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Julius Caesar: Act 1 Scene 3
Scene III The same. A street.
- [Thunder and lightning. Enter from opposite sides,
- CASCA, with his sword drawn, and CICERO]
- Good even, Casca: brought you Caesar home?
- Why are you breathless? and why stare you so?
- Are not you moved, when all the sway of earth
- Shakes like a thing unfirm? O Cicero,
- I have seen tempests, when the scolding winds
- Have rived the knotty oaks, and I have seen
- The ambitious ocean swell and rage and foam,
- To be exalted with the threatening clouds:
- But never till to-night, never till now,
- Did I go through a tempest dropping fire.
- Either there is a civil strife in heaven,
- Or else the world, too saucy with the gods,
- Incenses them to send destruction.
- Why, saw you any thing more wonderful?
- A common slave--you know him well by sight--
- Held up his left hand, which did flame and burn
- Like twenty torches join'd, and yet his hand,
- Not sensible of fire, remain'd unscorch'd.
- Besides--I ha' not since put up my sword--
- Against the Capitol I met a lion,
- Who glared upon me, and went surly by,
- Without annoying me: and there were drawn
- Upon a heap a hundred ghastly women,
- Transformed with their fear; who swore they saw
- Men all in fire walk up and down the streets.
- And yesterday the bird of night did sit
- Even at noon-day upon the market-place,
- Hooting and shrieking. When these prodigies
- Do so conjointly meet, let not men say
- 'These are their reasons; they are natural;'
- For, I believe, they are portentous things
- Unto the climate that they point upon.
- Indeed, it is a strange-disposed time:
- But men may construe things after their fashion,
- Clean from the purpose of the things themselves.
- Come Caesar to the Capitol to-morrow?
- He doth; for he did bid Antonius
- Send word to you he would be there to-morrow.
- Good night then, Casca: this disturbed sky
- Is not to walk in.
- Farewell, Cicero.
- [Exit CICERO]
- [Enter CASSIUS]
- Who's there?
- A Roman.
- Casca, by your voice.
- Your ear is good. Cassius, what night is this!
- A very pleasing night to honest men.
- Who ever knew the heavens menace so?
- Those that have known the earth so full of faults.
- For my part, I have walk'd about the streets,
- Submitting me unto the perilous night,
- And, thus unbraced, Casca, as you see,
- Have bared my bosom to the thunder-stone;
- And when the cross blue lightning seem'd to open
- The breast of heaven, I did present myself
- Even in the aim and very flash of it.
- But wherefore did you so much tempt the heavens?
- It is the part of men to fear and tremble,
- When the most mighty gods by tokens send
- Such dreadful heralds to astonish us.
- You are dull, Casca, and those sparks of life
- That should be in a Roman you do want,
- Or else you use not. You look pale and gaze
- And put on fear and cast yourself in wonder,
- To see the strange impatience of the heavens:
- But if you would consider the true cause
- Why all these fires, why all these gliding ghosts,
- Why birds and beasts from quality and kind,
- Why old men fool and children calculate,
- Why all these things change from their ordinance
- Their natures and preformed faculties
- To monstrous quality,--why, you shall find
- That heaven hath infused them with these spirits,
- To make them instruments of fear and warning
- Unto some monstrous state.
- Now could I, Casca, name to thee a man
- Most like this dreadful night,
- That thunders, lightens, opens graves, and roars
- As doth the lion in the Capitol,
- A man no mightier than thyself or me
- In personal action, yet prodigious grown
- And fearful, as these strange eruptions are.
- 'Tis Caesar that you mean; is it not, Cassius?
- Let it be who it is: for Romans now
- Have thews and limbs like to their ancestors;
- But, woe the while! our fathers' minds are dead,
- And we are govern'd with our mothers' spirits;
- Our yoke and sufferance show us womanish.
- Indeed, they say the senators tomorrow
- Mean to establish Caesar as a king;
- And he shall wear his crown by sea and land,
- In every place, save here in Italy.
- I know where I will wear this dagger then;
- Cassius from bondage will deliver Cassius:
- Therein, ye gods, you make the weak most strong;
- Therein, ye gods, you tyrants do defeat:
- Nor stony tower, nor walls of beaten brass,
- Nor airless dungeon, nor strong links of iron,
- Can be retentive to the strength of spirit;
- But life, being weary of these worldly bars,
- Never lacks power to dismiss itself.
- If I know this, know all the world besides,
- That part of tyranny that I do bear
- I can shake off at pleasure.
- [Thunder still]
- So can I:
- So every bondman in his own hand bears
- The power to cancel his captivity.
- And why should Caesar be a tyrant then?
- Poor man! I know he would not be a wolf,
- But that he sees the Romans are but sheep:
- He were no lion, were not Romans hinds.
- Those that with haste will make a mighty fire
- Begin it with weak straws: what trash is Rome,
- What rubbish and what offal, when it serves
- For the base matter to illuminate
- So vile a thing as Caesar! But, O grief,
- Where hast thou led me? I perhaps speak this
- Before a willing bondman; then I know
- My answer must be made. But I am arm'd,
- And dangers are to me indifferent.
- You speak to Casca, and to such a man
- That is no fleering tell-tale. Hold, my hand:
- Be factious for redress of all these griefs,
- And I will set this foot of mine as far
- As who goes farthest.
- There's a bargain made.
- Now know you, Casca, I have moved already
- Some certain of the noblest-minded Romans
- To undergo with me an enterprise
- Of honourable-dangerous consequence;
- And I do know, by this, they stay for me
- In Pompey's porch: for now, this fearful night,
- There is no stir or walking in the streets;
- And the complexion of the element
- In favour's like the work we have in hand,
- Most bloody, fiery, and most terrible.
- Stand close awhile, for here comes one in haste.
- 'Tis Cinna; I do know him by his gait;
- He is a friend.
- [Enter CINNA]
- Cinna, where haste you so?
- To find out you. Who's that? Metellus Cimber?
- No, it is Casca; one incorporate
- To our attempts. Am I not stay'd for, Cinna?
- I am glad on 't. What a fearful night is this!
- There's two or three of us have seen strange sights.
- Am I not stay'd for? tell me.
- Yes, you are.
- O Cassius, if you could
- But win the noble Brutus to our party--
- Be you content: good Cinna, take this paper,
- And look you lay it in the praetor's chair,
- Where Brutus may but find it; and throw this
- In at his window; set this up with wax
- Upon old Brutus' statue: all this done,
- Repair to Pompey's porch, where you shall find us.
- Is Decius Brutus and Trebonius there?
- All but Metellus Cimber; and he's gone
- To seek you at your house. Well, I will hie,
- And so bestow these papers as you bade me.
- That done, repair to Pompey's theatre.
- [Exit CINNA]
- Come, Casca, you and I will yet ere day
- See Brutus at his house: three parts of him
- Is ours already, and the man entire
- Upon the next encounter yields him ours.
- O, he sits high in all the people's hearts:
- And that which would appear offence in us,
- His countenance, like richest alchemy,
- Will change to virtue and to worthiness.
- Him and his worth and our great need of him
- You have right well conceited. Let us go,
- For it is after midnight; and ere day
- We will awake him and be sure of him.