Julius Caesar


SCENE I. Rome. BRUTUS'S orchard.

[Enter Brutus.]


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.]


Call'd you, my lord?


Get me a taper in my study, Lucius:

When it is lighted, come and call me here.


I will, my lord.



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.

Th' abuse of greatness is, when it disjoins

Remorse from power; and, to speak truth of Caesar,

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 Caesar may;

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

Will bear no color 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.

[Re-enter Lucius.]


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.


Get you to bed again; it is not day.

Is not tomorrow, boy, the Ides of March?


I know not, sir.


Look in the calendar, and bring me word.


I will, sir.



The exhalations, whizzing in the air

Give so much light that I may read by them.--

[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.]


Sir, March is wasted fifteen days.

[Knocking within.]


'Tis good. Go to the gate, somebody knocks.--

[Exit Lucius.]

Since Cassius first did whet me against Caesar

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:

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].


Sir, 'tis your brother Cassius at the door,

Who doth desire to see you.


Is he alone?


No, sir, there are more with him.


Do you know them?


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 favor.


Let 'em enter.--

[Exit Lucius.]

They are the faction.--O conspiracy,

Shamest 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 it in smiles and affability:

For if thou pass, thy native semblance on,

Not Erebus itself were dim enough

To hide thee from prevention.

[Enter Cassius, Casca, Decius, Cinna, Metellus Cimber, and



I think we are too bold upon your rest:

Good morrow, Brutus; do we trouble you?


I have been up this hour, awake all night.

Know I these men that come along with you?


Yes, every man of them; and no man here

But honors you; and every one doth wish

You had but that opinion of yourself

Which every noble Roman bears of you.

This is Trebonius.


He is welcome hither.


This Decius Brutus.


He is welcome too.


This, Casca; this, Cinna; and this, Metellus Cimber.


They are all welcome.--

What watchful cares do interpose themselves

Betwixt your eyes and night?


Shall I entreat a word?

[BRUTUS and CASSIUS whisper apart.]


Here lies the east: doth not the day break here?




O, pardon, sir, it doth, and yon grey lines

That fret the clouds are messengers of day.


You shall confess that you are both deceived.

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.


Give me your hands all over, one by one.


And let us swear our resolution.


No, not an oath: if not the face of men,

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. 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,

And will not palter? and what other oath

Than honesty to honesty engaged,

That this shall be, or we will fall for it?

Swear priests, and cowards, and men cautelous,

Old feeble carrions, and such suffering souls

That welcome wrongs; unto bad causes swear

Such creatures as men doubt: but do not stain

The even virtue of our enterprise,

Nor th' insuppressive mettle of our spirits,

To think that or our cause or our performance

Did need an oath; when every drop of blood

That every Roman bears, and nobly bears,

Is guilty of a several bastardy,

If he do break the smallest particle

Of any promise that hath pass'd from him.


But what of Cicero? Shall we sound him?

I think he will stand very strong with us.


Let us not leave him out.


No, by no means.


O, let us have him! for his silver hairs

Will purchase us a good opinion,

And buy men's voices to commend our deeds:

It shall be said, his judgment ruled our hands;

Our youths and wildness shall no whit appear,

But all be buried in his gravity.


O, name him not! let us not break with him;

For he will never follow any thing

That other men begin.


Then leave him out.


Indeed, he is not fit.


Shall no man else be touch'd but only Caesar?


Decius, well urged.--I think it is not meet,

Mark Antony, so well beloved of Caesar,

Should outlive Caesar: we shall find of him

A shrewd contriver; and you know his means,

If he improve them, may well stretch so far

As to annoy us all: which to prevent,

Let Antony and Caesar fall together.


Our course will seem too bloody, Caius Cassius,

To cut the head off, and then hack the limbs,

Like wrath in death, and envy afterwards;

For Antony is but a limb of Caesar.

Let us be sacrificers, but not butchers, Caius.

We all stand up against the spirit of Caesar;

And in the spirit of men there is no blood:

O, that we then could come by Caesar's spirit,

And not dismember Caesar! But, alas,

Caesar must bleed for it! And, gentle friends,

Let's kill him boldly, but not wrathfully;

Let's carve him as a dish fit for the gods,

Not hew him as a carcass fit for hounds;

And let our hearts, as subtle masters do,

Stir up their servants to an act of rage,

And after seem to chide 'em. This shall mark

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 Caesar's arm

When Caesar's head is off.


Yet I do fear him;

For in th' ingrafted love he bears to Caesar--


Alas, good Cassius, do not think of him:

If he love Caesar, all that he can do

Is to himself,--take thought and die for Caesar.

And that were much he should; for he is given

To sports, to wildness, and much company.


There is no fear in him; let him not die;

For he will live, and laugh at this hereafter.

[Clock strikes.]


Peace! count the clock.


The clock hath stricken three.


'Tis time to part.


But it is doubtful yet

Whether Caesar will come forth today or no;

For he is superstitious grown of late,

Quite from the main opinion he held once

Of fantasy, of dreams, and ceremonies.

It may be these apparent prodigies,

The unaccustom'd terror of this night,

And the persuasion of his augurers

May hold him from the Capitol to-day.


Never fear that: if he be so resolved,

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 humor the true bent,

And I will bring him to the Capitol.


Nay, we will all of us be there to fetch him.


By the eighth hour: is that the uttermost?


Be that the uttermost; and fail not then.


Caius Ligarius doth bear Caesar hard,

Who rated him for speaking well of Pompey:

I wonder none of you have thought of him.


Now, good Metellus, go along by him:

He loves me well, and I have given him reason;

Send him but hither, and I'll fashion him.


The morning comes upon 's. We'll leave you, Brutus;--

And, friends, disperse yourselves, but all remember

What you have said, and show yourselves true Romans.


Good gentlemen, look fresh and merrily;

Let not our looks put on our purposes,

But bear it as our Roman actors do,

With untired 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.

[Enter Portia.]


Brutus, my lord!


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.


Nor for yours neither. You've 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 stared upon me with ungentle looks:

I urged 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,

I should not know you, Brutus. Dear my lord,

Make me acquainted with your cause of grief.


I am not well in health, and that is all.


Brutus is wise, and, were he not in health,

He would embrace the means to come by it.


Why, so I do. Good Portia, go to bed.


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 offense within your mind,

Which, by the right and virtue of my place,

I ought to know of: and, upon my knees,

I charge 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.


Kneel not, gentle Portia.


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.


You are my true and honorable wife;

As dear to me as are the ruddy drops

That visit my sad heart.


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

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 'em.

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?


O ye gods,

Render me worthy of this noble wife!

[Knocking within.]

Hark, hark, one knocks: Portia, go in awhile;

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.]

--Lucius, who's that knocks?

[Re-enter Lucius with Ligarius.]


Here is a sick man that would speak with you.


Caius Ligarius, that Metellus spake of.--

Boy, stand aside.--Caius Ligarius,--how?


Vouchsafe good-morrow from a feeble tongue.


O, what a time have you chose out, brave Caius,

To wear a kerchief! Would you were not sick!


I am not sick, if Brutus have in hand

Any exploit worthy the name of honour.


Such an exploit have I in hand, Ligarius,

Had you a healthful ear to hear of it.


By all the gods that Romans bow before,

I here discard my sickness. Soul of Rome!

Brave son, derived from honorable loins!

Thou, like an exorcist, hast conjured up

My mortified spirit. Now bid me run,

And I will strive with things impossible;

Yea, get the better of them. What's to do?


A piece of work that will make sick men whole.


But are not some whole that we must make sick?


That must we also. What it is, my Caius,

I shall unfold to thee, as we are going,

To whom it must be done.


Set on your foot;

And with a heart new-fired I follow you,

To do I know not what: but it sufficeth

That Brutus leads me on.


Follow me then.


SCENE II. A room in Caesar's palace.

[Thunder and lightning. Enter Caesar, in his nightgown.]


Nor heaven nor earth have been at peace tonight:

Thrice hath Calpurnia in her sleep cried out,

"Help, ho! They murder Caesar!"--Who's within?

[Enter a Servant.]


My lord?


Go bid the priests do present sacrifice,

And bring me their opinions of success.


I will, my lord.


[Enter Calpurnia.]


What mean you, Caesar? Think you to walk forth?

You shall not stir out of your house to-day.


Caesar shall forth: the things that threaten me

Ne'er look but on my back; when they shall see

The face of Caesar, they are vanished.


Caesar, I never stood on ceremonies,

Yet now they fright me. There is one within,

Besides the things that we have heard and seen,

Recounts most horrid sights seen by the watch.

A lioness hath whelped in the streets;

And graves have yawn'd, and yielded up their dead;

Fierce fiery warriors fight upon the clouds,

In ranks and squadrons and right form of war,

Which drizzled blood upon the Capitol;

The noise of battle hurtled in the air,

Horses did neigh, and dying men did groan;

And ghosts did shriek and squeal about the streets.

O Caesar,these things are beyond all use,

And I do fear them!


What can be avoided

Whose end is purposed by the mighty gods?

Yet Caesar shall go forth; for these predictions

Are to the world in general as to Caesar.


When beggars die, there are no comets seen;

The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes.


Cowards die many times before their deaths;

The valiant never taste of death but once.

Of all the wonders that I yet have heard,

It seems to me most strange that men should fear;

Seeing that death, a necessary end,

Will come when it will come.--

[Re-enter Servant.]

What say the augurers?


They would not have you to stir forth to-day.

Plucking the entrails of an offering forth,

They could not find a heart within the beast.


The gods do this in shame of cowardice:

Caesar should be a beast without a heart,

If he should stay at home today for fear.

No, Caesar shall not: danger knows full well

That Caesar is more dangerous than he:

We are two lions litter'd in one day,

And I the elder and more terrible;

And Caesar shall go forth.


Alas, my lord,

Your wisdom is consumed in confidence!

Do not go forth to-day: call it my fear

That keeps you in the house, and not your own.

We'll send Mark Antony to the Senate-house,

And he shall say you are not well to-day:

Let me, upon my knee, prevail in this.


Mark Antony shall say I am not well,

And, for thy humor, I will stay at home.

[Enter Decius.]

Here's Decius Brutus, he shall tell them so.


Caesar, all hail! Good morrow, worthy Caesar:

I come to fetch you to the Senate-house.


And you are come in very happy time

To bear my greeting to the Senators,

And tell them that I will not come to-day.

Cannot, is false; and that I dare not, falser:

I will not come to-day. Tell them so, Decius.


Say he is sick.


Shall Caesar send a lie?

Have I in conquest stretch'd mine arm so far,

To be afeard to tell grey-beards the truth?--

Decius, go tell them Caesar will not come.


Most mighty Caesar, let me know some cause,

Lest I be laugh'd at when I tell them so.


The cause is in my will; I will not come:

That is enough to satisfy the Senate.

But, for your private satisfaction,

Because I love you, I will let you know:

Calpurnia here, my wife, stays me at home:

She dreamt to-night she saw my statua,

Which, like a fountain with an hundred spouts,

Did run pure blood; and many lusty Romans

Came smiling and did bathe their hands in it:

And these does she apply for warnings and portents

And evils imminent; and on her knee

Hath begg'd that I will stay at home to-day.


This dream is all amiss interpreted:

It was a vision fair and fortunate.

Your statue spouting blood in many pipes,

In which so many smiling Romans bathed,

Signifies that from you great Rome shall suck

Reviving blood; and that great men shall press

For tinctures, stains, relics, and cognizance.

This by Calpurnia's dream is signified.


And this way have you well expounded it.


I have, when you have heard what I can say;

And know it now: The Senate have concluded

To give this day a crown to mighty Caesar.

If you shall send them word you will not come,

Their minds may change. Besides, it were a mock

Apt to be render'd, for someone to say

"Break up the Senate till another time,

When Caesar's wife shall meet with better dreams."

If Caesar hide himself, shall they not whisper

"Lo, Caesar is afraid"?

Pardon me, Caesar; for my dear dear love

To your proceeding bids me tell you this;

And reason to my love is liable.


How foolish do your fears seem now, Calpurnia!

I am ashamed I did yield to them.

Give me my robe, for I will go.

[Enter Publius, Brutus, Ligarius, Metellus, Casca,

Trebonius, and Cinna.]

And look where Publius is come to fetch me.


Good morrow, Caesar.


Welcome, Publius.--

What, Brutus, are you stirr'd so early too?--

Good morrow, Casca.--Caius Ligarius,

Caesar was ne'er so much your enemy

As that same ague which hath made you lean.--

What is't o'clock?


Caesar, 'tis strucken eight.


I thank you for your pains and courtesy.

[Enter Antony.]

See! Antony, that revels long o'nights,

Is notwithstanding up.--Good morrow, Antony.


So to most noble Caesar.


Bid them prepare within:

I am to blame to be thus waited for.--

Now, Cinna;--now, Metellus;--what, Trebonius!

I have an hour's talk in store for you:

Remember that you call on me to-day;

Be near me, that I may remember you.


Caesar, I will. [Aside.] and so near will I be,

That your best friends shall wish I had been further.


Good friends, go in, and taste some wine with me;

And we, like friends, will straightway go together.


[Aside.] That every like is not the same, O Caesar,

The heart of Brutus yearns to think upon!


SCENE III. A street near the Capitol.

[Enter Artemidorus, reading paper.]


"Caesar, beware of Brutus; take heed of Cassius; come

not near Casca; have an eye to Cinna; trust not Trebonius; mark

well Metellus Cimber; Decius Brutus loves thee not; thou hast

wrong'd Caius Ligarius. There is but one mind in all these men,

and it is bent against Caesar. If thou be'st not immortal, look

about you: security gives way to conspiracy. The mighty gods

defend thee!

Thy lover, Artemidorus."

Here will I stand till Caesar pass along,

And as a suitor will I give him this.

My heart laments that virtue cannot live

Out of the teeth of emulation.--

If thou read this, O Caesar, thou mayest live;

If not, the Fates with traitors do contrive.


SCENE IV. Another part of the same street, before the house of


[Enter Portia and Lucius.]


I pr'ythee, boy, run to the Senate-house;

Stay not to answer me, but get thee gone.

Why dost thou stay?


To know my errand, madam.


I would have had thee there, and here again,

Ere I can tell thee what thou shouldst do there.--

[Aside.] O constancy, be strong upon my side!

Set a huge mountain 'tween my heart and tongue!

I have a man's mind, but a woman's might.

How hard it is for women to keep counsel!--

Art thou here yet?


Madam, what should I do?

Run to the Capitol, and nothing else?

And so return to you, and nothing else?


Yes, bring me word, boy, if thy lord look well,

For he went sickly forth: and take good note

What Caesar doth, what suitors press to him.

Hark, boy! what noise is that?


I hear none, madam.


Pr'ythee, listen well:

I heard a bustling rumour, like a fray,

And the wind brings it from the Capitol.


Sooth, madam, I hear nothing.

[Enter Artemidorus.]


Come hither, fellow:

Which way hast thou been?


At mine own house, good lady.


What is't o'clock?


About the ninth hour, lady.


Is Caesar yet gone to the Capitol?


Madam, not yet: I go to take my stand

To see him pass on to the Capitol.


Thou hast some suit to Caesar, hast thou not?


That I have, lady: if it will please Caesar

To be so good to Caesar as to hear me,

I shall beseech him to befriend himself.


Why, know'st thou any harm's intended towards him?


None that I know will be, much that I fear may chance.

Good morrow to you.--Here the street is narrow:

The throng that follows Caesar at the heels,

Of Senators, of Praetors, common suitors,

Will crowd a feeble man almost to death:

I'll get me to a place more void, and there

Speak to great Caesar as he comes along.



I must go in.--[Aside.] Ah me, how weak a thing

The heart of woman is!--O Brutus,

The heavens speed thee in thine enterprise!--

Sure, the boy heard me.--Brutus hath a suit

That Caesar will not grant.--O, I grow faint.--

Run, Lucius, and commend me to my lord;

Say I am merry: come to me again,

And bring me word what he doth say to thee.