Julius Caesar By William Shakespeare Act I: Scene 3

SCENE III. The same. A street.

[Thunder and lightning. Enter, from opposite sides, CASCA, with
his sword drawn, and CICERO.]

CICERO.
Good even, Casca: brought you Caesar home?
Why are you breathless, and why stare you so?

CASCA.
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
Th' ambitious ocean swell and rage and foam,
To be exalted with the threatening clouds:
But never till tonight, 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.

CICERO.
Why, saw you anything more wonderful?

CASCA.
A common slave — you'd 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 noonday upon the marketplace,
Howling 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.

CICERO.
Indeed, it is a strange-disposed time.
But men may construe things after their fashion,
Clean from the purpose of the things themselves.
Comes Caesar to the Capitol tomorrow?

CASCA.
He doth, for he did bid Antonius
Send word to you he would be there to-morrow.

CICERO.
Good then, Casca: this disturbed sky
Is not to walk in.

CASCA.
Farewell, Cicero.

[Exit Cicero.]

[Enter Cassius.]

CASSIUS.
Who's there?

CASCA.
A Roman.

CASSIUS.
Casca, by your voice.

CASCA.
Your ear is good. Cassius, what night is this!

CASSIUS.
A very pleasing night to honest men.

CASCA.
Who ever knew the heavens menace so?

CASSIUS.
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.

CASCA.
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.

CASSIUS.
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, fools, 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.

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