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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:6
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 1, Casca,
Name to thee a man most like this dreadful night;
That thunders, lightens, 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,7
And fearful, as these strange erruptions are.

Casca. 'Tis Cæsar that you mean: Is it not, Cassius?
Cas. Let it be who it is: for Romans now

Have thewes and limbs like to their ancestors;

5 Why birds, and beasts, from quality and kind; &c.] that is, Why they deviate from quality and nature.

6

and children calculate:] Calculate here signifies to foretel or prophesy.

7

prodigious grown,] Prodigious is portentous.

8 Have thewes and limbs-] Thewes is an obsolese word implying nerves or muscular strength.

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.

So

Casca.

every

So can I:

bondman 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,
But that he sees, the Romans are but sheep:
He were no lion, were not Romans hinds.
Those that with haste will make a mighty fire,
Begin it with weak straws: What trash is Rome,
What rubbish, and what offal, when it serves
For the base matter to illuminate

So vile a thing as Cæsar? But, O, grief!
Where hast thou led me? I, perhaps, speak this
Before a willing bondman: then I know
My answer must be made:9 But I am arm'd,
And dangers are to me indifferent.

9 My answer must be made:] I shall be called to account, and must answer as for seditious words.

Casca. You speak to Casca; and to such a man,
That is no fleering tell-tale. Hold my hand:'
Be factious for redress of all these griefs;
And I will set this foot of mine as far,

As who goes farthest.

Cas.

There's a bargain made.

Now know you, Casca, I have mov'd already
Some certain of the noblest-minded Romans,
To undergo, with me, an enterprize

Of honourable-dangerous consequence;
And I do know, by this, they stay for me
In Pompey's porch: For now, this fearful night,
There is no stir, or walking in the streets;
And the complexion of the element

Is favour'd3, like the work we have in hand,
Most bloody, fiery, and most terrible.

Enter CINNA.

Casca. Stand close awhile, for here comes one in haste.

Cas. 'Tis Cinna, I do know him by his gait;

He is a friend. Cinna, where haste you so?

Cin. To find out you: Who's that? Metellus Cimber? Cas. No, it is Casca; one incorporate

To our attempts. Am I not staid for, Cinna?

Cin. I am glad on't. What a fearful night is this? There's two or three of us have seen strange sights. Cas. Am I not staid for, Cinna? Tell me.

Cin.

You are.

O, Cassius, if you could but win The noble Brutus to our party

1

Yes,

Cas. Be you content: Good Cinna, take this paper,

Hold my hand:] is the same as,

Here's my

hand.

2 Be factious for redress-] Factious seems here to mean active. 3 Is favour'd,-] To favour is to resemble; but Mr. Malone reads "In favours," which was suggested by Dr. Johnson, i. e. in looks, appearances, &c.

And look you lay it in the prætor's chair,
Where Brutus may but find it; and throw this
In at his window: set this up with wax
Upon old Brutus' statue: all this done,

Repair to Pompey's porch, where you shall find us.
Is Decius Brutus, and Trebonius, there?

Cin. All but Metellus Cimber; and he's gone
To seek you at your house. Well, I will hie,
And so bestow these papers as you bade me.
Cas. That done, repair to Pompey's theatre.

[Exit CINNA.

Come, Casca, you and I will, yet, ere day,
See Brutus at his house: three parts of him
Is ours already; and the man entire,

Upon the next encounter, yields him ours.

Casca. O, he sits high, in all the people's hearts:
And that, which would appear offence in us,
His countenance, like richest alchymy,

Will change to virtue, and to worthiness.

Cas. Him, and his worth, and our great need of him,

You have right well conceited. Let us go,

For it is after midnight; and, ere day,

We will awake him, and be sure of him.

[Exeunt.

SCENE I.

ACT II.

The same. Brutus's Orchard.

Enter BRUTUS.

Bru. What, Lucius! ho!

I cannot, by the progress of the stars,

Give guess how near to day. Lucius, I say!

I would it were my fault to sleep so soundly. —

When, Lucius, when? Awake, I say: What, Lucius!

Enter LUCIUS.

Luc. Call'd you, my lord?

Bru. Get me a taper in my study, Lucius: When it is lighted, come and call me here.

Luc. I will, my lord.

Bru. It must be by his death: and, for my part,

I know no personal cause to spurn at him,

But for the general. He would be crown'd:

[Exit.

How that might change his nature, there's the question.
It is the bright day that brings forth the adder;
And that craves wary walking. Crown him?—That;—
And then, I grant, we put a sting in him,
That at his will he may do danger with.
The abuse of greatness is, when it disjoins

Remorse from power: And, to speak truth of Cæsar,
I have not known when his affections sway'd
More than his reason. But 'tis a common proof,5
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 degrees
By which he did ascend: So Cæsar may;

Then, lest he may, prevent. And, since the quarrel
Will bear no colour for the thing he is,
Fashion it thus; that what he is, augmented,
Would run to these, and these extremities:
And therefore think him as a serpent's egg,

Which, hatch'd, would, as his kind', grow mischievous;
And kill him in the shell.

4 Remorse from power:] Remorse is pity, tenderness.

3

common proof] Common proof means a matter proved by common experience.

6

base degrees] Low steps.

7 as his kind,] i. e. like the rest of his species.

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