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Nor stony 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 besides,
That part of tyranny, that I do bear,
I can shake off at pleasure.



But 'tis a common proof,*

That lowliness 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 base degreesf
By which he did ascend.


Between the acting of a dreadful thing
And the first motion, all the interim is
Like a phantasma,‡ or a hideous dream:
The genius, and the mortal instruments,
Are then in council; and the state of man,
Like to a little kingdom, suffers then
The nature of an insurrection.


O conspiracy!

Sham'st thou to show thy dangerous brow by night,
When evils are most free! O, then, by day,
Where wilt thou find a cavern, dark enough
To mask thy monstrous visage? Seek none, conspi


Hide in it smiles, and affability:

For if thou path thy native semblance§ on,
Not Erebus itself were dim enough

To hide thee from prevention.

* Experience.

+ Low steps.

+ Visionary.

|| Hell.

§ Walk in thy true form.


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 subtle masters do,
Stir up their servants to an act of rage,
And after seem to chide them.


Enjoy the honey-heavy dew of slumber: Thou hast no figures,* nor no fantasies, Which busy care draws in the brains of men; Therefore thou sleep'st so sound.


You have ungently, Brutus,


Stole from my bed; and yesternight at supper,
You suddenly arose, and walk'd about,
Musing, and sighing, 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 scratch'd your head,
And too impatiently stamp'd with your
Yet I insisted, yet you answered not;
But, with an angry wafture of your hand,
Gave sign for me to leave you: So I did;
Fearing to strengthen that impatience,
Which seeem'd too much enkindled; and withal,
Hoping that it was but an effect of humour
Which sometime hath his hour with every man.
It will not let you eat, nor talk, nor sleep:
And, could it work so much upon your shape,
As it hath much prevail'd on your condition,t
I should not know you, Brutus. Dear my lord,
Make me acquainted with your cause of grief.

Cal. Cesar, I never stood on ceremonies,‡
Yet now they fright me. There is one within,
* Shapes created by imagination. + Temper.
Never paid a regard to prodigies or omens.

Besides the things that we have heard and seen,
Recounts most horrid sights 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 squadrons, and right form of war,
Which drizzled blood upon the Capitol:

The noise of battle hurtled* in the air,
Horses did neigh, and dying men did groan;

And ghosts did shriek, and squealt about the streets.
O Cesar! these things are beyond all use,

And I do fear them.

What can be avoided,

Whose end is purpos'd by the mighty gods?
Yet Cesar shall go forth: for these predictions
Are to the world in general, as to Cesar.

Cal. When beggars die, there are no comets seen, The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes.


Cowards die many times before their deaths;
The valiant never taste of death but once.
Of all the wonders that I yet have heard,

It seems to me most strange that men should fear;
Seeing that death, a necessary end,

Will come, when it will come.


Danger knows full well

That Cesar is more dangerous than he.
We were two lions litter'd in one day,
And I the elder and more terrible.


My heart laments that virtue cannot live Out of the teeth of emulation.‡



O, mighty Cesar! Dost thou lie so low?

* Encountered.

+ Cry with pain. + Envy.

Are all thy conquests, glories, triumphs, spoils,
Shrunk to this little measure?-Fare thee well.


I know not, gentlemen, what you intend, Who else must be let blood, who else is rank:* If I myself, there is no hour so fit

As Cesar's death's hour; nor no instrument
Of half that worth as those your swords, made rich
With the most noble blood of all this world.

I do beseech ye, if you bear me hard,

Now, whilst your purpled hands do reek and smoke
Fulfil your pleasure. Live a thousand years,
I shall not find myself so apt to die:

No place will please me so, no mean of death,
As here by Cesar, and by you cut off,
The choice and master spirits of this age.


Cesar's spirit, ranging for revenge,
With Ate by his side, come hot from hell,
Shall in these confines, with a monarch's voice,
Cry Havoc,† and let slip‡ the dogs of war.


If there be any in this assembly, any dear friend of Cesar's; to him I say, that Brutus's love to Cesar was no less than his. If then that friend demand, why Brutus rose against Cesar, this is my answer, -Not that I loved Česar less, but that I loved Rome more. Had you rather Cesar were living, and die all slaves; than that Cesar were dead, to live all freemen? As Cesar loved me, I weep for him; as he was fortunate, I rejoice at it; as he was valiant, I honour him; but, as he was ambitious, I slew him. There is tears for his love; joy, for his fortune: honour, for his valour; and death, for his ambition. Who is here so base, that would be a bondman? If any, speak; for him have I offended. Who is here so * Grown too high for the public safety.

The signal for giving no quarter.

To let slip a dog at a deer, &c. was the technical phrase of Shakspeare's time.

rude, that would not be a Roman? if any, speak; for him have 1 offended. Who is here so vile, that will not love his country? If any, speak; for him have I offended.


Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
I come to bury Cesar, not to praise him.
The evil, that men do, lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones:
So let it be with Cesar. The noble Brutus

Hath told you, Cesar was ambitious:
If it were so, it was a grievous fault;
And grievously hath Cesar answer'd it.
Here, under leave of Brutus, and the rest,
(For Brutus is an honourable man;
So are they all, all honourable men;)
Come I to speak in Cesar's funeral.
He was my friend, faithful and just to me:
But Brutus says, he was ambitious;

And Brutus is an honourable man.

He hath brought many captives home to Rome
Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill:
Did this in Cesar seem ambitious?

When that the poor have cried, Cesar hath wept:
Ambition should be made of sterner stuff:

Yet Brutus says, he was ambitious;

And Brutus is an honourable man.

You all did see, that on the Lupercal,

I thrice presented him a kingly crown,

Which he did thrice refuse. Was this ambition.
Yet Brutus says, he was ambitious;

And, sure, he is an honourable man.
I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke,
But here I am to speak what I do know,
You all did love him once, not without cause;
What cause withholds you then to mourn for him?
O judgment, thou art fled to brutish beasts,
And men have lost their reason!-Bear with me;
My heart is in the coffin there with Cesar,
And I must pause till it come back to me.

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