by Shakespeare and Maria Rioux
Soothsayer: Beware the Ides of march!
Caesar: He is a dreamer…Let us leave him.
(Cassius and Brutus stay behind.)
Cassius: Brutus, I do observe you now of late. I have not from your eyes that gentleness and show of love as I was wont to have: You bear too stubborn and too strange a hand over your friend that loves you.
Brutus: Cassius, be not deceived: If I have veiled my look, I turned my troubled face merely upon myself. Let not, therefore, my good friends be grieved among which number, Cassius, be you one. Nor construe any further my neglect then that poor Brutus, with himself at war, forgets the shows of love to other men.
Cassius: I have heard where many of the best respect in Rome, except immortal Caesar, speaking of Brutus and groaning underneath this ages yoke have wished that noble Brutus had his eyes.
Brutus: Into what dangers would you lead me, Cassius?
Cassius: Good Brutus, be prepared to hear. Since you do not use your eyes to see what is happening in Rome, I will serve as your eyes. Listen to what I have to say.
Brutus: What means this shouting? I do fear the people chose Caesar for their king!
Cassius: Ay, do you fear it? Then must I think you would not have it so.
Brutus: I would not, Cassius, yet I love him well. But, Cassius, what is it you wish to tell me? If it be of the general good, set honor in one eye, and death in the other and I will look on both indifferently. For let the gods so speed me as I love the name of honor more then I fear death!
Cassius: I know that virtue to be in you, Brutus: honor 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 Caesar, so were you. We have both fed as well, and we can both endure the winter’s cold as well as he. For once, upon a raw and windy day, Caesar said to me, “Darest thou, Cassius, now leap with me into this angry flood, and swim with me to yonder point?” The torrent roared, and we did buffet it with lusty sinews, throwing it aside. But ere we could arrive the point proposed, Caesar cried, “Help me, Cassius! Or I sink!” I, as Aeneas our great ancestor, did from the flames of Troy, upon his shoulder the old Anchises bear, so the waves of the Tiber, did the tired Caesar. And this man is now become a god, and Cassius is a wretched creature, and must bend his body if Caesar 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 color fly, and that same eye, whose bend doth 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.*
Brutus: Another general shout! I do believe that these applauses are for some new honors that are heaped on Caesar!
Cassius: Why should that name be sounded more then 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! Now, in the names of all the gods at once, on what meat does our Caesar feast, that he has grown so great? When could they say, til now, that talked of Rome, that her wide walls encompassed but one man? I have heard our fathers say there was once a Brutus that would have attacked the devil himself to save Rome from ruin.
Brutus: What you have said, I will consider. What you have to say, I will with patience hear. Till then, my noble friend, chew upon this: Brutus had rather be a villager then to repute himself a son of Rome under these hard conditions as this time is like to lay upon us.
Cassius: I am glad that my weak words have struck but thus much show of fire from Brutus.
Brutus: Caesar is returning!
(Enter Caesar, Anthony, Casca, and Calpurnia)
Caesar: Let me have men about me that are fat, sleek-headed men, and such that sleep at night. Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look. He thinks too much; such men are dangerous.
Anthony: Fear him not, Caesar. He’s not dangerous. He is a noble Roman, and well given.
Caesar: Would he were fatter, but I fear him not. Yet if I were afraid, the man I would most fear would be Cassius. Such men as he are never at hearts ease while they behold a greater then themselves, and are, therefore, very dangerous. I rather tell thee what is to be feared, then what I fear, for always, I am Caesar!
(Everyone exits except Cassius and Casca)
Casca: It is Caesar that you mean to kill, is it not true Cassius?
Cassius: Let it be who it is.
Casca: The senators say they will make Caesar a king tomorrow, and he will wear his crown.
Cassius: I know where I will wear this dagger then. Cassius from bondage will deliver Cassius. Therein, ye gods, you make the weak most strong. Therein, ye gods, the tyrants do defeat. No stony tower, nor walls of beaten brass, nor airless dungeon, nor strong links of iron can be retentive to the strength of spirit. But life life, being weary of these worldly bars, never lacks power to dismiss it. If I know this, know all the world besides, that part of tyranny that I do bear, I can shake off at pleasure.
Casca: So can I.
Cassius: There’s a bargain made. Know you, Casca, I have moved already some of the noblest-minded Romans to undergo with me an enterprise of honorable, dangerous consequences. See Brutus at his house. Three parts of him is ours already, and the man entire upon the next encounter yields him ours.
Caesar: Not heaven or earth have been at peace tonight! Thrice has Calpurnia in her sleep cried out, “Help ho, they murder Caesar!”
Calpurnia: What mean you, Caesar? Think you to walk forth? You shall not stir out of your house today!
Caesar: Caesar shall forth! The things that threatened me never looked but on my back. When they shall see the face of Caesar, they are vanished.
Calpurnia: When beggars die, their are no comets seen. The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes. My dreams have frightened me. Oh Caesar, do not go forth this day!
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, it seemed to me most strange that men should fear, seeing that death, a necessary end, will come when it come.
Calpurnia: Do not go forth today! Call it my fear that keeps you in the house and not your own! Let me, upon my knee, prevail in this!
Caesar: Bear my greeting to the senators, and tell them I will not come today. Cannot is false, and that I dare not falser! The cause is in my will. I will not come, that is enough to satisfy the senate.
Cassius: Know you that the senate has concluded this day to give a crown to mighty Caesar? If you send them word you will not come, their minds may change. Besides, it were a mock apt to be rendered for someone 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”? Pardon me Caesar, for my dear, dear love to your proceeding, bids me tell you this, and reason to my love is liable.
Caesar: How foolish do your fears seem now, Calpurnia? I am ashamed I did yield to them! Give me my robe, for I will go.
(In the Senate)
Brutus: Caesar comes, press near!
Cassius: Casca, you are the first that rears your hand!
Caesar: Are we all ready? What is now amiss, that Caesar and his senate must now re-dress?
Brutus: Most high, most mighty Caesar, I kneel before thee with this requestŠ
Caesar: I must prevent this. These crouchings and these lowly courtesies might fire the blood of ordinary men. Be not fond to think that Caesar bears such rebel blood. If you do bend and pray and fawn before me, I spurn thee like a cur out of my way.
Brutus: I kiss thy hand, but not in flattery, Caesar. Desiring thee that Publius Cimber may have an immediate freedom of repeal.
Cassius: Pardon, CaesarŠ Caesar, pardonŠ As low as to they foot doth Cassius fall to beg for Publius Cimber.
Caesar: Among men I do know but one that unshaken holds on his rank, and I am he. I was constant Cimber should be banished, and constant do remain to keep him so.
Casca: Speak hands for me!
(Stabs Caesar. Others stab. Brutus last)
Caesar: Et tu, Brute? Then fall Caesar!