cæfar, thou may'st live;
If not, the fates with traitors do contrive 2. [Exit,
Another part of the fame Street.
Enter Portia, and Lucius.
Par. I pr'ythee, boy, run to the fenate-house;
Stay not to anfwer me, but get thee gone :
Why doft thou stay?
Luc. To know my errand, madam.
[gain, Por. I would have had thee there, and here a15 Ere I can tell thee what thou should'st do there. ? O conftancy, be strong upon my fide!
Caf. How foolish do your fears seem now, Cal-
I am ashamed I did yield to them.-
Give me my robe, for I will go:--
Enter Publius, Brutus, Ligarius, Metellus, Cafea,
Trebenius, and Cinna.
And look where Publius is come to fetch me.
Pub. Good morrow, Cæfar.
Caf. Welcome, Publius.
What, Brutus, are you stirr'd so early too?---
Good-morrow, Cafca.-Caius Ligarius,
Cæfar was ne'er fo much your enemy,
As that fame ague which hath made you lean.—
What is't o'clock?
Bru. Cæfar, 'tis ftrucken eight.
Set a huge mountain 'tween my heart and tongue!
I have a man's mind, but a woman's might.
How hard it is for women to keep counsel!
20 Art thou here yet?
Luc. Madam, what should I do?
Run to the Capitol, and nothing else?
And fo return to you, and nothing else?
Per. Yes, bring me word, boy, if thy lord look 25 For he went fickly forth: And take good note, What Cæfar doth, what fuitors prefs to him. Hark, boy! what noise is that?
Luc. I hear none, madam.
Per. Pr'ythee, liften well:
Caj. I thank you for your pains and courtefy. 30I heard a bustling rumour, like a fray,
That your best friends shall wish I had been further.
Caf. Good friends, go in, and taste some wine
And we, like friends, will straightway go together.
Bru. That every like is not the fame, O Cæfar,
The heart of Brutus yerns to think upon! [Exeunt.
A Street near the Capitol.
And the wind brings it from the Capitol. Luc. Sooth, madam, I hear nothing.
Por. Come hither, fellow: Which way haft
Por. Thou haft fome fuit to Cæfar, haft thou Sooth. That I have, lady, if it will please Cæfar To be fo good to Cæfar, as to hear me : fhall befeech him to befriend himself. Pur. Why, know'st thou any harm's intended [fear may chance. Sooth. None that I know will be, much that I Good-morrow to you. Here the street is narrow: 50 The throng that follows Cæfar at the heels, Of fenators, of prætors, common fuitors, Will crowd a feeble man almoft to death: I'll get me to a place more void, and there Speak to great Cæfar as he comes along. Por. I must go in.-Ay me! how weak a thing The heart of woman is! O Brutus! The heavens fpeed thee in thine enterprize! Sure, the boy heard me :-Brutus hath a fuit, That Cæfar will not grant.-O, I grow faint :Run, Lucius, and commend me to my lord; Say, I am merry: come to me again, And bring me word what he doth fay to thee.
Enter Artemidorus, reading a Paper. "Cæfar, beware of Brutus; take heed of Caf"fius; come not near Cafca; have an eye to Cinna; truft not Trebonius; mark well Me-55 "tellus Cimber: Decius Brutus loves thee not; "thou haft wrong'd Caius Ligarius. There is "but one mind in all thefe men, and it is bent "against Cæfar. If thou be'ft not immortal, look "about you: fecurity gives way to confpiracy. 6c The mighty gods defend thee!
? ipe. fubordinate. i. e. the fates join with traitors in contriving thy destruction.
The Street, and then
The Capitol: the Senate futing.
Flourish. Enter Cafar, Brutus, Caffius, Cafea,
Decius, Metellus, Trebonius, Cinna, Antony, Le-
pidus, Artemidorus, Popilius, Publius, and the
HE ides of March are come.
Sooth. Ay, Cæfar, but not gone.
Art. Hail, Cæfar! Read this schedule.
Dec. Trebonius doth defire you to o'er-read,
At your best leifure, this his humble fuit.
Art. O, Cæfar, read mine firft; for mine's a That touches Cæfar nearer: Read it, great Cæfar. 15 Caf. What touches us ourself, fhall be laft|
Art. Delay not, Cæfar; read it instantly.
Caf. What, is the fellow mad?
Pub. Sirrah, give place.
Caf. What, urge you your petitions in the street? Come to the Capitol.
[Cafar enters the Capitol, the reft following.] Pop. I wish, your enterprize to-day may thrive. Caf. What enterprize, Popilius?
Pop. Fare you well.
Bru. What faid Popilius Lena?
Caf. He wish'd, to-day our enterprize might|
I fear, our purpofe is difcovered.
Met. Is there no voice more worthy than my
To found more fweetly in great Cæfar's ear,
For the repealing of my banish'd brother?
Bru. I kifs thy hand, but not in flattery, Cæfar;
Defiring thee, that Publius Cimber may
Have an immediate freedom of repeal.
Caf. What, Brutus!
Caf. Pardon, Cæfar; Cæfar, pardon:
As low as to thy foot doth Caffius fall,
To beg enfranchisement for Publius Cimber.
Caf. I could be well mov'd, if I were as you;
If I could pray to move, prayers would move me:
25 But I am conftant as the northern ftar,
Of whofe true-fixt, and refting quality,
There is no fellow in the firmament.
The fkies are painted with unnumbred sparks,
They are all fire, and every one doth shine;
Bru. Look, how he makes to Cæfar: Mark 30 But there's but one in all doth hold his place:
Caf. Cafca, be fudden, for we fear prevention.
Brutus, what shall be done? If this be known,
Caffius, or Cæfar, never shall turn back,
For I will flay myself.
Bru. Caffius, be conftant:
Popilius Lena fpeaks not of our purposes;
For, look, he fmiles, and Cæfar doth not change.
Caf. Trebonius knows his time; for, look you,
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 unaffailable holds on his rank,
35 Unfhak'd of motion: and, that I am he,
Let me a little fhew it, even in this;
That I was constant Cimber should be banish'd,
And conftant do remain to keep him fo.
Cin. O Cæfar,-
Caf. Hence! Wilt thou lift up Olympus?
Dec. Great Cæfar,-
Caf. Doth not Brutus bootless kneel?
Cafca. Speak, hands, for me.
[They flab Cafar.
Caf. Et tu, Brute ?—Then fall, Cæfar!
Cin. Liberty! Freedom! Tyranny is dead!-
Run hence, proclaim, cry it about the streets.
Caf. Some to the common pulpits, and cry out,
Metellus Cimber throws before thy feat [Kneeling. 50" Liberty, freedom, and enfranchisement!"
An humble heart :
Caf. I must prevent thee, Cimber.
Thefe couchings, and thefe lowly courtefies,
Might fire the blood of ordinary men;
And turn pre-ordinance 2, and first decree,
i. e. he is ready. 2 Pre-ordinance, for ordinance already established. 3 Dr. Johnson proposes to read, "the law of children. That is, change pre-ordinance and decree into the law of children; into fuch flight determinations as every start of will would alter." 4i. e. fufceptible of fear, or other paffions.