Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

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;s
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 infus'd 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?
Cas. Let it be who it is: for Romans now
Have thewes and limbs like to their ancestors;
But, woe the while! our fathers' minds are dead,
And we are govern'd 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.

Cas. I know where I will wear this dagger then;

Why birds, and beasts, from quality and kind; &c.] That is, Why-they deviate from quality and nature.

.and children calculate;] Calculate here signifies to foretel or prophesy.

prodigious grown,] Prodigious is portentous. Have thewes and limbs ---] Thewes is an obsolete word ima plying crves or muscular strength.

[ocr errors]

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.
Casca.

So can I:
So every

bondman in his own hand bears
The power to cancel his captivity. ,

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! But, O, grief!
Where hast thou led me? I, perhaps, speak this
Before a willing bondman: then I know
My answer must be made:' But I am armid,
And dangers are to me indifferent.

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. Cas.

There's a bargain made.

1

My answer must be made :] I shall be called to account, and must answer as for seditious words. Hold my hand:] Is the same as, Here's my

hand. 2 Be factious för redress -] Factious seems here to mean active.

5

Now know you, Casca, I have mov'd already
Some certain of the noblest-minded Romans,
To undergo, with me, an enterprize
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,
Is favour’d, like the work we have in hand,
Most bloody, fiery, and most terrible.

Enter CINNA.

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.Tofindout you: Who's that? Metellus Cimber?

Cas. No, it is Casca; one incorporate
To our attempts. Am I not staid for, Cinna?

Cin. I am glad on't. What a fearful night is this? There's two or three of us have seen strange sights.

Cas. Am I not staid for, Cinna? Tell me.
Cin.

Yes, You are.

O, Cassius, if you could but win The noble Brutus to our party

Cas. Be you content: Good Cinna, take this paper, And look you lay it in the prætor's chair, Where Brutus inay 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? 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.

* Is favour'd, -) To favour is to resemble.

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

[Exit Cinna, 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. 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. [Exeunt,

ACT II.

SCENE I. The same. Brutus's Orchard

Enter BRUTUS.

Bru. What, Lucius! ho!
I cannot, by the progress of the stars,
Give

guess how near to day.-Lucius, I say ! I would it were my fault to sleep so soundly. When, Lucius, when? Awake, I say: What Lucius!

Enter Lucius. Luc. Call’d you, my lord?

Bru. Get me a taper in my study, Lucius: When it is lighted, coine and call me here. Luc. I will, my lord.

[Exit. Bru. It must be by his death: and, for my part, I know no personal cause to spurn at him,

[ocr errors]

But for the general. He would be crown'd:-
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 sway'd More than his reason. But '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, hatch'd, would, as his kind, grow mis

chievous; And kill him in the shell.

Re-enter LUCIUS.

Luc. The taper burneth in your closet, sir. Searching the window for a flint, I found This paper, thus seal'd up; and, I am sure,

* Remorse from power:] Remorse is pity, tenderness.

- common proof,] Common proof means a matter proved by fommon experience.

base degrees -] Low steps.
as his kind,] i. e. like the rest of his species.

« ZurückWeiter »