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Let's carve him as a dish fit for the gods,
Not hew him as a carcase fit for hounds:
And let our hearts, as subtle masters do,
Stir their servants to an act of rage,

up

And after seem to chide them. This shall make
Our purpose necessary, and not envious:
Which so appearing to the common eyes,
We shall be call'd purgers, not murderers.
And for Mark Antony, think not of him;
For he can do no more than Cæsar's arm,
When Cæsar's head is off.

Cas.
Yet I do fear him:
For in the ingrafted love he bears to Cæsar,
Bru. Alas, good Cassius, do not think of him:
If he love Cæsar, all that he can do

Is to himself; take thought, and die for Cæsar:
And that were much he should; for he is given
To sports, to wildness, and much company."

Treb. There is no fear in him; let him not die;
For he will live, and laugh at this hereafter.

Bru. Peace, count the clock.
Cas.

[Clock strikes.

The clock hath stricken three.

But it is doubtful yet,

Treb. 'Tis time to part,
Cas.
Whe'r Cæsar will come forth to-day, or no:
For he is superstitious grown of late;
Quite from the main opinion he held once
Of fantasy, of dreams, and ceremonies:1

It may be, these apparent prodigies,
The unaccustom'd terror of this night,

A

9

take thought,] that is, turn melancholy.

company.] Company is here used in a disreputable sense.

1 Quite from the main opinion he held once

Of fantasy, of dreams, and ceremonies:] Main opinion, is nothing more than leading, fixed, predominant opinion. author's time commonly used for imagination.

Fantasy was in our
Ceremonies means

omens or signs deduced from sacrifices, or other ceremonial rites.

And the persuasion of his augurers,
May hold him from the Capitol to-day.

Dec. Never fear that: If he be so resolv'd,
I can o'ersway him: for he loves to hear,
That unicorns may be betray'd with trees,
And bears with glasses, elephants with holes,
Lions with toils, and men with flatterers:
But, when I tell him, he hates flatterers,
He says, he does; being then most flattered.
Let me work:

For I can give his humour the true bent ;
And I will bring him to the Capitol.

2

Cas. Nay, we will all of us be there to fetch him.
Bru. By the eighth hour: Is that the uttermost?
Cin. Be that the uttermost, and fail not then.
Met. Caius Ligarius doth bear Cæsar hard,
Who rated him for speaking well of Pompey;
I wonder, none of you have thought of him.

Bru. Now, good Metellus, go along by him;
He loves me well, and I have given him reasons;
Send him but hither, and I'll fashion him.

3

Cas. The morning comes upon us: We'll leave you,
Brutus:

And, friends, disperse yourselves: but all remember
What have you said, and show yourselves true Romans.
Bru. Good gentlemen, look fresh and merrily;
Let not our looks put on our purposes;

2 That unicorns may be betray'd with trees,

And bears with glasses, elephants with holes,] Unicorns are said to have been taken by one who, running behind a tree, eluded the violent push the animal was making at him, so that his horn spent its force on the trunk, and stuck fast, detaining the beast till he was despatched by the hunter. Bears are reported to have been surprised by means of a mirror, which they would gaze on, affording their pursuers an opportunity of taking the surer aim. Elephants were seduced into pitfalls, lightly covered with hurdles and turf, on which a proper bait to tempt them, was exposed.

3—by him;] that is, by his house.

◄ Let not our looks-] Let not our faces put on, that is, wear or show our designs.

But bear it as our Roman actors do,
With untir'd spirits, and formal constancy :
And so, good-morrow to you every one.

[Exeunt all but BRUTUS.

Boy! Lucius! Fast asleep? It is no matter;

Enjoy the honey-heavy dew of slumber :

Thou hast no figures, nor no fantasies,

Which busy care draws in the brains of men;
Therefore thou sleep'st so sound.

Por.

Enter PORTIA.

Brutus, my lord!

Bru. Portia, what mean you? Wherefore rise you now?

It is not for your health, thus to commit

Your weak condition to the raw-cold morning.

Por. Nor for yours neither. You have ungently, Brutus,

Stole from my bed: And yesternight, at supper,

You suddenly arose, and walk'd about,

Musing, and sighing, with your arms across;
And when I ask'd you what the matter was,
You star'd upon me with ungentle looks:

I urg'd you further; then you scratch'd your head,
And too impatiently stamp'd with your foot:
Yet I insisted, yet you answer'd not;

But, with an angry wafture of your hand,
Gave sign for me to leave you: So I did;
Fearing to strengthen that impatience,

Which seem'd too much enkindled; and, withal,
Hoping it was but an effect of humour,
Which sometime hath his hour with every man.
It will not let you eat, nor talk, nor sleep;
And, could it work so much upon your shape,
As it hath much prevail'd on your condition,5

5 — on your condition,] On your temper; the disposition of your mind.

I should not know you, Brutus. Dear, my lord,
Make me acquainted with your cause of grief.

Bru. I am not well in health, and that is all.
Por. Brutus is wise, and, were he not in health,
He would embrace the means to come by it.

Bru. Why, so I do:- Good Portia, go to bed.
Por. Is Brutus sick? and is it physical
To walk unbraced, and suck up the humours
Of the dank morning? What, is Brutus sick;
And will he steal out of his wholesome bed,
To dare the vile contagion of the night?
And tempt the rheumy and unpurged air
To add unto his sickness? No, my Brutus ;
You have some sick offence within your mind,
Which, by the right and virtue of my place,
I ought to know of: And, upon my knees,
I charm you, by my once commended beauty,
By all your vows of love, and that great vow
Which did incorporate and make us one,
That you unfold to me, yourself, your half,
Why you are heavy; and what men to-night
Have had resort to you: for here have been
Some six or seven, who did hide their faces
Even from darkness?

Bru.

Kneel not, gentle Portia.

Por. I should not need, if you were gentle Brutus. Within the bond of marriage, tell me, Brutus,

Is it excepted, I should know no secrets
That appertain to you? Am I yourself,
But, as it were, in sort, or limitation;

To keep with you at meals, comfort your bed,

And talk to you sometimes? Dwell I but in the suburbs

Of your good pleasure? If it be no more,

Portia is Brutus' harlot, not his wife.

Bru. You are my true and honourable wife;

As dear to me as are the ruddy drops,

That visit my sad heart.

Por. If this were true, then should I know this secret.

[blocks in formation]

I grant, I am a woman; but, withal,
A woman that lord Brutus took to wife:
I grant, I am a woman; but, withal,
A woman well-reputed; Cato's daughter.
Think you, I am no stronger than my sex,
Being so father'd, and so husbanded?

Tell me your counsels, I will not disclose them:
I have made strong proof of my constancy,
Giving myself a voluntary wound

Here, in the thigh: Can I bear that with patience,
And not my husband's secrets?

Bru.

O ye gods,

[Knocking within.

Render me worthy of this noble wife!

Hark, hark! one knocks: Portia, go in a while;
And by and by thy bosom shall partake

The secrets of my heart.

All my engagements I will construe to thee,

All the charactery of my sad brows:

Leave me with haste.

[Exit PORTIA.

Enter LUCIUS and LIGARIUS.

Lucius, who's that, knocks?

Luc. Here is a sick man, that would speak with you. Bru. Caius Ligarius, that Metellus spake of.Boy, stand aside.-Caius Ligarius! how?

Lig. Vouchsafe good morrow from a feeble tongue.
Bru. O, what a time have you chose out, brave Caius,

To wear a kerchief? 'Would you were not sick!
Lig. I am not sick, if Brutus have in hand
Any exploit worthy the name of honour.

Bru. Such an exploit have I in hand, Ligarius,

Had you a healthful ear to hear of it.

Lig. By all the gods that Romans bow before, I here discard my sickness. Soul of Rome ! Brave son, deriv'd from honourable loins!

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