Imatges de pÓgina
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That is no fleering tell-tale. Hold my hand ;3
Be factious for redress of all these griefs ;4
And I will set this foot of mine as far,
As who goes farthest.

Cas. There's a bargain made.

Now know you, Casca, I have mov'd already
Some certain of the noblest-minded Romans,
To undergo, with me, an enterprize
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,

Is favour'd, like the work we have in hand,
Most bloody, fiery, and most terrible.

Enter CINNA.

Casca. Stand close awhile, for here comes one in haste. Cas. 'Tis Cinna, I do know him by his gait;

He is a friend.-Cinna, where haste you so?

Cin. To find out you: Who's that? Metellus Cimber? Cas. No, it is Casca; one incorporate

To our attempts. Am I not staid for, Cinna?

Cin. I am glad on't. What a fearful night is this? There's two or three of us have seen strange sights. Cas. Am I not staid for, Cinna? Tell me.

Cin. Yes,

You are. O, Cassius, if you could but win
The noble Brutus to our party-

Cas. Be you content: Good Cinna, take this paper, And look you lay it in the prætor'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?

Cin. 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.

Cas. That done, repair to Pompey's theatre. [ExitCIN.
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.

[3] Here's my hand. JOH. [4] Factious, seems here to mean active. JOH.

Casca. O, he sits high, in all the people's hearts:
And that, which would appear offence in us,
His countenance, like richest alchymy,

Will change to virtue, and to worthiness.

Cas. 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.

[Exeunt.

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SCENE 1.-The same. BRUTUS's Orchard. Enter BRUTUS.

Bru. WHAT, Lucius! ho!

I cannot, by the progress of the stars,

Give guess how near to day.-Lucius, I say

I would it were my fault to sleep so soundly.-
When, Lucius, when? Awake, I say: what, Lucius !
Enter LUCIUS.

Luc. Call'd you, my lord?

Bru. Get me a taper in my study, Lucius:

When it is lighted, come and call me here.

Luc. I will, my lord.

[Exit.

Bru. It must be by his death and, for my part,

I know no personal cause to spurn at him,

But for the general. He would be crown'd :

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 ;-
And then, I grant, we put a sting in him,
That at his will he may do danger with.
The abuse of greatness is, when it disjoins

Remorse from power:4 And, to speak truth of Cæsar,
I have not known when his affections sway'd

More than his reason. But 'tis a common proof,
That lowliness is young ambition's ladder,
Whereto the climber-upward turns his face :
But when he once attains the upmost round,
He then unto the ladder turns his back,
Looks in the clouds, scorning the base degrees
By which he did ascend: So Cæsar may;

Then, lest he may, prevent. And, since the quarrel

Remorse for mercy. WARB.. [5] That is, low steps. JOHNS.

Will bear no colour for the thing he is,
Fashion it thus; that what he is, augmented,
Would run to these, and these extremities:
And therefore think him as a serpent's egg,
Which, hatch'd, would, as his kind, grow mischievous;
And kill him in the shell.

6

Re-enter LuCIUS.

Luc. The taper burneth in your closet, sir.
Searching the window for a flint, I found
This paper, thus seal'd up; and, I am sure,
It did not lie there, when I went to-bed.
Bru. Get you to bed again, it is not day.
Is not to-morrow, boy, the ides of March?
Luc. I know not, sir.

Bru. Look in the calendar, and bring me word.
Luc. I will, sir.

Bru. The exhalations, whizzing in the air,
Give so much light, that I may read by them.

[Exit

[Opens the letter, and reads.
Brutus, thou sleep'st; awake, and see thyself.
Shall Rome &c. Speak, strike, redress
Brutus, thou sleep'st; awake,-

Such instigations have been often dropp'd
Where I have took them up.

Shall Rome &c. Thus must I piece it out;

Shall Rome stand under one man's awe? What! Rome?

My ancestors did from the streets of Rome

The Tarquin drive, when he was call'd a king.
Speak, strike, redress !—Am I entreated then

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 !

Re-enter LUCIUS.

Luc. Sir, March is wasted fourteen days.

[Knock within,

[Exit LUCIUS.

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

Since Cassius first did whet me against Cæsar,

I have not slept.

Between the acting of a dreadful thing
And the first motion, all the interim is
Like a phantasma, or a hideous dream :7

[6] According to his nature. JOHNS.

[7] That nice critic, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, complains that of all kind of beauties, those great strokes, which he calls the terrible graces, and which

The genius, and the mortal instruments,
Are then in council; and the state of man,
Like to a little kingdom, suffers then

The nature of an insurrection.

Re-enter LUCIUS.

Luc. Sir, 'tis your brother Cassius at the door,9 Who doth desire to see you.

Bru. Is he alone?

Luc. No, sir, there are more with him.

Bru. Do you know them?

Luc. No,sir; their hats are pluck'd about their ears, And half their faces buried in their cloaks,

That by no means I may discover them

By any mark of favour.

Bru. Let them enter.

They are the faction. O conspiracy!

[Exit LUCIUS.

Sham'st thou to show thy dangerous brow by night,
When evils are most free? O, then, by day,

Where wilt thou find a cavern dark enough

To mask thy monstrous visage? Seek none, conspiracy; Hide in it smiles, and affability :

For if thou path thy native semblance on, 2

Not Erebus itself were dim enough

To hide thee from prevention.

Enter CASSIUS, CASCA, DECIUS,CINNA, METELLUS CIMBER, and TREBONIUS.

Cas. I think we are too bold upon your rest : Good-morrow, Brutus ; Do we trouble you ?

are so frequent in Homer, are not to be found in any of the following writers. Among our countrymen, it seems to be as much confined to the British Homer. This description of the condition of conspirators, before the execution of their design, has a pomp and terror in it that perfectly astonishes. The excellent Mr. Addison, whose modesty made him sometimes diffident of his own genius, but whose true judgment always led him to the safest guides (as we may see by those fine strokes in his Cato borrowed from the Philippics of Cicero) has paraphrased this fine description; but we are no longer to expect those terrible graces which animate his original.

"O think, what anxious moments pass between

The birth of plots, and their last fatal periods.
Oh, 'tis a dreadful interval of time,

Fill'd up with horror all, and big with death." Cats. WARB. Shakspeare is describing what passes in a single bosom, the insurrection which a conspirator feels agitating the little kingdom of his own mind; when the genius, or power that watches for his protection, and the mortal instruments, the passions, which excite him to a deed of honour and danger, are in council and debate; when the desire of action and the care of safety keep the mind in continual fluctuation and disturbance. JOHNS.

[9] Cassius married Junia, Brutus's sister. STEEV.

[1] Any distinctions of countenance. JOHNS.

[2] If thou walk in thy true form. JOHNS.

20

VOL. VI.

Bru. I have been up this hour; awake, all night. Know I these men, that come along with you?

Cas. 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.

Bru. He is welcome hither.

Cas. This Decius Brutus.

Bru. He is welcome too.

Cas. This, Casca; this, Cinna;

And this, Metellus Cimber.

Bru. They are all welcome.

What watchful cares do interpose themselves

Betwixt your eyes and night?

Cas. Shall I entreat a word?

[They whisper.

Dec. Here lies the east: Doth not the day break here? Casca. No.

Cin. O, pardon, sir, it doth; and yon grey lines,

That fret the clouds, are messengers of day.

Casca. You shall confess, that you are both deceiv'd. Here, as I point my sword, the sun arises;

Which is a great way growing on the south,
Weighing the youthful season of the year.

Some two months hence, up higher toward the north
He first presents his fire; and the high east
Stands, as the Capitol, directly here.

Bru. Give me your hands all over, one by one.
Cas. And let us swear our resolution.

Bru. No, not an oath: If not the face of men,3
The sufferance of our souls, the time's abuse,-
If these be motives weak, break off betimes,
And every man hence to his idle bed;
So let high-sighted tyranny range on,
Till each man drop by lottery.4 But if these,
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,

Than secret Romans, that have spoke the word,

[3] Mr. Mason would read faiths of men, which might easily have been confounded with face.

MÄL.

[4] Perhaps the poet alluded to the custom of decimation, i. e. the selection by lot of every tenth soldier, in a general mutiny, for punishment. STEEV.

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