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Seldom he smiles; and smiles in such a sort
As if he mock'd himself, and scorn'd his spirit
That could be mov'd to smile at anything.
Such men as he be never at heart's ease,
Whiles they behold a greater than themselves ;
And therefore are they very dangerous.
I rather tell thee what is to be fear'd,
Than what I fear, for always I am Cæsar.
Come on my right hand, for this ear is deaf,
And tell me truly what thou think'st of him.
(Exeunt CÆSAR and his Train. CASCA stays behind. Casca. You pull'd me by the cloak: Would you speak with me?
Bru. Ay, Casca; tell us what hath chanc'd to-day,
That Cæsar looks so sad?
Casca. Why, you were with him, were you not?
Bru. I should not then ask Casca what had chanc'd.
Casca. Why, there was a crown offered him: and being offered him, he put it by with the back of his hand, thus; and then the people fell a'shouting.
Bru. What was the second noise for?
Casca. Why, for that too.
Cas. They shouted thrice: What was the last cry for?
Casca. Why, for that too.
Bru. Was the crown offer'd him thrice?
Casca. Ay, marry was't, and he put it by thrice, every time gentler than other: and at every putting by, mine honest neighbours shouted.
Čas. Who offer'd him the crown?
Casca. Why, Antony.
Bru. Tell us the manner of it, gentle Casca.
Casca. I can as well be hanged as tell the manner of it: it was mere foolery. I did not mark it. I saw Marc Antony offer him a crown :—yet 'twas not a crown neither, 'twas one of these coronets ;-and, as I told you, he put it by once; but for all that, to my thinking, he would fain have had it. Then he offered it to him again; then he put it by again : but to my thinking, he was very loth to lay his fingers off it. And then he offered it the third time; he put it the third time by: and still as he refused it, the rabblement hooted, and clapped their chapped hands, and threw up their sweaty nightcaps, and uttered such a deal of stinking breath because Cæsar refused the crown, that it had almost choked Cæsar; for he swooned, and fell down at it: and, for mine own part, I durst not laugh, for fear of opening my lips and receiving the bad air.
Cas. But soft, I pray you. What! Did Cæsar swoon?
Casca. He fell down in the market-place, and foamed at mouth, and was speechless...
Bru. 'Tis very like: he hath the falling sickness.
Cas. No, Cæsar hath it not; but you, and I, And honest Casca, we have the falling sickness.
Casca. I know not what you mean by that; but I am sure Cæsar fell down. If the tag-rag people did not clap him and hiss him, according as he pleased and displeased them, as they used to do the players in the theatre, I am no true man.
Bru. What said he, when he came unto himself?
Casca. Marry, before he fell down, when he perceived the common herd was glad he refused the crown, he plucked me ope his doublet, and offered them his throat to cut.-An I had been a man of any occupation, if I would not have taken him at a word, I would I might go to hell among the rogues :-and so he fell. When he came to himself again, he said, If he had done or said anything amiss, he desired their worships to think it was his infirmity. Three or four wenches, where I stood, cried “Alas, good soul!”—and forgave him with all their hearts. But there's no heed to be taken of them; if Cæsar had stabbed their mothers they would have done no less.
Bru. And after that he came, thus sad, away?
Cas. Did Cicero say anything ?
Casca. Ay, he spoke Greek.
Cas. To what effect?
Casca. Nay, an I tell you that I'll ne'er look you i' the face again : but those that understood him smiled at one another, and shook their heads : but, for mine own part, it was Greek to me. I could tell you more news too: Marullus and Flavius, for pulling scarfs off Cæsar's images, are put to silence. Fare you well. There was more foolery yet, if I could remember it.
Cas. Will you sup with me to-night, Casca ?
Casca. No, I am promised forth.
Cas. Will you dine with me to-morrow?
Casca. Ay, if I be alive, and your mind hold, and your dinner worth the eating.
Cas. Good; I will expect you.
Casca. Do so : farewell both.
[Exit CASCA. Bru. What a blunt fellow is this grown to be! He was quick mettle when he went to school.
Cas. So he is now, in execution
Of any bold or noble enterprise,
However he puts on this tardy form.
This rudeness is a sauce to his good wit,
Which gives men stomach to digest his words
With better appetite.
Bru. And so it is. For this time I will leare 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.
Cas. I will do so : till then, think of the world.
Well, Brutus, thou art noble; yet, I see
Thy honourable metal may be wrought
From that it is dispos'd: therefore 'tis meet
That noble minds keep ever with their likes :
For who so firm that cannot be seduc'd ?
Cæsar doth bear me hard: but he loves Brutus:
If I were Brutus now, and he were Cassius,
He should not humour me. 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
That Rome holds of his name; wherein obscurely
Cæsar's ambition shall be glanced at:
And, after this, let Cæsar seat him sure;
For we will shake him, or worse days endure.
[Exit. SCENE III.—The same. A Street. Thunder and Lightning. Enter, from opposite sides, CASCA,
with his sword drawn, and CICERO.
Cic. Good even, Casca: brought you Cæsar home?
Why are you breathless? and why stare you so ?
Casca. Are not you mov’d, when all the sway of earth
Shakes like a thing unfirm? O Cicero,
I have seen tempests, when the scolding winds
Have riv'd the knotty oaks; and I have seen
The ambitious ocean swell, and rage, and foam,
To be exalted with the threat'ning clouds :
But never till to-night, never till now,
Did I go through a tempest dropping fire.
Either there is a civil strife in heaven;
Or else the world, too saucy with the gods,
Incenses them to send destruction.
Cic. Why, saw you anything more wonderful?
Casca. A common slave (you know him well by sight)
Held up his left hand, which did flame and burn
Like twenty torches join'd; and yet his hand,
Not sensible of fire, remain'd unscorch'd.
Besides, (I have not since put up my sword,)
(1) Has an unfavourable opinion of me.
Against the Capitol I met a lion,
Who glar'd upon me, and went surly by
Without annoying me: and there were drawn
Upon a heap a hundred ghastly women,
Transformed with their fear; who swore they saw
Men all in fire walk up and down the streets,
And, yesterday, the bird of night did sit,
Even at noon-day, upon the market-place,
Hooting and shrieking. When these prodigies
Do so conjointly meet, let not men say,
“ These are their reasons,—they are natural ;"
For, I believe, they are portentous things
Unto the climate that they point upon.
Cic. Indeed, it is a strange-disposed time:
But men may construe things, after their fashion,
Clean from the purpose of the things themselves.
Comes Cæsar to the Capitol to-morrow?
Casca. He doth; for he did bid Antonius
Send word to you he would be there to-morrow.
Cic. Good night then, Casca: this disturbed sky
Is not to walk in.
Cas. Who's there?
Casca, by your voice.
Casca. Your ear is good. Cassius, what night is this?
Cas. A very pleasing night to honest men.
Casca. Who ever knew the heavens menace so?
Cas. Those that have known the earth so full of faults.
For my part, I have walk'd about the streets,
Submitting me unto the perilous night;
And, thus unbraced, Casca, as you see,
Have bar'd my bosom to the thunder-storm,
And when the cross-blue lightning seem'd to open
The breast of heaven, I did present myself
Even in the aim and very flash of it.
Casca. 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, send
Such dreadful heralds to astonish us.
Cas. You are dull, Casca; and those sparks of life
That should be in a Roman you do want,
Or else you use not: you look pale, and gaze,
And put on fear, and cast yourself in wonder,
To see the strange impatience of the heavens :
But if you would consider the true cause
Why all these fires, why all these gliding ghosts,
Why birds and beasts, from quality and kind;
Why old men, fools, and children calculate;
Why all these things change from their ordinance,
Their natures, and pre-formed faculties,
To monstrous quality,why, you shall find,
That heaven hath infus'd them with these spirits,
To make them instruments of fear and warning
Unto some monstrous state.
Now could I, Casca, name to thee a man
Most like this dreadful night;
That thunders, ligbtens, opens graves, and roars
As doth the lion in the Capitol :
A man no mightier than thyself, or me,
In personal action; yet prodigious grown,
And fearful, as these strange eruptions are.
Casca. "Tis Cæsar that you mean: is it not, Cassius?
Cas. Let it be who it is : for Romans now
Have thews and limbs like to their ancestors,
But, woe the while! our fathers' minds are dead,
And we are govern'd with our mothers' spirits;
Our yoke and sufferance show us womanish.
Casca. Indeed they say the senators to-morrow
Mean to establish Cæsar as a king :
And he shall wear his crown by sea and land,
In every place, save here in Italy.
Cas. I know where I will wear this dagger then;
Cassius from bondage will deliver Cassius :
Therein, ye gods, you make the weak most strong;
Therein, ye gods, you tyrants do defeat:
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.
[Thunder still. Casca.
So can I:
So every bondsman in his own hand bears
The power to cancel his captivity.
Cas. And why should Cæsar be a tyrant then?
Poor man! I know he would not be a wolf,
(1) “Why birds and beasts deviate from their quality and kind," i. e. why they change their nature.