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Bru. Lucilius, do you the like; and let no man Come to our tent, till we have done our conference. Let Lucius and Titinius guard our door.
SCENE III. Within the Tent of Brutus. Lucius
and TITINIUS at some distance from it.
Enter BRUTUS and Cassius.
Bru. You wronged yourself to write in such a case.
Cas. In such a time as this, it is not meet
Bru. Let me tell you, Cassius, you yourself
I an itching palm ?
Bru. The name of Cassius honors this corruption, And chastisement doth therefore hide his head.
Cas. Chastisement !
1 Nice here means silly, simple.
2 This question is far from implying that any of those who touched Cæsar's body were villains. On the contrary, it is an indirect way of asserting that there was not one man among them who was base enough to stab him for any cause but that of justice.
But for supporting robbers; shall we now
Brutus, bay' not me,
Go to; you're not, Cassius.
Cas. Urge me no more, I shall forget myself ;
Bru. Away, slight man !
Hear me, for I will speak.
Cas. O ye gods! ye gods! must I endure all this? Bru. All this ? ay, more. Fret till your proud
heart break <; 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 humor? 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.
1 The old copy reads, “ Brutus, bait not me.” Theobald made the alteration, which has been adopted by all subsequent editors except Malone. Bay and bait are both frequently used by Shakspeare in the
2 i. e. to limit my authority by your direction or censure. 3 To know on what terms it is fit to confer the offices at my disposal. 4 “This passage (says Steevens) may be easily reduced to metre if we read:
Cas. Brutus, I am.
Cassius, I say you are not.”
Is it come to this?
If you did, I care not.
moved me. Bru. Peace, peace; you durst not so have tempted
durst not. Cas. Do not presume too much upon my love; I may
do that I shall be sorry for. Bru. You have done that you should be sorry for. There is no terror, Cassius, in your threats ; For I am armed 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 answered Caius Cassius so? Wben Marcus Brutus grows so covetous, To lock such rascal counters from his friends, Be ready, gods, with all your thunderbolts, Dash him to pieces! Cas.
I denied you not. Bru. You did.
I did not; he was but a fool That brought my answer back.—Brutus hath rived my
Bru. I do not, till you practise them on me.'
I do not like your faults. Cas. A friendly eye could never see such faults.
Bru. A flatterer's would not, though they do appear As huge as high Olympus.
Cas. Come, Antony, and young Octavius, come, Revenge yourselves alone on Cassius, For Cassius is aweary of the world. Hated by one he loves; braved by his brother ; Checked like a bondman; all his faults observed, Set in a note-book, learned, and conned 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 Cæsar; for, I know, When thou didst hate him worst, thou lov’dst him better Than ever thou lov’dst Cassius. Bru.
Sheath your dagger. Be angry when you will, it shall have scope; Do what you will, dishonor shall be humor. 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. Cas.
Hath Cassius lived To be but mirth and laughter to his Brutus, When grief, and blood ill-tempered, vexeth him ?
Bru. When I spoke that, I was ill-tempered too.
1 The meaning is this :-“ I do not look for your faults, I only see them, and mention them with vehemence, when you force them into my notice, by practising them on me.”
Cas. Do you confess so much? Give me your hand.
O Brutus !-
What's the matter? Cas. Have you not love enough to bear with me, When that rash humor, which my
gave me, Makes me forgetful ? Bru.
Yes, Cassius; and, from henceforth, When you are over-earnest with your Brutus, He'll think your mother chides, and leave you so.
[Noise within. Poet. [Within.] Let me go in to see the generals; There is some grudge between them ; 'tis not meet They be alone.
Luc. [Within.] You shall not come to them.
Poet. For shame, you generals; what do you mean?
Cas. Ha, ha! how vilely doth this cynic rhyme ! Bru. Get you hence, sirrah ; saucy fellow, hence. Cas. Bear with him, Brutus ; 'tis his fashion.
Bru. I'll know his humor when he knows his time. What should the wars do with these jigging fools ? 2 Companion, hence. Cas.
i Shakspeare found the present incident in Plutarch. The intruder, however, was Marcus Phaonius, not a poet, but one who assumed the character of a cynic philosopher.
2 i. e. these silly poets. A jig signified a ballad or ditty, as well as a dance. See note on Hamlet, Act ii. Sc. 2.
3 Companion is used as a term of contempt in many of the old plays ; as we say at present, fellow !