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But for the general. He would be crowned :-
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 swayed
More than his reason. Buť ’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 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, hatched, would, as his kind, grow mischievous;
And kill him in the shell.
148. Luc. The taper burneth in your closet, Sir.
Searching the window for a flint, I found
This paper, thus sealed up; and, I am sure,
It did not lie there when I went to bed.
[Gives him the letter. 149. Bru. Get you to bed again; it is not day.
Is not to-morrow, boy, the ides of March?
Luc. I know not, Sir.
Bru. Look in the calendar, and bring me word.
Luc. I will, Sir.
[Exit. 153. Bru. The exhalations, whizzing in the air, Give so much light, that I may read by them.
[Opens the letter, and reads. “Brutus, thou sleep'st; awake, and see thyself. Shall Rome, &c. Speak, strike, redress !”Brutus, thou sleep'st ; awake.
Such instigations have been often dropped
Where I have took them up.
Shall Rome, &c. Thus must I piece it out:-
Shall Rome stand under one man's awe? What! Rome?
My ancestors did from the streets of Rome
The Tarquin drive, when he was called a king.
Speak, strike, redress!
Am I entreated
To speak, and strike? O Rome! I make thee promise,
If the redress will follow, thou receivest
Thy full petition at the hand of Brutus.
154. Luc. Sir, March is wasted fourteen days.
[Knock within. 155. Bru. 'Tis good. Go to the gate; somebody knocks.
Since Cassius first did whet me against Cæsar,
I have not slept.
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 a man,
Like to a little kingdom, suffers then
The nature of an insurrection.
Re-enter LUCIUS. 156. Luc. Sir, 'tis your brother Cassius at the door,
Who doth desire to see you.
Bru. Is he alone? 158. Luc. No, Sir, there are moe with him.
Bru. Do you know them? 160. Luc. No, Sir; their hats are plucked about their ears,
And half their faces buried in their cloaks,
That by no means I may discover them
By any mark of favour. 161. Bru. Let 'em enter.
They are the faction. 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, Conspiracy;
Hide it in smiles and affability:
For, if thou path, thy native semblance on,
Not Erebus itself were dim enough
To hide thee from prevention.
Enter Cassius, CASCA, DECIUS, CINNA, METELLUS CIM-
BER, and TREBONIUS. 162. Cas. I think we are too bold upon your rest:
Good morrow, Brutus: do we trouble you?
Bru. I have been up this hour; awake, all night.
Know I these men that come along with you?
Cas. Yes, every man of them; and no man here
But honors you; and every one doth wish
You had but that opinion of yourself
Which every noble Roman bears of you.
This is Trebonius.
Bru. He is welcome hither.
Cas. This, Decius Brutus.
Bru. He is welcome too. 168. Cas. This, Casca; this, Cinna; and this, Metellus
Bru. They are all welcome.
What watchful cares do interpose themselves
Betwixt your eyes and night?
Cas. Shall I entreat a word?
[They whisper. Dec. Here lies the east: doth not the day break here?
Casca. No. 173. Cin. O, pardon, Sir, it doth; and yon grey lines,
That fret the clouds, are messengers of day. 174. Casca. You shall confess that you are both deceived.
Here, as I point my sword, the sun arises;
Which is a great way growing on the south,
Weighing the youthful season of the year.
Some two months hence, up higher toward the north
He first presents his fire; and the high east
Stands, as the Capitol, directly here.
175. Bru. Give me your hands all over, one by one.
Cas. And let us swear our resolution. 177. Bru. No, not an oath : if not the face of men,
The sufferance of our souls, the time's abuse,
If these be motives weak, break off betimes,
And every man hence to his idle bed;
So let high-sighted tyranny range on,
. Till each man drop by lottery. But if these,
As I am sure they do, bear fire enough
To kindle cowards, and to steel with valour
The melting spirits of women; then, countrymen,
What need we any spur, but our own cause,
To prick us to redress? what other bond,
Than secret Romans, that have spoke the word,
And will not palter? and what other oath,
Than honesty to honesty engaged
That this shall be, or we will fall for it?
Swear priests, and cowards, and men cautelous,
Old feeble carrions, and such suffering souls
That welcome wrongs; unto bad causes swear
Such creatures as men doubt: but do not stain
The even virtue of our enterprise,
Nor the insuppressive metal of our spirits,
To think that or our cause or our performance
Did need an oath; when every drop of blood,
That every Roman bears, and nobly bears,
Is guilty of a several bastardy,
If he do break the smallest particle
Of any promise that hath passed from him. 178. Cas. But what of Cicero? Shall we sound him? I think he will stand very strong with us.
Casca. Let us not leave him out.
Cin. No, by no means.
181. Met. O, let us have him; for his silver hairs
Will purchase us a good opinion,
And buy men's voices to commend our deeds :
It shall be said, his judgment ruled our hands;
Our youths and wildness shall no whit appear,
But all be buried in his gravity. 182. Bru. O, name him not; let us not break with him;
For he will never follow anything
That other men begin.
Cas. Then leave him out.
Casca. Indeed, he is not fit.
Dec. Shall no man else be touched but only Cæsar? 186. Cas. Decius, well urged.— I think it is not meet,
Mark Antony, so well beloved of Cæsar,
Should outlive Cæsar. We shall find of him
A shrewd contriver; and, you know, his means,
If he improve the may well stretch so far
As to annoy us all: which to prevent,
Let Antony and Cæsar fall together. 187. Bru. Our course will seem too bloody, Caius Cassius,
To cut the head off, and then hack the limbs,
Like wrath in death, and envy afterwards :
For Antony is but a limb of Cæsar.
Let us be sacrificers, but not butchers, Caius.
We all stand up against the spirit of Cæsar;
And in the spirit of men there is no blood :
O, that we then could come by Cæsar's spirit,
And not dismember Cæsar! But, alas,
Cæsar must bleed for it! And, 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 carcass fit for hounds :
And let our hearts, as subtle masters do,
their servants to an act of rage,
And after seem to chide 'em. This shall mark
Our purpose necessary, and not envious :
Which so appearing to the common eyes,
We shall be called purgers, not murderers.
And for Mark Antony, think not of him;
For he can do no more than Cæsar's arm
When Cæsar's head is off. 188. Cas. Yet I do fear him:
For in the ingrafted love he bears to Cæsar,
189. Bru. Alas, good Cassius, do not think of him:
If he loves Cæsar, all that he can do
Is to himself, — take thought, and die for Cæsar:
And that were much he should; for he is given
To sports, to wildness, and much company.
190. Treb. There is no fear in him; let him not die;
For he will live, and laugh at this hereafter.
[Clock strikes Bru. Peace, count the clock.