Thunder and lightning. Enter from opposite sides, Casca, with his sword drawn, and Cicero
Are not you moved, when all the sway of earth Shakes like a thing unfirm? O Cicero, I have seen tempests, when the scolding winds Have rived the knotty oaks, and I have seen The ambitious ocean swell and rage and foam, To be exalted with the threatening clouds: But never till to-night, never till now, Did I go through a tempest dropping fire. Either there is a civil strife in heaven, Or else the world, too saucy with the gods, Incenses them to send destruction.
A common slave—you know him well by sight— Held up his left hand, which did flame and burn Like twenty torches join'd, and yet his hand, Not sensible of fire, remain'd unscorch'd. Besides—I ha' not since put up my sword— Against the Capitol I met a lion, Who glared upon me, and went surly by, Without annoying me: and there were drawn Upon a heap a hundred ghastly women, Transformed with their fear; who swore they saw Men all in fire walk up and down the streets. And yesterday the bird of night did sit Even at noon-day upon the market-place, Hooting and shrieking. When these prodigies Do so conjointly meet, let not men say 'These are their reasons; they are natural;' For, I believe, they are portentous things Unto the climate that they point upon.
Indeed, it is a strange-disposed time: But men may construe things after their fashion, Clean from the purpose of the things themselves. Come Caesar to the Capitol to-morrow?
Those that have known the earth so full of faults. For my part, I have walk'd about the streets, Submitting me unto the perilous night, And, thus unbraced, Casca, as you see, Have bared my bosom to the thunder-stone; And when the cross blue lightning seem'd to open The breast of heaven, I did present myself Even in the aim and very flash of it.
But wherefore did you so much tempt the heavens? It is the part of men to fear and tremble, When the most mighty gods by tokens send Such dreadful heralds to astonish us.
You are dull, Casca, and those sparks of life That should be in a Roman you do want, Or else you use not. You look pale and gaze And put on fear and cast yourself in wonder, To see the strange impatience of the heavens: But if you would consider the true cause Why all these fires, why all these gliding ghosts, Why birds and beasts from quality and kind, Why old men fool and children calculate, Why all these things change from their ordinance Their natures and preformed faculties To monstrous quality,—why, you shall find That heaven hath infused them with these spirits, To make them instruments of fear and warning Unto some monstrous state. Now could I, Casca, name to thee a man Most like this dreadful night, That thunders, lightens, opens graves, and roars As doth the lion in the Capitol, A man no mightier than thyself or me In personal action, yet prodigious grown And fearful, as these strange eruptions are.
Let it be who it is: for Romans now Have thews and limbs like to their ancestors; But, woe the while! our fathers' minds are dead, And we are govern'd with our mothers' spirits; Our yoke and sufferance show us womanish.
Indeed, they say the senators tomorrow Mean to establish Caesar as a king; And he shall wear his crown by sea and land, In every place, save here in Italy.
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, you tyrants do defeat: Nor 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, being weary of these worldly bars, Never lacks power to dismiss itself. If I know this, know all the world besides, That part of tyranny that I do bear I can shake off at pleasure.
And why should Caesar be a tyrant then? Poor man! I know he would not be a wolf, But that he sees the Romans are but sheep: He were no lion, were not Romans hinds. Those that with haste will make a mighty fire Begin it with weak straws: what trash is Rome, What rubbish and what offal, when it serves For the base matter to illuminate So vile a thing as Caesar! But, O grief, Where hast thou led me? I perhaps speak this Before a willing bondman; then I know My answer must be made. But I am arm'd, And dangers are to me indifferent.
You speak to Casca, and to such a man That is no fleering tell-tale. Hold, my hand: Be factious for redress of all these griefs, And I will set this foot of mine as far As who goes farthest.
There's a bargain made. Now know you, Casca, I have moved already Some certain of the noblest-minded Romans To undergo with me an enterprise Of honourable-dangerous consequence; And I do know, by this, they stay for me In Pompey's porch: for now, this fearful night, There is no stir or walking in the streets; And the complexion of the element In favour's like the work we have in hand, Most bloody, fiery, and most terrible.
I am glad on 't. What a fearful night is this! There's two or three of us have seen strange sights.
Be you content: good Cinna, take this paper, And look you lay it in the praetor's chair, Where Brutus may but find it; and throw this In at his window; set this up with wax Upon old Brutus' statue: all this done, Repair to Pompey's porch, where you shall find us. Is Decius Brutus and Trebonius there?
All but Metellus Cimber; and he's gone To seek you at your house. Well, I will hie, And so bestow these papers as you bade me.
That done, repair to Pompey's theatre.
Come, Casca, you and I will yet ere day See Brutus at his house: three parts of him Is ours already, and the man entire Upon the next encounter yields him ours.
O, he sits high in all the people's hearts: And that which would appear offence in us, His countenance, like richest alchemy, Will change to virtue and to worthiness.
Him and his worth and our great need of him You have right well conceited. Let us go, For it is after midnight; and ere day We will awake him and be sure of him.