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Home > Julius Caesar > ACT II - SCENE I. Rome. BRUTUS's orchard.

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ACT II - SCENE I. Rome. BRUTUS's orchard.
Enter BRUTUS

BRUTUS
1    What, Lucius, ho!
2    I cannot, by the progress of the stars,
3    Give guess how near to day. Lucius, I say!
4    I would it were my fault to sleep so soundly.
5    When, Lucius, when? awake, I say! what, Lucius!
Enter LUCIUS

LUCIUS
6    Call'd you, my lord?
BRUTUS
7    Get me a taper in my study, Lucius:
8    When it is lighted, come and call me here.
LUCIUS
9    I will, my lord.
Exit

BRUTUS
10   It must be by his death: and for my part,
11   I know no personal cause to spurn at him,
12   But for the general. He would be crown'd:
13   How that might change his nature, there's the question.
14   It is the bright day that brings forth the adder;
15   And that craves wary walking. Crown him?--that;--
16   And then, I grant, we put a sting in him,
17   That at his will he may do danger with.
18   The abuse of greatness is, when it disjoins
19   Remorse from power: and, to speak truth of Caesar,
20   I have not known when his affections sway'd
21   More than his reason. But 'tis a common proof,
22   That lowliness is young ambition's ladder,
23   Whereto the climber-upward turns his face;
24   But when he once attains the upmost round.
25   He then unto the ladder turns his back,
26   Looks in the clouds, scorning the base degrees
27   By which he did ascend. So Caesar may.
28   Then, lest he may, prevent. And, since the quarrel
29   Will bear no colour for the thing he is,
30   Fashion it thus; that what he is, augmented,
31   Would run to these and these extremities:
32   And therefore think him as a serpent's egg
33   Which, hatch'd, would, as his kind, grow mischievous,
34   And kill him in the shell.
Re-enter LUCIUS

LUCIUS
35   The taper burneth in your closet, sir.
36   Searching the window for a flint, I found
37   This paper, thus seal'd up; and, I am sure,
38   It did not lie there when I went to bed.
Gives him the letter

BRUTUS
39   Get you to bed again; it is not day.
40   Is not to-morrow, boy, the ides of March?
LUCIUS
41   I know not, sir.
BRUTUS
42   Look in the calendar, and bring me word.
LUCIUS
43   I will, sir.
Exit

BRUTUS
44   The exhalations whizzing in the air
45   Give so much light that I may read by them.
Opens the letter and reads
46   'Brutus, thou sleep'st: awake, and see thyself.
47   Shall Rome, &c. Speak, strike, redress!
48   Brutus, thou sleep'st: awake!'
49   Such instigations have been often dropp'd
50   Where I have took them up.
51   'Shall Rome, &c.' Thus must I piece it out:
52   Shall Rome stand under one man's awe? What, Rome?
53   My ancestors did from the streets of Rome
54   The Tarquin drive, when he was call'd a king.
55   'Speak, strike, redress!' Am I entreated
56   To speak and strike? O Rome, I make thee promise:
57   If the redress will follow, thou receivest
58   Thy full petition at the hand of Brutus!
Re-enter LUCIUS

LUCIUS
59   Sir, March is wasted fourteen days.
Knocking within

BRUTUS
60   'Tis good. Go to the gate; somebody knocks.
Exit LUCIUS
61   Since Cassius first did whet me against Caesar,
62   I have not slept.
63   Between the acting of a dreadful thing
64   And the first motion, all the interim is
65   Like a phantasma, or a hideous dream:
66   The Genius and the mortal instruments
67   Are then in council; and the state of man,
68   Like to a little kingdom, suffers then
69   The nature of an insurrection.
Re-enter LUCIUS

LUCIUS
70   Sir, 'tis your brother Cassius at the door,
71   Who doth desire to see you.
BRUTUS
72   Is he alone?
LUCIUS
73   No, sir, there are moe with him.
BRUTUS
74   Do you know them?
LUCIUS
75   No, sir; their hats are pluck'd about their ears,
76   And half their faces buried in their cloaks,
77   That by no means I may discover them
78   By any mark of favour.
BRUTUS
79   Let 'em enter.
Exit LUCIUS
80   They are the faction. O conspiracy,
81   Shamest thou to show thy dangerous brow by night,
82   When evils are most free? O, then by day
83   Where wilt thou find a cavern dark enough
84   To mask thy monstrous visage? Seek none, conspiracy;
85   Hide it in smiles and affability:
86   For if thou path, thy native semblance on,
87   Not Erebus itself were dim enough
88   To hide thee from prevention.
CASSIUS
89   I think we are too bold upon your rest:
90   Good morrow, Brutus; do we trouble you?
BRUTUS
91   I have been up this hour, awake all night.
92   Know I these men that come along with you?
CASSIUS
93   Yes, every man of them, and no man here
94   But honours you; and every one doth wish
95   You had but that opinion of yourself
96   Which every noble Roman bears of you.
97   This is Trebonius.
BRUTUS
98   He is welcome hither.
CASSIUS
99   This, Decius Brutus.
BRUTUS
100  He is welcome too.
CASSIUS
101  This, Casca; this, Cinna; and this, Metellus Cimber.
BRUTUS
102  They are all welcome.
103  What watchful cares do interpose themselves
104  Betwixt your eyes and night?
CASSIUS
105  Shall I entreat a word?
BRUTUS and CASSIUS whisper

DECIUS BRUTUS
106  Here lies the east: doth not the day break here?
CASCA
107  No.
CINNA
108  O, pardon, sir, it doth; and yon gray lines
109  That fret the clouds are messengers of day.
CASCA
110  You shall confess that you are both deceived.
111  Here, as I point my sword, the sun arises,
112  Which is a great way growing on the south,
113  Weighing the youthful season of the year.
114  Some two months hence up higher toward the north
115  He first presents his fire; and the high east
116  Stands, as the Capitol, directly here.
BRUTUS
117  Give me your hands all over, one by one.
CASSIUS
118  And let us swear our resolution.
BRUTUS
119  No, not an oath: if not the face of men,
120  The sufferance of our souls, the time's abuse,--
121  If these be motives weak, break off betimes,
122  And every man hence to his idle bed;
123  So let high-sighted tyranny range on,
124  Till each man drop by lottery. But if these,
125  As I am sure they do, bear fire enough
126  To kindle cowards and to steel with valour
127  The melting spirits of women, then, countrymen,
128  What need we any spur but our own cause,
129  To prick us to redress? what other bond
130  Than secret Romans, that have spoke the word,
131  And will not palter? and what other oath
132  Than honesty to honesty engaged,
133  That this shall be, or we will fall for it?
134  Swear priests and cowards and men cautelous,
135  Old feeble carrions and such suffering souls
136  That welcome wrongs; unto bad causes swear
137  Such creatures as men doubt; but do not stain
138  The even virtue of our enterprise,
139  Nor the insuppressive mettle of our spirits,
140  To think that or our cause or our performance
141  Did need an oath; when every drop of blood
142  That every Roman bears, and nobly bears,
143  Is guilty of a several bastardy,
144  If he do break the smallest particle
145  Of any promise that hath pass'd from him.
CASSIUS
146  But what of Cicero? shall we sound him?
147  I think he will stand very strong with us.
CASCA
148  Let us not leave him out.
CINNA
149  No, by no means.
METELLUS CIMBER
150  O, let us have him, for his silver hairs
151  Will purchase us a good opinion
152  And buy men's voices to commend our deeds:
153  It shall be said, his judgment ruled our hands;
154  Our youths and wildness shall no whit appear,
155  But all be buried in his gravity.
BRUTUS
156  O, name him not: let us not break with him;
157  For he will never follow any thing
158  That other men begin.
CASSIUS
159  Then leave him out.
CASCA
160  Indeed he is not fit.
DECIUS BRUTUS
161  Shall no man else be touch'd but only Caesar?
CASSIUS
162  Decius, well urged: I think it is not meet,
163  Mark Antony, so well beloved of Caesar,
164  Should outlive Caesar: we shall find of him
165  A shrewd contriver; and, you know, his means,
166  If he improve them, may well stretch so far
167  As to annoy us all: which to prevent,
168  Let Antony and Caesar fall together.
BRUTUS
169  Our course will seem too bloody, Caius Cassius,
170  To cut the head off and then hack the limbs,
171  Like wrath in death and envy afterwards;
172  For Antony is but a limb of Caesar:
173  Let us be sacrificers, but not butchers, Caius.
174  We all stand up against the spirit of Caesar;
175  And in the spirit of men there is no blood:
176  O, that we then could come by Caesar's spirit,
177  And not dismember Caesar! But, alas,
178  Caesar must bleed for it! And, gentle friends,
179  Let's kill him boldly, but not wrathfully;
180  Let's carve him as a dish fit for the gods,
181  Not hew him as a carcass fit for hounds:
182  And let our hearts, as subtle masters do,
183  Stir up their servants to an act of rage,
184  And after seem to chide 'em. This shall make
185  Our purpose necessary and not envious:
186  Which so appearing to the common eyes,
187  We shall be call'd purgers, not murderers.
188  And for Mark Antony, think not of him;
189  For he can do no more than Caesar's arm
190  When Caesar's head is off.
CASSIUS
191  Yet I fear him;
192  For in the ingrafted love he bears to Caesar--
BRUTUS
193  Alas, good Cassius, do not think of him:
194  If he love Caesar, all that he can do
195  Is to himself, take thought and die for Caesar:
196  And that were much he should; for he is given
197  To sports, to wildness and much company.
TREBONIUS
198  There is no fear in him; let him not die;
199  For he will live, and laugh at this hereafter.
Clock strikes

BRUTUS
200  Peace! count the clock.
CASSIUS
201  The clock hath stricken three.
TREBONIUS
202  'Tis time to part.
CASSIUS
203  But it is doubtful yet,
204  Whether Caesar will come forth to-day, or no;
205  For he is superstitious grown of late,
206  Quite from the main opinion he held once
207  Of fantasy, of dreams and ceremonies:
208  It may be, these apparent prodigies,
209  The unaccustom'd terror of this night,
210  And the persuasion of his augurers,
211  May hold him from the Capitol to-day.
DECIUS BRUTUS
212  Never fear that: if he be so resolved,
213  I can o'ersway him; for he loves to hear
214  That unicorns may be betray'd with trees,
215  And bears with glasses, elephants with holes,
216  Lions with toils and men with flatterers;
217  But when I tell him he hates flatterers,
218  He says he does, being then most flattered.
219  Let me work;
220  For I can give his humour the true bent,
221  And I will bring him to the Capitol.
CASSIUS
222  Nay, we will all of us be there to fetch him.
BRUTUS
223  By the eighth hour: is that the uttermost?
CINNA
224  Be that the uttermost, and fail not then.
METELLUS CIMBER
225  Caius Ligarius doth bear Caesar hard,
226  Who rated him for speaking well of Pompey:
227  I wonder none of you have thought of him.
BRUTUS
228  Now, good Metellus, go along by him:
229  He loves me well, and I have given him reasons;
230  Send him but hither, and I'll fashion him.
CASSIUS
231  The morning comes upon 's: we'll leave you, Brutus.
232  And, friends, disperse yourselves; but all remember
233  What you have said, and show yourselves true Romans.
BRUTUS
234  Good gentlemen, look fresh and merrily;
235  Let not our looks put on our purposes,
236  But bear it as our Roman actors do,
237  With untired spirits and formal constancy:
238  And so good morrow to you every one.
Exeunt all but BRUTUS
239  Boy! Lucius! Fast asleep? It is no matter;
240  Enjoy the honey-heavy dew of slumber:
241  Thou hast no figures nor no fantasies,
242  Which busy care draws in the brains of men;
243  Therefore thou sleep'st so sound.
Enter PORTIA

PORTIA
244  Brutus, my lord!
BRUTUS
245  Portia, what mean you? wherefore rise you now?
246  It is not for your health thus to commit
247  Your weak condition to the raw cold morning.
PORTIA
248  Nor for yours neither. You've ungently, Brutus,
249  Stole from my bed: and yesternight, at supper,
250  You suddenly arose, and walk'd about,
251  Musing and sighing, with your arms across,
252  And when I ask'd you what the matter was,
253  You stared upon me with ungentle looks;
254  I urged you further; then you scratch'd your head,
255  And too impatiently stamp'd with your foot;
256  Yet I insisted, yet you answer'd not,
257  But, with an angry wafture of your hand,
258  Gave sign for me to leave you: so I did;
259  Fearing to strengthen that impatience
260  Which seem'd too much enkindled, and withal
261  Hoping it was but an effect of humour,
262  Which sometime hath his hour with every man.
263  It will not let you eat, nor talk, nor sleep,
264  And could it work so much upon your shape
265  As it hath much prevail'd on your condition,
266  I should not know you, Brutus. Dear my lord,
267  Make me acquainted with your cause of grief.
BRUTUS
268  I am not well in health, and that is all.
PORTIA
269  Brutus is wise, and, were he not in health,
270  He would embrace the means to come by it.
BRUTUS
271  Why, so I do. Good Portia, go to bed.
PORTIA
272  Is Brutus sick? and is it physical
273  To walk unbraced and suck up the humours
274  Of the dank morning? What, is Brutus sick,
275  And will he steal out of his wholesome bed,
276  To dare the vile contagion of the night
277  And tempt the rheumy and unpurged air
278  To add unto his sickness? No, my Brutus;
279  You have some sick offence within your mind,
280  Which, by the right and virtue of my place,
281  I ought to know of: and, upon my knees,
282  I charm you, by my once-commended beauty,
283  By all your vows of love and that great vow
284  Which did incorporate and make us one,
285  That you unfold to me, yourself, your half,
286  Why you are heavy, and what men to-night
287  Have had to resort to you: for here have been
288  Some six or seven, who did hide their faces
289  Even from darkness.
BRUTUS
290  Kneel not, gentle Portia.
PORTIA
291  I should not need, if you were gentle Brutus.
292  Within the bond of marriage, tell me, Brutus,
293  Is it excepted I should know no secrets
294  That appertain to you? Am I yourself
295  But, as it were, in sort or limitation,
296  To keep with you at meals, comfort your bed,
297  And talk to you sometimes? Dwell I but in the suburbs
298  Of your good pleasure? If it be no more,
299  Portia is Brutus' harlot, not his wife.
BRUTUS
300  You are my true and honourable wife,
301  As dear to me as are the ruddy drops
302  That visit my sad heart
PORTIA
303  If this were true, then should I know this secret.
304  I grant I am a woman; but withal
305  A woman that Lord Brutus took to wife:
306  I grant I am a woman; but withal
307  A woman well-reputed, Cato's daughter.
308  Think you I am no stronger than my sex,
309  Being so father'd and so husbanded?
310  Tell me your counsels, I will not disclose 'em:
311  I have made strong proof of my constancy,
312  Giving myself a voluntary wound
313  Here, in the thigh: can I bear that with patience.
314  And not my husband's secrets?
BRUTUS
315  O ye gods,
316  Render me worthy of this noble wife!
Knocking within
317  Hark, hark! one knocks: Portia, go in awhile;
318  And by and by thy bosom shall partake
319  The secrets of my heart.
320  All my engagements I will construe to thee,
321  All the charactery of my sad brows:
322  Leave me with haste.
Exit PORTIA
323  Lucius, who's that knocks?
Re-enter LUCIUS with LIGARIUS

LUCIUS
324  He is a sick man that would speak with you.
BRUTUS
325  Caius Ligarius, that Metellus spake of.
326  Boy, stand aside. Caius Ligarius! how?
LIGARIUS
327  Vouchsafe good morrow from a feeble tongue.
BRUTUS
328  O, what a time have you chose out, brave Caius,
329  To wear a kerchief! Would you were not sick!
LIGARIUS
330  I am not sick, if Brutus have in hand
331  Any exploit worthy the name of honour.
BRUTUS
332  Such an exploit have I in hand, Ligarius,
333  Had you a healthful ear to hear of it.
LIGARIUS
334  By all the gods that Romans bow before,
335  I here discard my sickness! Soul of Rome!
336  Brave son, derived from honourable loins!
337  Thou, like an exorcist, hast conjured up
338  My mortified spirit. Now bid me run,
339  And I will strive with things impossible;
340  Yea, get the better of them. What's to do?
BRUTUS
341  A piece of work that will make sick men whole.
LIGARIUS
342  But are not some whole that we must make sick?
BRUTUS
343  That must we also. What it is, my Caius,
344  I shall unfold to thee, as we are going
345  To whom it must be done.
LIGARIUS
346  Set on your foot,
347  And with a heart new-fired I follow you,
348  To do I know not what: but it sufficeth
349  That Brutus leads me on.
BRUTUS
350  Follow me, then.
Exeunt

< (Previous) ACT I, SCENE IIIACT II, SCENE II (Next) >
Scene Index
ACT I
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III


  • ACT II
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III
  • SCENE IV


  • ACT III
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III


  • ACT IV
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III


  • ACT V
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III
  • SCENE IV
  • SCENE V

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