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Enter Cassius, CASCA, DECIUS, CINNA, METELLUS CIMBER,
Cas. I think we are too bold upon your rest: Good morrow, Brutus; Do we trouble you?
Bru. I have been up this hour; awake, all night.
Know I these men, that come along with you?
Cas. Yes, every man of them ; and no man here,
But honours you: and every one doth wish,
You had but that opinion of yourself,
Which every noble Roman bears of you.
This is Trebonius.
He is welcome hither.
Cas. This, Decius Brutus.
He is welcome too.
Cas. This, Casca; this, Cinna;
And this, Metellus Cimber.
They are all welcome.
What watchful cares do interpose themselves
Betwixt your eyes and night?
Cas. Shall I entreat a word ?
[They whisper. Dec. Here lies the cast : Doth not the day break here? Casca. No.
Cin. 0, pardon, sir, it doth ; and yon grey lines, That fret the clouds, are messengers of day.
Casca. You shall confess, that you are both deceiv’d.
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
Stands, as the Capitol, directly here.
Bru. Give me your hands all over, one by one.
Cas. And let us swear our resolution.
Bru. No, not an oath : If not the face of men',
· No, not an oath : If not the face of men, &c.] Dr. Warburton would read fate of men ; but his elaborate emendation is, I think,
The sufferance of our souls, the time's abuse, -
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
To kindle cowards, and to steel with valour
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,
And will not palter 3? 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
That welcome wrongs; unto bad causes swear
Such creatures as men doubt: but do not stain
The even virtue of our enterprize",
Nor the insuppressive mettle of our spirits,
To think, that, or our cause, or our performance,
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.
The face of men is the countenance, the regard, the esteem of the publick; in other terms, honour and reputation ; or the face of men may mean the dejected look of the people.
JOHNSON. 2 Till each man drop by lottery.] Perhaps the poet alluded to the custom of decimation, i. e. the selection by lot of every tenth soldier, in a general mutiny, for punishment.
3 And will not palter ?] And will not shuffle or fly from his engagements.
cautelous,] Is here cautious, sometimes insidious. 5 The even virtue of our enterprize,] The calm, equitable, temperate spirit that actuates us.
Cas. But what of Cicero? Shall we sound him ?
I think, he will stand very strong with us.
Casca. Let us not leave him out.
No, by no means.
Met. O let us have him; for his silver hairs
Will purchase us a good opinion",
And buy men's voices to commend our deeds:
It shall be said, his judgment rul'd our hands ;
Our youths, and wildness, shall no whit appear,
But all be buried in his gravity.
Bru. O, name him not; let us not break with him ; For he will never follow any thing That other men begin. Cas.
Then leave him out.
Casca. Indeed, he is not fit.
Dec. Shall no man else be touch'd but only Cæsar ?
Cas. Decius, well urg'd :- I think it is not meet,
Mark Antony, so well belov'd of Cæsar,
Should outlive Cæsar: We shall find of him
A shrewd contriver; and, you know, his means,
If he improve them, may well stretch so far,
As to annoy us all: which to prevent,
Let Antony, and Cæsar, fall together.
Bru. Our course will seem too bloody, Caius Cassius,
To cut the head off, and then hack the limbs;
Like wrath in death, and envy afterwards?:
For Antony is but a limb of Cæsar.
Let us be sacrificers, but no butchers, Caius.
We all stand up against the spirit of Cæsar;
And in the spirit of men there is no blood :
0, that we then could come by Cæsar's spirit,
And not dismember Caesar! But, alas,
Cæsar must bleed for it! And, gentle friends,
Let's kill him boldly, but not wrathfully;
opinion,] i.e. character.
and envy afterwards : ] Envy is here, as almost always in Shakspeare's plays, malice.
Let's carve him as a dish fit for the gods,
Not hew him as a carcase fit for hounds :
And let our hearts, as subtle masters do,
their servants to an act of rage,
And after seem to chide them. This shall make
Our purpose necessary, and not envious:
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 Cæsar's arm,
When Cæsar's head is off.
Yet I do fear him:
For in the ingrafted love he bears to Cæsar,
Bru. Alas, good Cassius, do not think of him :
If he love Cæsar, all that he can do
Is to himself; take thought, and die for Cæsar:
And that were much he should; for he is given
To sports, to wildness, and much company'.
Treb. There is no fear in him ; let him not die;
For he will live, and laugh at this hereafter.
[Clock strikes. Bru. Peace, count the clock. Cas.
The clock hath stricken three.
Treb. 'Tis time to part.
But it is doubtful yet,
Whe'r Cæsar will come forth to-day, or no:
For he is superstitious grown of late ;
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,
take thought,] That is, turn melancholy.
company.) Company is here used in a disreputable sense. 1 Quite from the main opinion he held once
Of fantasy, of dreams, and ceremonies :] Main opinion, is nothing more than leading, fired, predominant opinion. Fantasy was in our author's time commonly used for imagination. Ceremonies means omens or signs deduced from sacrifices, or other ceremonial rites.
And the persuasion of his augurers,
May hold him from the Capitol to-day.
Dec. Never fear that: If he be so resolv'd,
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 ?,
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 humour the true bent;
And I will bring him to the Capitol.
Cas. Nay, we will all of us be there to fetch him.
Bru. By the eighth hour: Is that the uttermost?
Cin. Be that the uttermost, and fail not then.
Met. Caius Ligarius doth bear Cæsar hard,
Who rated him for speaking well of Pompey;
I wonder, none of you have thought of him.
Bru. Now, good Metellus, go along by himo; He loves me well, and I have given him reasons ; Send him but hither, and I'll fashion him. Cas. The morning comes upon us: We'll leave you,
Brutus: And, friends, disperse yourselves: but all remember What you have said, and show yourselves true Romans,
Bru. Good gentlemen, look fresh and merrily; Let not our looks * put on our purposes ; 9 That unicorns may be betray'd with trees,
And bears with glasses, elephants with holes,] Unicorns are said to have been taken by one who, running behind a tree, eluded the violent push the animal was making at him, so that his horn spent its force on the trunk, and stuck fast, detaining the beast till he was despatched by the hunter. Bears are reported to have been surprised by means of a mirror, which they would gaze on, affording their pursuers an opportunity of taking the surer aim. Elephants were seduced into pitfalls, lightly covered with hurdles and turf, on which a proper bait to tempt them was exposed.
by him ;] That is, by his house. * Let not our looks —] Let not our faces put on, that is, wear or show our designs.