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And talk to you sometimes? Dwell I but in the
Of your good pleasure? If it be no more,
Portia is Brutus' harlot, not his wife.
Bru. You are my true and honorable wife; As dear to me, as are the ruddy drops
That visit my sad heart.
Por. If this were true, then should I know this
I grant I am a woman; but, withal,
A woman that lord Brutus took to wife.
I grant I am a woman; but, withal,
Tell me your counsels, I will not disclose them.
Here in the thigh. Can I bear that with patience,
O ye gods,
Render me worthy of this noble wife!
Hark, hark! one knocks. Portia, go in a while;
The secrets of my heart.
All my engagements I will construe to thee,
All the charactery1 of my sad brows.—
Leave me with haste.
Enter LUCIUS and LIGARIUS.
Lucius, who is that knocks? Luc. Here is a sick man, that would speak with you. Bru. Caius Ligarius, that Metellus spake of.Boy, stand aside.-Caius Ligarius! how?
Lig. Vouchsafe good morrow from a feeble tongue.
1 Charactery is defined "writing by characters or strange marks." In The Merry Wives of Windsor, Act v. Sc. 1, it is said, "Fairies use flowers for their charactery."
Bru. O, what a time have you chose out, brave
To wear a kerchief! 'Would you were not sick!
Bru. Such an exploit have I in hand, Ligarius,
Lig. By all the gods that Romans bow before,
Bru. A piece of work that will make sick men whole.
Lig. But are not some whole, that we must make
Bru. That must we also. What it is, my Caius, I shall unfold to thee, as we are going,
To whom it must be done.
Set on your foot;
And, with a heart new-fired, I follow you,
To do I know not what: but it sufficeth,
Follow me, then.
SCENE II. The same. A Room in Cæsar's Palace.
Thunder and lightning.
Enter CESAR, in his
Cæs. Nor heaven, nor earth, have been at peace
Thrice hath Calphurnia in her sleep cried out,
1 Here, and in all other places, Shakspeare uses exorcist for one who 'raises spirits, not one who lays them. But it has been erroneously said that he is singular in this use of the word.
Serv. My lord?
Enter a Servant.
Cæs. Go bid the priests do present sacrifice,
And bring me their opinions of success.
Serv. I will, my lord.
Cal. What mean you, Cæsar? Think you to walk forth?
You shall not stir out of your house to-day.
Cæs. Cæsar shall forth. The things that threatened me,
Ne'er looked but on my back; when they shall see
Cal. Cæsar, I never stood on ceremonies,1
And graves have yawned, and yielded up their dead
In ranks, and squadrons, and right form of war,
The noise of battle hurtled in the air;
Horses did neigh, and dying men did groan ;
And ghosts did shriek, and squeal about the streets.
And I do fear them.
What can be avoided, Whose end is purposed by the mighty gods? Yet Cæsar shall go forth; for these predictions
Are to the world in general, as to Cæsar.
Cal. When beggars die, there are no comets seen; The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of
1 Never paid a regard to prodigies or omens.
2 To hurtle is to clash, or move with violence and noise.
3 Henry Howard, earl of Northampton, in his Defensative against the
Cæs. Cowards die many times before their deaths; The valiant never taste of death but once.
Of all the wonders that I yet have heard,
It seems to me most strange that men should fear;
Will come, when it will come.
Re-enter a Servant.
What say the augurers?
Serv. They would not have you to stir forth to-day.
Plucking the entrails of an offering forth,
They could not find a heart within the beast.
Cæs. The gods do this in shame of cowardice; Cæsar should be a beast without a heart,
If he should stay at home to-day for fear.
No, Cæsar shall not. Danger knows full well,
And I the elder and more terrible;
And Cæsar shall go forth.
Alas, my lord,
Your wisdom is consumed in confidence.
Do not go forth to-day. Call it my fear,
That keeps you in the house, and not your own.
We'll send Mark Antony to the senate-house;
And he shall say you are not well to-day.
Let me, upon my knee, prevail in this.
Cæs. Mark Antony shall say I am not well; And, for thy humor, I will stay at home.
Poison of supposed Prophecies, 1583, says, "Next to the shadows and pretences of experience (which have been met with all at large), they seem to brag most of the strange events which follow (for the most part) after blazing starres; as if they were the summonses of God to call princes to the seat of judgment. The surest way to shake their painted bulwarkes of experience is, by making plaine that neither princes always dye when comets blaze, nor comets ever (i. e. always) when princes dye." In this work is a curious anecdote of queen Elizabeth, "then lying at Richmond, being dissuaded from looking on a comet; with a courage equal to the greatness of her state, she caused the windowe to be sette open, and said, Jacta est alea-the dice are thrown."
1. The old copy reads, "We heare," &c. The emendation was made by Theobald. Upton proposed to read, "We are,” &c.
Here's Decius Brutus; he shall tell them so.
I come to fetch you to the senate-house.
Cæs. And you are come in very happy time,
I will not come to-day. Tell them so, Decius.
Shall Cæsar send a lie?
Have I in conquest stretched mine arm so far,
To be afeard to tell gray-beards the truth?
Dec. Most mighty Cæsar, let me know some cause, Lest I be laughed at, when I tell them so.
Cæs. The cause is in my will, I will not come; That is enough to satisfy the senate.
But, for your private satisfaction,
Because I love you, I will let you know.
It was a vision, fair and fortunate.
1 "The old copy reads statue; but it has been shown by Mr. Reed, beyond controversy, that statua was pronounced as a trisyllable by our ancestors, and hence generally written statua"