Julius Caesar


Text
Act I
Act II
Act III
Act IV
Act V
Enter Brutus in his orchard


BRUTUS

What, Lucius, ho!

I cannot, by the progress of the stars,
progress (n.) 1 course, movement, changing position

Give guess how near to day. Lucius, I say!
guess (n.) conjecture, opinion, view

I would it were my fault to sleep so soundly.

When, Lucius, when? Awake, I say! What, Lucius!

Enter Lucius


LUCIUS

Called you, my lord?


BRUTUS

Get me a taper in my study, Lucius;
taper (n.) candle

When it is lighted, come and call me here.


LUCIUS

I will, my lord.

Exit


BRUTUS

It must be by his death; and for my part,

I know no personal cause to spurn at him,
cause (n.) 1 reason, motive, ground
spurn against / at (v.) kick out at, treat with contempt

But for the general. – He would be crowned.
general (n.) 1 ordinary people, general public, populace

How that might change his nature, there's the question.

It is the bright day that brings forth the adder,

And that craves wary walking. Crown him! – that!
crave (v.) 2 need, demand, require

And then, I grant, we put a sting in him

That at his will he may do danger with.
danger (n.) damage, harm, mischief

Th' abuse of greatness is when it disjoins
disjoin (v.) disengage, separate [oneself]

Remorse from power; and, to speak truth of Caesar,
remorse (n.) 2 pity, compassion, tenderness

I have not known when his affections swayed
affection (n.) 2 emotion, feeling
sway (v.) 1 control, rule, direct, govern

More than his reason. But 'tis a common proof,
proof (n.) 2 experience, actual practice, tried knowledge
reason (n.) 1 power of reason, judgement, common-sense [often opposed to ‘passion’]

That lowliness is young ambition's ladder,
lowliness (n.) appearance of humility, apparent meekness

Whereto the climber-upward turns his face;

But when he once attains the upmost round,
upmost (adj.) uppermost, topmost

He then unto the ladder turns his back,

Looks in the clouds, scorning the base degrees
base (adj.) 3 poor, wretched, of low quality See Topics: Frequency count
degree (n.) 3 step, stage, rung

By which he did ascend: so Caesar may;

Then, lest he may, prevent. And, since the quarrel
prevent (v.) 2 take steps to thwart, avoid by prompt action
quarrel (n.) cause of complaint, reason for hostility, difference, claim

Will bear no colour for the thing he is,
colour (n.) 2 good ground, convincing reason, excuse

Fashion it thus: that what he is, augmented,
fashion (v.) 3 arrange, contrive, manage

Would run to these and these extremities;
extremity (n.) 3 utmost severity, extreme intensity, hardship

And therefore think him as a serpent's egg

Which, hatched, would, as his kind, grow mischievous,
kind (n.) 1 nature, reality, character, disposition
mischievous (adj.) harmful, damaging, injurious

And kill him in the shell.

Enter Lucius
closet (n.) 1 private chamber, study, own room
taper (n.) candle


LUCIUS

The taper burneth in your closet, sir.

Searching the window for a flint, I found

This paper, thus sealed up; and I am sure

It did not lie there when I went to bed.

He gives him the letter


BRUTUS

Get you to bed again, it is not day.

Is not tomorrow, boy, the ides of March?
ides (n.) [Roman calendar] half-way point in a month


LUCIUS

I know not, sir.


BRUTUS

Look in the calendar and bring me word.


LUCIUS

I will, sir.

Exit
exhalation (n.) 1 meteor, shooting star


BRUTUS

The exhalations, whizzing in the air,

Give so much light that I may read by them.

He opens the letter and reads

Brutus, thou sleep'st: awake, and see thyself.

Shall Rome, etc. Speak, strike, redress.

‘ Brutus, thou sleep'st: awake.’

Such instigations have been often dropped

Where I have took them up.

‘ Shall Rome, etc.’ Thus must I piece it out:
piece out (v.) 1 augment, increase, supplement

Shall Rome stand under one man's awe? What, Rome?
awe (n.) 3 subjection, restraint, dread

My ancestors did from the streets of Rome

The Tarquin drive, when he was called a king.

‘ Speak, strike, redress.’ Am I entreated

To speak and strike? O Rome, I make thee promise,

If the redress will follow, thou receivest

Thy full petition at the hand of Brutus.

Enter Lucius
waste (v.) 2 consume, use up


LUCIUS

Sir, March is wasted fifteen days.

Knock within


BRUTUS

'Tis good. Go to the gate; somebody knocks.

Exit Lucius

Since Cassius first did whet me against Caesar,

I have not slept.

Between the acting of a dreadful thing

And the first motion, all the interim is
motion (n.) 1 inner movement, inward prompting, natural impulse, imagining

Like a phantasma or a hideous dream:
phantasma (n.) illusion, bad dream, nightmare

The genius and the mortal instruments
genius (n.) 3 attendant spirit, guardian spirit
instrument (n.) 3 organ, faculty, functioning part
mortal (adj.) 2 human, subject to death, characterized by mortality

Are then in council; and the state of man,
council (n.) intense debate, dispute, altercation

Like to a little kingdom, suffers then

The nature of an insurrection.

Enter Lucius


LUCIUS

Sir, 'tis your brother Cassius at the door,

Who doth desire to see you.


BRUTUS

                         Is he alone?


LUCIUS

No, sir, there are more with him.
mo, moe (adj.) more [in number]


BRUTUS

                         Do you know them?


LUCIUS

No, sir, their hats are plucked about their ears,
pluck (v.) 1 draw down, bring down

And half their faces buried in their cloaks,

That by no means I may discover them
discover (v.) 2 recognize, distinguish, discern

By any mark of favour.


BRUTUS

                         Let 'em enter.

Exit Lucius
favour (n.) 1 [facial] appearance, countenance, features, looks

They are the faction. O conspiracy,

Sham'st thou to show thy dangerous brow by night,
brow (n.) 1 appearance, aspect, countenance See Topics: Frequency count

When evils are most free? O then, by day
free (adj.) 7 on the loose, unconfined, unrestricted

Where wilt thou find a cavern dark enough

To mask thy monstrous visage? Seek none, conspiracy;
monstrous (adj.) unnatural, outlandish, aberrant
visage (n.) 1 face, countenance See Topics: Frequency count

Hide it in smiles and affability:

For if thou path, thy native semblance on,
path (v.) pursue one's course, go on one's way
semblance (n.) 1 appearance, outward show

Not Erebus itself were dim enough

To hide thee from prevention.
prevention (n.) 1 forestalling action, preventive measure

Enter the conspirators: Cassius, Casca, Decius, Cinna,

Metellus, and Trebonius


CASSIUS

I think we are too bold upon your rest.

Good morrow, Brutus; do we trouble you?
morrow (n.) morning See Topics: Frequency count


BRUTUS

I have been up this hour, awake all night.

Know I these men that come along with you?


CASSIUS

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.


BRUTUS

                         He is welcome hither.


CASSIUS

This, Decius Brutus.


BRUTUS

                         He is welcome too.


CASSIUS

This, Casca; this, Cinna; and this, Metellus Cimber.


BRUTUS

They are all welcome.

What watchful cares do interpose themselves
watchful (adj.) wakeful, unsleeping, vigilant

Betwixt your eyes and night?


CASSIUS

Shall I entreat a word?

They whisper apart


DECIUS

Here lies the east; doth not the day break here?


CASCA

No.


CINNA

O pardon, sir, it doth; and yon gray lines

That fret the clouds are messengers of day.
fret (v.) 7 adorn elaborately, decorate ornately [as a carved ceiling]


CASCA

You shall confess that you are both deceived:
deceive (v.) 1 delude, mislead, take in

Here, as I point my sword, the sun arises,

Which is a great way growing on the south,
grow (v.) 2 approach, move, draw

Weighing the youthful season of the year.
weigh (v.) 2 consider, take into account

Some two months hence, up higher toward the north

He first presents his fire; and the high east

Stands, as the Capitol, directly here.


BRUTUS

Give me your hands all over, one by one.


CASSIUS

And let us swear our resolution.


BRUTUS

No, not an oath. If not the face of men,

The sufferance of our souls, the time's abuse –
abuse (n.) 4 corrupt practice, wicked way
sufferance (n.) 1 distress, suffering, hardship
time (n.) 2 times, present day, present state of affairs

If these be motives weak, break off betimes,
betimes (adv.) 4 at once, forthwith, right now

And every man hence to his idle bed;

So let high-sighted tyranny range on
high-sighted (adj.) high-flying, soaring beyond view

Till each man drop by lottery. But if these,
lottery (n.) 2 chance, turn of events

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
prick (v.) 2 urge, incite, motivate

Than secret Romans that have spoke the word,

And will not palter? And what other oath
palter (v.) prevaricate, deal evasively [with], quibble

Than honesty to honesty engaged
engage (v.) 1 pledge, give the guarantee of

That this shall be, or we will fall for it?

Swear priests and cowards and men cautelous,
cautelous (adj.) 2 cautious, wary, circumspect

Old feeble carrions, and such suffering souls
carrion (n.) 1 carcass, wretch, worthless beast
suffering (adj.) long-suffering, patient, submissive

That welcome wrongs; unto bad causes swear

Such creatures as men doubt; but do not stain

The even virtue of our enterprise,
even (adj.) 2 steady, steadfast, unwavering

Nor th' insuppressive mettle of our spirits,
insuppressive (adj.) insuppressible, irrepressible, indomitable
mettle, mettell (n.) 2 spirit, vigour, zest

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,
bastardy (n.) condition of illegitimacy
several (adj.) 1 separate, different, distinct See Topics: Frequency count

If he do break the smallest particle

Of any promise that hath passed from him.


CASSIUS

But what of Cicero? Shall we sound him?
sound (v.) 1 sound out, question, examine

I think he will stand very strong with us.


CASCA

Let us not leave him out.


CINNA

                         No, by no means.


METELLUS CIMBER

O, let us have him, for his silver hairs

Will purchase us a good opinion
opinion (n.) 2 reputation, character, honour

And buy men's voices to commend our deeds.
commend (v.) 4 praise, admire, extol
voice (n.) 1 vote, official support See Topics: Frequency count
voice (n.) 2 support, approval, good word

It shall be said his judgement ruled our hands;

Our youths and wildness shall no whit appear,

But all be buried in his gravity.
gravity (n.) 1 respectability, authority, dignified position
whit, no not at all, not in the least


BRUTUS

O, name him not; let us not break with him,
break (v.) 2 broach a matter, speak

For he will never follow anything

That other men begin.


CASSIUS

                         Then leave him out.


CASCA

Indeed he is not fit.


DECIUS

Shall no man else be touched but only Caesar?
touch (v.) 7 threaten, endanger, imperil


CASSIUS

Decius, well urged. I think it is not meet
meet (adj.) 1 fit, suitable, right, proper See Topics: Frequency count
urge (v.) 1 press, insist on, state emphatically

Mark Antony, so well beloved of Caesar,

Should outlive Caesar. We shall find of him

A shrewd contriver; and you know his means,
contriver (n.) intriguer, schemer, plotter
mean (n.) 5 (plural) capacity, capability, potential
shrewd (adj.) 5 wily, cunning, mischievous

If he improve them, may well stretch so far
improve (v.) employ to advantage, make good use of

As to annoy us all; which to prevent,
annoy (v.) harm, molest, hurt, injure
prevent (v.) 1 forestall, anticipate

Let Antony and Caesar fall together.


BRUTUS

Our course will seem too bloody, Caius Cassius,
course (n.) 1 course of action, way of proceeding See Topics: Frequency count

To cut the head off and then hack the limbs,

Like wrath in death, and envy afterwards;
envy (n.) 1 malice, ill-will, enmity

For Antony is but a limb of Caesar.

Let us be sacrificers, but not butchers, Caius.

We all stand up against the spirit of Caesar,
spirit (n.) 1 disposition, temperament, frame of mind
stand up (v.) confront boldly, make a stand

And in the spirit of men there is no blood.

O, that we then could come by Caesar's spirit,

And not dismember Caesar! But, alas,

Caesar must bleed for it. And, gentle friends,
gentle (adj.) 1 well-born, honourable, noble See Topics: Frequency count

Let's kill him boldly, but not wrathfully;

Let's carve him as a dish fit for the gods,
carve (v.) 4 cut up, prepare

Not hew him as a carcass fit for hounds.

And let our hearts, as subtle masters do,

Stir up their servants to an act of rage,

And after seem to chide 'em. This shall make
chide (v.), past form chid 1 scold, rebuke, reprove See Topics: Frequency count

Our purpose necessary, and not envious;
envious (adj.) malicious, spiteful, vindictive, full of enmity See Topics: Frequency count
purpose (n.) 1 intention, aim, plan See Topics: Frequency count

Which so appearing to the common eyes,

We shall be called purgers, not murderers.
purger (n.) healer, cleanser, purifier

And for Mark Antony, think not of him;

For he can do no more than Caesar's arm

When Caesar's head is off.


CASSIUS

                         Yet I fear him;

For in the ingrafted love he bears to Caesar –
ingrafted, engrafted (adj.) 1 deep-rooted, firmly implanted


BRUTUS

Alas, good Cassius, do not think of him.

If he love Caesar, all that he can do

Is to himself: take thought, and die for Caesar;
thought (n.) 2 melancholic reflection, anxiety, sorrow, worry

And that were much he should; for he is given

To sports, to wildness and much company.
sport (n.) 1 recreation, amusement, entertainment See Topics: Frequency count


TREBONIUS

There is no fear in him; let him not die;

For he will live, and laugh at this hereafter.

A clock strikes


BRUTUS

Peace, count the clock.


CASSIUS

                         The clock hath stricken three.


TREBONIUS

'Tis time to part.


CASSIUS

                         But it is doubtful yet,

Whether Caesar will come forth today or no;

For he is superstitious grown of late,

Quite from the main opinion he held once
from (prep.) 2 contrary to
main (adj.) 3 firm, strong, solid

Of fantasy, of dreams, and ceremonies.
ceremony (n.) 4 omen, portent, prognostication
fantasy (n.) 1 imagining, delusion, hallucination

It may be these apparent prodigies,
apparent (adj.) 1 plainly visible, conspicuous, evident, obvious
prodigy (n.) 1 omen, portent, sign

The unaccustomed terror of this night,
unaccustomed (adj.) unusual, strange, unfamiliar

And the persuasion of his augurers

May hold him from the Capitol today.
hold (v.) 9 withhold, hold back


DECIUS

Never fear that. If he be so resolved,

I can o'ersway him; for he loves to hear
oversway (v.) prevail upon, override, overturn

That unicorns may be betrayed with trees,

And bears with glasses, elephants with holes,
glass (n.) 1 mirror, looking-glass See Topics: Frequency count
hole (n.) large pit in the ground

Lions with toils, and men with flatterers,
toil (n.) net, snare, trap

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,
bent (n.) 1 direction, turning, inclination
humour (n.) 2 fancy, whim, inclination, caprice

And I will bring him to the Capitol.


CASSIUS

Nay, we will all of us be there to fetch him.


BRUTUS

By the eighth hour; is that the uttermost?
uttermost (n.) latest time, last moment


CINNA

Be that the uttermost, and fail not then.


METELLUS CIMBER

Caius Ligarius doth bear Caesar hard,
bear hard bear ill will towards, feel resentment against

Who rated him for speaking well of Pompey;
rate (v.) 1 berate, reproach, rebuke, scold

I wonder none of you have thought of him.


BRUTUS

Now, good Metellus, go along by him;
by (prep.) 2 at the house of

He loves me well, and I have given him reasons.

Send him but hither, and I'll fashion him.
fashion (v.) 2 mould, transform, change the fashion of


CASSIUS

The morning comes upon's; we'll leave you, Brutus.

And, friends, disperse yourselves; but all remember

What you have said, and show yourselves true Romans.


BRUTUS

Good gentlemen, look fresh and merrily;

Let not our looks put on our purposes,
purpose (n.) 1 intention, aim, plan See Topics: Frequency count
put on (v.) 3 show, manifest, exhibit

But bear it as our Roman actors do,
bear (v.), past forms bore, borne 5 sustain, carry through, keep going

With untired spirits and formal constancy.
constancy (n.) 1 consistency, agreement, uniformity
formal (adj.) 4 external, outward, surface

And so good morrow to you every one.
morrow (n.) morning See Topics: Frequency count

Exeunt the conspirators

Brutus remains

Boy! Lucius! Fast asleep? It is no matter.

Enjoy the honey-heavy dew of slumber;

Thou hast no figures nor no fantasies,
fantasy (n.) 1 imagining, delusion, hallucination
figure (n.) 8 fancy, imagining, phantasm

Which busy care draws in the brains of men;
care (n.) 4 anxiety, worry, solicitude [about]

Therefore thou sleep'st so sound.

Enter Portia


PORTIA

                         Brutus, my lord!


BRUTUS

Portia! What mean you? Wherefore rise you now?

It is not for your health thus to commit

Your weak condition to the raw cold morning.


PORTIA

Nor for yours neither. Y' have ungently, Brutus,
ungently (adv.) unkindly, roughly, rudely

Stole from my bed; and yesternight at supper
yesternight (n.) last night

You suddenly arose and walked about,

Musing and sighing, with your arms across;
across (adv.) 1 folded, crossed

And when I asked you what the matter was,

You stared upon me with ungentle looks.
ungentle (adj.) 1 unmannerly, discourteous, impolite

I urged you further; then you scratched your head,
urge (v.) 2 entreat with, plead with

And too impatiently stamped with your foot;

Yet I insisted, yet you answered not,

But with an angry wafture of your hand
wafture (n.) waving, gesture, flourish

Gave sign for me to leave you. So I did,

Fearing to strengthen that impatience

Which seemed too much enkindled, and withal

Hoping it was but an effect of humour,
effect (n.) 3 sign, mark, token, manifestation
humour (n.) 2 fancy, whim, inclination, caprice

Which sometime hath his hour with every man.
sometime (adv.) 2 sometimes, now and then

It will not let you eat, nor talk, nor sleep;

And could it work so much upon your shape,

As it hath much prevailed on your condition,
condition (n.) 1 disposition, temper, mood, character

I should not know you Brutus. Dear my lord,
know (v.) 2 recognize

Make me acquainted with your cause of grief.


BRUTUS

I am not well in health, and that is all.


PORTIA

Brutus is wise, and were he not in health,

He would embrace the means to come by it.


BRUTUS

Why, so I do. Good Portia, go to bed.


PORTIA

Is Brutus sick? And is it physical

To walk unbraced and suck up the humours
humour (n.) 6 dampness, vapour, moisture
physical (adj.) medicinal, therapeutic, restorative
unbraced (adj.) unfastened, not laced up, loose

Of the dank morning? What, is Brutus sick?

And will he steal out of his wholesome bed

To dare the vile contagion of the night,
contagion (n.) 1 contagious quality, infecting influence

And tempt the rheumy and unpurged air,
rheumy (adj.) moist, wet, damp
tempt (v.) 1 try, test, make trial of
unpurged (adj.) not cleansed, unpurified [by the sun]

To add unto his sickness? No, my Brutus;

You have some sick offence within your mind,
offence (n.) 3 offensive matter, object of annoyance
sick (adj.) 2 ailing, needing cure

Which, by the right and virtue of my place,
place (n.) 1 position, post, office, rank See Topics: Frequency count

I ought to know of; and, upon my knees,

I charm you, by my once commended beauty,
charm (v.) 3 entreat, implore, conjure

By all your vows of love, and that great vow

Which did incorporate and make us one,
incorporate (v.) make one body [of], unite

That you unfold to me, your self, your half,
half (n.) other half, wife

Why you are heavy, and what men tonight
heavy (adj.) 1 sorrowful, sad, gloomy See Topics: Frequency count

Have had resort to you; for here have been

Some six or seven, who did hide their faces

Even from darkness.
gentle (adj.) 1 well-born, honourable, noble See Topics: Frequency count


BRUTUS

                         Kneel not, gentle Portia.


PORTIA

I should not need, if you were gentle Brutus.
gentle (adj.) 2 courteous, friendly, kind

Within the bond of marriage, tell me, Brutus,

Is it excepted I should know no secrets
except, except against (v.) 2 object to, take exception to

That appertain to you? Am I your self
appertain (v.) pertain, relate

But, as it were, in sort or limitation,
limitation (n.) allotted time, appointed period
sort (n.) 5 assigned portion, allotted measure

To keep with you at meals, comfort your bed,

And talk to you sometimes? Dwell I but in the suburbs
suburbs (n.) (plural) parts of a city lying outside the walls [reputed for brothels and lawlessness]

Of your good pleasure? If it be no more,

Portia is Brutus' harlot, not his wife.


BRUTUS

You are my true and honourable wife,

As dear to me as are the ruddy drops

That visit my sad heart
sad (adj.) 3 downcast, distressed, mournful, gloomy


PORTIA

If this were true, then should I know this secret.

I grant I am a woman; but withal

A woman that Lord Brutus took to wife;

I grant I am a woman; but withal

A woman well reputed, Cato's daughter.

Think you I am no stronger than my sex,

Being so fathered, and so husbanded?

Tell me your counsels, I will not disclose 'em.

I have made strong proof of my constancy,
proof (n.) 4 evidence, demonstration, testimony

Giving myself a voluntary wound

Here, in the thigh; can I bear that with patience,

And not my husband's secrets?


BRUTUS

                         O ye gods,

Render me worthy of this noble wife!

Knocking

Hark, hark! one knocks, Portia, go in awhile;

And by and by thy bosom shall partake
bosom (n.) 1 heart, inner person
by and by (adv.) 2 shortly, soon, before long

The secrets of my heart.

All my engagements I will construe to thee,
construe (v.) 3 explain, expound

All the charactery of my sad brows.
brow (n.) 3 eyebrow
charactery (n.) writing, letters, expression
sad (adj.) 1 serious, grave, solemn See Topics: Frequency count

Leave me with haste.

Exit Portia

Enter Lucius with Ligarius

                         Lucius, who's that knocks?


LUCIUS

Here is a sick man that would speak with you.


BRUTUS

Caius Ligarius, that Metellus spake of.

Boy, stand aside. Caius Ligarius, how?


LIGARIUS

Vouchsafe good morrow from a feeble tongue.
morrow (n.) morning See Topics: Frequency count
vouchsafe (v.) 2 be pleased to accept, graciously receive


BRUTUS

O, what a time have you chose out, brave Caius,
brave (adj.) 2 noble, worthy, excellent

To wear a kerchief! Would you were not sick!
kerchief (n.) cloth head-covering, scarf


LIGARIUS

I am not sick if Brutus have in hand

Any exploit worthy the name of honour.


BRUTUS

Such an exploit have I in hand, Ligarius,

Had you a healthful ear to hear of it.
healthful (adj.) healthy, wholesome, fit [in health]


LIGARIUS

By all the gods that Romans bow before,

I here discard my sickness.

He throws off the kerchief

                         Soul of Rome!

Brave son, derived from honourable loins!
brave (adj.) 2 noble, worthy, excellent
derive (v.) 1 descend

Thou, like an exorcist, hast conjured up
conjure up (v.) bring about [as if by magic], cause to appear
exorcist (n.) one who calls up spirits

My mortified spirit. Now bid me run,
mortified (adj.) 1 deadened, dead to feeling, numbed

And I will strive with things impossible,

Yea, get the better of them. What's to do?


BRUTUS

A piece of work that will make sick men whole.
whole (adj.) 1 healthy, well, in sound condition


LIGARIUS

But are not some whole that we must make sick?


BRUTUS

That must we also. What it is, my Caius,

I shall unfold to thee, as we are going

To whom it must be done.
set on (v.) 2 go forward, advance, proceed


LIGARIUS

                         Set on your foot,

And with a heart new-fired I follow you,
new-fired (adj.) rekindled, inflamed anew

To do I know not what; but it sufficeth

That Brutus leads me on.

Thunder


BRUTUS

                         Follow me then.

Exeunt

 
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