« AnteriorContinua »
SCENE 1. Rome. A Street.
Enter FLAVIUS, MARULLUS, and a rabble of Citizens. Flavius. HENCE; home, you idle creatures, get you home;
Is this a holiday? What! know you not,
Of your profession? Speak, what trade art thou?
Mar. Where is thy leather apron, and thy rule?
2 Cit. Truly, sir, in respect of a fine workman, I am but, as you would say, a cobbler.
Mar. But what trade art thou? Answer me directly. 2 Cit. A trade, sir, that, I hope, I may use with a safe conscience; which is, indeed, sir, a mender of bad soles.
Mar. What trade, thou knave; thou naughty knave, what trade?
2 Cit. Nay, I beseech you, sir, be not out with me; yet, if you be out, sir, I can mend you.
Mar. What mean'st thou by that? Mend me, thou saucy fellow?
2 Cit. Why, sir, cobble you.
Flav. Thou art a cobbler, art thou?
2 Cit. Truly, sir, all that I live by is, with the awl:
I meddle with no tradesman's matters, nor women's matters, but with awl. I am indeed, sir, a surgeon to old shoes; when they are in great danger, I recover them. As proper men as ever trod upon neat's leather have gone upon my handy work.
Flav. But wherefore art not in thy shop to-day? Why dost thou lead these men about the streets?
2 Cit. Truly, sir, to wear out their shoes, to get myself into more work. But, indeed, sir, we make holiday, to see Cæsar, and to rejoice in his triumph.
Mar. Wherefore rejoice? What conquest brings he home?
What tributaries follow him to Rome,
To grace in captive bonds his chariot-wheels?
And do you now put on your best attire?
Run to your houses, fall upon your knees,
Pray to the gods to intermit the plague
Flav. Go, go, good countrymen, and, for this fault,
Assemble all the poor men of your sort;1
Draw them to Tyber banks, and weep your tears
1 Condition, rank.
Into the channel, till the lowest stream
See, whe'r' their basest metal be not moved;
You know it is the feast of Lupercal.
Flav. It is no matter; let no images
Be hung with Cæsar's trophies.
And drive away the vulgar from the streets;
So do you too, where you perceive them thick. These growing feathers plucked from Cæsar's wing, Will make him fly an ordinary pitch;
Who else would soar above the view of men,
And keep us all in servile fearfulness.
SCENE II. The same. A public Place.
Enter, in procession, with music, CESAR, ANTONY, for the course; CALPHURNIA, PORTIA, DECIUS, CICERO, BRUTUS, CASSIUS, and CASCA, a great crowd following, among them a Soothsayer.
2 Honorary ornaments.
3 These trophies were scarfs.
4 This person was not Decius, but Decimus Brutus. The Poet (as Voltaire has done since) confounds the characters of Marcus and Decimus. Decimus Brutus was the most cherished by Cæsar of all his friends, while Marcus kept aloof. The error has its source in North's translation of Plutarch, or in Holland's Suetonius, 1606.
Cæs. Stand you directly in Antonius' way,'
Cæs. Forget not, in your speed, Antonius,
I shall remember;
When Cæsar says, Do this, it is performed.
Cæs. Set on; and leave no ceremony out. [Music. Sooth. Cæsar!
Cæs. Ha! who calls?
Casca. Bid every noise be still.-Peace yet again.
Cæs. Who is it in the press that calls on me?
What man is that?
Bru. A soothsayer, bids you beware the ides of
Cæs. Set him before me; let me see his face.
Cæs. What say'st thou to me now? Speak once
Sooth. Beware the ides of March.
Cæs. He is a dreamer; let us leave him ;-pass.
Cas. Will you go see the order of the course?
Cas. I pray you, do.
Bru. I am not gamesome; I do lack some part
Of that quick spirit that is in Antony.
Let me not hinder, Cassius, your desires;
I'll leave you.
1 The old copy reads "Antonio's way;" in other places we have Octavio, Flavio. The players were more accustomed to Italian than Latin terminations. The allusion is to a custom at the Lupercalia. 2 See King Henry VIII. Act ii. Sc. 4.
Cas. Brutus, I do observe you now of late. I have not from your eyes that gentleness, And show of love, as I was wont to have; You bear too stubborn and too strange a hand Over your friend that loves you.
Be not deceived; if I have veiled my look,
Of late, with passions of some difference,
Which give some soil, perhaps, to my behaviors;
Than that poor Brutus, with himself at war,
Čas. Then, Brutus, I have much mistook your passion,1
By means whereof, this breast of mine hath buried
Cas. 'Tis just ;
And it is very much lamented, Brutus,
That you have no such mirrors, as will turn
That you might see your shadow. I have heard,
Cas. Therefore, good Brutus, be prepared to hear; And, since you know you cannot see yourself
1 i. e. the nature of the feelings which you are now suffering.