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Cassius, be constant.
[Exeunt ANTONY and TREBONIUS. CÆSAR
and the Senators take their seats. Dec. Where is Metellus Cimber? Let him
go, And presently prefer his suit to Cæsar.
Bru. He is addressed :1 press near, and second him. Cin. Casca, you are the first that rears your hand.
Cæs. Are we all ready? What is now amiss,
I must prevent thee, Cimber. These couchings, and these lowly courtesies, Might fire the blood of ordinary men; And turn pre-ordinance, and first decree, Into the law of children.4 Be not fond, To think that Cæsar bears such rebel blood, That will be thawed from the true quality With that which melteth fools; I mean, sweet words, Low-crooked curt’sies, and base, spaniel fawning. Thy brother by decree is banished; If thou dost bend, and pray, and fawn for him, T spurn thee like a cur out of my way, . Know, Cæsar doth not wrong; nor without cause Will he be satisfied.5
1 i. e. he is ready.
2 According to the rules of modern grammar, Shakspeare should have written his hand. Ritson thinks the words 6 Are we all ready ? " should be given to Cinna, and not to Cæsar.
3 Pre-ordinance for ordinance already established.
4 The old copy erroneously reads the lane of children." Lawe, as anciently written, was easily confounded with lane.
5 Ben Jonson has shown the ridicule of this passage in the Induction to The Staple of News. He has been accused of quoting the passage Cin. O Casar,
Met. Is there no voice more worthy than my own, To sound more sweetly in great Cæsar's ear, For the repealing of my banished brother ?
Bru. I kiss thy hand, but not in flattery, Cæsar;
Cæs. What, Brutus!
Pardon, Cæsar ; Cæsar, pardon.
Ces. I could be well moved, if I were as you :
unfaithfully; but Mr. Tyrwhitt surmised, and Mr. Gifford is decidedly of opinion, that the passage originally stood as cited by Jonson; thus:
6 Met. Cæsar, thou dost me wrong.
Cæs. Cæsar did never wrong, but with just cause." Mr Tyrwhitt has endeavored to defend the passage by observing, that wrong is not always a synonymous term for injury; and that Cæsar is meant to say, that he doth not inflict any evil or punishment but with just cause. 6 The fact seems to be (says Mr. Gifford), that this verse, which closely borders on absurdity, without being absolutely absurd, escaped the Poet in the heat of composition; and being one of these quaint slips which are readily remembered, became a jocular and familiar phrase for reproving (as in the passage of Ben Jonson's Induction) the perverse and unreasonable expectations of the male or female gossips of the day.”
1 i.e. intelligent, capable of apprehending.
2 i. e. “still holds his place unshaken by suit or solicitation," of which the object is to move the person addressed.
Hence! wilt thou lift up Olympus ? Dec. Great Cæsar, Cæs.
Doth not Brutus bootless kneel ? Casca. Speak, hands, for me.
[Casca stabs Cæsar in the neck. CÆSAR
catches hold of his arm. He is then stabbed by several other Conspirators, and at last by
MARCUS BRUTUS. Cæs. Et tu, Brute ? 1_Then, fall, Cæsar. [Dies. The Senators and People retire in
confusion. Cin. Liberty! Freedom! Tyranny is dead !Run hence, proclaim, cry it about the streets.
Cas. Some to the common pulpits, and cry out, Liberty, freedom, and enfranchisement!
Bru. People, and senators! be not affrighted ;
Casca. Go to the pulpit, Brutus.?
And Cassius too.
Met. Stand fast together, lest some friend of Cæsar's Should chance
Bru. Talk not of standing.–Publius, good cheer; There is no harm intended to your person, Nor to no Roman else: so tell them, Publius.
Cas. And leave us, Publius; lest that the people, Rushing on us, should do your age some mischief.
1 Neither Suetonius nor Plutarch furnished Shakspeare with this exclamation. It occurs in The True Tragedie of Richard Duke of York, 1600; on which he formed the Third Part of King Henry VI. :
“ Et tu, Brute? Wilt thou stab Cæsar too ?” And is translated in Cæsar's Legend, Mirror for Magistrates, 1587 :
" And Brutus thou my sonne, quoth I, whom erst
I loved best."
2 We have now taken leave of Casca. Shakspeare knew that he had a sufficient number of heroes on his hands, and was glad to lose an individual in the crowd. Casca's singularity of manners would have appeared to little advantage amid the succeeding war and tumult.
AUUMAH LOA WA
Bru. Do so ;-and let no man abide this deed, But we the doers.
Cas. Where's Antony ?
Fled to his house amazed :
Bru. Fates! we will know your pleasures.That we shall die, we know ; 'tis but the time, And drawing days out, that men stand upon.
Cas. Why, he that cuts off twenty years of life,
Bru. Grant that, and then is death a benefit.
Cas. Stoop, then, and wash. How many ages hence,
Bru. How many times shall Cæsar bleed in sport, That now on Pompey's basis lies along, No worthier than the dust! Cas.
So oft as that shall be,
Dec. What, shall we forth?
Ay, every man away.
Enter a Servant.
Bru. Soft, who comes here? A friend of Antony's. Serv. Thus, Brutus, did my master bid me kneel;
Thus did Mark Antony bid me fall down :
Bru. Thy master is a wise and valiant Roman;
[Exit Servant. Bru. I know that we shall have him well to friend
Cas. I wish we may; but yet have I a mind, That fears him much; and my misgiving still Falls shrewdly to the purpose.
Bru. But here comes Antony.-Welcome, Mark
Ant. O mighty Cæsar! dost thou lie so low?
1 Johnson explains this: Who else may be supposed to have overtopped his equals, and grown too high for the public safety.” This explanation will derive support from the following speech of Oliver, in As You Like It, Act i. Sc. 1, when incensed at the high bearing of his brother Orlando :-“ Is it even so ? begin you to grow upon me? I will physic your rankness.”