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But here's a parchment with the seal of Cæsar:
I found it in his closet, 'tis his will !
Let but the commons hear this testament,
(Which, pardon me, I do not mean to read,
And they would go and kiss dead Cæsar's wounds
And dip their napkins in his sacred blood;
Yea, beg a hair of him for memory,
And, dying, mention it within their wills,
Bequeathing it as a rich legacy
Unto their issue !
If you have tears, prepare to shed them now.
You all do know this mantle! I remember
The first time ever Cæsar put it on:
'Twas on a summer's evening in his tent,
That day he overcame the Nervi :-
Look! in this place ran Cassius's dagger through-
See what a rent the envious Casca made:
Through this the well-beloved Brutus stabb'd;
And, as he pluck'd his cursed steel away,
Mark how the blood of Cæsar followed it!
As rushing out of doors to be resolved
If Brutus so unkindly knock'd, or no;
For Brutus, as you know, was Cæsar's angel:
Judge, Oye gods, how dearly Cæsar loved him!
This, this was the unkindest cut of all;
For when the noble Cæsar saw him stab,
Ingratitude, more strong than traitor's arms,
Quite vanquished him : then burst his mighty heart;
And, in his mantle, muffling up his face,
Even at the base of Pompey's statue
(Which all the while ran blood)-Great Cæsar fell.
Oh, what a fall was there, my countrymen!
Then I, and you, and all of us fell down ;
Whilst bloody treason flourished over us.
Oh, now you weep; and I perceive you feel
The dint of pity: these are gracious drops.
Kind souls ! what, weep you, when you but behold
Our Cæsar's vesture wounded ? Look you here!
Here is himself—marr'd, as you see, by traitors!
Good friends! sweet friends! let me not stir you up
To such a sudden flood of mutiny:
They that have done this deed are honourable ;
What private griefs they have, alas, I know not,
That made them do it; they are wise and honourable,
And will, no doubt, with reason answer you.
I come not, friends, to steal away your hearts :
I am no orator, as Brutus is;
But, as you know me all, a plain, blunt man,
That love my friend; and that they know full well,
That gave me public leave to speak of him :
For I have neither wit, nor words, nor worth,
Action, nor utt’rance, nor the power of speech,
To stir men's blood ; I only speak right on.
I tell you that which you yourselves do know;
Show you sweet Cæsar's wounds, poor, poor dumb mouths,
And bid them speak for me. But were I Brutus,
And Brutus Antony, there were an Antony,
Would ruffle up your spirits, and put a tongue
In every wound of Cæsar, that should move
The stones of Rome to rise and mutiny!
Cas.--That you have wrong'd me, doth appear in this :
You have condemned and noted Lucius Pella
For taking bribes here of the Sardians;
Wherein my letter (praying on his side
Because I knew the man) was slighted of.
Bru..You wrong'd yourself to write in such a case.
Cas.-In such a time as this, it is not meet
nice offence should bear its comment. Brų.-Yet let me tell you, Cassius, you yourself
Are much condemned to have an itching palm.
To sell and mart your offices for gold
Cas. I an itching palm !
You know that you are Brutus that speak this,
Or, by the gods, this speech were else your last.
Bru.—The name of Cassius honours this corruption.
And chastisement doth therefore hide its head.
Bra.-Remember March, the Ides of March remember,
Did not great Julius bleed for justice' sake?
What! shall one of us,
That struck the foremost man of all this world,
But for supporting robbers; shall we now
Contaminate our fingers with base bribes ?
And sell the mighty space of our large honours
For so much trash as may be grasped thus ?
I had rather be a dog and bay the moon.
Than such a Roman.
Cas.—Brutus, bay not me:
I'll not endure it. You forget yourself,
To hedge me in: I am a soldier
Older in practice, abler than yourself
To make conditions.
Bru.—Go to! you are not, Cassius.
Bru.--I say you are not.
Cas._Urge me no more; I shall forget myself;
Have mind upon your health : tempt me no farther.
Bru.--Away, slight man!
Bru.—Hear me, for I will speak.
Must I give way and room to your rash choler ?
Shall I be frighted when a madman stares ?
Cas. O gods ! ye gods! must I endure all this ?
Bru.-All this! ay, more: fret till your proud heart break.
Go, show your slaves how choleric you are.
And make your bondmen tremble. Must I budge ?
Must I observe you ? must I stand and crouch
Under your testy humour ? By the gods,
You shall digest the venom of your spleen,
Though it do split you : for, from this day forth,
for my mirth, yea, for my laughter, When you are waspish.
Cas.--Is it come to this?
Bru..You say, you are a better soldier ;
Let it appear so; make your vaunting true,
And it shall please me well. For mine own part,
I shall be glad to learn of noble men.
Cas.—You wrong meevery way-you wrong me, Brutus;
I said an elder soldier, not a better.
Did I say better?
Bru. If you did, I care not.
When Cæsar liv'd, he durst not thus have
Bru.—Peace, peace, you durst not so heve tempted him.
Cas.-I durst not!
Cas.-What! durst not tempt him?
Cas.-Do not presume too much upon my love;
I may do that I shall be
Bru.—You have done that you should be sorry for.
There's no terror, Cassius, in your threats ;
For I am arm’d so strong in honesty,
That they pass by me as the idle wind
Which I respect not. I did send to you
For certain sums of gold, which you denied me;
For I can raise no money by vile means:
I had rather coin
heart And drop my blood for drachmas, than to wring From the hard hands of peasants their vile trash,
By any indirection! I did send
for gold to pay my legions ; Which
Was that done like Cassius ?
Should I have answered Caius Cassius so ?
When Marcus Brutus grows so covetous,
To lock such rascal counters from his friends,
Be ready, gods! with all
thunderbolts Dash him in pieces.
Cas.-I denied you not.
Cas.--I did not: he was but a fool
That brought my answer back-Brutus hath riv'd my heart.
A friend should bear a friend's infirmities ;
But Brutus makes mine greater than they are.
Bru._I do not. Still you practise them on me.
Cas.-You love me not.
Bru.- I do not like
Cas.-A friendly eye could never see such faults.
Bru.-A flatterer's would not, though they did appear As huge as high Olympus.
Cas.-Come, Antony! and young Octavius, come!
Revenge yourselves alone on Cassius :
For Cassius is a weary of the world-
Hated by one he loves ; brav'd by his brother ;
Check'd like a bondman; all his faults observ'd,
Set in a note-book, learn'd and conn'd by rote,
To cast into my teeth.
Oh, I could weep
My spirit from mine eyes !—There is my dagger,
And here my naked breast- -within, a heart
Dearer than Plutus's mine, richer than gold :
If that thou need'st a Roman's take it forth:
I that denied thee gold, will give my heart.
Strike as thou didst at Cæsar; for I know,
When thou didst hate him worst, thou lov’dst him better
Than ever thou lov'dst Cassius.
Bru-Sheath your dagger.