Julius Caesar eText - Act I

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Act I

Scene I

Original Text Modern Translation

[Rome. A Street.]

Enter Flavius, Marullus, and certain Commoners over the stage.

FLAVIUS:
Hence! home, you idle creatures, get you home.
Is this a holiday? What, know you not,
Being mechanical, you ought not walk
Upon a laboring day without the sign
Of your profession? Speak, what trade art thou?(5)
FLAVIUS:
Away! Go home, you idle creatures, go home!
Is this a holiday? What! Don’t you know,
Being trades people, that you shouldn’t walk about
On a workday without the tools
Of your trade?—Speak, what’s your trade?
CARPENTER:
Why, sir, a carpenter.
CARPENTER:
Why, sir, I’m a carpenter.
MARULLUS:
Where is thy leather apron and thy rule?
What dost thou with thy best apparel on?
You, sir, what trade are you?
MARULLUS:
Where is your leather apron and your ruler?
Why do you have your best clothes on?—
You, sir, what’s your trade?
COBBLER:
Truly, sir, in respect of a fine workman, I am but, as(10)
you would say, a cobbler.
COBBLER:
Truly, sir, in respect of a fine worker, I’m only, as you
would say a cobbler.
MARULLUS:
But what trade art thou? Answer me directly.
MARULLUS:
But what’s your trade? Just tell me that.
COBBLER:
A trade, sir, that, I hope, I may use with a safe con-
science, which is indeed, sir, a mender of bad soles.
COBBLER:
A trade, sir, that I hope I may use with a clear
conscience, which is indeed, sir, a mender of bad soles.
MARULLUS:
What trade, thou knave? Thou naughty knave, what(15)
trade?
MARULLUS:
What’s your trade, you deceitful man? You naughty,
Deceitful man, what’s your trade?
COBBLER:
Nay, I beseech you, sir, be not out with me; yet, if you
be out, sir, I can mend you.
COBBLER:
No, Please, sir, don’t be angry with me; yet,
if you’re angry, sir, I can mend you.
MARULLUS:
What mean'st thou by that? Mend me, thou saucy-
fellow!(20)
MARULLUS:
What do you mean by that? Mend me, you rude fellow!
COBBLER:
Why, sir, cobble you.
COBBLER:
Yes, sir, mend you.
FLAVIUS:
Thou art a cobbler, art thou?
FLAVIUS:
You’re a mender, are you?
COBBLER:
Truly, Sir, all that I live by is with the awl; I meddle
with no tradesman's matters, nor women's matters, but with
awl. I am indeed, sir, a surgeon to old shoes; when they are(25)
in great danger, I recover them. As proper men as ever
trod upon neats-leather have gone upon my handiwork.
COBBLER:
Truly, Sir, all that I live by is with the sharp little tool; I don’t stick
my nose into any tradesman's matters, or women's matters, but with awl.
I’m indeed, sir, a surgeon to old shoes; when they’re in
great danger, I re-cover them. Many proper men that ever walked
on cowhide leather have walked on my work.
FLAVIUS:
But wherefore art not in thy shop today?
Why dost thou lead these men about the streets?(30)
FLAVIUS:
But why aren’t you in your shop today?
Why do you lead these men in the streets?
COBBLER:
Truly, sir, to wear out their shoes, to get myself into
more work. But indeed, sir, we make holiday, to see Caesar
and to rejoice in his triumph.
COBBLER:
Truly, sir, so I can wear out their shoes to get myself more
work. But, really, sir, we have taken a holiday to see Caesar and to
rejoice in his triumph.
MARULLUS:
Wherefore rejoice? What conquest brings he home?
What tributaries follow him to Rome,(35)
To grace in captive bonds his chariot-wheels?
You blocks, you stones, you worse than senseless things!
O you hard hearts, you cruel men of Rome,
Knew you not Pompey? Many a time and oft
Have you climb'd up to walls and battlements,(40)
To towers and windows, yea, to chimney tops,
Your infants in your arms, and there have sat
The live-long day with patient expectation
To see great Pompey pass the streets of Rome.
And when you saw his chariot but appear,(45)
Have you not made an universal shout,
That Tiber trembled underneath her banks
To hear the replication of your sounds
Made in her concave shores?
And do you now put on your best attire?(50)
And do you now cull out a holiday?
And do you now strew flowers in his way
That comes in triumph over Pompey's blood?
Be gone!
Run to your houses, fall upon your knees,(55)
Pray to the gods to intermit the plague
That needs must light on this ingratitude.
MARULLUS:
Why rejoice? What conquest does he bring home?
What people who pay him tribute follow him to Rome,
To decorate his chariot’s wheels with their chains and bonds?
You blocks, you stones, you worse than senseless things!
O you hard hearts, you cruel men of Rome,
Didn’t you know Pompey? Many times,
You’ve climbed up to the walls and lookout posts,
To the towers and windows, yes, to chimney tops,
Your infants in your arms, and you’ve sat there
The entire day, waiting patiently
To see great Pompey pass through the streets of Rome.
And when you saw his chariot appear,
Haven’t you made one great big shout that was so loud
The Tiber River trembled underneath her banks
To hear the echo of your sounds
That bounced off her hollow shores?
And do you now put on your best attire?
And now you decide to call a holiday?
And now you throw flowers in the way if the man
That comes in triumph over Pompey's death?
Get going!
Run to your houses, fall on your knees,
Pray to the gods to stop the plague
That must be the punishment for this ingratitude.
FLAVIUS:
Go, go, good countrymen, and, for this fault,
Assemble all the poor men of your sort,
Draw them to Tiber banks, and weep your tears(60)
Into the channel, till the lowest stream
Do kiss the most exalted shores of all.

Exeunt all the Commoners.

See, whether their basest metal be not moved;
They vanish tongue-tied in their guiltiness.
Go you down that way towards the Capitol;(65)
This way will I. Disrobe the images,
If you do find them deck'd with ceremonies.
FLAVIUS:
Go, go, good countrymen, and, for this mistake,
Get all the poor men like you together,
Bring them to the Tiber River’s banks and weep your tears
Into the water, until the lowest stream
Floods the highest shores of heaven.

See whether they’ll really do what you suggested;
Their guilt made them vanish in silence.
You go down that way towards the Capitol;
I’ll go this way. Take their decorations off the statues,
If you find them covered with laurel and flowers.

MARULLUS:
May we do so?
You know it is the feast of Lupercal.
MARULLUS:
May we do that?
You know it is the feast of the priest Lupercus.
FLAVIUS:
It is no matter; let no images(70)
Be hung with Caesar's trophies. I'll about,
And drive away the vulgar from the streets;
So do you too, where you perceive them thick.
These growing feathers pluck'd from Caesar's wing
Will make him fly an ordinary pitch,(75)
Who else would soar above the view of men
And keep us all in servile fearfulness.
FLAVIUS:
It doesn’t matter; don’t let the statues
Be hung with Caesar's trophies. I'll go around
And drive the low people away from the streets;
You do this too, where you see many of them gathered together.
These people who are showing such support for Caesar
Will make him think he is higher than he is,
That he is above ordinary men,
And he’ll keep us all in slavery and fear.

Exeunt.

Scene II

Original Text Modern Translation

[A public place.]

Enter Caesar; Antony for the course, Calpurnia, Portia, Decius, Cicero, Brutus, Cassius, Casca; a Soothsayer; after them Marullus and Flavius.

CAESAR:
Calpurnia!
CAESAR:
Calpurnia,—
CASCA:
Peace, ho! Caesar speaks.
CASCA:
Peace, oh! Caesar speaks.
CAESAR:
Calpurnia!
CAESAR:
Calpurnia,—
CALPURNIA:
Here, my lord.
CALPURNIA:
I’m here, my lord.
CAESAR:
Stand you directly in Antonio's way,(5)
When he doth run his course. Antonio!
CAESAR:
Stand directly in Antony’s way,
When he runs his course.—Antony,—
ANTONY:
Caesar, my lord?
ANTONY:
Caesar, my lord?
CAESAR:
Forget not, in your speed, Antonio,
To touch Calpurnia, for our elders say,
The barren, touched in this holy chase,(10)
Shake off their sterile curse.
CAESAR:
Don’t run so fast, Antony, that you forget
To touch Calpurnia; because, as our elders say,
That a woman unable to get pregnant
Can become pregnant if the lead runner touches them.
ANTONY:
I shall remember.
When Caesar says “Do this,” it is perform'd.
ANTONY:
I’ll remember.
When Caesar says, "Do this," I do it.
CAESAR:
Set on, and leave no ceremony out.
CAESAR:
Go on, and don’t leave any ritual out.
SOOTHSAYER:
Caesar!(15)
SOOTHSAYER:
Caesar!
CAESAR:
Ha! Who calls?
CAESAR:
Ha! Who calls?
CASCA:
Bid every noise be still. Peace yet again!
CASCA:
Everyone, quiet.— Peace!
CAESAR:
Who is it in the press that calls on me?
I hear a tongue, shriller than all the music,
Cry “Caesar.” Speak, Caesar is turn'd to hear.(20)
CAESAR:
Who’s calling for me?
I hear a voice that is more shrill than all the music
Yelling, "Caesar"! Speak, I’m listening.
SOOTHSAYER:
Beware the ides of March.
SOOTHSAYER:
Beware the Ides of March.
CAESAR:
What man is that?
CAESAR:
Who is that man?
BRUTUS:
A soothsayer bids you beware the ides of March.
BRUTUS:
A man who can tell the future is telling you to beware March 15.
CAESAR:
Set him before me; let me see his face.
CAESAR:
Bring him here; let me see his face.
CASSIUS:
Fellow, come from the throng; look upon Caesar.(25)
CASSIUS:
Fellow, come here; look at Caesar.
CAESAR:
What say'st thou to me now? Speak once again.
CAESAR:
What do you say to me now? Speak again.
SOOTHSAYER:
Beware the ides of March.
SOOTHSAYER:
Beware the Ides of March.
CAESAR:
He is a dreamer; let us leave him. Pass.
CAESAR:
He’s a dreamer; let’s get away from him. Let’s go.

Sennet. Exeunt [all but] Brutus and Cassius.]

CASSIUS:
Will you go see the order of the course?
CASSIUS:
Will you go see the order of the winners of the race?
BRUTUS:
Not I.(30)
BRUTUS:
Not I.
CASSIUS:
I pray you, do.
CASSIUS:
Please, go see it.
BRUTUS:
I am not gamesome; I do lack some part
Of that quick spirit that is in Antony.
Let me not hinder, Cassius, your desires;
I'll leave you.(35)
BRUTUS:
I don’t like games; I lack some part
Of that quick spirit that Antony has.
Don’t let me hold you up, Cassius, go if you like;
I'll leave you.
CASSIUS:
Brutus, I do observe you now of late;
I have not from your eyes that gentleness
And show of love as I was wont to have;
You bear too stubborn and too strange a hand
Over your friend that loves you.(40)
CASSIUS:
Brutus, I’ve been watching you lately.
I haven’t seen that gentleness in your eyes
And friendship that I used to see.
You’re too stubborn and too strange
To your friend that loves you.
BRUTUS:
Cassius,
Be not deceived; if I have veil'd my look,
I turn the trouble of my countenance
Merely upon myself. Vexed I am
Of late with passions of some difference,(45)
Conceptions only proper to myself,
Which give some soil perhaps to my behaviors;
But let not therefore my good friends be grieved—
Among which number, Cassius, be you one—
Nor construe any further my neglect(50)
Than that poor Brutus with himself at war
Forgets the shows of love to other men.
BRUTUS:
Cassius,
Don’t be deceived. If I don’t have my usual face,
I only turn my unhappy face
On myself. I’m annoyed lately
With different passions,
Ideas that only I can know,
Which are perhaps seen in my behavior;
But don’t let my good friends be upset—
Cassius, you’re one of them—
Or try to understand my indifference any further
Than that poor Brutus, at war with himself,
Forgets to show friendship to other men.
CASSIUS:
Then, Brutus, I have much mistook your passion,
By means whereof this breast of mine hath buried
Thoughts of great value, worthy cogitations.(55)
Tell me, good Brutus, can you see your face?
CASSIUS:
Then, Brutus, I have really misunderstood your passions,
Which is why this my heart has forgotten
Thoughts of great value, worthy thoughts.
Tell me, good Brutus, can you see your face?
BRUTUS:
No, Cassius, for the eye sees not itself
But by reflection, by some other things.
BRUTUS:
No, Cassius, because the eye can only see itself
In a mirror or by some other thing like it.
CASSIUS:
'Tis just,
And it is very much lamented, Brutus,(60)
That you have no such mirrors as will turn
Your hidden worthiness into your eye
That you might see your shadow. I have heard
Where many of the best respect in Rome,
Except immortal Caesar, speaking of Brutus,(65)
And groaning underneath this age's yoke,
Have wish'd that noble Brutus had his eyes.
CASSIUS:
It’s a morally upright face.
And it’s very much lamented, Brutus,
That you don’t have any mirrors that will
Let you see your own hidden worthiness,
Any mirrors that you might let you see your shadow.
I have heard that many of the best-respected men in Rome,—
Except immortal Caesar!— speak about Brutus,
And groaning underneath the political burden of this age,
Have wished that noble Brutus could see what they see.
BRUTUS:
Into what dangers would you lead me, Cassius,
That you would have me seek into myself
For that which is not in me?(70)
BRUTUS:
What dangers would you lead me into, Cassius,
That you want me to search for something
That I don’t have in myself?
CASSIUS:
Therefore, good Brutus, be prepared to hear,
And since you know you cannot see yourself
So well as by reflection, I your glass
Will modestly discover to yourself
That of yourself which you yet know not of.(75)
And be not jealous on me, gentle Brutus;
Were I a common laugher, or did use
To stale with ordinary oaths my love
To every new protester, if you know
That I do fawn on men and hug them hard(80)
And after scandal them, or if you know
That I profess myself in banqueting
To all the rout, then hold me dangerous.
CASSIUS:
For that reason, good Brutus, get ready to hear what I have to say;
And since you know you can’t see yourself
Except in a mirror, I’ll be your mirror,
And will modestly let you see
That in yourself which you don’t know about.
And don’t be angry with me, gentle Brutus;
I wish I were a common comedian, or used
To urinating on my friendship with ordinary oaths
To every new opponent; if you know
That I show false friendship to some men, and hug them hard
And after that, tell lies about them, or if you know
That I profess myself at feasts to be friends with
The entire place, then think about me dangerous.

Flourish, and shout.

BRUTUS:
What means this shouting? I do fear the people
Choose Caesar for their king.(85)
BRUTUS:
What does this shouting mean? I’m afraid the people
Are going to choose Caesar for their king.
CASSIUS:
Ay, do you fear it?
Then must I think you would not have it so.
CASSIUS:
Yes, you fear it?
Then I must think you wouldn’t want it.
BRUTUS:
I would not, Cassius, yet I love him well.
But wherefore do you hold me here so long?
What is it that you would impart to me?(90)
If it be aught toward the general good,
Set honor in one eye and death i' the other
And I will look on both indifferently.
For let the gods so speed me as I love
The name of honor more than I fear death.(95)
BRUTUS:
I wouldn’t, Cassius; but I really like him,
But why are you keeping me here so long?
What do you want to tell me?
If it’s anything for the common good,
Put honor in one of my eyes and death in the other
And I’ll look on both equally;
Because, let the gods strike me dead, I love
The name of honor more than I’m afraid death.
CASSIUS:
I know that virtue to be in you, Brutus,
As well as I do know your outward favor.
Well, honor is the subject of my story.
I cannot tell what you and other men
Think of this life, but, for my single self,(100)
I had as lief not be as live to be
In awe of such a thing as I myself.
I was born free as Caesar, so were you;
We both have fed as well, and we can both
Endure the winter's cold as well as he.(105)
For once, upon a raw and gusty day,
The troubled Tiber chafing with her shores,
Caesar said to me, “Darest thou, Cassius, now
Leap in with me into this angry flood
And swim to yonder point?” Upon the word,(110)
Accoutred as I was, I plunged in
And bade him follow. So indeed he did.
The torrent roar'd, and we did buffet it
With lusty sinews, throwing it aside
And stemming it with hearts of controversy.(115)
But ere we could arrive the point proposed,
Caesar cried, “Help me, Cassius, or I sink!”
I, as Aeneas our great ancestor
Did from the flames of Troy upon his shoulder
The old Anchises bear, so from the waves of Tiber(120)
Did I the tired Caesar. And this man
Is now become a god, and Cassius is
A wretched creature, and must bend his body
If Caesar carelessly but nod on him.
He had a fever when he was in Spain,(125)
And when the fit was on him, I did mark
How he did shake. 'Tis true, this god did shake;
His coward lips did from their color fly,
And that same eye whose bend doth awe the world
Did lose his luster. I did hear him groan.(130)
Ay, and that tongue of his that bade the Romans
Mark him and write his speeches in their books,
Alas, it cried, “Give me some drink, Titinius,”
As a sick girl. Ye gods! It doth amaze me
A man of such a feeble temper should(135)
So get the start of the majestic world
And bear the palm alone.
CASSIUS:
I know you’ve that virtue, Brutus,
As well as I know your face.
Well, honor is the subject of my story.
I can’t tell what you and other men
Think of this life; but, for myself alone,
I would rather not live to be
In awe of such a thing as I’m.
I was born free as Caesar; so were you.
We both have eaten as well, and we can both
Endure the winter's cold as well as he does,
Because once, on a raw and windy day,
The troubled Tiber River beating against her banks,
Caesar said to me, "Do you dare, Cassius,
Leap in with me into this angry flood now
And swim over there to that point?" On the word,
Dressed as I was, I plunged in,
And asked him to follow me. And indeed he did so.
The waters roared, and we hit at it
With lusty muscles, throwing it aside
And stopping it with hearts that had no doubts;
But before we could arrive the proposed point,
Caesar cried, "Help me, Cassius, I sink!”
Then I, just as Aeneas, our great ancestor,
Bore the old Anchises from the flames of Troy
On his shoulder, I carried the tired Caesar
From the waves of Tiber. And now this man
Has become a god, and Cassius is
A wretched creature, and must bow,
Even if Caesar only nods at him carelessly.
He had a fever when he was in Spain,
And, when the fit was on him, I noticed
How he shook. It’s true, this god shook!
He lost all the color in his coward lips;
And that same eye that the world owes a bow to
Lost its shine. I heard him groan.
Yes, and that tongue of his that asked the Romans
To notice him and write his speeches in their books,
Cried, "Give me some drink, Titinius,"
Just as a sick girl does.—You gods, it amazes me that
A man of such a feeble temper should
Instantly get the majestic world,
And wear the glory alone.

Shout. Flourish.

BRUTUS:
Another general shout!
I do believe that these applauses are
For some new honors that are heap'd on Caesar.(140)
BRUTUS:
Another general shout!
I believe that this applause is
For some new honors that are to be heaped on Caesar.
CASSIUS:
Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world
Like a Colossus, and we petty men
Walk under his huge legs and peep about
To find ourselves dishonorable graves.
Men at some time are masters of their fates:(145)
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.
Brutus, and Caesar: what should be in that Caesar?
Why should that name be sounded more than yours?
Write them together, yours is as fair a name;(150)
Sound them, it doth become the mouth as well;
Weigh them, it is as heavy; conjure with 'em,
Brutus will start a spirit as soon as Caesar.
Now, in the names of all the gods at once,
Upon what meat doth this our Caesar feed(155)
That he is grown so great? Age, thou art shamed!
Rome, thou hast lost the breed of noble bloods!
When went there by an age since the great flood
But it was famed with more than with one man?
When could they say till now that talk'd of Rome(160)
That her wide walls encompass'd but one man?
Now is it Rome indeed, and room enough,
When there is in it but one only man.
O, you and I have heard our fathers say
There was a Brutus once that would have brook'd(165)
The eternal devil to keep his state in Rome
As easily as a king.
CASSIUS:
Why, man, he stands on top of the narrow world
Like the Colossus of Rhodes, and we little men
Walk under his huge legs and peep about
To find ourselves disgraceful graves.
Sometimes, men are masters of their fates.
The mistake, dear Brutus, isn’t in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.
"Brutus" and "Caesar.” What is in that name, "Caesar?"
Why should that name be sounded any more than yours?
Write them down together; your name is just as good;
Say them out loud; your name sounds just as good;
Think about their importance, yours is just as important;
Use them to contact ghosts, "Brutus" will bring a spirit
As soon as "Caesar." Now, in the names of all the gods at once,
What meat does this our Caesar eat
That he’s grown so great? Age, shame on you!
Rome, there are no more people of noble bloods in you!
Has there ever been any age since Noah and the flood
That was not famous because of more than one man?
When could they say, until now, those that talked about Rome,
That her wide walls were ruled by only one man?
Is Rome still Rome, and does it have room enough,
When there is in it only one man?
O, you and I have heard our fathers say
There was a Brutus once that would have fought
The eternal devil to keep his status in Rome,
As easily as he would fight a king!
BRUTUS:
That you do love me, I am nothing jealous;
What you would work me to, I have some aim.
How I have thought of this and of these times,(170)
I shall recount hereafter; for this present,
I would not, so with love I might entreat you,
Be any further moved. What you have said
I will consider; what you have to say
I will with patience hear, and find a time(175)
Both meet to hear and answer such high things.
Till then, my noble friend, chew upon this:
Brutus had rather be a villager
Than to repute himself a son of Rome
Under these hard conditions as this time(180)
Is like to lay upon us.
BRUTUS:
I’m not angry that you’re my friend;
As for what you’re persuading me to do, I have some plans.
I’ll tell you later what I’ve thought about this
And about these times,; for now,
Please don’t to try to persuade me any further.
I’ll think about what you’ve said;
I’ll patiently hear what you’ve to say, and find a time
When I can both meet with you to hear and answer such high things.
Until then, my noble friend, chew on this.
Brutus would rather be a villager
Than to say he is a son of RomeUnder the hard conditions that these times
Are likely to lay on us.
CASSIUS:
I am glad that my weak words
Have struck but thus much show of fire from Brutus.
CASSIUS:
I’m glad that my weak words
Have brought out this show of fire from Brutus.

Enter Caesar and his Train.

BRUTUS:
The games are done, and Caesar is returning.
BRUTUS:
The games are finished, and Caesar is returning.
CASSIUS:
As they pass by, pluck Casca by the sleeve,(185)
And he will, after his sour fashion, tell you
What hath proceeded worthy note today.
CASSIUS:
As they pass by, grab Casca by the sleeve;
And he’ll, in his sour way, tell you
What notable events have happened today.
BRUTUS:
I will do so. But, look you, Cassius,
The angry spot doth glow on Caesar's brow,
And all the rest look like a chidden train:(190)
Calpurnia's cheek is pale, and Cicero
Looks with such ferret and such fiery eyes
As we have seen him in the Capitol,
Being cross'd in conference by some senators.
BRUTUS:
I’ll do so.—But, look, Cassius,
Caesar is looking very angry,
And all the rest look as though they’ve been scolded.
Calpurnia's cheek is pale, and Cicero
Looks with the same beady and fiery eyes
That we have seen on him in the Capitol,
When some senators disagreed with him in a meeting.
CASSIUS:
Casca will tell us what the matter is.(195)
CASSIUS:
Casca will tell us what’s wrong.
CAESAR:
Antonio!
CAESAR:
Antonius,—
ANTONY:
Caesar?
ANTONY:
Caesar?
CAESAR:
Let me have men about me that are fat,
Sleek-headed men, and such as sleep o' nights:
Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look;(200)
He thinks too much; such men are dangerous.
CAESAR:
Make sure the men around me are fat;
Bald men, and men that sleep all night.
Cassius over there has a lean and hungry look;
He thinks too much. Such men are dangerous.
ANTONY:
Fear him not, Caesar; he's not dangerous;
He is a noble Roman and well given.
ANTONY:
Don’t be afraid of him, Caesar; he's not dangerous;
He’s a noble Roman and has a good disposition.
CAESAR:
Would he were fatter! But I fear him not,
Yet if my name were liable to fear,(205)
I do not know the man I should avoid
So soon as that spare Cassius. He reads much,
He is a great observer, and he looks
Quite through the deeds of men. He loves no plays,
As thou dost, Antony; he hears no music;(210)
Seldom he smiles, and smiles in such a sort
As if he mock'd himself, and scorn'd his spirit
That could be moved to smile at any thing.
Such men as he be never at heart's ease
Whiles they behold a greater than themselves,(215)
And therefore are they very dangerous.
I rather tell thee what is to be fear'd
Than what I fear, for always I am Caesar.
Come on my right hand, for this ear is deaf,
And tell me truly what thou think'st of him.(220)
CAESAR:
I wish he were fatter! But I’m not afraid of him.
Yet, if I were afraid of him,
I don’t know of any other the man I should avoid
So much as that skinny Cassius. He reads a lot;
He’s a great observer, and actually he looks
Through the deeds of men. He doesn’t like any plays
As you do, Antony; he doesn’t like any music.
He seldom smiles, and smiles in such a way
As if he were laughing at himself and cursed his spirit
For being moved to smile at anything.
Such men as he is are never at ease in their hearts
When they see a man greater than themselves;
And for that reason they are very dangerous.
I would rather tell you what to be afraid of
More than what I am afraid of, for I’m always Caesar.
Come over here my right side, because I am deaf in this ear,
And tell me what you really think of him.

Sennet. Exeunt Caesar and his Train [but Casca.]

CASCA:
You pull'd me by the cloak; would you speak with me?
CASCA:
You pulled my sleeve; do you want to speak with me?
BRUTUS:
Ay, Casca, tell us what hath chanced today,
That Caesar looks so sad.
BRUTUS:
Yes, Casca, tell us what has happened today
That makes Caesar look so sad.
CASCA:
Why, you were with him, were you not?
CASCA:
Why, you were with him, weren’t you?
BRUTUS:
I should not then ask Casca what had chanced.(225)
BRUTUS:
If I was, then I shouldn’t ask Casca what had happened.
CASCA:
Why, there was a crown offered him, and being offered
him: he put it by with the back of his hand, thus, and then
the people fell a-shouting.
CASCA:
Why, there was a crown offered to him, and when it was
Offered to him, he pushed it away with the back of his hand, like this,
And then the people started shouting.
BRUTUS:
What was the second noise for?
BRUTUS:
What was the second noise for?
CASCA:
Why, for that too.(230)
CASCA:
Why, for that too.
CASSIUS:
They shouted thrice. What was the last cry for?
CASSIUS:
They shouted three times. What was the last cry for?
CASCA:
Why, for that too.
CASCA:
Why, for that too.
BRUTUS:
Was the crown offered him thrice?
BRUTUS:
Was the crown offered to him three times?
CASCA:
Ay, marry, wast, and he put it by thrice, every time gentler
than other, and at every putting by mine honest neighbors(235)
shouted.
CASCA:
Yes, damn it, it was, and he pushed it aside three times,
Every time more gently than the last, and at each pushing aside,
My honest neighbors shouted.
CASSIUS:
Who offered him the crown?
CASSIUS:
Who offered him the crown?
CASCA:
Why, Antony.
CASCA:
Why, Antony.
BRUTUS:
Tell us the manner of it, gentle Casca.
BRUTUS:
Tell us how it happened, gentle Casca.
CASCA:
I can as well be hang'd as tell the manner of it. It was(240)
mere foolery; I did not mark it. I saw Mark Antony offer
him a crown, yet 'twas not a crown neither, 'twas one of
these coronets and, as I told you, he put it by once. But for
all that, to my thinking, he would fain have had it. Then he
offered it to him again; then he put it by again. But, to my(245)
thinking, he was very loath to lay his fingers off it. And then
he offered it the third time; he put it the third time by; and
still as he refused it, the rabblement hooted and clapped
their chopped hands and threw up their sweaty nightcaps
and uttered such a deal of stinking breath because Caesar(250)
refused the crown, that it had almost choked Caesar, for he
swounded and fell down at it. And for mine own part, I
durst not laugh for fear of opening my lips and receiving the
bad air.
CASCA:
I may as well be hanged as to tell how it happened. It was
merely a joke; I didn’t pay attention to it. I saw Mark Antony offer him a
crown;—yet it wasn’t a crown either, it was one of these
large hats;—and, as I told you, he pushed it aside once. but, for all
that, to my thinking, he seemed eager to have it. Then he
offered it to him again. Then he pushed it aside again. but, to my
thinking, he was very reluctant to remove his fingers off it. And then
he was offered it the third time; he pushed it aside the third time, and
still, as he refused it, the crowd shouted, and clapped
their rough hands, and threw their sweaty night hats into the air, and
uttered such a great deal of stinking breath because Caesar refused
the crown, that the smell almost choked Caesar, because he fainted and
fell down from it. And, for mine part, I didn’t dare laugh for
fear of opening my lips and inhaling the bad air.
CASSIUS:
But, soft, I pray you. What, did Caesar swound?(255)
CASSIUS:
But, wait! Please. What, did Caesar faint?
CASCA:
He fell down in the market-place and foamed at mouth
and was speechless.
CASCA:
He fell down in the market place, foamed at the mouth, and was
speechless.
BRUTUS:
'Tis very like: he hath the falling sickness.
BRUTUS:
It’s very likely. He has epilepsy.
CASSIUS:
No, Caesar hath it not, but you, and I,
And honest Casca, we have the falling sickness.(260)
CASSIUS:
No, Caesar doesn’t have it; but you, and I,
And honest Casca, we have epilepsy.
CASCA:
I know not what you mean by that, but I am sure
Caesar fell down. If the tag-rag people did not clap him
and hiss him according as he pleased and displeased them,
as they use to do the players in the theatre, I am no true
man.(265)
CASCA:
I don’t know what you mean by that, but I’m sure Caesar fell
down. If the common people didn’t applaud him and hiss at him,
since he pleased and displeased them, as they used to do to
the actors in the theatre, then I’m not really a man.
BRUTUS:
What said he when he came unto himself?
BRUTUS:
What said he when he came to?
CASCA:
Marry, before he fell down, when he perceived the
common herd was glad he refused the crown, he plucked
me ope his doublet and offered them his throat to cut.
An had been a man of any occupation, if I would not(270)
have taken him at a word, I would I might go to hell
among the rogues. And so he fell. When he came to himself
again, he said, if he had done or said any thing amiss,
he desired their worships to think it was his infirmity.
Three or four wenches, where I stood cried, “Alas, good(275)
soul!” and forgave him with all their hearts. But there's no
heed to be taken of them; if Caesar had stabbed their
mothers, they would have done no less.
CASCA:
Damn it, before he fell down, when he thought the common
herd was glad he had refused the crown, he opened his
shirt, and offered to cut his throat. If I had been a
man of any occupation, if I wouldn’t have taken him at a word,
I might have gone ahead and stood among the rogues.—and so he fell.
When he came to again, he said, if he had done or said
anything out of order, he wanted the people to think it was his
infirmity. Three or four wenches where I stood cried, "Alas,
good soul!" and forgave him with all their hearts. But you can’t listen to them.
If Caesar had stabbed their mothers, they would have done the same thing.
BRUTUS:
And after that, he came thus sad away?
BRUTUS:
And, after that he came, away sad?
CASCA:
Ay.(280)
CASCA:
Yes.
CASSIUS:
Did Cicero say anything?
CASSIUS:
Did Cicero say anything?
CASCA:
Ay, he spoke Greek.
CASCA:
Yes, he spoke in Greek.
CASSIUS:
To what effect?
CASSIUS:
How did that work?
CASCA:
Nay, an I tell you that, I'll ne'er look you i' the face
again; but those that understood him smiled at one(285)
another and shook their heads; but for mine own part, it
was Greek to me. I could tell you more news too:
Marullus and Flavius, for pulling scarfs off Caesar's
images, are put to silence. Fare you well. There was more
foolery yet, if could remember it.(290)
CASCA:
No, if I tell you that, I'll never look you in the face
again. but those that understood him smiled at one another and
shook their heads; but, for mine own part, it was Greek to me. I
could tell you more news too. Marullus and Flavius have been killed
for pulling scarves off Caesar's images. Goodbye.
There was more nonsense, if I could only remember it.
CASSIUS:
Will you sup with me tonight, Casca?
CASSIUS:
Will you have dinner with me tonight, Casca?
CASCA:
No, I am promised forth.
CASCA:
No, I’ve got another engagement.
CASSIUS:
Will you dine with me tomorrow?
CASSIUS:
Will you dine with me tomorrow?
CASCA:
Ay, if I be alive, and your mind hold, and your dinner
worth the eating.(295)
CASCA:
Yes, if I’m alive, and your mind hold, and your dinner worth
the eating.
CASSIUS:
Good, I will expect you.
CASSIUS:
Good, I’ll expect you.
CASCA:
Do so, farewell, both.
CASCA:
Please do. Goodbye to both of you.

Exit.

BRUTUS:
What a blunt fellow is this grown to be!
He was quick mettle when he went to school.
BRUTUS:
What a blunt fellow he’s turned out to be!
He was becoming very spirited when he was in school.
CASSIUS:
So is he now in execution(300)
Of any bold or noble enterprise,
However he puts on this tardy form.
This rudeness is a sauce to his good wit,
Which gives men stomach to digest his words
With better appetite.(305)
CASSIUS:
So he is now in getting any bold or
Noble job done;
However, he pretends to be slow in nature.
This rudeness is the topping to his good traits,
Which lets men accept his words
With better understanding.
BRUTUS:
And so it is. For this time I will leave you.
Tomorrow, if you please to speak with me,
I will come home to you, or, if you will,
Come home to me and I will wait for you.
BRUTUS:
And so it is. I’ll leave you now.
Tomorrow, if you want to speak with me,
I’ll come to your house; or, if you like,
Come to my house, and I’ll wait for you.
CASSIUS:
I will do so. Till then, think of the world.(310)

Exit Brutus.

Well, Brutus, thou art noble; yet, I see
Thy honorable metal may be wrought
From that it is disposed; therefore it is meet
That noble minds keep ever with their likes;
For who so firm that cannot be seduced?(315)
Caesar doth bear me hard, but he loves Brutus.
If I were Brutus now and he were Cassius,
He should not humor me. I will this night,
In several hands, in at his windows throw,
As if they came from several citizens,(320)
Writings, all tending to the great opinion
That Rome holds of his name, wherein obscurely
Caesar's ambition shall be glanced at.
And after this let Caesar seat him sure;
For we will shake him, or worse days endure.
CASSIUS:
OK, that’s fine. Until then, think of the world.—

Well, Brutus, you’re noble; yet, I see,
Your honorable disposition may be hammered into
A different shape than it has now. That’s why it’s appropriate
That noble minds stay with people that are like them,
Because who is so strong that they can’t be seduced?
Caesar doesn’t like me very much, but he loves Brutus;
If I were Brutus now and he were Cassius,
He wouldn’t humor me. Tonight,
I will throw writings in his windows,
All tending to the great opinion that Rome holds his name,
by several different hands, as if they came from several citizens,
In these writings, I will analyze, although obscurely,
Caesar's ambition.
And after this, let Caesar sit more securely on his throne,
Because we will shake him from there, or endure worse days.

Exit.

Scene III

Original Text Modern Translation

[A street.]

Thunder and lightning. Enter Casca, and Cicero.

CICERO:
Good even, Casca. Brought you Caesar home?
Why are you breathless, and why stare you so?
CICERO:
Good evening, Casca. Did you bring Caesar home?
Why are you breathless, and why are you staring like that?
CASCA:
Are not you moved, when all the sway of earth
Shakes like a thing unfirm? O Cicero,
I have seen tempests, when the scolding winds(5)
Have rived the knotty oaks, and I have seen
The ambitious ocean swell and rage and foam,
To be exalted with the threatening clouds,
But never till tonight, never till now,
Did I go through a tempest dropping fire.(10)
Either there is a civil strife in heaven,
Or else the world too saucy with the gods
Incenses them to send destruction.
CASCA:
Aren’t you moved, when the entire earth
Is shaking uncontrollably? Oh, Cicero,
I have seen major storms, when the scolding winds
Have torn the knotty oaks to pieces, and I have seen
The strong ocean swell and rage and foam,
To be intensified by threatening clouds.
But never until tonight, never until now,
Have I gone through a tempest that is raining fire.
Either there is a civil strife in heaven,
Or else the world has been too impudent with the gods,
Incensing them to send destruction.
CICERO:
Why, saw you anything more wonderful?
CICERO:
Why, have you seen anything more wonderful?
CASCA:
A common slave—you know him well by sight—(15)
Held up his left hand, which did flame and burn
Like twenty torches join'd, and yet his hand,
Not sensible of fire, remain'd unscorch'd.
Besides—I ha' not since put up my sword—
Against the Capitol I met a lion,(20)
Who glazed upon me and went surly by
Without annoying me: and there were drawn
Upon a heap a hundred ghastly women
Transformed with their fear, who swore they saw
Men all in fire walk up and down the streets.(25)
And yesterday the bird of night did sit
Even at noon-day upon the market-place,
Howling and shrieking. When these prodigies
Do so conjointly meet, let not men say(30)
“These are their reasons; they are natural,”
For, I believe, they are portentous things
Unto the climate that they point upon.
CASCA:
A common slave—you’d know him well by sight—
Held up his left hand, which flamed and burned
Like twenty torches all together, and yet his hand,
Not feeling any fire, wasn’t even scorched.
Besides,—I haven’t used my sword since—
I met a lion, in front of the Capitol,
Who glared at me, and angrily passed me by,
Without attacking me, and there were a hundred ghastly
Women gathered in a heap,
Transformed by their fear; who swore they saw
Men, all on fire, walking up and down the streets.
And yesterday, the night bird sat
In the marketplace, in the middle of the day,
Howling and shrieking. When these omens
All happen at the same time, don’t let men say
"These things have their reasons; they’re natural,"
For I believe they’re warning signs
That predict the climate that they point to.
CICERO:
Indeed, it is a strange-disposed time;
But men may construe things after their fashion,(35)
Clean from the purpose of the things themselves.
Come Caesar to the Capitol tomorrow?
CICERO:
Indeed, time has a strange disposition
But men may interpret things in whatever way they like,
Far from the purpose of the things themselves.
Does Caesar come to the Capitol tomorrow?
CASCA:
He doth; for he did bid Antonius
Send word to you he would be there tomorrow.
CASCA:
He does, because he asked Antonius to
Send word to you that he would be there tomorrow.
CICERO:
Good then, Casca. This disturbed sky(40)
Is not to walk in.
CICERO:
Good then, Casca. This disturbed sky
Isn’t one to walk in.
CASCA:
Farewell, Cicero.
CASCA:
Goodbye, Cicero.

Exit Cicero.

Enter Cassius.

CASSIUS:
Who's there?(45)
CASSIUS:
Who's there?
CASCA:
A Roman.
CASCA:
A Roman.
CASSIUS:
Casca, by your voice.
CASSIUS:
Casca, I can tell by your voice.
CASCA:
Your ear is good. Cassius, what night is this!
CASCA:
You have a good ear. Cassius, what night this is!
CASSIUS:
A very pleasing night to honest men.(50)
CASSIUS:
A very pleasing night to honest men.
CASCA:
Who ever knew the heavens menace so?
CASCA:
Who ever knew the heavens could be so threatening?
CASSIUS:
Those that have known the earth so full of faults.
For my part, I have walk'd about the streets,
Submitting me unto the perilous night,
And thus unbraced, Casca, as you see,(55)
Have bared my bosom to the thunder-stone;
And when the cross blue lightning seem'd to open
The breast of heaven, I did present myself
Even in the aim and very flash of it.
CASSIUS:
Those men that know the earth is full of faults.
For my part, I have walked about the streets,
Giving in to the dangerous night;
And, undressed like this, Casca, as you can see,
I have bared my chest to the thunder bolts;
And when the angry, blue lightning seemed to openThe chest of heaven, I put myself
Even in the direction and the very flash of it.
CASCA:
But wherefore did you so much tempt the heavens?(60)
It is the part of men to fear and tremble
When the most mighty gods by tokens send
Such dreadful heralds to astonish us.
CASCA:
But why did you tempt the sky like that?
It is part of men to be afraid and tremble
When the most mighty gods send
Lightening to astonish us.
CASSIUS:
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(65)
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,(70)
Why old men fool, and children calculate,
Why all these things change from their ordinance,
Their natures and preformed faculties,
To monstrous quality, why, you shall find
That heaven hath infused them with these spirits(75)
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(80)
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.
CASSIUS:
You’re not too sharp, Casca, and those sparks of life
That should be in a Roman, you want,
Or else, you don’t use what you have. You look pale and dazed,
And put on fear and make yourself wonder,
To see the strange behavior of the Heavens.
But if you would think about 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 think about it—
Why all these things change from their usual order,
Change their natures, and their normal events
To monstrous disorder—why, you shall find
That Heaven has infused the lightening with these spirits,
To make them instruments of fear and warning
About some monstrous state. Now I could, Casca,
Name a man to you that is most like this dreadful night,
One that thunders, send lightening, opens graves, and roars,
As the lion in the Capitol does;
A man no mightier in personal action;
Than you or I, yet he’s grown monstrous,
And fearful, just as these strange eruptions are.
CASCA:
'Tis Caesar that you mean, is it not, Cassius?(85)
CASCA:
It’s Caesar that you mean, isn’t it, Cassius?
CASSIUS:
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 govern'd with our mothers' spirits;
Our yoke and sufferance show us womanish.(90)
CASSIUS:
Let it be who it is, because Romans now
Have strong muscles and limbs just like their ancestors;
But, now! our fathers' minds are dead,
And we are governed by our mothers' spirits;
Our burden and suffering makes us look womanish.
CASCA:
Indeed they say the senators tomorrow
Mean to establish Caesar as a king,
And he shall wear his crown by sea and land,
In every place save here in Italy.
CASCA:
Indeed they say that the senators
Mean to establish Caesar as a king tomorrow,And that he will be king everywhere,
In every place, except here in Italy.
CASSIUS:
I know where I will wear this dagger then:(95)
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,(100)
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(105)
I can shake off at pleasure.
CASSIUS:
I know where I’ll wear this dagger then.
Cassius will deliver Cassius from slavery.
In that event, you gods, you make the weak the strongest;
In that event, you gods, you defeat tyrants.
No stony tower, no walls of beaten brass,
No airless dungeon, no strong chains of iron
Can hold the strength of the spirit;
But life, tired of these worldly bars,
Never lacks the power to kill itself.
If I know this, and know the whole world too,
I can shake off at pleasure
That part of tyranny that I endure.

Thunder still.

CASCA:
So can I.
So every bondman in his own hand bears
The power to cancel his captivity.
CASCA:
I can too.
And so every slave has in his own hand
The power to cancel his captivity.
CASSIUS:
And why should Caesar be a tyrant then?(110)
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,(115)
What rubbish and what offal, when it serves
For the base matter to illuminate
So vile a thing as Caesar? But, O grief,
Where hast thou led me? I perhaps speak this
Before a willing bondman; then I know(120)
My answer must be made. But I am arm'd,
And dangers are to me indifferent.
CASSIUS:
And why should Caesar be a tyrant then?
Poor man! I know he wouldn’t be a wolf,
But he sees that the Romans are nothing but sheep.
He wouldn’t be a lion if Romans weren’t female deer.
Those that are in a hurry will make a mighty fire and
Start it with flimsy straws. What trash Rome is,
What rubbish, and what garbage, when it serves
As the fuel to start a fire that will throw light
On so vile a thing as Caesar! But, O grief,
Where have you taken me? Perhaps I say this
Before a willing slave. Then I know that
My answer must be made; but I’m armed,
And dangers are not important to me.
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,(125)
And I will set this foot of mine as far
As who goes farthest.
CASCA:
You are speaking to Casca, and to me what you’re
Saying is no ridiculous telling of secrets. Stay, take my hand.
Be a rebel for revenge for all these problems,
And I’ll support you as far
As the man who goes the farthest.
CASSIUS:
There's a bargain made.
Now know you, Casca, I have moved already
Some certain of the noblest-minded Romans(130)
To undergo with me an enterprise
Of honorable-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,(135)
And the complexion of the element
In favor's like the work we have in hand,
Most bloody, fiery, and most terrible.
CASSIUS:
It’s a deal.
Now you know, Casca, I have already persuaded
Some certain of the noblest-minded Romans
To join me in an undertaking
Of honorable/dangerous consequence;
And I know by this, they are waiting for me
In Pompey's Porch. For now, because of this fearful night,
There’s no noise or walking in the streets,
And the weather reflects
The work we have at hand,
Most bloody, fiery, and most terrible.

Enter Cinna.

CASCA:
Stand close awhile, for here comes one in haste.
CASCA:
Stand next to me for a while, because someone is coming hastily.
CASSIUS:
'Tis Cinna, I do know him by his gait;(140)
He is a friend. Cinna, where haste you so?
CASSIUS:
It’s Cinna. I know his walk.
He’s a friend.—

Cinna, where are you going in such a rush?

CINNA:
To find out you. Who's that? Metellus Cimber?
CINNA:
To find you. Who's that? Metellus Cimber?
CASSIUS:
No, it is Casca, one incorporate
To our attempts. Am I not stay'd for, Cinna?
CASSIUS:
No, it is Casca, one who agrees
With our attempts. Isn’t someone waiting for me, Cinna?
CINNA:
I am glad on't. What a fearful night is this!(145)
There's two or three of us have seen strange sights.
CINNA:
I’m glad about it. What a fearful night is this!
There's two or three of us who have seen strange sights.
CASSIUS:
Am I not stay'd for? Tell me.
CASSIUS:
Isn’t someone waiting for me? Tell me.
CINNA:
Yes, you are.
O Cassius, if you could
But win the noble Brutus to our party—(150)
CINNA:
Yes,
They are. O Cassius, if you could only persuade
The noble Brutus to join us—
CASSIUS:
Be you content. Good Cinna, take this paper,
And look you lay it in the praetor'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,(155)
Repair to Pompey's porch, where you shall find us.
Is Decius Brutus and Trebonius there?
CASSIUS:
Don’t worry. Good Cinna, take this paper,
And see that you lay it on the praetor's chair,
Where Brutus may find it, and throw this
In at his window. Seal this up with wax
On old Brutus' statue. When you’ve done all that,
Go to Pompey's Porch, where you shall find us.
Are Decius Brutus and Trebonius there?
CINNA:
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.(160)
CINNA:
All but Metellus Cimber, and he's gone
To your house to find you. Well, I’ll get going
And so deliver these papers as you asked me.
CASSIUS:
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.(165)
CASSIUS:
That done, go to Pompey's theatre.—

Come, Casca, you and I will, before day,
Still see Brutus at his house. Three parts of him
Are ours already, and, at our next meeting,
The whole man will be ours.

CASCA:
O, he sits high in all the people's hearts,
And that which would appear offense in us,
His countenance, like richest alchemy,
Will change to virtue and to worthiness.
CASCA:
O, he sits high in all the people's hearts!
And his face, like the best method of changing
Water to gold, will change whatever seems
To be offensive in us,
To goodness and to worthiness.
CASSIUS:
Him and his worth and our great need of him(170)
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.
CASSIUS:
You’ve judge his worth, and our great need of him,
Very well. Let’s go,
Because it is after midnight, and, before day,
We’ll wake him up, and be sure that he’s with us.

Exeunt.