Julius Caesar By William Shakespeare Act II: Scene 1

ACT II.

SCENE I. Rome. BRUTUS'S orchard.

[Enter Brutus.]

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.]

LUCIUS.
Call'd you, my lord?

BRUTUS.
Get me a taper in my study, Lucius:
When it is lighted, come and call me here.

LUCIUS.
I will, my lord.

[Exit.]

BRUTUS.
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.]

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.

BRUTUS.
Get you to bed again; it is not day.
Is not tomorrow, boy, the Ides of March?

LUCIUS.
I know not, sir.

BRUTUS.
Look in the calendar, and bring me word.

LUCIUS.
I will, sir.

[Exit.]

BRUTUS.
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.]

LUCIUS.
Sir, March is wasted fifteen days.

[Knocking within.]

BRUTUS.
'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].

LUCIUS.
Sir, 'tis your brother Cassius at the door,
Who doth desire to see you.

BRUTUS.
Is he alone?

LUCIUS.
No, sir, there are more with him.

BRUTUS.
Do you know them?

LUCIUS.
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.

BRUTUS.
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
Trebonius.

CASSIUS.
I think we are too bold upon your rest:
Good morrow, Brutus; do we trouble you?

BRUTUS.
I have been up this hour, awake all night.
Know I these men that come along with you?

CASSIUS.
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.

BRUTUS.
He is welcome hither.

CASSIUS.
This Decius Brutus.

BRUTUS.
He is welcome too.

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