William Shakespeare: Julius Caesar, Act IV, Scene III
Enter Brutus and Cassius
You have condemn'd and noted Lucius Pella
For taking bribes here of the Sardians;
Wherein my letters, praying on his side,
Because I knew the man, were slighted off.
Are much condemn'd to have an itching palm;
To sell and mart your offices for gold
You know that you are Brutus that speak this,
Or, by the gods, this speech were else your last.
Did not great Julius bleed for justice' sake?
What villain touch'd his body, that did stab,
And not for justice? What, shall one of us
That struck the foremost man of all this world
But for supporting robbers, shall we now
Contaminate our fingers with base bribes,
And sell the mighty space of our large honours
For so much trash as may be grasped thus?
I had rather be a dog, and bay the moon,
Than such a Roman.
I'll not endure it: you forget yourself,
To hedge me in; I am a soldier, I,
Older in practise, abler than yourself
To make conditions.
Must I give way and room to your rash choler?
Shall I be frighted when a madman stares?
Go show your slaves how choleric you are,
And make your bondmen tremble. Must I budge?
Must I observe you? must I stand and crouch
Under your testy humour? By the gods
You shall digest the venom of your spleen,
Though it do split you; for, from this day forth,
I'll use you for my mirth, yea, for my laughter,
When you are waspish.
Let it appear so; make your vaunting true,
And it shall please me well: for mine own part,
I shall be glad to learn of noble men.
I said, an elder soldier, not a better:
Did I say 'better'?
There is no terror, Cassius, in your threats,
For I am arm'd so strong in honesty
That they pass by me as the idle wind,
Which I respect not. I did send to you
For certain sums of gold, which you denied me:
For I can raise no money by vile means:
By heaven, I had rather coin my heart,
And drop my blood for drachmas, than to wring
From the hard hands of peasants their vile trash
By any indirection: I did send
To you for gold to pay my legions,
Which you denied me: was that done like Cassius?
Should I have answer'd Caius Cassius so?
When Marcus Brutus grows so covetous,
To lock such rascal counters from his friends,
Be ready, gods, with all your thunderbolts;
Dash him to pieces!
My answer back. Brutus hath rived my heart:
A friend should bear his friend's infirmities,
But Brutus makes mine greater than they are.
Revenge yourselves alone on Cassius,
For Cassius is aweary of the world;
Hated by one he loves; braved by his brother;
Cheque'd like a bondman; all his faults observed,
Set in a note-book, learn'd, and conn'd by rote,
To cast into my teeth. O, I could weep
My spirit from mine eyes! There is my dagger,
And here my naked breast; within, a heart
Dearer than Plutus' mine, richer than gold:
If that thou be'st a Roman, take it forth;
I, that denied thee gold, will give my heart:
Strike, as thou didst at Caesar; for, I know,
When thou didst hate him worst, thou lovedst him better
Than ever thou lovedst Cassius.
Be angry when you will, it shall have scope;
Do what you will, dishonour shall be humour.
O Cassius, you are yoked with a lamb
That carries anger as the flint bears fire;
Who, much enforced, shows a hasty spark,
And straight is cold again.
To be but mirth and laughter to his Brutus,
When grief, and blood ill-temper'd, vexeth him?
When that rash humour which my mother gave me
Makes me forgetful?
When you are over-earnest with your Brutus,
He'll think your mother chides, and leave you so.
There is some grudge between 'em, 'tis not meet
They be alone.
Enter Poet, followed by Lucilius, Titinius, and Lucius
Love, and be friends, as two such men should be;
For I have seen more years, I'm sure, than ye.
What should the wars do with these jigging fools?
Exeunt Lucilius and Titinius
O insupportable and touching loss!
Upon what sickness?
And grief that young Octavius with Mark Antony
Have made themselves so strong:—for with her death
That tidings came;—with this she fell distract,
And, her attendants absent, swallow'd fire.
Re-enter Lucius, with wine and taper
Fill, Lucius, till the wine o'erswell the cup;
I cannot drink too much of Brutus' love.
Re-enter Titinius, with Messala
Now sit we close about this taper here,
And call in question our necessities.
Messala, I have here received letters,
That young Octavius and Mark Antony
Come down upon us with a mighty power,
Bending their expedition toward Philippi.
Octavius, Antony, and Lepidus,
Have put to death an hundred senators.
Mine speak of seventy senators that died
By their proscriptions, Cicero being one.
And by that order of proscription.
Had you your letters from your wife, my lord?
With meditating that she must die once,
I have the patience to endure it now.
'Tis better that the enemy seek us:
So shall he waste his means, weary his soldiers,
Doing himself offence; whilst we, lying still,
Are full of rest, defense, and nimbleness.
The people 'twixt Philippi and this ground
Do stand but in a forced affection;
For they have grudged us contribution:
The enemy, marching along by them,
By them shall make a fuller number up,
Come on refresh'd, new-added, and encouraged;
From which advantage shall we cut him off,
If at Philippi we do face him there,
These people at our back.
That we have tried the utmost of our friends,
Our legions are brim-full, our cause is ripe:
The enemy increaseth every day;
We, at the height, are ready to decline.
There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat;
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.
And nature must obey necessity;
Which we will niggard with a little rest.
There is no more to say?
Good night, Titinius. Noble, noble Cassius,
Good night, and good repose.
This was an ill beginning of the night:
Never come such division 'tween our souls!
Let it not, Brutus.
[Exeunt all but Brutus]
Re-enter Lucius, with the gown
Poor knave, I blame thee not; thou art o'er-watch'd.
Call Claudius and some other of my men:
I'll have them sleep on cushions in my tent.
Enter Varro and Claudius
It may be I shall raise you by and by
On business to my brother Cassius.
It may be I shall otherwise bethink me.
Look, Lucius, here's the book I sought for so;
I put it in the pocket of my gown.
Varro and Claudius lie down
Canst thou hold up thy heavy eyes awhile,
And touch thy instrument a strain or two?
I will not hold thee long: if I do live,
I will be good to thee.
Music, and a song
Lay'st thou thy leaden mace upon my boy,
That plays thee music? Gentle knave, good night;
I will not do thee so much wrong to wake thee:
If thou dost nod, thou break'st thy instrument;
I'll take it from thee; and, good boy, good night.
Let me see, let me see; is not the leaf turn'd down
Where I left reading? Here it is, I think.
Enter the Ghost of Caesar
I think it is the weakness of mine eyes
That shapes this monstrous apparition.
It comes upon me. Art thou any thing?
Art thou some god, some angel, or some devil,
That makest my blood cold and my hair to stare?
Speak to me what thou art.
Ill spirit, I would hold more talk with thee.
Boy, Lucius! Varro! Claudius! Sirs, awake! Claudius!
Bid him set on his powers betimes before,
And we will follow.