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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,1
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 mettle 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.
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.
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.
Bru. O, name him not; let us not break with him; For he will never follow any thing
Casca. Indeed, he is not fit.
Dec. Shall no man else be touched but only Cæsar? 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
1 Though cautelous is often used for wary, circumspect, by old writers, the context shows that Shakspeare uses it here for artful, insidious. 2 i. e. break the matter to him.
A shrewd contriver; and, you know, his means,
If he improve them, may well stretch so far,
As to annoy us all; which to prevent,
Let Antony and Cæsar fall together.
Bru. Our course will seem too bloody, Caius Cassius,
To cut the head off, and then hack the limbs ;
Like wrath in death, and envy1 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,
Stir up their servants to an act of rage,
And after seem to chide them. This shall make
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.
Yet I do fear him;
For, in the ingrafted love he bears to Cæsar,-
Bru. Alas, good Cassius, do not think of him
If he love 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.
Treb. There is no fear in him; let him not die; For he will live, and laugh at this hereafter.
Bru. Peace; count the clock.
1 Envy here, as almost always by Shakspeare, is used for malice. 2 To take thought, is to grieve, to be troubled in mind.
The clock hath stricken three
But it is doubtful yet,
Whe'r1 Cæsar will come forth to-day, or no ;
For he is superstitious grown of late;
Quite from the main opinion? he held once
Of fantasy, of dreams, and ceremonies.
It may be, these apparent prodigies,
The unaccustomed terror of this night,
And the persuasion of his augurers,
May hold him from the Capitol to-day.
Dec. Never fear that. If he be so resolved,
I can o'ersway him; for he loves to hear,
That unicorns may be betrayed with trees,3
And bears with glasses, elephants with holes,
Lions with toils, and men with flatterers.
But when I tell him he hates flatterers,
He says, he does; being then most flattered.
Let me work;
For I can give his humor the true bent;
And I will bring him to the Capitol.
Cas. Nay, we will all of us be there to fetch him.
Bru. By the eighth hour; is that the uttermost ?
Cin. Be that the uttermost, and fail not then.
Met. Caius Ligarius doth bear Cæsar hard,
Who rated him for speaking well of Pompey;
I wonder none of you have thought of him.
Bru. Now, good Metellus, go along by him; He loves me well, and I have given him reasons. Send him but hither, and I'll fashion him.
2 Main opinion is fixed opinion, general estimation. Fantasy was used for imagination or conceit in Shakspeare's time. Ceremonies signify omens or signs deduced from sacrifices or other ceremonial rites.
3 Unicorns are said to have been taken by one, who, running behind a tree, eluded the violent push the animal was making at him, so that his horn spent its force on the trunk, and stuck fast. Bears are reported to have been surprised by means of a mirror, which they would gaze on, affording their pursuers an opportunity of taking the surer aim. Elephants were seduced into pitfalls, lightly covered with hurdles and turf, on which a proper bait to tempt them was placed.
4 i. e. by his house; make that your way home.
Cas. The morning comes upon us. We'll leave you, Brutus ;
And, friends, disperse yourselves; but all remember
What you have said, and show yourselves true Romans.
Bru. Good gentlemen, look fresh and merrily ;
Let not our looks put on1 our purposes;
But bear it as our Roman actors do,
With untired spirits, and formal constancy.
And so, good-morrow to you every one.
[Exeunt all but BRUTUS.
Boy! Lucius!-Fast asleep?-It is no matter;
Enjoy the honey-heavy dew of slumber.
Thou hast no figures, nor no fantasies,
Which busy care draws in the brains of men;
Therefore thou sleep'st so sound.
Bru. Portia, what mean you? Wherefore rise you
It is not for your health, thus to commit
Your weak condition to the raw-cold morning.
Por. Nor for yours, neither. You have ungently,
Stole from my bed; and yesternight, at supper,
You suddenly arose, and walked about,
Musing, and sighing, with your arms across;
And when I asked you what the matter was,
You stared upon me with ungentle looks.
I urged you further; then you scratched your head,
And too impatiently stamped with your foot.
Yet I insisted, yet you answered not;
But with an angry wafture of your hand,
Gave sign for me to leave you. So I did;
Fearing to strengthen that impatience,
Which seemed too much enkindled; and, withal,
1 "Let not our faces put on, that is, wear or show our designs.” 2 Shapes created by imagination.
Hoping it was but an effect of humor,
Which sometime hath his hour with every man.
It will not let you eat, nor talk, nor sleep;
And, could it work so much upon your shape,
As it hath much prevailed on your condition,'
I should not know you, Brutus. Dear my lord,
Make me acquainted with your cause of grief.
Bru. I am not well in health, and that is all.
Por. Brutus is wise, and were he not in health,
He would embrace the means to come by it.
Bru. Why, so I do.-Good Portia, go to bed.
Por. Is Brutus sick? and is it physical
To walk unbraced, and suck up the humors
Of the dank morning? What, is Brutus sick?
And will he steal out of his wholesome bed,
To dare the vile contagion of the night?
And tempt the rheumy and unpurged air
To add unto his sickness? No, my Brutus;
You have some sick offence within your mind,
Which, by the right and virtue of my place,
I ought to know of. And, upon my knees,
I charm you, by my once commended beauty,
By all your vows of love, and that great vow
Which did incorporate and make us one,
That you unfold to me, yourself, your half,
Why you are heavy; and what men to-night
Have had resort to you; for here have been
Some six or seven, who did hide their faces
Even from darkness.
Kneel not, gentle Portia.
Por. I should not need, if you were gentle Brutus. Within the bond of marriage, tell me, Brutus,
Is it excepted, I should know no secrets
That appertain to you? Am I yourself,
But, as it were, in sort, or limitation;
To keep with you at meals, comfort your bed,
1 Condition is temper, disposition, demeanor.
2 "I charm you." This is the reading of the old copy, which Pope and Hanmer changed to "I charge you," without necessity. To charm is to invoke or entreat by words or other fascinating means.