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SCENE 1. Rome. A Street.
Enter FLAVIUS, MARULLUS, and a rabble of Citizens. Flavius. HENCE; home, you idle creatures, get you home;
Is this a holiday? What! know you not,
Of your profession? Speak, what trade art thou?
Mar. Where is thy leather apron, and thy rule?
2 Cit. Truly, sir, in respect of a fine workman, 1 am but, as you would say, a cobbler.
Mar. But what trade art thou? Answer me directly. 2 Cit. A trade, sir, that, I hope, I may use with a safe conscience; which is, indeed, sir, a mender of bad soles.
Mar. What trade, thou knave; thou naughty knave, what trade?
2 Cit. Nay, I beseech you, sir, be not out with me; yet, if you be out, sir, I can mend you.
Mar. What mean'st thou by that? saucy fellow?
Mend me, thou
2 Cit. Why, sir, cobble you.
2 Cit. Truly, sir, all that I live by is, with the awl:
I meddle with no tradesman's matters, nor women's matters, but with awl. I am indeed, sir, a surgeon to old shoes; when they are in great danger, I recover them. As proper men as ever trod upon neat's leather have gone upon my handy work.
Flav. But wherefore art not in thy shop to-day? Why dost thou lead these men about the streets?
2 Cit. Truly, sir, to wear out their shoes, to get myself into more work. But, indeed, sir, we make holiday, to see Cæsar, and to rejoice in his triumph.
Mar. Wherefore rejoice? What conquest brings he home?
What tributaries follow him to Rome,
grace in captive bonds his chariot-wheels? You blocks, you stones, you worse than senseless things! O, you hard hearts, you cruel men of Rome, Knew you not Pompey? Many a time and oft Have you climbed up to walls and battlements, To towers and windows, yea, to chimney-tops, Your infants in your arms, and there have sat The live-long day, with patient expectation, To see great Pompey pass the streets of Rome; And when you saw his chariot but appear, Have you not made an universal shout, That Tyber trembled underneath her banks, To hear the replication of your sounds, Made in her concave shores?
And do you now put on your best attire?
Run to your houses, fall upon your knees,
Flav. Go, go, good countrymen, and, for this fault, Assemble all the poor men of Draw them to Tyber banks, and weep your tears
1 Condition, rank.
Into the channel, till the lowest stream
See, whe'r' their basest metal be not moved;
you do find them decked with ceremonies.2 Mar. May we do so?
You know it is the feast of Lupercal.
Flav. It is no matter; let no images Be hung with Cæsar's trophies. I'll about, And drive away the vulgar from the streets; So do you too, where you perceive them thick. These growing feathers plucked from Cæsar's wing, Will make him fly an ordinary pitch; Who else would soar above the view of men, And keep us all in servile fearfulness.
SCENE II. The same. A public Place.
Enter, in procession, with music, CESAR, ANTONY, for the course; CALPHURNIA, PORTIA, DECIUS, CICERO, BRUTUS, CASSIUS, and CASCA, a great crowd following, among them a Soothsayer.
Cal. Here, my lord.
Peace, ho! Cæsar speaks.
[Music ceases. Calphurnia,—
2 Honorary ornaments.
3 These trophies were scarfs.
4 This person was not Decius, but Decimus Brutus. The Poet (as Voltaire has done since) confounds the characters of Marcus and Decimus. Decimus Brutus was the most cherished by Cæsar of all his friends, while Marcus kept aloof. The error has its source in North's translation of Plutarch, or in Holland's Suetonius, 1606.
Cæs. Stand you directly in Antonius' way,'
Cæs. Forget not, in your speed, Antonius,
Ant. I shall remember; When Cæsar says, Do this, it is performed. Cæs. Set on; and leave no ceremony out. [Music. Sooth. Cæsar!
Cæs. Ha! who calls?
Casca. Bid every noise be still.-Peace yet again. [Music ceases.
Cæs. Who is it in the press that calls on me?
What man is that? Bru. A soothsayer, bids you beware the ides of March.
Cæs. Set him before me; let me see his face.
Cæs. What say'st thou to me now? Speak once again.
Sooth. Beware the ides of March.
Cæs. He is a dreamer; let us leave him ;-pass.
Cas. I pray you, do.
Bru. I am not gamesome; I do lack some part
1 The old copy reads "Antonio's way;" in other places we have Octavio, Flavio. The players were more accustomed to Italian than Latin terminations. The allusion is to a custom at the Lupercalia.
2 See King Henry VIII. Act ii. Sc. 4.
Cas. Brutus, I do observe you now of late. I have not from your eyes that gentleness, And show of love, as I was wont to have; You bear too stubborn and too strange a hand Over your friend that loves you.
Čas. Then, Brutus, I have much mistook your passion,1
By means whereof, this breast of mine hath buried
Bru. No, Cassius; for the eye sees not itself,
Cas. 'Tis just;
And it is very much lamented, Brutus,
Bru. Into what dangers would you lead me, That you would have me seek into myself For that which is not in me?
Cas. Therefore, good Brutus, be prepared to hear; And, since you know you cannot see yourself
1 i. e. the nature of the feelings which you are now suffering.