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And, thus unbraced, Casca, as you see,

Have bared my bosom to the thunder-stone:

And, when the cross blue lightning seemed 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.

122. 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 infused 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, 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,

And fearful, as these strange eruptions are.

Casca. 'Tis Cæsar that you mean: Is it not, Cassius ?

124. 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 governed 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.

126. 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.

127. Casca. So can I:

So every bondman in his own hand bears

The power to cancel his captivity.

128. 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?

Where hast thou led me?

Before a willing bondman:

But, O, grief!

I, perhaps, speak this

Then I know

My answer must be made. But I am armed,
And dangers are to me indifferent.

129. 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.

130. Cas. There's a bargain made.

Now know you, Casca, I have moved already
Some certain of the noblest-minded Romans

To undergo, with me, an enterprise
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

In favour's like the work we have in hand,

Most bloody, fiery, and most terrible.

Enter CINNA.

[Thunder still.

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?

134. Cas. No, it is Casca; one incorporate

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

135. Cin. I am glad on't. What a fearful night is this! There's two or three of us have seen strange sights. 136. Cas. Am I not staid for? Tell me.

137. Cin. Yes, you are.

O Cassius, if you could

But win the noble Brutus to our party!

138. Cas. Be you content. Good Cinna, take this paper,
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?

139. 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.
140. Cas. That done, repair to Pompey's theatre.
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.

[Exit CINNA.

142. 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.


The heading of Scene III. in the old copies is only "Thunder and Lightning. Enter Casca, and Cicero."

106. Brought you Cæsar home?—Bring, which is now ordinarily restricted to the sense of carrying hither (so that we cannot say Bring there), was formerly used in that of carrying or conveying generally. To bring one on his way, for instance, was to accompany him even if he had been leaving the speaker. So “ So "Brought you Cæsar home?" is Did you go home with Cæsar? The word re

tains its old sense in the expression To bring forth (fruit, or young), if not also in To bring down (a bird with a gun). To fetch, again, seems always to have meant more than to bring or to carry. "A horse cannot fetch, but only carry," says Launce in The Two Gent. of Ver. iii. 1.

107. All the sway of earth.-Sway, swing, swagger, are probably all of the same stock with weigh, and also with wave. The sway of earth may be explained as the balanced swing of earth.

107. Like a thing unfirm.-We have now lost the adjective unfirm, and we have appropriated infirm almost exclusively to the human body and mind, and their states and movements. For infirm generally we can only say not firm.

107. Have rived.—We have nearly lost this form, which is the one Shakespeare uses in the only two passages in which (if we may trust to Mrs Clarke) the past participle passive of the verb to rive is found in his works. The other is also in this Play :-" Brutus hath rived my heart," in 554. Milton, again, has our modern riven in the only passage of his poetry in which any part of the verb to rive occurs :-(P. L. vi. 449), "His riven arms to havoc hewn."

107. To be exalted with.-That is, in order, or in the effort, to be raised to the same height with.

107. A tempest dropping fire.-In the original text these three words are joined together by hyphens.

107. A civil strife in heaven.—A strife in which one part of heaven wars with another.

108. Any thing more wonderful.-That is, anything more that was wonderful. So in Coriolanus, iv. 6:—

"The slave's report is seconded, and more,

More fearful, is delivered."

So also in King John, iv. 2:

"Some reasons of this double coronation

I have possessed you with, and think them strong;
And more, more strong,
I shall endue you with."

109. You know him well by sight.-Is it to be supposed that Casca really means to say that the common slave whom he chanced to meet was a particular individual well known to Cicero ? Of what importance could that circumstance be? Or for what purpose should Casca notice it, even supposing him to have been acquainted with the fact that Cicero knew the man well, and yet knew him only by sight? It is impossible not to suspect some interpolation or corruption. Perhaps the true reading may be, "you knew him well by sight," meaning that any one would have known him at once to be but a common slave (notwithstanding the preternatural appearance, as if almost of something godlike, which his uplifted hand exhibited, burning but unhurt).

109. Besides (I have not since, etc.-In the Folios "I ha' not since."

109. Against the Capitol.-Over against, opposite to. 109. Who glared upon me.-In all the Folios the word is glazed. Pope first changed it to glared. Malone afterwards substituted gazed, partly on the strength of a passage in Stowe's Chronicle,-which gave Steevens an opportunity of maliciously rejoining, after quoting other instances of Shakespeare's use of glare;-"I therefore continue to repair the poet with his own animated phraseology, rather than with the cold expression suggested by the narrative of Stowe; who, having been a tailor, was undoubtedly equal to the task of mending Shakespeare's hose, but, on poetical emergencies, must not be allowed to patch his dialogue." Glared is also the correction of Mr Collier's MS. annotator. The only other instance known of the use of glazed, in apparently the sense which it would have here, is one produced by Boswell, from King James's translation of the Urania of Du Bartas: "I gave a lusty glaise." Boswell adds that "Du Bartas's original affords us no assistance."

109. Drawn upon a heap.-Gathered together in a heap,

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