Study Guide

Julius Caesar

by William Shakespeare

Julius Caesar eText - Act II

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Act II

Scene I

Original Text Modern Translation

Enter Brutus in his orchard.

BRUTUS:

[Calling out.]

What, Lucius, ho!
I cannot, by the progress of the stars,
Gives 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!(5)
BRUTUS:
Hey, Lucius, oh!—
I can’t tell how close sunrise is
By the progress of the stars. —Lucius, I say!—
I wish I had the problem of sleeping so soundly.—
When, Lucius, when! Wake up, I say! Hey, Lucius!

Enter Lucius.

LUCIUS:
Call'd you, my lord?
LUCIUS:
You called, my lord?
BRUTUS:
Get me a taper in my study, Lucius.
When it is lighted, come and call me here.
BRUTUS:
Light a candle in my study, Lucius.
When it is lit, come back and call me here.
LUCIUS:
I will, my lord.
LUCIUS:
I will, my lord.

Exit.

BRUTUS:
It must be by his death, and, for my part,(10)
I know no personal cause to spurn at him,
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;(15)
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 Caesar,
I have not known when his affections sway'd(20)
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,(25)
Looks in the clouds, scorning the base degrees
By which he did ascend. So Caesar may;
Then, lest he may, prevent. And, since the quarrel
Will bear no color for the thing he is,
Fashion it thus, that what he is, augmented,(30)
Would run to these and these extremities;
And therefore think him as a serpent's egg
Which hatch'd would as his kind grow mischievous,
And kill him in the shell.
BRUTUS:
He must die, and, for my part,
I don’t know a personal cause to throw at him,
But for the general complaints. He wants to be crowned.
There's the question: how that might change his nature.
A bright day brings out the black, poison snake,
And that means we must walk carefully. Crown him?— that.
And then, I admit, he may do danger, at his will, with
A sting that we put in him.
The abuse of greatness is when it disconnects
Remorse from power, and, to speak truth about Caesar,
I haven’t known a time when his emotions were swayed
More than his reason. But it’s common knowledge
That being lowly is young ambition's ladder
Where the one who would climb upward looks for help,
But, when he once he gets to the top,
He then turns his back to the ladder and
Looks to the clouds, scorning the common ladder
By which he ascended. Caesar might do the same thing.
Then, because he might, we must prevent it. And, since the quarrelis rather thin for the thing he is,
We must make it sound like this—that what he is,
With some additions, would run to these and these extremities.
And for that reason we must think of him as a serpent's egg
Which hatched, would, as his kind grow dangerous,
And kill him in the shell.

[Re-]enter Lucius with a taper.]

LUCIUS:
The taper burneth in your closet, sir.(35)
Searching the window for a flint I found
This paper thus seal'd up, and I am sure
It did not lie there when I went to bed.
LUCIUS:
The candle burns in your bedroom, sir.
Searching the window for a match, I found
This paper sealed up like this, and I’m sure
It wasn’t there when I went to bed.

Gives him the letter.

BRUTUS:
Get you to bed again, it is not day.
Is not tomorrow, boy, the ides of March?(40)
BRUTUS:
Go back to bed; it isn’t day.
Isn’t tomorrow, boy, the Ides of March?
LUCIUS:
I know not, sir.
LUCIUS:
I don’t know, sir.
BRUTUS:
Look in the calendar and bring me word.
BRUTUS:
Look at the calendar, and come back and tell me.
LUCIUS:
I will, sir.
LUCIUS:
I will, sir.

Exit.

BRUTUS:
The exhalations whizzing in the air
Give so much light that I may read by them.(45)

Opens the letter, and reads.

“Brutus, thou sleep'st: awake and see thyself!
Shall Rome, &c. Speak, strike, redress!”
“Brutus, thou sleep'st: awake!”
Such instigations have been often dropp'd
Where I have took them up.(50)
“Shall Rome, &c.” Thus must I piece it out.
Shall Rome stand under one man's awe? What, Rome?
My ancestors did from the streets of Rome
The Tarquin drive, when he was call'd a king.
“Speak, strike, redress!” Am I entreated(55)
To speak and strike? O Rome, I make thee promise,
If the redress will follow, thou receivest
Thy full petition at the hand of Brutus!
BRUTUS:
The vapors, whizzing in the air
Give off so much light that I can read by them.—

"Brutus, you sleep. Wake up and see yourself.
Shall Rome, etc. Speak, strike, revenge—!
Brutus, you sleep. Wake up!—"
Such instigations have often been dropped
Where I have picked them up.
"Shall Rome, etc." Accordingly, I have to figure this out.
Shall Rome stand under one man's awe? What, Rome?
My ancestors drove Tarquin from the streets of Rome
When he was called a king.—
"Speak, strike, revenge!"—Am I begged, then,To speak and strike? O Rome, I promise you,
If revenge follows, you will receive
Everything you ask for at the hand of Brutus!

[Re-]enter Lucius.

LUCIUS:
Sir, March is wasted fifteen days.
LUCIUS:
Sir, it’s the fifteenth day of March.

Knocking within.

BRUTUS:
'Tis good. Go to the gate, somebody knocks.(60)

Exit Lucius.

Since Cassius first did whet me against Caesar
I have not slept.
Between the acting of a dreadful thing
And the first motion, all the interim is
Like a phantasma or a hideous dream;(65)
The genius and the mortal instruments
Are then in council, and the state of man,
Like to a little kingdom, suffers then
The nature of an insurrection.
BRUTUS:
Good. Go ahead answer the door; somebody knocks.—

Since Cassius first persuaded me to go against Caesar,
I have not slept.
Between talking about a dreadful thing
And doing it, all the time in between is
Like an illusion or a hideous dream.
The mind and the physical instruments
Are then in agreement, and the state of man,
Like a little kingdom, suffers
The pains of rebellion.

[Re-]Enter Lucius.[with a taper.]

LUCIUS:
Sir, 'tis your brother Cassius at the door,(70)
Who doth desire to see you.
LUCIUS:
Sir, it’s your brother, Cassius, at the door,
Who wants to see you.
BRUTUS:
Is he alone?
BRUTUS:
Is he alone?
LUCIUS:
No, sir, there are moe with him.
LUCIUS:
No, sir, there are more with him.
BRUTUS:
Do you know them?
BRUTUS:
Do you know them?
LUCIUS:
No, sir, their hats are pluck'd about their ears,(75)
And half their faces buried in their cloaks,
That by no means I may discover them
By any mark of favor.
LUCIUS:
No, sir, their hats are drawn over their ears,
And half their faces are buried in their cloaks,
So that I couldn’t tell from their clothes or faces
Who any of them are.
BRUTUS:
Let 'em enter.

[Exit Lucius.]

They are the faction. O Conspiracy,(80)
Shamest thou to show thy dangerous brow by night,
When evils are most free? O, then, by day
Where wilt thou find a cavern dark enough
To mask thy monstrous visage? Seek none, conspiracy;
Hide it in smiles and affability;(85)
For if thou path, thy native semblance on,
Not Erebus itself were dim enough
To hide thee from prevention.
BRUTUS:
They’re the rebels.—O conspiracy,
Shame on you for showing your dangerous eyes by night
When evils are most free? O, then, by day
Where will you find a cavern dark enough
To hide your monstrous face? Don’t find any, conspiracy;
Hide it in smiles and friendliness,
Because, if you pass, your real face on,
Not even the dark place between heaven and hell itself
Is dim enough to hide you from being stopped.

Enter the conspirators, Cassius,[with a taper] Casca, Decius, Cinna, Metellus [Cimber], and Trebonius.

CASSIUS:
I think we are too bold upon your rest.
Good morrow, Brutus, do we trouble you?(90)
CASSIUS:
I think we are too bold to interrupt your sleep.
Good morning, Brutus; are we troubling you?
BRUTUS:
I have been up this hour, awake all night.
Know I these men that come along with you?
BRUTUS:
I’ve been up this hour. I was wake up all night.
Do I know these men that come along with you?
CASSIUS:
Yes, every man of them, and no man here
But honors you, and every one doth wish
You had but that opinion of yourself(95)
Which every noble Roman bears of you.
This is Trebonius.
CASSIUS:
Yes, every one of them, and every man here
Respects you, and every one wishes
You had that opinion of yourself
Which every noble Roman has for you.
This is Trebonius.
BRUTUS:
He is welcome hither.
BRUTUS:
He’s welcome here.
CASSIUS:
This, Decius Brutus.
CASSIUS:
This, Decius Brutus.
BRUTUS:
He is welcome too.(100)
BRUTUS:
He’s welcome too.
CASSIUS:
This, Casca; this, Cinna; and this, Metellus Cimber.
CASSIUS:
This, Casca; this, Cinna, and this, Metellus Cimber.
BRUTUS:
They are all welcome.
What watchful cares do interpose themselves
Betwixt your eyes and night?
BRUTUS:
They’re all welcome.—
What worries are keeping you
From sleeping?
CASSIUS:
Shall I entreat a word?(105)
CASSIUS:
May I have a word with you?

They whisper.

DECIUS:
Here lies the east. Doth not the day break here?
DECIUS:
This direction is east. Doesn’t the day break here?
CASCA:
No.
CASCA:
No.
CINNA:
O, pardon, sir, it doth, and yon grey lines
That fret the clouds are messengers of day.
CINNA:
O, pardon, sir, it does, and the gray lines over there
That adorn the clouds are the messengers of dawn.
CASCA:
You shall confess that you are both deceived.(110)
Here, as I point my sword, the sun arises,
Which is a great way growing on the south,
Weighing the youthful season of the year.
Some two months hence up higher toward the north
He first presents his fire, and the high east(115)
Stands as the Capitol, directly here.
CASCA:
You’ll see that you’re both wrong.
Here, where I point my sword, the Sun rises,
Which is going a great way to the South,
Bringing in spring.
Some two months away, up higher toward the North,
He first shines, and the high East
Stands, just as the Capitol, directly here.
BRUTUS:
Give me your hands all over, one by one.
BRUTUS:
Let’s shake hands all over again, one by one.
CASSIUS:
And let us swear our resolution.
CASSIUS:
And let’s swear our determination.
BRUTUS:
No, not an oath. If not the face of men,
The sufferance of our souls, the time's abuse—(120)
If these be motives weak, break off betimes,
And every man hence to his idle bed;
So let high-sighted tyranny range on
Till each man drop by lottery. But if these,
As I am sure they do, bear fire enough(125)
To kindle cowards and to steel with valor
The melting spirits of women, then, countrymen,
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(130)
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,
Old feeble carrions and such suffering souls(135)
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(140)
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 pass'd from him.(145)
BRUTUS:
No, not an oath. If not the face of men,
The suffering of our souls, the waste of time—
If these motives are weak, let’s break it off now,
And every man go away to his lazy rest,
Let high-sighted tyranny range on
Until each man drops by chance. But if these events,
As I’m sure they do, bear fire enough
To kindle cowards, and to harden
The melting spirits of women with valor, then, countrymen,
What do we need any other motivation except our own causeTo prod us to revenge? What other bonds
Than secret Romans, that have spoken the word,
And will not negotiate without honor? And what other oath
Than honesty to honesty promised
That this promise shall be, or we will die for it?
Swear priests and cowards, and deceitful men,
Old feeble dead bodies and such suffering souls
That welcome wrongs; swear to bad causes that
Such creatures as men doubt, but don’t stain
The even goodness of our undertaking,
or the unsuppressed character of our spirits,
To think that our cause and our performance
Need oaths, when every drop of blood
That every Roman carries, and carries nobly,
Is guilty of causing the birth of several bastards,
If he breaks the smallest particle
Of any promise that he has made.
CASSIUS:
But what of Cicero? Shall we sound him?
I think he will stand very strong with us.
CASSIUS:
But what about Cicero? Shall we check him out?
I think he’ll stand with us very strongly.
CASCA:
Let us not leave him out.
CASCA:
Let’s not leave him out.
CINNA:
No, by no means.
CINNA:
No, by no means.
METELLUS:
O, let us have him, for his silver hairs(150)
Will purchase us a good opinion,
And buy men's voices to commend our deeds.
It shall be said his judgement ruled our hands;
Our youths and wildness shall no whit appear,
But all be buried in his gravity.(155)
METELLUS:
O, let’s have him! Because his silver hairs
Will also give us a good opinion with the people
And buy men's votes to commend our deeds.
It shall be said that his judgment ruled our hands;
Our youths and wildness won’t appear at all,
But all be buried in his seriousness.
BRUTUS:
O, name him not; let us not break with him,
For he will never follow anything
That other men begin.
BRUTUS:
O, don’t ask him! Let’s not break with him,
Because he’ll never follow anything
That other men begin.
CASSIUS:
Then leave him out.
CASSIUS:
Then leave him out.
CASCA:
Indeed he is not fit.(160)
CASCA:
Indeed, he’s not fit.
DECIUS:
Shall no man else be touch'd but only Caesar?
DECIUS:
Shall any other man be killed besides Caesar?
CASSIUS:
Decius, well urged. I think it is not meet
Mark Antony, so well beloved of Caesar,
Should outlive Caesar. We shall find of him
A shrewd contriver; and you know his means,(165)
If he improve them, may well stretch so far
As to annoy us all, which to prevent,
Let Antony and Caesar fall together.
CASSIUS:
Decius, well asked.—I think it isn’t fair that
Mark Antony, whom Caesar loves so well,
Should outlive Caesar. We shall find that he is
A shrewd schemer, and you know his ways.
If he improves them, he may well stretch so far
As to annoy us all. To prevent this,
Let Antony and Caesar die together.
BRUTUS:
Our course will seem too bloody, Caius Cassius,
To cut the head off and then hack the limbs(170)
Like wrath in death and envy afterwards;
For Antony is but a limb of Caesar.
Let us be sacrificers, but not butchers, Caius.
We all stand up against the spirit of Caesar,
And in the spirit of men there is no blood.(175)
O, that we then could come by Caesar's spirit,
And not dismember Caesar! But, alas,
Caesar 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,(180)
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 'em. This shall make
Our purpose necessary and not envious,(185)
Which so appearing to the common eyes,
We shall be call'd purgers, not murderers.
And for Mark Antony, think not of him,
For he can do no more than Caesar's arm
When Caesar's head is off.(190)
BRUTUS:
Our plan will seem too bloody, Caius Cassius,
To cut off the head, and then hack off the arms and legs,
Like anger in death and jealousy afterwards,
Because Antony is but a limb of Caesar.
Let’s be sacrificers, but not butchers, Caius.
We all stand up against the spirit of Caesar,
And, in the spirit of men, there is no blood.
O, that we could come by Caesar's spirit then
And not dismember Caesar! But, alas,
Caesar must bleed for it! And, gentle friends,
Let's kill him boldly, but not angrily.
Let's carve him as a dish fit for the gods,
Not chop him into pieces as a carcass fit for hounds;
And let our hearts, as subtle gentlemen do,
Stir up their servants to an act of rage,
And after seem to scold them. This shall label
Our purpose as necessary and not jealous,
Which appearing to be respectful to common eyes,
We shall be called purgers, not murderers.
And for Mark Antony, don’t think abut him,
Because he can do no more than Caesar's arm can do
When Caesar's head is cut off.
CASSIUS:
Yet I fear him,
For in the ingrafted love he bears to Caesar—
CASSIUS:
I still fear him,
Because in the acquired love he bears to Caesar—
BRUTUS:
Alas, good Cassius, do not think of him.
If he love Caesar, all that he can do
Is to himself, take thought and die for Caesar.(195)
And that were much he should, for he is given
To sports, to wildness, and much company.
BRUTUS:
Alas, good Cassius, don’t think of him.
If he loves Caesar, all that he can do
Is what he can do to himself — think and die for Caesar.
And that’s as much he should do, because he’s given
To sports, to wildness, and to having a lot of company.
TREBONIUS:
There is no fear in him, let him not die,
For he will live and laugh at this hereafter.
TREBONIUS:
There nothing to fear from him. Don’t let him die,
Because he’ll live, and laugh at this dead later.

Clock strikes.

BRUTUS:
Peace, count the clock.(200)
BRUTUS:
Quiet! Listen to the clock.
CASSIUS:
The clock hath stricken three.
CASSIUS:
The clock has struck three.
TREBONIUS:
'Tis time to part.
TREBONIUS:
It’s time to leave.
CASSIUS:
But it is doubtful yet
Whether Caesar will come forth today or no,
For he is superstitious grown of late,(205)
Quite from the main opinion he held once
Of fantasy, of dreams and ceremonies.
It may be these apparent prodigies,
The unaccustom'd terror of this night,
And the persuasion of his augurers(210)
May hold him from the Capitol today.
CASSIUS:
But it is still doubtful
Whether Caesar will come out today or not,
Because he’s grown superstitious lately,
Quite a distance from the main opinion he once held
About fantasy, dreams, and ceremonies.
It may be these apparent signs,
The unaccustomed weather of this night,
And persuasion of his men who tell the future
May keep him from the Capitol today.
DECIUS:
Never fear that. If he be so resolved,
I can o'ersway him, for he loves to hear
That unicorns may be betray'd with trees,
And bears with glasses, elephants with holes,(215)
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,(220)
And I will bring him to the Capitol.
DECIUS:
Don’t be afraid of that. If he decides not to come,
I can change his mind, because he loves to hear
That unicorns may be betrayed with trees,
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.
I’ll work on this,
Because I can give his state of mind true purpose,
And I’ll bring him to the Capitol.
CASSIUS:
Nay, we will all of us be there to fetch him.
CASSIUS:
No, we’ll all be there to go get him.
BRUTUS:
By the eighth hour. Is that the uttermost?
BRUTUS:
By eight o’clock. Is that the latest?
CINNA:
Be that the uttermost, and fail not then.
CINNA:
Let that be the latest, and be on time.
METELLUS:
Caius Ligarius doth bear Caesar hard,(225)
Who rated him for speaking well of Pompey.
I wonder none of you have thought of him.
METELLUS:
Caius Ligarius doesn’t like Caesar,
Who berated him for speaking well of Pompey.
I wonder why none of you’ve thought about him.
BRUTUS:
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.(230)
BRUTUS:
Now, good Metellus, go ask him.
He likes me very well, and I have given him cause to;
Just send him here, and I'll train him.
CASSIUS:
The morning comes upon's. We'll leave you, Brutus,
And, friends, disperse yourselves, but all remember
What you have said and show yourselves true Romans.
CASSIUS:
The morning is coming. We'll leave you, Brutus;—
And, friends, scatter yourselves, but all remember
What you’ve said, and show yourselves to be true Romans.
BRUTUS:
Good gentlemen, look fresh and merrily;
Let not our looks put on our purposes,(235)
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;(240)
Thou hast no figures nor no fantasies,
Which busy care draws in the brains of men;
Therefore thou sleep'st so sound.
BRUTUS:
Good gentlemen, look fresh and merry.
Don’t let our plan show in your faces,
But carry it as our Roman actors do,
With untired spirits and formal constancy.
And so, good morning to every one of you.—

Boy! Lucius!—Fast asleep? It’s not important;
Enjoy your honey-sweet sleep.
You haven’t got dreams or fantasies
Which busy care draws in the brains of men.
For that reason, you sleep so soundly.

Enter Portia.

PORTIA:
Brutus, my lord!
PORTIA:
Brutus, my lord!
BRUTUS:
Portia, what mean you? Wherefore rise you now?(245)
It is not for your health thus to commit
Your weak condition to the raw cold morning.
BRUTUS:
Portia, what are you doing? Why are you up now?
It isn’t healthy to expose
Your weak condition to the raw-cold morning like this.
PORTIA:
Nor for yours neither. Y'have ungently, Brutus,
Stole from my bed; and yesternight at supper
You suddenly arose and walk'd about,(250)
Musing and sighing, with your arms across;
And when I ask'd you what the matter was,
You stared upon me with ungentle looks.
I urged you further; then you scratch'd your head,
And too impatiently stamp'd with your foot.(255)
Yet I insisted, yet you answer'd 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 seem'd too much enkindled, and withal(260)
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 prevail'd on your condition,(265)
I should not know you, Brutus. Dear my lord,
Make me acquainted with your cause of grief.
PORTIA:
Not for you either. Brutus, you've stolen from my bed
Unkindly. Last night, at supper,
You suddenly arose, and walked about,
Musing and sighing, with your arms crossed;
And, when I asked you what the matter was,You stared at me with angry looks.
I asked you again, then you scratched your head,
And stamped your foot very impatiently.
Still I insisted; still you didn’t answer,
But, with an angry wave of your hand,
You gave me a sign to leave you. So I did,
Fearing that I might make you more impatient
When you seemed already fired up, and besides,
I was hoping it was just a bad mood,
Which sometimes hits every man.
It won’t let you eat, or talk, or sleep;
And, if it could affect your face and body
So much that it conquers your spirit,
I shouldn’t know you, Brutus. My dear lord,
Please tell me the cause of your grief.
BRUTUS:
I am not well in health, and that is all.
BRUTUS:
I’m not feeling well, and that’s all.
PORTIA:
Brutus is wise, and, were he not in health,
He would embrace the means to come by it.(270)
PORTIA:
Brutus is wise, and, if he were not in good health,
He would do something about it.
BRUTUS:
Why, so I do. Good Portia, go to bed.
BRUTUS:
Why, I do. Good Portia, go ahead to bed.
PORTIA:
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(275)
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 offense within your mind,
Which by the right and virtue of my place(280)
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,(285)
Why you are heavy, and what men tonight
Have had resort to you; for here have been
Some six or seven, who did hide their faces
Even from darkness.
PORTIA:
Is Brutus sick? And is it some kind of medicine
To walk undressed and inhale the vapors
Of a damp morning? What, is Brutus sick,
And will he steal out of his wholesome bed
To challenge the evil diseases of the night,
And tempt the thick and unclean air
To add to his sickness? No, my Brutus;
You’ve got some sick worry on your mind,
Which, by the right and virtue of my place,
I ought to know of, and, on my knees,
I order you, by my once commended beauty,
By all your vows of love, and that marriage vow
Which joined us and made us one,
That you tell me, yourself, your half of me,
Why you’re so depressed, and what men
Have come to you tonight, because there have been
Some six or seven here, who hid their faces
Even from darkness.
BRUTUS:
Kneel not, gentle Portia.(290)
BRUTUS:
Don’t kneel, gentle Portia.
PORTIA:
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,(295)
To keep with you at meals, comfort your bed,
And talk to you sometimes? Dwell I but in the suburbs
Of your good pleasure? If it be no more,
Portia is Brutus' harlot, not his wife.
PORTIA:
I shouldn’t need to, if you were acting like gentle Brutus.
Inside the bond of marriage, tell me, Brutus,
Is my knowing secrets that appertain to you
An exception to our vows? Am I part of you
But, as it were, in sort or limitation,—
To keep you company at meals, sleep in your bed,
And talk to you sometimes? Do I only live outside
Of your good pleasure? If it’s no more than this,
Then Portia is Brutus' whore, not his wife.
BRUTUS:
You are my true and honorable wife,(300)
As dear to me as are the ruddy drops
That visit my sad heart.
BRUTUS:
You’re my true and honorable wife,
As dear to me as are the red tears
That visit my sad heart.
PORTIA:
If this were true, then should I know this secret.
I grant I am a woman, but withal
A woman that Lord Brutus took to wife.(305)
I grant I am a woman, but withal
A woman well reputed, Cato's daughter.
Think you I am no stronger than my sex,
Being so father'd and so husbanded?
Tell me your counsels, I will not disclose em.(310)
I have made strong proof of my constancy,
Giving myself a voluntary wound
Here in the thigh. Can I bear that with patience
And not my husband's secrets?
PORTIA:
If this is true, then I should know this secret.
I’ll grant you that I’m a woman, but I am, besides,
A woman that Lord Brutus married.
I’ll grant you that I’m a woman, but I am, besides,
A woman of good reputation, Cato's daughter.
Do you think that I’m no stronger than my sex,
Being so fathered and so married?
Tell me your secrets, I won’t reveal them.
I have given you strong proof of my constancy,
Giving myself a voluntary wound
Here in the thigh. can I suffer that with patience
But not my husband's secrets?
BRUTUS:
O ye gods,(315)
Render me worthy of this noble wife!

Knock [within.]

Hark, hark, one knocks. Portia, go in awhile,
And by and by thy bosom shall partake
The secrets of my heart.
All my engagements I will construe to thee,(320)
All the charactery of my sad brows.
Leave me with haste.

Exit Portia.

[Re-]enter Lucius and Ligarius.]

Lucius, who's that knocks?
BRUTUS:
O you gods,
Make me worthy of this noble wife!

Listen, listen, someone is knocking. Portia, go in awhile,
And by and by, your heart shall hear
The secrets of my heart.
I’ll tell you all about my meetings,
All the reasons for my sad brows.
Leave me quickly.

—Lucius, who's knocking?

LUCIUS:
Here is a sick man that would speak with you.
LUCIUS:
Here is a sick man that would speak with you.
BRUTUS:
Caius Ligarius, that Metellus spake of.
Boy, stand aside. Caius Ligarius, how?(325)
BRUTUS:
Caius Ligarius, the one Metellus spoke of.—
Boy, stand aside.—Caius Ligarius,—how are you?
LIGARIUS:
Vouchsafe good morrow from a feeble tongue.
LIGARIUS:
Allow a good morning from a feeble tongue.
BRUTUS:
O, what a time have you chose out, brave Caius,
To wear a kerchief! Would you were not sick!
BRUTUS:
O, what a time have you chosen to wear a kerchief
Out, brave Caius, I wish you weren’t sick!
LIGARIUS:
I am not sick, if Brutus have in hand
Any exploit worthy the name of honor.(330)
LIGARIUS:
I’m not sick, if Brutus have any exploit
Worthy of the name of honor in hand.
BRUTUS:
Such an exploit have I in hand, Ligarius,
Had you a healthful ear to hear of it.
BRUTUS:
I have such an exploit in hand, Ligarius,
That you would hear if you weren’t sick.
LIGARIUS:
By all the gods that Romans bow before,
I here discard my sickness! Soul of Rome!
Brave son, derived from honorable loins!(335)
Thou, like an exorcist, hast conjured up
My mortified spirit. Now bid me run,
And I will strive with things impossible,
Yea, get the better of them. What's to do?
LIGARIUS:
By all the gods that Romans bow before,
I here discard my sickness. Soul of Rome!
Brave son, fathered from honorable loins!
You, like an exorcist, have brought my dead
Spirit back to life. Tell me to run now,
And I’ll do impossible things,
Yes, and get the better of them. What needs to be done?
BRUTUS:
A piece of work that will make sick men whole.(340)
BRUTUS:
A piece of work that will make sick men well again.
LIGARIUS:
But are not some whole that we must make sick?
LIGARIUS:
But aren’t some well that we must make sick?
BRUTUS:
That must we also. What it is, my Caius,
I shall unfold to thee, as we are going
To whom it must be done.
BRUTUS:
That we must do that also. What it is, my Caius, I’ll tell you, as we are walking,
As to whom it must be done.
LIGARIUS:
Set on your foot,(345)
And with a heart new-fired I follow you,
To do I know not what; but it sufficeth
That Brutus leads me on.
LIGARIUS:
Start walking, And I’ll follow you with a new, fired up heart,
To do I don’t know what, but it’s enough
That Brutus leads me on.
BRUTUS:
Follow me then.
BRUTUS:
Follow me then.

Thunder. Exeunt.

Scene II

Original Text Modern Translation

[Caesar's house.]

Thunder and lightning. Enter Caesar, in his night-gown.

CAESAR:
Nor heaven nor earth have been at peace tonight.
Thrice hath Calpurnia in her sleep cried out,
“Help, ho! They murder Caesar!” Who's within?
CAESAR:
Neither heaven nor earth have been at peace tonight.
Three times Calpurnia has cried out in her sleep,
"Help, oh! They murder Caesar!"—Who's there?

Enter a Servant.

SERVANT:
My lord?
SERVANT:
My lord?
CAESAR:
Go bid the priests do present sacrifice,(5)
And bring me their opinions of success.
CAESAR:
Go tell the priests to do the sacrifice now,
And bring me their opinions of success.
SERVANT:
I will, my lord.
SERVANT:
I will, my lord.

Exit.

Enter Calpurnia.

CALPURNIA:
What mean you, Caesar? Think you to walk forth?
You shall not stir out of your house today.
CALPURNIA:
What do you mean, Caesar? Do you intend to walk outside?
You shall not go out of your house today.
CAESAR:
Caesar shall forth: the things that threaten'd me(10)
Ne'er look'd but on my back; when they shall see
The face of Caesar, they are vanished.
CAESAR:
Caesar shall go out. The things that threaten me
Never look on anything but my back; when they see
The face of Caesar, they disappear.
CALPURNIA:
Caesar, I never stood on ceremonies,
Yet now they fright me. There is one within,
Besides the things that we have heard and seen,(15)
Recounts most horrid sights seen by the watch.
A lioness hath whelped in the streets;
And graves have yawn'd, and yielded up their dead;
Fierce fiery warriors fight upon the clouds,
In ranks and squadrons and right form of war,(20)
Which drizzled blood upon the Capitol;
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.
O Caesar! These things are beyond all use,(25)
And I do fear them.
CALPURNIA:
Caesar, I never believed in omens,
Yet now they frighten me. Besides the things that
We have heard and seen, there is a man inside
Recounting the most horrid sights seen by the guards.
A lioness has given birth in the streets;
And graves have opened up and given up their dead;
Fierce fiery warriors fight on the clouds,
In ranks and squadrons and right forms of war,
Which drizzled blood on the Capitol;
The noise of battle screaming into the air,
Horses neighed, and dying men groaned;And ghosts shrieked and squealed around the streets.
O Caesar, these things are past all customs,
And I’m afraid them!
CAESAR:
What can be avoided
Whose end is purposed by the mighty gods?
Yet Caesar shall go forth, for these predictions
Are to the world in general as to Caesar.(30)
CAESAR:
What we avoid
When the mighty gods dictate how things go?
Still, Caesar shall go out, because these predictions
Are not only for Caesar but also for the world in general.
CALPURNIA:
When beggars die, there are no comets seen;
The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes.
CALPURNIA:
When beggars die, there are no comets seen in the sky.
The heavens themselves mark the death of princes with fire.
CAESAR:
Cowards die many times before their deaths;
The valiant never taste of death but once.
Of all the wonders that I yet have heard,(35)
It seems to me most strange that men should fear
Seeing that death, a necessary end,
Will come when it will come.

[Re-]enter Servant.]

What say the augurers?
CAESAR:
Cowards die many times before their deaths;
The valiant only taste of death once.
Of all the wonders that I yet have heard,
It seems most strange to me that men should fear death,
Seeing that death, a necessary end,
Will come when it will come.—

What say the fortune-tellers?

SERVANT:
They would not have you to stir forth today.(40)
Plucking the entrails of an offering forth,
They could not find a heart within the beast.
SERVANT:
They say not to go out today.
Looking at the guts of an offering,
They couldn’t find a heart inside the beast.
CAESAR:
The gods do this in shame of cowardice.
Caesar should be a beast without a heart
If he should stay at home today for fear.(45)
No, Caesar shall not. Danger knows full well
That Caesar is more dangerous than he.
We are two lions litter'd in one day,
And I the elder and more terrible.
And Caesar shall go forth.(50)
CAESAR:
The gods do this in shame of cowardice.
Caesar should be a beast without a heart,
If he stays at home today because he’s afraid.
No, Caesar shall not. Danger knows full well
That Caesar is more dangerous than he.
We are two lions born on the same day,
And I am older and more terrible;
And Caesar shall go out.
CALPURNIA:
Alas, my lord,
Your wisdom is consumed in confidence.
Do not go forth today. Call it my fear
That keeps you in the house and not your own.
We'll send Mark Antony to the Senate-house,(55)
And he shall say you are not well today.
Let me, upon my knee, prevail in this.
CALPURNIA:
Alas, my lord,
Your wisdom is consumed in confidence!
Don’t go out today. 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’re not well today.
Let me, on my knee, win this argument.
CAESAR:
Mark Antony shall say I am not well,
And, for thy humor, I will stay at home.

Enter Decius.

Here's Decius Brutus, he shall tell them so.(60)
CAESAR:
Mark Antony shall say I’m not well,
And, to make you happy, I’ll stay home.

Here's Decius Brutus, he shall tell them so.

DECIUS:
Caesar, all hail! Good morrow, worthy Caesar!
I come to fetch you to the Senate-house.
DECIUS:
Caesar, all hail! Good morning, worthy Caesar.
I come to go get you to the Senate-house.
CAESAR:
And you are come in very happy time,
To bear my greeting to the senators
And tell them that I will not come today.(65)
Cannot, is false, and that I dare not, falser:
I will not come today. Tell them so, Decius.
CAESAR:
And you’ve come at a very happy time
To bear my greeting to the Senators,
And tell them that I can’t come today.
“Can’t” is false, and I don’t dare make a falser excuse.
I’ll not come today. Tell them so, Decius.
CALPURNIA:
Say he is sick.
CALPURNIA:
Say he’s sick.
CAESAR:
Shall Caesar send a lie?
Have I in conquest stretch'd mine arm so far(70)
To be afeard to tell greybeards the truth?
Decius, go tell them Caesar will not come.
CAESAR:
Shall Caesar send a lie?
Have I fought so hard in battle,
To be afraid to tell grey-beards the truth?—
Decius, go tell them Caesar will not come.
DECIUS:
Most mighty Caesar, let me know some cause,
Lest I be laugh'd at when I tell them so.
DECIUS:
Most mighty Caesar, let me know some reason,
In case I’m laughed at when I tell them so.
CAESAR:
The cause is in my will: I will not come,(75)
That is enough to satisfy the Senate.
But, for your private satisfaction,
Because I love you, I will let you know.
Calpurnia here, my wife, stays me at home;
She dreamt tonight she saw my statue,(80)
Which like a fountain with an hundred spouts,
Did run pure blood, and many lusty Romans
Came smiling and did bathe their hands in it.
And these does she apply for warnings and portents
And evils imminent, and on her knee(85)
Hath begg'd that I will stay at home today.
CAESAR:
The cause is my will; I’ll not come.
That is enough to satisfy the Senate.
But, for your private satisfaction,
Because I love you, I’ll let you know.
Calpurnia here, my wife, wants me to stay home.
She dreamed tonight that she saw my statue,
Which, like a fountain with an hundred spouts,
Ran with pure blood, and many lusty Romans
Came smiling and bathed their hands in it.
And these she interprets for warnings and portents
And imminent evil, and on her knee,
Has begged me to stay home today.
DECIUS:
This dream is all amiss interpreted;
It was a vision fair and fortunate.
Your statue spouting blood in many pipes,
90 In which so many smiling Romans bathed,(90)
Signifies that from you great Rome shall suck
Reviving blood, and that great men shall press
For tinctures, stains, relics, and cognizance.
This by Calpurnia's dream is signified.
DECIUS:
This dream is interpreted all wrong.
It was a fair and fortunate vision.
Your statue spouting blood in many pipes,
In which so many smiling Romans bathed,
Signifies that, from you, great Rome shall suck
Reviving blood, and that great men shall ask
For tinctures, stains, relics, and recognition.
This is what Calpurnia’s dream means.
CAESAR:
And this way have you well expounded it.(95)
CAESAR:
And in this way, you have explained it very well.
DECIUS:
I have, when you have heard what I can say.
And know it now, the Senate have concluded
To give this day a crown to mighty Caesar.
If you shall send them word you will not come,
Their minds may change. Besides, it were a mock(100)
Apt to be render'd, for some one to say
“Break up the Senate till another time,
When Caesar's wife shall meet with better dreams.”
If Caesar hide himself, shall they not whisper
“Lo, Caesar is afraid”?(105)
Pardon me, Caesar, for my dear dear love
To your proceeding bids me tell you this,
And reason to my love is liable.
DECIUS:
I have, when you’ve heard what I can say
And you know it now. The Senate has concluded
To give a crown to mighty Caesar this day.
If you send them word you’ll not come,
They may change their minds. Besides, it’s might be
Interpreted as silly, because someone says
"Break up the Senate until another time,
When Caesar's wife shall have better dreams."
If Caesar hides himself, won’t they whisper
"Lo, Caesar is afraid"?
Pardon me, Caesar; because my dear, dear love
To your advancement bids me tell you this;
And reason is responsible to my love.
CAESAR:
How foolish do your fears seem now, Calpurnia!
I am ashamed I did yield to them.(110)
Give me my robe, for I will go.

Enter Brutus, Ligarius, Metellus [Cimber], Casca, Trebonius, Cinna, and Publius.

And look where Publius is come to fetch me.
CAESAR:
How foolish your fears seem now, Calpurnia!
I’m ashamed that I gave in to them.
Give me my robe, because I’ll go.

And look where Publius is coming to go get me.

PUBLIUS:
Good morrow, Caesar.
PUBLIUS:
Good morning, Caesar.
CAESAR:
Welcome, Publius.
What, Brutus, are you stirr'd so early too?(115)
Good morrow, Casca. Caius Ligarius,
Caesar was ne'er so much your enemy
As that same ague which hath made you lean.
What is't o'clock?
CAESAR:
Welcome, Publius.—
What, Brutus, are you up so early too?—
Good morning, Casca.—Caius Ligarius,
Caesar was never so much your enemy
As he is enemy to that same illness which has made you lean.—
What time is it?
BRUTUS:
Caesar, 'tis strucken eight.(120)
BRUTUS:
Caesar, it’s eight o'clock.
CAESAR:
I thank you for your pains and courtesy.

Enter Antony.

See, Antony, that revels long o' nights,
Is notwithstanding up. Good morrow, Antony.
CAESAR:
I thank you for your pains and courtesy.

See! Antony, that parties all through the night,
Is, nonetheless up.—Good morning, Antony.

ANTONY:
So to most noble Caesar.
ANTONY:
Good morning, most noble Caesar.
CAESAR:
Bid them prepare within.(125)
I am to blame to be thus waited for.
Now, Cinna; now, Metellus; what, Trebonius,
I have an hour's talk in store for you;
Remember that you call on me today;
Be near me, that I may remember you.(130)
CAESAR:
Ask them prepare inside.
I’m to blame to be waited for like this.—
Now, Cinna;—now, Metellus;—what, Trebonius!
I have an hour-long speech in store for you.
Remember that you call on me today;
Be near me so that I may remember you.
TREBONIUS:
Caesar, I will. And so near will I be
That your best friends shall wish I had been further.
TREBONIUS:
Caesar, I will.

and so near will I be,
That your best friends shall wish I had been further away.

CAESAR:
Good friends, go in and taste some wine with me,
And we like friends will straightway go together.
CAESAR:
Good friends, go in, and taste some wine with me;
And we, like friends, will go ahead together straightaway.
BRUTUS:
That every like is not the same, O Caesar,(135)
The heart of Brutus yearns to think upon!
BRUTUS:
That every “like” isn’t the same, O Caesar,
That the heart of Brutus yearns to think about!

Exeunt.

Scene III

Original Text Modern Translation

[A street near the Capitol.]

Enter Artemidorus, [reading paper.]

ARTEMIDORUS:
“Caesar, beware of Brutus; take heed of Cassius;
come not near Casca; have an eye to Cinna; trust not
Trebonius; mark it well Metellus Cimber; Decius Brutus
loves thee not; thou hast wronged Caius Ligarius. There is
but one mind in all these men, and it is bent against Caesar.(5)
If thou beest not immortal, look about you. Security gives
way to conspiracy. The mighty gods defend thee!
Thy lover, Artemidorus.”
Here will I stand till Caesar pass along,
And as a suitor will I give him this.(10)
My heart laments that virtue cannot live
Out of the teeth of emulation.
If thou read this, O Caesar, thou mayest live;
If not, the Fates with traitors do contrive.
ARTEMIDORUS:
"Caesar, beware of Brutus; be careful of Cassius; don’t come
near Casca; watch Cinna; don’t trust Trebonius; pay attention to
Metellus Cimber; Decius Brutus doesn’t love you; you’ve
sinned against Caius Ligarius. There is only one mind in all these men,
and it is bent against Caesar. If you’re not immortal, look
around you. Security gives way to conspiracy. The mighty gods
defend you!
Your lover, Artemidorus."
Here I’ll stand here until Caesar passes along,
And as a petitioner, I will give him this note.
My heart is sad that virtue can’t live
Out of the teeth of emulation.—
If you read this, O Caesar, you may live;
If not, the Fates are working against you.

Exit.

Scene IV

Original Text Modern Translation

[Another part of the same street, before the house of Brutus.]

Enter Portia and Lucius.

PORTIA:
I prithee, boy, run to the Senate-house;
Stay not to answer me, but get thee gone.
Why dost thou stay?
PORTIA:
Boy, run to the Senate-house;
Don’t wait to answer me, but get going.
What are you waiting for?
LUCIUS:
To know my errand, madam.
LUCIUS:
To know what my errand is, madam.
PORTIA:
I would have had thee there, and here again,(5)
Ere I can tell thee what thou shouldst do there.
O constancy, be strong upon my side!
Set a huge mountain 'tween my heart and tongue!
I have a man's mind, but a woman's might.
How hard it is for women to keep counsel!(10)
Art thou here yet?
PORTIA:
I would have rather had you there, and back here again,
Before I can tell you what you should do there.—

O constancy, be strong on my side!
Set a huge mountain between my heart and tongue!
I have a man's mind, but a woman's might.
How hard it is for women to keep counsel!—
Are you still here?

LUCIUS:
Madam, what should I do?
Run to the Capitol, and nothing else?
And so return to you, and nothing else?
LUCIUS:
Madam, what should I do?
Run to the Capitol, and nothing else?
And so return to you, and nothing else?
PORTIA:
Yes, bring me word, boy, if thy lord look well,(15)
For he went sickly forth; and take good note
What Caesar doth, what suitors press to him.
Hark, boy, what noise is that?
PORTIA:
Yes, bring me word, boy, if your lord looks well,
Because he was sick when he went out. And take good note
Of what Caesar does, what suitors offer him their petitions.
Listen, boy! What is that noise?
LUCIUS:
I hear none, madam.
LUCIUS:
I didn’t hear anything, madam.
PORTIA:
Prithee, listen well.(20)
I heard a bustling rumor like a fray,
And the wind brings it from the Capitol.
PORTIA:
Please, listen well.
I heard a bustling rumor, like a riot,
And the wind brings it from the Capitol.
LUCIUS:
Sooth, madam, I hear nothing.
LUCIUS:
Really, madam, I hear nothing.

Enter the Soothsayer.

PORTIA:
Come hither, fellow; which way hast thou been?
PORTIA:
Come here, fellow.
Where have you been?
SOOTHSAYER:
At mine own house, good lady.(25)
SOOTHSAYER:
At mine own house, good lady.
PORTIA:
What is't o'clock?
PORTIA:
What time is it?
SOOTHSAYER:
About the ninth hour, lady.
SOOTHSAYER:
Almost nine o’clock, lady.
PORTIA:
Is Caesar yet gone to the Capitol?
PORTIA:
Has Caesar gone to the Capitol?
SOOTHSAYER:
Madam, not yet. I go to take my stand
To see him pass on to the Capitol.(30)
SOOTHSAYER:
Madam, not yet. I’m going ahead to get my spot
To see him pass on his way to the Capitol.
PORTIA:
Thou hast some suit to Caesar, hast thou not?
PORTIA:
You’ve got some petition to Caesar, haven’t you?
SOOTHSAYER:
That I have, lady. If it will please Caesar
To be so good to Caesar as to hear me,
I shall beseech him to befriend himself.
SOOTHSAYER:
That I have, lady. If it will please Caesar
To be so good to Caesar as to hear what I have to say,
I shall beg him to take care of himself.
PORTIA:
Why, know'st thou any harm's intended towards him?(35)
PORTIA:
Why, do you know if any harm's intended towards him?
SOOTHSAYER:
None that I know will be, much that I fear may chance.
Good morrow to you. Here the street is narrow,
The throng that follows Caesar at the heels,
Of senators, of praetors, common suitors,
Will crowd a feeble man almost to death.(40)
I'll get me to a place more void and there
Speak to great Caesar as he comes along.
SOOTHSAYER:
None that I know definitely, but I’m very afraid there’s a chance.
Good morning to you.—Here the street is narrow.
The throng that follows Caesar at his heels,
Of Senators, of Praetors, common suitors,
Will crowd a feeble man almost to death.
I'll get me to a place with more space, and there
Speak to great Caesar as he comes along.

Exit.

PORTIA:
I must go in. Ay me, how weak a thing
The heart of woman is! O Brutus,
The heavens speed thee in thine enterprise!(45)
Sure, the boy heard me. Brutus hath a suit
That Caesar will not grant. O, I grow faint.
Run, Lucius, and commend me to my lord;
Say I am merry. Come to me again,
And bring me word what he doth say to thee.(50)
PORTIA:
I must go in.—

Ah me, how weak a thing
The heart of woman is!—O Brutus,
The heavens speed you in your undertaking!—
I’m sure the boy heard me.—Brutus has a petition
That Caesar will not grant.—O, I feel faint.—
Run, Lucius, and commend me to my lord;
Say I’m merry. Come back to me again,
And bring me word about what he says to you.

Exeunt [severally.]