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(1) SCENE I. This morning are they fled away and gone.] Whey they raised their campe, there came two Eagles that flying with a marvellous force, lighted upon two of the foremost ensignes, and alwaies followed the souldiers, which gave them meate, and fed them, untill they came neare to the citie of PHILIPPES: and there one day onely before the battell, they both flew away. *** Notwithstanding, being busily occupied about the ceremonies of this purgation, it is reported that there chanced certaine unluckie signes unto Cassius. For one of his Sergeants that caried the rods before him, brought him the garland of flowers turned backward, the which he should have worne on his head in the time of sacrificing. Moreover it is reported also, that another time before, in certaine sports & triumph where they cariel an image of Cassius victorie, of cleane gold, it fell by chance, the man stumbling that caried it. And yet further there was seene a marvellous number of fowles of prey, that feed upon dead carcasses: & Bee hives also were found where Bees were gathered together in a certain place within the trenches of the camp: the which place the Soothsayers thought good to shut out of the precinct of the campe, for to take away the superstitious feare and mistrust men would have of it. The which began somewhat to alter Cassius mind from Epicurus opinions, and had put the souldiers also in a marvellous feare. Thereupon Cassius was of opinion not to trie this warre at one battell, but rather to delay time, and to draw it out in length, considering that they were the stronger in money, and the weaker in men and armor. But Brutus in contrary maner, did alway before and at that time also, desire nothing more, then to put all to the hazard of battell, as soone as might be possible: to the end he might either quickly restore his countrey to her former liberty, or rid him forthwith of this miserable world, being still troubled in following and maintaining of such great armies together. But touching Cassius, Messala reporteth that he supped by himselfe in his tent with a few of his friends, & that all supper time he looked very sadly, & was ful of thoughts, although it was against his nature and that after supper he tooke him by the hand, & holding him fast (in token of kindnesse, as his maner was) told him in Greek: Messala, I protest unto thee, & make thee my witnesse, that I am compelled against my mind & wil (as Pompey the great was) to ieopard the liberty of our country to the hazard of a battel. And yet we must be lively, & of good courage, considering our good fortune, whom we should wrong too much to mistrust her, although we follow evill counsell. Messala writeth, that Cassius having spoken these last words unto him, he bad him farewel, and willed him to come to supper to him the next night following, because it was his birth day."
But this same day
Must end that work the ides of March begun.] "There Cassius began to speake first, and said: The gods grant us O Brutus, that this day we may win the field, and ever after to live all the rest of our life quietly one with another. But sith the gods have so ordained it, that the greatest and chiefest things amongst men are most uncertaine, and that if the battell fall out otherwise to day then we wish or looke for, we shall hardly meet againe, what art thou then determined to doe, to flie, or die? Brutus answered him, being yet but a yong man, and not over greatly experienced in the world: I trust (I know not how) a certain rule of Philosophy, by the which I did greatly blame and reprove Cato for killing himselfe, as being no lawfull nor godly act, touching the gods: nor concerning men, valiant; not to give place and yeeld to
divine providence, & not constantly and patiently to take whatsoever it pleaseth him to send us, but to draw backe and flie: but being now in the midst of the danger, I am of a contrary mind. For if it be not the will of God that this battel fall out fortunate for us, I will looke no more for hope, neither seeke to make any new supply for war againe, but will rid me of this miserable world, and content me with my fortune. For, I gave up my life for my countrey in the Ides of March, for the which I shall live in another more glorious world."
(3) SCENE III.
Casar, thou art reveng'd,
Even with the sword that kill'd thee.]
"First of all he was marvellous angrie to see how Brutus men ran to give charge upon their enemies, and taried not for the word of the battell, nor commandement to give charge and it grieved him beside, that after he had overcome them, his men fell straight to spoile, and were not carefull to compasse in the rest of ye enemies behind: but with tarying too long also, more then through the valiantnesse or foresight of the Captaines his enemies, Cassius found himselfe compassed in with the right wing of his enemies armie. Wherupon his horsmen brake imFurthermore mediatly, and fled for life towards the sea.
perceiving his footmen to give ground, he did what he could to keepe them from flying, and tooke an ensigne from one of the ensigne-bearers that fled, and stucke it fast at his feet: although with much ado he could scant keepe his owne guard together. So Cassius himselfe was at length compelled to flie, with a few about him, unto a litle hill, from whence they might easily see what was done in all the plaine: howbeit Cassius himselfe saw nothing, for his sight was very bad, saving that he saw (and yet with much ado) how the enemies spoiled his campe before his eyes. He saw also a great troupe of horsemen, whom Brutus sent to aid him, and thought that they were his enemies that followed him: but yet he sent Titinnius, one of them that was with him, to go and know what they were. Brutus horsemen saw him coming a farre off, whom when they knew that he was one of Cassius chiefest friends, they shouted out for ioy, and they that were familiarly acquainted with him, lighted from their horses, and went and embraced him. The rest compassed him in round about on horsback, with songs of victory & great rushing of their harnesse, so that they made all the field ring againe for ioy. But this marred all. For Cassius thinking indeed that Titinnius was taken of the enemies, he then spake these words: Desiring too much to live, I have lived to see one of my best friends taken, for my sake, before my face. After that, he got into a tent where no body was, and tooke Pindarus with him, one of his bondmen whom he reserved ever for such a pinch, since the cursed battell of the PARTHIANS, where Crassus was slaine, though he notwithstanding scaped from that overthrow but then casting his cloake over his head, and holding out his bare neck unto Pindarus, he gave him his head to be stricken off. So the head was found severed from the body: but after that time Pindarus was never seene more. Whereupon, some tooke occasion to say that he had slaine his maister without his commandement. By & by they knew the horsmen that came towards them, and might see Titinnius crowned with a garland of triumph, who came before with great speed unto Cassius. But when he perceived by the cries & teares of his friends which tormented themselves, the misfortune that had chanced to his Captaine Cassius, by mistaking, he drew out his sword, cursing himself a thousand times that he had taried so long, & so slue himself presently in the field. Brutus in the meane time came forward still, and understood also
that Cassius had bin overthrowne: but he knew nothing of his death, till he came very neare to his campe. So when he was come thither, after he had lamented the death of Cassius, calling him the last of all the ROMANES; being unpossible that ROME should ever breed againe so noble and valiant a man as he: he caused his body to be buried, and sent it to the citie of THASSOs, fearing lest his funerals within his campe should cause great disorder."
(4) SCENE IV.—
I had rather have
Such men my friends than enemies.]
"There was the sonne of Marcus Cato slaine, valiantly fighting among the lustie youth. For notwithstanding that he was very wearie and over-harried, yet would he not therefore flie, but manfully fighting and laying about him, telling aloud his name, and also his fathers name, at length he was beaten downe amongst many other dead bodies of his enemies, which he had slaine round about him. So there were slaine in the field, all the chiefest Gentlemen and Nobilitie that were in his armie, who valiantly ranne into any danger to save Brutus life: amongst whom there was one of Brutus friends called Lucilius, who seeing a troupe of barbarous men, making no reckoning of all men else they met in their way, but going altogether right against Brutus, he determined to stay them with the hazard of his life, and being left behind, told them that he was Brutus: and because they should beleeve him, he prayed them to bring him to Antonius, for he said he was afraid of Caesar, and that he did trust Antonius better. These barbarous men being very glad of this good hap, and thinking them selves happie men, they caried him in the night, and sent some before unto Antonius, to tel him of their coming. He was marvellous glad of it, and went out to meete them that brought him. Others also understanding that they had brought Brutus prisoner, they came from all parts of the campe to see him, some pitying his hard fortune, and others saying, that it was not done like himselfe, so cowardly to be taken alive of the barbarous people, for feare of death. When they came neare together, Antonius staid awhile bethinking himselfe how he should use Brutus. In the meane time Lucilius was brought to him, who with a bold countenance said: Antonius, I dare assure thee, that no enemie hath taken or shall take Marcus Brutus alive: and I beseech God keepe him from that fortune: but wheresoever he be found, alive or dead, he will be found like himselfe and touching my selfe, I am come unto thee, having deceived these men of armes making them beleeve that I was Brutus, and do not refuse to suffer any torment thou wilt put me to. Lucilius words made them all amazed that heard him. Antonius on the other side, looking upon all them that had brought him, said unto them: My friends, I thinke ye are sorie you have failed of your purpose, and that you think this man hath done you great wrong: but I assure you, you have taken a better bootie then that you followed. For in stead of an enemy, you have brought me a friend and for my part, if you had brought me Brutus alive, truly I can not tell what I should have done to him. For I had rather have such men as this my friends then mine enemies. Then he embraced Lucilius, and at that time delivered him to one of his friends in custodie; and Lucilius ever after served him faithfully, even to his death."
(5) SCENE V.-Run on his sword, and dies.] "Now the night being farre spent, Brutus, as he sat, bowed towards Clitus, one of his men, and told him somewhat in his eare the other aunswered him not, but fell a weeping. Thereupon he proved Dardanus, and sayd somewhat also to him at length he came to Volumnius him selfe, and, speaking to him in Greeke, prayed him, for the studies sake which brought them acquainted together,
that he would helpe him to put his hande to his sword, to thrust it in him to kill him. Volumnius denied his request, and so did many others; and amongest the rest, one of them sayd there was no tarying for them there, but that they must needes fly. Then Brutus, rising upp, we must flie in deede, said he, but it must be with our handes, not with our feete. Then taking every man by the hand, he sayd these words unto them with a cheerefull countenance. It rejoiceth my hart that not one of my friends hath failed me at my neede, and I do not complaine of my fortune, but only for my countries sake for, as for me, I think my selfe happier than they that have over come, considering that I have a perpetuall fame of our corage and manhoode, the which our enemies the conquerors shall never attaine unto by force nor money; neither can let their posteritie to say that they, being naughtie and unjust men, have slaine good men, to usurpe tyrannical power not pertaining to them. Having sayd so, he prayed everie man to shift for themselves, and then he went a little aside with two or three only, among the which Strato was one, with whom he came first acquainted by the study of Rethoricke. He came as neere to him as he coulde, and taking his sword by the hilts with both his hands, and falling down upon the point of it, ran himselfe through. Others say that not he but Strato (at his request) held the sword in his hand, and turned his head aside, and that Brutus fell downe upon it, and so ranne himself through and dyed presently. Messala, that had bene Brutus great frend, became afterwards Octavius Cæsar's frend. So, shortly after, Casar being at good leisure, he brought Strato, Brutus frende, unto him, and weeping sayd-Casar, beholde, here is he that did the last service to my Brutus. Casar welcomed him at that time, and afterwards he did him as faithfull service in all his affairs as any Grecian els he had about him, until the battle of Actium."
(6) SCENE V.-This was the noblest Roman of them all.] "But Brutus in contrary manner, for his vertue and valiantnesse, was well-beloved of the people and his owne, esteemed of noblemen, and hated of no man, not so much as of his enemies; because he was a marvellous lowly and gentle person, noble minded, and would never be in any rage, nor caried away with pleasure and covetousnesse, but had ever an upright mind with him, and would never yeeld to any wrong or iniustice; the which was the chiefest cause of his fame, of his rising, & of the goodwill that every man bare him: for they were all perswaded that his intent was good. For they did not certainly beleeve, that if Pompey himself had overcome Casar, he would have resigned his authority to the law, but rather they were of opinion, that he would stil keepe the soveraigntie and absolute government in his hands, taking onely, to please the people, the title of Consul, or Dictator, or of some other more civill office. And as for Cassius, a hote, cholericke, and cruell man, that would oftentimes be caried away from iustice for gaine, it was certainly thought that he made warre, and put himselfe into sundrie dangers, more to have absolute power and authoritie, then to defend the liberty of his countrey. For, they that will also consider others, that were elder men then they, as Cinna, Marinus, & Carbo, it is out of doubt that the end & hope of their victorie, was to be the Lords of their countrey, and in manner they did all confesse, that they fought for the tyranny, and to be Lords of the Empire of ROME. And in contrary maner, his enemies themselves did never reprove Brutus for any such change or desire. For, it was said that Antonius spake it openly diverse times, that he thought, that of all them that had slaine Casar, there was none but Brutus onely that was moved to do it, as thinking the act commendable of it selfe: but that all the other conspiratours did conspire his death for some private malice or envie, that they otherwise did beare unto him."
CRITICAL OPINIONS ON JULIUS CÆSAR.
"THE piece of 'Julius Cæsar,' to complete the action, requires to be continued to the fall of Brutus and Cassius. Cæsar is not the hero of the piece, but Brutus. The amiable beauty of his character, his feeling and patriotic heroism, are portrayed with peculiar care. Yet the poet has pointed out with great nicety the superiority of Cassius over Brutus in independent volition and discernment in judging of human affairs; that the latter, from the purity of his mind, and his conscientious love of justice, is unfit to be the head of a party in a state entirely corrupted; and that these very faults give an unfortunate turn to the cause of the conspirators. In the part of Cæsar, several ostentatious speeches have been censured as unsuitable. But as he never appears in action, we have no other measure of his greatness than the impression which he makes upon the rest of the characters, and his peculiar confidence in himself. In this, Cæsar was by no means deficient, as we learn from history and his own writings; but he displayed it more in the easy ridicule of his enemies than in pompous discourses. The theatrical effect of this play is injured by a partial falling off of the last two acts, compared with the preceding, in external splendour and rapidity. The first appearance of Cæsar in festal robes, when the music stops, and all are silent whenever he opens his mouth, and when the few words which he utters are received as oracles, is truly magnificent; the conspiracy is a true conspiracy, which, in stolen interviews and in the dead of night, prepares the blow which is to be struck in open day, and which is to change the constitution of the world;-the confused thronging before the murder of Cæsar, the general agitation even of the perpetrators after the deed, are all portrayed with most masterly skill; with the funeral procession and the speech of Antony, the effect reaches its utmost height. Cæsar's shade is more powerful to avenge his fall than he himself was to guard against it. After the overthrow of the external splendour and greatness of the conqueror and ruler of the world, the intrinsic grandeur of character of Brutus and Cassius is all that remains to fill the stage and occupy the minds of the spectators: suitably to their name, as the last of the Romans, they stand there, in some degree alone; and the forming a great and hazardous determination is more powerfully calculated to excite our expectation, than the supporting the consequences of the deed with heroic firmness."—SCHLEGEL.