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Ant. O, pardon me, thou piece of bleeding earth, That I am meek and gentle with these butchers! Thou art the ruins of the noblest man, That ever lived in the tide of times.) Woe to the hand that shed this costly blood ! Over thy wounds now do I prophesy, Which, like dumb mouths, do ope their ruby lips, To beg the voice and utterance of my tongue !-A curse shall light upon the limbs of men ; Domestic fury, and fierce civil strife, Shall cumber all the parts of Italy; Blood and destruction shall be so in use, And dreadful objects so familiar, That mothers shall but smile, when they behold Their infants quartered with the hands of war; All pity choked with custom of fell deeds ; And Cæsar's spirit, ranging for revenge, With Até by his side, come hot from hell, Shall in these confines, with a monarch's voice, Cry Havoc,; and let slip the dogs of war; That this foul deed shall smell above the earth With carrion men, groaning for burial.
Enter a Servant.
Serv. I do, Mark Antony.
Serv. He did receive his letters, and is coming:
[Seeing the body. Ant. Thy heart is big ; get thee apart and weep. Passion, I see, is catching; for mine eyes, Seeing those beads of sorrow stand in thine, Began to water. Is thy master coming ?
1 That is, in the course of times. 2 By men, Antony means not mankind in general, but those Romans whose attachment to the cause of the conspirators, or wish to revenge Cæsar's death, would expose them to wounds in the civil wars which he supposed that event would give rise to.
3 Havoc was the word by which declaration was made, in the military operations of old, that no quarter should be given.
To let slip a dog was the technical phrase in hunting the hart, for releasing the hounds from the leash or slip of leather by which they were held in hand until it was judged proper to let them pursue the animal chased.
Serv. He lies to-night within seven leagues of Rome. Ant. Post back with speed, and tell him what hath
chanced. Here is a mourning Rome, a dangerous Rome, No Rome of safety for Octavius yet; Hie hence, and tell him so. Yet, stay awhile: Thou shalt not back, till I have borne this corse Into the market-place; there shall I try, In my oration, how the people take The cruel issue of these bloody men; According to the which, thou shalt discourse To young Octavius of the state of things. Lend me your hand. [Exeunt, with CÆSAR’s body.
SCENE II. The same.
Enter Brutus and Cassius, and a throng of Citizens.
Cut. We will be satisfied ; let us be satisfied.
I will hear Brutus speak. 2 Cit. I will hear Cassius ;
and reasons, When severally we hear them rendered.
[Exit Cassius, with some of the Citizens ;
BRUTUS goes into the rostrum.
compare their 3 Cit. The noble Brutus is ascended. Silence!
1 This jingling quibble upon Rome and room has occurred before in Act i. Sc. 2. It is deserving of notice on no other account than as it shows the pronunciation of Rome in Shakspeare's time.
Bru. Be patient till the last. Romans, countrymen, and lovers! hear me for my cause; and be silent, that you may hear: believe me for mine honor; and have respect to mine honor, that you may believe: censure me in your wisdom; and awake your senses, that you may the better judge. If there be any in this assembly, any dear friend of Cæsar's, to him I say, that Brutus' love to Cæsar was no less than his. If then that friend demand, why Brutus rose against Cæsar, this is my answer,—not that I loved Cæsar less, but that I loved Rome more. Had you rather Cæsar were living, and die all slaves; than that Cæsar were dead, to live all free men ? As Cæsar loved me, I weep for him; as he was fortunate, I rejoice at it; as he was valiant, I honor him; but, as he was ambitious, I slew him. There is tears, for his love ; joy, for his fortune; honor, for his valor ; and death, for his ambition. Who is here so base, that would be a bondman? If any, speak; for him have I offended. Who is here so rude, that would not be a Roman? If any, speak; for him have I offended. Who is here so vile, that will not love his country? If any, speak; for him have I offended. I pause for a reply. Cit. None, Brutus, none.
[Several speaking at once. Bru. Then none have I offended. I have done no more to Cæsar, than you shall do to Brutus. The question of his death is enrolled in the Capitol; his glory not extenuated, wherein he was worthy; nor his offences enforced, for which he suffered death.
Enter Antony and others, with CÆSAR's body. Here comes his body, mourned by Mark Antony ; -who, though he had no hand in his death, shall receive the benefit of his dying, a place in the commonwealth ; as which of you shall not ? With this I depart ; that, as I slew my best lover? for the good of Rome, I have the same dagger for myself, when it shall please my country to need my death.
Cit. Live, Brutus, live! live! 1 Cit. Bring him with triumph home unto his house. 2 Cit. Give him a statue with his ancestors. 3 Cit. Let him be Cæsar. 4 Cit.
Cæsar's better parts Shall now be crowned in Brutus. 1 Cit. We'll bring him to his house with shouts and
clamors. Bru. My countrymen, 2 Cit.
Peace ; silence! Brutus speaks. 1 Cit. Peace, ho!
Bru. Good countrymen, let me depart alone,
[Exit. 1 Cit. Stay, ho! and let us hear Mark Antony.
3 Cit. Let him go up into the public chair ; We'll hear him.—Noble Antony, go up.
Ant. For Brutus' sake, I am beholden to you.
He says, for Brutus' sake, He finds himself beholden to us all.
4 Cit. 'Twere best he speak no harm of Brutus here. 1 Cit. This Cæsar was a tyrant. 3 Cit.
Nay, that's certain. We are blessed that Rome is rid of him.
2 Cit. Peace; let us hear what Antony can say.
I Lover and friend were synonymous with our ancestors.
The evil that men do, lives after them;
Has he, masters ? I fear there will a worse come in his place.