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Bru. Fates! we will know your pleasures :That we shall die, we know; 'tis but the time, And drawing days out, that men stand upon.
Cas. Why, he that cuts off twenty years of life, Cuts off so many years of fearing death.
Bru. Grant that, and then is death a benefit : So are we Cæsar's friends, that have abridg'd His time of fearing death.–Stoop, Romans, stoop, And let us bathe our hands in Cæsar's blood Up to the elbows, and besmear our swords : Then walk we forth, even to the market-place; And, waving our red weapons o’er our heads, Let's all cry, Peace! Freedom! and Liberty ! Cas. Stoop then, and wash?. — How many ages
Shall this our lofty scene be acted over,
In states unborn, and accents yet unknown?
Bru. How many times shall Cæsar bleed in sport,
That now on Pompey's basis lies along,
No worthier than the dust ?
So oft as that shall be,
So often shall the knot of us be call’d
The men that gave our country liberty.
Dec. What, shall we forth?
. Ay, every man away : Brutus shall lead ; and we will grace his heels With the most boldest and best hearts of Rome.
Bru. Soft, who comes here? A friend of Antony's ;
Serv. Thus, Brutus, did my master bid me kneel;
Thus did Mark Antony bid me fall down :
And, being prostrate, thus he bade me say,
Brutus is noble, wise, valiant, and honest;
Stoop then, and wash.] To wash does not mean here to cleanse, but to wash over, as we say, washed with gold; for Cassius means that they should steep their hands in the blood of Cæsar.
Caesar was mighty, bold, royal, and loving :
Say, I love Brutus, and I honour him ;
Say, I fear'd Cæsar, honour'd bim, and lov'd him.
If Brutus will vouchsafe, that Antony
May safely come to him, and be resolv'd
How Cæsar hath desery'd to lie in death,
Mark Antony shall not love Cæsar dead
So well as Brutus living ; but will follow
The fortunes and affairs of noble Brutus,
Thorough the hazards of this untrod state,
With all true faith. So says my master Antony.
Bru. Thy master is a wise and valiant Roman ;
I never thought him worse.
Tell him, so please him come unto this place,
He shall be satisfied ; and, by my honour,
I'll fetch him presently.
[Erit Servant. Bru. I know, that we shall have him well to friend.
Cas. I wish, we may: but yet have I a mind, That fears him much ; and my misgiving still Falls shrewdly to the purpose.
Bru. But here comes Antony. – Welcome, Mark
Ant. O mighty Cæsar! Dost thou lie so low ?
Are all thy conquests, glories, triumphs, spoils,
Shrunk to this little measure ?— Fare thee well. —
I know not, gentlemen, what you intend,
Who else must be let blood, who else is ranks:
If I myself, there is no hour so fit
As Cæsar's death's hour; nor no instrument
Of half that worth, as those your swords, made rich
With the most noble blood of all this world.
3. — who else is rank :] Who else may be supposed to have overtopped his equals, and grown too high for the publick safety.
I do beseech ye, if you bear me hard,
Now, whilst your purpled hands do reek and smoke,
Fulfil your pleasure. Live a thousand years,
I shall not find myself so apt to die:
No place will please me so, no mean of death,
As here by Cæsar, and by you cut off,
The choice and master spirits of this age.
Bru. O Antony! beg not your death of us.
Though now we must appear bloody and cruel,
As, by our hands, and this our present act,
You see we do; yet see you but our hands,
And this the bleeding business they have done:
Our hearts you see not, they are pitiful ;
And pity to the general wrong of Rome
(As fire drives out fire, so pity, pity,)
Hath done this deed on Cæsar. For your part,
To you our swords have leaden points, Mark Antony:
Our arms, in strength of malice`, and our hearts,
Of brothers' temper, do receive you in
With all kind love, good thoughts, and reverence.
Cas. Your voice shall be as strong as any man's,
In the disposing of new dignities.
Bru. Only be patient, till we have appeas'd
The multitude, beside themselves with fear,
And then we will deliver you the cause,
Why I, that did love Cæsar when I struck him,
Have thus proceeded.
I doubt not of your wisdom.
Let each man render me his bloody hand:
First, Marcus Brutus, will I shake with you:-
Next, Caius Cassius, do I take your hand;
Now, Decius Brutus, yours ;—now yours, Metellus ;
Yours, Cinna ;-and, my valiant Casca, yours ;-
* Our arms, in strength of malice,] i. e. To you (says Brutus) our swords have leaden points : our arms, strong in the deed of malice they have just performed, and our hearts united like those of brothers in the action, are yet open to receive you with all possible regard.
Though last, not least in love, yours, good Trebonius.
Gentlemen all,—alas ! what shall I say?
My credit now stands on such slippery ground,
That one of two bad ways you must conceit me,
Either a coward or a flatterer.-
That I did love thee, Cæsar, 0, 'tis true:
If then thy spirit look upon us now,
Shall it not grieve thee, dearer than thy death,
To see thy Antony making his peace,
Shaking the bloody fingers of thy foes,
Most noble ! in the presence of thy corse ?
Had I as many eyes as thou hast wounds,
Weeping as fast as they stream forth thy blood,
It would become me better, than to close
In terms of friendship with thine enemies.
Pardon me, Julius !-Here wast thou bay'd, brave hart;
Here didst thou fall; and here thy hunters stand,
Sign’d in thy spoil, and crimson’d in thy lethe .
O world! thou wast the forest to this hart;
And this, indeed, O world, the heart of thee.-
· How like a deer, stricken by many princes,
Dost thou here lie!
Cas. Mark Antony,--
Pardon me, Caius Cassius :
The enemies of Cæsar shall say this;
Then, in a friend, it is cold modesty.
Cas. I blame you not for praising Cæsar so ; But what compáct mean you to have with us? Will you be prick'd in number of our friends ; Or shall we on, and not depend on you ?
Ant. Therefore I took your hands; but was, indeed, Sway'd from the point, by looking down on Cæsar. Friends am I with you all, and love you all; Upon this hope, that you shall give me reasons, Why, and wherein, Cæsar was dangerous.
0- crimson'd in thy lethe.] Lethe is used by many of the old translators of novels, for death.
Bru. Or else were this a savage spectacle :
Our reasons are so full of good regard,
That were you, Antony, the son of Cæsar,
You should be satisfied.
That's all I seek :
And am moreover suitor, that I may
Produce his body to the market-place;
And in the pulpit, as becomes a friend,
Speak in the order of his funeral.
Bru. You shall, Mark Antony.
Brutus, a word with you.-
You know not what you do ; Do not consent, [Aside.
That Antony speak in his funeral:
Know you how much the people may be mov'd
By that which he will utter ?
By your pardon ;-
I will mys. If into the pulpit first,
And show the reason of our Cæsar's death :
What Antony shall speak, I will protest
He speaks by leave and by permission ;
And that we are contented, Cæsar shall
Have all true rites, and lawful ceremonies.
It shall advantage more, than do us wrong.
Cas. I know not what may fall; I like it not.
Bru. Mark Antony, here, take your Cæsar's body.
You shall not in your funeral speech blame us,
But speak all good you can devise of Cæsar;
And say, you do’t by our permission;
Else shall you not have any hand at all
About his funeral: And you shall speak
In the same pulpit whereto I am going,
After my speech is ended.
Be it so;
I do desire no more.
Bru. Prepare the body then, and follow us.
[Exeunt all but ANTONY. Ant. O, pardon me, thou piece of bleeding earth, That I am meek and gentle with these butchers !