Bru. What means this shouting? I do fear the people Choose Cæsar for their king.

Cas. Ay? do you fear it ?
Then must I think you would not have it so.

Bru. 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?
If it be aught toward the gen'ral good,
Set Honour in one eye, and Death i' th' other,
And I will look on Death indiff'rently :
For let the gods so speed me, as I love
The name of Honour more than I fear Death.

Cas. I know that virtue to be in you, Brutus,
As well as I do know your outward favour.
Well, honour is the subject of my story.--
I cannot tell what you and other men
Think of this life: but for my single self,
I had as lief not be, as live to be
In awe of such a thing as I myself.
I was born free as Cæsar ; so were you ;
We both have fed as well; and we can both
Endure the winter's cold as well as he.
For once upon a raw and gusty day,
The troubled Tiber chafing with his shores,
Cæsar says to me, Dar'st thou, Cassius, now
Leap in with me into this angry flood,
And swim to yonder point ?-Upon the word,
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.
But ere we could arrive the point proposed,
Cæsar cried, Help me, Cassius, or I sink.
I, as Æneas, our great ancestor,
Did from the flames of Troy upon his shoulder
The old Anchises bear; so from the waves of Tiber
Did I the tired Cæsar: and this man
Is now become a god; and Cassius is
A wretched creature, and must bend his body,
If Cæsar carelessly but nod on him.
He had a fever when he was in Spain,


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 colour fly,
And that same eye, whose bend does awe the world,
Did lose its lustre ; I did hear him groan :
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
So get the start of the majestic world,
And bear the palm alone.

Bru, Another general shout!
I do believe, that these applauses are
For some new honours that are heap'd on Cæsar,

Cas. Why man, he doth bestride the narrow world
Like a Colossus ! and we petty men
Walk under his huge legs, and peep

To find ourselves dishonourable graves.
Men at some times are masters of their fates ;
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.
Brutus—and Cæsar—what should be in that Cæsar?
Why should that name he sounded more than yours ?
Write them together: yours is as fair a name :
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 Cæsar.
Now, in the names of all the gods at once,
Upon what meats does this our Cæsar feed,
That he is grown so great ? Age, thou art sham'd ;
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,
That her wide walls encompass'd but one man ?

and I have heard our fathers say,
There was a Brutus, one that would have brook'd
Th' eternal devil to keep his state in Rome
As easily as a king.
Bru. That

do love

me, I am nothing jealous : What you would work me to, I have some aim :

[ocr errors]

have to say,

How I have thought of this, and of these times,
I shall recount hereafter: for this present,
I would not (so with love I might entreat you)
farther moved. What


have said, I will consider ; what

I will with patience hear; and find a time
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 such hard conditions as this time
Is like to lay unto us.

Cas. I am glad that my weak words
Have struck but thus much show of fire from Brutus.



BELLARIUS, GUIDERIUS, AND ARVIRAGUS, Bel. A GOODLY day! not to keep house, with such Whose roof's as low as ours : see

ee! boys, this gate Instructs you how ť adore the Heav'ns; and bows you To morning's holy office. Gates of monarchs Are arch'd so high that giants may jet through, And keep their impious turbans on, without Good morrow to the sun. Hail, thou fair Heav'n ! We house i' th' rock, yet use thee not so hardly As prouder livers do.

Guid. Hail, Heav'n! Arv. Hail, Heav'n!

Bel. Now for our mountain sport. Up to yond' hill, Your legs are young. I'll tread these flats. Consider, When you above perceive me like a crow, That it is place which lessens and sets off; And you may then revolve what tales I told you Of courts, of princes, of the tricks in war; That service is not service, so being done, But being so allow'd. To apprehend thus, Draws us a profit from all things we see; And often to our comfort shall we find The sharded beetle in a safer hold,


Than is the full wing'd eagle. Oh, this life
Is nobler than attending for a check :
Richer than doing nothing for a bauble :
Prouder than rustling in unpaid-for silk.
Such gain the cap of him, that makes them fine,
Yet keeps his book uncross'd:~no life to ours.

Guid. Out of your proof you speak; we, poor, unfledg’d,
Have never wing'd from view o'th' nest ; nor know
What air's from home. Haply this life is best,
If quiet life is best ; sweeter to you,
That have a sharper known ; well corresponding
With your stiff age: but unto us, it is
A cell of ign’rance; travelling abed ;
A prison for a debtor that not dares
To stride a limit.

Arv. What should we speak of,
When we are old as you? When we shall hear
The rain and wind beat dark December, how,
In this our pinching cave, shall we discourse
The freezing hours We have seen nothing ;
We're beastly ; subtle as the fox for prey,
Like warlike as the wolf for what we eat,
Our valour is to chase what flies : our cage
We make a choir, as doth the prison'd bird,
And sing out bondage freely.

Bel. How you speak !
Did you but know the city's usuries,
And felt them knowingly; the art o'th' court,
As hard to leave as keep; whose top to climb
Is certain falling ; or so slipp’ry, that
The fear's as bad as falling; the toil of war ;
A pain that only seems to seek out danger
l'th' name of fame and honour; which dies i' th' search,
And hath as oft a sland'rous epitaph,
As record of fair act; nay, many times,
Doth ill deserve by doing well ; what's worse,
Must curt'sy at the censure.- - Oh, boys, this story
The world might read in me: my body's mark'd
With Roman swords; and my report was once
First with the best of note. Cymbeline lov’d me,
And when a soldier was the theme, my name
Was not far off: then was I as a tree

Whose boughs did bend with fruit. But in one night,
A storm, or robb’ry, call it what you will,
Shook down my mellow hangings, nay my leaves,
And left me bare to weather.

Guid. Uncertain favour !

Bel. My fault being nothing, as I have told you oft, But that two villains (whose false oaths prevail’d Before my perfect honour) swore to Cymbeline I was confed'rate with the Romans : so Follow'd


banishment; and, these twenty years,
This rock and these demesnes have been my world;
Where I have liv'd at honest freedom, paid
More pious debts to Heav’n than in all
The fore-end of my time-But, up to th' mountains !
This is not hunter's language; he that strikes
The ven’son first shall be the lord o' th' feast;
To him the other two shall minister,
And we will fear no poison, which attends
In place of greater state.
I'll meet you in the valleys.




Jub. SYPHAX, I joy to meet thee thus alone.
I have observ'd of late thy looks are fall’n,
O’ercast with gloomy cares and discontent;
Then tell me, Syphax, I conjure thee tell me,
What are the thoughts that knit thy brow in frowns,
And turn thy eyes thus coldly on thy prince ?

Syph. 'Tis not my talent to conceal my thoughts,
smiles and sunshine in


face When discontent sits heavy at my heart; I have not yet so much the Roman in me.

Jub. Why dost thou cast out such ungen'rous terms Against the lords and sov’reigns of the world? Dost thou not see mankind fall down before them, And own the force of their superior virtue ?

« ElőzőTovább »