Page images
PDF

Pindarus,

is

per

Let us not wrangle: Bid them move away;
Then in my tent, Cassius, enlarge your griefs,
And I will give you audience.

Cas.
Bid our commanders lead their charges off
A little from this ground.

Bru. Lucilius, do you the like; and let no man
Come to our tent, till we have done our conference.
Let Lucius and Titinius guard our door.

(Exeunt. SCENE III.— Within the Tent of Brutus. 173 ay 100

This com
Lucius and Titinius at some distance from it.

Enter BRUTUS and CASSIUS.
Cas. 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, were slighted off.

Bru. You wrong'd yourself, to write in such a case.

Cas. In such a time as this, it is not meet
That every nice offence should bear his comment.

Bru. Let me tell you, Cassius, you yourself
Are much condemn’d to have an itching palm ;
To sell and mart your offices for gold,
To undeservers.
Cas.

I an itching palm ?
You know, that you are Brutus that speak this,
Or, by the gods, this speech were else your last.

Bru. The name of Cassius honors this corruption,
And chastisement doth therefore hide his head.

Cas. Chastisement !

Bru. 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.
Cas.

Brutus, bay 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.

Cas.

Bruno

Go to; you're not, Cassius.
Cas. I am.
Bru. I say, you are not.

Cas. Urge me no more, I shall forget myself;
Have mind upon your health, tempt me no further.

Bru. Away, slight man !
Cas. Is't possible ?

Bru. Hear me, for I will speak.
Must I give way and room to your rash choler?
Shall I be frighted, when a madman stares ?

Cas. O gods! ye gods! must I endure all this?

Bru. All this? ay, and more : Fret till your proud heart break;
Go, show your slaves how choleric you are,
And make your bondmen tremble. Must I budge?
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?
Bru. 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.

Cas. You wrong me every way; you wrong me, Brutus;
I said, an elder soldier, not a better :
Did I say, better?
Bru.

If you did, I care not.
Cas. When Cæsar liv’d, he durst not thus have moved na,
Bru. Peace, peace; you durst not so have tempted him
Cas. I durst not ?
Bru. No.
Cas. What? durst not tempt him ?
Bru.

For your life, you durst not.
Cas. Do not presume too much upon my love,
I may do that I shall be sorry for.

Bru. 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 deny'd me;
For 1 can raise no money by vile means :
By heaven, I had rather coin my heart,
And drop my blood for drachmas, 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 !
Cas.

I denied you not.
Bru. You did.
Cas.

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.

Bru. I do not, till you practise them on me.
Cas. You love me not.
Bru.

I do not like your faults.
Cas. A friendly eye could never see such faults.

Bru. A flatterer's would not, though they do appear
As huge as high Olympus.

Cas. Come, Antony, and young Octavius, come,
Revenge yourselves alone on Cassius,
For Cassius is aweary 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 Plutus' 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 Cæsar; for, I know,
When thou didst hate him worst, thou lov’dst him better
Than ever thou lov’dst Cassius.
Bru.

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.
Cas.

Hath Cassius liv'd
To be but mirth and laughter to his Brutus,
When grief, and blood ill-temper'd vexeth him?

Bru. When I spoke that, I was ill-temper'd too.
Cas. Do you confess so much? Give me your hand.
Bru. And my heart too.
Cas.

O Brutus !
Bru.

What's the matter? Cas. Have you not love enough to bear with me,

[ocr errors]

When that rash humor, which my mother gave me,
Makes me forgetful ?

Yes, Cassius; and, henceforth,
When you are over-earnest with your Brutus,
He'll think your mother chides, and leave you so.

Cas. I did not think, you could have been so angry.
Bru. O Cassius, I am sick of many griefs.

Cas. Of your philosophy you make no use,
If you give place to accidental evils.

Bru. No man bears sorrow better :-Portia is dead.
Cas. Ha! Portia!
Bru. She is dead.

Cas. How scap'd I killing, when I cross'd you so?
O insupportable and touching loss !
Upon what sickness?
Bru.

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.

Cas. And died so ?
Bru. Even so.
Cas. O ye immortal gods !

Enter LUCIUS, with wine and tapers.
Bru. Speak no more of her. Give me a bowl of wine.
In this I bury all unkindness, Cassius.

Cas. 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.

Re-enter TITINIUS, with MESSALA.
Bru. Come in, Titinius : Welcome, good Messala.
Now sit we close about this taper here,
And call in question our necessities.

Cas. Portia, art thou gone?
Bru.

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.

Mes. Myself have letters of the self-same tenor.
Bru. With what addition?

Mes. That by proscription, and bills of outlawry,
Octavius, Antony, and Lepidus,
Have put to death an hundred senators.

Bru. Therein our letters do not well agree;
Mine speak of seventy senators that died,
By their proscriptions, Cicero being one.

[merged small][ocr errors]

Cas.

Cas. Cicero one ?
Mes.

Ay, Cicero is dead,
And by that order of proscription.-
Had you your letters from your wife, my lord ?

Bru. No, Messala.
Mes. Nor nothing in your letters writ of her!
Bru. Nothing, Messala.
Mes.

That, methinks, is strange. .
Bru. Why ask you ? Hear you aught of her in yours?
Mes. No, my lord.
Bru. Now, as you are a Roman, tell me true.

Mes. Then like a Roman bear the truth I tell : For certain she is dead, and by strange manner.

Bru. Why, farewell, Portia.-We must die, Messala : With meditating that she must die once, I have the patience to endure it now.

Mes. Even so great men great losses should endure.

Cas. I have as much of this in art as you, But yet my nature could not bear it so.

Bru. Well, to our work alive. What do you think
Of marching to Philippi presently ?

Cas. I do not think it good.
Bru.

Your reason.

This it is : 'Tis better, that the enemy seek us : So shall he waste his means, weary his soldiers, . Doing himself offence; whilst we, lying still, Are full of rest, defence, and nimbleness.

Bru. 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 encouraged ;
From which advantage shall we cut him off,
If at Philippi we do face him there,
These people at our back.
. Cas.

Hear me, good brother.
Bru. Under your pardon.—You must note beside,
That we have tried the utmost of our friends,
Our legions are brim-full, 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,

« PreviousContinue »