William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar is the story of ambition, power and conspiracy.
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Julius Csar

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Act III. Scene II.

Scene II.—The Same. The Forum.

Enter BRUTUS and CASSIUS, and a throng of
Citizens.

Citizens. We will be satisfied: let us be satis-
fied.
Bru. Then follow me, and give me audience,
friends.
Cassius, go you into the other street,
And part the numbers.
Those that will hear me speak, let 'em stay here;
Those that will follow Cassius, go with him;
And public reasons shall be rendered
Of Cæsar's death.
First Cit. I will hear Brutus speak.
Sec. Cit. I will hear Cassius; and compare
their reasons,
When severally we hear them rendered.
[Exit CASSIUS, with some of the Citizens;
BRUTUS goes into the pulpit.
Third Cit. The noble Brutus is ascended:
silence!
Bru. Be patient till the last.
Romans, countrymen, and lovers! hear me for
my cause; and be silent, that you may hear:
believe me for mine honour, and have respect to
mine honour, that you may believe: censure me
in your wisdom, and awake your senses, that you
may the better judge. If there be any in this
assembly, any dear friend of Cæsar's, to him I
say, that Brutus' love to Cæsar was no less than
his. If then that friend demand why Brutus
rose against Cæsar, this is my answer: Not that
I loved Cæsar less, but that I loved Rome more.
Had you rather Cæsar were living, and die all
slaves, than that Cæsar were dead, to live all free
men? As Cæsar loved me, I weep for him; as
he was fortunate, I rejoice at it; as he was
valiant, I honour him; but, as he was ambitious,
I slew him. There is tears for his love; joy for
his fortune; honour for his valour; and death
for his ambition. Who is here so base that
would be a bondman? If any, speak; for him
have I offended. Who is here so rude that
would not be a Roman? If any, speak; for him
have I offended. Who is here so vile that will
not love his country? If any, speak; for him
have I offended. I pause for a reply.
Citizens. None, Brutus, none.
Bru. Then none have I offended. I have
done no more to Cæsar, than you shall do to
Brutus. The question of his death is enrolled
in the Capitol; his glory not extenuated, where-
in he was worthy, nor his offences enforced, for
which he suffered death.

Enter ANTONY and Others, with CÆSAR'S body.
Here comes his body, mourned by Mark Antony:
who, though he had no hand in his death, shall
receive the benefit of his dying, a place in the
commonwealth; as which of you shall not?
With this I depart: that, as I slew my best lover
for the good of Rome, I have the same dagger
for myself, when it shall please my country to
need my death.
Citizens. Live, Brutus! live! live!
First Cit. Bring him with triumph home
unto his house.
Sec. Cit. Give him a statue with his ancestors.
Third Cit. Let him be Cæsar.
Fourth Cit. Cæsar's better parts
Shall be crown'd in Brutus.
First Cit. We'll bring him to his house with
shouts and clamours.
Bru. My countrymen,—
Sec. Cit. Peace! silence! Brutus speaks.
First Cit. Peace, ho!
Bru. Good countrymen, let me depart alone,
And, for my sake, stay here with Antony.
Do grace to Cæsar's corpse, and grace his speech
Tending to Cæsar's glories, which Mark Antony,
By our permission, is allowed to make.
I do entreat you, not a man depart,
Save I alone, till Antony have spoke. [Exit-
First Cit. Stay, ho! and let us hear Mark
Antony.
Third Cit. Let him go up into the public
chair;
We'll hear him. Noble Antony, go up.
Ant. For Brutus' sake, I am beholding to
you. [Goes up.
Fourth Cit. What does he say of Brutus?
Third Cit. He says, for Brutus' sake,
He finds himself beholding to us all.
Fourth Cit. 'Twere best he speak no harm of
Brutus here.
First Cit. This Cæsar was a tyrant.
Third Cit. Nay, that's certain:
We are bless'd that Rome is rid of him.
Sec. Cit. Peace! let us hear what Antony can
say.
Ant. You gentle Romans,—
Citizens. Peace, ho! let us hear him.
Ant. Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me
your ears;
I come to bury Cæsar, not to praise him.
The evil that men do lives after them,
The good is oft interred with their bones;
So let it be with Cæsar. The noble Brutus
Hath told you Cæsar was ambitious;
If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
And grievously hath Cæsar answered it.
Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest,—
For Brutus is an honourable man;
So are they all, all honourable men,—
Come I to speak in Cæsar's funeral.
He was my friend, faithful and just to me:
But Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honourable man.
He hath brought many captives home to Rome,
Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill:
Did this in Cæsar seem ambitious?
When that the poor have cried, Cæsar hath
wept;
Ambition should be made of sterner stuff:
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honourable man.
You all did see that on the Lupercal
I thrice presented him a kingly crown,
Which he did thrice refuse: was this ambition?
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
And, sure, he is an honourable man.
I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke,
But here I am to speak what I do know.
You all did love him once, not without cause:
What cause withholds you then to mourn for
him?
O judgment! thou art fled to brutish beasts,
And men have lost their reason. Bear with me;
My heart is in the coffin there with Cæsar,
And I must pause till it come back to me.
First Cit. Methinks there is much reason in
his sayings.
Sec. Cit. If thou consider rightly of the matter,
Cæsar has had great wrong.
Third Cit. Has he, masters?
I fear there will a worse come in his place.
Fourth Cit. Mark'd ye his words? He would
not take the crown;
Therefore 'tis certain he was not ambitious.
First Cit. If it be found so, some will dear
abide it.
Sec. Cit. Poor soul! his eyes are red as fire
with weeping.
Third Cit. There's not a nobler man in Borne
than Antony.
Fourth Cit. Now mark him; he begins again
to speak.
Ant. But yesterday the word of Cæsar might
Have stood against the world; now lies he there,
And none so poor to do him reverence.
O masters! if I were dispos'd to stir
Your hearts and minds to mutiny and rage,
I should do Brutus wrong, and Cassius wrong,
Who, you all know, are honourable men.
I will not do them wrong; I rather choose
To wrong the dead, to wrong myself, and you,
Than I will wrong such honourable men.
But here's a parchment with the seal of Cæsar;
I found it in his closet, 'tis his will.
Let but the commons hear this testament—
Which, pardon me, I do not mean to read—
And they would go and kiss dead Cæsar's
wounds,
And dip their napkins in his sacred blood,
Yea, beg a hair of him for memory,
And, dying, mention it within their wills,
Bequeathing it as a rich legacy
Unto their issue.
Fourth Cit. We'll hear the will: read it,
Mark Antony.
Citizens. The will, the will! we will hear
Cæsar's will.
Ant. Have patience, gentle friends; I must
not read it;
It is not meet you know how Cæsar lov'd you.
You are not wood, you are not stones, but men;
And, being men, hearing the will of Cæsar,
It will inflame you, it will make you mad.
'Tis good you know not that you are his heirs;
For if you should, O! what would come of it.
Fourth Cit. Read the will! we'll hear it,
Antony;
You shall read us the will, Cæsar's will.
Ant. Will you be patient? Will you stay a-
while?
I have o'ershot myself to tell you of it.
I fear I wrong the honourable men
Whose daggers have stabb'd Cæsar; I do fear it.
Fourth Cit. They were traitors: honourable
men!
Citizens. The will! the testament!
Sec. Cit. They were villains, murderers. The
will! read the will.
Ant. You will compel me then to read the
will?
Then make a ring about the corpse of Cæsar,
And let me show you him that made the will.
Shall I descend? and will you give me leave?
Citizens. Come down.
Sec. Cit. Descend. [ANTONY comes down.
Third Cit. You shall have leave.
Fourth Cit. A ring; stand round.
First Cit. Stand from the hearse; stand from
the body.
Sec. Cit. Room for Antony; most noble
Antony.
Ant. Nay, press not so upon me; stand far
off.
Citizens. Stand back! room! bear back!
Ant. If you have tears, prepare to shed them
now.
You all do know this mantle: I remember
The first time ever Cæsar put it on;
'Twas on a summer's evening, in his tent,
That day he overcame the Nervii.
Look! in this place ran Cassius' dagger through:
See what a rent the envious Casca made:
Through this the well-beloved Brutus stabb'd;
And, as he pluck'd his cursed steel away,
Mark how the blood of Cæsar follow'd it,
As rushing out of doors, to be resolv'd
If Brutus so unkindly knock'd or no;
For Brutus, as you know, was Cæsar's angel:
Judge, O you gods! how dearly Cæsar lov'd
him.
This was the most unkindest cut of all;
For when the noble Cæsar saw him stab,
Ingratitude, more strong than traitors' arms,
Quite vanquish'd him: then burst his mighty
heart;
And, in his mantle muffling up his face,
Even at the base of Pompey's statua,
Which all the while ran blood, great Cæsar fell.
O! what a fall was there, my countrymen;
Then I, and you, and all of us fell down,
Whilst bloody treason flourish'd over us.
O! now you weep, and I perceive you feel
The dint of pity; these are gracious drops.
Kind souls, what! weep you when you but
behold
Our Cæsar's vesture wounded? Look you here,
Here is himself, marr'd, as you see, with traitors.
First Cit. O piteous spectacle!
Sec. Cit. O noble Cæsar!
Third Cit. O woeful day!
Fourth Cit. O traitors! villains!
First Cit. O most bloody sight!
Sec. Cit. We will be revenged.
Citizens. Revenge!—About!—Seek!—Burn!—
Fire!—Kill!—Slay! Let not a traitor live.
Ant. Stay, countrymen!
First Citizen. Peace there! Hear the noble
Antony.
Sec. Cit. We'll hear him, we'll follow him,
we'll die with him.
Ant. Good friends, sweet friends, let me not
stir you up
To such a sudden flood of mutiny.
They that have done this deed are honourable:
What private griefs they have, alas! I know
not,
That made them do it; they are wise and
honourable,
And will, no doubt, with reasons answer you,
I come not, friends, to steal away your hearts:
I am no orator, as Brutus is;
But, as you know me all, a plain blunt man,
That love my friend; and that they know full
well
That gave me public leave to speak of him.
For I have neither wit, nor words, nor worth,
Action, nor utterance, nor the power of speech,
To stir men's blood: I only speak right on;
I tell you that which you yourselves do know,
Show you sweet Cæsar's wounds, poor poor
dumb mouths,
And bid them speak for me: but were I Brutus,
And Brutus Antony, there were an Antony
Would ruffle up your spirits, and put a tongue
In every wound of Cæsar, that should move
The stones of Rome to rise and mutiny.
Citizens. We'll mutiny.
First Cit. We'll burn the house of Brutus.
Third Cit. Away, then! come, seek the con-
spirators.
Ant. Yet hear me, countrymen; yet hear me
speak.
Citizens. Peace, ho!—Hear Antony,—most
noble Antony.
Ant. Why, friends, you go to do you know
not what.
Wherein hath Cæsar thus deserv'd your loves?
Alas! you know not: I must tell you then.
You have forgot the will I told you of.
Citizens. Most true. The will! let's stay and
hear the will.
Ant. Here is the will, and under Cæsar's
seal.
To every Roman citizen he gives,
To every several man, seventy-five drachmas.
Sec. Cit. Most noble Cæsar! we'll revenge his
death.
Third Cit. O royal Cæsar!
Ant. Hear me with patience.
Citizens. Peace, ho!
Ant. Moreover, he hath left you all his walks,
His private arbours, and new-planted orchards,
On this side Tiber; he hath left them you,
And to your heirs for ever; common pleasures,
To walk abroad, and recreate yourselves.
Here was a Cæsar! when comes such another?
First Cit. Never, never! Come, away, away!
We'll burn his body in the holy place,
And with the brands fire the traitor's houses.
Take up the body.
Sec. Cit. Go fetch fire.
Third Cit. Pluck down benches.
Fourth Cit. Pluck down forms, windows, any
thing. [Exeunt Citizens, with the body.
Ant. Now let it work; mischief, thou art
afoot,
Take thou what course thou wilt!

Enter a Servant.
How now, fellow!
Serv. Sir, Octavius is already come to Rome.
Ant. Where is he?
Serv. He and Lepidus are at Cæsar's house.
Ant. And thither will I straight to visit him.
He comes upon a wish. Fortune is merry,
And in this mood will give us any thing.
Serv. I heard him say Brutus and Cassius
Are rid like madmen through the gates of Rome.
Ant. Belike they had some notice of the
people,
How I had mov'd them. Bring me to Octavius.
[Exeunt.
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